תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

nal? If ye suppose so, ye may possibly find yourselves mistaken.” To this they have replied, “What is the internal man? Is it not one and the same with the external ? We have been told by our ministers, that the internal man is nothing else but faith, and that pious discourse and morality of life are the signs of faith, being its operation." To which the angels have answered, “Saving faith is in the internal man, and also charity, and these are the ground of Christian faithfulness and morality in the external; but if the fore-mentioned lusts remain in the internal man, that is, in the will and thence in the thought, so that ye inwardly love them, and yet in externals act and speak otherwise, in this case evil in you is above good, and good is beneath evil, wherefore whatever appearance of understanding may be in your speech, or of love in your actions, evil is within, only covered and concealed, and then ye are like artful deceivers, who pretend to acts of humanity, whilst their hearts breathe a very different spirit. But the quality of your internal man, of which ye are entirely ignorant, in consequence of never examining yourselves, and of never performing repentance after examination, ye will see presently, when stripped of your external man, and let into your internal; for then ye will no longer be known to your companions, nor to yourselves; indeed we have often observed evil-moral persons then become like wild beasts, viewing their neighbour with ferocious aspect, burning with deadly hatred towards them, and blaspheming God, whom in the external man they have worshipped.” On hearing these words they have retired, and the angels have said, “ Ye will see the condition and lot of your life presently, for in a short time your external man will be taken away from you, and ye will enter into the internal, which is now your spirit."

569. THE THIRD MEMORABLE RELATION. Every kind of love in man exhales its delight, by which it makes itself perceptible: it exhaleth it first into the spirit, and thence into the body : and the delight of every one's love, together with the pleasantness of his thought, constitutes his life. These delights and pleasures are perceived but in an obscure manner by man, so long as he lives in the natural body, because it absorbs and dulls them; but after death, when the material body is put off, and thus the covering or clothing of the spirit taken away, the delights of his love and the pleasures of his thought are then rendered fully sensible and perceptible; and what is surprising, they sometimes affect the senses as odoriferous smells. Hence it is that all in the spiritual world are associated together, according to their loves ; in heaven, according to the loves that reign there, and in hell, according to the loves that reign there: the odours into which the delights of loves are turned in heaven, are all perceived like such fragrances, sweet smells, pleasant exhalations, and delightful perceptions, as prevail in gardens, shrubberies, fields, and woods, early of a morning in the spring time of the year; but the odours into which the delights of love are turned in hell, are perceived as fætid and nauseous stenches, such as arise from privies, putrid carcases, and pools full of the drainings of dust beaps and dunghills; and yet, what is wonderful, to the senses of the devils and satans in hell, such stenches are as the perfume of balsams, spices, and frankincense, refreshing their nostrils and their hearts. In the natural world also, beasts, birds, and creeping things have the faculty of associating according to the odours they exhale, but it is not so with men, until they have cast off their mortal covering. Hence it is that heaven is arranged in the most distinct order, according to all the varieties of the love of good; and hell, on the contrary, according to all the varieties of the love of evil. It is owing to this contrariety that there is a great chasm between heaven and hell, which cannot be passed; for the inhabitants of heaven cannot endure any of the odours of hell, as they occasion loathing and sickness, and put the person who inhales them in danger of swooning; the case is the same with the inhabitants of hell, if they pass the middle of the chasm and imbibe the odours of heaven. I once saw a certain devil, who appeared at a distance like a leopard, and who, a few days before, was seen amongst the angels of the last heaven, having the art to transform himself into an angel of light; he had passed the middle of the chasm, and was standing between two olive trees, not being yet sensible of any odour offensive to his life; the reason was, because no angels were present; but as soon as ever they appeared, he was seized with convulsions, and fell down with all his joints contracted: and then he appeared like a great serpent, folding and writhing himself, till at length he made his escape through a cleft in the ground, and being received by his associates, he was conveyed down into a cavern, where he presently revived by the stinking odour of his own delight. I once also saw a certain satan punished by his associates, and on inquiring into the reason, was informed that he had stopped his nostrils and approached the heavenly odours, and that on his return he had brought some taint of them along with him in his clothes. It has sometimes happened, that a stench like that of a dead body, exhaling from some open cavern of hell, has slightly touched my nostrils, and brought on a vomiting. Hence the true cause and ground may appear, why smelling, in the Word, signifies perception, and why it is frequently said that Jehovah smelt a grateful odour from the burnt-offerings; also why the anointing oil and frankincense were prepared with fragrant spices; and on the other hand, why the children of Israel were commanded

all unclean things out of the camp, and also to dig a hole for their excrements, and cover them in the ground,

to carry

Deut. xxiii. 10 to 15; the reason was, because the camp of Israel was representative of heaven, and the wilderness without the camp, of hell.

570. THE FOURTH MEMORABLE RELATION. I was once engaged in conversation with a novitiate spirit, who, during his abode in the world, had meditated much about heaven and hell. By novitiate spirits men lately deceased are meant, who, being then spiritual men, are called spirits. When he first entered the spiritual world, he began in like manner to meditate about heaven and hell, and whilst he was meditating about heaven, he felt himself in a state of gladness, but whilst about hell in a state of sorrow. Upon calling to mind that he was in the spiritual world, he immediately inquired, where heaven was, and where hell, and also about the nature and quality of the one and the other; and the answer he received was, “ Heaven is over thy head, and hell is under thy feet, for thou art now in the world of spirits, which is in the midst between heaven and hell, but with respect to their nature and quality, they cannot be so briefly described.” Then, from the burning desire he had to get information, he cast himself down on his knees, and prayed earnestly to the Lord to be instructed; and lo! an angel appeared on his right hand, and raised him up, and said, “Thou hast prayed to be instructed about heaven and hell; INQUIRE AND LEARN WHAT DELIGHT 18, AND THOU WILT know.” As he spake these words, the angel was taken up from him. Then the novitiate spirit said within himself, “ What can this mean? Inquire and learn what delight is, and thou wilt know the nature and quality of heaven and hell? So presently departing from the place where he stood, he wandered about, and addressed all that he met, saying, “I pray you be so kind as to inform me what delight is?” And some replied, “ What a strange question! Who does not know what delight is? Is it not joy and gladness ? Delight then is delight,

and one delight is like another, we know no difference.” Others said that delight is the mind's laughter, “for whilst the mind laughs, the countenance is merry, the discourse jocular, the gestures sportive, and the whole man is in the enjoyment of delight.” But some said, “ Delight is nothing else than the gratification of feasting, and eating all kinds of dainties, and drinking generous wines to intoxication, and at the same time conversing on various subjects, particularly on such as relate to the indulgences of Venus and Cupid.” On hearing these descriptions of delight, the novitiate spirit in some warmth said within himself, “ These answers are the answers of clowns, and not of sensible men: these delights constitute neither heaven nor hell: O that I could meet with some persons of wisdom !" So he left these and began to inquire for men of wisdom. Then a certain angelic spirit observed him, and said, “I perceive thou hast a desire kindled in thee to know what is the universal constituent of heaven, and the universal constituent of hell, and inasmuch as Delight is that universal constituent, I will conduct thee to the top of a hill, where a daily assembly is held of such as inquire into effects, and of such as investigate causes, and of such as explore ends: such as inquire into effects are there called spirits of the sciences, and in the abstract, sciences; and such as investigate causes are called spirits of intelligence, and in the abstract, intelligences; and such as explore ends are called spirits of wisdom, and in the abstract, wisdoms: directly over them, in heaven, are angels who from ends see causes, and from causes effects, and from these the three companies receive illustration.” Immediately taking the novitiate spirit by the hand, he led him to the top of a hill, and introduced him to the assembly of those who explore ends, and who are abstractedly called wisdoms : and the novitiate spirit said, “ Pardon, I intreat you, my intrusion; the cause of my coming hither is, to inquire about heaven and hell, this

« הקודםהמשך »