Spiritual Diary, by Emanuel Swedenborg, , tr. by Bush, Smithson and Buss [1883-9] at sacred-texts.com
THAT HEAVEN CANNOT BE OPENED TO THE INHABITANTs OF THIS EARTH. A certain one wondered why heaven is not opened to the inhabitants of this earth, as to those of others; to wit, that the latter speak with spirits and angels, are taught by them, and thus know at least that there is a heaven, that there is eternal life, that man lives after death, and many things which relate to salvation. But the reason is, because the inhabitants of this earth are in ultimates, into which they have thrust themselves, by tyrannies, and by the loves of towering over others, and of acquiring possession of all things in the world; whence it happens that they are mostly sensual and in ultimates, and that, therefore, heaven is closed [to them]. If it were opened they would immediately perish, because spirits of this earth, being of such a character, breathe nothing else than the murder of another. And the man [of this earth] whose interiors are opened, is led at the pleasure of spirits who are of such a character. Thus they would kill each other, and would also profane holy things; for, as soon as they turn themselves to the world, they deny, yea ridicule, heavenly things as comparatively nothing; wherefore, the angels also, with whom they are, as regards interiors, and also heaven, are injured. For this reason the angels turn themselves away, and thus the internal man is closed. If, therefore, it were opened to them, then, after heaven had become alienated, or the angels had withdrawn, the infernals would lead them, not only to abominations but also to their own destruction; for they breathe nothing else than that one should destroy another. And a man can die, but a spirit cannot. A man, also, is led differently to a spirit, because he is in the body.5152.
CONCERNING HEAVEN AND THE LOVE AND WISDOM OF THOSE WHO ARE THERE. It is said, that those who are in the heavens are in love to the Lord and in charity towards the neighbor; but they who do not know in what way they are in love and charity, may believe that it is only by entertaining a sentiment of love for the Lord and the neighbor; but this is not the case. But, in truth, love to the Lord consists in the fact that they love to do those things which the Lord has commanded, thus the Divine Truths which are in the Word, and to love them. In this their love to the Lord consists. And love towards the neighbor, with them, consists in the fact that they love to do those things which the doctrine of their Church prescribes, thus, to do those things from faith: this, to them, is loving the neighbor.5153.
As respects heaven, and the ineffable wisdom and happiness of those there, it consists in the circumstance, that, in every object they see before their eyes, they see the divine and celestial things which are represented in them. Wherefore, when they keep their eyes on external objects, their mind is kept in internals, thus, in divine things. The objects which appear are ineffable, as Paradises, with trees, fruits, flowers, etc., etc. In all of these they see such things as they represent, in a series; for instance, just at the same time that the eye beholds fresh verdure, the mind sees, in a complex, all things, in a wonderful series, which relate to the Divine Wisdom; consequently, unspeakable things. Everything glistens with gold, silver and precious stones, in indescribable forms; all of which involve Divine things in their order, which they, then, at the same time, perceive. Hence they enjoy interior and exterior delights, simultaneously. Love irradiates all things, on the whole and in detail. They also appear beautiful, according to their love and consequent reception of wisdom.5154.
When another, who is not in celestial love, and hence not in perception, comes to these, he sees nothing there, with his eyes, save something obscure, without any beauty. Thus [the objects are seen] according to everyone's love and consequent wisdom. See, also, what now follows concerning similar things, and palaces.5155.
CONCERNING HEAVEN AND ITS JOY. All joy, bliss, prosperity, happiness and delight, in the heavens, is in the affection of use for the sake of use, and is according to the quality and quantity of the affection, and according to the quality of the use; in fact, heaven is a kingdom of uses; and if anything else than use is regarded as an end, as eminence, self-glory, or gain, which looks elsewhere than to use itself, thus [any end] which regards self, and the world for the sake of self - then, in proportion to the extent to which it [i.e. the end of use for the sake of use] perishes from the affection, in the same proportion is the quality of the affection changed; since it is use on account of self which is the end; and, as far as this is regarded, so far is [a man] not in heaven, and is destitute of the life of heaven. And if use for the sake of self has dominion, then he is no longer in heaven, but in hell and, then, he enjoys no reception of any prosperity, or happiness, interiorly.5156.
This joy, and this happiness, are what are meant by the joy and happiness of heaven; for affection which is of the love is the receptacle of all delight and prosperity; hence is all joy of heart, and all gladness.5157.
That joy, also, appears in the faces of angels; there is in them something heavenly, which is inward, and which cannot be described; for it comes from the interior state. This joy, also, insinuates itself into every joy whatever of their wisdom; for the affection of any love communicates itself to every single thing anyone thinks, wills, sees, hears, says and does - as is also well known; and, as the angels are in truths from that good, their faces are thence shining and radiant, which comes about from good, by means of truths.5158.
Heaven is a kingdom of uses. There is no one there who does not discharge a use. The kinds of uses are innumerable, both such as they are conscious of, and such as they are not conscious of; for there are, there, those who instruct others, those who lead to good, those who are with men, those who awake the dead, those who protect, and those who are responsible for others. In a word, there are innumerable duties and everyone, in his own place, receives certain duties according to his affection of use for the sake of use. That affection itself, with its joy, is the reward and recompense which is meant in the Word. Hence it is manifest, that, since the very delight of the affection is the reward, there is no desire of meriting just as a mother who tenderly loves her children - in which love the joy is - does not think about merit like a hired nurse, but grieves if she is deprived of that use, and is willing to give all that she has only to be allowed to possess her joy. Hence it is evident that she rejects the notion of merit on that account. Sometimes, indeed, she thinks what her happiness will be when the child becomes grown up and attains honors; but she thinks of this from afar, and scarcely anything about it when she is in her love.5159.
They see, there, not only flower-gardens, but, especially shrubberies; and these are in admirable order, with perpetual and indefinite variety; and on the trees are fruits resplendent with the loveliest celestial colors, in amazing forms. There are also palaces, with decorations perpetually varying, and this with such harmony that the successions of the changes occasion inexpressible delight to the mind. Within, are rooms in such an arrangement as cannot be described; with marvelous ornaments, also, in them. Moreover, they engage in conversation, in which each one delights another, in such an orderly manner that, taken together, they constitute one harmonious concord of thoughts. These things are perceptible. The character of another is also discerned both from his actions and his speech; also from the paths in which he walks, and from the changes of countenance which accompany every single thing said and heard by him. There are also most beautiful birds, which, according to the thoughts, appear colored, and adorned with wings and feathers, and fly: besides, also, gentle animals of innumerable species.5160.
Also, in the celestial kingdom they see girls and virgins; and these are adorned, by the Lord, with various ornaments, in marvelous arrangement, together with flowers of various colors, precious stones and ineffable things, such as are enumerated in Isaiah 3[:18-23], Ezek. 16:10-14, and elsewhere; from which they have such great beauty, that all the beauty of the virgins in the world is not comparable to it; and by means of these things they know all that are signified by them; for virgins, there, are affections of good and truth. Hence, those affections are represented to the full; and every single detail is perceived by those who are there.5161.
CONCERNING THE HELL OF THOSE WHO ARE CUNNING, AND ACT CLANDESTINELY, AND WITH DELIBERATION, CAUTION AND PRUDENCE. FREDERIC GYLLENBORG. There was a certain one at the left side, in the plane of the foot, who lay hidden there for a day or two; and no one knew that he was there. He was of such a character that he was able to impede my thoughts and take away the influx from heaven; so that I should have been unable to write those things which had to be written. But he was at length detected; and it was found that it was he [Gyllenborg] who had done it. He said that he was able to do this and many other things, whenever he wished; nor did he fear anyone. It was then made known that he came from certain ones, on a hill, or small mountain, at the left, towards the back. Wherefore, I was led down thither by the Lord; not, however, upon that mountain, but into a cavern under the mountain. Then, all who were upon the mountain came down thither, and there congregated; for they who are in self-love appear upon a mountain; still, however, they are not there, but, below, on some hill. When I was led down thither, I spoke with them. They said, that they were more skilful than others, and were able to perceive more keenly whether or not things were favorable, so that they enjoyed greater sharpsightedness than others; also, that they achieve all things secretly, and so rule over others, and also [succeed], in their rulings, by their sagacious foresight; and that they do not care for the Divine, inasmuch as it does no one any harm. It was ascertained that they had their eyes everywhere, and ruled all things on every side; that they conferred benefits on those who carry out their will, and did mischief to those who do not favor them. I was admitted, by them, into caverns still more interior, where there were still more cunning ones of this description. They said, that they were able to go out if they wish, fearing no one. They also went out; and, when they supposed that they were going along a straight paved way, tending a little to the rear, all of them were then swallowed up in a chasm, and carried off by a hell whence they can never get out. It was said, that, in that hell, there is excrement and filth, and that they never appear afterwards; for they are pernicious above all others. That chasm is at the back, towards the left.5162.
CONCERNING THE WORLD OF SPIRITS, AND CONCERNING THOSE WHO ARE THERE. The world of spirits is not a fixed place, between heaven and hell; but it is the state in which people are when between heaven and hell. In that state, consequently in that world, are (1) all, when in a state in which the understanding and will do not act as one, thus, when thought and will, or, what is the same, truth and good, or, what is also the same, faith and love, are not in agreement. Hence it may be manifest, who they are who are in the world of spirits, and when they are there, namely, they who are in that state, [when in it]. (2) Also in that state, are all with whom interiors and exteriors disagree: when, namely, a man wishes to appear other than he is, and also when he speaks other than he thinks, he is in that state. (3) This kind, also, in a certain manner, coincides with the former. From these observations it may be manifest, who, specifically, are in the world of spirits. They are as follow:-5163.
(1) Man, from infancy even to adult age, is in the world of spirits as to his spirit, because he is successively in different states, and is then in freedom, so that he can be reformed. (2) He is also in a different state, in particular, according to the changes of [his general] state; but these variations are innumerable. (3) All men, immediately they enter the other life, are in the world of spirits, because they are in a varying state until the man's intellectual and voluntary act as one, and also until his interiors and exteriors do not disagree: he must [eventually] be one, not two; neither must he be between heaven and hell, but in the one or the other. (4) With those who are to enter into heaven, evils and the falses of evil are there and then separated, and they are thus prepared; and, with the evil, truths and goods are separated, in order that they may be in evils and the falses thence engendered. (5) At first, also, nearly all are in externals, which are [presently] removed - and thus they are prepared for a life with spirits. [The man] is then, at first, in gross states; but he comes, successively, into such as properly belong to the other life, and are called spiritual.5164.
When a man's spirit is in that state, he is then in freedom; he goes hither and thither, now to one society, now to another; this time with those from heaven, and that time with those from hell; and this until either good or evil obtains the ascendancy. And when this takes place, then, he who is good is raised up into heaven, and he who is evil is cast down into hell.5165.
Inasmuch as man and spirits are in such successive states, therefore, many are called forth from hell, who may be with man and with those spirits who are recently arrived. These, also, are then in another state, and thus in the world of spirits; but, yet, after their course is accomplished, they are cast down to the place where they had been [before].5166.
But to describe the particulars which occur in every state, would be too prolix, and would fill many pages.5167.
Man is in a varying state, and thus in the world of spirits, up to adult age; afterwards, he is, as to his soul [anima], either in heaven or hell, since his mind is then constant and rarely changed, although this does occur with some.5168.
Recently arrived spirits, also, are in a variable state, or in the world of spirits; some for only a short time, some quite a long while, according to their state.5169.
Those, however, who are in heaven, or in hell, also undergo changes of state, continually, corresponding to the seasons of the year and day. But these states are different from such as existed in the world of spirits. That state is called the world of spirits, just as the state of good and truth is called heaven and the state of evil and the falsity thence produced is called hell. The latter are states, also.5170.
CONCERNING THE HELL OF THOSE WHO ARE OUTWARDLY INNOCENT, BUT INWARDLY EVIL AND WOLVES. There were detected some, at a distance behind, on the left, in the north there, who were in the habit of sending forth spirits from themselves, and presenting them naked from head to heel. By this they signified that they were innocent; and, inasmuch as they made themselves out innocent in order to deceive others, therefore, also, I was carried thither, so that the nature of this thing might be known. I also spoke with them; and they said that they thus present themselves to the view of others. They were then on a rock. [They said], also, that they are, in this way, able to hold communication with all who are round about, to a distance; that, by this means, they are received by the simple good, and, through their [viz., the simple good] doing all that the evil wish, they communicate with them, and hence have dominion over them. [They said], moreover, that they take to themselves all who are of such a character; and that what they do, they do secretly. Because they are of such a character, therefore external innocence is taken away from them, as was seen; and then they are dispersed, and cast into hells, everyone according to his evil.5171.
A little farther from them, were those who are sincere in externals, and evil in internals. They make a show of sincerity, and thereby persuade the simple, and have communication with them: they act in like manner, also, with the evil.5172.
CONCERNING THE STATE OF THE LOWEST HEAVEN. I spoke with them concerning their state. They said that there are men of various kinds amongst them; but that they are distinguished by this: - that they who constantly walk about in their own proper clothing, without change, except on the customary days, and with whom the house, and outer and inner prospect, do not vary much, are esteemed. The reason is, because these act determinately, and turn themselves to their own loves, constantly. But, when they see certain ones changed, as regards the clothing and face, they know it is not well with them. They call those who change their clothing and their face according to the regions [they are in], and turn themselves undecidedly, fantastics. Such appear, there, sometimes; but they shortly vanish.5173.
It was also stated, that they know, from certain indications, that their winter, spring, summer, or autumn, is coming; and that, then, they have a different face and are in a different state; and that this occurs in the whole society.5174.
They also said, that, when they go out, and behold the changes in their houses, in their garments and in their gardens or fields - if the changes are for the worse, so that the objects either do not appear or appear obscurely, or if other things have succeeded in place of the former, they know they have done something evil; and that they then examine and investigate in themselves, and hence find out their evil and perform the work of repentance. When this is done, the former appearance of things returns; and, if they have become better than before, then the appearances are better. At such a time, they explore such a matter, principally from their faces.5175.
They also stated that a change likewise occurs, if others come to them, whether they are evil or good - which, also, they investigate. The reason is, because there is a communication of the thoughts; and such things exist from the intellectual state which is derived from the voluntary.5176.
Moreover, those who are there, do almost exactly as in the world. They eat, drink, associate, engage in recreations, are sad, and rejoice, in a similar manner. But to describe all these things would fill an entire page.5177.
CONCERNING REFLECTIONS IN THE HEAVENS, AND, THUS, CONCERNING THE STATE OF THE LIFE OF THOSE THERE. I wondered exceedingly at the circumstance that spirits and angels reflect little upon the states of their life, as to wherein it differs from the state of life in the world; as, for example, about their houses, garments, the other appearances within and without the house, etc., as to whence these are and whence the changes [in them] arise. They know, indeed, that such things exist from the Divine; but, still, when they exist, they do not reflect upon them; thus, not upon the fact, that, when any are in an opposite opinion, they vanish, and that those are suddenly present who are in a similar opinion. The reason that they do not reflect, is, because all this is conformable to the state of their life; and, when this follows from the interior state, and thus, as it were, spontaneously, there is then no state of reflection, as there is with those who speak, think and deliberate as to whence and of what character a thing is. It was also observed, that, in the proportion in which they reflect thereupon, in the same proportion does their innocence, wisdom and intelligence perish; and, then, instead of these, knowledge obtains. Lest, also, those things perish which are the essentials, they are kept in a state of non-reflection upon them; but still they are kept in the perception, apart from knowledge, as to what and whence those things are. 5177-15178.
Nevertheless, there are yet other spirits, to whom reflection is granted; but they are separate from the rest.5179.
CONCERNING A MOUNTAIN WHERE IS CONJUGIAL [CHASTITY]. HEAVEN. I was carried by the Lord to the left. This lasted an hour, and, eventually, I arrived at a certain mountain, where all were naked, wives and husbands; and I spoke with them at a distance. They said that they were all naked, men and women; neither did one ever lust after another, nor was any lasciviousness called forth; and that, still, they loved their spouses tenderly. They said, further, that, when they come to their own dwellings, all, both men and women, are naked, and that then, in like manner, [they have neither lust nor lascivious thought]; and, also, that they cannot tolerate those men and women who are clothed, because they are of a different genius. The reason that they were of such a character, was, that they were in conjugial chastity, owing to the fact that they had been so in the world. They also admit to themselves whomsoever they please, of both sexes; but they explore them, by [causing them] to strip off their clothes, and present themselves, let them be men or women, naked. They then, at once, perceive whether the conjugial [state] is with them. If not, they are driven away from the place. Some who have not the conjugial [state], are able to feign it, and, by means of phantasies, to assume it for some time; but as soon as they are detected they are driven away: [they are discovered, also,] by their rushing from thence, of themselves, as from some enemy, and so far, that at length they cannot be been. Some go far away, some deep down, as also was seen. Some of those of such a character, who were with me, fled away in this manner.5180.
There was a certain one who had a faith in the sense of the letter of the Word, and supposed himself to possess the conjugial [quality], because he had lived chastely with his wife, and never conducted himself lasciviously. Inasmuch as the conjugial [state] corresponds with the Word, for the Word is the Divine and heavenly conjugial, therefore he was brought to this place. He was able, without a feeling of lasciviousness, to look on naked women; but they told him that he must strip off his clothes, which, also, he did; and, then, he was indeed able to be with those who were in a lower [sphere]; but he ascended naked to those who were in a higher [sphere]; and, when he came thither, he was deprived of his senses, first, those of hearing and speech, then that of sight, and at length that of touch; and thus he remained, like one half-dead; but, still, he was taken away to his own place. Such are they who believe the Word, as to the sense of its letter, and do not know, and have not imbibed, interior truths from it.5181.
When he was carried to his place, by means of changes of state until his own was reached, then the spirits who were around me on the way, were dispersed of themselves; since they were not in the conjugial [state]. One was still able to be present at the foot of that mountain; but he was immediately discovered, and driven as far as the extreme boundaries, where he fled away. They said that they live by themselves in their own houses, with their maids and menservants, all of whom are in the conjugial [state].5182.
CONCERNING HEAVEN. CONCERNING MOUNTAINS. Those who are in love to the Lord, consequently, who are in celestial love, are on mountains; and they ascend the mountains right on to the summit. They, also, who are in the loftiest part of the mountain are the best of that kind, and in a more excellent good than those who are lower down. Thus they dwell higher or lower, according to the degrees of the excellence of that love. It is so everywhere. Besides this, they are also distinguished, everywhere, as to situation at the sides; which distinctions of situation are of the same kind as degrees of latitude. They who are at the right differ from those who are at the left; and so on. The summit is in the midst.5183.
There exist mountains, where those are who are in the opposite loves, as, for instance, in self-love; who, also, are of the worst sort, and wish to be pre-eminent over all others, and do evil to all. But these mountains are not real mountains, although they appear, indeed, like the others. Wherefore, those, whoever they were, who appeared on the mountains, yet dwell in the depth under them, in hell; whither, also, they are cast: and those mountains, if good spirits do not succeed the evil on them, sink down into hell, when the wickedness is consummated.5184.
CONCERNING VASTATION, AND THUS CONCERNING HELL AND HEAVEN. There was a stretch of level ground, somewhat more elevated than a valley. There was, there, a multitude of spirits, who continually endeavored to work evils by means of crafty devices. They betook themselves amongst others, behind, and thus also observed them; they spoke through them, desiring in this way to bring themselves to lead their thoughts and deeds and thus to rule others. In a word, they were crafty in various ways. When the multitude was assembled thither, and their wickedness was thus consummated, then came their destruction, or judgment. That whole field was overturned, and they that were upon it were covered up with the soil; and then a plain that was under that was disclosed, and, in that, there was a multitude of other spirits who have been in vastation there, and who are upright. These succeeded in place of the former. Hence it was clear that the final devastation, or Last Judgment, also, takes place by a total overturning.5185.
I saw, moreover, certain other vastations; and, then the subjects of them underwent visitation, it was found that they were not able to do otherwise than injure the neighbor, and this in various ways. Many mountains and rocks were filled with such spirits; and also that place where I believed heaven to be; for so it appeared, from a snowy cloud, as it were, upon the summits. But, when investigated, they were nearly all cast out from thence, so that I believed that thus those mountains must be utterly destitute of inhabitants; but, still, when those were cast out, then others went up in their place, to the full number. It was also told me out of heaven, that those who succeeded in their place had been previously thrust out from thence, by the evil. For the evil ascend on high by means of phantasies; but those who have been there previously, and [are] good, are then concealed there by the Lord, so as not to be seen by the evil. Some of them were around them, some under them, and some amongst them; yet they were very rarely seen, for the reason that they were purer spirits, and these cannot be seen by the eyes of evil spirits, because the latter are gross. Hence, then, it is, that the [real] inhabitants of the mountains are upright and good spirits and angels, and that they appear when the evil are cast down therefrom. I have seen crowds, and as many as thousands, cast down. Those who are cast down, are taken into valleys, and afterwards to marshes, and some to ponds and lakes, and are cast down there; and, when they are cast down, their evil is consummated.5186.
From these things it may be manifest what is meant, in the Apocalypse, by those who are of the first resurrection, 5186-1 and who are of the second. 5186-25187.
CONCERNING THE WISDOM OF THE ANGELS. All the wisdom of the angels is given by means of the Word, since, in its internal and inmost sense, it is the Divine Wisdom, which is communicated to the angels, through the Word, when this is read by men, and when thought is exercised from it. But, still, it is necessary to be known that wisdom is given them, mediately, through angels from the Most Ancient and Ancient Churches, who were in the science and perception of representatives and correspondences. They were of such a description, when in the world, that they knew the internal arcana of the Church, and correspondences. Through these, wisdom is communicated; and, when it is communicated, it appears, with those who receive it, as if it were their own. Thus the case is with [this] communication; and, for this reason, angels from the Most Ancient Churches are scattered throughout the heavens, in order that the others may enjoy wisdom.5188.
It should be known, that he who has been in wisdom in the world, is in wisdom in the other life - which is appropriated by him; and they who have not been in wisdom in the world, but yet in the good of life, are able to receive wisdom through the former; but, still, it is not appropriated by them. When they recede from those by whom wisdom is appropriated, they are simple, as before.5189.
The science of correspondences and representatives is the ultimate plane of angelic wisdom; and since this science has, at the present day, been lost, so that it is not even known that there is such a thing, therefore, it is now revealed anew. It was granted me to see a certain one of the ancients, who was in a great angelic society, withdraw himself; and, then, an appearance of darkness immediately overshadowed the society, and its wisdom was taken away. He, also, who was of the ancients, and who withdrew, was in the knowledges of wisdom; and hence the rest had wisdom by communication.5190.
CONCERNING ANGELIC WISDOM. The angels make one with man, for men and angels are conjoined as inmost and outermost, or as first and last. The celestial angels are in the first, man in the last. Because man is in the last, he thinks materially, or sensually; but the angels spiritually and celestially. Between these [ways of thinking] there is correspondence; and, thus, man is, as it were, the plane upon which the thoughts of the angels [rest]; hence, with men who are in the affection of truth and good from the Word, there is a connection [with the angels]. Angelic wisdom, also, is in the highest place; for wisdom increases, according to degrees, towards the interiors.5191.
It should be known, that the more perfect the angels are, the more perfectly are they able to think; for [thought], with those who are in beauty, that is, in excellence, beyond others, is harmonious. These are able to think more wisely than the rest, who are in a lower degree. This, the latter are not at all able to do, because the angels speak from their own good, and their own truth; for they are these things. Thus, those who are in a lower degree can by no means [think] like those who are in a higher. Hence it is, that the evil can not at all understand what celestial and spiritual good is, nor that truth is truth.5192.
The ideas of the angels are according to the state of good and truth in which they are. That natural ideas are turned into spiritual and celestial according to correspondence, see [Arcana Coelestia] no. 10,604, where, also, this matter is treated of.5193.
The whole of the intelligence and wisdom of the angels is from the Lord, by means of the Word which is with man and spirit; for this is of such a nature, that even its minutiae correspond and are turned into angelic ideas in their due order; and, in every detail of the Word, there is the wisdom of the Divine, in a Divine form, and in a Divine connection.5194.
There was a certain one of the ancients, in an angelic society, who had wisdom in himself. He withdrew; and, then, the rest were in the shade, in respect to intelligence. 5194-15195.
It should be known, that the greater number of those in the world who believe there is a life after death, believe that they are then in the human form; but those who have meditated much upon the matter in the world, do not believe so, because they have not been able to understand in what way they have a human form; but, if confirmation is taken away from these, they, also, have still the idea, concerning themselves after death, of a human form.5196.
In like manner concerning life after death: most of those who are in good believe that they live after death. But, when the Last Judgment is thought of, that faith falls and perishes. Nevertheless, it constantly returns when they do not think of the Last Judgment; wherefore, most of them, when on their death-bed, believe that they are going to enter the other life immediately; and also say of others, that they are there. Parents [say so] about their children; others, about their friends; also, those who write about the dead, place them among the blessed, as if then alive. Priests, likewise, assure those who are about to die, that they are going to enter, immediately, into the other life. But, as soon as the doctrinal concerning the Last Judgment comes into the mind, that faith perishes; and still more is this the case with the learned, who have thought deeply about the soul.5197.
CONTINUATION CONCERNING VASTATION. There was also seen the vastation of those, in Christendom, who have confirmed themselves in favor of polygamy, and also of those who had two wives. They were together, in one region of considerable extent, to the number of several thousands. They were represented [as to their character], by the fact that they lay at the back, with the feet extended. They were all, also, overturned and cast into hell, together with that whole region; and there they destroyed their genital organs, so that they lived without them. Perhaps their strong persuasion in this matter arose from various causes, as, for instance, because people nearly everywhere in Asia outside of Christendom, and also the Jews, in the Old Testament, have not discovered any reason for establishing marriage between two [only]. But, because they were Christians, and in that light, [i.e. the light of Christianity], and because the Word, which is the heavenly marriage, and the interior truths which are there, was amongst them, therefore, they were vastated in this way.5198.
General Vastations [i.e. vastations of communities of spirits] take place, when the whole body has been destroyed. Every single society relates to one man; some in it to the head, some to the body, some to the feet. When that society is adjusted as one man, so that it has a head, body and feet, and these are evil, then consummation supervenes. The last consummation is that the feet, which are externals corresponding to internals; and, when this is reached, then vastation exists. Hence it is, that every particular vastation terminates in the feet. It is so with general vastations.5199.
CONCERNING SPIDERS. I saw many females who were cast down from heaven, and who appeared like spiders letting themselves down by threads. It was their affections which appeared so. They were such persons, as, in speech, gestures and face, seemed pious and devout, but inwardly abounded in adulteries, thefts and all wickedness and deceit: thus, their interiors were full of venom.5200.
CONCERNING EXTREME VASTATION, AND CONCERNING THE HELL WHERE IT IS EFFECTED. There are some who cannot be reformed by any punishment whatever, because they have imbibed hatred, revenge and the like, from childhood, and have retained them even to all ages, and obstinately clung to them, and thus have altogether closed up heaven against themselves. These cannot be reformed in the customary way, or by any ordinary mode of vastation; for which reason they are, at last, sent into a hell, where they lie like corpses, some in beds, some on the ground; and they are there like half-dead persons with ghastly faces. Some such ones lie there for 10, 50, 100, 1000, 2000 years, until such wild-beast and utterly inhuman quality is consumed; and, in the meantime, they undergo at times dreadful torments, and at times are reminded of their hatred and vindictiveness.
5177-1 It seems desirable, here, to draw attention to the fact that the "reflection" spoken of in this number, is based upon externally acquired knowledges. Perception, on the contrary, is the spontaneous activity of the understanding proceeding from, and agreeing with, the will. While, therefore, the reflection spoken of having an altogether external basis, is radically an external act, perception, flowing as it does from the interiors of the mind, is radically an internal act. And it will be evident to everyone who even approximately understands the NEW-CHURCH psychology, that the exercise of the external mode of mental activity, called here reflection, is detrimental to, and, indeed, if carried far enough, destructive of, the internal, viz., perception. A careful study of the internal sense of the eating of the "tree of knowledge," in Eden, makes this matter quite plain. (See AC 204-209.) ED.
5186-1 Revelation 20:5, 6.
5186-2 No "second resurrection" is mentioned in the Apocalypse. See footnote to number 5203, below.
5194-1 See above, no. 5189.