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AR Chapter 2
AR 153. To the above I will add something Memorable, concerning the lot of those after death, who have confirmed themselves in faith alone even to justification, both in doctrine and life.
1. When they are dead and revive as to the spirit, which generally takes place on the third day after the heart has ceased to beat, they appear to themselves in a body like that which they had before in the world, even so that they know no otherwise than that they are living in the former world; yet they are not in a material body, but in a spiritual body, which appears before their senses, which are also spiritual, as if it was material, although it is not.
2. After some days they see that they are in a world where there are various societies instituted, which world is called the world of spirits, and is intermediate between heaven and hell. All the societies there, which are innumerable, are wonderfully arranged according to natural affections, good and evil. The societies arranged according to good natural affections communicate with heaven, and the societies arranged according to evil affections communicate with hell.
3. The novitiate spirit, or the spiritual man, is conducted and introduced to various societies, both good and evil, and is explored whether he is affected by truths, and how; and whether he is affected by falsities, and how.
4. If he is affected by truths, he is withdrawn from evil societies, and introduced into good societies, and also into various ones, until be comes into a society corresponding with his own natural affection, and there he enjoys the good which agrees with that affection; and this until he has put off his natural affection and has put on a spiritual affection, and then he is elevated into heaven. But this takes place with those who in the world have lived a life of charity, and thus also a life of faith, which consists in believing in the Lord, and shunning evils as sins.
5. But they who have confirmed themselves in doctrine and life even to justification by faith alone, by reason of their not being affected by truths, but by falsities, and because they have rejected the goods of charity, which are good works, from the means of salvation, are withdrawn from good societies, and introduced into evil societies, and also into various ones, until they come into the society corresponding to the concupiscences of their love; for he who loves falsities cannot but love evils.
6. But because in the world they had feigned good affections in externals, although in their internals there was nothing but evil affections or concupiscences, they are at first kept by turns in externals; and they who in the world presided over companies of men, are here and there set over societies in the world of spirits, in general or in part according to the extent of the offices they had exercised: but because they neither love truth nor justice, nor are capable of being enlightened so as to know what truth and justice are, therefore after some days they are dismissed. I have seen such transferred from one society to another, and some administration given them in each, but after a short time as often are dismissed.
7. After frequent dismissals, some out of weariness will not, and others from the fear of losing reputation dare not, seek for offices any more, therefore they withdraw, and sit sad, and then they are led away into a desert, where there are cottages, into which they enter, and work of some kind is given them to do, and as they do it, they receive food, and if they do not do it, they are hungry and receive none, wherefore necessity compels. Food there is similar to the food in our world, but it is from a spiritual origin, and is given from heaven by the Lord to all according to the uses they perform; to the idle, nothing is given, because they are useless.
8. After some time they loathe work, and then they go out of the cottages; and if they have been priests, they desire to build; and there appear then immediately heaps of hewn stones, bricks, rafters, and boards, also heaps of reeds and bulrushes, clay, lime, and bitumen, which when they see, the lust of building is kindled, and they begin to construct a house, taking now a stone, and then wood, now a reed, and then clay, and placing them one upon another without order; but in their own sight in order. But what they build by day falls down by night; and the next day they collect from the rubbish, and build again, and this they continue to do, until they are tired of building. This is done, because they have collected together falsities to confirm salvation by faith alone, and such falsities do not build up the church in any other manner.
9. Afterwards from weariness they go away, and sit solitary and idle; and as the idle have no food given them from heaven, as was before observed, they begin to hunger, and they think of nothing else than how they may get food and satisfy their hunger. When they are in this state, there come to them some of whom they ask alms; and they say, Why do ye thus sit idle? come with us to our houses, and we will give you work to do, and we will feed you. And then they rise up gladly, and go with them to their houses, and there each has his work given him, and food for his work. But because all who have confirmed themselves in falsities of faith are unable to do works of good use, but only works of evil use, neither do they do these faithfully, but only so as to appear for the sake of honor or gain; therefore they leave their works, and only love to converse, talk, walk about, and sleep. And then, because they cannot any longer be induced by their masters to work, they are cast out as useless.
10. When they are cast out, their eyes are opened, and they see a way leading to a certain cavern. When they are come thither, the door is opened, and they enter, and inquire whether there is any food there; and when they receive for answer that there is, they ask leave to remain, and are told that they may, and are introduced and the door shut after them. And then the overseer of that cavern comes and says to them, Ye cannot go out hence any more; behold your companions, they all labor, and as they labor food is given them from heaven. I tell you this that ye may know. And their companions also say, Our overseer knows what work each one is fitted for, and assigns it to each one daily; on the day you finish it, food is given you, but if you do not, neither food nor clothing is given; and if anyone does evil to another, he is cast into a corner of the cavern, upon a certain bed of accursed dust, where he is miserably tormented, until such time as the overseer sees signs of repentance in him, and then he is released, and commanded to do his work. He is told also, that everyone after his task is done is permitted to walk about, to converse, and afterwards to sleep. And he is led into an interior part of the cavern, where there are harlots, from among whom each is permitted to take one for his woman, and promiscuous whoredom is forbidden under punishment. Of such caverns, which are nothing but eternal workhouses, the entire hell consists. It has been granted to me to enter into and have a view of some of them, to the end that I might make it known, and they all were seen to be vile, neither did anyone of them know who, or in what office he had been in the world. But the angel who was with me, told me, that this one had been a servant in the world, this a soldier, this a governor, this a priest, this one in dignity, and that in opulence, and yet that none of them knew otherwise than that they had always been servants and had similar companions, for this reason, because they were all interiorly alike, although they had been unlike exteriorly, and interiors consociate all in the spiritual world. Such is the lot of those who have removed the life of charity, and who thence have not lived that life in the world.
11. With respect to the hells in general, they consist merely of such caverns and workhouses, but those inhabited by satans are different from those inhabited by devils. Satans are they who have been in falsities and thence in evils, and devils are they who have been in evils and thence in falsities. Satans appear in the light of heaven like corpses, and some of them black like mummies; and devils appear in the light of heaven of a dark and fiery color, and some of them black like soot; but they are all as to their faces and bodies, monstrous; yet in their own light, which is like the light of a coal-fire, they appear not as monsters, but men: this is granted them that they may be consociated.