(HH) - Heaven and Its Wonders and Hell - From Things Heard and Seen

HH 74

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74. Let us now turn to experience. That angels are human forms, or men, has been seen by me a thousand times. I have talked with them as man with man, sometimes with one, sometimes with many together; and I have seen nothing whatever in their form different from the human form; and have occasionally been surprised to find them such. And that this might not be said to be a delusion or a vision of fancy, I have been permitted to see angels when fully awake or in possession of all my bodily senses, and in a state of clear perception. And I have often told them that men in the Christian world are in such blind ignorance in regard to angels and spirits as to believe them to be minds without form, even pure thoughts, of which they have no idea except as something ethereal in which there is some vitality. And as they thus ascribe to angels nothing human except a thinking faculty, they believe that having no eyes they do not see, having no ears they do not hear, and having no mouth or tongue they do not speak. [2] To this the angels replied that they are aware that such a belief is held by many in the world, and is prevalent among the learned, and to their surprise, even among the clergy. The reason, they said, is that the learned, who were the leaders and who first concocted such an idea of angels and spirits, conceived of them from the sense-conceptions of the external man; and those who think from these, and not from interior light and from the general idea implanted in everyone, must needs fabricate such notions, since the sense-conceptions of the external man take in only what belongs to nature, and nothing above nature, thus nothing whatever of the spiritual world.# From these leaders as guides this falsity of thought about angels extended to others who did not think from themselves but adopted the thoughts of their leaders; and those who first take their thoughts from others and make that thought their belief, and then view it with their own understanding, cannot easily recede from it, and are therefore in most cases satisfied with confirming it. [3] The angels said, furthermore, that the simple in faith and heart have no such idea about angels, but think of them as the men of heaven, and for the reason that they have not extinguished by learning what is implanted in them from heaven, and have no conception of anything apart from form. This is why angels in churches, whether sculptured or painted, are always depicted as men. In respect to this insight from heaven they said that it is the Divine flowing into such as are in the good of faith and life.
# Unless man is raised above the sense-conceptions of the external man he has vary little wisdom (n. 5089).
The wise man thinks above these sense-conceptions (n. 5089, 5094).
When man is raised above these, he comes into clearer light, and finally into heavenly light (n. 6183, 6313, 6315, 9407, 9730, 9922).
Elevation and withdrawal from these was known to the ancients (n. 6313).

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