4802. There are also spirits who, even though they are evil ones, do to some extent allow the light of heaven to come in and who accept the truths of faith, so that they have some perception of truth. They accept the truths enthusiastically, yet not so that they may live according to them, but so that they may boast about being seen to have more understanding and keen-sightedness than others. For the human understanding is such that it can accept truths, even though none make truths their own except those people who live according to them. Unless the human understanding was like this no one could be reformed.
 Those who have been like this in the world, that is to say, have understood truths and yet have led a life of evil, remain the same in the next life. But there they put their ability to understand truths to the misuse of gaining dominion over others; for there they know that in truths they have a means of communication with some communities of heaven, and consequently that they can exist among the evil and be strong; for truths in the next life have power within them. But because their life is one of evil they are in hell.
 I have talked to two who during their lifetime were like this. They were amazed they should be in hell even though they had believed very strongly in the truths of faith. But I told them that the light in them by which they understood truths was like that of winter in the world. I said that objects in all their beauty and colours were no less visible than in the light of summer; yet in that winter light everything died off and nothing at all pleasant and delightful showed itself. Then I told those two spirits that because the end they had in view to understanding truths had been their own exaltation and consequently had been a selfish end, the sphere emanating from their ends in view when these rose towards the interior heavens, to the angels there, who perceived solely people's ends, could not be tolerated and were cast aside. This is why they were in hell.
 I went on to say that in former times people of this kind, more than any others, were called serpents of the tree of knowledge; for when life is the subject of their reasoning they speak against truths. They are, what is more, like a woman who has a lovely face but a foul stench, and who is therefore an outcast from society wherever she goes. Like her, when such people in the next life move towards angelic communities they are in actual fact emitting a stench, which even they themselves are aware of when they approach those communities. From this also one may see what faith is when devoid of the life of faith.