THE FACE >> Interior Affections

MN827_500_740 When angels present themselves to the sight, all their interior affections appear clearly and shine forth from the face, so that the face is an external form and representative  image of them. It is not permitted in heaven to have any other face than that of one's affections. Those who simulate another face are cast out from the society. From this it is evident that the face corresponds to all the interiors in general, both to man's affections and to his thoughts, or to what is of his will and to what is of his understanding. Hence also in the Word by "face" and "faces" are signified affections; and by the Lord's "lifting up His faces" upon anyone, is signified that He pities him from Divine affection, which is of love. [AC4796]

The changes of state of the affections appear to the life in the face of angels. When they are in their own society they are in their own face, but when they come into another society their faces are changed according to the affections of good and truth of that society; and yet the genuine face is as a plane, which is recognized in these changes. I have seen the successive variations according to the affections of the societies with which they were communicating, for every angel is in some province of the Grand Man, and thus communicates generally and widely with all who are in the same province, though he himself is in the part of that province to which he properly corresponds. I have seen that they varied their faces by changes from one limit of affection to another; but it was observed that the same face in general was retained, so that the ruling affection always shone forth with its variations, and thus the faces of the whole affection in its extension were shown.

[2] And what is more wonderful, the changes of affections from infancy even to adult age were also shown by means of variations of the face, and it was given me to know how much of infancy it had retained in adult age, and that this was the human itself of it. For in an infant there is innocence in external form, and innocence is the human itself, for into it as into a plane flow love and charity from the Lord. When man is being regenerated and becoming wise, the innocence of infancy, which was external, becomes internal. It is for this reason that genuine wisdom dwells in no other abode than innocence (see n. 2305, 2306, 3183, 3994); also that no one can enter heaven unless he has something of innocence, according to the Lord's words,

"Except ye become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of the heavens" (Matt. 18:3; Mark 10:15).[AC4797]

Evil spirits may also be known from their faces, for all their cupidities or evil affections are inscribed on their faces, and it may also be known from their faces with what hells they communicate; for there are very many hells, all distinct according to the genera and species of the cupidities of evil. Their faces in general when seen in the light of heaven are almost without life, some being ghastly like those of corpses, some black, and others monstrous; for they are the forms of hatred, cruelty, deceit, and hypocrisy. But in their own light and among themselves they appear otherwise, from phantasy.[AC4798]

There were spirits with me from another earth (of which elsewhere) whose faces were different from the faces of the men of our earth, being prominent, especially about the lips, and moreover free. I conversed with them about their manner of living, and the state of conversation among them. They said that they converse with one another chiefly by variations of the face, especially by variations about the lips; and that they express their affections by the parts of the face which are about the eyes, so that their companions can fully comprehend thence both what they are thinking and what they are willing. They endeavored also to show me this by means of an influx into my lips, by means of various foldings and bendings round about them. But I could not receive the variations, because my lips had not been initiated from infancy into such things; and yet by the communication of their thought I could perceive what they said. But that speech in general can be expressed by the lips was evident to me from the manifold series of muscular fibers folded into one another in the lips, which if they should be unfolded, and thus should act openly and freely, would be able to present there many variations which are unknown to those in whom these muscular fibers lie compressed.

[2] That the speech of these people was of such a nature is because they are incapable of simulation, or of thinking one thing and looking another. For they live together in such sincerity that they conceal nothing at all from their companions, it being instantly known what they are thinking and willing, what is their quality, and also what they have been doing; for the acts performed by those who are in sincerity are in the conscience; and thus their interior expressions of countenance, that is, their minds, can be discriminated by others at first sight.

[3] They showed me that they do not force the face, but let it forth freely, otherwise than is the case with those who from youth have been accustomed to simulate, that is, to speak and act differently from what they think and will. The face of the latter is contracted, so as to be ready to vary itself as cunning suggests. Whatever a man wishes to conceal contracts his face, which from being contracted is expanded when anything seemingly sincere is feignedly put forth.

[4] While I was reading in the Word of the New Testament concerning the Lord, the spirits now described were present, and also some Christians, and it was perceived that the latter cherished inwardly stumbling blocks against the Lord, and also that they desired to tacitly communicate them. Those who were from another earth wondered at their being of such a quality, but it was given to tell them that in the world they had not been such in mouth but in heart; and that there were also some who, though of this quality, had preached the Lord, and were then able by the zeal of feigned piety to move the common people to sighs and sometimes to tears, not in the least communicating what was in their hearts. At this they were amazed in that there could be such a disagreement of interiors and exteriors, or of thought and speech, and then said that they were entirely ignorant of such a disagreement, and that it was impossible for them to speak with their mouth and show in their face anything not in accordance with the affections of the heart; and that were it otherwise they would be torn asunder and would perish.[AC4799]

Very few can believe that there are societies of spirits and of angels to which all the things in man correspond; also that the more societies there are, and the more in a society, the better and stronger is the correspondence; for in unanimous numbers there is strength. In order that I might know that this is so, it was shown how they act and flow into the face, how into the muscles of the forehead, into those of the cheeks, and into those of the chin and throat. Those who belonged to this province were permitted to flow in, and then every particular was varied according to their influx. Some of them also conversed with me, but they did not know that they were assigned to the province of the face; for to what province they are assigned is unknown to spirits, but not to angels. [AC4800]

A certain one conversed with me who at the time that he lived in the world had more than others known the exterior truths of faith, but still had not led a life in conformity with the precepts of faith; for he had loved himself only, and had despised others in comparison with himself, and had believed that he would be among the first in heaven; but because he was of such a quality he could not have any other opinion of heaven than as of a worldly kingdom. When in the other life he found that heaven was entirely different from what he had conceived it to be, and that those were chief who had not set themselves above others, especially those who had believed that they were unworthy of mercy, and thus that according to their merits they were the last, he was very indignant, and rejected the things that in the life of the body had been of his faith. He was continually endeavoring to do violence to those who were in the province of the tongue. It was granted me clearly to perceive his effort for several weeks, and hence also to know who and of what quality are those who correspond to the tongue, and who they are that are opposed to them. [AC4801]

There are also spirits who though evil still in some measure admit the light of heaven and receive the truths of faith, so that they have some perception of truth. They also eagerly receive truths, yet not for the purpose of living according to them, but that they may glory in seeming more intelligent and sharpsighted than others; for the intellect of man is such that it can receive truths, and yet truths are not appropriated to any but those who live according to them. Unless man's intellect were such he could not be reformed.

[2] They who in the world have been of such a quality, that is, have understood truths and yet have lived a life of evil, are in the other life also of this quality, but there abuse their capacity to understand truths in order to acquire dominion; for they know there that by means of truths they have communication with some societies of heaven, and consequently that they can be with the evil and have power; for in the other life truths have power in them; but because their life is evil they are in hell.

[3] I have spoken with two persons who had been such in the life of the body, and they wondered at their being in hell, when yet they had had a persuasive belief in the truths of faith. But they were told that the light with them by which they understood truths was a light like that of winter in the world, in which objects appear in their beauty and colors equally as in the light of summer; but that nevertheless in this winter light all things are torpid, and nothing pleasant and gladsome is produced; and that as their end of understanding truths had been glorying, and consequently self, therefore when the sphere of their ends exalts itself toward the interior heavens to the angels there, by whom ends only are perceived, it cannot be endured, but is rejected; and that for this reason they are in hell.

[4] It was added that formerly such persons were pre-eminently called serpents of the tree of knowledge, because when they reason from the life they speak against truths; and moreover that they were like a woman with a lovely face, and a noisome odor, and who wherever she goes is therefore rejected from societies. Moreover, when in the other life such persons come to angelic societies they actually have a foul smell, and this even they themselves perceive as soon as they approach those societies. From this also it is evident what faith is without a life of faith. [AC4802]

It is worthy of mention, being wholly unknown in the world, that the states of good spirits and of angels are continually changing and perfecting, and that they are thus raised into the interiors of the province in which they are, and so into nobler functions; for in heaven there is a continual purification, and so to speak new creation; but still the case is such that no angel can possibly attain absolute perfection even to eternity. The Lord alone is perfect; in Him and from Him is all perfection. They who correspond to the mouth are continually desiring to speak, for in speaking they find their greatest pleasure. When they are being perfected they are reduced to this - that they do not speak anything but what is of service to their companions, to the common good, to heaven, and to the Lord. The delight of so speaking is enhanced with them in the degree of the loss of the desire to regard themselves in their speech, and to seek wisdom from their own. [AC4803]

There are very many societies in the other life that are called societies of friendship. They are composed of those who in the life of the body preferred to every other delight that of conversation, and who loved those with whom they conversed, not caring whether they were good or evil, provided they were entertaining; and thus who were not friends to good or to truth. They who have been such in the life of the body are such also in the other life, in which they associate solely from the delight of conversation. Many such societies have been with me, but at a distance, being seen chiefly a little to the right above the head. That they were present it was given me to note by a torpor and dullness, and by a privation of the delight in which I was, the presence of such societies inducing these effects. For wherever they come they take delight away from others, and wonderful to say, they make it their own; for they turn away the spirits who are with others, and turn them to themselves, whereby they transfer another's delight to themselves; and as they are on this account troublesome and injurious to those who are in good, they are therefore kept away by the Lord, lest they should come near to the heavenly societies. From this it was given me to know how much injury friendship occasions man as to his spiritual life if the person and not good is regarded; everyone may indeed be friendly to another, but still he should be most friendly to what is good. [AC4804]

There are also societies of interior friendship which do not take away another's external delight and divert it to themselves, but take away his internal delight or blessedness, arising from the affection of spiritual things. These societies are in front to the right close above the lower earth, and some of them a little higher. I have several times conversed with those who were below; and then those who were above inflowed in general. In the life of the body their nature was such that they loved from the heart those who were within their common fellowship, and also embraced one another with brotherly affection. They had believed that they only were living and in the light, and that those who were outside of their society were comparatively not living and not in the light; and because they were of such a quality they also thought that the Lord's heaven consists solely of those few.

[2] But it was given to tell them that the Lord's heaven is immense, and that it consists of every people and tongue, and that all are there who have been in the good of love and of faith; and it was shown that there are those in heaven who relate to all the provinces of the body both as to its exteriors and as to its interiors; but that if they aspired beyond the things which correspond to their life, especially if they condemned others who were outside of their society, they could not have heaven; and that in this case their society is a society of interior friendship, which as before said is of such a nature that when they approach others they deprive them of the blessedness of spiritual affection; for they regard them as not being the elect, and as not living; and when this thought is communicated, it induces sadness, which however according to the law of order in the other life returns to themselves. [AC4805]

That some idea may be formed of representations and correspondences, it is only necessary to reflect on the things of the mind, that is, of the thought and will. These things so beam forth from the face that they are manifest in its expression; especially is this the case with the affections, the more interior of which are seen from and in the eyes. When the things of the face act as a one with those of the mind, they are said to correspond, and are correspondences; and the very expressions of the face represent, and are representations. The case is similar with all that is expressed by the gestures of the body, and with all the acts produced by the muscles; for it is well known that all these take place according to what the man is thinking and willing. The gestures and actions themselves, which are of the body, represent the things of the mind, and are representations; and in that they are in agreement, they are correspondences. [AC2988]

Divine order, and the heavenly order thence derived, are not terminated except in man, in what is of his body, namely, in his gestures, actions, looks, speech, external sensations, and their delights. These are the extremes of order, and the extremes of influx, which are then terminated; but the interior things which flow in are not such as they appear in externals, but have altogether a different appearance, a different countenance, a different sensation, and a different pleasure. Correspondences teach of what sort these are, and also representations, which have been described. That there is such a difference may be seen from the actions which flow from the will, and from the speech which flows from the thought-the actions of the body are not such in the will, nor are the expressions of speech such in the thought. Hence also it is manifest that natural acts flow from spiritual, for that which is of the will and of the thought is spiritual; and that these spiritual are effigied in those natural acts correspondently, but still differently. [AC3632]

Author: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG (1688-1772)

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