(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 5036

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5036. And put him into the prison house. That this signifies as to false-speaking against good, is evident from the signification of being "put into the prison house, and kept bound there," as being to be let into temptations as to false-speaking against good, of which in what follows; but something must first be said in regard to temptations. Scarcely anyone in the Christian world at this day knows whence temptations come. He who undergoes them has no other belief than that they are torments arising from the evils which are within man, and which at first make him uneasy, then anxious, and finally torment him; but he is altogether ignorant that they are effected by the evil spirits who are with him. The reason why he is ignorant of this, is that he does not believe that he is in company with spirits while he lives in the world, and scarcely believes that there is any spirit with him; when yet as to his interiors man is continually in the society of spirits and angels.
[2] As regards temptations, they take place when the man is in the act of regeneration; for no one can be regenerated unless he undergoes temptations, and they then arise from evil spirits who are about him. For the man is then let into the state of evil in which he is, that is, in which is that very [life] which is his own; and when he comes into this state, evil or infernal spirits encompass him, and when they perceive that he is inwardly protected by angels, the evil spirits excite the falsities which he has thought, and the evils which he has done, but the angels defend him from within. It is this combat which is perceived in the man as temptation, but so obscurely that he scarcely knows otherwise than that it is merely an anxiety; for man-especially if he believes nothing about influx-is in a state that is wholly obscure, and he perceives scarcely a thousandth part of the things about which the evil spirits and angels are contending. And yet the battle is then being fought for the man and his eternal salvation, and it is fought from the man himself; for they fight from those things which are in man, and concerning them. That this is the case has been given me to know with the utmost certainty. I have heard the combat, I have perceived the influx, I have seen the spirits and angels, and at the time and afterward have conversed with them on the subject.
[3] As before said, temptations take place chiefly at the time when the man is becoming spiritual; for he then apprehends spiritually the truths of doctrine. The man is often unaware of this, but still the angels with him see in his natural things the spiritual; for his interiors are then open toward heaven. For this reason also the man who has been regenerated is among angels after his life in the world, and there both sees and perceives the spiritual things which before appeared to him as natural. When therefore a man has come into such a state, then in temptation, when assaulted by evil spirits, he can be defended by angels, who then have a plane into which they can operate; for they flow into what is spiritual with him, and through this into what is natural.
[4] But when ultimate truth has been withdrawn, and therefore the man has nothing by which to defend himself against those who are natural (see n. 5006, 5008, 5009, 5022, 5028), he then comes into temptations, and by evil spirits-who are all merely natural-he is accused especially of speaking falsely against good; as for example of having thought and said that the neighbor ought to be benefited, and having also approved this in act, and yet now meaning by the neighbor only those who are in good and truth, and not those who are in evil and falsity and cannot be amended; and consequently, because he is no longer willing to benefit the evil, or if he will benefit them, he desires them to be punished for the sake of their amendment, and for the purpose of averting evil from his neighbor, they charge him with thinking and speaking what is false, and with not thinking as he speaks.
[5] Take another example. Because when a man becomes spiritual, he no longer believes it holy and for pious use to give to monasteries, or even to churches which abound in wealth; and because before he became spiritual he had thought that such giving was holy and pious, they charge him with falsehood, and stir up all his thoughts which he had before cherished as to its being holy and pious, and also the works which he had done from such thought. And so they do in numberless other cases, but let these few examples serve by way of illustration. These spirits enter principally into the affections which the man had before, and excite them, and also the false and evil things which he had thought and done; and thus they bring him into anxiety, and often into doubt even to despair.
[6] Such then is the source of spiritual anxieties, and of the torments which are called torments of conscience. By influx and communication these things appear to the man as if they were in himself. One who knows and believes this may be compared to a man who sees himself in a mirror, and knows that it is not himself that appears in it, or on the other side of it, but only his image; whereas one who does not know and believe this, may be compared to a person who sees himself in a mirror, and supposes it is himself that appears there, and not his image.


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