« הקודםהמשך »
things contained in the natural world are contained also in this world in their perfection, even books and writings, and many things that are not in the natural world.” The three strangers, hearing mention made of things suBSTANTIAL, conceived that it must be so, as well because they saw written books, as because they heard it asserted, that matter, as to its origin, is from substances. For their further confirmation on these points, they were conducted to the houses of the scribes, who transcribed copies from the writings of the wise men of the city; and they inspected the writing, and were astonished at seeing it so neat and elegant. After this they were conducted to the musæums, gymnasia, and colleges, and to the places where they held their literary sports, some of which they called sports of the Heliconides, some sports of the Parnassides, some sports of the Athenaides, and some sports of the virgins of the fountain; they said that the latter were so called, because virgins signify affections of sciences, and every one's intelligence is proportioned to his affection of science : the sports so called were spiritual exercises, apd trials of skill. Afterwards they were led about the city to see the rulers, administrators, and their subordinate officers, by whom they were conducted to view several wonderful works executed in a spiritual manner by the artificers. When they had taken a view of all these things, the elder before mentioned again entered into discouse with them on the eternal rest from labours into which the blessed and happy are admitted after death; “ Eternal rest,” he said, “is not inactivity, for inactivity produceth a universal languor, torpidity, stupor, and sleepiness of the mind, and thence of the whole body, which is a state of death rather than life, much less is it eternal life, which the angels of heaven enjoy : eternal rest then is a rest which prevents and dispels such effects, and causes a man truly to live; but this can be nothing else but what tends to elevate the mind; it is consequently some
employment and work, whereby the mind is put in motion, quickened, and delighted ; and these effects are produced according to the use, by which, in which, and for which the work is performed: hence it is, that the whole heaven is regarded by the Lord as a continuity of use, and every angel is an angel in proportion to his use : the delight attending the exercise of use bears the angels along as a favourable current does a ship, causing them to be in eternal peace, and in its rest : this is the meaning of eternal rest from labours. That an angel is quickened or made alive according to the exertion of his mind in the production of use, is very evident from this circumstance, that every one enjoys conjugial love, with its vigour, power, and delights, according to his application to genuine use. When the three strangers were convinced that eternal rest is not inactivity, but the delight attending the performance of some useful work, some virgins came and presented them with pieces of embroidery and net-work, wrought with their own hands; and as the novitiate spirits took their leave, the virgins sung an ode, in which they expressed with angelic melody the affection of useful works with the pleasures it inspires.
695. The FOURTH MEMORABLE RELATION. Very many persons at this day, who believe in a life after death, believe too, that in heaven subjects of devotion will engage all their thoughts, and that their lips will express nothing but prayers, and that in devotion and prayer, expressed both in the features of the face and the postures of the body, they shall be always employed in glorifying God; thus that their houses will be so many houses of worship, or sacred chapels, and themselves so many priests of God. But I can testify and assert, that in heaven the holy subjects and rites of the church do not more engage the minds and houses of the inhabitants, than where in the world God is truly honoured and worshipped, although the honour and I worship in heaven are of a purer and more interior nature; but that various matters relating to civil prudence, and rational erudition, are there cultivated in all the perfection of excellence. I was one day raised up into heaven, and introduced into a society consisting of the sophi, or sages, who in old time had distinguished themselves by their learned lucubrations and meditations on subjects of reason, and which at the same time were applicable to use, and who are at present in heaven, because they believed in God, and now believe in the Lord, and loved their neighbour as themselves : then I was introduced to an assembly of them, and there questioned whence I came; so I gave an explanation, and said, “ With my body I am in the natural world, butw ith my spirit in your spiritual world.” At this information those angels were rejoiced, and immediately inquired, “What do the people of the world, where thou art with the body, know and understand on the subject of Influx?" Then recollecting all that I had heard or read on that subject, whether in the discourses or in the writings of the most distinguished literati, I answered, “ They as yet know nothing of any influx from the spiritual world into the natural, but only of an influx of nature into natural objects, as of the influx of heat and light from the sun into animate bodies, and also into trees and shrubs, causing each to become living, and on the other hand, of an influx of cold into the same things, causing their torpor and death; they have, besides, some knowledge of an influx of light into the eyes so as to produce vision, of an influx of sound into the ears producing the sense of hearing, and of an influx of odour into the nostrils, whence cometh smelling, &c. Moreover, the learned of the present times reason differently as respects the influx of the soul into the body, and of the body into the soul, and on this subject are divided between these three opinions, whether the influx be of the soul into the body, which they dall occasional, as being excited by the occasional incidence
of objects upon the bodily senses; or whether influx be of the body into the soul, which they call physical, because objects strike upon the senses, and from them are conveyed to the soul; or whether influx be simultaneous, and instantaneous into the body and soul at the same time, which they call a pre-established harmony. Nevertheless the favourers of each of these opinions confine their notions of influx within the sphere of nature; some supposing the soul to be a particle or drop of æther, some that it is a globule or spark of heat and light, some that it is a kind of ens concealed in the brain : : according to each of these suppositions they speak of the soul as something spiritual, but then by spiritual they mean a sonething natural in a state of greatest purity; for knowing nothing about the spiritual world, and its influx into the natural, they rest within the sphere of nature, ascending and descending, and soaring aloft therein, like eagles in the atmosphere : when yet grovelling as they do in nature, and never rising above it, they are like the inhabitants of an island in the sea, who know not that there is any other country beside their own; or they are like fish in a river, which know not that there is above the water such an element as air : on this account when they hear mention of a world distinct from their own, inhabited by angels and spirits, and that all influx into men, and also the interior influx into trees, is from that world, they stand astonished, as it they heard some visionary narrations about spectres, or the idle tales of astrologers. Except the philosophers, other inhabitants of the world, where I am in the body, think and talk of no other kind of influx, than of an influx of wine into glasses, or influx of meat and drink into the stomach, and of taste into the tongue, and possibly also of an influx of air into the lungs, and the like; but when they are told of an influx of the spiritual world into the natural, they immediately say, “ Be it so; what matters it to us, and of what use is it to be assured that it is so ?” Thus
they get rid of the subject, and afterwards when they speak on what they have heard of such influx, they sport and trifle with it, as children play with marbles.
Afterwards I discoursed with those angels on the wonderful phænomena which exist from the influx of the spiritual world into the natural; particularly on the subject of caterpillars during their change into butterflies, and also on bees and drones, silk-worms, and likewise spiders; informing them, that the inhabitants of the earth ascribe such phænomena to the sun's light and heat, and consequently to nature, and, what bad often surprized me, they confirm themselves by these things in favour of nature, and by such confirmation bring sleep and death over their minds, and become atheists. After this I related to them some extraordinary particulars respecting vegetables, how all of them successively grow in a regular process from their seed, even to the production of new seeds, just as if the earth knew how to dispose and accommodate her elements to the prolific principle of the seed, and from thence bring forth a bud, dilate that into a stem, and from the stem emit branches, and clothe these with leaves, and afterwards adorn them with flowers, and from the interiors of the flowers form the initiament of fruits, then bring them to perfection, and by means of these, in order to continue the kind, produce new seeds as a new offspring. These wonderful phænomena however, as they are continually observed, and return at stated seasons, and so become familiar, customary, and common, are not regarded by mankind on earth as wonders, but as mere effects of nature; and the only reason for this is, that they are ignorant of the existence of any spiritual world, and that this world, operates from within, and acts on all and every thing 'which is in the world of nature, and on its earth, just as the human mind operates and acts upon the senses and motions of the body, and that all the parts of nature are but as coats, sheaths, and clothing, which encompass spiritual things, and