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True Christian Religion, by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1771], tr. by John C. Ager [1906] at

True Christian Religion


Without the opened spiritual sense of the Word, or what is the same, without a revelation of the correspondence of natural with spiritual things, the holiness of the sacrament here treated of can no more be interiorly recognized than the existence of a treasure hidden in a field. Such a field is no more highly valued than any common field; but when it is discovered that there is a treasure in it, the field is valued at a great price, and the purchaser enriches himself from it; still more must it be so when it is known to contain a treasure more precious than all gold. [2] Without the spiritual sense this sacrament is like a closed house full of jewels and treasures that is passed by like any other house on the street, except that the gaze of those passing is attracted to it, to view it and praise it and estimate its value, because the clergy have built its walls of marble and covered its roof with plates of gold. It is otherwise when the house has been opened, and everyone is given leave to enter, and from it the custodian supplies to some a loan, and to others presents a gift, to each according to his rank. It is said, a gift from it, because the valuables there are inexhaustible, and are continually supplied. This is true of the Word with its spiritual contents, and the sacraments with their celestial contents. [3] The sacrament here treated of, without a revelation of its holiness, which lies concealed within it, appears like the sand of a river containing scarcely visible grains of gold in great abundance; but when its holiness has been revealed, it is like the gold collected from the sand, melted into a mass, and wrought into beautiful forms. This sacrament, when its holiness has not been disclosed and seen, is like a box or casket made of beech or poplar, containing diamonds, rubies, and many other precious stones, arranged in order in compartments. Who does not value such a box or casket, when he knows that such things are concealed within it, and still more when they are seen and are offered for free distribution? This sacrament, when its correspondences with heaven are not revealed, and the heavenly things to which it corresponds are not seen, is like an angel appearing in the world in common clothing, who is honored only according to his clothing; but it is wholly different when he is known to be an angel, and what is angelic is heard from his lips, and marvelous things are seen in his deeds. [4] The difference between a holiness that is merely declared to belong to anything and a holiness that is seen, may be illustrated by an instance which was seen and heard in the spiritual world. An epistle written by Paul while he dwelt in the world, but not published, was read, no one knowing that it was by Paul. The hearers at first thought little of it; but when it was discovered to be one of Paul's epistles, it was received with joy, and each and everything in it was adored. This makes clear how the mere attribution of holiness to the Word and the sacraments, when made by the higher orders of the clergy, does indeed give them a stamp of holiness; but it is quite different when the holiness itself is disclosed, and presented visibly to the eye, which is done by a revelation of the spiritual sense. When this is done the external holiness becomes internal, and the attribution of holiness becomes an acknowledgment of it. It is the same with the holiness of the sacrament of the Lord's supper.


II. WITH A KNOWLEDGE OF CORRESPONDENCES WHAT IS MEANT BY THE LORD'S FLESH AND BLOOD CAN BE KNOWN, ALSO THAT BREAD AND WINE HAVE A LIKE MEANING, NAMELY, THAT THE LORD'S FLESH AND THE BREAD MEAN THE DIVINE GOOD OF HIS LOVE, ALSO ALL GOOD OF CHARITY: AND THE LORD'S BLOOD AND THE WINE MEAN THE DIVINE TRUTH OF HIS WISDOM, ALSO ALL TRUTH OF FAITH; AND EATING MEANS APPROPRIATION. As the spiritual sense of the Word has at this day been disclosed, and together with it correspondences (because they mediate between the two senses) I will merely present some passages from the Word, from which it can be clearly seen what is meant by the flesh and the blood, as also by the bread and the wine in the holy supper. But before this the institution itself of this sacrament by the Lord, and His doctrine concerning His flesh and blood, and the bread and the wine, shall be set forth.


The Institution of the Supper by the Lord: Jesus kept the passover with His disciples; and when evening had come He sat down with them. And as they were eating, Jesus took bread and blessed, and brake, and gave to His disciples, and said, Take, eat, this is My body. And He took the cup and gave thanks, and gave to them, saying, Drink of it, all of you; this is My blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many (Matt. 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20). The Lord's Doctrine respecting His Flesh and Blood, and the Bread and Wine: Work not for the meat that perisheth, but for that meat which abideth unto eternal life, which the Son of man shall give unto you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, it was not Moses that gave you the bread out of heaven, but My Father giveth you the true bread out of heaven; for the bread of God is He that cometh down out of heaven, and giveth life unto the world. I am the bread of life; he that cometh to Me shall not hunger, and he that believeth in Me shall never thirst. I am the bread which came down out of heaven. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth in Me hath eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness and they died. This is the bread which cometh down out of heaven, that one may eat thereof and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day; for My flesh is truly meat, and My blood is truly drink. He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood abideth in Me and I in him (John 6:27-56).


Anyone enlightened from heaven can perceive in himself that flesh and blood in the above passages do not mean flesh and blood, but that in the natural sense they both mean the passion of the cross, which they were to remember. Therefore, when the Lord instituted this supper of the last Jewish and the first Christian passover, He said: This do in remembrance of Me (Luke 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:24, 25). It may likewise be seen that the bread and wine do not mean bread and wine, but in the natural sense they have the same meaning as flesh and blood, that is to say, the passion of His cross, for it is written: Jesus brake the bread and gave to the disciples, and said, This is My body. And He took the cup and gave to them, saying, This is My blood (Matt. 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20). Therefore also the passion of the cross is called a cup (Matt. 26:39, 42, 44; Mark 14:36; John 18:11).


That these four, flesh, blood, bread, and wine, mean the spiritual and celestial things that correspond to them, can be seen from the passages in the Word where they are mentioned. That "flesh" means in the Word what is spiritual and celestial can be seen from the following passages: Come and be gathered together unto the supper of the great God that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of commanders of thousands, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great (Apoc. 19:17, 18). And in Ezekiel: Gather yourselves from every side to My sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh and drink blood. Ye shall eat the flesh of the strong, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth; and ye shall eat fat to satiety, and drink blood even to drunkenness, of My sacrifice; and ye shall be satisfied at my table with horse and with chariot, with the mighty man, and with every man of war; and I will set My glory among the heathen (39:17-21). Who does not see that in these passages "flesh" and "blood" do not mean flesh and blood, but the spiritual and celestial things which correspond to them? Otherwise, what would these statements be; that they should eat the flesh of kings, commanders of thousands, mighty men, and horses, and of those that sat on them, and that they should be satisfied at the table with horses, chariots, mighty men and all men of war, and that they should drink the blood of the princes of the earth, and should drink blood even to drunkenness, but unmeaning and strange expressions? That these words are applied to the holy supper of the Lord is very clear, for the supper of the great God is mentioned, and also the great sacrifice. As all spiritual and celestial things have relation solely to good and truth, it follows that "flesh" means the good of charity, and "blood" the truth of faith, and in the highest sense, the Lord in respect to the Divine good of love and the Divine truth of wisdom. "Flesh" also means spiritual good in the following passage in Ezekiel: I will give them one heart, and I will give a new spirit in the midst of you; and I will take away the heart of stone out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh (11:19; 26:26). In the Word "heart" signifies love; therefore "a heart of flesh" signifies a love of good. That "flesh and blood" mean good and truth, both spiritual, is still further evident from the signification of "bread and wine" in what now follows; for the Lord says that His flesh is bread, and that His blood is the wine that was drunk from the cup.


The Lord's "blood" means His Divine truth and the truth of the Word, because His "flesh," spiritually understood, means the Divine good of love, and in Him these two are united. It is known that the Lord is the Word, and there are two things to which everything in the Word has relation, Divine good and Divine truth, if therefore, instead of "the Lord" we say "the Word," it is clear that these two are meant by His flesh and blood. That "blood" means the Lord's Divine truth or the truth of the Word is evident from many passages, as, for example, where blood is called "the blood of the covenant," "covenant" meaning conjunction, which is effected by the Lord by means of His Divine truth; as in Zechariah: By the blood of thy covenant I will send forth the bound out of the pit (9:11). And in Moses: When Moses had read the book of the law in the ears of the people, he sprinkled half of the blood upon the people and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which Jehovah hath concluded with you upon all these words (Ex. 24:3-8). And Jesus took the cup and gave to them, saying, This is My blood of the new covenant (Matt. 26:27, 28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20). [2] By the blood of the new covenant or testament nothing is meant but the Word, (which is called the covenant or testament, old and new), thus Divine truth in the Word. As this is the significance of "blood," the Lord gave His disciples the wine, saying, "This is My blood," "wine" signifying Divine truth, and therefore wine is called: The blood of grapes (Gen. 49:11 Deut. 32:14). This is still further evident from the Lord's words: Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you; for My flesh is truly meat, and My blood is truly drink. He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood abideth in Me and I in him (John 6:53-58). That "blood" here means the Divine truth of the Word, is very manifest for it is said, that he who drinks it hath life in himself, and abideth in the Lord and the Lord in him; that this is effected by Divine truth and a life according to it, and that the holy supper confirms it, may be known in the church. [3] As "blood" signifies the Lord's Divine truth, which is also the Divine truth of the Word, (and this is the real covenant or testament, old and new), therefore among the children of Israel blood was the holiest representative of their church, wherein each thing and all things were correspondences of natural with spiritual things. For example. They were to take of the paschal blood and put it on the two side posts and on the upper door-posts of the houses, lest the plague should come upon them (Ex. 12:7, 13, 22). And the blood of the burnt-offering was to be sprinkled upon the altar on the bottom of it, on Aaron and his sons, and on their garments (Ex. 29:12, 16, 20, 21; Lev. 1:6, 11, 16; 3:2, 8, 19; 4:26, 30, 34; 8:16, 24; 17:8; Num. 18:17; Deut. 12:27). Also on the veil over the ark, on the mercy-seat there, and on the horns of the altar of incense (Lev. 4:8, 7, 17, 18; 16:12-15). in the Apocalypse the blood of the Lamb has a similar significance: These have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb (7:14). Also in this passage: There was war in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and they overcame him through the blood of the Lamb and through the word of their testimony (12:7, 11). [4] For it cannot be imagined that Michael and his angels overcame the dragon by any other means than the Lord's Divine truth in the Word, for the angels of heaven cannot think of any kind of blood, nor do they think of the Lord's passion, but only of Divine truth and of the Lord's resurrection. So when man thinks of the Lord's blood, the angels have a perception of the Divine truth of His Word; and when men think of the Lord's passion, they have a perception of His glorification, and then of His resurrection only. This I have been permitted to learn from much experience. [5] That "blood" signifies Divine truth is clear also from the following passages in David: God shall save the souls of the needy, and precious shall their blood be in His eyes; and they shall live, and He will give them of the gold of Sheba (Ps. 72:13-16); "blood precious in the eyes of God" meaning the Divine truth in them; and "the gold of Sheba" wisdom therefrom. And in Ezekiel: Gather yourselves to the great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel that ye may eat flesh and drink blood; ye shall drink the blood of the princes of the earth, and ye shall drink blood even to drunkenness, and I will set My glory among the heathen (39:17-21). This treats of the church which the Lord was about to establish among the nations. That "blood" here cannot mean blood, but the truth from the Word which they had may be seen just above.


That "blood" and "flesh" have a like meaning is very clear from the Lord's words: Jesus took bread and brake, and gave saying, This is My body (Matt. 26:20; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19). And again: The bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world (John 6:51). And He also says: That He is the bread of life, and that if any man eat of this bread he shall live forever (John 6:48, 61, 68). It is this bread also that is meant by the sacrifices that are called bread in the following passages: The priest shall burn it upon the altar; it is the bread of the offering made by fire unto Jehovah (Lev. 3:11, 16). The sons of Aaron shall be holy unto their God, and not profane the name of their God, for the offerings of Jehovah made by fire, the bread of their God, they do offer. Thou shalt sanctify him, for he offereth the bread of thy God. No man of the seed of Aaron in which there shall have been a blemish, shall come nigh to offer the bread of his God (Lev. 21:6, 8, 17, 21). Command the children of Israel, and say unto them, My offering and My bread for sacrifices made by fire, for an odor of rest, shall ye observe to offer unto Me in their due season (Num. 28:2). He that hath touched an unclean thing shall not eat of the holy things, unless he bathe his flesh in water; afterward he shalt eat of the holy things, because this is his bread (Lev. 22:6, 7). To eat of the holy things was to eat of the flesh of the sacrifices, which is here called "bread," as well as in Malachi (1:7). The "meal-offerings" used in the sacrifices, which were of fine wheaten flour, and were therefore bread, had the same signification (Lev. 2:1-11; 6:14-21; 7:9-13, and elsewhere); also the bread on the table in the tabernacle, which was called "the bread of faces" or "shew-bread" (of which in Ex. 25:30; 40:23; Lev. 24:59). That "bread" in the Word means heavenly bread, not natural bread, is evident from the following passages: Man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of Jehovah doth man live (Deut. 8:3). I will send a famine into the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but for hearing the words of Jehovah (Amos 8:11). Moreover, "bread" means all food (Lev. 24:59; Ex. 25:30; 40:23; Num. 4:7; 1 Kings 7:48). That it also means spiritual food is plain from these words of the Lord: Work not for the meat that perisheth, but for that meat which abideth unto eternal life, which the Son of man shall give unto you (John 6:27).


That "wine" and "blood" have a like meaning is very evident from the Lord's words: Jesus took the cup, saying, This is My blood (Matt 26; Mark 14, Luke 22). Also from the following: He washeth His garment in wine, and His covering in the blood of grapes (Gen. 49:11). This refers to the Lord. Jehovah of Hosts shall make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wine on the lees [or sweet wine] (Isa. 25:6). This refers to the sacrament of the holy supper to be instituted by the Lord. In the same: Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no silver come, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine without silver (55:1). "The fruit of the vine" which they were to drink new in the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 26:29; Mark 14:25; Luke 22:17, 18), means no other than the truth of the New Church and of heaven. For this reason the church in many places in the Word is called a vineyard (as in Isa. 5:1-4; Matt. 20:1-13); and the Lord calls Himself "the true vine," and men who are engrafted into Him, "the branches" (John 15:1, 6); as also in other passages.


From all this it can now be seen what is meant in a threefold sense, natural, spiritual, and celestial, by the Lord's flesh and blood, also by bread and wine. Every man in Christendom imbued with religion may know, and if he does not know may learn, that there is natural nourishment and spiritual nourishment, and that natural nourishment is for the body, and spiritual nourishment is for the soul; for Jehovah the Lord says in Moses: Man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of Jehovah doth man live (Deut. 8:3). And as the body dies and the soul lives after death, it follows that spiritual nourishment is for eternal salvation. Who cannot see from this that these two kinds of nourishment ought by no means to be confounded, and that if anyone does confound them, he must needs adopt natural and sensual ideas, which are material, corporeal, and carnal, respecting the Lord's flesh and blood, and the bread and wine, which ideas suffocate spiritual ideas respecting this most holy sacrament? But if anyone is so simple as to be unable to think from his understanding of anything except what he sees with the eye, I advise him, when he takes the bread and wine and hears them called the Lord's flesh and blood, to think within himself of the holy supper as the holiest thing of worship, and to call to mind Christ's passion, and His love for man's salvation; for He says: This do in remembrance of Me (Luke 22:19). Also, The Son of man came to give His life a ransom for many (Matt 20:28; Mark 10:45). I lay down My life for the sheep (John 10:15, 17; 15:13).


This too may be illustrated by comparisons. Who does not remember and love the man who, from the zeal of love for his country, fights with her enemies even unto death, that he may thereby deliver her from the yoke of servitude? And who does not remember and love the man who, when he sees his fellow-citizens in extreme want, with death from grievous famine staring them in the face, out of pity brings forth all his gold and silver from his house and distributes it freely? And who does not remember and love the man who, out of love and friendship, takes the only lamb he possesses, kills it, and sets it before his guests? And so on.


III. WHEN ALL THIS IS UNDERSTOOD ANYONE CAN COMPREHEND THAT THE HOLY SUPPER CONTAINS ALL THINGS OF THE CHURCH AND ALL THINGS OF HEAVEN BOTH IN GENERAL AND IN PARTICULAR. It has been shown in the preceding section that the Lord Himself is in the holy supper, and that flesh and blood are the Lord in respect to the Divine good of love, and blood and wine are the Lord in respect to the Divine truth of wisdom. Therefore the holy supper involves three things, namely, the Lord, His Divine good, and His Divine truth. Since, therefore, the holy supper includes and contains these three, it follows that it also includes and contains the universals of heaven and the church. And as all particulars depend on universals as contents on their containants, it also follows that the holy supper includes and contains all the particulars of heaven and the church. From all this it is clear, for the first time, that as the Lord's flesh and blood, and in like manner the bread and wine, mean Divine good and Divine truth, both from the Lord and both being the Lord, so the holy supper contains all things of heaven and the church, both in general and in particular.


It is also known that there are three essentials of the church, God, charity, and faith, and that all things in the church have relation to these three as their universals. These are identical with the three named above, since in the holy supper God is the Lord, charity is the Divine good, and faith the Divine truth. What is charity but the good that man does from the Lord? And what is faith but the truth that man believes from the Lord? And this is why there are three things in man in respect to his internal, namely, soul, or mind, will, and understanding. These three are the receptacles of the three universals; the soul itself, or the mind, is the receptacle of the Lord, for it lives therefrom; the will is the receptacle of love or good; and the understanding is the receptacle of wisdom or truth. Thus each thing and all things in the soul or mind, not only have relation to the three universals of heaven and the church, but they go forth from them. Mention anything that goes forth from man that does not contain mind, will, and understanding. If anyone of these were taken away, would man be anything more than any inanimate thing? Likewise there are in man's external three things, to which each thing and all things have relation, and upon which they depend, namely, the body, the heart, and the lungs. And these three things of the body correspond to the three of the mind, the heart corresponding to the will, and the lungs or respiration to the understanding. That there is such a correspondence has been fully shown in former treatises. Thus then have each and all things in man been so formed, both universally and particularly, as to be receptacles of the three universals of heaven and the church. This is because man was created an image and likeness of God, and he was so created in order that he might be in the Lord and the Lord in him.


On the other hand there are three universals opposite to these, namely, the devil, evil, and falsity. The devil (which means hell) is directly opposite to the Lord, evil is directly opposite to good, and falsity to truth. These three make one, for where the devil is there also are evil and falsity therefrom. These three also contain both universally and particularly all things of hell as well as all things of the world which are contrary to heaven and the church. As these are opposites they are therefore entirely separate, and yet are retained in connection by a wonderful subordination of all hell to heaven, of evil to good, and of falsity to truth, which subordination is treated of in the work on Heaven and Hell.


That particulars may be retained in their order and connection, it is necessary that there should be universals from which they spring and in which they rest; and it is also necessary that particulars should in a certain image answer to their universals, otherwise the whole would perish together with its parts. This relation has caused all things in the universe to be preserved in their integrity, from the first day of creation until now, and to still continue. That all things in the universe have relation to good and truth is well known. This is because all things were created by God from the Divine good of love by means of the Divine truth of wisdom. Take anything you please, an animal, a shrub, or a stone, and you will find these three most universal principles inscribed upon them in a kind of relationship.


As the Divine good and the Divine truth are the most universal of all things of heaven and the church, so Melchizedek, who represented the Lord, brought forth bread and wine to Abram, and blessed him. Respecting Melchizedek, it is written: Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought forth for Abram bread and wine; and he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him (Gen. 14:18, 19). That Melchizedek represented the Lord, is evident from these words in David: Thou art a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek (Ps. 110:4). That this was said of the Lord may be seen in Heb. 5:5-10; 6:20; 7:1, 10-11, 15, 17, 21. He brought forth bread and wine, because those two include all things pertaining to heaven and the church, thus all things of blessing, the same as the bread and the wine in the holy supper.


IV. IN THE HOLY SUPPER THE LORD IS WHOLLY PRESENT WITH THE WHOLE OF HIS REDEMPTION. It is evident from the Lord's very words that He is wholly present in the holy supper, in respect both to His glorified Human and the Divine from which the Human proceeded. That His Human is present in the holy supper is clear from the following: Jesus took bread and brake, and gave to the disciples and said, This is My body; and He took the cup and gave them, saying, This is My blood (Matt. 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19, 20). And in John: I am the bread of life; if anyone eat of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is My flesh. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood hath eternal life, and abideth in Me and I in him (John 6:51, 56). From these words it is plainly evident that the Lord in respect to His glorified Human is in the holy supper. That He is also wholly present in it in respect to His Divine from which the Human proceeded, is evident from the statement, That He is the bread that cometh down out of heaven (John 6:61). He came down out of heaven with the Divine, for it is written: The Word was with God, and God was the Word; all things were made by Him and the Word was made flesh (John 1:1, 3, 14). And further, That He and the Father are one (John 10:30). That all things belonging to the Father are His (John 3:35; 16:16). That He is in the Father and the Father in Him (John 14:10, 11); (and so forth). Moreover, His Divine can no more be separated from His Human than the soul can be separated from the body; so when it is said that the Lord in respect to His Human is wholly present in the holy supper, it follows that His Divine from which was the Human is there along with it. Since then, His "flesh" signifies the Divine good of His love, and His "blood" the Divine truth of His wisdom, it is clear that the whole of the Lord is omnipresent in the holy supper in respect both to His Divine and to His glorified Human; consequently that the holy supper is a spiritual eating.


That the whole of the Lord's redemption is in the holy supper follows from what has already been said, since where the Lord is wholly present there also is His whole redemption; for it is in respect to His Human that He is the Redeemer, and thus also redemption itself. Where He is wholly present no part of redemption can be absent, consequently all who approach the holy communion worthily become His redeemed. And as redemption means deliverance from hell, conjunction with the Lord, and salvation (respecting which see further on in this chapter, and more fully in the chapter on Redemption), so these fruits are ascribed to man, not to the extent that the Lord wills (for from His Divine love He wishes to ascribe all things to man), but to the extent that man receives; and he that receives is redeemed in the degree in which he receives. From all this it is clear that to those who come worthily, the effects and fruits of the Lord's redemption are attained.


In every man of sound mind there is an ability to receive wisdom from the Lord, that is, to multiply to eternity the truths from which wisdom exists; also an ability to receive love, that is, to bring forth to eternity the goods from which love exists. This perpetual bringing forth of good and of love therefrom, and perpetual multiplication of truth and of wisdom therefrom, is granted to the angels, and also to men who are becoming angels; and as the Lord is love itself and wisdom itself, it follows that man has the ability to conjoin himself to the Lord and the Lord to himself forever. Nevertheless, as man is finite, the Divine Itself of the Lord cannot be conjoined, but only adjoined to man, as, for the sake of illustration, the light of the sun cannot be conjoined to the eye, or the sound of the air to the ear, but only adjoined to them, thus imparting the ability to see and hear. For man is not life in himself, as the Lord is even in regard to His Human (John 5:26); but is only a receptacle of life; and it is life itself that is adjoined to man, but not conjoined. This has been added in order that it may be rationally understood how the Lord and His redemption are wholly present in the holy supper.


V. THE LORD IS PRESENT AND OPENS HEAVEN TO THOSE WHO APPROACH THE HOLY SUPPER WORTHILY, AND IS ALSO PRESENT WITH THOSE WHO APPROACH UNWORTHILY, BUT TO THEM HE DOES NOT OPEN HEAVEN; CONSEQUENTLY, AS BAPTISM IS INTRODUCTION INTO THE CHURCH SO IS THE HOLY SUPPER INTRODUCTION INTO HEAVEN. The two following sections explain who those are that come to the holy supper worthily, and also who those are that approach it unworthily; for the one point being established, the other is known from being the opposite. With both the worthy and the unworthy the Lord is present, because He is omnipresent both in heaven and in hell, and also in the world, consequently with the evil as well as with the good. But with the good, that is, with the regenerate, He is present both universally and individually; for the Lord is in them and they are in Him, and where He is there is heaven. Moreover, heaven constitutes the body of the Lord; consequently to be in His body is also to be in heaven. [2] But the Lord's presence with those who come to the holy supper unworthily is His universal and not His individual presence, or what is the same, His external and not also His internal presence. His universal or external presence is what causes a man to live as a man, to enjoy the ability to know, to understand, and to speak rationally from the understanding; for man is born for heaven, and is therefore not merely natural, like a beast, but also spiritual. He also enjoys the ability to will and to do the things that from his understanding he is able to know about, to understand, and thereby rationally speak about. But if the will rejects the truly rational things of the understanding, which are also intrinsically spiritual, the man becomes external. [3] Consequently with those who only understand what is true, and good, the Lord's presence is universal or external, while with those who also will and do what is true and good, the Lord's presence is both universal and individual, or both internal and external. Those who merely understand and talk about what is true and good are like the foolish virgins who had lamps but no oil; while those who not only understand and talk about what is true and good, but also will and do it, are the wise virgins who were admitted to the wedding while the former stood at the door and knocked, but were not admitted (Matt. 25:1-12). From all this it can be seen that the Lord is present and opens heaven to those who come to the holy supper worthily; and that He is also present with those who come to it unworthily, but to them He does not open heaven.


Nevertheless it is not to be supposed that the Lord closes heaven to those who come unworthily, this He does to no man, even to the end of his life in the world, but man closes heaven to himself, and this he does by the rejection of faith and by evil of life. And yet man is held constantly in a state of possible repentance and conversion, for the Lord is constantly present and urging to be received; for He says: I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear My voice and open, I will come in and will sup with him and he with Me (Rev. 3:20). Therefore the fault is in the man himself, who does not open the door. It is otherwise after death; then heaven is shut and cannot be opened to those who have continued even to the end of life to come to the holy supper unworthily; for the interiors of their minds are then fixed and determined.


That baptism is introduction into the church has been shown in the chapter on Baptism; that the holy supper is introduction into heaven is clear from what has been said above when it is perceived. These two sacraments, baptism and the holy supper, are like two gates to eternal life. By baptism, which is the first gate, every Christian is let into and introduced into what the church teaches from the Word respecting the other life, all of which teaching forms the means whereby man can be prepared for and led to heaven. The second gate is the holy supper, by which every man who allows himself to be prepared and led by the Lord is admitted into and introduced into heaven. There are no other universal gates. These two sacraments may be likened to what occurs with a prince who is born heir to a kingdom, in that he is first introduced into a knowledge of the business of government, and in the second place is crowned and governs. They may be likened also to a son born to a great inheritance, in that he first learns and is imbued with such things as pertain to the proper management of possessions and riches, and secondly takes possession and control; also to the building of a house and dwelling in it; also to the course of a man's instruction from childhood until the period when he becomes independent and exercises his own judgment, and his subsequent rational and spiritual life. One period must needs precede, that the second may be attained; for without the former the latter is impossible. These illustrations make clear that baptism and the holy supper are like two gates through which man is introduced to eternal life; and that beyond the first gate there is a plain which he must pass over; and that the second is the goal where lies the prize to which he has directed his course. For the palm is not bestowed until after the struggle, nor the reward until the contest is decided.


VI. THOSE COME TO THE HOLY SUPPER WORTHILY WHO HAVE FAITH IN THE LORD AND CHARITY TOWARD THE NEIGHBOR, THAT IS, WHO ARE REGENERATE. That God, charity, and faith are the three universals of the church, because they are the universal means of salvation, is known, acknowledged, and perceived by every Christian who studies the Word. That God must be acknowledged in order that one may have religion, or that anything of the church may be in him, is declared by reason itself when there is anything spiritual in it; consequently, if one comes to the holy supper without acknowledging God, he profanes it; for he sees the bread and wine with the eye and tastes them with the tongue, while the thought of the mind is, "What is this but a useless ceremony, and how do this bread and wine differ from that on my own table? Nevertheless I partake of them, lest I be charged by the priesthood, and so also by the common people, with the infamy of being an atheist." [2] That after the acknowledgment of God, charity is the second means which enables one to come to the holy supper worthily is evident both from the Word and from the exhortations read before approaching the communion in the whole Christian world It is evident from the Word in this: That the first command or precept is to love God above all things, and the neighbor as oneself (Matt. 22:34-39; Luke 10:25-28). Again in Paul: That there are three things that contribute to salvation, and the greatest of these is charity (1 Cor. 13:13). Also from these passages: We know that God heareth not sinners; but if any man is a worshiper of God and doeth His will, him He heareth (John 9:31). Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire (Matt. 7:19, 20; Luke 3:8, 9). [3] It appears also from the exhortations read throughout the whole Christian world before coming to the holy supper. Everywhere men are thus earnestly admonished to be in charity by reconciliation and repentance. From these I will only quote the following passage from the exhortation read to communicants in England: "The way and means" to be worthy partakers of the holy supper "is, first to examine your lives and conversations by the rule of God's commandments; and whereinsoever ye shall perceive yourselves to have offended, either by will, word, or deed, there to bewail your own sinfulness, and to confess yourselves to Almighty God, with full purpose of amendment of life. And if ye shall perceive your offences to be such as are not only against God but also against your neighbors, then ye shall reconcile yourselves unto them, being ready to make restitution and satisfaction, according to the uttermost of your powers, for all injuries and wrongs done by you to any other; and being likewise ready to forgive others who have offended you, as ye would have forgiveness of your offences at God's hand; for otherwise the receiving of the holy communion doth nothing else but increase your damnation. Therefore if any of you be a blasphemer of God, a hinderer or slanderer of His Word, an adulterer, or be in malice, or envy, or in any other grievous crime, repent ye of your sins, or else come not to that holy table; lest, after the taking of that holy sacrament, the devil enter into you as he entered into Judas, and fill you full of all iniquities, and bring you to destruction both of body and soul." [4] Faith in the Lord is the third means of worthily enjoying the holy supper, because charity and faith make one, like heat and light in spring, from which two conjoined every tree is born anew; so from spiritual heat, which is charity, and from spiritual light, which is the truth of faith, every man has life. That faith in the Lord effects this is evident from the following passages: he that believeth in Me shall never die, but shall live (John 11:26, 26). This is the will of the Father that everyone that believeth on the Son shall have eternal life (John 6:40). God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should have eternal life (John 3:15, 16). He that believeth on the Son hath eternal life but he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him (John 3:36). We are in the truth, in the Son of God, Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life (1 John 5:20).


That man is regenerated by these three, the Lord, charity, and faith, acting as one, and that no one can enter heaven unless he is becoming regenerate, has been shown in the chapter on Reformation and Regeneration. So the Lord can open heaven to none but the regenerate, and after the natural death introduction into heaven is given to none else. By the regenerate, who come to the holy supper worthily, those are meant who are in these three essentials of the church and heaven interiorly, not those who are so only exteriorly, for such confess the Lord not with the soul but with the tongue only, and practice charity toward the neighbor not with the heart but with the body only. Such are all who are "workers of iniquity," according to these words of the Lord: Then shall ye begin to say, Lord, we have eaten and drunk before Thee. But I will say to you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from Me, all ye workers of iniquity (Luke 13:26-27).


These statements, like the former, may be illustrated by various things that are in accord with them, and also by some that correspond, as the following: No one is admitted to the table of an emperor or king except those who are high in office and rank; and even these, before they attend, clothe themselves in becoming garments, and put on their insignia, that they may come acceptably and receive favor. Why not the same with the table of the Lord, who is the Lord of lords and King of kings (Apoc. 17:14) to which table all are called and invited? But only those who are spiritually worthy and are clothed in honorable apparel are admitted, after arising from the table, into the palaces of heaven, and into the joys there, and honored as princes because they are sons of the Great King, and afterward sit down daily with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Matt. 8:11), by whom is meant the Lord in respect to the Divine celestial, the Divine spiritual, and the Divine natural. These things may also be likened to weddings on earth, to which only the relatives, connections, and friends of the bridegroom and bride are invited; and if anyone else comes, he may be admitted, but as he has no place at the table, he withdraws. So is it with those who are called to the marriage of the Lord as the Bridegroom with the church as the bride, with whom those are kindred, relatives, and friends, whose common origin comes through regeneration by the Lord. And again, who in the world is initiated into another's friendship, unless he is at heart sincerely faithful and does what the other wishes? Such only does a man number among his friends and trust with his property.


VII. THOSE WHO COME TO THE HOLY SUPPER WORTHILY ARE IN THE LORD AND THE LORD IS IN THEM; CONSEQUENTLY CONJUNCTION WITH THE LORD IS EFFECTED BY THE HOLY SUPPER. In several chapters above it has been shown that those come to the holy supper worthily who have faith in the Lord and charity toward the neighbor; and that the presence of the Lord is effected by the truths of faith, and conjunction with Him by the goods of charity together with faith; and from this it follows that those who worthily come to the holy supper are conjoined with the Lord, and those who are conjoined with Him are in Him and He in them. That this takes place with those who come worthily, the Lord Himself declares in John as follows: He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood abideth in Me and I in him (John 6:56). That this is conjunction with Him, He also teaches elsewhere in John: Abide in Me and I in you, He that abideth in Me and I in him, the same beareth much fruit (John 15:4-5; Rev. 3:20). What is conjunction with the Lord but being among those who are in His body? And those constitute His body who believe in Him and do His will. His will is the exercise of charity in accordance with the truths of faith.


Eternal life and salvation are impossible without conjunction with the Lord, for the reason that He is both of these. That He is eternal life is clearly evident from certain passages in the Word, as from the following in John: Jesus Christ is the true God and eternal life (1 John 5:20). He is also salvation, because this and eternal life are one. His name Jesus signifies salvation, and therefore He is called the Savior throughout the Christian world. And yet only those come to the holy supper worthily who are interiorly conjoined with the Lord, and those are interiorly conjoined with Him who are regenerated. Who the regenerated are has been shown in the chapter on Reformation and Regeneration. Again there are many who confess the Lord, and who do good to the neighbor; but unless this is done from love to the neighbor and from faith in the Lord, they are not regenerated, for such do good to the neighbor solely for reasons that look to the world and themselves, and not to the neighbor as the neighbor. The works of such are merely natural, and do not have concealed within them anything spiritual; for they confess the Lord with the mouth and lips only, from which their heart is far away. True love to the neighbor, and true faith, are from the Lord alone, and both are given to man when he from his freedom of choice does good to the neighbor naturally, and believes truths rationally, and looks to the Lord, doing these three things because they are commanded in the Word. The Lord then implants charity and faith in the midst of him, and makes both of these spiritual. Thus the Lord conjoins Himself to man, and man conjoins himself to the Lord, for no conjunction is possible unless it is effected reciprocally. But all this has been fully set forth in the chapters on Charity, Faith, Freedom of Choice, and Regeneration.


It is well known that in the world conjunctions and affiliations are brought about by invitations to the table and by feasts, for the host thereby designs something that contributes to some end that looks to harmony or friendship; much more so the invitations that have spiritual objects in view. Feasts in the ancient churches and also in the primitive Christian church were feasts of charity, at which they strengthened each other to abide in the worship of the Lord with sincere hearts. When the children of Israel ate together of the sacrifices near the tabernacle, it signified nothing else than unanimity in the worship of Jehovah; therefore the flesh that they ate, being a part of the sacrifice, was called holy (Jer. 11:15; Hag. 2:12, and frequently elsewhere). Why not, then, the bread and wine and the paschal flesh at the supper of the Lord, who offered Himself a sacrifice for the sins of all the world? world? [2] And again, conjunction with the Lord by means of the holy supper may be illustrated by the conjunction of several families descendants of one father; from whom blood relations descend and in their order kindred and connections, all deriving something from the first stock. But it is not flesh and blood they thus acquire, but something from the flesh and blood, that is, the soul and an inclination therefrom to like things, whereby they are conjoined. Also the conjunction itself is apparent in a general way in the features and in the manners, and they are therefore called one flesh (as in Gen. 29:14; 37:27; 2 Sam. 5:1; 19:12-13, and elsewhere). [3] It is the same in respect to conjunction with the Lord who is the Father of all the faithful and blessed. Conjunction with Him is effected by means of love and faith, whereby two are said to be one flesh. Therefore the Lord said: He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood abideth in Me and I in him (John 6:56). Who does not see that the bread and wine do not effect this, but the good of love, which is meant by the bread, and the truth of faith, which is meant by the wine, and which are the Lord's own, and which go forth and are communicated from Him alone? Moreover, all conjunction is effected by love, and love is not love without trust. Let those who believe that the bread is flesh, and the wine blood, and who cannot raise their thought above this belief, remain in it, yet not without this truth, that that which is most holy in it, and which effects conjunction with the Lord, is what is attributed and appropriated to man as his own, though it remains unceasingly the Lord's.


VIII. TO THOSE WHO COME TO THE HOLY SUPPER WORTHILY IS LIKE A SIGNATURE AND SEAL THAT THEY ARE THE SONS OF GOD. The reason why the holy supper is to those who come to it worthily like a signature and seal that they are the sons of God, is that as before said, the Lord is then present, and admits into heaven those who are born of Him, that is, the regenerate. The holy supper effects this, because the Lord is then present even as to His Human (for it has been shown above that in the holy supper the Lord is wholly present, and with His whole redemption); for of the bread He said, "This is my body; and of the wine, "This is My blood." Consequently He then admits them into His Body; and the church and heaven constitute His Body. When man is becoming regenerate, the Lord is indeed present, and through His Divine operation prepares man for heaven; but that man may actually enter he must present himself to the Lord; and as the Lord actually presents Himself to man, man must actually receive Him, not, however, as He hung upon the cross, but as He is in His glorified Human, in which He is present, the body of which is the Divine good and the blood of which is the Divine truth. These are given to man, and by means of them man is regenerated, and he is in the Lord and the Lord in him; and for the reason shown above, that the eating which is manifested in the holy supper is a spiritual eating. From all this rightly understood it is clear that the holy supper is like a signature and seal that those who come to it worthily are sons of God.


But those who die in infancy or childhood, not reaching the age at which they can come worthily to the holy supper, are introduced into heaven by the Lord through baptism; for baptism (as has been shown in the chapter on Baptism), is introduction into the Christian church, and also insertion among Christians in the spiritual world; and there the church and heaven are one; therefore to those who are there, introduction into the church is also introduction into heaven; and as they are there educated under the auspices of the Lord, they become more and more regenerate, and become His children; for they know no other Father. But children and youths born outside of the Christian church are introduced when they have received faith in the Lord, into the heaven assigned to their religion by other means than baptism; and are not mingled with those who are in the Christian heaven. For there is not a nation in all the world that may not be saved if it acknowledges God and lives well; for they have all been redeemed by the Lord, and man is by birth spiritual, whereby he has an ability to receive the gift of redemption. Those who receive the Lord, that is, have faith in Him, and do not lead an evil life, are called: Sons of God, and born of God (John 1:12-13; 11:52); Also children of the kingdom (Matt. 13:38); And again heirs (Matt. 19:29; 25:34); The Lord's disciples are also called sons (John 13:33); And so are all angels (Job 1:6; 2:1).


It is with the holy supper as with a covenant, which, after the articles of agreement are settled, is drawn up and finally executed with a seal. That the Lord's blood is a covenant, He Himself teaches; for when He took the cup and gave it, He said: Drink of it, all of you; for this is My blood of the new testament (Matt. 26:27, 28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20). "The new testament" means the new covenant; therefore the Word written by the prophets before the Lord's coming is called the Old Testament or Covenant, while that written after His coming by the evangelists and apostles is called the New Testament or Covenant. That "blood" as well as the wine of the holy supper means the Divine truth of the Word can be seen above (n. 706, 708), and the Word is the covenant itself which the Lord made with man and man with the Lord; for the Lord descended as the Word, that is, as Divine truth; and as this is His blood, so in the Israelitish church, which was representative of the Christian church, blood is called, The blood of the covenant (Exod. 24:7-8; Zech. 9:11); And the Lord a covenant of the people (Isa. 42:6; 49:8; Jer. 31:31-34; Ps. 111:9). Moreover, it is in accordance with order in the world that there should be by all means a signature, in order that there may be some certitude, and that it should follow after deliberate action. What is a commission or a will without the signature? What is a legal decision without a decree signed to ratify the decision? What is a high office in a kingdom without a commission? What is promotion to any office if it is not confirmed? What is the possession of a house without purchase or agreement with the owner? What is progression to an end, or running to a goal, and thus for a reward, if there is no end or goal where the reward is to be gained; or if the judge has not in some manner made the wager sure? But these last have been added merely for the sake of illustration, that even the simple may see that the holy supper is like a signature, a seal, a badge, or a proof of appointment even to the angels, that those who come to it worthily are sons of God; and it is also like a key to the house in heaven where they are to dwell forever.


I once saw an angel flying beneath the eastern heaven, holding a trumpet in his hand and at his lips, and blowing it toward the north, toward the west, and toward the south. He was clad in a robe that floated behind him as he flew, and he was engirdled with a belt that blazed and shone, as it were, with carbuncles and sapphires. He flew downward, and alighted gently on the ground near where I stood. As he touched the ground, he walked hither and thither erect upon his feet, and when he saw me directed his steps toward me. I was in the spirit, and in that state was standing on a hill in the southern quarter. As he came near I spoke to him, saying, "What now? I heard the sound of your trumpet, and saw you descend through the air." The angel replied: "I am sent to convoke from among those dwelling in this world who are from the kingdoms of the Christian world, such men as are most celebrated for learning, of the finest genius, and most noted for wisdom, that they may come together on this hill where you are now standing, and freely express their minds as to what they thought and understood and what wisdom they had when in the world, respecting Heavenly Joy and Eternal Happiness. [2] I have been sent on this mission because some newcomers from the world having been admitted into our heavenly society which is in the east, have told us that not one single person in the whole Christian world knows what heavenly joy and eternal happiness are, and thus what heaven is. At this my brethren and companions were much astonished, and said to me, 'Go down, make proclamation, and call together the wisest men in the world of spirits, where all mortals are first assembled after their departure from the natural world, in order that we may know with certainty from the mouths of many, whether it is true that such darkness or dense ignorance prevails among Christians respecting the future life." The angel then said, "Wait a little, and you will see troops of the wise ones flocking hither; the Lord will prepare a house for them to meet in." [3] I waited; and behold, after half an hour saw two companies coming from the north, two from the west, and two from the south; and as they arrived they were led by the angel who had the trumpet to the house prepared for them, and there occupied the places assigned them according to their quarters. There were six companies or troops, and there was a seventh from the east which was not visible to the others because of its superior light. When they had assembled, the angel explained the reason of their convocation, and asked the companies to set forth in succession their wisdom respecting Heavenly Joy and Eternal Happiness. Each company then formed a circle, all turning their faces inward, that they might recall the subject from ideas acquired in the former world and then carefully consider it, and after consideration and consultation express their views.


After consultation the first company, which was from the north, said, "Heavenly joy and eternal happiness are one with the very life of heaven; therefore one who enters heaven enters as to his life into its festivities, precisely as anyone going to a wedding enters into its festivities. Do we not see that heaven is above us, thus in place? Are there not enjoyments upon enjoyments and pleasures upon pleasures there, and there only? When man is admitted into heaven he is admitted into these pleasures as to every perception of his mind and every sensation of his body, out of the plenitude of the joys of that place. Therefore heavenly happiness, which is also eternal happiness, is simply admission into heaven, which admission is of Divine grace." [2] When this had been said, the company from the north from its wisdom expressed the following opinion: "Heavenly joy and eternal happiness are no other than most cheerful companionship with angels and the sweetest conversations with them, whereby the countenance is continually expanded with gladness and the faces of all the company are kept sweetly smiling with compliments and pleasantries. What are heavenly joys but variations of such things to eternity?" [3] The third company, which was the first company of the wise men from the western quarter, from the thoughts of their affections delivered the following opinion: "What are heavenly joy and eternal happiness but feastings with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, on whose tables there will be delicate and costly food, with generous and noble wines; and after the feasts sports and dances of virgins and young men to the music of symphonies and flutes, interspersed with singing of the sweetest songs? And in the evenings there will be dramatic exhibitions, and after these feasting again, and so on daily forever." [4] After that the fourth company, which was the second from the western quarter, declared their opinion, saying, "We have entertained several ideas about heavenly joy and eternal happiness; and we have examined various kinds of joy, comparing them with one another, and we have reached the conclusion that heavenly joys are paradisal joys. What is heaven but a paradise, extending from the east to the west and from the south to the north, and containing fruit trees and delightful flowers, in the midst of which is the magnificent tree of life, and around these the blessed will sit eating delicious fruit and adorned with wreaths of flowers of the sweetest odors, which, breathed upon by perpetual spring, are created and recreated daily with infinite variety? And the minds of these, being continually renewed by this perpetual growth and bloom, and also by the ever-vernal temperature, cannot but inhale and exhale new joys each day, and be restored thereby to the flower of their youth, and through this to the primitive state into which Adam and his wife were created, and so be readmitted into their paradise, transferred from earth to heaven." [5] The fifth company, which was the first of the gifted ones from the southern quarter, spoke as follows: "Heavenly joys and eternal happiness are nothing but supreme dominion, boundless wealth, and thereby more than royal magnificence and transcendent splendor. That such are the joys of heaven and their unceasing fruition, which is eternal happiness; we saw clearly from the state of those in the former world who possessed them, and also from the teaching that the blessed in heaven are to reign with the Lord, and are to be kings and princes, because they are the sons of Him who is King of kings and Lord of lords, and that they are to sit on thrones, and angels are to minister unto them. The magnificence of heaven we clearly saw from this, that the New Jerusalem, whereby the glory of heaven is depicted, is to have gates, each of which will be one pearl, and streets of pure gold, and a wall with foundations of precious stones; consequently that everyone who is received into heaven has a palace of his own glittering with gold and precious stones, and a dominion that will be transmitted in order from one to another. And as we knew that joys and happiness are inherent in such things, and that God's promises cannot fail, we have been unable to attribute the most happy state of heavenly life to any other source." [6] Then the sixth company, which was the second from the southern quarter, raised their voice and said, "The joy of heaven and its eternal happiness is no other than the perpetual glorification of God, a never-ceasing festival and most blissful worship with songs and jubilees, thus a constant uplifting of the heart to God, with full trust that He accepts those prayers and praises because of His Divine munificence in bestowing such blessedness." Some of the company added that this glorification would take place with splendid illuminations, most fragrant incense, and processions of great pomp, the chief priest going before with a great trumpet, the primates and other orders greater and less following him, and after these, men with palms and women with golden images in their hands.


The seventh company, which was invisible to the others because of its superior light, was from the eastern quarter of heaven. They were angels of the same society as that to which the angel who had the trumpet belonged. When these heard in heaven that not a single person in the Christian world knew what the joy of heaven and eternal happiness are, they said to each other, "Surely this cannot be true; there cannot be such thick darkness and such mental stupor among Christians; let us go down ourselves also, and hear whether it is true; if it is, it is certainly a wonder." Then these angels said to the angel with the trumpet, "We know that every man who has desired heaven, and has thought at all definitely about the joys there, is introduced after death into these imagined joys; and after such have experienced the nature of these joys and found them to be according to the empty fancies of the mind and their wild imaginings, they are led out of them and instructed. This takes place with most of those in the world of spirits who in the former life had meditated about heaven, and had formed such conclusions about its joys as to desire them." On hearing this the angel with the trumpet said to the six companies called together from the wise of the Christian world, "Follow me, and I will introduce you into your joys, and thus into heaven."


So saying, the angel led the way; and the first company that followed him was of those who had persuaded themselves that heavenly joys were merely most cheerful companionship and most agreeable conversations. These were introduced by the angel to an assembly in the northern quarter, who in the former world had thought the joys of heaven to be of that character. There was a spacious house there in which they were assembled. In the house there were more than fifty rooms, distinguished by the different kinds of conversation. In some of the rooms they talked about what they had seen and heard in the marketplace and on the streets; in some they made amorous remarks about the fair sex, adding occasional jests until every face in the company expanded with merry laughter. In other rooms they talked about the news concerning courts, ministers, the state of politics, and the various things that had emanated from secret councils, mingled with arguments and conjectures about events. In other rooms they talked about business; in others about literary matters; in others about matters pertaining to civil prudence and moral life; and in others again about ecclesiastical affairs, the sects; and so on. I was permitted to look into that house, and I saw men running from room to room, seeking companionship in their preferences and thus in their joy; and of such companionship I saw three kinds. Some were very eager to talk, some anxious to ask questions, and some greedy to hear. [2] There were four doors to the house, one toward each quarter; and I noticed that many separated themselves from the companies and were in haste to go out. I followed some to the eastern door, and saw them sitting near it with sad faces. I approached them and asked why they were sitting there so sad; and they replied, "The doors of this house are kept closed against those who wish to go out; and it is now the third day since we entered; and the life of our desire has been exhausted in company and conversation, and we have become so wearied by unceasing talk that we can hardly bear to hear the murmur of the sound of it. And so out of weariness we came to this door and knocked, but we were told that the doors of this house are not opened to let people out, but only to let them in, and that we must stay and enjoy the delights of heaven; and from this we have come to the conclusion that we are to remain here forever; and therefore sadness has seized our minds, and now our breasts begin to feel oppressed, and anxiety is coming upon us." [3] The angel then addressed them and said, "This state is the death of those joys of yours which you believed to be the only heavenly joys, when in fact they are only accessories of heavenly joys." They asked the angel, "What, then is heavenly joy?" The angel answered briefly, "It is delight in doing something useful both for oneself and for others. Delight in use derives its essence from love and its existence from wisdom. Delight in use arising from love through wisdom is the soul and life of all heavenly joys. In the heavens there are the most gladsome companionships, which exhilarate the minds of the angels, cheer their spirits, delight their breasts, and refresh their bodies; but these they enjoy after they have performed their uses in their offices and employments, from which come the soul and life in all their pleasures and enjoyments; but if that soul or life is taken away the accessory joys gradually cease to be joys, becoming first indistinct, then as it were worthless, and at length distasteful and distressing." When this had been said, the door was opened, and those sitting near it sprang out; and they fled to their homes, each to his duty and work, and were revived.


After this the angel addressed those who had adopted the idea that the joys of heaven and eternal happiness are feastings with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, followed by games and spectacles, and then feasting again, and so on to eternity. And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will introduce you into the felicities of your joys." And he led them through a meadow to a plain staked out, and on it tables were placed, fifteen on each side. They asked why there were so many tables; the angel replied, "The first table is Abraham's, the second Isaac's, the third Jacob's and near them in order are the tables of the twelve apostles; on the other side is the same number of tables for their wives; the three first being for Sarah, Abraham's wife, Rebecca, Isaac's wife, and Leah and Rachel, Jacob's wives; the twelve remaining tables are for the wives of the twelve apostles." [2] After a little delay, all the tables were seen to be loaded with dishes, and the spaces between decorated with little pyramids of sweetmeats. The guests stood around the tables waiting to see those who were to preside. These, after a little waiting, appeared, entering in order of procession from Abraham to the last of the apostles; and each going at once to his own table, took his place upon a couch at the head of it. Then they said to those standing around, "Sit you down with us." And the men sat down with those fathers, and the women with their wives, and ate and drank in gladness and with reverence. After the meal the fathers went out; and then sports were introduced, dances by maidens and young men, and afterward spectacles; and when these were ended the guests were again invited to the feasting, but with the understanding that on the first day they should eat with Abraham, on the second with Isaac, on the third with Jacob, on the fourth with Peter, on the fifth with James, on the sixth with John, on the seventh with Paul, and with all the rest in order until the fifteenth day, when they were to renew the feasting again in the same order; changing seats; and so on to eternity. [3] After this the angel called together the men of his company and said to them, "All those whom you see at the tables had the same imaginary thought about the joys of heaven and its eternal happiness that you had; and these feasting scenes were instituted and permitted by the Lord in order that they might see the vanity of their ideas and be led away from them. Those chief men whom you saw at the head of the tables merely impersonated old men; most of them are rustics with beards, and puffed up by some little wealth, upon whom has been induced the fantasy that they actually were those ancient fathers. But follow me to the ways of exit from this camp." [4] They followed him; and they saw fifty here and fifty there who had loaded their stomachs with food until they were nauseated, and longed to return to the familiar scenes of their own homes, some to their offices, some to their business, and some to their trades. But many were detained by the keepers of the grove, and were asked how many days they had feasted, and whether they had yet eaten at the tables with Peter and Paul, and were told that it would be shameful for them to go away before doing so, because it would be unbecoming. But most of them answered, "We are surfeited with our joys, the food has become insipid to us, our taste has dried up, our stomachs loathe these things, we cannot bear these drinks, we have spent several days and nights in this luxury, and we earnestly beg to be let out." And being let out, with panting breath and hurried steps they fled home. [5] Then the angel called the men of his company, and on the way taught them about heaven, as follows: "In heaven, just as in the world, there are food and drink, feasts and convivial parties, on the tables of the great are the choicest foods, rarities, and delicacies, whereby their spirits are exhilarated and refreshed; there are also plays and exhibitions, and instrumental and vocal music; and all in the highest perfection. Moreover, such things are joys to those in heaven, but not happiness; happiness must be in the joys, and thus from them. It is happiness in the joys that causes them to be joys, enriches them, and so sustains them as to prevent their becoming paltry and wearisome; and this happiness every man has from use in his employment. [6] "In the affection of every angel's will there is a kind of hidden current that draws his mind to the doing of something, wherein the mind finds tranquillity and satisfaction; and this satisfaction and tranquillity produce a state of mind receptive of the love of use from the Lord; and from the reception of this love comes heavenly happiness, which is the life of those joys that have been enumerated. Heavenly food in its essence is no other than love, wisdom, and use together; that is, use from love through wisdom; and because of this to everyone in heaven food for the body is given according to the use he performs, most excellent food to those who are eminently useful; food of medium quality but of exquisite taste to those whose use is of the middle grade; inferior food to those who perform low uses; but none to the indolent."


The angel then called to him that company of so-called wise men who had placed heavenly joys and eternal happiness therefrom in the possession of supreme dominion and boundless wealth, and in more than royal magnificence and transcendent splendor, because it is said in the Word that the righteous should be kings and princes, and should reign with Christ forever, and be ministered unto by the angels; and so on. To these the angel said, "Follow me, and I will introduce you into your joys." And he led them into a portico constructed of columns and pyramids. In front of it was a low porch which formed the entrance to the portico; and through this he led them; and behold, twenty persons were seen there, and were waiting. And presently there came one who impersonated an angel, and said to them, "The way to heaven is through this portico; wait here a while and prepare yourselves, for the older among you are to be kings, and the younger princes." [2] When he had said this a throne was seen near each column, and on it a robe of silk, and on the robe a scepter and crown; and near each pyramid a seat appeared raised three cubits from the ground; on each seat was a chain made of small links of gold, and scarfs of an order of knights fastened together at the ends with diamond rings. It was then proclaimed, "Go now and robe yourselves, take your seats, and wait." And instantly the older men ran to the thrones, and the younger to the seats, and robed themselves and sat down. Then a kind of mist appeared coming up from the lower regions, and as this drew near, the faces of those occupying the thrones and seats began to swell and their hearts to heave, and they were filled with the confidence that they were now kings and princes. That mist was the aura of hallucination by which they were inspired. And presently some youths flew to them as if from heaven, and stood two behind each throne, and one behind each seat, to serve them. Proclamation was then made in turn by a herald, "Ye kings and princes, wait yet a little while, your palaces in heaven are now being made ready; the courtiers will come soon with their lifeguards and lead you to them." They waited and waited until their spirits panted and grew weary with desire. [3] After three hours the heaven above their heads was opened and angels looked down, and pitying them, said, "Why do you sit there so foolishly, acting like players? They have played tricks upon you and have changed you from men to images, because you have fixed it in your hearts that you were to reign with Christ like kings and princes, and that angels would then minister unto you. Have you forgotten the words of the Lord, that he who would be great in heaven must become a servant? Learn, then, that being kings and princes and reigning with Christ, means being wise and performing uses; for the kingdom of Christ, which is heaven, is a kingdom of uses, because the Lord loves all, and therefore wills good to all, and good is use. And as the Lord does what is good or useful mediately through angels, and in the world through men, so to those who faithfully perform uses, He gives the love of use and its reward, which is internal blessedness, and this is eternal happiness. [4] In the heavens as on earth there are supreme dominions, and boundless wealth; for there are governments there, and forms of government, and therefore greater and lesser powers and dignities; and those who occupy the highest positions have palaces and courts, which surpass those of emperors and kings on earth in magnificence and splendor; and they are surrounded with honor and glory because of the number of courtiers, ministers, and attendants, and their splendid vestments. But those who are thus exalted are chosen from among those whose hearts are in the public welfare, while their bodily senses only are appealed to by the grandeur of magnificence for the fostering of obedience. And as it is a matter of public welfare that everyone should be of some use in society as in the common body, and as all use is from the Lord, and is effected through angels and men as if it were done by them, it is clear that this is reigning with the Lord." When this had been heard from heaven, those who had impersonated the kings and princes descended from the thrones and seats and threw away their scepters, crowns, and robes; and the mist in which was the aura of hallucination departed from them, and a bright cloud overshadowed them, in which there was an aura of wisdom, and sanity was thereby restored to their minds.


After this the angel returned to the house where the wise from the Christian world had assembled, and called to him those who had persuaded themselves that the joys of heaven and eternal happiness were paradisal delights. To them he said, "Follow me, and I will conduct you into paradise, your heaven, so that you may enter into the beatitudes of your eternal happiness." And he led them through a lofty gate formed by the interwoven branches and shoots of noble trees; and when they had passed through this he led them about by winding paths from one quarter to another. The place was actually a paradise which is at the first entrance to heaven, and into which are admitted those who had believed when in the world that all heaven is a paradise, because heaven is called paradise, and who had impressed upon themselves the idea that after death there is complete rest from labor, and that this rest is nothing else than breathing the very soul of delights, walking upon roses, being gladdened by the finest juice of the grape, and banqueting; and that this life is to be found only in a heavenly paradise. [2] As they followed the angel they saw a great multitude of men both old and young, and of boys, women and girls, sitting in groups of three and groups of ten on flower-beds, weaving wreaths with which they decorated the heads of the old men and the arms of the young men, and bands of which they fastened across the breasts of the boys; others were pressing juice from grapes, cherries, and mulberries, into cups, and drinking it sociably; others were inhaling the fragrance exhaled and diffused from flowers, fruit, and odoriferous leaves; others were singing sweet songs which soothed the ears of the listeners; others sat at fountains, turning the water of the gushing streams into different shapes; some were walking about, talking and jesting; some entered into little garden-houses to recline on couches; and many other paradisal forms of pleasure they saw. [3] When they had seen these things, the angel led his companions here and there through winding ways, and at last to some persons seated on a most beautiful flower-bed surrounded by orange, olive, and citron trees. These sat swaying themselves to and fro, wailing and weeping, their faces resting on their hands. The angel's companions addressed them asking why they sat thus. They answered, "It is now seven days since we came into this paradise. When we came in, our minds seemed to be exalted to heaven and to be admitted into the innermost satisfactions of its joys; but after three days those satisfactions began to diminish, to fade from our minds, to become imperceptible, and so to fail altogether. And when our imaginary joys had thus ceased, we feared the loss of all the delights of our life, and began to doubt whether there is any such thing as eternal happiness. After this we wandered through paths and plots in search of the gate by which we entered; but we simply walked about and about, making inquiries of those we met. Some of them said that the gate could not be found, because this paradisal garden is a vast labyrinth of such a nature that anyone wishing to go out only entered more deeply in, adding, 'Therefore you will have to remain here to eternity; you are now in the midst of the paradise where is the center of all its delights!'" To the companions of the angels they said further, "We have already been sitting here a day and a half; and as we are now hopeless of finding our way out, we sat down here on this flower-bed, and are looking about us at the abundance of olives, grapes, oranges, and citrons. But the more we look about the more does our sight become weary of seeing, our smell of smelling, and our taste of tasting. This is the cause of the sadness in which you find us and of our wailing and weeping." [4] When they had heard this, the angel of the company said to them, "This paradisal labyrinth is really an entrance to heaven. I know the way out, and will lead you to it." At these words those who were seated arose and embraced the angel, and joining his company went with him. And the angel taught them on the way what heavenly joy and its eternal happiness are, that they are not external paradisal delights unless there is in them internal paradisal delights. "External paradisal delights," he said, "are delights of the bodily senses only, while internal paradisal delights are delights of the soul's affections; unless these are in the former there is no heavenly life in them, because there is no soul in them; and any delight apart from its correspondent soul gradually languishes, becomes torpid, and wearies the mind more than labor. There are paradisal gardens everywhere in heaven, and from them the angels derive their joys; and so far as the soul's delight is in them, so far those joys are joys to them." [5] Hearing this they all asked, "What is the soul's delight, and what is its origin?" The angel replied, "The soul's delight comes from love and wisdom from the Lord; and because love is the efficient, and becomes efficient by means of wisdom, so the abode of both is in the effect and the effect is use. This delight flows from the Lord into the soul, and descends through the higher and lower regions of the mind into all the bodily senses, and finds its fullness in them. Joy thereby becomes joy, and it becomes eternal from the Eternal in whom it originates. You have been viewing paradisal scenes, and I declare to you that there is not one thing there, not even a little leaf, that does not come from the marriage of love and wisdom in use. Therefore if man is in this marriage he is in a heavenly paradise, and thus in heaven."


After this the angelic leader returned to the hall, to those who had firmly persuaded themselves that heavenly joy and eternal happiness are a perpetual glorification of God and an endless festival; and this, because they had believed when in the world that after death they would see God, and because the life of heaven on account of the worship of God there, is called a perpetual sabbath. To these the angel said, "Follow me, and I will introduce you into your joy." And he led them into a small city. In the center of it there was a temple, and all the houses were called sacred chapels. In this city they saw a gathering of people from every quarter of the surrounding country, and among them a number of priests who received the visitors, saluted them, and taking them by the hand led them to the gates of the temple, and then to some chapels round about the temple, and initiated them into the endless worship of God; saying, "This city is the vestibule of heaven, and the temple of this city is the entrance to a grand and spacious temple in heaven, where God is glorified by angels with praises and prayers forever. It is ordered both here and there that newcomers shall first enter the temple and remain there three days and three nights, and after this initiation shall enter into the houses of this city (which are so many chapels consecrated by us), and shall go from chapel to chapel, and in communion with those assembled there shall pray, and shout, and repeat what has been preached. Be very careful to think of nothing by yourselves and to speak of nothing with your companions, except what is holy, and pious, and religious." [2] After this the angel led his company into the temple, which was full, and was crowded with many who had enjoyed great dignity in the world, and also with many common people. At the gates of the temple guards were placed to prevent anyone from going out until he had been there three days. And the angel said, "This is the second day since these people came in; watch them, and you will see how they glorify God." And looking at them they saw most of them asleep, and those who were awake continually yawning; and some of them, in consequence of the continued elevation of their thoughts to God without any return whatever to the body, seemed like faces separated from their bodies (for so they appeared to themselves, and therefore to others); and the eyes of some looked wild from their being continually turned upward. In a word, the breasts of all were oppressed, and their spirits were weary with the tediousness; and they turned away from the pulpit and cried out, "Our ears are stunned, stop your preaching; we no longer hear a word; the very sound begins to be more than we can bear." And then they rose up and rushed in a mass to the gates, broke them open, overpowered the guards and drove them away. [3] Seeing this the priests followed, keeping close to them, teaching and teaching, praying and sighing, and saying, "Celebrate the festival, glorify God, sanctify yourselves; in this vestibule of heaven we will inaugurate you into an eternal glorification of God in the grand and spacious temple that is in heaven, and thus lead you into the enjoyment of eternal happiness." But the crowd did not understand these words, and scarcely heard them because of the dullness of their minds from a two days' suspension and detention from domestic and outdoor affairs. But when they attempted to tear themselves away from the priests, the priests caught them by the arms, and also by their clothing, urging them to the chapels to hear their sermons; but in vain. They cried out, "Let us go; we feel as if we should faint." [4] At these words four men in white garments and with miters appeared. One of them when in the world had been an archbishop, and the other three had been bishops; they had now become angels. These called the priests together, and addressing them, said, "We saw you from heaven with these sheep, and saw how you are feeding them. You are feeding them even to madness. You do not know what glorifying God means. It means to bring forth the fruits of love, that is, to discharge faithfully, sincerely, and diligently the work of one's calling; for this is from love to God and love to the neighbor, and is the bond of society and the good of society. It is in this way that God is glorified, and then by worship at stated times. Have you not read these words of the Lord? Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; and ye shall become My disciples (John 15:8). [5] You priests may be in the glorifying of God by means of worship, because it is your office, and from it you have honor, glory, and remuneration; but you could no more continue in it than these people if honor, glory, and remuneration were not connected with your office." So saying the bishops ordered the guards at the gate to let all pass out and to admit all, "for," they said, "there are a great many who can conceive of no other heavenly joy than the unceasing worship of God, because they have been wholly ignorant of what the heavenly state is."


After this the angel returned with his companions to the place of meeting, from which the different companies of wise men had not yet departed, and there he called to him those who believed that heavenly joy and eternal happiness are merely admittance into heaven, and that this admittance is from Divine grace, and that those admitted are at once gifted with joy, like those in the world who are permitted to enter royal palaces on days of festivity, or are invited to weddings. To these the angel said, "Wait here a while, and I will sound my trumpet, and those who are celebrated for wisdom in the spiritual affairs of the church will come hither." After a few hours there came nine men, each decorated with a laurel wreath as a token of his reputation. These were led by the angel in to the place of meeting where all those called together before were waiting, and in their presence the angel addressed the nine wearing the wreaths, saying, "I know that you, because of your wish and in accordance with your ideas, have been permitted to ascend to heaven, and that you have returned to this lower or sub-celestial earth with a full knowledge of the state of heaven; tell us therefore how heaven appeared to you." [2] They replied in order. The first said, "My idea of heaven, from earliest boyhood even until the end of my life in the world, was, that it was a place of all kinds of blessedness, satisfaction, delight, gratification, and pleasure; and that if I were to be admitted there I should be surrounded by an aura of such felicities, and should inhale them with full breast, like a bridegroom when he celebrates his marriage and enters the marriage-chamber with his bride. With this idea I ascended to heaven; I passed the first guards, and also the second; but when I came to the third, the officer of the guards addressed me and said, 'Who are you, friend?' I answered, 'Is not this heaven? I came here prompted by my own earnest desire; admit me, I entreat you.' And he admitted me. And I saw some angels in white garments, who walked around me, and looked at me, and murmured, 'Here is a new guest, not clothed in the garments of heaven.' I heard the remark, and thought, 'This seems to me like what the Lord said of the man who came to the wedding not having a wedding-garment;' and I said, 'Give me such garments of heaven.' But they only laughed. And then one came running from the court with the command, 'Strip him naked, cast him out, and throw his clothes after him.' And so I was cast out." [3] The second in order then said, "I also believed as he did, that if I were only admitted into heaven, which was above my head, joys would flow around me, and I should breathe them forever. I also obtained my wish. But when the angels saw me they fled, and said to one another, 'What portent is this? How did that bird of night get here?' And I actually felt myself to be changed from being a man, although I was not changed. This effect was produced by my inhaling the heavenly atmosphere. And presently one ran from the court with the command that two servants should lead me out, and conduct me back by the way I came, right to my own house. And when I was at home, I again appeared to myself and others as a man." [4] The third said, "My constant idea of heaven was derived from place, not from love; and therefore when I entered this world I longed intensely to get into heaven, and seeing some ascending, I followed, and was admitted, though only a few steps. But when I wished to gladden my mind with an idea of the joys and blessedness there, owing to the light of heaven (which was white like snow, and the essence of which is said to be wisdom), a stupor seized my mind, and from it a thick darkness came upon my eyes, and I began to be insane; and presently, owing to the heat of heaven (which corresponded to the brightness of that light, and the essence of which is said to be love), my heart palpitated, anxiety took possession of me, I was tortured with interior pain, and threw myself down at full length upon the ground. And while I was lying there, an attendant came from the court with the command for them to carry me away carefully into my own light and heat, and as soon as I came into these my spirit and heart were restored to me." [5] The fourth said, "My idea of heaven also was derived from place, not from love, and as soon as I entered the spiritual world I asked some wise men whether it was allowable to ascend to heaven. They told me that everyone is permitted, but he should beware lest he be cast down again. I laughed at this, and went up, believing like the others that all in the whole world are capable of receiving the joys of heaven in their fullness. But verily, as soon as I entered I became almost dead; and from the pain and consequent torture in my head and body, I threw myself upon the ground, writhed like a serpent near a fire, crawled to the brink, and thus cast myself down. Afterwards I was taken up by some who stood below, and carried to an inn, where my health was restored." [6] The remaining five also gave wonderful accounts of their ascents to heaven, comparing the changes of their states of life to that of fishes when taken out of water into the air, and of birds when taken up into the ether, and they said, that after those hard experiences they no longer had any desire for heaven; but only for a life in company with their like, wherever they might be; and that they knew that in the world of spirits where we then were, all are first prepared, the good for heaven and the evil for hell; and when prepared, they see ways opened for them to societies of those like themselves, with whom they are to remain forever; also that they then enter these ways with delight, because they are the ways of their love. When those of the first assembly had heard these statements, they all confessed that they, too, had entertained no other idea of heaven than as a place where with full mouth they might forever drink in the joys flowing around them. [7] The angel with the trumpet then said to them, "You now see that the joys of heaven and eternal happiness are not a matter of place, but of the state of man's life, and the state of heavenly life is from love and wisdom; and as use is the containant of these two, the state of heavenly life is from the conjunction of these in use. It is the same if we say instead, charity, faith, and good works, since charity is love, faith is truth from which comes wisdom, and good works are uses. Furthermore, there are places in our spiritual world as in the natural world, otherwise there would be no habitations or distinct dwellings; and yet place here is not place, but an appearance of place in accordance with the state of love and wisdom, or charity and faith. [8] Everyone who becomes an angel carries his heaven within him, because he carries within him the love that belongs to his heaven; for man by creation is a lesser likeness, image, and type of the great heaven; and the human form is nothing else; so that everyone enters that heavenly society whose form he is as an individual likeness; consequently when he enters into that society he enters a form correspondent to his own, thus he enters the society as if entering into himself from himself, and as if from the society into the society in himself, and partakes of its life as his own, and of his own life as its life. Every society is like a common body, the angels therein are the like parts of which the general exists. From this it now follows that those who are in evils and in consequent falsities, have formed in themselves a likeness of hell, and this is what suffers torture in heaven from the influx and vehemence of the activity of opposite against opposite; for infernal love is the opposite of heavenly love, and the delights of the two loves come into collision like hostile forces, and destroy each other when they meet."


After all these things had taken place a voice was heard from heaven, saying to the angel with the trumpet; "Choose ten men from all those assembled, and introduce them to us; we have heard from the Lord that He will so prepare them that the heat and light, of love and wisdom, of our heaven may be borne by them without harm for three days." Ten men were then chosen and followed the angel. And they went up a steep path to a certain hill, and from this to a mountain on which was the heaven of those angels, which had before appeared to them at a distance like an expanse in the clouds. The gates were opened for them, and when they had passed the third the introducing angel ran to the prince of that society or heaven, and announced their arrival. And the prince said in reply, "Take some of my attendants, and carry back word to them that I am pleased that they have come, and introduce them into my ante-court, and give to each his own room and bed-chamber. Take also some of my courtiers and some servants to wait upon them, and render them any service they may desire." This was done. When they had been admitted by the angel, they asked whether they might be permitted to go and see the prince. The angel replied, "It is now morning, and he cannot be seen before noon; all are still engaged in their own duties and labors. But you are invited to dinner; and then you will sit at the table with our prince; and in the meantime I will conduct you into his palace where you will see magnificent and splendid things." [2] When he had led them to the palace they first viewed it from without. It was spacious, built of porphyry, with a foundation of jasper. Before the doors were six tall columns of lapis lazuli. The roof was made of plates of gold, the high windows were of the clearest crystal, and their frames of gold. They were then led into the interior of the palace, and conducted from room to room; and they saw ornaments of indescribable beauty, and on the ceilings decorations of inimitable carvings. Placed against the walls they saw tables of silver fused with gold, on which were various useful articles made of precious stones and of whole gems in heavenly forms. And more things they saw, which no eye on earth had ever seen, and therefore no one had been able to believe that such things exist in heaven. [3] While they were standing amazed at the sight of such magnificence the angel said, "Do not be astonished; these things that you see are not the work or fabrication of any angelic hand, but were made by the Architect of the universe and bestowed as a gift on our prince, so that architectural art is here in its perfection, and from it come all the rules of art in the world." The angel said further, "You may suppose, perhaps, that such things fascinate our eyes and so far infatuate them that we believe these things to be the joys of our heaven; but they are merely accessory to the joys of our hearts, our hearts not being in them; and so far therefore as we contemplate them as accessory, and as the workmanship of God, we contemplate in them the Divine omnipotence and kindness."


After this the angel said to them, "It is not yet noon; come with me into the garden of our prince which adjoins this palace." They went; and at the entrance the angel said, "Behold the most magnificent garden in this heavenly society." But they replied, "What do you say? There is no garden here; we see only one tree, with what seems like fruits of gold on its branches and top, and like leaves of silver, with their edges adorned with emeralds; and under the tree we see little children with their nurses." To this the angel with inspired voice replied, "This tree is in the midst of the garden, and is called by us the tree of our heaven, and by some the tree of life. But go on and draw nearer, and your eyes will be opened, and you will see the garden." This they did; and their eyes were opened, and they saw trees heavily laden with delicious fruit, about which vines entwined their tendrils, and their tops were bent down with fruit toward the tree of life in the center. [2] These trees were planted in a continuous row, which went out and on in endless circles or curves like those of a perpetual spiral; it was a perfect spiral formed by trees, wherein one species followed another in unbroken order according to the excellence of their fruit. There was quite a space between the beginning of the spiral and the tree in the center, and this space gleamed with a radiance that made the trees of the spiral beam with an unbroken and unceasing splendor from the first to the last. The first trees were the noblest of all, luxuriant with the rarest fruit; these were called trees of paradise, never having been seen in any country of the natural world, because they do not and cannot exist there. These were followed by olive trees, then those that yielded wine, then fragrant trees, and finally trees useful to workmen for the wood. Here and there in this coil of trees or spiral there were seats formed of branches of the trees behind drawn forward and interlaced and enriched and adorned with their fruits. In that perpetual circle of trees were passages opening to flower-plots, and from these to lawns, divided off into squares and beds. [3] The companions of the angel, on seeing these things, ex-claimed, "Behold heaven in form! Wherever we turn our eyes something heavenly and paradisal meets them, which is ineffable." The angel was delighted with these exclamations, and said, "All our heavenly gardens are representative forms or types of heavenly beatitudes in their origin, and because your minds were exalted by the influx of these beatitudes, you exclaimed, 'Behold heaven in form!' But those who do not receive that influx look upon these paradisal objects only as upon a mere forest. All who are in a love of use receive the influx; but those who are in the love of glory not from use do not receive it." Afterwards he explained and taught what was represented and signified by each thing in the garden.


While they were thus engaged, there came a messenger from the prince, who invited them to eat bread with him; and at the same time two court attendants brought garments of white linen, and said, "Put these on; for no one is admitted to the prince's table unless he is clothed in the garments of heaven." They put on the garments and accompanied their angel; and they were conducted into a corridor, a promenade of the palace, where they waited for the prince; and there they were brought by the angel into companionship with great men and governors, who also were waiting for the prince. And behold, after half an hour the doors were opened, and through a wider one on the west they saw him enter in the order and pomp of a procession. Before him came his privy counselors, after these his chamberlains, and after these again the chief officers of his court. In the midst of the latter was the prince, behind him courtiers of various rank, and last of all the lifeguards. In all they numbered one hundred and twenty. [2] The angel standing before the ten new-comers, who from their dress were seen to be visitors, approached the prince with them and reverently presented them; and the prince without stopping in the procession, said to them, "Come and take bread with me." They followed him into the dining-hall, where they saw a table magnificently prepared. In the center of it was a high pyramid of gold, having on its shelves in triple order a hundred dishes containing sweet cakes, solidified musts of wines, and other delicacies made of bread and wine. Through the middle of the pyramid there welled up, as it were, a fountain bubbling over with nectareous wine, a stream of which spread itself from the top of the pyramid and filled the cups. At the side of this high pyramid were various heavenly projections of gold, on which were dishes and plates loaded with every kind of food. These heavenly projections on which the plates and dishes rested, were forms of art derived from wisdom, which could not be executed in the world by any art, or described in any language. The dishes and plates were of silver, engraved around with forms resembling those on their supports; the cups were of transparent gems. Thus was the table furnished.


The dress of the prince and his ministers was as follows: The prince was clad in a long robe of a purple color, decorated with silver stars of needlework; under the robe was a tunic of bright violet-colored silk; this was open at the breast where the front part of a belt was visible, bearing the badge of his society. The badge was an eagle on the top of a tree, brooding her young; it was of burnished gold surrounded by diamonds. The privy counselors were clad somewhat in the same way, but without the badge; instead of which they had carved sapphires suspended from their necks by golden chains. The courtiers wore gowns of a brown color, in which were interwoven flowers encircling young eagles; the tunics under these were of opaline silk, as were their breeches and stockings. Such was their clothing.


The privy counselors, the chamberlains, and the governors, stood around the table; and at the command of the prince they folded their hands, and all together in a low tone gave thanks to the Lord; and then, at a nod from the prince, took their places on the cushioned seats at the table. And the prince said to the visitors, "Sit you down with me also; there are your seats." And they sat down. The courtiers before sent by the prince to wait upon them, stood behind them. The prince then said to them, "Take each one of you a plate from its place, and then a dish from the pyramid." They did so; and behold, there instantly appeared fresh plates and dishes in place of those taken away. Their cups were filled with wine from the fountain springing from the great pyramid; and they ate together. [2] When they were moderately satisfied, the prince addressed the ten guests, saying, "I have heard that you were assembled on the earth that is beneath this heaven to disclose your thoughts respecting the joys of heaven and eternal happiness therefrom; and that you advanced different opinions, each according to the delights of his bodily senses. But what are the delights of the bodily senses apart from the delights of the soul? It is the soul that imparts delight to these. The delights of the soul are in themselves imperceptible beatitudes; but they become more and more perceptible as they descend into the thoughts of the mind, and from these into the sensations of the body. In the thoughts of the mind they are perceptible as joys, in the sensations of the body as delights, and in the body itself as pleasures. From all these together comes eternal happiness; while from the latter alone the happiness is not eternal but temporary, and comes to an end and passes away, and sometimes becomes unhappiness. You have now seen that all your joys are also joys of heaven, and more excellent than you could ever have conceived; and yet our minds are not interiorly affected by them. [3] There are three things that flow in as one from the Lord into our souls; these three as one, that is, this trine, are love, wisdom, and use; but love and wisdom alone have only an ideal existence, because they exist only in the affection and thought of the mind; while in use they have a real existence, because then they exist also in bodily act and operation, and where they exist really, there they have permanent existence. But as love and wisdom have their existence and permanence in use, it is use that affects us; and use is the faithful, sincere, and diligent discharge of the duties of one's employment. "The love of use and the consequent pursuit of use prevents the mind from becoming dissipated, and from wandering about and drinking in all the cupidities that flow in with their allurements through the senses from the body and the world, and that scatter to the four winds the truths of religion and morality together with their goods. But the application of the mind to use holds and binds these together, and disposes the mind into a form receptive of wisdom from these truths, and at the same time expels to the circumference the illusions and mockeries both of falsities and vanities. But on these subjects you will hear more from the wise men of our society, whom I will send to you this afternoon." So saying the prince arose, and with him his guests; he said grace, and then commanded the angelic guide of the strangers to conduct them back to their apartments, and to show them all the honors of courtesy; also to invite courteous and affable men to entertain them with conversation on the various joys of that society.


When they had returned to their apartments this was done. Men invited from the city came to entertain them with conversation on the various joys of the society; and after the usual greetings they conversed with them agreeably, as they walked. But their angelic guide said, "These ten men have been invited into this heaven to behold its joys, and thereby to acquire a new idea of eternal happiness. Recount to them, therefore, some of its joys which affect the bodily senses; afterwards some wise men are to come who will mention some of the things that render those joys satisfactory and delightful." Hearing this, the men invited from the city mentioned the following: (1) There are days of festivity appointed here by the prince, to relieve the mind of the fatigue which the passion of emulation may have brought upon some. On these days there are musical and vocal concerts in the public squares, and outside of the city there are games and shows; music stands are also raised in the public squares, surrounded by lattice-work of interwoven vines, from which hang clusters of grapes; while within this lattice-work, on three rows of seats, one above another, sit musicians with stringed and wind instruments, high-toned and low-toned, some powerful and some sweet; and at the sides are singers of both sexes, delighting the citizens with the sweetest jubilees and songs, choruses and solos, varied in character at intervals. On these days of festivity all this is continued from morning until noon, and then again until evening. [2] (2) Moreover, every morning there are heard from the houses about the squares the sweetest songs of girls and maidens, with which the whole city resounds. Each morning some one affection of spiritual love is sung, that is, is expressed by modifications or modulations of the voice in singing, and that affection is perceptible in the singing as if it were the affection itself. It flows into the souls of the hearers, and stirs them to a correspondence with it. Such is heavenly singing. The singers say that the sound of their song inspires and animates them from within, as it were, and exalts them with joy in the measure of its reception by their hearers. When the singing ceases, the windows of the houses on the squares are closed, and also those of the houses on the streets, and the doors also, and then the whole city is silent; there is no noise anywhere, and no wandering idlers are seen; all thus prepared then enter upon the duties of their employments. [3] (3) At noon the doors are opened, and in the afternoon in some places the windows also, and the boys and girls are seen playing in the streets, their nurses and teachers sitting in the porches of the houses keeping watch over them. [4] (4) In the outskirts of the city, there are various games of boys and young men; there are foot-races and games of ball, and what is called tennis, with the balls struck back and forth; there are public contests among the boys to determine who is the quicker and who the slower in speaking, acting, and understanding; and to the quicker some laurel leaves are given as a reward, with many other methods of calling out the latent abilities of the boys. [5] (5) And again, outside the city there are theatrical exhibitions, where players represent the various proprieties and virtues of moral life; with players among them of lower parts for the sake of what is relative." One of the ten asked, "Why for the sake of what is relative?" They replied, "No virtue with its proprieties and graces can be presented in a living way except by an exhibition of what is relative from its greatest to its least phases. These players represent the least phases even till they become none. But it is provided by law that nothing opposite, which is called improper and unbecoming, shall be exhibited, except figuratively and as it were remotely. It is so provided, because nothing that is proper and good in any virtue can pass by successive steps to what is improper and evil, but only to its least phase until it perishes; and when it perishes the opposite begins. Therefore, heaven, where all things are proper and good, has nothing in common with hell, where all things are improper and evil."


While they were speaking a servant ran to them and announced the arrival of eight wise men, who had been sent by the prince's command, and who wished to enter; hearing which the angel went out, received, and conducted them in. And the wise men, as soon as the usual and proper forms of introduction were over, first spoke with them about the beginning and growth of wisdom, mingling with their conversation various observations respecting its progress, as that wisdom with the angels has no limit or end, but grows and increases to eternity. Hearing this the angel who had charge of the strangers said to the wise men, "Our prince spoke at table with these men about the seat of wisdom as being in use; will you too, if you please, talk with them upon the same subject." And they said, "Man as first created was imbued with wisdom and its love, not for his own sake, but that he might communicate it from himself to others. Therefore it is written in the wisdom of the wise that no one is wise or lives for himself alone, but for others also; whence comes society, which otherwise could not exist. Living for others is being useful. Uses are the bonds of society; these bonds are as many as there are good uses, and in number uses are infinite. There are spiritual uses, which pertain to love of God and love to the neighbor; there are moral and civil uses, which pertain to love of the society and community in which a man lives, and of the companions and citizens with whom he lives. There are natural uses, which pertain to the love of the world and its necessities; and there are bodily uses, which pertain to the love of self-preservation for the sake of higher uses. [2] All these uses are inscribed on man, and follow in order one after another, and when they exist simultaneously one is within the other. Those who are in the first mentioned uses, which are spiritual, are also in those that follow, and such are wise; but those who are not in the first, but are in the second and from these in the subsequent ones, are not so wise, but only seem to be so because of their outward morality and right civil life. Those who are not in the first and second, but are in the third and fourth, are anything but wise, for they are satans, loving the world only, and loving themselves because of the world. Those who are only in the fourth class of uses are the least wise of all, for they are devils, since they live for themselves alone, or if for others, it is solely on account of themselves. [3] Furthermore, every love has its own delight, for thereby love lives; and the delight of the love of uses is a heavenly delight, which enters the subsequent delights in order, and according to their order of succession exalts them and renders them eternal." They then enumerated some heavenly delights that proceed from the love of use, saying, that there were myriads of myriads of them, and that those who entered heaven entered into them. Afterwards they spent the day with them, until evening, in wise conversations about the love of use. [4] About evening-time there came a footman clothed in linen to the ten visitors who accompanied the angel, and invited them to a wedding to be celebrated the next day. The visitors were much pleased that they were also to see a wedding in heaven. After this they were conducted to a certain privy counselor, and supped with him; and after supper they returned and separated from one another, each going to his own chamber, where they slept until morning. When they awoke they heard the singing of the girls and maidens from the houses round about the square, as spoken of above. It was the affection of conjugial love that they were singing; and being deeply stirred and affected by its sweetness, they perceived a blessed charm pervading their joys by which they were exalted and renewed. When it was time the angel said, "Make yourselves ready; put on the garments of heaven which our prince has sent to you." And they put them on; and behold, the garments shone as if with a flaming light. And they asked the angel, "Whence is this?" He replied, "It is because you are going to a wedding; with us our garments then shine and become wedding garments."


After this the angel led them to the house of the wedding, and the porter opened the doors; and as soon as they had crossed the threshold they were received and saluted by an angel sent from the bridegroom, and conducted in and taken to seats set apart for them. Presently they were invited into the ante-room of the bridal chamber, in the center of which they saw a table, whereon was placed a magnificent candlestick with seven golden branches and bowls; on the walls hung lamps of silver, the burning of which gave the atmosphere a golden appearance. On each side of the candlestick they saw a table on which loaves of bread were set in triple order; and in the four corners of the room were tables upon which were crystal goblets. [2] While they were examining these things, behold a door was opened from a room next to the bridal chamber, and they saw six virgins coming out followed by the bridegroom and bride holding each other by the hand, and leading each other to their seat which had been placed directly opposite the candlestick. On this they seated themselves, the bridegroom on the left and the bride on his right, and the six virgins standing at the side of the seat near the bride. The bridegroom was dressed in a robe of glowing purple and a coat of shining white linen, with an ephod on which was a golden plate set around with diamonds; and on the plate was engraved a young eagle, the nuptial emblem of that heavenly society. The head of the bridegroom was covered with a miter. The bride was dressed in a scarlet cloak, and under it an embroidered garment, reaching from the neck to the feet; around her waist was a golden belt and on her head a crown of gold set with rubies. [3] While they thus sat together, the bridegroom turned to the bride and placed on her finger a golden ring, and drew forth bracelets and a necklace of pearls, fastening the bracelets on her wrists and the necklace about her neck, and saying, "Accept these pledges"; and as she accepted them, he kissed her and said, "Now you are mine," and called her his wife. When this had been done the guests cried out, "Blessings on you;" each one first saying this separately, and then all together; and one sent to represent the prince also said it; and at that moment the ante-chamber was filled with an aromatic smoke, which was a sign of blessing from heaven. Then the attendants took loaves from the two tables near the candlestick, and cups now filled with wine from the tables in the corners, and gave to each guest his loaf and his cup; and they ate and drank. After this the husband and his wife arose, the six virgins following them to the threshold with the now lighted silver lamps in their hands; and the married pair entered the bridal chamber, and the door was closed.


The angel guide then told the guests about his ten companions, saying that he had introduced them by command, had shown them the magnificence of the prince's palace, and the wonderful things it contained, that they had dined with the prince; and afterward conversed with the wise men of the society. And he asked, "Will you permit them to have a little talk with you also?" And they approached and began the conversation. A wise one from among those at the wedding said, "Do you understand the significance of what you have seen?" They replied, "Somewhat" And then they asked him why the bridegroom, now the husband, was so clothed; and he answered, "The bridegroom, now the husband, represented the Lord; and the bride, now his wife, represented the church; because marriages in heaven represent the marriage of the Lord with the church. This is why the bridegroom had a miter on his head, and was dressed in a robe, coat, and ephod, like Aaron; and the bride, now the wife, had a crown on her head, and was dressed in a cloak like a queen; but tomorrow they will be clothed differently, because this representation only lasts during today." [2] Again they asked, "As he represented the Lord, and she the church, why did she sit at his right?" The wise one replied, "Because there are two things that constitute the marriage of the Lord and the church, love and wisdom, and the Lord is love and the church is wisdom; and wisdom is at the right of love because the man of the church is wise as if of himself, and as he becomes wise, he receives love from the Lord. Furthermore, the right hand signifies power, and love has power through wisdom. But as before said, after marriage the representation is changed, the husband then representing wisdom, and the wife the love of his wisdom. This, however, is not the prior love, but a secondary love, which the wife has from the Lord through the wisdom of the husband. Love of the Lord, which is the prior love, is in the husband the love of being wise; therefore after marriage the two, husband and wife together, represent the church." [3] Again they asked, "Why did not you men stand beside the bridegroom, now the husband, while the six virgins stood beside the bride, now the wife?" The wise one replied, "Because today we ourselves are counted among the virgins, and the number six signifies all, and what is complete." But they said, "What does that mean?" He replied, "Virgins signify the church, and the church is of both sexes; therefore in relation to the church we, too, are virgins; as is evident from the following in the Apocalypse: These are they that were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they that follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth (Rev. 14:4). And because 'virgins' signify the church, the Lord compared the church, To ten virgins invited to a wedding (Matt. 25:1-13); and because Israel, Zion, and Jerusalem, signify the church, the virgin and daughter of Israel, Zion and Jerusalem, are so frequently mentioned in the Word. And again, the Lord describes His marriage with the church in these words in David: On thy right hand doth stand the queen in the best gold of Ophir; her clothing is inwrought with gold; she shall be led unto the king in broidered work; the virgins that follow her, her companions, shall enter into the king's palace (Ps. 45:9-15)." [4] Finally they asked, "Is it not proper that some priest should be present and minister in these matters?" The wise one answered, "This is proper on earth, but not in the heavens because of the representation of the Lord Himself and the church. On earth this is not known. Nevertheless, with us a priest ministers at betrothals, and hears, receives, confirms, and consecrates the consent. Consent is the essential of marriage, and the things that follow are its formalities."


After this the angel guide went to the six virgins and told them also about his companions, and besought them to honor the visitors with their company. And they approached them; but when they came near they suddenly turned back and entered the woman's apartment where their virgin friends were. Seeing this, the angel guide followed them and asked why they turned back so suddenly without speaking to the visitors; and they replied, "We could not go near them." He asked why; and they said, "We do not know; but we perceived something that repelled and drove us back; we beg pardon." The angel turned to his companions and told them the reply, adding, "I suspect that your love of the sex is not chaste; in heaven we love virgins for their beauty and the elegance of their manners; and we love them intensely but chastely." His companions laughed at this, and said, "Your suspicion is correct; who can see such beauties near and not feel some desire?"


After this social festivity all the wedding guests departed and also the ten men in company with their angel. It was late in the evening, and they went to bed. At dawn they heard it proclaimed, "Today is the Sabbath." They arose and asked the angel what it meant. He replied, "It is a summons to the worship of God which returns at stated times and is proclaimed by the priests; it is conducted in our temples, and continues about two hours; come with me, therefore, if you like, and I will introduce you." They made themselves ready and accompanied the angel, and entered the temple. And behold, it was a large temple capable of seating about three thousand persons, semi-circular in form, with benches or seats extending entirely around, following the shape of the temple. The pulpit was in front of the seats, back a little from the center; the door was on the left behind the pulpit. The ten visitors entered with their angel guide, and he assigned them their seat, saying, "Everyone who enters the temple knows his place, he knows it from something within; and he can sit nowhere else; if he sits elsewhere, he hears nothing and perceives nothing; and moreover he disturbs the order, and when the order is disturbed the priest is not inspired."

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