« EdellinenJatka »
being a subject which from childhood has engaged my attention and thought; and on entering lately into this world, I was informed by some with whom I was then associated, that heaven is over my head and hell beneath my feet, but as they did not acquaint me with the nature and quality of one and the other, I was brought into a state of anxiety by continual thought on the subject: then I prayed to God for information, and immediately an angel presented himself before me, who said, INQUIRE AND LEARN WHAT DELIGHT IS, AND THOU WILT KNOW WHAT THOU DESIREST. Accordingly I have made inquiry, but hitherto in vain; wherefore I intreat you to be so kind as to teach me what is meant by delight." To this the wisdoms replied, “ Delight is the all of life to every one in heaven, and the all of life to every one in hell: they who are in heaven perceive the delight of what is good and true, but they who are in hell, the delight of what is evil and false for all delight is of love, and love is the esse of the life of man; and as man is man according to the quality of his love, so is he man also according to the quality of his delight. The activity of love is what produces the sense of delight, which activity in heaven is attended with wisdom, and in hell with insanity, each of which in its respective subjects closes in delight; but the heavens and the hells are in opposite delights, the heavens being in the love of good, and thence in the delight of doing good, whereas the hells are in the love of evil, and thence in the delight of doing evil: thus by knowing what delight is, thou wilt know the nature and quality both of heaven and hell. Inquire however, and learn further what delight is from those who investigate causes, and are called intelligences, who are assembled a little way from this to the right." So he took his leave; and being admitted amongst those called intelligences, he explained the cause of his coming, and intreated them to instruct him what is meant by delight. They were rejoiced
at his making such an inquiry, and said, "It is true that he who knows what delight is, knows also the nature and quality of heaven and hell. The will, by virtue of which man is man, is never affected, in the smallest instance, but by delight; for will, considered in itself, is nothing else but the affection of some particular love, consequently of some particular delight, the disposition to will being excited by some kind of pleasure, and its attendant satisfaction; and as it is the will which impels the understanding to think, so there cannot be the least excitement of thought but as a consequence of the influent delight of the will: and the reason is, because the Lord, by influx from Himself, puts into action all things in the soul, and all things in the mind, both of angels, spirits, and men, and this He does by an influx of love and wisdom, which influx is the real activity whence all delight is derived; which in its source or origin is called blessedness, satisfaction, and happiness, and in its derivation, delight, gratifications, and pleasure, and in a universal sense, good. But infernal spirits invert all things in themselves, thus they turn good into evil, and truth into the false, delight still remaining, for without it they would neither have will nor sensation, and consequently would have no life. Hence it is plain what are the nature and quality, and what the origin, of the delight of hell, and also what are the nature and quality, and what the origin, of the delight of heaven." After this he was conducted to the third company, consisting of those who inquire into effects, and who are called sciences; and they said, "Descend to the earth below, and ascend to the earth above,* for there thou wilt perceive and be sensible of the delights of heaven and hell." And behold! at a distance from them, straitway the earth opened, and through the opening three devils ascended,
* The earth or region below is that part of the world of spirits which communicates with hell, and the earth or region above, that part of the same world which communicates with heaven.
having a fiery appearance from the delight of their love; and as the angels in consociation with the novitiate spirit perceived that all three were sent purposely from hell, they cried out to them, "Approach no further, but from the place where ye now stand, tell us something of your delights.' And they replied, "Know, that every one, whether he be called good or evil, enjoys his own particular delight, he that is called good is in the enjoyment of his delight, and he that is called evil in the enjoyment of his." Then the angel asked, “What is your delight?" They said, "It is the 'delight of whoredom, of revenge, of fraud, and of blasphemy." The angels asked further, "But what are the nature and quality of these your delights?" They said, "In others they excite similar sensations to the stenches arising from dunghills, putrid carcases, and stagnate urine." "And are these," said they, "delightful to you?" They rejoined, "Yes, most delightful," "Then," said the angels, "Ye are like the unclean beasts which live in them." "Be it so," they answered, "but such things are most grateful to our nostrils." Then the angels asked, "Have you any further information to give respecting your delights?" "Every one," they replied, "is allowed the enjoyment of his delight, even the most unclean, as they call it, provided he does not infest good spirits and angels; but as in consequence of our delight we cannot refrain from infesting them, we are confined in work-houses, where we undergo great hardships; the restraint laid on our enjoyments by the cessation of our delights in such places, is what is called hell-torment, being attended with interior pain." Then the angels asked, "Why do you infest the good?" "We cannot do otherwise," they replied; "it is as if we were seized with rage and madness, when we see any angel, and perceive about him the divine sphere of the Lord." To this we replied, "Ye are then like wild beasts :" and presently afterwards, when they saw the novitiate spirit with the angels, a fit of
fury came upon them, which appeared like a fire of hatred ; wherefore, to prevent their doing any mischief, they were cast down again into hell. After this the angels appeared, who from ends see causes, and by causes effects, and who inhabited the heaven immediately over those three companies; they were seen in a clear bright light, which descending in spiral flexures, brought along with it a round garland of flowers, and placed it on the head of the novitiate spirit; and immediately these words issuing forth from the light were addressed to him: "This laurel crown is given thee for this reason, because from thy childhood thon hast meditated about heaven and hell.”
The whole of this relation is very interesting and instructive. It teaches us, in the first place, the great consequence of watching attentively over the objects, pursuits, and designs of this life, which excite in our hearts pleasure or delight; because it is highly credible from the whole tenor of Holy Scripture, as well as from the relation here given us, that our future bliss or misery will depend entirely on the nature of such pleasure or delight, as excited either by heavenly love, which is love towards the Lord and towards our neighbour, or by infernal love, which is the mere love of ourselves, the objects of sense, and of this world: and in the second place it instructs us, by the reward given to the novitiate spirit, how much of future bliss depends on the subjects of our ordinary meditation in the present world; for our thoughts are ever extending themselves either into the heavenly or infernal kingdoms, and accordingly must hereafter be productive of happiness or misery to us, in proportion to the degree of such extension,
OF REFORMATION AND REGENERATION.
571. AFTER treating of repentance, it comes next in order to treat of reformation and regeneration, because these follow repentance, and are promoted by it. There are two states into which man must enter, and through which he must pass, that he may from natural become spiritual; the first state is called REFORMATION, and the other REGENERATION: in the first he looks from his natural state towards the spiritual, with a great desire to attain it; in the other state he becomes a spiritual-natural man. The first state is formed by the truths which belong to faith, by which he looks towards charity; the other state is formed by the goods of charity, from which he entereth into the truths of faith: or, what is the same thing, the first is a state of thought from the understanding, but the other is a state of love from the will. As this latter state commences, and advances, a change or turning taketh place in the mind, for then the love of the will enters by influx into the understanding, acting upon, and leading it to think in concord and agreement with its love; so that in proportion as the good of love fills the first station, and the truths of faith the second, the man is spiritual, and is a new creature: he then acts from charity, and speaks from faith; he sensibly feels the good of charity, and perceives the truth of faith; he is then in the Lord, he is in peace, and thus regenerate. The man who, during his abode in this world, has