326. To the above I will add two Memorable Relations. First: After the problem concerning the soul had been discussed and solved in the gymnasium [no. 315], I saw the audience going out in procession, the Chief Teacher in front, after him the elders in whose midst were the five young men who had given the answers and then the rest. Coming out, they withdrew to the sides of the house where were walks bordered by shrubs. Gathering there, they separated into small groups which were so many companies of young men conversing together on matters of wisdom. In each group was one of the wise men from the balcony. Seeing them from my lodging, I became in the spirit, and going to them in the spirit, approached the Chief Teacher who lately had proposed the question concerning the soul. When he saw me, he said: "Who are you? When I saw you coming on the road, it surprised me that you now came into my sight and now passed out of it; that is, at one moment you were visible to me and suddenly became invisible. You certainly are not in our state of life." To this I answered, smiling, "I am not a player of tricks, or a Vertumnus, but am by turns, now in your light, now in your shade, and thus a sojourner and also a native."
 At this, the Chief Teacher looked at me and said, "You speak things strange and wonderful. Tell me who you are." I then said: "I am in the world called the natural world, in which you were and from which you have departed; and I am also in the world into which you came and in which you now are, which is called the spiritual world. Thus it is, that I am in a natural state and at the same time in a spiritual, being in a natural state with men on earth, and in a spiritual state with you. When in a natural state, I am not visible to you, but when in a spiritual state I am visible. My being of this nature has been granted me by the Lord. To you, enlightened man, it is known that a man of the natural world does not see a man of the spiritual world, or the reverse. Therefore, when I let my spirit down into the body I was not visible to you, but when I sent it out of the body I was visible. In your gymnastic sport you taught that you are souls, and that souls see souls because they are human forms; and you know that when you were in the natural world you did not see yourselves or your souls within your bodies, and this because of the distinction between the spiritual and the natural."
 When the Chief Teacher heard of a distinction between the spiritual and the natural, he said, "What is the distinction? is it not as between the purer and the less pure? What then is the spiritual but a purer natural?" I replied: "The distinction is not that, but is like the distinction between the prior and the posterior. Between these there is no finite ratio, for the prior is within the posterior as a cause within its effect, and the posterior is from the prior as an effect from its cause. Hence it is that the one does not appear to the other."
 To this the Chief Teacher responded: "I have meditated and pondered upon this distinction, but hitherto in vain. Would that I could perceive it!" I then said, "You shall not only perceive the distinction between the spiritual and the natural but you shall also witness it." I continued as follows: "You are in the spiritual state when with your associates, but in the natural state when with me. With them you speak in the spiritual language which is common to all spirits and angels, but with me, in my native tongue; for every angel and spirit when speaking with a man speaks the man's language, thus French with a Frenchman, English with an Englishman, Greek with a Greek, Arabic with an Arabian, and so on. That you may know the distinction between the spiritual and the natural as to language, do this: Go to your associates and say something there and retain the words; then, with these in your memory, return and utter them before me."
He did so, and with the words on his lips, he returned to me and spoke them; and he did not understand a single one. [To me] his words were entirely strange and foreign such as are not found in any language of the natural world. By this experience, several times repeated, it was made clearly evident that all in the spiritual world have a spiritual language which has nothing in common with any language of the natural world; and that after death every man comes into that language of himself. At the same time, the Chief Teacher also found that the sound of the spiritual language so greatly differs from the sound of natural language that spiritual sound, even though loud, could not be heard by a natural man, or natural sound by a spiritual man.
 I then requested the Chief Teacher and the bystanders to go to their associates and write some sentence on a piece of paper, and then come to me with the paper and read it. They did so and returned with the paper in hand; but when they read it, they could not understand anything, since the writing consisted merely of alphabetical letters with curved strokes above them, each letter signifying some aspect of the subject treated of. From the fact that in the spiritual world each letter in the alphabet has some signification, it is evident whence it is that the Lord is said to be the Alpha and the Omega. After again and again going, writing, and returning, they found that their writing involved and comprehended innumerable things which no natural writing could ever express; and it was said that this is because the thoughts of the spiritual man concern things which to the natural man are incomprehensible and ineffable, and that such thoughts cannot flow into any other writing or any other language and be there presented.
 Then, because the bystanders were unwilling to comprehend that spiritual thought so greatly excels natural thought as to be relatively ineffable, I said to them: "Make this experiment. Enter into your spiritual society and think of something; then, retaining the thought, return and express it before me." And they entered, thought of something, and retaining the thought went out; but when they would express the thing thought of, they could not, for they found no idea of natural thought adequate to any idea of spiritual thought, and therefore no word to express it; for ideas of thought become the words of speech.  Then, again entering and again returning, they convinced themselves, that to the natural man, spiritual ideas are supernatural, inexpressible, ineffable, and incomprehensible; and they said that, being thus supereminent, spiritual ideas or thoughts, relatively to natural, are ideas of ideas and thoughts of thoughts; that by them, therefore, are expressed qualities of qualities and affections of affections; and, consequently, that spiritual thoughts are the beginnings and origins of natural thoughts. From this moreover, it became clear that spiritual wisdom is the wisdom of wisdom, and thus is imperceptible in the natural world even to a wise man. It was then told them from the third heaven that there is a wisdom still more interior or higher, called celestial, the relation of which to spiritual wisdom is like the relation of the latter to natural wisdom, and that these wisdoms flow from the Lord's Divine wisdom which is infinite, in an order accordant with the heavens.