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that then the universe will be destroyed, and that the stars of heaven will then fall upon the earth (which yet is less than the stars,) and that then the bodies of men, whether they be mouldering carcases, or mummies eaten by men, * or mere dust, will be again united with their souls ? We, during our abode in the world, believed the immortality of human souls, from the inductions with which reason supplied us, and we also assigned regions for the blessed, which we called the Elysian fields, and we believed that the soul was a human effigy or shape, but, being spiritual, of a fine and delicate texture.” After this the assembly turned their attention to the second stranger, who in the world had been a POLITICIAN: he confessed that he had not believed in a life after death, and that he had thought the new information which he had heard about it to be all fiction and in vention : “In my meditations,” said he,“ on the subject, I used to say to myself, “How can souls be bodies ? does not the whole of man lie dead in the grave? is not the eye there, how then can he see? is not the ear there, how then can he hear? whence can he have a mouth wherewith to speak ? Supposing any thing of man to live after death, can it be any thing but some sort of ghost or phantom ? and how can a phantom eat and drink, or how enjoy conjugial delights? whence can it have clothes, houses, meats, &c. ? besides, phantoms, which are mere aerial forms, appear as if they had being, and yet have none. These and such like were my thoughts in the world on the subject of a life after death; but now, since I have seen all things, and touched them with my hands, I am convinced by my very senses that I am a
* It may be proper to acquaint the anlearned reader, that he may see the meaning of this expression concerning mummies being eaten by men, that the substance called mummy, which is the human body preserved by the process of embalming, was some years ago used medicinally, and bought up at high price by the apothecary as a drug endowed with many virtues, possibly on account of the rich spices with which it is so plentifully impregnated.
man as formerly in the world, so that I know no other than that I live now as I lived before, with this only difference, that my reason is now more sound : sometimes I am ashamed of my former thoughts.” The PhiloSOPHER gave much the same account of himself that the Politician did, only differing in this respect, that he had classed the new relations which he had heard concerning a life after death, amongst the opinions and hypotheses which he had collected from the ancients and moderns on the same subject. When the three strangers had done speaking, the sophi were all amazement, and they who were of the Socratic school said, “By this new information from the earth, we perceive that the interiors of human minds have successively become closed so that at this time in the world a belief in the false shines like truth, and an infatuated ingenuity like wisdom, and that the light of wisdom has since our days descended from the interiors of the brain beneath the nose into the mouth, where it appears to view like a shining of the lips, whilst the speech which issues forth seems like wisdom. Hereupon one of the scholars said, “ How stupid are the minds of men on earth at this day! O! that the disciples of Heraclitus and Democritus were here,—they who weep and laugh at every thing;what laughter and weeping there would be !" When the assembly broke up, they gave to the three novitates badges of their authority, which were plates of copper, on which were engraven some hieroglyphic characters: with these they took their leave and departed.
694. The THIRD Memorable Relation. Some time after, I was looking towards the city Athenæum, of which mention was made in the preceding memorable relation, and I heard thence an unusual cry; there was in it something of laughter, and in the laughter something of indignation, and in the indignation something of sadness; still however the cry was not dissonant, but consonant, because one tone was not heard along with the other, but one was
within the other: in the spiritual world a variety and mixture of affections is distinctly perceived in sound. I inquired what was the matter: they said, “A messenger is arrived from the place, where the new comers from the Christian world first make their appearance, bringing information that he had heard from three persons, that in the world whence they came it was the common belief, that the blessed and happy after death enjoy an absolute rest from all labours ; and because administrations, offices, and employments, are labours, they enjoy rest from these engagements also : and as those three persons have been conducted hither by our eniissary, and are now standing at the gate, waiting to be admitted, therefore a cry was raised, and they unanimously determined that the strangers should not be introduced into the palladium in Parnassium, as the former were, but into a large hall of audience there, in order to declare what news they brought from the Christian world: and accordingly some deputies have been sent to introduce them with ceremony." Being at that time myself in the spirit, and distances with spirits being according to the states of their affections, and feeling in myself a strong desire to see and to hear what passed amongst them, I seemed to myself present at the place, and saw them introduced, and heard what was said. The elders or the wiser part of the audience sat by the sides of the hall, and the rest in the middle : before the latter was a place where the floor was raised, and hither the three strangers were conducted, with the messenger, and a grand procession of the junior members of the society, through the midst of the hall; and when silence was made, they were saluted by one of the elders present, and asked, “What News FROM EARTH ?” They replied, “ There is variety of news; but tell us what kind of news, or in relation to what subject do ye inquire?” And the elder answered, “What News FROM Earth ON THE SUBJECT OF OUR WORLD AND Heaven ?” They replied, “When we came first into this world, we were informed that here and in heaven there are administrations, ministries, offices, employ. ments, trades, studies on all subjects of learning, together with wonderful practical acts and works; and yet we imagined that after our removal or translation from the natural world into this which is spiritual, we should be admitted into an eternal rest from all labours; for what are offices and employments but labours ?” “ Did ye understand,” the elder asked, “by eternal rest from labours, eternal inactivity, in which ye should be continually sitting and lying down, without any thing to do, with your bosoms expanded and mouths open, attracting and sucking in successive joys and delights ?” « We had some idea of the kind,” said the three strangers, smiling courteously. “But,” they were answered, “what have joys and delights, and the happiness thence resulting, in common with a state of idleness and inactivity? by idleness and inactivity the mind is enfeebled and contracted, instead of being strengthened and expanded, or, in other words, the man is in a state of death rather than of life. Suppose a person to sit still in the most perfect rest and inactivity, with his hands hanging down, with his eyes fixed on the ground or withdrawn from every object; and suppose him at the same time to be encompassed with an atmosphere of gladness; must it not needs happen, that a lethargy would seize both his head and body, whilst the vital expansion of his countenance would fall, and with relaxed fibres, he would nod and nod, until at last he would tumble to the ground? For what is it that keeps the whole bodily system in its due expansion and tension, but the stretch or tension of the mind ? and whence is its stretch or tension, but from employment and work, when the discharge of them is attended with delight? wherefore I will declare to you this piece of news from heaven, That they have there administrations, offices, judiciary proceedings, both in greater and lesser matters, mechanical arts and manufactures.” The three strangers, on hearing of
judiciary proceedings in heaven, said, “To what purpose are such proceedings ? are not all the inhabitants of heaven inspired and guided by God, so as to know what is just and right? what need then of judges ?” “ In this world," the elder replied, “we are instructed and learn what is good and true, and also what is just and equitable, in like manner as in the natural world, and this we learn not immediately from God, but mediately by others : besides, every angel, as well as every mån, thinks what is true, and does what is good, as from himself, and this, according to the state of the angel, is mixed and not pure : and moreover, there are amongst the angels some of a simple, some of a wise character, and it is the part of the wise to judge and decide as to what is right, when the simple, from their simplicity and ignorance, are doubtful, or depart from it. But as ye are yet but strangers in this world, if it be agreeable to you to attend me into our city, we will shew you all that it contains.” Then, accompanied by some of the elder sages, they left the hall of audience; and were introduced first into a large library, which was divided into classes arranged according to the different sciences. The three strangers, on seeing so many books, were astonished, and said, “Are there books too in this world ? whence have ye parchment and paper, whence pens and ink?” “We perceive,” the elder sages replied, “that whilst ye lived in the former world, ye imagined this world to be empty and void, because it is spiritual, and this may be traced to your having entertained an idea of what is spiritual as abstracted from what is material; and being abstracted from what is material it appeared to you as a mere nothing, consequently as empty and void; when yet in this world there is a fulness of all things: here all things are suBSTANTIAL, and not material, and material things derive their origin from substantial: we who live here are spiritual men, because we are substantial and not material : hence it is, that all