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AR Chapter 13P>
AR 611. To these I will add this Relation.
All who are prepared for heaven, which is effected in the world of spirits, which is in the midst between heaven and hell, after a certain time, desire heaven with a certain longing, and presently their eyes are opened, and they see a way which leads to some society in heaven. They enter this way and ascend, and in the ascent there is a gate, and a keeper there. The keeper opens the gate, and thus they go in. Then an examiner meets them, who tells them from the governor, that they may enter in still further, and inquire whether there are any houses which they can recognize as their own, for there is a new house for every novitiate angel; and if they find any, they give notice of it and remain there. But if they do not find any, they come back and say they have not seen any. And then they are examined by a certain wise one there, to discover whether the light that is in them agrees with the light of that society, and especially whether the heat does; for the light of heaven in its essence is Divine truth, and the heat of heaven in its essence is Divine good, both proceeding from the Lord as the sun there. If any other light and any other heat than the light and heat of that society is in them, they are not received; that is, if any other truth and any other good is in them. Therefore, they depart thence, and go in the ways which are opened among the societies in heaven, and this till they find a society which agrees in every respect with their affections, and here they take up their abode to eternity. For they are here among their like, as among relations and friends whom, because they are in a similar affection, they love from the heart and there they are in the enjoyment of their life, and in a fullness of bosom delight derived from peace of soul; for there is in the heat and light of heaven an ineffable delight, which is communicated. Such is the case with those who become angels. But they who are in evils and falsities may, by leave given to them, ascend into heaven; but when they enter, they begin to draw their breath or to respire with difficulty, and presently their sight is obscured, their understanding is darkened, and thought ceases, and death seems present before their eyes, and thus they stand like a stock. And then they begin to have a beating at the heart, and a straitness over the breast, the mind is seized with anguish, and they become more and more tormented, and in that state writhe themselves about like a serpent laid before the fire; therefore, they roll themselves away, and cast themselves headlong down a precipice which then appears to them; nor do they rest till they are in hell among their like, where they can respire, and their heart can vibrate freely. Afterwards they hate heaven, and reject truth, and in heart blaspheme the Lord, believing that their tortures and torments in heaven proceeded from Him. From these few things it may be seen what their lot is who make no account of truths, which yet make the light in which the angels of heaven dwell, and who make no account of goods, which yet make the heat in which the angels of heaven are. From these things it may appear how much they are in error, who believe that everyone may enjoy heavenly beatitude by mere admit sion into heaven. For the faith at this day is, that heaven is received from mercy alone; and that reception into heaven is like being admitted, in this world, into a house where there is a marriage, and then at the same time into the joy and gladness. But let them know, that there is a communication of affections in the spiritual world, man being then a spirit, and the life of a spirit is affection, from which, and according to which, is thought; and that homogeneous affection conjoins and heterogeneous affection disjoins, and that heterogeneity would torment a devil in heaven, and an angel in hell. For which reason they are separated exactly according to the diversities, varieties and differences of the affections which are of love. It was granted me to see upwards of three hundred of the clergy of the Reformed world, all men of learning, who knew how to confirm the doctrine of faith alone even to justification, and some of them still further. And because there prevailed a belief among them also, that heaven consists only in admission by favor, leave was given them to ascend to a society in heaven, though not one of the higher ones. And as they ascended together, they appeared at a distance like calves. And when they entered into heaven they were received with civility by the angels, but when they discoursed with them, they were seized with trembling, afterwards with horror, and lastly with the agonies as it were of death, and then they cast themselves down headlong, and in their descent they appeared like dead horses. The reason of their appearing like calves as they ascended, was, because from correspondence the natural affection of seeing and knowing appears gamboling like a calf; and the reason why they appeared like dead horses as they fell, was, because from correspondence the understanding of truth from the Word appears like a horse, and the non-understanding of truth in the Word, like a dead horse. There were boys below, who saw them falling, to whom in their descent they seemed like dead horses. And then they turned away their faces, and said to their master, who was with them, "What is this portent? We beheld men and now instead of them there are dead horses, the sight of which we could not bear, and we therefore turned away our faces. Master, let us not stay in this place, but let us go away:" and they departed. The master then instructed them in the way what "a dead horse" is, saying, "`a horse‘ signifies the understanding of the Word; all the horses which you saw, signified that; for when a man goes meditating from the Word, then his meditation, at a distance, appears as a horse, noble and lively, as he meditates spiritually on the Word, and, on the contrary, poor and dead as he meditates materially." The boys then asked, "What is it to meditate on the Word spiritually and materially?" And the master replied, "I will illustrate it by examples. Who, when he reads the Word, does not think of God, his neighbor, and heaven? Everyone who thinks of God only from Person, and not from Essence, thinks materially; also he who thinks of the neighbor only from form, and not from quality, thinks materially; and he who thinks of heaven only from place, and not from the love and wisdom which heaven is, he also thinks materially." But the boys said, "We have thought of God from Person, of the neighbor from form, that he is a man, and of heaven from place; did we therefore, when we were reading the Word, appear to anyone as dead horses?" The master said, "No, you are yet boys, and could not think otherwise; but I have perceived in you an affection of knowing and understanding, which because it is spiritual, you have also thought spiritually. But I will return to what I said at first, that he who thinks materially, when he reads the Word or is meditating from it, appears at a distance like a dead horse; but he who reads it spiritually, like a living horse; and that he thinks materially concerning God and the Trinity, who thinks of God only from Person, and not from essence. For there are many attributes of the Divine essence, such as omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, mercy, grace, eternity, and others; and there are attributes proceeding from the Divine essence, which are creation and preservation, salvation and redemption, enlightenment and instruction. Everyone who thinks of God only from person, makes three Gods, saying that one God is the Creator and Preserver, another the Saviour and Redeemer, and the third the Enlightener and Instructor. But everyone who thinks of God from essence, makes one God, saying, God created and preserves us, redeems and saves us, enlightens and instructs us. This is the reason why they who think of the Trinity in God from Person, and thus materially, cannot, from the ideas of their thought, which are material, do otherwise than out of one God make three; but yet, contrary to their thought, they are held to saying, that in each there is a communion of all the attributes, and this solely because they have also thought of God obscurely from essence. Therefore, my pupils, think of God from His essence, and from that of His Person, and not from His Person, and from this of His essence, for to think of His essence from Person, is to think materially of His essence also; but to think of His Person from essence, is to think spiritually even of His Person. The ancient Gentiles, because as they thought materially of God, and also of the attributes of God, not only imagined three gods, but many even to the number of a hundred. Know then that the material does not flow into the spiritual, but the spiritual into the material. It is similar with the thought of the neighbor from form, and not from his quality, and with the thought of heaven from place, and not from the love and wisdom which heaven is. It is similar with each and everything in the Word. Therefore, he who cherishes a material idea of God, and likewise of the neighbor and of heaven, cannot understand anything there. The Word is to him a dead letter, and he himself, when he reads it or meditates on it, appears at a distance as a dead horse. They whom you saw falling from heaven, and who appeared in your sight like dead horses, were such as had closed the rational sight in themselves and others by this peculiar dogma, that the understanding is to be kept in subjection to their faith; not considering that the understanding, when closed by religion, is as blind as a mole, and there is mere thick darkness in it, and such thick darkness as rejects from itself all spiritual light, opposes its influx from the Lord and from heaven, and sets up a barrier against it in the sensual corporeal part, far below the rational in matters of faith, that is, places it near the nose, and fixes it in its cartilage, on which account they cannot afterwards so much as scent spiritual things; whence some have become such that when they sensate the odor from spiritual things they fall into a swoon; by odor I mean perception. These are they who make God three. They say indeed from essence that God is one; but yet when they pray from their faith, which is that `God the Father would have mercy for the sake of the Son and send the Holy Spirit,’ they evidently make three Gods. They cannot do otherwise, for they pray to one to have mercy for the sake of another, and send a third." And then their master taught them concerning the Lord, that He is the one God, in whom is the Divine Trinity.