CHEST >> Spiritual Heaven >> Love >> Charity
To what provinces angelic societies belong may be known in the other life from their situation relatively to the human body, and also from their operation and influx; for they flow into and operate upon that organ or member in which they are, but their influx and operation can be perceived only by those who are in the other life, and not by man unless his interiors are opened to that extent, nor even then unless the Lord gives him a sensitive reflection joined with perception. [AC 5171]
The reason why what is man's own (and indeed an Own which is dear to him) is called a "rib" which is a bone of the chest, is that among the most ancient people the chest signified charity, because it contains both the heart and the lungs; and bones signified the viler things, because they possess a minimum of vitality; while flesh denoted such as had vitality. The ground of these significations is one of the deepest arcana known to the men of the most Ancient Church, concerning which of the Lord's Divine mercy hereafter. [AC148]
Bring now thy hand into thy bosom. That this signifies the appropriation of truth, is evident from the signification of "hand," as being power (of which above, n. 6947); and from the signification of "bosom," as being love; for that which is of the breast corresponds to love, because therein is the heart, which corresponds to celestial love, and the lungs, which correspond to spiritual love (see n. 3635, 3883-3896, 4112-4113, 4133). And as from this the bosom corresponds to love, by it is also signified man's own, for that is man's own which is of his love. Therefore here by "bringing the hand into the bosom" is signified appropriation; that it is the appropriation of truth, is plain from what follows, and also from the fact that spiritual power consists in truth (see n. 6948).
 That the "bosom" denotes that very thing which belongs to man, thus his own, and from this, appropriation and conjunction by love, is evident from the following passages:
Confide ye not in a companion, put not trust in a guide; keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom (Micah 7:5);
where "she that lieth in the bosom" denotes one who has been conjoined with him by means of love. For this also a wife is called "the wife of her husband's bosom" (Deut. 28:54; 2 Sam. 12:8); and a husband is called "the husband of his wife's bosom" (Deut. 28:56); and this because one belongs to the other. And in David:
My prayer shall fall back upon my bosom (Ps. 35:13);
meaning that it would return to himself.
Remember, Lord, the reproach of Thy servants, how I do bear in my bosom all the great peoples (Ps. 89:50);
meaning with himself, as his own. In Isaiah:
He feedeth his flock like a shepherd, He gathereth the lambs in His arm, and carrieth them in His bosom (Isa. 40:11);
where the sense is the same.
 In Luke:
Give, and it shall be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, shall be given into your bosom (Luke 6:38);
"to be given into the bosom" denotes for themselves as their own. In the same:
And it came to pass that Lazarus died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom (Luke 16:22);
"to be carried into Abraham's bosom" denotes to the Lord (who is meant by "Abraham"), from conjunction through love.
 And in John:
There was lying in Jesus' bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved; he, leaning on Jesus' breast, saith unto Him, Lord who is it? (John 13:23, 25);
"to lie in the bosom" manifestly denotes to be loved, and to be conjoined through love. Again:
No one hath ever seen God; the only-begotten son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath set Him forth (John 1:18);
"in the bosom of the Father" denotes to be one.
 The "bosom" denotes that very thing which belongs to man, and also appropriation not by love, in the following passages:
I will recompense, I will recompense upon their bosom your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together; I will measure the price of their work upon their bosom (Isa. 14:6-7).
Jehovah doing mercy to thousands, and recompensing the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their sons after them (Jer. 32:18).
Recompense to our neighbors sevenfold into their bosom their reproach wherewith they have reproached Thee, O Lord (Ps. 79:12);
"to recompense into their bosom" denotes into themselves. [AC6960]
That love purified by the wisdom in the understanding becomes spiritual and celestial cannot be seen so clearly by their correspondence with the heart and lungs, because no one can see the quality of the blood by which the lungs are kept in their state of respiration. The blood may abound in impurities, and yet not be distinguishable from pure blood. Moreover, the respiration of a merely natural man appears the same as the respiration of a spiritual man. But the difference is clearly discerned in heaven, for there every one respires according to the marriage of love and wisdom; therefore as angels are recognized according to that marriage, so are they recognized according to their respiration. For this reason it is that when one who is not in that marriage enters heaven, he is seized with anguish in the breast, and struggles for breath like a man in the agonies of death; such persons, therefore throw themselves headlong from the place, nor do they find rest until they are among those who are in a respiration similar to their own; for then by correspondence they are in similar affection, and therefore in similar thought. From all this it can be seen that with the spiritual man it is the purer blood, called by some the animal spirit, which is purified; and that it is purified so far as the man is in the marriage of love and wisdom. It is this purer blood which corresponds most nearly to that marriage; and because this blood inflows into the blood of the body, it follows that the latter blood is also purified by means of it. The reverse is true of those in whom love is defiled in the understanding. But, as was said, no one can test this by any experiment on the blood; but he can by observing the affections of love, since these correspond to the blood. [DLW423]
There are certain upright spirits who think without any meditation, and who therefore rapidly and as it were without premeditation utter whatever occurs to their thought. They have an interior perception, which does not become so visual by means of meditations and thoughts as is the case with others; for in the course of their lives they have been as it were self-instructed about the goodness of things, but not so much so about the truth of them. I have been told that such persons belong to the province of the Thymus Gland; for the thymus is a gland that is especially serviceable to infants, and during that age is soft. In such spirits likewise there remains a soft infantile quality, into which the perception of good flows, and from which perception truth shines forth in a general manner. These spirits are able to be in great turmoils without being disturbed, as is also the case with the gland in question. [AC5172]
And thou shalt take the breast. That this signifies the Divine spiritual in the heavens, and its appropriation there, is evident from the signification of "the breast," as being the good of charity, and in the supreme sense the Divine spiritual (of which in what follows); that the appropriation of it in the heavens is meant, is because in what now follows the subject treated of is the flesh of the ram and the bread from the basket, which were not burned on the altar, but were granted to Moses, to Aaron, and to his sons, for a portion, and were "eaten," whereby is signified appropriation, the process of which is now to be described. That by "the breast" is signified the good of charity, and in the supreme sense the Divine spiritual, is from correspondence; for the head with man corresponds to the good of love to the Lord, which is the good of the inmost heaven, and is called the Divine celestial; but the breast corresponds to the good of charity, which is the good of the middle or second heaven, and is called the Divine spiritual; and the feet correspond to the good of faith, thus to the good of obedience, which is the good of the ultimate heaven, and is called the Divine natural (concerning which correspondence see what has been shown above, n. 10030).
 As the "breast" from correspondence denotes the good of charity, and the good of charity is to do what is good from willing it, therefore John, who represented this good, lay on the breast or in the bosom of the Lord (John 13:23, 25); by which is signified that this good was loved by the Lord; for "to lie on the breast and in the bosom" denotes to love. He who knows this is also able to know what is signified by these words of the Lord to Peter and to John:
Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me? He saith, Yea, Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee. He saith unto him, Feed My lambs. He saith to him again, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me? He saith, Yea, Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee. He saith unto him, Feed My sheep. He said to him the third time, Simon, Son of Jonas, lovest thou Me? Peter was grieved, therefore he said, Lord Thou knowest all things, Thou knowest that I love Thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed My sheep. Verily I say unto thee, When thou wast younger, thou girdedst thyself and walkedst whither thou wouldest; but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hand, and another shall gird thee, and lead thee whither thou wouldest not. When He had said this, He said to him, Follow Me. Peter turning about saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also lay on His breast at supper. Peter seeing him saith, Lord, what about this man? Jesus said to him, If I will that he abide till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou Me (John 21:15-21); no one can know what these words signify except by the internal sense, which teaches that the twelve disciples of the Lord represented all things of faith and of love in the complex, as did the twelve tribes of Israel; and that Peter represented faith, James charity, and John the works or goods of charity. (That the twelve disciples of the Lord represented all things of faith and love in the complex, see n. 3488, 3858, 6397; and likewise the twelve tribes of Israel, n. 3858, 3926, 4060, 6335, 6640. That Peter represented faith, James charity, and John the works of charity, see the preface to the eighteenth and twenty-second chapters of Genesis, n. 3750, 4738, 6344; and that the "Rock," as Peter is also called, denotes the Lord as to faith, n. 8581.)
 As faith without charity does not love the Lord, and yet can teach such things as belong to faith and love, and to the Lord, therefore the Lord said three times, "Lovest thou Me," "Feed My lambs," and "Feed My sheep," and for this reason the Lord says, "When thou wast younger, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest; but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee and lead thee whither thou wouldest not," by which is signified that the faith of the church in its rising is in the good of innocence like an infant; but that when it is in its setting, which is in the end of the church, faith would be no longer in this good, nor in the good of charity; and that then evil and falsity would lead, which are signified by "when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and lead thee whither thou wouldest not;" thus from being free it would become enslaved. "To gird" denotes to know and perceive truths in light from good, n. 9952; "to walk" denotes to live according to these truths, n. 8417, 8420; hence "to gird himself and walk whither he would," denotes to act from freedom, and to act from freedom is to act from the affection of truth from good, n. 2870-2893, 9585-9591; and is to be led by the Lord, n. 9096, 9586, 9589-9591; but "to be girded by another, and to be led whither he would not," denotes to be a slave, and to be a slave is to act from evil, thus to be led by hell, n. 9096, 9586, 9589-9591. That "lambs," of which the Lord first speaks, denote those who are in the good of innocence, see n. 3994; and that "sheep," of which the Lord speaks in the second and third place, denote those who are in the good of charity and from this in faith, n. 4169, 4809; and that "three" denotes a whole period from beginning to end, n. 2788, 4495, 7715, 9198. Therefore, as the Lord spoke to Peter concerning the church from its rising to its setting, He said three times, "Lovest thou Me?"
 But by "John following the Lord" was signified that they who are in the goods of charity follow the Lord and are loved by the Lord, neither do they draw back; while they who are in faith separate not only do not follow the Lord, but are also indignant about it, like Peter at that time-not to mention more arcana which are contained in the above words. From all this it is also plain that to "lie on the breast and in the bosom of the Lord" denotes to be loved by Him, and that this is said of those who are in the goods of charity, like what is said of His "carrying them in His bosom" (Isa. 40:10, 11), and of "lying in the bosom" (2 Sam. 12:3) [AC 10087]
There are genii and spirits who induce upon the head a kind of suction or drawing, in such a way as to cause pain in the part affected. I noticed a distinct feeling of suction, as if a membrane were being very sensibly sucked up. I doubt whether others could have borne this on account of the pain; but having become accustomed to it, I have at last often borne it without pain. The chief place of the suction was on the top of the head; and from there it spread toward the region of the left ear, and also toward the region of the left eye. That which spread toward the eye was from spirits, and that which spread toward the ear was from genii. Both of these belong to the province of the receptacle and ducts of the chyle, whither also the chyle is drawn from all quarters, although at the same time it is driven there. There were also others, who acted within the head in almost the same way, but not with so great a force of suction. It was said that these are they to whom the subtle chyle corresponds, which is brought toward the brain and there mingled with new animal spirit, in order that it may be sent down toward the heart. They who acted outwardly were first seen by me on the front side, a little to the left, and afterward in a higher position there; so that their region was observed to be from the plane of the septum of the nose rising toward the plane of the left ear.
 They who constitute this province are of two kinds, some being quite modest, while others are wanton. The modest are they who have desired to know men's thoughts for the purpose of alluring and binding them to themselves (for one who knows another's thoughts, knows also his secret and inner things, and this effects conjunction), the end being social intercourse and friendship. These desire to know only what is good in men, exploring this and putting a good interpretation on everything else. But the wanton desire and endeavor in many ways to find out the thoughts of others, with a view either of making capital of them or of doing harm; and because they are in such a desire and endeavor, they keep the person's mind fixed on the thing they desire to know, never giving way, yielding an affectionate assent, and thus drawing out even the secret thoughts. In the other life they act in a similar manner in the societies there, and still more artfully; for there they do not allow the other to wander from his idea, which they also kindle into activity, and thus lure it forth. By this means they afterward hold the others as it were in bonds, and under their control, being privy to their evils. But these spirits are among the wandering spirits, and are often chastised. [AC 5180]
From the circles above referred to it may also somewhat be known to what province in the Grand Man, and correspondently in the body, spirits and angels belong. The circles of those who belong to the province of the Lymphatics are slight and rapid, like gently flowing water, so that scarcely any circling can be perceived. They who belong to the lymphatics are afterward conveyed into places which they said have reference to the Mesentery, and where I was told that there are as it were labyrinths, and that they are afterward taken away to various places in the Grand Man to serve for use, as is done with the chyle in the body. [AC 5181]
There are circles into which recent spirits have to be inaugurated in order that they may be able to be in the companionship of others, and both speak and think together with them. In the other life there must be a concord and unanimity of all, in order that they may be a one; just as is the case with each and all things in man, which though everywhere various, yet by being of one accord make a one. It is similar in the Grand Man; and to this end the thought and speech of one must be in accord with those of others. It is a fundamental necessity that the thought and speech should accord together in every individual in a society; otherwise a discordance like a disagreeable grating noise is perceived, which strikes harshly on the minds of the others. Moreover every thing discordant tends to disunite, and is impure, and must be rejected. This impurity arising from discord is represented by the impurity with and in the blood, from which it needs to be cleansed. This cleansing is effected by means of agitations, which are nothing else than temptations of various kinds; and afterward by means of introduction into circles. The first introduction into circles takes place in order that the spirits may be accommodated together; the second is in order that the thought and speech may be in accord; the third is that the spirits may agree together as to thoughts and affections; and the fourth is that they may agree in truths and goods. [AC 5182]
There are some in the world who act by artifices and lies, whence come evils. Their quality was shown me, and also the manner in which they act, how they employ the harmless as instruments of persuading others, and also how they induce on them the person of having said so and so, when yet they have said nothing of the kind. In a word, they use evil means to arrive at their end, whatever it may be, even such means as deceits, lies, and artifices. Such spirits have reference to the sores called Spurious Tubercles, which usually grow on the pleura and other membranes; and wherever these sores take firm hold they spread their poison widely, until at last they bring decay upon the whole membrane.
 Such spirits are severely punished; but their punishment is different from that of others, being effected by means of whirlings; for they are whirled round from left to right, like an orbit which at first is a plane, but which in whirling round swells out. Afterward the swelling seems to be pressed in and to grow hollow, whereupon the speed is increased; and wonderful to say this is according to the form and in imitation of such swellings or abscesses. It was observed that while being whirled they tried to draw others, for the most part the guiltless, into their whirl, and thus into destruction; thus that they did not care whom they drew into perdition, so long as these seemed to themselves to perish.
 It was also observed that they have a most intense sight, seeing as it were instantly and thereby seizing on as means whatever is favorable; thus that they are sharper than others. They may also be called deadly ulcers, wherever in the chamber of the breast these may be, whether in the pleura, in the pericardium, in the mediastinum, or in the lungs. It was shown that after punishment such spirits are rejected to the back into the deep, and that they lie there with the face and belly downward, having but little human life, and being thereby deprived of their sharp-sightedness, which had been that of a ferine life. Their hell is in a deep place under the right foot, somewhat in front. [AC5188]
There came some spirits in front; and before their coming I noticed a sphere from evil spirits, from which I supposed that evil spirits were approaching; but they were their enemies, as I learned from the aggressive and hostile feeling which they inspired against them. When they arrived they placed themselves above my head, and spoke with me, saying that they were men. I answered that they were not men endowed with a body such as men in the world have, who are wont to call themselves men from the form of the body; but that nevertheless they are men, because the spirit of the man is truly the man. To this I perceived no dissent, for they confirmed it. They said further that they were men who are unlike; and because it seemed impossible to me that there could be a society in the other life of those who are unlike, I talked with them about it, and said that if a common cause impelled them to unity, they nevertheless could be associated, because they would thus all have one end. They said that their quality was such that each one speaks differently from the others, and yet they all think alike. This they also illustrated by examples, whereby it appeared that the perception of all was one, but that their speech was diverse.
 They then applied themselves to my left ear and said that they were good spirits, and it was their custom so to speak. It was said of them that they come in a body, and that no one knows where they come from. I perceived the sphere of evil spirits to be exceedingly hostile to them; for evil spirits are the subjects whom they agitate. Their society, which is a wandering one, was represented by a man and a woman in a chamber, clothed with a garment that was turned into a robe of an azure color. [AC 5189]
There are also secretories and excretories in other parts of the body: in the brain there are ventricles and mammillary processes which carry off the phlegmy substances there; and there are also little glands everywhere, as the mucous and salivary glands in the head, and very many others in the body, and myriads next the cuticles, by which the sweat and more subtle used-up matters are thrown off. To these correspond in the spiritual world-to speak generally-tenacities of opinions, and also conscientious scruples in unimportant matters. Some of these spirits appear at a moderate distance above the head, and are such that they raise scruples in matters where there need be none; hence because they burden the consciences of the simple, they are called conscience-mongers. What true conscience is, they know not, because they make everything that comes up a matter of conscience; for when any scruple or doubt is suggested, if the mind is anxious and dwells on it, there are never wanting things to strengthen the doubt and make it burdensome. When such spirits are present they also induce a sensible anxiety in the part of the abdomen immediately under the diaphragm. They are also present with man in temptations. I have talked with them, and noticed that they have not enough extension of thought to acquiesce in the more useful and necessary things; for they were unable to give attention to reasons, being tenaciously set in their own opinion. [AC5386]
Author: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG (1688-1772)