This work, published in 1768, when Swedenborg was eighty years of age, was the first of the author's theological works on the title of which his name appeared. It treats of the relation of the sexes; of the nature and origin of love truly conjugial and of its indissoluble nature; of the marriage of the Lord and the Church, and its correspondence; of the spiritual conjunction of partners in true marriage; of the change effected in both sexes by marriage; of the causes of disaffection, separations, and divorces; of the causes of apparent love, friendship, and favor in marriage; and of iterated marriages. To which is appended a treatise on Adulterous or Scortatory Love in its various degrees, showing it to be in its nature the very opposite of Conjugial Love.
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Emanuel Swedenborg – A Biographical Primer
Preliminary Relations Respecting The Joys Of Heaven And Nuptials There.
On Marriages In Heaven.
On The State Of Married Partners After Death.
On Love Truly Conjugial.
On The Origin Of Conjugial Love As Grounded In The Marriage Of Good And Truth.
On The Marriage Of The Lord And The Church, And Its Correspondence.
On The Chaste Principle And The Non-Chaste.
On The Conjunction Of Souls And Minds By Marriage, Which Is Meant By The Lord's Words,--They Are No Longer Two, But One Flesh.
On The Change Of The State Of Life Which Takes Place With Men And Women By Marriage.
Universals Respecting Marriages.
On The Causes Of Coldness, Separation, And Divorce In Marriages.
On The Causes Of Apparent Love, Friendship, And Favor In Marriages.
On Betrothings And Nuptials.
On Repeated Marriages.
On The Conjunction Of Conjugial Love With The Love Of Infants.
Adulterous Love And Its Sinful Pleasures.
On The Opposition Of Adulterous Love And Conjugial Love.
On Adulteries And Their Genera And Degrees.
On The Lust Of Defloration.
On The Lust Of Varieties.
On The Lust Of Violation.
The Lust Of Seducing Innocencies.
On The Correspondence Of Adulteries With The Violation Of Spiritual Marriage.
On The Imputation Of Each Love, Adulterous And Conjugial.
Conjugial Love, E. Swedenborg
Jazzybee Verlag Jürgen Beck
86450 Altenmünster, Loschberg 9
By Thomas Hitchcock
Swedish philosopher, born in Stockholm, Jan. 29, 1688, died in London, England, March 29, 1772. He was the son of Jesper Swedberg, bishop of Skara, the name being changed to Swedenborg in 1719 on the occasion of the ennobling of the family. This advancement entitled him, as head of the family, to a seat in the house of nobles of the Swedish diet, but did not confer the title of baron, as has been supposed. Emanuel was educated at Upsal, completing his studies in 1709. After two years of travel in England, Holland, and France, he went to reside at Greifswald in Pomerania, then a Swedish town, and busied himself with scientific research. He also wrote some Latin fables, which were published under the title of Camena Borea. A collection of Latin poems, written by him during his travels, was also published about the same time in a volume entitled Ludus Heliconius. In 1716 he returned to Sweden and established a periodical called Dædalus Hyperboreus, devoted to mathematics and mechanics, which appeared irregularly for two years. During this time he had become intimate with Christopher Polhem, an eminent engineer, and Polhem introduced him to Charles XII., who appointed him assessor extraordinary of the college of mines, and associate engineer with Polhem. For two years Swedenborg maintained close personal relations with the king, and assisted him much in his military operations. During the siege of Frederickshald, at which Charles met his death, Swedenborg constructed, under Polhem's direction, the machines by which several vessels were transported overland from Strömstad to the Iddefiord, 14 miles. At the king's suggestion, it is said, Polhem betrothed his daughter to Swedenborg; but as the young lady preferred another man, Swedenborg relinquished his claim and never married. From 1717 to 1722 he published pamphlets on scientific subjects; among them one describing a method of determining longitude by means of the moon. In 1721 he made a short tour on the continent, visiting mines and smelting works. On his return in 1722 he was promoted to be full assessor of mines, and for the next 12 years he devoted himself to the duties of that office, refusing the professorship of mathematics at Upsal in 1724. In 1734 he published Opera Philosophica et Mineralia in three large folio volumes, illustrated with numerous plates, viz.: vol. i., Principia; vol. ii., De Ferro; vol. iii., De Cupro et Orichalco. In the same year also appeared his Prodromus de Infinito. In 1736 he began another tour of travel, which, with study and writing, occupied him for several years. In 1740-'41 he published his Œconomia Regni Animalis, in two parts, and in 1744-'5 his Regnum Animale, in three parts. Between 1729 and 1741 he was elected successively a member of the academy of sciences at Upsal, corresponding member of the imperial academy of sciences at St. Petersburg, and member of the academy of sciences at Stockholm. His series of scientific publications ended in 1745 with the treatise De Cultu et Amore Dei, &c., in which is set forth, under the form of a prose poem or allegory, his theory of the process of creation. Thereafter, as he says, he was called by God to the work of revealing to men a new system of religious truth. For that end he was permitted to converse with spirits and angels, and behold the wonders of the spiritual world. That he might be more free to perform his task, he resigned his assessorship, retaining half the salary by way of pension. He devoted himself first to the study of the Bible in the original, and then to the writing of books explanatory of his new doctrines, which were published entirely at his own expense. From 1749 to 1756 appeared the Arcana Cœlestia (8 vols. 4to), containing a commentary on Genesis and Exodus, interspersed with accounts of “wonderful things seen and heard in heaven and in hell.” This was followed in 1758 by the De Cœlo et Inferno, De Telluribus in Mundo, De Ultimo Judicio, De Nova Hierosolyma, and De Equo Albo. In 1763 were published the four doctrinal treatises: Doctrina Vitæ, De Fide, De Domino, and De Scriptura Sacra, with a Continuatio de Ultimo Judicio, and the treatise De Divino Amore et de Divina Sapientia. In 1764, the Divina Providentia appeared; in 1766, the Apocalypsis Revelata; in 1768, De Amore Conjugiali; in 1769, Summaria Expositio Doctrinæ and De Commercio Animæ et Corporis; and in 1771, the Vera Christiana Religio. Besides these, he left at his death an immense mass of manuscripts, of which the following have been since printed: Itinerarium, Clavis Hieroglyphica, Opuscula, Apocalypsis Explicata, Adversaria in Libros Veteris Testamenti, Diarium Spirituale, Index Biblicus, Sensus Internus Prophetarum et Psalmorum, Dicta Probantia, De Athanasio Symbolo, De Charitate, Canones, Coronis Veræ Christianæ Religionis, and Invitatio ad Novam Ecclesiam. Copies of a few of these manuscripts have recently been reproduced by the photolithographic process, by subscription, not so much for circulation as for the sake of preserving the contents of the originals from destruction by decay. — Swedenborg's manner of life was simple and modest. He spent much of his time, in later years, in Holland and England, for which countries he expressed great admiration on account of the freedom of speech and writing permitted there. He made no efforts to gain proselytes to his doctrines further than by printing and distributing his writings, and never referred to his intercourse with the spiritual world except when questioned. Several instances are reported of his obtaining information from departed souls respecting affairs unknown even to their families, and describing events in distant places in advance of news by the ordinary means of communication. It is related that, as he lay on his deathbed in London, Ferelius, a Swedish clergyman, solemnly adjured him to tell the truth in regard to his teachings. Swedenborg raised himself half upright in bed, and placing his hand on his breast said with emphasis: “As true as you see me before you, so true is everything I have written. I could have said more had I been permitted. When you come into eternity, you will see all things as I have stated and described them, and we shall have much to say concerning them to each other.” He then received the holy supper from Ferelius, and presented him with a copy of his Arcana Cœlestia. A day or two afterward he peacefully breathed his last. His body was buried in a vault of the Swedish church in Prince's square, a little east of the tower. A eulogium was pronounced upon him in the Swedish house of nobles in October, 1772, by Samuel Sandels, which accords him high praise, not merely for learning and talent, but also for uprightness and fidelity in the discharge of his duties as a public functionary. Several of his acquaintances have also left written testimony to his virtuous character. — Swedenborg's scientific works have long since ceased to be of practical value, but are still highly interesting as collections of facts, and as exhibiting their author's peculiar method of philosophizing. The system he followed was substantially that of Descartes, of whom he continued to the end of his life to speak with admiration, and this led him to conclusions resembling in some striking points those of Spinoza, who was likewise a Cartesian. His “Economy of the Animal Kingdom” is the best of his many productions anterior to his theological career. In it he attempts to deduce a knowledge of the soul from an anatomical and physiological knowledge of the body, and evolves many doctrines which he afterward elaborated in his theological works. Indeed, some of his disciples hold that his seership was the natural result of his intellectual and moral development, and by no means an abnormal condition of mind. According to his own account, it came upon him gradually, and neither astonished nor alarmed him, although in its early stages he was subject to great mental excitement, the phenomena of which may have given rise to exaggerated stories of his insanity. The works written by him subsequent to this change in his mind are quite as systematic and coherent as his earlier productions, and only his claim to a divine mission, and his frequent descriptions of what he saw and heard in the spiritual world, mark them as peculiar. They are consistent from first to last, and though they appeared at intervals during a period of 27 years, they nowhere deviate from the fundamental principles laid down at the outset. — The general features of Swedenborg's theology are presented in his treatise called the “True Christian Religion.” He teaches that God is one in essence and in person, and has been revealed to men as the Lord Jesus Christ. In the Lord is a trinity, not of persons but of principles, and it is these principles which are spoken of in the Scriptures as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The Father is the divine love, the Son the divine wisdom, and the Holy Ghost the divine operation or energy acting upon the universe. The Lord is infinite, eternal, self-existent, omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent, and not only the creator but the sustainer of all creation, which without him would cease to exist. For the sake of redeeming mankind he assumed a natural body born of the Virgin Mary, and glorified it or made it divine, so that it is now invisible to men, and also usually to the angels except as the sun of heaven. Redemption consisted, not in suffering vicariously the punishment of men's sins (for that could not be done, and, if it could, would be useless), but in actual combats, by means of the assumed humanity, with the powers of hell, and overcoming them. This victory restored to man spiritual freedom, which had begun to be impaired by diabolic possessions as narrated in the Gospels, and enabled him to work out his salvation. This he does by looking to the Lord, with faith in him, by repentance, and above all by a life according to the commandments of the decalogue. The chief points that Swedenborg insists on in religion are faith in the Lord and the avoidance of evils as sins against him. Upon everything else, such as outward worship, prayer and meditation, and works of eleemosynary charity, he lays but little stress. The essence of charity is love to the neighbor and occupation in some useful employment. The Word, he says, is the divine truth itself, written to reveal the Lord to man and to serve as a medium of conjunction between earth and heaven. This Word consists of the books of Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Leviticus, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, the Psalms, the prophecies, the four Gospels, and the Apocalypse. The other books bound up with these in our Bibles are not the Word, although good and useful to the church. The distinction between the two consists in this: that the Word contains an internal or spiritual sense, which the rest of the Bible has not. This spiritual sense is symbolical, and may be discerned by the application of the law of symbolism resulting from the universal correspondence of natural with spiritual things. Thus, the garden of Eden and all things mentioned as existing in it symbolize the human soul and its affections and thoughts; and the disobedience of Adam and Eve, the alienation of mankind at a remote period from their original state of innocence. Hence, too, the decalogue forbids not merely outward sins, but the inward spiritual sins corresponding to them, and the Psalms and prophecies relate not merely to David and the Jews, but to experiences of the human soul independent of dates and localities. At the same time the literal sense alone can be relied on as a basis of doctrine, and Swedenborg is careful to cite it profusely in support of his teachings. The reason he gives for his mission is that the knowledge of true doctrine had been lost and the church destroyed by a false theology and accompanying evils of life. By the promulgation of the truth revealed to him a new church has been established by the Lord, and thus the prophecies in the Apocalypse of the descent of the New Jerusalem have been fulfilled in their symbolical sense. The second coming of the Lord, predicted in Matt, xxiv., has also been accomplished in the same way, a last judgment having been effected in the spiritual world in the year 1757, so that we are now living under a new dispensation. The treatise on “Heaven and Hell” embodies Swedenborg's teachings on the nature of those two realms, and their relations to this world. They exist, he says, not in some other region of space, but within the natural world, as the soul of man exists within his body, being in fact in the souls of men and resting in them as our souls rest in our bodies. At death the body, which is the material envelope of the soul, is cast aside, never to be resumed, and consequently its resurrection is not to be looked for. The soul is the man himself, and is a perfect human being, with a spiritual body of its own, and rises into a conscious perception of the spiritual world, of which the man had previously been unconsciously an inhabitant. He sees and feels and possesses all the other senses, and retains all his personal characteristics. After a longer or shorter preparation in an intermediate state called the world of spirits, which lies between heaven and hell, he is drawn by his own elective affinity to the place where he belongs, and remains there to eternity. Both heaven and hell consist of innumerable societies, each composed of human beings of similar and concordant affections; and both are divided into three distinct regions, according to the degrees of perfection or depravity of their inhabitants. The Arcana Cœlestia, Swedenborg's largest work, is mainly an exposition of the internal or symbolical sense of Genesis and Exodus, with accounts of his experiences in the spiritual world, and various doctrinal teachings interspersed between the chapters. “The Apocalypse Revealed” and “The Apocalypse Explained” are similar expositions of the Apocalypse. In his “Conjugial Love” Swedenborg expounds his doctrine of the relations of the sexes. Males, he says, are masculine and females feminine in soul as well as in body. The masculine element is love clothed with wisdom, while the feminine is wisdom clothed with love. Hence the characteristic of man is wisdom or understanding, and that of woman love or affection. Marriage is the conjunction of two souls who complement each other, and by their union make one complete being, just as the will and the understanding make the individual. Hence the only true marriage is of one man and one woman, and it exists in the next world as well as in this. Polygamy is a degraded state, but not a sin with those whose religion permits it; but adultery is destructive of the life of the soul, and closes heaven against those who confirm themselves in it. The treatises on the “Divine Love and Wisdom” and the “Divine Providence” embody Swedenborg's spiritual philosophy, and exhibit the symmetrical relations of the various parts of his religious system. Love, he says, is the life of man. God alone is Love itself and Life itself, and angels and men are but recipients of life from him. He is very Man, and our humanity is derived from him, so that it is literally true that we are created in his image and likeness. His infinite love clothes itself with infinite wisdom and manifests itself in ceaseless operation, producing, maintaining, and reproducing the boundless universe, with all its innumerable parts and inhabitants. In like manner men, being made in the image of God, also have love or the will, and wisdom or the understanding, and the two produce in them their finite operation. It being the nature of love to desire objects upon which to exercise itself, God could not but create the universe. The creation of this and other solar systems, all of which are inhabited, was effected by a spiritual sun, which is the first emanation proceeding from God, and which is seen in the spiritual world as our sun is seen by us. By means of this spiritual sun natural suns were created, and from them atmospheres, waters, earths, plants, animals, and finally man. Angels, spirits, and devils are men who have been born and died on this or some similar planet. Hence, all things were created from God, and not out of nothing. The spiritual world is related to the natural as cause is to effect, and the supreme first cause of all is God himself. These three, end, cause, and effect, constitute three distinct or discrete degrees, which are repeated in various forms in all created things, and on a grand scale in the universe as a whole. Creation, being from God, is, like the individual man, an image of him, and hence is in the human form in its greatest and least parts, and with more or less approximation to perfection. As we are finitely men, because God is an infinite Man, so all animals, plants, and even minerals wear a resemblance to man, and throughout all nature there is an incessant effort to evolve the human form. In the sight of God and the angels, larger and smaller bodies of human beings and the societies of heaven and hell appear organized like men, and Swedenborg calls the universe the Grand Man (Maximus Homo). As infinite love was the end and infinite wisdom the cause of creation, so the divine life and power are constantly active in sustaining and directing it. This activity is the Divine Providence, and it reaches to every smallest particular of nature and humanity. Man has freedom, because without it he could not be an adequate recipient of the divine love, and by the abuse of his freedom he has introduced evil into the world. The Divine Providence seeks, without destroying this freedom, to lead man back to his original integrity. Hence all the wonderful dealings of God with man recorded in the Scriptures; hence the incarnation; and hence the various forms of religion which exist in the world, all of which embody more or less the essentials of salvation, namely, the worship of God and abstinence from evils as sins against him. The smaller treatises of Swedenborg are mostly extracts from his larger works, with amplifications and additions. — The fullest account of him and his writings is that of William White (2 vols., London, 1867, since republished in one volume). See, also, “Documents concerning Swedenborg,” by R. L. Tafel (London, 1875 et seq.). All of his theological and some of his scientific works have been translated into English. The theological works have also been reprinted in Latin by Dr. J. F. I. Tafel, of Tübingen, Germany, and partially translated and published in French, German, Italian, Danish, and Swedish. Societies for promoting their circulation are in operation both in the United States and in Europe. The principal writers who have undertaken the exposition of Swedenborg's doctrines in England are John Clowes, Robert Hindmarsh, C. A. Tulk, Samuel Noble, J. J. G. Wilkinson, and Jonathan Bayley; in France, E. Richer and J. F. Les Boys-des-Guays; and in the United States, George Bush, Theophilus Parsons, E. H. Sears, Henry James, B. F. Barrett, W. B. Hayden, and Chauncey Giles. For an account of the ecclesiastical organization based upon Swedenborg's doctrines.
1. "I am aware that many who read the following pages and the Memorable Relations annexed to the chapters, will believe that they are fictions of the imagination; but I solemnly declare they are not fictions, but were truly done and seen; and that I saw them, not in any state of the mind asleep, but in a state of perfect wakefulness: for it has pleased the Lord to manifest himself to me, and to send me to teach the things relating to the New Church, which is meant by the New Jerusalem in the Revelation: for which purpose he has opened the interiors of my mind and spirit; by virtue of which privilege it has been granted me to be in the spiritual world with angels, and at the same time in the natural world with men, and this now (1768) for twenty-five years."
2. On a certain time there appeared to me an angel flying beneath the eastern heaven, with a trumpet in his hand, which he held to his mouth, and sounded towards the north, the west, and the south. He was clothed in a robe, which waved behind him as he flew along, and was girt about the waist with a band that shone like fire and glittered with carbuncles, and sapphires: he flew with his face downwards, and alighted gently on the ground, near where I was standing. As soon as he touched the ground with his feet, he stood erect, and walked to and fro: and on seeing me he directed his steps towards me. I was in the spirit, and was standing in that state on a little eminence in the southern quarter of the spiritual world. When he came near, I addressed him and asked him his errand, telling him that I had heard the sound of his trumpet, and had observed his descent through the air. He replied, "My commission is to call together such of the inhabitants of this part of the spiritual world, as have come hither from the various kingdoms of Christendom, and have been most distinguished for their learning, their ingenuity, and their wisdom, to assemble on this little eminence where you are now standing, and to declare their real sentiments, as to what they had thought, understood, and inwardly perceived, while in the natural world, respecting Heavenly Joy and Eternal Happiness. The occasion of my commission is this: several who have lately come from the natural world, and have been admitted into our heavenly society, which is in the east, have informed us, that there is not a single person throughout the whole Christian world that is acquainted with the true nature of heavenly joy and eternal happiness; consequently that not a single person is acquainted with the nature of heaveThis information greatly surprised my brethren and companions; and they said to me, 'Go down, call together and assemble those who are most eminent for wisdom in the world of spirits, (where all men are first collected after their departure out of the natural world,) so that we may know of a certainty, from the testimony of many, whether it be true that such thick darkness, or dense ignorance, respecting a future life, prevails among Christians.'" The angel then said to me, "Wait awhile, and you will see several companies of the wise ones flocking together to this place, and the Lord will prepare them a house of assembly." I waited, and lo! in the space of half an hour, I saw two companies from the north, two from the west, and two from the south; and as they came near, they were introduced by the angel that blew the trumpet into the house of assembly prepared for them, where they took their places in the order of the quarters from which they came. There were six groups or companies, and a seventh from the east, which, from its superior light, was not visible to the rest. When they were all assembled, the angel explained to them the reason of their meeting, and desired that each company in order would declare their sentiments respecting Heavenly Joy and Eternal Happiness. Then each company formed themselves into a ring, with their faces turned one towards another, that they might recall the ideas they had entertained upon the subject in the natural world, and after examination and deliberation might declare their sentiments.
3. After some deliberation, the First Company, which was from the north, declared their opinion, that heavenly joy and eternal happiness constitute the very life of heaven; so much so that whoever enters heaven, enters, in regard to his life, into its festivities, just as a person admitted to a marriage enters into all the festivities of a marriage. "Is not heaven," they argued, "before our eyes in a particular place above us? and is there not there and nowhere else a constant succession of satisfactions and pleasures? When a man therefore is admitted into heaven, he is also admitted into the full enjoyment of all these satisfactions and pleasures, both as to mental perception and bodily sensatioOf course heavenly happiness, which is also eternal happiness, consists solely in admission into heaven, and that depends purely on the divine mercy and favor." They having concluded, the Second Company from the north, according to the measure of the wisdom with which they were endowed, next declared their sentiments as follows: "Heavenly joy and eternal happiness consist solely in the enjoyment of the company of angels, and in holding sweet communications with them, so that the countenance is kept continually expanded with joy; while the smiles of mirth and pleasure, arising from cheerful and entertaining conversation, continually enliven the faces of the company. What else can constitute heavenly joys, but the variations of such pleasures to eternity?" The Third Company, which was the first of the wise ones from the western quarter, next declared their sentiments according to the ideas which flowed from their affections: "In what else," said they, "do heavenly joy and eternal happiness consist but in feasting with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; at whose tables there will be an abundance of rich and delicate food, with the finest and most generous wines, which will be succeeded by sports and dances of virgins and young men, to the tunes of various musical instruments, enlivened by the most melodious singing of sweet songs; the evening to conclude with dramatic exhibitions, and this again to be followed by feasting, and so on to eternity?" When they had ended, the Fourth Company, which was the second from the western quarter, declared their sentiments to the following purpose: "We have entertained," said they, "many ideas respecting heavenly joy and eternal happiness; and we have examined a variety of joys, and compared them one with another, and have at length come to the conclusion, that heavenly joys are paradisiacal joys: for what is heaven but a paradise extended from the east to the west, and from the south to the north, wherein are trees laden with fruit, and all kinds of beautiful flowers, and in the midst the magnificent tree of life, around which the blessed will take their seats, and feed on fruits most delicious to the taste, being adorned with garlands of the sweetest smelling flowers? In this paradise there will be a perpetual spring; so that the fruits and flowers will be renewed every day with an infinite variety, and by their continual growth and freshness, added to the vernal temperature of the atmosphere, the souls of the blessed will be daily fitted to receive and taste new joys, till they shall be restored to the flower of their age, and finally to their primitive state, in which Adam and his wife were created, and thus recover their paradise, which has been transplanted from earth to heaven." The Fifth Company, which was the first of the ingenious spirits from the southern quarter, next delivered their opinion: "Heavenly joys and eternal happiness," said they, "consist solely in exalted power and dignity, and in abundance of wealth, joined with more than princely magnificence and splendor. That the joys of heaven, and their continual fruition, which is eternal happiness, consist in these things, is plain to us from the examples of such persons as enjoyed them in the former world; and also from this circumstance, that the blessed in heaven are to reign with the Lord, and to become kings and princes; for they are the sons of him who is King of kings and Lord of lords, and they are to sit on thrones and be ministered to by angels. Moreover, the magnificence of heaven is plainly made known to us by the description given of the New Jerusalem, wherein is represented the glory of heaven; that it is to have gates, each of which shall consist of a single pearl, and streets of pure gold, and a wall with foundations of precious stones; consequently, every one that is received into heaven will have a palace of his own, glittering with gold and other costly materials, and will enjoy dignity and dominion, each according to his quality and station: and since we find by experience, that the joys and happiness arising from such things are natural, and as it were, innate in us, and since the promises of God cannot fail, we therefore conclude that the most happy state of heavenly life can be derived from no other source than this." After this, the Sixth Company, which was the second from the southern quarter, with a loud voice spoke as follows: "The joy of heaven and its eternal happiness consist solely in the perpetual glorification of God, in a never-ceasing festival of praise and thanksgiving, and in the blessedness of divine worship, heightened with singing and melody, whereby the heart is kept in a constant state of elevation towards God, under a full persuasion that he accepts such prayers and praises, on account of the divine bounty in imparting blessedness." Some of the company added further, that this glorification would be attended with magnificent illuminations, with most fragrant incense, and with stately processions, preceded by the chief priest with a grand trumpet, who would be followed by primates and officers of various orders, by men carrying palms, and by women with golden images in their hand.
4. The Seventh Company, which, from its superior light, was invisible to the rest, came from the east of heaven, and consisted of angels of the same society as the angel that had sounded the trumpet. When these heard in their heaven, that not a single person throughout the Christian world was acquainted with the true nature of heavenly joy and eternal happiness, they said one to another, "Surely this cannot be true; it is impossible that such thick darkness and stupidity should prevail amongst Christians: let us even go down and hear whether it be true; for if it be so, it is indeed wonderful." Then those angels said to the one that had the trumpet, "You know that every one that has desired heaven, and has formed any definite conception in his mind respecting its joys, is introduced after death into those particular joys which he had imagined; and after he experiences that such joys are only the offspring of the vain delusions of his own fancy, he is led out of his error, and instructed in the truth. This is the case with most of those in the world of spirits, who in their former life have thought about heaven, and from their notions of its joys have desired to possess them." On hearing this, the angel that had the trumpet said to the six companies of the assembled wise ones, "Follow me; and I will introduce you into your respective joys, and thereby into heaven."
5. When the angel had thus spoken, he went before them; and he was first attended by the company who were of opinion that the joys of heaven consisted solely in pleasant associations and entertaining conversatioThese the angel introduced to an assembly of spirits in the northern quarter, who, during their abode in the former world, had entertained the same ideas of the joys of heaveThere was in the place a large and spacious house, wherein all these spirits were assembled. In the house there were more than fifty different apartments, allotted to different kinds and subjects of conversation: in some of these apartments they conversed about such matters as they had seen or heard in the public places of resort and the streets of the city; in others the conversation turned upon the various charms of the fair sex, with a mixture of wit and humor, producing cheerful smiles on the countenances of all present; in others they talked about the news relating to courts, to public ministers, and state policy, and to various matters which had transpired from privy councils, interspersing many conjectures and reasonings of their own respecting the issues of such councils; in others again they conversed about trade and merchandise; in others upon subjects of literature; in others upon points of civil prudence and morals; and in others about affairs relating to the Church, its sects, &c. Permission was granted me to enter and look about the house; and I saw people running from one apartment to another, seeking such company as was most suited to their own tempers and inclinations; and in the different parties I could distinguish three kinds of persons; some as it were panting to converse, some eager to ask questions, and others greedily devouring what was said. The house had four doors, one towards each quarter; and I observed several leaving their respective companies with a great desire to get out of the house. I followed some of them to the east door, where I saw several sitting with great marks of dejection on their faces; and on my inquiring into the cause of their trouble, they replied, "The doors of this house are kept shut against all persons who wish to go out; and this is the third day since we entered, to be entertained according to our desire with company and conversation; and now we are grown so weary with continual discoursing, that we can scarcely bear to hear the sound of a human voice; wherefore, from mere irksomeness, we have betaken ourselves to this door; but on our knocking to have it opened, we were told, that the doors of this house are never opened to let any persons out, but only to let them in, and that we must stay here and enjoy the delights of heaven; from which information we conclude, that we are to remain here to eternity; and this is the cause of our sorrow and lowness of spirits; now too we begin to feel an oppression in the breast, and to be overwhelmed with anxiety." The angel then addressing them said: "These things in which you imagined the true joys of heaven to consist, prove, you find, the destruction of all happiness; since they do not of themselves constitute true heavenly joys, but only contribute thereto." "In what then," said they to the angel, "does heavenly joy consist?" The angel replied briefly, "In the delight of doing something that is useful to ourselves and others; which delight derives its essence from love and its existence from wisdom. The delight of being useful, originating in love, and operating by wisdom, is the very soul and life of all heavenly joys. In the heavens there are frequent occasions of cheerful intercourse and conversation, whereby the minds (mentes) of the angels are exhilarated, their minds (animi) entertained, their bosoms delighted, and their bodies refreshed; but such occasions do not occur, till they have fulfilled their appointed uses in the discharge of their respective business and duties. It is this fulfilling of uses that gives soul and life to all their delights and entertainments; and if this soul and life be taken away, the contributory joys gradually cease, first exciting indifference, then disgust, and lastly sorrow and anxiety." As the angel ended, the door was thrown open, and those who were sitting near it burst out in haste, and went home to their respective labors and employments, and so found relief and refreshment to their spirits.
6. After this the angel addressed those who fancied the joys of heaven and eternal happiness consisted of partaking of feasts with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, succeeded by sports and public exhibitions, and these by other feasts, and so on to eternity. He said, "Follow me; and I will introduce you into the possession of your enjoyments:" and immediately he led them through a grove into a plain floored with planks, on which were set tables, fifteen on one side and fifteen on the other. They then asked, "What is the meaning of so many tables?" and the angel replied, "The first table is for Abraham, the second for Isaac, the third for Jacob, and the rest in order for the twelve apostles: on the other side are the same number of tables for their wives; the first three are for Sarah, Abraham's wife, for Rebecca, the wife of Isaac, and for Leah and Rachel, the wives of Jacob; and the other twelve are for the wives of the twelve apostles." They had not waited long before the tables were covered with dishes; between which, at stated distances, were ornaments of small pyramids holding sweetmeats. The guests stood around the tables waiting to see their respective presidents: these soon entered according to their order of precedency, beginning with Abraham, and ending with the last of the apostles; and then each president, taking his place at the head of his own table, reclined on a couch, and invited the bystanders to take their places, each on his couch: accordingly the men reclined with the patriarchs and apostles, and the women with their wives: and they ate and drank with much festivity, but with due decorum. When the repast was ended, the patriarchs and apostles retired; and then were introduced various sports and dances of virgins and young men; and these were succeeded by exhibitions. At the conclusion of these entertainments, they were again invited to feasting; but with this particular restriction, 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 the rest in order till the fifteenth day, when their festivity should be renewed again in like order, only changing their seats, and so on to eternity. After this the angel called together the company that had attended him, and said to them, "All those whom you have observed at the several tables, had entertained the same imaginary ideas as yourselves, respecting the joys of heaven and eternal happiness; and it is with the intent that they may see the vanity of such ideas, and be withdrawn from them, that those festive representations were appointed and permitted by the Lord. Those who with so much dignity presided at the tables, were merely old people and feigned characters, many of them husbandmen and peasants, who, wearing long beards, and from their wealth being exceedingly proud and arrogant, were easily induced to imagine that they were those patriarchs and apostles. But follow me to the ways that lead from this place of festivity." They accordingly followed, and observed groups of fifty or more, here and there, surfeited with the load of meat which lay on their stomachs, and wishing above all things to return to their domestic employments, their professions, trades, and handicraft works; but many of them were detained by the keepers of the grove, who questioned them concerning the days they had feasted, and whether they had as yet taken their turns with Peter and Paul; representing to them the shame and indecency of departing till they had paid equal respect to the apostles. But the general reply was, "We are surfeited with our entertainment; our food has become insipid to us, we have lost all relish for it, and the very sight of it is loathsome to us; we have spent many days and nights in such repasts of luxury, and can endure it no longer: we therefore earnestly request leave to depart." Then the keepers dismissed them, and they made all possible haste to their respective homes.
After this the angel called the company that attended him, and as they went along he gave them the following information respecting heaven:—"There are in heaven," says he, "as in the world, both meats and drinks, both feasts and repasts; and at the tables of the great there is a variety of the most exquisite food, and all kinds of rich dainties and delicacies, wherewith their minds are exhilarated and refreshed. There are likewise sports and exhibitions, concerts of music, vocal and instrumental, and all these things in the highest perfectioSuch things are a source of joy to them, but not of happiness; for happiness ought to be within external joys, and to flow from them. This inward happiness abiding in external joys, is necessary to give them their proper relish, and make them joys; it enriches them, and prevents their becoming loathsome and disgusting; and this happiness is derived to every angel from the use he performs in his duty or employment. There is a certain vein latent in the affection of the will of every angel, which attracts his mind to the execution of some purpose or other, wherein his mind finds itself in tranquillity, and is satisfied. This tranquillity and satisfaction form a state of mind capable of receiving from the Lord the love of uses; and from the reception of this love springs heavenly happiness, which is the life of the above-mentioned joys. Heavenly food in its essence is nothing but love, wisdom, and use united together; that is, use effected by wisdom and derived from love; wherefore food for the body is given to every one in heaven according to the use which he performs; sumptuous food to those who perform eminent uses; moderate, but of an exquisite relish, to those who perform less eminent uses; and ordinary to such as live in the performance of ordinary uses; but none at all to the slothful."
7. After this the angel called to him the company of the so-called wise ones, who supposed heavenly joys, and the eternal happiness thence derived, to consist in exalted power and dominion, with the possession of abundant treasures, attended with more than princely splendor and magnificence, and who had been betrayed into this supposition by what is written in the Word,—that they should be kings and princes, and should reign for ever with Christ, and should be ministered unto by angels; with many other similar expressions. "Follow me," said the angel to them, "and I will introduce you to your joys." So he led them into a portico constructed of pillars and pyramids: in the front there was a low porch, through which lay the entrance to the portico; through this porch he introduced them, and lo! there appeared to be about twenty people assembled. After waiting some time, they were accosted by a certain person, having the garb and appearance of an angel, and who said to them, "The way to heaven is through this portico; wait awhile and prepare yourselves; for the elder among you are to be kings, and the younger princes." As he said this, they saw near each pillar a throne, and on each throne a silken robe, and on each robe a sceptre and crown; and near each pyramid a seat raised three feet from the ground, and on each seat a massive gold chain, and the ensigns of an order of knighthood, fastened at each end with diamond clasps. After this they heard a voice, saying, "Go now and put on your robes; be seated, and wait awhile:" and instantly the elder ones ran to the thrones, and the younger to the seats; and they put on their robes and seated themselves. When lo! there arose a mist from below, which, communicating its influence to those on the thrones and the seats, caused them instantly to assume airs of authority, and to swell with their new greatness, and to be persuaded in good earnest that they were kings and princes. That mist was an aura of phantasy or imagination with which their minds were possessed. Then on a sudden, several young pages presented themselves, as if they came on wings from heaven; and two of them stood in waiting behind every throne, and one behind every seat. Afterwards at intervals a herald proclaimed:—"Ye kings and princes, wait a little longer; your palaces in heaven are making ready for you; your courtiers and guards will soon attend to introduce you." Then they waited and waited in anxious expectation, till their spirits were exhausted, and they grew weary with desire.
After about three hours, the heavens above them were seen to open, and the angels looked down in pity upon them, and said, "Why sit ye in this state of infatuation, assuming characters which do not belong to you? They have made a mockery of you, and have changed you from men into mere images, because of the imagination which has possessed you, that you should reign with Christ as kings and princes, and that angels should minister unto you. Have you forgotten the Lord's words, that whosoever would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven must be the least of all, and the servant of all? Learn then what is meant by kings and princes, and by reigning with Christ; that it is to be wise and perform uses. The kingdom of Christ, which is heaven, is a kingdom of uses; for the Lord loves every one, and is desirous to do good to every one; and good is the same thing as use: and as the Lord promotes good or use by the mediation of angels in heaven, and of men on earth, therefore to such as faithfully perform uses, he communicates the love thereof, and its reward, which is internal blessedness; and this is true eternal happiness. There are in the heavens, as on earth, distinctions of dignity and eminence, with abundance of the richest treasures; for there are governments and forms of government, and consequently a variety of ranks and orders of power and authority. Those of the highest rank have courts and palaces to live in, which for splendor and magnificence exceed every thing that the kings and princes of the earth can boast of; and they derive honor and glory from the number and magnificence of their courtiers, ministers, and attendants; but then these persons of high rank are chosen from those whose heartfelt delight consists in promoting the public good, and who are only externally pleased with the distinctions of dignity for the sake of order and obedience; and as the public good requires that every individual, being a member of the common body, should be an instrument of use in the society to which he belongs, which use is from the Lord and is effected by angels and men as of themselves, it is plain that this is meant by reigning with the Lord." As soon as the angels had concluded, the kings and princes descended from their thrones and seats, and cast away their sceptres, crowns, and robes; and the mist which contained the aura of phantasy was dispersed, and a bright cloud, containing the aura of wisdom encompassed them, and thus they were presently restored to their sober senses.
8. After this the angel returned to the house of assembly, and called to him those who had conceived the joys of heaven and eternal happiness to consist in paradisiacal delights; to whom he said, "Follow me, and I will introduce you into your paradisiacal heaven, that you may enter upon the beatitudes of your eternal happiness." Immediately he introduced them through a lofty portal, formed of the boughs and shoots of the finest trees interwoven with each other. After their admission, he led them through a variety of winding paths in different directions. The place was a real paradise, on the confines of heaven, intended for the reception of such as, during their abode on earth, had fancied the whole heaven to be a single paradise, because it is so called, and had been led to conceive that after death there would be a perfect rest from all kinds of labor; which rest would consist in a continual feast of pleasures, such as walking among roses, being exhilarated with the most exquisite wines, and participating in continual mirth and festivity; and that this kind of life could only be enjoyed in a heavenly paradise. As they followed the angel, they saw a great number of old and young, of both sexes, sitting by threes and tens in a company on banks of roses; some of whom were wreathing garlands to adorn the heads of the seniors, the arms of the young, and the bosoms of the children; others were pressing the juice out of grapes, cherries, and mulberries, which they collected in cups, and then drank with much festivity; some were delighting themselves with the fragrant smells that exhaled far and wide from the flowers, fruits, and odoriferous leaves of a variety of plants; others were singing most melodious songs, to the great entertainment of the hearers; some were sitting by the sides of fountains, and directing the bubbling streams into various forms and channels; others were walking, and amusing one another with cheerful and pleasant conversation; others were retiring into shady arbors to repose on couches; besides a variety of other paradisiacal entertainment. After observing these things, the angel led his companions through various winding paths, till he brought them at length to a most beautiful grove of roses, surrounded by olive, orange, and citron trees. Here they found many persons sitting in a disconsolate posture, with their heads reclined on their hands, and exhibiting all the signs of sorrow and discontent. The companions of the angel accosted them, and inquired into the cause of their grief. They replied, "This is the seventh day since we came into this paradise: on our first admission we seemed to ourselves to be elevated into heaven, and introduced into a participation of its inmost joys; but after three days our pleasures began to pall on the appetite, and our relish was lost, till at length we became insensible to their taste, and found that they had lost the power of pleasing. Our imaginary joys being thus annihilated we were afraid of losing with them all the satisfaction of life, and we began to doubt whether any such thing as eternal happiness exists. We then wandered through a variety of paths and passages, in search of the gate at which we were admitted; but our wandering was in vain: for on inquiring the way of some persons we met, they informed us, that it was impossible to find the gate, as this paradisiacal garden is a spacious labyrinth of such a nature, that whoever wishes to go out, enters further and further into it; 'wherefore,' said they, 'you must of necessity remain here to eternity; you are now in the middle of the garden, where all delights are centred.'" They further said to the angel's companions, "We have now been in this place for a day and a half, and as we despair of ever finding our way out, we have sat down to repose on this bank of roses, where we view around us olive-trees, vines, orange and citron-trees, in great abundance; but the longer we look at them, the more our eyes are wearied with seeing, our noses with smelling, and our palates with tasting: and this is the cause of the sadness, sorrow, and weeping, in which you now behold us." On hearing this relation, the attendant angel said to them, "This paradisiacal labyrinth is truly an entrance into heaven; I know the way that leads out of it; and if you will follow me, I will shew it you." No sooner had he uttered those words than they arose from the ground, and, embracing the angel, attended him with his companions. The angel as they went along, instructed them in the true nature of heavenly joy and eternal happiness thence derived. "They do not," said he, "consist in external paradisiacal delights, unless they are also attended with internal. External paradisiacal delights reach only the senses of the body; but internal paradisiacal delights reach the affections of the soul; and the former without the latter are devoid of all heavenly life, because they are devoid of soul; and every delight without its corresponding soul, continually grows more and more languid and dull, and fatigues the mind more than labor. There are in every part of heaven paradisiacal gardens, in which the angels find much joy; and so far as it is attended with a delight of the soul, the joy is real and true." Hereupon they all asked, "What is the delight of the soul, and whence is it derived?" The angel replied, "The delight of the soul is derived from love and wisdom proceeding from the Lord; and as love is operative, and that by means of wisdom, therefore they are both fixed together in the effect of such operation; which effect is use. This delight enters into the soul by influx from the Lord, and descends through the superior and inferior regions of the mind into all the senses of the body, and in them is full and complete; becoming hereby a true joy, and partaking of an eternal nature from the eternal fountain whence it proceeds. You have just now seen a paradisiacal garden; and I can assure you that there is not a single thing therein, even the smallest leaf, which does not exist from the marriage of love and wisdom in use: wherefore if a man be in this marriage, he is in a celestial paradise, and therefore in heaven."
9. After this, the conducting angel returned to the house of assembly, and addressed those who had persuaded themselves that heavenly joy and eternal happiness consist in a perpetual glorification of God, and a continued festival of prayer and praise to eternity; in consequence of a belief they had entertained in the world that they should then see God, and because the life of heaven, originating in the worship of God, is called a perpetual sabbath. "Follow me," said the angel to them, "and I will introduce you to your joy." So he led them into a little city, in the middle of which was a temple, and where all the houses were said to be consecrated chapels. In that city they observed a great concourse of people flocking together from all parts of the neighboring country; and among them a number of priests, who received and saluted them on their arrival, and led them by the hand to the gates of the temple, and from thence into some of the chapels around it, where they initiated them into the perpetual worship of God; telling them that the city was one of the courts leading to heaven, and that the temple was an entrance to a most spacious and magnificent temple in heaven, where the angels glorify God by prayers and praises to eternity. "It is ordained," said they, "both here and in heaven, that you are first to enter into the temple, and remain there for three days and three nights and after this initiation you are to enter the houses of the city, which are so many chapels consecrated by us to divine worship, and in every house join the congregation in a communion of prayers, praises, and repetitions of holy things; you are to take heed also that nothing but pious, holy, and religious subjects enter into your thoughts, or make a part of your conversation." After this the angel introduced his companions into the temple, which they found filled and crowded with many persons, who on earth had lived in exalted stations, and also with many of an inferior class: guards were stationed at the doors to prevent any one from departing until he had completed his stay of three days. Then said the angel, "This is the second day since the present congregation entered the temple: examine them, and you will see their manner of glorifying God." On their examining them, they observed that most of them were fast asleep, and that those who were awake were listless and yawning; many of them, in consequence of the continual elevation of their thoughts to God, without any attention to the inferior concerns of the body, seemed to themselves, and thence also to others, as if their faces were unconnected with their bodies; several again had a wild and raving look with their eyes, because of their long abstraction from visible objects; in short, every one, being quite tired out, seemed to feel an oppression at the chest, and great weariness of spirits, which showed itself in a violent aversion to what they heard from the pulpit, so that they cried out to the preacher to put an end to his discourse, for their ears were stunned, they could not understand a single word he said, and the very sound of his voice was become painful to them. They then all left their seats, and, crowding in a body to the doors, broke them open, and by mere violence made their way through the guards. The priests hereupon followed, and walked close beside them, teaching, praying, sighing, and encouraging them to celebrate the solemn festival, and to glorify God, and sanctify themselves; "and then," said they, "we will initiate you into the eternal glorification of God in that most magnificent and spacious temple which is in heaven, and so will introduce you to the enjoyment of eternal happiness." These words, however, made but little impression upon them, on account of the listlessness of their minds, arising from the long elevation of their thoughts above their ordinary labors and employments. But when they attempted to disengage themselves from them, the priests caught hold of their hands and garments, in order to force them back again into the temple to a repetition of their prayers and praises; but in vain: they insisted on being left to themselves to recruit their spirits; "we shall else die," they said, "through mere faintness and weariness." At that instant, lo! there appeared four men in white garments, with mitres on their heads; one of them while on earth had been an archbishop, and the other three bishops, all of whom had now become angels. As they approached, they addressed themselves to the priests, and said, "We have observed from heaven how you feed these sheep. Your instruction tends to their infatuatioDo you not know that to glorify God means to bring forth the fruits of love; that is, to discharge all the duties of our callings with faithfulness, sincerity, and diligence? for this is the nature of love towards God and our neighbor; and this is the bond and blessing of society. Hereby God is glorified, as well as by acts of worship at stated times after these duties. Have you never read these words of the Lord,
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