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Jesus Lives! - The Lord God Jesus Christ: Creator, Sustainer and Redeemer of Heaven and Earth

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www.BibleMeanings.info  ·  New Truth  ·  Conjugial Love  ·  Sections 1 ff next


CL 1. I foresee that many who read the things which follow, and the Memorable Relations at the end of the chapters, will think that they are inventions of the imagination; but I asseverate in truth that they are not inventions but are things actually done and seen; nor were they seen in any state of a mind asleep but in a state of full wakefulness. For it has pleased the Lord to manifest Himself to me and to send me to teach the things which shall be of the New Church, meant by the New Jerusalem in the Apocalypse. To this end, He has opened the interiors of my mind and spirit, whereby 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 for twenty-five years.

CL 2. I once saw an angel flying beneath the eastern heaven, holding in his hand and at his lips a trumpet, which he sounded towards the north, towards the west, and towards the south. He was clad in a robe which streamed behind him as he flew, and was girt about with a sash, flaming and sparkling as though with rubies and sapphires. He flew down and alighted gently upon the earth near where I was standing. As he touched the ground he stood upon his feet and walked to and fro; then, seeing me, he directed his steps towards me. I was in the spirit, and in the spirit was standing upon a hill in the southern quarter. When he was close by, I spoke to him and asked: "What is going on? I heard the sound of your trumpet and saw you coming down through the air." The angel answered: "I am sent to call together from the kingdoms of the Christian world, men dwelling in that region who are renowned for learning, penetrating in genius, and eminent in reputation for wisdom, that they may assemble on this hill where you are now standing, and, from their heart, may express their minds as to what had been their thought, understanding, and wisdom in the world, respecting heavenly joy and eternal happiness.

[2] The reason of my mission was this: Certain newcomers from the world, who were admitted into our heavenly society which is in the east, have told us that not a single person in the whole Christian world knows what heavenly joy and eternal happiness are, or, consequently, what heaven is. Greatly wondering at this, my brethren and companions said to me, `Go down, call together and assemble the wisest men in the world of spirits (in which all mortals are first gathered after their departure from the natural world), that from the mouth of many we may ascertain whether it is true that among Christians there is such great darkness and dense ignorance concerning the future life!" He then added, "Wait a little and you will see companies of the wise flocking hither. The Lord will prepare for them a hall of assembly."

[3] I waited, and lo, after half an hour I saw two companies from the north, two from the west, and two from the south. As they came, they were introduced by the angel of the trumpet into the hall which had been prepared for them, and there took the places assigned them according to the quarters. There were six companies or groups; a seventh, at the east, was not seen by the others on account of the light. When they were assembled, the angel disclosed to them the reason why they had been summoned, and asked that the companies, each in turn, would set forth their wisdom respecting heavenly joy and eternal happiness. After this, each company gathered in a circle, face to face, that they might recall this matter from among the ideas they had entertained in the former world, and then examine it, and after examination and consultation, present their conclusion.

CL 3. 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 everyone who enters heaven, enters, as to life, into its festivities, just as one who goes to a wedding enters into its festivities. Is not heaven above us, before our eyes, and thus in a place? And there and nowhere else is happiness upon happiness and pleasure upon pleasure. When man enters heaven, then, from the fullness of the joys of that place, he is admitted into these as to every perception of his mind and every sensation of his body. Heavenly happiness, therefore, which is also eternal happiness, is nothing else than admission into heaven, and admission by Divine grace."

[2] After this speech, the SECOND COMPANY from the north, from their wisdom expressed the following opinion: "Heavenly joy and eternal happiness are nothing else than cheerful companionship with angels, and sweet conversation with them, whereby, from pleasant and witty discourse, the countenance is kept continually expanded with gladness, and the faces of the whole company are wreathed in happy smiles. What are heavenly joys but the variations of such things to eternity?"

[3] The THIRD COMPANY, which was the first of the wise from the western quarter, speaking from the thoughts of their affections declared: "What else is heavenly joy and eternal happiness but feastings with Abram, Isaac, and Jacob, upon whose tables will be rich and delicate foods, with generous and noble wines; and after the feasts, sports and the dances of maidens and young men, tripping to the measures of tabors and flutes, with the sweet singing of odes interspersed; and then, at evening, dramatic representations, and after these, again feastings, and so on every day to eternity."

[4] After this utterance, the FOURTH COMPANY, which was the second from the western quarter, announced their opinion, saying: "We have entertained many ideas respecting heavenly joy and eternal happiness, and after exploring various joys and comparing them with each other, have come to the conclusion that heavenly joys are paradisal joys. What else is heaven but a paradise, stretching from east to west and from south to north--a paradise wherein are fruit trees and delightful flowers, and in the centre the magnificent Tree of Life, around which the blessed will sit, eating fruits of delicate flavour, and adorned with wreaths of the most fragrant flowers. And since, by reason of the breathing of perpetual spring, these fruits and flowers are born and reborn daily and with infinite variety; and since, by their perpetual birth and blossom, and by the constant vernal temperature, the mind is continually renewed; the blessed must needs attract and breathe out new joys from day to day, and thus be restored to the flower of their age, and thereby to the primitive state into which Adam and his wife were created, and so be led back into their paradise which has been transferred from earth to heaven."

[5] The FIFTH COMPANY, which was the first of the men of genius from the southern quarter, said: "Heavenly joy and eternal happiness are nothing else than supereminent dominion, with boundless wealth, and from this, super-regal magnificence and super-illustrious splendour. That these are the joys of heaven and the continual enjoyment thereof which is eternal happiness, this we have perceived clearly from the case of those who enjoyed them in the former world, and also from the statement that the happy in heaven will reign with the Lord, and, being the sons of Him who is King of kings and Lord of lords, will be kings and princes and will sit upon thrones, with angels ministering to them. We have perceived clearly the magnificence of heaven from the statement that the New Jerusalem, by which is portrayed the glory of heaven, will have gates, each of which will be a single pearl, streets of pure gold, and a wall with foundations of precious stones. Therefore, everyone who is received into heaven has his own palace, resplendent with gold and precious things, and a dominion which will pass in turn from one to another. And, knowing that in such things joys are innate and happiness implanted, and that they are God's promises which cannot be broken, we are unable to deduce the happy state of heavenly life from any other source."

[6] After this, the SIXTH COMPANY, which was the second from the southern quarter, lifted up its voice and said: "The joy of heaven and its eternal happiness are nothing else than the perpetual glorification of God, a solemn festival continuing to eternity, and most blessed worship, with songs and jubilees; and thus a constant uplifting of the heart to God, with full trust in the acceptance of their prayers and praises because of the Divine munificence, and in their own blessedness." Some of the company added that it would be a glorification attended with magnificent illuminations and the most fragrant incense--a glorification with stately processions headed by a pontiff with a great trumpet, who would be followed by primates and key-bearers great and small, and after these, men with palms and women with golden images in their hands.

CL 4. The SEVENTH COMPANY, not visible to the others on account of the light, was from the east of heaven. They were angels from the same society whence came the angel of the trumpet. When they heard in their heaven that not a single person in the Christian world knows what the joy of heaven and eternal happiness are, these angels said one to another "This can never be the truth. There cannot be such great darkness and such mental stupor among Christians. Let us also go down and ourselves hear whether it be the truth. If it is the truth, it is surely a monstrous thing."

[2] Those angels then said to the angel of the trumpet: "You know that after death all men who had desired heaven, and had some definite thought about the joys there, are introduced into the joys of their imagination; and that when they have learned by experience the nature of these joys, that they are accordant with the vain ideas of their own mind and the ravings of their own fantasy, they are led away from them and instructed. This is done with many spirits in the world of spirits, being spirits who in the former life have meditated about heaven, and have formed so definite a conclusion respecting the joys there, that they desire them." Hearing this, the angel of the trumpet said to the six companies which had been called together from the wise of the Christian world: "Follow me, and I will introduce you into your joys, and thus into your heaven."

CL 5. Saying this, the angel took the lead and was accompanied first by the company of those who had persuaded themselves that heavenly joys consisted solely in cheerful companionship and sweet conversation. These he introduced to assemblies in the northern quarter, consisting of those to whom, in the former world, these were the only joys of heaven. In that quarter was a spacious house in which such persons were gathered together, and in the house were more than fifty rooms, distinguished according to the various kinds of conversation. In some of these rooms, they were talking about things they had seen and heard in the market place and the streets. In some, they were telling pleasant stories concerning the fair sex interspersed with facetious remarks, and these were so multiplied that the countenances of all in the company expanded with hilarious laughter. In other rooms they talked about the news of courts, of ministries, of the body politic, and of various matters which had emanated from secret committees, together with arguments and conjectures respecting future events. In others, they talked of business; in others, on literary subjects; in others, of such things as pertain to civic prudence and moral life; in others, about ecclesiastical affairs and the sects; and so on. It was granted me to look into this house, and I saw men running about from room to room, seeking out companies in harmony with their affections and so with their joy. In these companies, I observed men of three kinds; some as though panting to speak, some longing to ask questions, and others eager to listen.

[2] The house had four doors, one towards each quarter; and I noticed that many left their companies and were hastening to get out. Some of these I followed to the eastern door, and saw several sitting near it with a sad countenance. Going up to them, I asked them the cause of their sadness. They answered: "The doors of this house are kept closed against those who would go out. It is now the third day since we entered, and we have exhausted the life of our desire in companies and conversations, and are so utterly wearied, with continual chattering that we can scarcely bear to hear the murmur of the sound thereof. Therefore, in weariness we betook ourselves to this door and knocked. But we are answered: `The doors of this house are not opened for those who would go out but only for those who would come in. Remain and enjoy the joys of heaven.' From this answer, we conclude that we must remain here to eternity, and therefore sadness has invaded our minds. And now our breast begins to be oppressed and anxiety overtakes us."

[3] The angel then spoke to them and said: "This state is the death of the joys which you believed to be alone heavenly, when yet they are nothing but accessories of heavenly joys." They then asked the angel, "What then is heavenly joy?" and the angel replied briefly: "It is the delight of doing something which is of use to oneself and to others; and the delight of use derives its essence from love, and its existence from wisdom. The delight of use springing from love by means of wisdom is the soul and life of all heavenly joys.

[4] In the heavens there are most cheerful companionships, which exhilarate the minds of the angels, are pleasing to their animi, delight their breasts and recreate their bodies. But they enjoy these delights after they have performed the uses of their employments and occupations. From these uses comes the soul and life in all their joys and pleasures, and if you take away this soul or life, the accessory joys successively become joyless, becoming first indifferent, then like trifles, and finally sad and distressing." When these words had been spoken, the door was opened, and those sitting by it sprang out and fled to their homes, each to his own employment and his own work; and they received new life.

CL 6. After this, the angel addressed those who had deluded themselves with the idea that the joys of heaven and eternal happiness consisted in feasting with Abram, Isaac, and Jacob, followed by sports and public shows and then by more feasting, and so on to eternity. To these he said: "Follow me and I will bring you into the felicities of your joys." He then led them through a grove to a level place covered with boards, on which were set tables, fifteen on one side and fifteen on the other. And they asked, "Why so many tables?" The angel answered: "The first table is Abram's, the second Isaac's, the third Jacob's, and next to these in order come the tables of the twelve Apostles. On the other side is the same number of tables for their wives, the first three being those of Sarah the wife of Abram, Rebekah the wife of Isaac, and Leah and Rachel the wives of Jacob; the twelve others are for the wives of the twelve Apostles."

[2] After some delay, all the tables were seen to be laden with dishes of food, the little spaces between them being embellished with small pyramids containing sweetmeats. The guests stood around the tables, awaiting their respective hosts. These were shortly seen to enter, in order of precedence from Abram to the last of the Apostles; and presently each approached his own table and reclined upon a couch at its head. They then said to those who stood around, "Recline ye also with us" and they did so, the men with the patriarchs and the women with their wives; and they ate and drank in gladness and with veneration. After the feast the patriarchs retired, and then began sports, dances of maidens and young men, and after these, public shows. When these were ended, they were again invited to the feast, but with the condition that they were to eat on the first day with Abram, 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 the festivities would be renewed in the same order, changing seats, and so on to eternity.

[3] After this, the angel, calling together the men of his company, said to them:"All those whom you saw at the tables had been in like imaginary thought with yourselves concerning the joys of heaven and eternal happiness therefrom; and such mock festivities have been provided and permitted by the Lord to the end that they may see the vanity of their ideas and be led out of them. Those men whom you saw at the heads of the tables were impersonated, being old men, many of them bearded men of the peasant class who, because of some wealth, were prouder than others, and on whom was induced the fantasy that they were the ancient patriarchs. But follow me into the ways leading out of this school of sports."

[4] Following him, they then saw some fifty here and fifty there who had filled their bellies with food even to nausea, and were longing to return to their home affairs, some to their offices, some to their shops, and some to their trades. But many were detained by the keepers of the grove, and were asked about their days of feasting and whether they had yet eaten at table with Peter and with Paul, and whether they were going away before they had done so, which would be unbecoming and so would be to their shame. But most of them answered, "We are sated with our joys; food has become insipid to us, and its flavour dry. Our stomachs loathe it; we cannot bear to taste it. We have dragged out some days and nights in this luxury, and beg earnestly to be allowed to go." Then, being released, they fled to their homes with panting breath and rapid pace.

[5] The angel then called the men of his company together, and on the way gave them the following instruction concerning heaven: "In heaven, as in the world, there are foods and drinks; there are feasts and banquets; and with the leading men there are tables spread with sumptuous delicacies and choice and delicious foods wherewith the animus is exhilarated and recreated. There are also sports, public shows, and entertainments of music and song; and all these in the highest perfection. Such things are joys to them also, but they are not happiness. The latter must be within the joys, and then from the joys. Happiness within joys makes joys to be joys, enriching them and keeping them from becoming cheap and loathsome; and this happiness, everyone has from the performance of use in his own function.

[6] Within the affection of every angel's will is a latent vein which draws the mind on to the doing of something. By this, the mind renders itself tranquil and satisfied. This satisfaction and tranquillity induce a state of mind receptive of the love of use from the Lord; and from the reception of this, comes that heavenly happiness which is the life of the joys previously mentioned. In its essence, heavenly food is nothing else than love, wisdom, and use together, that is, use from love by means of wisdom. Therefore, in heaven, food for the body is given to everyone according to the use which he performs, sumptuous to those who are in eminent use, moderate but of exquisite flavour to those in a use of medium degree, common to those in a common use, but none at all to the slothful.

CL 7. After this he summoned the company of the wise, so called, who made heavenly joys and eternal happiness therefrom to consist in supereminent dominion and boundless wealth, and in super-regal magnificence and super-illustrious splendour; and this because it is said in the Word that they shall be kings and princes, that they shall reign with Christ forever, and that they shall be ministered to by angels; besides much else. To these men the angel said: "Follow me and I will introduce you into your joys." He then introduced them into a portico constructed with columns and pyramids. Fronting it was a low palace through which the way opened into the portico. It was through this palace that he introduced them. And lo! men were seen, twenty here and twenty there, all waiting in expectation. Then suddenly, one who personated an angel was present, and said to them, "Through this portico lies the way to heaven. Wait a little and prepare yourselves; for the elder among you are to be kings, and the younger, princes."

[2] When this had been said, then, beside each column appeared a throne, and upon the throne a silken robe, and upon the robe a sceptre and a crown; and beside each pyramid appeared a chair of state, raised three cubits from the ground, and on each chair a chain with golden links, and the ribbon of an order of knighthood, joined at the ends with clasps of diamonds. Then a voice cried out, "Come, now, robe yourselves, take your seats, and wait." Instantly the older men ran to the thrones, and the younger to the chairs of state, and putting on their robes sat down. There was then seen a kind of mist rising up from the lower regions; and from inhaling this mist, the faces of those sitting on the thrones and chairs began to be puffed up and their chests to be swollen and themselves filled with confidence that now they were kings and princes. This mist was an aura of the fantasy with which they were inspired. Suddenly young men flew to them, as if from heaven, and stood, two behind each throne, and one behind each chair, ready to wait on them; and then from time to time, proclamation was made by a herald: "Ye kings and princes, wait yet a little while. Your palaces in heaven are now being prepared. Courtiers with a retinue will presently come and introduce you." They waited and waited until their spirits panted for breath and they were utterly wearied with desire.

[3] After three hours, heaven was opened above their heads, and angels looked down, and having compassion on them, said: "Why sit ye thus foolish and play the part of actors? They have been playing tricks with you, and have changed you from men to idols, because you have set your hearts upon the idea that you are to reign with Christ as kings and princes, and are to be ministered to by angels. Have you forgotten the Lord's words, that he who wishes to be great in heaven becomes a servant? Learn then what is meant by kings and princes, and what by reigning with Christ. It is to be wise and perform uses, the kingdom of Christ, which is heaven, being a kingdom of uses; for the Lord loves all men, and from love wills good to all, and good is use. And because the Lord does goods or uses mediately through angels, and in the world through men, therefore to those who perform uses faithfully He gives the love of use and the reward thereof, which is internal blessedness; and this is eternal happiness.

[4] In the heavens as on earth there is pre-eminent dominion and boundless wealth; for there are governments there, and forms of governments, and therefore greater and lesser powers and dignities. And these who are in the highest dignity have palaces and courts excelling in magnificence and splendour the palaces and courts of emperors and kings on earth; and, from the number of their courtiers, ministers, and attendants, and the splendour of their apparel, honour and glory surround them. But the highest among them are chosen from those whose heart is in the public welfare, it being (to) the bodily senses alone that they are in the fullness of magnificence, and this for the sake of obedience. And since it is for the public welfare that everyone in a society, as in one common body, shall be of some use, and since every use is from the Lord and is done through angels and men as if by them, it is evident that this is what is meant by reigning with the Lord." On hearing these words from heaven, the impersonated kings and princes came down from their thrones and chairs of state and threw away their sceptres, crowns, and robes. The mist wherein was the aura of fantasy then departed from them, and a bright cloud, wherein was an aura of wisdom, veiled them about, and from this aura sanity returned to their minds.

CL 8. After this, the angel returned to the house of assembly of the wise from the Christian world, and called those to him who had deluded themselves with the belief that the joys of heaven and eternal happiness were paradisal delights. To these he said: "Follow me, and I will introduce you into paradise, your heaven, that you may enter upon the blessedness of your eternal happiness." Then, through a lofty gateway formed by the interlacing boughs and branches of noble trees, he introduced them (into a paradisal garden), and there led them around through winding paths from place to place. It was actually a paradise at the first entrance of heaven into which those are admitted who, in the world, had believed that the whole of heaven is a single paradise because it is so called, and had impressed on themselves the idea, that after death there is complete rest from all labour; that this rest is nothing else than breathing in the very soul of delights, walking upon roses, being gladdened with the most delicate juices of grapes, and celebrating festive banquets; and that this life is found only in the heavenly paradise.

[2] Led by the angel, they beheld a vast multitude of old and young men, and of boys; also of women and girls, some sitting upon beds of roses, in groups of threes and tens, making garlands with which to adorn the heads of the old men and the arms of the young, and bouquets for the breasts of the boys; others plucking fruit from the trees and carrying it in osier baskets to their companions; others pressing into cups and genially quaffing the juice of grapes, cherries and berries; others drawing into their nostrils the fragrant odours exhaled and diffused from flowers and fruits and fragrant leaves; others singing melodious songs with which they softly charmed the listeners' ears; others sitting by fountains and diverting the waters of the gushing stream into various forms; others walking about, talking together and throwing off witticisms; others running, playing and dancing, here in groups and there in circles; others entering into little summer-houses to repose on couches; not to mention many other paradisal enjoyments.

[3] When they had seen all this, the angel led his companions hither and thither through winding ways, and finally to some spirits sitting in a most beautiful rose garden surrounded by olive, orange, and citron trees. With swaying bodies and with their cheeks in their hands, they were wailing and weeping. Addressing them, the companions of the angel said, "Why sit ye thus?" They answered: "It is now the seventh day since we came into this paradise. When we entered, our minds seemed as though elevated into heaven and admitted to the inmost enjoyment of its joys. But after three days, this happiness began to grow dull and to be diminished in our minds and become imperceptible, and so to become null. And when our imaginary joys thus ended, we feared the loss of all the delight of our life, and became doubtful about eternal happiness, doubtful even whether there is any eternal happiness. We then wandered through paths and open places seeking the gate by which we had entered. We wandered round and round in circle after circle and inquired the way of those we met, some of whom said: `The gate cannot be found because this paradisal garden is so spacious a labyrinth that whoever wishes to go out, enters more deeply in; so there is nothing else for you to do than stay here forever. You are in the midst of it, where all delights are in their very centre'." They said further to the angel's companions: "Here now have we sat for a day and a half; and being without hope of finding the way out, we have lain down on this bed of roses. We see around us an abundance of olives, grapes, oranges, and citrons, but the more we look at them, the more is our sight wearied with seeing, our smell with smelling, and our taste with tasting. This is the cause of the sadness in which you see us, and of our wailing and weeping."

[4] Hearing this, the angel of the company said to them: "This paradisal labyrinth is truly an entrance into heaven. I know the way out and will lead you." At these words the sitters rose up and embraced the angel. Then together with his group they accompanied him. On the way, the angel taught them what heavenly joy is, and hence eternal happiness; that they are not external paradisal delights unless, together with these, there are also internal paradisal delights. "External paradisal delights are merely delights of the senses of the body, but internal paradisal delights are delights of the affections of the soul. Unless these latter are present in the former there is no heavenly life in them, because no soul, and without its corresponding soul, every delight gradually grows feeble and torpid, and wearies the animus more than labour. In the heavens there are paradisal gardens everywhere, and angels derive joy from them, this joy being a joy to them so far as the delight of the soul is within it."

[5] Hearing this, they all inquired: "What is delight of the soul, and whence is it?" The angel replied: "Delight of the soul is from love and wisdom from the Lord; and since love is effective, being effective by means of wisdom, therefore the seat 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 degrees of the mind into all the senses of the body, and there comes to fullness. Hence joy becomes joy and becomes eternal from the Eternal from whom it is. You have seen things paradisal, and I assure you that there is not a single thing therein, not so much as a little leaf, which is not from the marriage of love and wisdom in use. Therefore, if a man is in this marriage, he is in a heavenly paradise and so in heaven."

CL 9. After this the angel-guide returned to the house of assembly to those who had firmly persuaded themselves that heavenly joy and eternal happiness consist in a perpetual glorification of God, and a festival continuing to eternity, being persuaded of this because in the world they had believed that they were then to see God, and because from the worship of God, the life of heaven is called a perpetual sabbath. To these the angel said: "Follow me and I will introduce you into your joys." He then introduced them into a small city, in the midst of which was a temple, and all the houses of which were called sacred buildings. In this city they saw a great concourse of people flocking in from every corner of the surrounding country, and among them a number of priests. These received the newcomers, and after saluting them, took them by the hand and led them to the temple gate, and from there into some of the buildings round about the temple. There they initiated them into the perpetual worship of God, saying: "This city is an entrance court to heaven, and the city's temple is the entrance to a magnificent and most spacious temple which is in heaven. There God is glorified by the angels with prayers and praises to eternity. The regulations, both here and there, are that newcomers shall first enter the temple and abide there three days and three nights. After this initiation, they are to go to the houses of the city, which are so many buildings consecrated by us, and from building to building, and, in communion with those assembled therein, are to pray, cry out and recite sermons. Take great care that, within yourselves, you think of nothing and, with your companions, speak of nothing but what is holy, pious and religious."

[2] The angel then introduced his company into the temple. It was filled and crowded with many who in the world had been in great dignity, and also with many of the common people. At its doors, guards were stationed lest anyone go out before he had stayed there three days. And the angel said: "Today is the second day since those here present came in. Observe them and you will see their glorification of God." On observation, they saw many of them sleeping, and those who were awake, perpetually yawning. Some, from the continual uplifting of their thoughts to God and no return thereof into the body, they saw as faces shut off from their bodies, for so did they seem to themselves and thus to others also. Some they saw with delirium in their eyes, arising from their perpetual abstraction. In a word, they saw them oppressed in breast and weary in spirit from disgust, all turning away from the pulpit and crying out: "Our ears are stunned. Put an end to your preaching; not a word is any longer listened to and the very sound begins to be loathsome." And then, rising up, they rushed in a body to the doors and, breaking them open, pressed upon the guards and drove them away.

[3] Seeing this, the priests followed and pressed close to them, teaching, beseeching, sighing, and saying:"Celebrate the festival! Glorify God! Sanctify yourselves! In this entrance court of heaven we will initiate you into the eternal glorification of God in a magnificent and spacious temple which is in heaven, and so into the enjoyment of eternal happiness." But these entreaties were not understood by them and were hardly heard on account of the dullness caused by their two days' suspension of mental activity and their detention from their domestic and forensic affairs. When they struggled to tear themselves away from the priests, the latter seized them by their arms and also by their garments, urging them to the sacred buildings where they were to preach, but in vain. "Let us alone" they cried. "We feel as though our body were in a swoon."

[4] At these words, lo, four men appeared in bright white raiment and wearing mitres. In the world, one of them had been an archbishop, and the other three bishops. They had now become angels. They called the priests together and, addressing them, said: "We saw you from heaven with these sheep, and saw how you feed them. You feed them even to insanity. You do not know what is meant by the glorification of God. It means bringing forth the fruits of love, that is, doing the work of one's employment faithfully, sincerely, and diligently, this being the effect of love to God and of love to the neighbour. Moreover, it is the bond of society and its good. It is by this that God is glorified, and then by worship at set 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 can be in the glorification of worship because this is your office, and from it you have honour, glory, and recompense; but even you could not be in that glorification any more than they, were it not that honour, glory, and recompense are connected with your office." Having thus spoken, the bishop commanded the keepers of the gate to let all in and out freely, "for there are multitudes who, in their ignorance concerning the state of heaven, can think of no other heavenly joy than perpetual worship of God."

CL 10. After this, the angel and his companions returned to the place of assembly from which the companies of the wise had not yet departed. There he called to him those who believed that heavenly joy and eternal happiness are merely admission into heaven--and admission by Divine grace; and that they will then have joy, as do those in the world who on festive days enter the palaces of kings, or by invitation go to a wedding. To these the angel said: "Remain here awhile. I will sound the trumpet, and hither will come men famed for wisdom in the spiritual things of the church." After some time, there came nine men, each decked with laurel as a mark of his renown. The angel introduced them into the house of assembly wherein all were present who had been called earlier. In their presence, the angel addressed the laurelled nine and said: "I know that, by your wish and in accordance with your idea, it has been granted you to ascend into heaven, and that you have returned into this lower or sub-heavenly earth with full knowledge of the state of heaven. Tell us, therefore, how heaven appeared to you."

[2] They answered in turn. The FIRST said: "From early boyhood to the end of my life in the world, my idea of heaven had been that it was a place of all blessedness, happiness, enjoyment, pleasantness and pleasure; and that if I should be admitted there, I would be surrounded with an aura of felicities, and would breathe them in with full breast, like a bridegroom when he celebrates his nuptials and enters the bridal chamber with his bride. With this idea, I ascended into heaven and passed the first guards and also the second; but when I came to the third, the officer of the guard addressed me and said: `Friend, who are you?' I answered: `Is not this heaven? From the longing of my desire I have ascended hither. Pray, let me in.' He then let me in, and I saw angels in white raiment. They walked around me, and after examining me, murmured, `Lo, a new guest not clad in the garments of heaven.' Hearing this, I thought: `This seems to me like the case of the man of whom the Lord said that he had come to the wedding without a wedding garment.' So I said, `Give me such a garment.' And they laughed. Then one came running from the court with the command, `Strip him naked, cast him out and throw his garments after him.' And so I was cast out."

[3] The SECOND in order said: "I believed as he did, that if only I could be let into heaven which is above my head, joys would flow around me and I would be animated by them to eternity, and I, too, obtained my wish. But on seeing me, the angels fled and said among themselves, `What is this monster? How came this bird of night hither?' And I actually had the feeling of being changed from a man (into a bird of night), although I was not changed--a feeling which came upon me from drawing in the heavenly atmosphere. But presently one came running from the court with the command that two servants should lead me out and take me back to my home by the way up which I had come. And when I was at home, I appeared to others and to myself as a man."

[4] The THIRD said: "My constant idea of heaven was derived from place and not from love. Therefore, when I came into this world I longed for heaven with a great longing; and seeing those who were ascending, I followed them and was admitted, though no farther than a few steps. But when, by reason of my idea of the joys and beatitudes there I wanted to gladden my animus, then, owing to the light of heaven which was white as snow and the essence of which is said to be wisdom, a stupor invaded my mind, and hence darkness my eyes, and I began to rave; and soon, 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 and, tormented with inward pain, I threw myself flat on the ground. Then, as I lay prostrate, attendants from the court came with the command to carry me gently away into my own light and heat; and when I came into these, my spirit and my heart returned to me."

[5] The FOURTH said that he also had been in the idea of a place respecting heaven, and not in an idea of love. "When I first came into the spiritual world" he said, "I asked the wise whether one would be permitted to ascend into heaven. They told me that it was permitted everyone, but that men should take heed lest they be cast down. At this I laughed, and I ascended, believing, as do others, that all in the whole world are capable of receiving the joys of heaven in their fullness. But in truth, as soon as I was in, I almost lost my breath, and from pain and consequent torment in head and body, I threw myself on the ground and, writhing like a serpent before a fire, crawled to a precipice and threw myself over it. Afterwards I was picked up by some bystanders below and carried to an inn, where sanity returned to me."

[6] The five others also gave amazing accounts of their ascent into heaven, comparing the changes of the states of their life to the state of fishes when lifted out of water into the air, and to that of birds in the ether. They said that after these severe experiences, they no longer had any desire for heaven but only for a life in companionship with their like, wherever they were; and they added, "We now know that in the world of spirits where we are, all are first prepared, the good for heaven and the evil for hell; and when prepared, they see ways open for them to societies of their like with whom they will dwell forever. They then enter these ways with delight because they are the ways of their love." Upon hearing these accounts, all who were first summoned confessed that they, too, had had no other idea of heaven than as of a place where with open mouth they would drink in to all eternity the joys which surrounded them.

[7] After this, the angel of the trumpet said to them: "You now see that the joys of heaven and eternal happiness are not the joys of a place but of the state of a man's life, and that the state of heavenly life is from love and wisdom; and because the containant of these two is use, the state of heavenly life is from their conjunction in use. It is the same thing if it be said charity, faith, and good works; for charity is love, faith is truth from whence is wisdom, and good works are uses. Moreover, in our spiritual world there is place just as in the natural world, otherwise there would be no habitations and separate abodes. But here place is not place but an appearance of place according to the state of love and wisdom, or charity and faith.

[8] Every one who becomes an angel carries his heaven within him, because he carries within him the love of his heaven; for, by creation, man is a least effigy, image and type of the great heaven, the human form being nothing else. Therefore, every man comes into that society of heaven of which he is the form in individual effigy, and when he enters that society, he enters into a form corresponding to himself. Thus, he enters into that self-form as of himself, and from that form, as it were, into the same form in himself, breathing its life as his own and his own as its. Each society is as one common whole; and the angels there, are as the similar parts from which this common whole coexists. From this it now follows, that they who are in evils and thence in falses have formed within themselves an effigy of hell, and in heaven this effigy is in torment by reason of the influx of opposite into opposite, and of the violence resulting from their activity; for infernal love is opposed to heavenly love, and therefore the delights of the two loves clash with each other as enemies, and when they come together, they destroy each other."

CL 11. When these recitals were concluded, a voice was heard from heaven saying to the angel of the trumpet: "Choose ten out of all those who were called together, and introduce them to us. We have heard from the Lord that He will prepare them so that for three days the heat and light, or love and wisdom, of our heaven will do them no harm." Ten were then chosen and these followed the angel. By a steep path they ascended a certain hill, and from this, the mountain upon which was the heaven of those angels. At a distance, this heaven had previously been seen by them as an expanse among the clouds. The gates were opened for them; and when they had passed the third gate, the angel-guide hastened to the prince of that society or heaven and announced their coming. The prince then responded: "Take some of my attendants, and inform them that their coming is acceptable to me. Then, after bringing them into my outer court and assigning to each his room with its bedchamber, take some of my courtiers to minister to them and some of my servants to serve them at their pleasure." And this was done. When they were brought in by the angel, they asked whether they would be allowed to go and see the prince; and the angel answered: "It is not allowed before noon, and it is now morning. Until noon, all are engaged in their offices and employments. But you are invited to dinner, and you will then sit at table with our prince. Meanwhile, I will conduct you into his palace where you will see things magnificent and splendid."

CL 12. Being led to the palace, they first viewed it from without. It was large, built of porphyry, with a substructure of jasper; and in front of the entrance were six lofty columns of lapis lazuli. The roof was of plates of gold; the lofty windows were of transparent crystal, and their frames were also of gold. After this, they were introduced into the Palace and conducted from room to room. There they saw ornaments of ineffable beauty, and on the ceilings, decorations of inimitable carving. Along the walls were placed silver tables inwrought with gold, and on them various utensils of precious stones and of entire gems in heavenly forms, besides many other things which no earthly eye has seen, for which reason no one could bring himself to believe such things exist in heaven.

[2] While they were standing in amazement at the sight of this magnificence, the angel said:"Marvel not. The things which you see were not made and fashioned by any angelic hand but were formed by the Maker of the universe and presented to our prince as a gift. Here therefore is the art of architecture in its very art; and from it are all the rules of that art in the world." He then added: "You may suppose that such things enchant our eyes, and so infatuate them that we believe them to be the joys of our heaven; but because our hearts are not in them, they are only accessory to the joys of our hearts. So far, therefore, as we look upon them as accessory and as the work of God, so far we behold in them the Divine omnipotence and clemency."

CL 13. After this, the angel said to them: "It is not yet noon; come with me into the garden of our prince, which is close by the palace." They went; and at the entrance he said: "Behold the most magnificent of all the gardens in this heavenly society." But they replied: "What are you saying? There is no garden here. We see only a single tree; and among its branches and on its top, fruits as though of gold, and leaves as though of silver, with their edges adorned with emeralds; and under the tree, little children with their nurses." At this, the angel said with inspired voice: "This tree is in the centre of the garden and is called by us the Tree of our Heaven, and by some the Tree of Life. But go farther in, draw near, and your eyes will be opened and you will see the garden." They did so; and, their eyes being opened, they saw trees entwined with the tendrils of vines and laden with delicious fruits; and the tree-tops with their fruit were bending towards the Tree of Life in the centre.

[2] These trees were planted in an unbroken line which ran out and was extended into ever new circles or gyres after the manner of a perpetual helix. It was a perfect arboreal helix, wherein different species of trees followed each other in unbroken order according to the nobility of their fruits. The beginning of this great gyre was at a considerable distance from the Tree in the centre; and the intervening space glittered with a stream of light from which the trees of the gyre shone with a splendour which was successive and continuous from the first trees to the last. The first trees, luxuriant with the choicest fruits, were the most excellent of all. They are called paradisal trees, and are never seen in any country of the natural world because they do not and cannot exist there. Next came trees of oil; after these, trees of wine; then trees of fragrance; and lastly, trees of wood useful for working. Here and there in this arboreal helix or gyre were seats, the backs of which were formed by the converging and intertwining of branches of trees, and were enriched and adorned by their fruits. In this perpetual circle of trees were gates which opened into flower gardens laid out in plots and beds, and from these into lawns.

[3] Seeing these things, the companions of the angel exclaimed: "Lo, heaven in form. Whithersoever we turn the sight of our eyes, some heavenly paradisal thing flows in, which is ineffable." Rejoiced at hearing this, the angel said: "All the gardens in our heaven are representative forms or types of heavenly beatitudes in their origins; and it is because an influx of these states of blessedness uplifted your minds that you exclaimed, `Lo, heaven in form.' Those who do not receive that influx view these paradisal things merely as forests. All who are in the love of uses receive the influx; but those do not receive it who are in the love of glory and not of use." For their instruction, he then explained what the several things in that garden represented and signified.

CL 14. While they were thus engaged, a message came from the Prince, inviting them to eat bread with him. At the same time, two court attendants brought garments of fine linen, saying, "Put these on; for no one is admitted to the Prince's table unless arrayed in the garments of heaven." They then made themselves ready and, accompanying their angel, were led into an uncovered portico, an ambulatory of the palace, where they awaited the Prince. There the angel presented them to dignitaries and magistrates who also were waiting for the prince. And lo, after a short time, the doors were opened and they saw him enter, in the order and pomp of procession, through a door at the west which was wider than the others. Before him went the privy councillors, then councillors from the chambers, and after them, the chief men of the court, midway among whom was the prince himself. Then came courtiers of various ranks, and lastly guards, numbering in all a hundred and twenty Persons.

[2] The angel standing in front of the ten new-comers, who from their apparel seemed like natives of the place, approached the prince and reverently presented them; and the prince, without stopping the procession, said to them, "Come, dine with me." They then followed him into the dining hall and saw a magnificently spread table. In its centre was a high pyramid of gold, and on the forms of this pyramid, in three rows, were a hundred small dishes containing sweet cakes, jellied wine, and other delicacies made of cake and wine. Through the centre of the pyramid gushed a leaping fountain of wine, like nectar, the stream of which was diverted from the top of the pyramid and filled the cups. On either side of this lofty pyramid were various heavenly forms in gold, on which were dishes and plates filled with food of every kind. The heavenly forms which held the dishes and Plates were forms of art from wisdom, such as in the world no art can produce nor words describe. The dishes and plates were of silver, engraved around their edges with designs like those on their supporting forms. The cups were of pellucid gems. Such was the furniture of the table.

CL 15. The apparel of the prince and of his ministers was as follows: The prince was clad in a long purple robe, embroidered with stars of the colour of silver. Under the robe, he wore a tunic of shining silk of a violet colour. This was open at the breast where the front part of a sash was seen bearing the badge of his society. This badge was an eagle on the top of a tree, brooding over her young; it was of shining gold in a circle of diamonds. The privy councillors were attired in garments not unlike those of the prince but without the badge, in place of which were graven sapphires pendent from the neck by a chain of gold. The courtiers had cloaks of chestnut brown on which were woven flowers encircling young eagles. Under their cloaks were tunics of opaline silk, as were also their breeches and stockings. Such was their apparel.

CL 16. The Privy councillors, the councillors from the chambers, and the magistrates stood around the table, and at the command of the prince folded their hands and together murmured a devout thanksgiving to the Lord. Then, at a nod from the prince, they reclined upon the couches at the table; and the Prince said to the new-comers, "Do you also recline with me; see, there are your places." So they reclined; and court attendants who had previously been sent by the prince to minister to them stood behind them. The prince then said to them, "Take each a plate from its circle, and then a dish from the pyramid." And they took them; and lo! new plates and dishes at once appeared in their place; moreover, their cups were filled with wine from the fountain gushing out of the great pyramid; and they ate and drank.

[2] When they were moderately satisfied, the prince addressed the ten invited guests, saying: "I have heard that on the earth which is beneath this heaven, you have been called together to disclose your thoughts respecting the joys of heaven and eternal happiness therefrom; and that you have declared your views differently, each according to the delights of his bodily senses. But what are the delights of the bodily senses without the delights of the soul? It is the soul which makes them delightful. In themselves, the delights of the soul are imperceptible beatitudes; but as they descend into the thoughts of the mind, and from these into the sensations of the body, they become more and more perceptible. In the thoughts of the mind, they are perceived as states of happiness; in the sensations of the body, as delights; and in the body itself as pleasures. From all these together comes eternal happiness; but the happiness which comes from the last alone, is not eternal but temporary. It comes to an end and passes away and sometimes becomes unhappiness. You have now seen that all your joys are joys of heaven also, and are far more excellent than you could ever have imagined; but these joys do not affect our minds interiorly.

[3] There are three things which flow from the Lord into our souls as one. These three as one, or this trine, are love, wisdom, and use. Love and wisdom exist only ideally, being solely in the affection and thought of the mind; but in use they exist really, being together in the act and deed of the body; and where they exist really, there they also subsist. And because love and wisdom exist and subsist in use, it is use that affects us; and use is to perform faithfully, sincerely, and diligently the work of one's function. The love of use and the consequent devotion to use holds the mind together lest it melt away and, wandering about, absorb all the cupidities which flow in from the body and the world through the senses with their allurements, whereby the truths of religion and the truths of morality with their goods are scattered to all the winds. But devotion of the mind to use, retains these truths, and binding them together, disposes the mind into a form capable of receiving wisdom from them; and then at the sides it banishes the mockeries and stage plays of both falsities and vanities. But you will hear more on these subjects from wise men of our society whom I will send to you this afternoon." After he had spoken, the prince arose, and with him the guests. After a salutation of peace, he then charged their angel-guide to take them back to their apartments and show them every courtesy, and also to invite urbane and affable men to entertain them with conversation concerning the various joys of this society.

CL 17. When they returned, this was done; and from the city came men who had been called to entertain them with speech concerning the various joys of the society. After mutual greetings, they walked together, and the men from the city spoke courteously with them. Their angel-guide then said: "These ten men were invited to this heaven that they might see its joys and might thereby gain a new conception of eternal happiness. Tell them, therefore, something about those of its joys which affect the senses of the body; later, wise men will come who will tell them of the things which render these joys auspicious and happy." Hearing this, the men who had been invited from the city told them the following:

1. "There are here days of festivity appointed by the prince, that the mind may be relaxed from the weariness which desire of emulation brings upon some. On these days, in the public places are concerts of music and songs, and outside the city games and shows. At such times, stages are erected in the public places, surrounded by latticework woven of vines from which hang clusters of grapes, and behind which sit the musicians in three tiers, with string instruments and wind instruments of a high tone and a low, and of an energetic tone and a tranquil; and at the sides, singers, male and female. These entertain the citizens with the most delightful music and singing, both choral and solo, varying in kind at intervals. On these festive days, this continues from morning till noon, and afterwards until evening.

[2] 2. "Moreover, every morning, songs of the utmost sweetness sung by virgins and young girls are heard from houses around the public places, and the whole city resounds with them. Each morning, some special affection of spiritual love is sung, that is, is expressed in sound by modifications or modulations of the singing voice; and this affection is perceived in the song as though itself were the song. It flows into the souls of the listeners, stirring them into correspondence with itself. Such is heavenly song. The singers say that the sound of their song is self-inspired and animated as though from within, and is delightfully exalted of itself according as it is received by the listeners. This ended, the windows and also the doors of the houses on the public places and likewise of the houses on the streets are closed, and the whole city is still. Not a sound is heard anywhere and no loiterers are seen. All the citizens, girt for their work, then engage in the duties of their several occupations.

[3] 3. "But at noon, the doors are opened and, in the afternoon in some places, the windows also, and boys and girls are seen playing in the streets, under the charge of governesses and tutors sitting on the porches of the houses.

[4] 4. "In the outskirts of the city are various games for boys and young men, namely, races, ball games, games with balls driven back and forth called racket, and trials of skill among the boys as to which of them are more and which less ready in speech, action, and perception. To the more active are given some laurel leaves as a prize. There are also many other games calling forth the latent abilities of boys.

[5] 5. "Moreover, outside the city there are also theatrical performances by players, representing the varieties of honourableness and virtue characteristic of the moral life; and among them, for the sake of relationship, are also actors." Here one of the ten asked, "why for the sake of relationship?" They answered: "No one of the virtues with its display of honourableness and decorum can be presented in a living way except by things related thereto from the greatest of them to the least. The actors present the least of these up to the point of there being none. But it is established by law that nothing of the opposite, which is called dishonourable or unseemly, shall be exhibited except figuratively and, as it were, remotely. The reason why it is so decreed is because nothing honourable or good in any virtue ever passes over by successive progression to what is dishonourable and evil, but only to the least of that virtue until it disappears; and when it disappears, the opposite begins. Therefore, heaven, where all things are honourable and good, has nothing in common with hell where all things are dishonourable and evil."

CL 18. While they were thus conversing, an attendant came and announced that, by command of the prince, eight wise men were present and desired to enter. Hearing this, the angel went out and, receiving them, brought them in. Then, after the customary social formalities and proprieties, the wise men talked with them. They spoke first about the beginnings and increments of wisdom, intermingling various matters relating to its progress, saying that, with angels, wisdom never comes to an end and stops, but grows and is augmented to eternity. On hearing this, the angel of the company said to the wise men: "At the table our prince spoke with these men concerning the seat of wisdom, that it is in uses; will you also be so kind and speak to them on this subject." They then said: "As first created, man was imbued with wisdom and the love thereof, not for himself but that from himself he might communicate it to others. Hence, it is inscribed on the wisdom of the wise, that none is wise and none lives for himself alone unless at the same time for others. From this comes society; otherwise society would not exist. To live for others is to perform uses. Uses are the bonds of society, which are as many as there are good uses; and uses are infinite in number. There are spiritual uses, which pertain to love to God and to love towards the neighbour; there are moral and civil uses, which pertain to love of the society and state in which a man resides, and of his companions and fellow citizens among whom he lives; there are natural uses, which pertain to love of the world and of its necessities; and there are uses of the body, which pertain to the love of its preservation for the sake of the higher uses.

[2] All these uses are inscribed on man and follow in order one after the other; and when they exist together, the one is within the other. Those who are in the first uses, which are spiritual, are also in the uses which follow; and such men are wise. But those who are not in the first and yet are in the second and from these in the following, are not wise in the same way but only appear to be so from their outer morality and affability. 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 only the world and themselves from the world; and those who are only in the fourth are the least wise of all; for they are devils, living for themselves alone, and if for others, it is only for the sake of themselves.

[3] Every love, moreover, has its own delight, it being by delight that love lives; and the delight of the love of uses is a heavenly delight which enters into the delights that follow in order, exalting them according to the order of their succession, and making them eternal." They then enumerated the heavenly delights proceeding from the love of use, saying that there are myriads and myriads of them, and that those enter into them, who enter into heaven. And in further wise discourse concerning the love of use, they spent the day with them until the evening.

CL 19. Towards evening, a courier, clothed in linen, came to the ten visiting companions of the angel and invited them to a wedding to be celebrated the following day, and the visitors greatly rejoiced that they were also to see a wedding in heaven. After this, they were taken to one of the privy councillors and supped with him. After supper, they returned and separated, each to his own chamber, and slept until morning. Then on awaking, they heard from the houses around the public place the singing of young women and girls mentioned above. It was the affection of conjugial love that was then being sung. Deeply affected and moved by its sweetness, they perceived a blessed pleasantness implanted in their joys, exalting and renewing them. When the time arrived, the angel said, "Make ready and put on the garments of heaven which our prince has sent you." And when they put them on, lo! the garments shone as with a flaming light. They then asked the angel as to the cause of this. He replied: "Because you are going to a wedding. At such times our garments are resplendent and become wedding garments."

CL 20. After this, the angel conducted them to the house of the nuptials. A porter opened the doors; and within the threshold, they were at once received and saluted by an angel sent by the bridegroom and were brought in and led to the seats assigned them. Soon afterwards they were invited into an ante-room of the bridal chamber. There, in the centre, they saw a table on which was set a magnificent golden candlestick, constructed with seven branches with their bowls. On the walls hung silver lamps, and these when lighted made the atmosphere appear as though golden. At the sides of the candlestick, they saw two tables with loaves on them in three rows; and at the four corners of the room were tables on which were crystal cups.

[2] While they were observing these things, lo, a door opened from a room adjacent to the bridal chamber, and they saw six virgins coming out. After them came the bridegroom and bride holding each other by the hand, and leading each other to an elavated seat placed opposite the candlestick. On this they sat down, the bridegroom on the left and the bride at his right, while the six virgins stood by the side of the seat next to the bride. The bridegroom was clothed in a radiant purple robe and a tunic of shining linen, with an ephod on which was a plate of gold set around with diamonds; and on the plate was engraved a young eagle, the nuptial badge of that society of heaven. On his head, he wore a mitre. The bride was clothed with a scarlet mantle, and under that an embroidered gown reaching from the neck to the feet. Below the breast was a golden girdle, and on her head, a crown of gold set with rubies.

[3] When they were thus seated, the bridegroom turned to the bride and placed on her finger a gold ring. He then drew forth bracelets and a necklace of large pearls, and fastening the bracelets upon her wrists and the necklace around her neck, he said, "Accept these pledges." And as she took them, he kissed her and said, "Now thou art mine" and he called her his wife. The guests then cried out, first each guest separately and then all together, "Let there be a blessing!" Joining also in the cry was a delegate of the prince who had been sent in his stead; and at that moment the room was filled with an aromatic fragrance, the sign of a blessing from heaven. The attendants then took bread from the two tables beside the candlestick, and cups, now filled with wine, from the tables in the corners and gave to each of the guests his bread and his cup, and they ate and drank. After this, the husband and his wife arose, and the six virgins, holding in their hands the silver lamps now lighted, followed them as far as the threshold, when the married pair entered the bridal chamber and the door was shut.

CL 21. After this, the angel-guide told the guests about his ten companions, saying that he had introduced them (into the society) by command, and had shown them the magnificent things of the prince's palace and the wonders there; that they had eaten with the prince at his table; and that afterwards they had conversed with our wise men. He then asked, "May they be allowed to have some conversation with you also?" And they came and spoke with them. One of the wedding guests, a wise man, then asked them, "Do you understand what the things you have seen signify?" They answered, "A little." They then asked him why the bridegroom, now the husband, was arrayed in such apparel. He answered: "The bridegroom, now the husband, represented the Lord, and the bride, now the wife, represented the Church, because in heaven a wedding represents the marriage of the Lord and the Church. That is why he wore a mitre on his head and was arrayed in a robe, a tunic, and an ephod, like Aaron; and why the bride, now the wife, wore upon her head a crown and was attired in a mantle, like a queen. But tomorrow they will be clothed differently, for this representation lasts only today."

[2] They asked further: "Since he represented the Lord, and she the Church, why did she sit at his right hand?" The wise man replied: "Because there are two things which make the marriage of the Lord and the Church, love and wisdom. The Lord is love and the Church is wisdom, and wisdom is at the right hand of love; for the man of the Church becomes wise as if of himself; and as he becomes wise, he receives love from the Lord. Moreover, the right hand signifies power, and love has power by wisdom. But, as I said before, after the wedding the representation is changed; for then the husband represents wisdom, and the wife the love of his wisdom. This, however, is not a prior but a secondary love which the wife has from the Lord through the wisdom of her husband. With the husband, the love of the Lord, which is the prior love, is the love of growing wise. Therefore, after the nuptials, both together, the husband and his wife, represent the Church."

[3] Again they asked, "why did you men not stand beside the bridegroom, now the husband, as the six virgins stood beside the bride, now the wife?" The wise man replied: "The reason is because today we are numbered among virgins, and the number six signifies all, and what is complete." They asked, "what does that mean?" He answered: "Virgins signify the Church, and the Church consists of both sexes. Wherefore, as respects the Church we also are virgins. That this is so, is seen from these words in the Apocalypse:

These are they who have not been defiled with women, for they are virgins; and they follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. (Apoc 14:4).

And because virgins signify the Church, therefore the Lord likened it to ten virgins who were invited to the wedding (Matt. 25:1-13). It is because the Church is signified by Israel, Zion, and Jerusalem, that the virgin and daughter of Israel, of Zion, and of Jerusalem is so often spoken of in the word. The Lord also describes His marriage with the Church by these words in David:

Upon thy right hand the queen in fine gold of Ophir. Her clothing is of wrought gold; she shall be brought unto the King in garments of needlework; the virgins, her companions that follow her, shall come into the King's palace." (Ps. 45:9, 13-15).

[4] After this, they asked, "Is it not fitting that in a wedding a priest should be present and perform the ceremony?" The wise man answered: "It is fitting on earth but not in the heavens, and this on account of the representation of the Lord and the Church. This is not known on earth. Yet with us a priest does minister at betrothals, and hears, receives, confirms, and consecrates the consent. Consent is the essential of marriage, all that follows being its formalities."

CL 22. After this, the angel-guide went to the six virgins and, telling them also about his companions, asked that they would favour them with their company. The virgins then approached them, but when they came near, they suddenly withdrew and went into the women's apartment where also were their virgin friends. Seeing this, the angel-guide followed them and asked why they so suddenly withdrew from them without speaking; and they answered, "We could not go near them." He asked, "Why?" and they answered, "We do not know; but we perceived something that repelled us and drove us back. They must excuse us." The angel then returned to his companions and, after reporting this answer, he added, "I surmise that you do not have a chaste love of the sex. In heaven we love virgins for their beauty and elegance of manners; and we love them exceedingly but chastely." At this his companions laughed; and they said, "You have surmised rightly. Who is able to behold such beauties near at hand and not feel some desire?"

CL 23. After this social festivity, all who had been invited to the wedding, including the ten men with their angel, departed. It was late in the evening and they went to bed. At dawn they heard a proclamation: "Today is the Sabbath" and they rose and asked the angel what it meant. He answered: It is for the worship of God. This recurs at set times and is proclaimed by the priests. It is celebrated in our temples and continues for about two hours. If you please, therefore, come with me and I will introduce you." So they made ready and, accompanying the angel, they entered the temple. And lo, it was large, being capable of holding about three thousand, semi-circular, with benches or seats stretching in an unbroken curve which followed the lines of the temple, the back seats being higher than the front. The pulpit in front of the seats was a little back from the centre; and behind at the left was a door. The ten newcomers entered with their angel-guide, and the angel assigned them the places where they were to sit, saying: "Every one who enters the temple knows his own place. He knows it from an innate perception, nor can he sit anywhere else. If he sits in any other place, he hears nothing and perceives nothing; he also disturbs the order, and when this is disturbed, the priest is not inspired."

CL 24. When the congregation was assembled, the priest ascended the pulpit and preached a sermon full of the spirit of wisdom. Its subject was the holiness of the Sacred Scripture, and the conjunction, by its means, of the Lord with both worlds, the spiritual and the natural. In the illustration in which he was, he fully proved that this Holy Book was dictated by Jehovah, the Lord; and that hence He is in it even so that He is the wisdom therein; but that the wisdom which is Himself therein, lies concealed beneath the sense of the letter and is opened only to those who are in truths of doctrine and at the same time in goods of life, and so are in the Lord and the Lord in them. To the sermon he added a votive prayer, and then descended. After the audience had left, the angel requested the priest to speak a few words of peace with his ten companions. So he came to them and they talked together for half an hour. He spoke of the Divine Trinity, that it is in Jesus Christ in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, according to the declaration of the Apostle Paul. He then spoke of the union of charity and faith, but because faith is truth, what he said was, "the union of charity and truth."

CL 25. After expressing their thanks they went home; and there the angel said to them: "This is the third day since your ascent into the society of this heaven, and you were prepared by the Lord to remain here three days. Therefore, the time is now come when we must part. Put off then the garments sent you by the prince, and put on your own." As soon as they had done this, they were inspired with a desire to depart; and they went away and descended, the angel accompanying them to the place of assembly. There they gave thanks to the Lord that He had vouchsafed to bless them with knowledge and hence with intelligence respecting heavenly joys and eternal happiness.

CL 26. Again I asseverate in truth that these things were done and said as they are related, the former in the world of spirits which is midway between heaven and hell, and the latter in the society of heaven from which came the angel-guide of the trumpet. Who in the Christian world would have known anything about heaven, and about the joys and happiness there, knowledge of which is also knowledge concerning salvation, had it not pleased the Lord to open for some one the sight of his spirit, and show him these things and teach him? That such things exist in the spiritual world is clearly evident from the things seen and heard by the Apostle John which are described in the Apocalypse; as, that he saw in heaven the Son of Man in the midst of the seven candlesticks; a tabernacle; a temple; an ark; an altar; a book sealed with seven seals; the book opened and horses going forth out of it; four animals about the throne; twelve thousand chosen out of every tribe; locusts coming up out of the abyss; the dragon and his combat with Michael; a woman bringing forth a man child and fleeing into the wilderness because of the dragon; two beasts rising up, one out of the sea and the other out of the earth; a woman sitting upon a scarlet beast; the dragon cast into a pool of fire and brimstone; a white horse, and a great supper; a new heaven and a new earth, and the Holy Jerusalem coming down, described as to its gates, its wall, and its foundations; also a river of the water of life, and trees of life yielding their fruit every month; besides many more things, all seen by John, and seen while as to his spirit he was in the spiritual world and in heaven. Moreover, it is plainly evident from what was seen by the Apostles after the Lord's resurrection; and afterwards by Peter (Acts 11:5-15); also from what was seen and heard by Paul; and furthermore, what was seen by the prophets, as by Ezekiel, in that he saw four living creatures which were cherubim (Ezekiel 1:1-28; Ezekiel 10:1-22); a new temple and a new earth and an angel measuring them (Ezekiel 40:1-49; Ezekiel 48:1-35); that he was carried away to Jerusalem and there saw abominations; and also to Chaldea, into captivity (Ezekiel 8:1-18; Ezekiel 11:1-25). The like was the case with Zechariah, in that he saw a man riding among myrtle trees (Zechariah 1:8-11); four horns, and then a man with a measuring line in his hand (Zechariah 1:18-21; 2:1-2); a candlestick and two olive trees (Zechariah 4:2-14); a flying roll and an ephah (Zechariah 5:1-6); and four chariots, and horses coming out from between two mountains (Zechariah 6:1-8); and likewise with Daniel, in that he saw four beasts coming up out of the sea (Daniel 7:3-8), and combats between a ram and a he goat (Daniel 8:2-14); that he saw the angel Gabriel and spoke much with him (Daniel 9:20-27); and also with Elisha's servant, in that he saw chariots and horses of fire round about Elisha, and saw them when his eyes were opened (2 Kings 6:17). From these and many other passages in the Word, it is evident that things which exist in the spiritual world appeared to many both before and after the Lord's Advent. What wonder that they should appear now also, when the Church is commencing, that is, when the New Jerusalem is coming down from the Lord out of heaven!

Conjugial Love next Author:  E. Swedenborg (1688-1772). www.biblemeanings.info