17. [Letter to Beyer, November 14, 1769]
Most Reverend Herr Doctor, Good friend:
In my last letter, because of lack of time, the story about the lad from Skara was not answered. If it is actually the case, it bears witness to the communication of spirits with men. A genteel and rich house here in Stockholm desires to have the lad with them, and will defray the cost and educate him in anything to which he finds himself inclined. Should this fall in with the lad's pleasure, and should occasion offer for him to be brought here with some traveler, this would be in accordance with the house's desire, and then 30 dalers s. mt. could be placed in his hands for traveling expenses and support; and if, on his arrival he be directed to me, he will be taken to the house.
I will pass by his vision of white serpents, because that took place in his tender childhood, for which reason the meaning thereof is passed by, and also because it can be taken pro and con at pleasure. But his knowledge of the uses of herbs, and of certain diseases, if such is the case, does not have its origin in the fact that like diseases and cures occur in the other life among spirits and angels. But there, there are spiritual sufferings and spiritual uses which correspond to the natural sufferings and cures here in the world. Therefore, when they occur, it is correspondences that produce such effects. And since there are no natural sicknesses among spirits in the spiritual world, so neither are there any hospitals, but instead, there are spiritual madhouses, in [some of] which are those who denied God theoretically, and in others, those who did it practically.
Those who, in the world, were idiots, are likewise idiotic and crazy on their first arrival in the other world; but when externals are removed, and internals opened, as is the case with all, they then receive an understanding in accord with their previous nature and life; for actual stupidity and insanity reside in the external natural man and not in the internal spiritual.
Here I will relate something of my first youth. From my 4th to my 10th year, I was constantly in thought concerning God, salvation, and the spiritual sufferings of men, and several times revealed that at which my father and mother wondered, saying that angels must be speaking through me. From my 6th to my 12th years, my delight was to discourse with clergymen concerning Faith-that the life thereof is love, and that the love which gives life is love to one's neighbor; also that God gives faith to each and every one, and that it is received only by those who practice that love. I then knew nothing of any other faith than this: That God created nature and supports it; that He imparts understanding and good nature to men-and more of the same kind which most closely follows therefrom. The learned faith, which is, that God the Father imputes His Son's righteousness to whom He will and when He will, even to those who have done no penance-this I then knew nothing of, and had I known it, then as now, it would have gone far above my comprehension.
I remain, with all affection and friendship the most reverend Herr Doctor's obedient servant and friend, Eman. Swedenborg Stockholm Nov. 14, 1769