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THE HOLY SCRIPTURES OR WORD OF THE LORD
BEGINNING WITH THE BOOK OF GENESIS :
WONDERFUL THINGS SEEN IN THE WORLD CF SPIRITO
AND IN THE HEAVEN OF ANGELS.
Translated from tho Latin of
Servant of the Lord Jesus Chrish
AMERICAN SWEDENBORG PRINTING AND PUBLISHING SOCIETY,
Published by THE AMERICAN SWEDENBORG PRINTING AND PUBLISHING
Society, organized for the purpose of Stereotyping, Printing and Publishing Uniform Exitions of the Theological Writings of EMANUEL SWEDENBORG, and incorporated in the State of New York, A. D. 1850.
5 · A 2
OHAPTER THE TWELFTH.
OF THE PERCEPTION OF ANGELS AND SPIRITS; AND OF SPHERES
IN THE OTHER LIFE.
1383. AMONGST the wonderful things experienced in the other life, are to be reckoned perceptions, of which there are tro kinds. Of these, one is angelic, consisting in the perception of what is true and good, and of what is from the Lord, and whal. from self; and also in the perception of the source and quality of their thoughts, words, and actions, when they proceed from themselves. The other kind is common to all, but is enjoyed by the angels in the highest perfection, and by spirits according to their respective qualities; it consists in discerning the character and quality of another the instant he approaches.
1384. Respecting the first kind of perception, which is the angelic, consisting in the perception of what is true and good, and of what is from the Lord, and what from self; and alsó in the perception of the source and quality of their thoughts, words, and actions, when they proceed from themselves ; it has been granted me to discourse with the posterity of the most ancient Church concerning it, and in what manner and degree they enjoyed it. They said, that of themselves they neither do nor can think any thing, neither of themselves do they will or desire any thing, but that in all and every thing which they think and will, they perceive what comes from the Lord, and what comes from other sources, and also in what degree it is from the Lord, and in what degree it is as from themselves. When it is as from themselves, they perceive further whence it is, or from what angels, and likewise the character and quality of those angels, and what their thoughts are, distinguishing herein with the nicest exactness. Thus they perceive what influx they experience; with numberless other particulars relating to it. Perceptions of this kind are enjoyed with much variety. The celestial angels, who are principled in love to the Lord, have a perception of good, and thereby of all things appertairing to fruth; and as they have from good the perception of truth, they do not admit of discourse, much less of reasoning, concerning truth, but say at once that it is so, or that it is not so
But the spiritual angels, who also enjoy perception, though not such as the celestial angels, discourse concerning what is true and good... They nevertheless have a perception of them, but with a difference ; for the varieties of this perception are innumerable. The varieties may be arranged under these general heads, viz., the perceiving what is of the will of the Lord, what is of leave, and what is of permission: all which are very distinct from each other.
1385. There are spirits who belong to the province of the skin, especially that part of it which is scaly, who are disposed to reason on all subjects, having no perception of what is good and true ; nay, the more they reason, the less perception they have. They suppose wisdom to consist in reasoning, and practise it that they may appear to be wise. These are informed that it is the character of angelic wisdom to perceive whether a thing is good and true without reasoning : but it is inconceivable to them that such perception can possibly exist. These consist of such persons, as, during the life of the body, had confused truth and goodness by scientific and philosophical studies and disputations, whence they regarded themselves as more learned than others, undertaking to establish their reasonings by science and philosophy, without having first taken any principles of truth from the Word. From this cause, they have a less shure of common sense than the rest of mankind.
1386. So long as spirits suppose that they are under their own guidance, and · dérive thought, knowledge, understanding, and wisdom from themselves, it is impossible for them to have perception, but they believe it to be all an idle tale.
1387. I have sometimes discoursed concerning perception with those in the other life, who, during their abode in the world, supposed themselves able to penetrate into and to understand all
things. I told them that the angels perceive, that they think and speak, will and act, from the Lord: but still they were not able to conceive what perception is, supposing, that if all things thus entered by influx, they would be deprived of all life : because thus they would think nothing from themselves, or of their own, in doing which they conceived all life to consist; and that in such case it would be another who thought, and not themselves, consequently that they would be mere machines without life. But it was told them, that such is the difference of life between having perception, and not having it, that it is like the difference between darkness and light, and that we first begin to live when we receive such perception, because we then live from the Lord, possessing also, in what we thus think, a property of our own, the sense of which is afforded with the utmost happiness and delight. It was also shoron them by much experience how the case is with perception. They then acknowledged the possibility of it: but in a short space of tims