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AR Chapter 14
AR 655. Here I will add this Relation.
I spoke with some of those who are meant by "the dragon" in the Apocalypse; and one of them said to me, "Come with me, and I will show you the delights of our eyes and hearts." And he led me through a gloomy forest to the top of a hill, from which I could have a view of the delights of the dragons. And I saw an amphitheatre erected in the form of a circus, with rows of benches one above another, on which the spectators were seated. They who sat on the lowest benches appeared to me, at a distance, like satyrs and priapi, some with a slight covering and some naked without it. On the benches above them sat whoremongers and harlots, they appeared such to me, from their gestures. And then the dragon said to me, " Now thou shalt see our sport." And I saw, as it were, bullocks, rams, sheep, kids, and lambs, driven into the area of the circus, and when they were in, a gate was opened, and there rushed in, as it were, young lions, panthers, leopards, and wolves, which attacked the flock with fury, and tore them in pieces and slaughtered them. But the satyrs, when the bloody slaughter was over, strewed sand over the place of the slaughter. Then the dragon said to me, "These are our sports which delight our minds." And I replied, "Get thee hence, demon, in a short time thou wilt see this amphitheatre converted into a lake of fire and sulphur." At this he laughed and went away. And afterwards I was thinking within myself, why such things are permitted by the Lord, and I received an answer in my heart, that they are permitted so long as they are in the world of spirits, but when the time of their stay in that world is at an end, those theatrical scenes are changed into such as are direful and infernal. All the things which were seen were induced by the dragonists by phantasies; therefore they were not bullocks, rams, sheep, kids, and lambs, but the genuine goods and truths of the church, which they hold in hatred, they made to so appear. The young lions, panthers, leopards, and wolves were appearances of the lusts with those who seemed like satyrs and priapi. They who were without any covering, were such as believed that evils do not appear before God; and they who had a covering, were such as believed that they do appear, but yet do not condemn, provided they are in faith; the whoremongers and harlots were falsifiers of the truth of the Word, for whoredom signifies the falsification of truth. In the spiritual world all things appear, at a distance, according to correspondences, the forms of such appearances being called representations of spiritual things in objects similar to those that are natural. After this I saw them going out of the forest, the dragon being in the midst of the satyrs and priapi, and after them, their servants and scullions, for such were the whoremongers and harlots. Their company increased in the way, and then it was given to hear what they were talking about among themselves. They were saying that they perceived a flock of sheep with lambs in a meadow, which was a sign that one of the cities of Jerusalem, where charity is primary, was near. And they said, "Let us go and take that city, and cast out its inhabitants, and plunder their goods." They drew near; but there was a wall around it, and angel guards upon the wall. Then they said, "Let us take it by deceit; let us send one who is skilled in the art of mussitation, who can make black white, and white black, and can give to any object whatever color he pleases." And there was found one who was expert in the art of metaphysics, who could change the ideas of things into the ideas of terms, and conceal the things themselves under formulas, and thus fly away, like a hawk, with his prey under his wings. He was instructed how to speak with the citizens, that they were in fellowship in religion, and that they should be admitted. Coming to the gate he knocked, and when it was opened, he said that he wished to speak with the wisest person in the city. Then be entered, and was conducted to one, whom he thus addressed, saying, "There are some of my brethren, without the city, who request to be received. They are consociates in religion. You and we, make faith and charity the two essentials of religion; the only difference is, that you say charity is primary and faith is thence, whereas we say that faith is primary and charity is thence. But what matters it whether one or the other is called the primary when both are believed in?" The wise man of the city replied, "We will not talk this matter over alone, but in the presence of several, who may act as arbiters and judges, or else there would he no decision." And then they were summoned, to whom the draconic spirit spake the same words as before. And then the wise man of the city replied, "Thou hast said, that it is the same thing whether charity or faith be assumed as the primary of the church, provided it be agreed that each constitutes the church and its religion. And yet the difference between them is the same as between prior and posterior, between cause and effect, between the principal and the instrumental, and between the essential and the formal. I speak in this manner, because I have observed that thou art expert in the art of metaphysics, which art we call mussitation, and some call it incantation. But let us leave these terms. The difference is the same as between what is above and what is below; yea! if you will believe it, the difference is as between heaven and hell; for that which is primary constitutes the head and the breast, and that which is thence derived, the feet and the soles of the feet. But let us first agree what charity is and what faith is. Charity is the affection of the love of doing good to the neighbor for the sake of God, salvation and eternal life, and faith is thought from confidence concerning God, salvation, and eternal life." But the emissary said, "I concede that this is faith, and I also concede that charity is that affection for the sake of God, because for the sake of His command; but not for the sake of salvation and eternal life." And the wise man of the city said, "Let it be this, provided it is for the sake of God." After this agreement the wise man of the city said, "Is not affection the primary? and is not thought from it?" But he that was sent by the dragon said, "This I deny." But he received for answer, "You cannot deny it. Does not a man think from affection? Take away affection, and can you think anything? It is altogether as if you should take away sound from speech. If you take away sound, can you speak anything? Sound also is of the affection, and speech is of the thought; for the affection sounds, and the thought speaks. And it is also like flame and light. If you take away the flame, does not the light perish? It is the same with charity, because this is affection; and with faith, because this is thought. Can you not thus comprehend that the primary is the all in the secondary, altogether as the sound is in speech? From which you may see, that if you do not make that to be the primary which is the primary, you are not in the other. Wherefore, if you take faith, which is in the second place, and put it in the first, you will not appear otherwise in heaven than as a man inverted, whose feet stand upwards, and his head downwards; or like a mountebank, who, with his body upside down, walks upon the palms of his hands. When ye appear such in heaven, what then are your good works, which are charity, but such as that mountebank would do with his feet, because he cannot with his hands? Hence it is that your charity, as you also have seen, is natural, and not spiritual, because it is inverted." The emissary understood this: for every devil can understand truth, when he hears it; but he cannot retain it, because when the affection of evil returns, it casts out the thought of truth. And afterwards the wise man of the city described by many things what the quality of faith is when it is received as the primary, that it is merely natural; and that it is mere science, without any spiritual life: consequently, that it is not faith. "For your charity is nothing but natural affection; and from natural affection no other than natural thought proceeds, which is your faith. And I may almost say, that in merely natural faith there is scarce any more that is spiritual, than in a knowledge of the kingdom of the Mogul, of the diamond mine there, and of the treasure and court of the emperor." Hearing this, the dragonist went away in a rage, and reported to his friends without the city. And when they heard that it was said that charity is the affection of the love of doing good to the neighbor for the sake of God, of salvation, and of eternal life, they all cried out, "This is a lie:" and the dragon himself exclaimed, "O the wickedness, are not all the good works which are charity, when done for the sake of salvation, meritorious?" Then they said among themselves, "Let us call together still more of our friends, and we will besiege this city: let us make ladders, scale the wall, and rush in by night, and cast out these charities." But when they attempted this, lo, there appeared as it were fire out of heaven, which consumed them. But the fire from heaven was an appearance of their anger from hatred against the others, because they rejected faith from the first place into the second. The reason that they appeared to be consumed as if by fire, was because hell was opened under their feet, and swallowed them up. Things similar to this happened in many places at the time of the Last Judgment, and this is what is meant by these words in the Apocalypse:--
The dragon shall go out to seduce the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, to gather them together to war: and they went up on the plain of the earth, and encompassed the camp of the saints, and the beloved city; but fire came down from God out of heaven, and consumed them (Apoc. 20:8, 9).