968. Certain spirits had brought with them from the world the idea that they must not speak with the devil, but flee from him. But they were instructed that it would do no harm at all to those whom the Lord protects, even if they should be encompassed by all hell, both within and without. This it has been given me to know by much and by marvelous experience, so that at length I came to have no fear of even the worst of the infernal crew, to hinder my speaking with them; and this was granted in order that I might become acquainted with their character. To those who have wondered that I spoke with them, I have been permitted to say not only that this would do me no harm, but also that the devils in the other life are such as have been men, and who when they lived in the world passed their life in hatred, revenge, and adultery, some of them being then preeminently esteemed; nay, that among them are some I had known in the bodily life; and that the devil means nothing else than such a crew of hell. And furthermore, that men, while they live in the body, have with them at least two spirits from hell, as well as two angels from heaven; and that these infernal spirits rule with the evil, but with the good have been subjugated and are compelled to serve. Thus it is false to suppose that there has been a devil from the beginning of creation, other than such as were once men. When they heard these things they were amazed, and confessed that they had held a totally different opinion in regard to the devil and the diabolical crew.