Page:A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.djvu/398

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the angels, and there both sees and perceives the spiritual things which before appeared to him as natural. When therefore a man is such he can be defended by angels in temptation, when assaulted by evil spirits; for the angels have then a plane in which they may operate, for they flow in into the spiritual in him, and through the spiritual into the natural. (A. C. n. 5036.)

As few know the nature of temptations, it may here; be briefly explained: Evil spirits never make assault against anything but what a man loves; and they assail it the more violently in proportion as he loves it more ardently. Evil genii are those who assail what has relation to the affection for good, and evil spirits are those who assail what has relation to the affection for truth. As soon as they observe the least thing that a man loves, or perceive as it were by the smell what is delightful and dear to him, they assail and endeavour to destroy it. They thus endeavour to destroy the whole man; for his life consists in his loves. Nothing is more delightful to them than thus to destroy man; nor do they ever desist, were it even to eternity, unless repelled by the Lord. Those that are malignant and cunning insinuate themselves into the very loves, by flattering them; and so they lead man into them, and presently when they have thus drawn him in they try to destroy the loves, and so to kill the man; and this in a thousand ways which are incomprehensible. Nor do they combat merely by reasoning against goods and truths. Such combats are nothing. For if defeated a thousand times they still persist; since such subtle reasonings against goods and truths can never be wanting. But they pervert goods and truths, and enkindle a sort of fire of lust and persuasion, so that the man does not know but that he is in such lust and persuasion; and these at the same time they inflame with a delight which they snatch from the man's delight from another source, and thus most deceitfully they infect and infest; and this so artfully, by hasting from one thing to another, that if the Lord did not bring help, the man could by no means know but that it is so. In, like manner they act against the affections for truth which form man's conscience. As soon as they perceive anything whatever of conscience, they form to themselves an affection out of the falsities and infirmities in man, and by this affection they overshadow the light of truth, and so pervert it, or induce anxiety and torment him. Besides which, they tenaciously keep the thought on one thing, and so fill it with fantasies, and then at the same time clandestinely involve lusts into the fantasies. Together with innumerable other artifices, which can by no means be described to the apprehension, (ib. n. 1820.)