590. But the nature of the man whose understanding has been elevated, but not the will's love by means of it, shall be illustrated by comparisons. He is like an eagle flying on high, but as soon as he sees food below, as hens, young swans, or even young lambs, he darts down in a moment and devours them. He is also like an adulterer who hides a harlot in a room below, and in turn ascends to the highest story of his house, and there in the presence of his wife talks wisely with visitors about chastity, and again steals away from the company and satiates his lust with the harlot below. He is also like marsh flies that fly in a body over the head of a running horse, but when the horse stops settle down and immerse themselves in their marsh. Such is the man who is elevated as to the understanding, while the will's love remains down at the foot, immersed in the uncleannesses of nature and the libidinous propensities of the senses. But because such men shine as if with wisdom in the understanding, while the will is in opposition to wisdom, they may also be likened to serpents with shining skins, and to the Spanish flies that glisten as if made of gold, or to the ignis fatuus in marshes, or to shining rotten wood and phosphorescent substances. There are among them some who can counterfeit angels of light, both among men in the world and after death among the angels of heaven; but these, after a brief examination, are deprived of their clothing, and cast down naked. This cannot be done in the world, because there the spirit of such is not open, but is covered over by a mask like that used by actors in theaters. In countenance and with the lips they are able to counterfeit angels of light, which is both an effect and a proof of their ability to elevate the understanding, as has been said, above the love of the will almost to angelic wisdom. Since then, man's internal and external can run thus counter to each other, and since the body is cast aside while the spirit remains, a dark spirit may evidently dwell behind a bright face, and a fiery one behind a bland mouth. Therefore, my friend, form your opinion of a man not from his mouth but from his heart, that is, not from his words but from his deeds; for the Lord says:
Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. By their fruits ye shall know them (Matt. 7:15-16).