HOUSES >> Natural and Rational Mind >> Good
>> Love >> Wisdom and Intelligence from Love
INTERIOR OF HOUSE >> Particular Goods
EXTERIOR OF HOUSE >> Truths derived from Good >> Perceptions and Knowledges

HSES73 Are there certain states of mind which have become habitual to you, in which you love to "dwell," and in which you feel "at home "? They form your spiritual house. They may be dark chambers, gloomy and unwholesome; they may be large upper rooms; perhaps there is a house-top raised into the bright air and sunshine of heaven. Your house may be substantial and beautiful, or it may be insecure and vile. Your house takes its form and quality from the use in which your love finds its delight; it is furnished and adorned with the thoughts and feelings which accompany and surround you in your work. We say that one's home is where his use is, and if we wish to make one feel at home we show him where and how he can be useful. (AC 710, 9150; AE 2o8)

We are taught that in heaven there are houses of great variety and of inconceivable beauty, and that each house is exactly adapted in general and in every particular to the use in which its occupants find their life and delight. Even in this world we adapt a building so far as we can to some use which is to be done in it. We usually know a church, a library, a factory, a stable, or a dwelling-house by its shape. The furniture of each room tells us its particular use, whether it is a parlor, a kitchen, or a bedroom. We may know from the house and its furnishings whether the occupant is a farmer, a fisherman, a merchant, a minister, or a student of science. We even judge from the appearance of the house something of the character of those who live in it; their taste, their orderliness, their ability. In the spiritual world where outward things far more. perfectly agree with internal states, houses are exact expressions of the uses of those who live in them, in general and in every particular. In heaven each one finds the use and the house for which he is perfectly adapted, and in them he feels thoroughly and entirely at home. (HH 183-190; AR 611; AC 1628, 1629; CL 12)

hs855The Lord has said: "In my Father's house are many mansions. . . I go to prepare a place for you." (John xiv. 2) We think of the angel homes in the great house hold of heaven. But each one's home is essentially some heavenly use which he has learned to enjoy, with the delightful affections and thoughts which surround him in doing it. The love of some heavenly use with its delights is the mansion which the Lord prepares for every one on earth and in heaven. (AC 9305; AE 731; HH 51) The Lord's own great love from which all heavenly uses and their delights spring, and which includes them all, is the Father's house. "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever." (Ps. xxiii. 6; AC 3384; AE 220)

"And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit." (Isa. lxv. 21, 22) How much more the blessing means when we see in it the promise of learning the good uses of heaven and of abiding in them! To build for another to inhabit means here to acquire only to lose again through falsity and evil. (AE 617) "Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it." (Ps. cxxvii. i) We cannot acquire for ourselves the enjoyment in a heavenly use, which is a heavenly house; it is from the Lord alone. (PP)

We have already thought of the houses built upon the sand and upon the rock. (Luke vi. 47-49) We may fancy that we dwell secure in enjoyments of our own devising, based upon mere appearances of what is right and good. But unless our enjoyments are real uses which rest upon the Lord's commandments, and bring us into living relation with the Lord who is the Rock, we have no strength, and in trial and temptation our chosen enjoyment, seemingly so secure, is swept away. (AE 411; AR 915) There are some who have not this foundation, who do not know a peaceful state of mind, happy in usefulness and safe in constant dependence upon the Lord, but who drift here. and there, never at rest, never secure. If we have in some measure found the sure foundation and enjoy the comfort of feeling at home in some good use, must we not help others to find it too, and to share its peace and strength? We are then bringing the poor that are cast out to our house, as the Lord has commanded. (Isa. lviii. 7; AE 386; AC 3419)

"And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands. for my sake and the gospel's, but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life." (Mark x. 29, 30) The house which the disciples of the Lord must leave is the selfish state of mind, peopled by evil affections and thoughts, in which we naturally are at home. A heavenly enjoyment in some good use will even now be given by the Lord, freer, happier, with good affections and thoughts in abundance; and this heavenly house death does not take away, it is "eternal life." (AE 724; AC 4843)

"When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first." (Matt. xii. 43-45) How plainly the house in which the evil spirit dwells is the man's own mind, the state of affection and thought which he makes habitual in his daily occupation! Do we not often shut the doors to heaven and admit evil spirits as our guests? But by the Lord's help we may drive them out. When that is done, these verses show us the danger of leaving our minds idle, and empty of good thoughts and affections. If we leave them so, the evil from which we thought ourselves freed will return with fatal power. (AC 4744, 8394; AE 1160; DP 231)

If evil spirits may come into our house, making gloomy and vile the motives and thoughts in which we live and labor, why may we not have heavenly visitors with bright, helpful influence? The Lord Himself says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." (Rev. iii. 20) If we merely learn about the Lord and hear His Word, He is only knocking at the door. He comes in when by doing His commandments we receive Him into our heart and life. Then His presence abides with us through every day and makes life satisfying. (AE 248-252; AR 217-219; DP 33) Remember how the Lord "sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat. And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare? . . . He shall show you a large upper room furnished there make ready." (Luke xxii. 8-12) Remember also how the Shunammite woman prepared a chamber for the prophet Elisha, who was a representative of the Lord. "She said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually. Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall; and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick: and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither." (2 Kings iv. 9, 10) So should we prepare for the Lord to abide with us. Remove the forbidden evil things which bar the door to Him. Do not ask Him merely into the outer court of our casual thought, but into the inner chamber of our love. Let Him not find the chamber bare, but furnished with true thoughts and kind affections which He can enjoy and use. (AC 3142, 5694, 7353; CL 2 70)

This thought about the inner chamber, that it means the inmost hidden things of our thought and affection, helps us to understand these words of the Lord: "When thou grayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret." (Matt. vi. 6) And these: "That which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the house-tops." (Luke xii. 3) The most secret things of thought and feeling will plainly appear when after death our interior life is revealed; and they are even now known in heaven and by the Lord, which is especially meant by their being proclaimed upon the house-tops. (AC 7454, 7795; AE 794; HH 462)

We have been thinking of our spiritual houses as the habitual states of affection and thought, in which we work and live and feel at home. Each one's house is especially his affection for his peculiar use, and is different from every other house as his use and his way of doing it are different from others. But while each one has his own special use, is it possible that these may form parts of larger, more general uses? And while each has his own way of working, still many persons may work upon the same general principles. Such a large, comprehensive use with its general principles upon which many work together, is like a city busy in a common industry, built upon a common foundation, and defended by a common wall.



housesp_500_325 As there are societies in heaven and the angels live as men, they have also places of abode, and these differ in accordance with each one’s state of life. They are   magnificent for those in higher dignity, and less magnificent for those in lower condition. I have frequently talked with angels about the places of abode in heaven, saying that scarcely any one will believe at the present day that they have places of abode and dwellings; some because they do not see them, some because they do not know that angels are men, and some because they believe that the angelic heaven is the heaven that they see with their eyes around them, and as this appears empty and they suppose that angels are ethereal forms, they conclude that they live in ether. Moreover, they do not comprehend how there can be such things in the spiritual world as there are in the natural world, because they know nothing about the spiritual.

[2] The angels replied that they are aware that such ignorance prevails at this day in the world, and to their astonishment, chiefly within the church, and more with the intelligent than with those whom they call simple. They said also that it might be known from the Word that angels are men, since those that have been seen have been seen as men; and the Lord, who took all His Human with Him, appeared in like manner. It might be known also that as angels are men they have dwellings and places of abode, and do not fly about in air, as some think in their ignorance, which the angels call insanity, and that although they are called spirits they are not winds. This they said might be apprehended if men would only think independently of their acquired notions about angels and spirits, as they do when they are not bringing into question and submitting to direct thought whether it is so. For everyone has a general idea that angels are in the human form, and have homes which are called the mansions of heaven, which surpass in magnificence earthly dwellings; but this general idea, which flows in from heaven, at once falls to nothing when it is brought under direct scrutiny and inquiry whether it is so, as happens especially with the learned, who by their own intelligence have closed up heaven to themselves and the entrance of heavenly light.

 [3] The like is true of the belief in the life of man after death. When one speaks of it, not thinking at the same time about the soul from the light of worldly learning or from the doctrine of its reunion with the body, he believes that after death he is to live a man, and among angels if he has lived well, and that he will then see magnificent things and perceive joys; but as soon as he turns his thoughts to the doctrine of reunion with the body, or to his theory about the soul, and the question arises whether the soul be such, and thus whether this can be true, his former idea is dissipated. [HH183]

But it is better to present the evidence of experience. Whenever I have talked with angels face to face, I have been with them in their abodes. These abodes are precisely like abodes on the earth which we call houses, but more beautiful. In them there are chambers, parlors, and bedrooms in great number; there are also courts, and there are gardens and flower beds and lawns round about. Where they live together their houses are near each other, arranged one next to the other in the form of a city, with avenues, streets, and public squares, exactly like cities on the earth. I have been permitted to pass through them, looking about on every side, and sometimes entering the houses. This occurred when my inner sight was opened, and I was fully awake.{1}[HH184]

I have seen palaces in heaven of such magnificence as cannot be described. Above they glittered as if made of pure gold, and below as if made of precious stones, some more splendid than others. It was the same within. Both words and knowledge are inadequate to describe the decorations that adorned the rooms. On the side looking to the south there were parks, where, too, everything shone, in some places the leaves glistening as if made of silver, and fruit as if made of gold; while the flowers in their beds formed rainbows with their colors. Beyond the borders, where the view terminated, were seen other palaces. Such is the architecture of heaven that you would say that art there is in its art; and no wonder, because the art itself is from heaven. The angels said that such things and innumerable others still more perfect are presented before their eyes by the Lord; and yet these things are more pleasing to their minds than to their eyes, because in everyone of them they see a correspondence, and through the correspondences what is Divine. [HH185]


0042aAs to these correspondences I have also been told that not only the palaces and houses, but all things and each thing, both inside and outside of them, correspond to the interior things which they have from the Lord, the house itself in general corresponding to their good, the particular things inside of a house to the various things of which their good consists,{1} and the things outside to truths derived from good, and also to their perceptions and knowledges {2} and as these things correspond to the goods and truths they have from the Lord they correspond to their love, and to their wisdom and intelligence from love, since love belongs to good, wisdom to good and truth together, and intelligence to truth from good.  These are what the angels perceive when they behold what is around them, and thus their minds are more delighted and moved by them than their eyes. [HH186]

This makes clear why the Lord called Himself the temple at Jerusalem (John 2:19, 21),{1} namely, because the temple represented His Divine Human; also why the New Jerusalem was seen to be of pure gold, its gates of pearls, and its foundations of precious stones (Apoc. 21), namely, because the New Jerusalem signifies the church which was afterwards to be established, the twelve gates its truths leading to good, and the foundations the truths on which the church is founded.{2} [HH187]

The angels of whom the Lord’s celestial kingdom consists dwell for the most part in elevated places that appear as mountains of soil; the angels of whom the Lord’s spiritual kingdom consists dwell in less elevated places that appear like hills; while the angels in the lowest parts of heaven dwell in places that appear like ledges of stone. These things spring from correspondence, for interior things correspond to higher things, and exterior things to lower things;{1} and this is why in the  Word “mountains” signify celestial love, “hills” spiritual love, and “rocks” faith.{2} [HH188]

There are also angels who do not live associated together, but apart, house by house. These dwell in the midst of heaven, since they are the best of angels. [HH189]

The houses in which angels dwell are not erected, as houses in the world are, but are given to them gratuitously by the Lord, to everyone in accordance with his reception of good and truth. They also change a little in accordance with changes of the state of interiors of the angels (of which above, n. 154-160). Everything whatsoever that the angels possess they hold as received from the Lord; and everything they have need of is given them. [HH190]

 Until his lord came to his house. That this signifies that it might communicate with natural good, is evident from the signification of the "lord," as being good natural not spiritual (n. 4973, 4988). A "house" in the internal sense is the natural mind, for the natural mind, as also the rational mind, is like a house: the husband therein is good, the wife is truth, the daughters and sons are affections of good and truth, and also goods and truth derived from the former as parents; the maidservants and menservants are the pleasures and memory-knowledges which minister and confirm. Here therefore by "until his lord came to his house" is signified until natural good came to its dwelling place, where there is also truth conjoined with it; but here falsity persuading good that it is truth, for good natural not spiritual is easily persuaded that falsity is truth, and that truth is falsity. It is said "his lord," because the natural not spiritual considers the spiritual as a servant (n. 5013).

[2] That the natural and the rational mind of man are called a "house," is evident from the following passages:

When the unclean spirit is gone out from a man, he wandereth through dry places, seeking rest; and if he findeth it not, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. And if on coming he findeth it swept and garnished, he then goeth away and taketh to him seven other spirits worse than himself; and they enter in and dwell there (Luke 11:24-26);
the "house" here denotes the natural mind, which is called a "house that is empty and swept" when there are within it no goods and truths, which are the husband and wife; no affections of good and truth, which are the daughters and sons; nor such things as confirm, which are the maidservants and menservants. The man himself is the "house," because the rational and the natural mind make the man; and without these things, that is, without goods and truths and their affections and the ministry of these affections, he is not a man, but a brute.

[3] The mind of man is also meant by a "house" in the same evangelist:

Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and house falleth upon house (Luke 11:17);

And in Mark:

If a kingdom be divided against itself, this Kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, this house cannot stand. No one can pillage the vessels of a strong man after entering into his house, unless he first bind the strong man; and then he pillages his house (Mark 3:24, 25, 27);

by "kingdom" is signified truth (n. 1672, 2547, 4691), and by "house," good (n. 2233, 2234, 3720, 4982); "house" signifies good in an eminent sense.

[4] In Luke:

If the master of the house had known in what hour the thief would come, he would at least have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken through (Luke 12:39).


From henceforth there shall be five in one house [divided], three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother (Luke 12:52-53);

where the subject treated of is the spiritual combats into which those who are of the church will come, after the internal or spiritual things of the Word have been opened. The "house" denotes man, or his mind; "father," "mother," "son," and "daughter" are goods and truths with their affections, and in the opposite sense evils and falsities with their affections, from which and with which there is combat.

[5] The Lord's command to His disciples:

Into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house; and if a son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it; but if not, it shall return upon you; but remain in the same house; eat and drink what they have; pass not from house to house (Luke 10:5-7);

represented that they should abide in good itself, that is, in the good of love to the Lord and of charity toward the neighbor, and not pass into any other. (That man or his mind is a "house" may be seen also above, n. 3538, 4973.) [AC5023]

Author: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG (1688-1772)

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