(AC) - A Disclosure of the Hidden Treasures of Heaven Contained in the Holy Scripture or Word of the Lord, Together with Amazing Things Seen in the World of Spirits and in the Heaven of Angels

AC 4249

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4249. And Jacob feared exceedingly, and was distressed. That this signifies the state when it is being changed, is evident from the fact that fear and distress are what is first in temptations, and that when the state is being inverted or changed these take precedence. The arcana which lie hidden more at large in what is here said that Esau went to meet Jacob with four hundred men, and that Jacob therefore feared and was distressed-cannot easily be set forth to the apprehension, for they are too interior. This only may be presented: that when good is taking the prior place and is subordinating truths to itself, which takes place when the man is undergoing spiritual temptations, the good that then flows in from within is attended with very many truths which have been stored up in his interior man. These cannot come to his mental view and apprehension until good acts the first part, for then the natural begins to be enlightened by good, whence it becomes apparent what things in it are in accord, and what are discordant, from which come the fear and distress that precede spiritual temptation. For spiritual temptation acts upon the conscience, which is of the interior man; and therefore when he enters into this temptation the man does not know whence come such fear and distress, although the angels with him know this well; for the temptation comes from the angels holding the man in goods and truths while evil spirits are holding him in evils and falsities.
[2] For the things that come forth with the spirits and angels who are with a man are perceived by the man exactly as if they were in him; for while a man is living in the body, and does not believe that all things flow in, he supposes that the things which come forth interiorly are not produced by causes outside of him, but that all the causes are within him, and are his very own; yet such is not the case. For whatever a man thinks and whatever he wills (that is, his every thought and his every affection) are either from hell or from heaven. When he thinks and wills evils, and is delighted with the consequent falsities, he may know that his thoughts and affections are from hell; and while he is thinking and willing goods, and is delighted with the derivative truths, he may know that they are from heaven, that is, through heaven from the Lord. But the thoughts and affections that appertain to a man appear for the most part under another aspect; as for example, the combat of evil spirits with angels that arises from the things which appertain to a man who is to be regenerated, appears under the aspect of fear and distress, and of temptation.
[3] These statements cannot but appear to man as paradoxes, because almost every man of the church at this day believes that all the truth which he thinks, and the good which he wills and does, are from himself, although he says otherwise when he speaks from the doctrine of faith. Nay, of such a nature is man that if anyone should say to him that there are evil spirits from hell who are flowing into his thought and will when he thinks and wills evils, and angels from heaven when he thinks and wills goods, he would stand amazed that anyone should maintain such a thing; for he would say that he feels life in himself, and thinks from himself and wills from himself. From this feeling in himself he forms his belief, and not from his doctrine; when yet the doctrine is true, but the feeling fallacious. It has been given me to know this from an almost continual experience of many years, and so to know it that no doubt whatever remains.


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