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spirit, and separates it from his lust, and speaks and acts from those principles of decency and honour in which he had been instructed from his infancy, and which he still retains in his bodily memory, taking particular heed, that no symptom of the wild lust which prevails in his spirit should break forth and discover itself. Hence every man, who is not inwardly under the Lord's guidance, is a dissembler, a sycophant, a hypocrite, and thus an apparent man, and yet not a man; of whom it may be said, that his outward shell or body is wise, but that his inward kernel or spirit is insane; that his external is human, but his internal ferine. Such persons with the hinder part of the head look upwards, and with the fore-part downwards, thus they walk with their heads hanging down like persons oppressed with heaviness, and with their faces looking towards the ground; but when they put off the body, and become spirits, and thus, as it were, receive their manumission, each then becomes the madness of his own lust. For they who are determined by the love of self, desire to have rule over the universe, nay, to extend its boundaries that they might enlarge their dominion, which they would have unlimited; they who are under the influence of the love of the world, desire to possess all that it contains, and are full of sorrow and envy in case any of its treasures are hid and retained by others; wherefore to prevent such persons from becoming mere lusts, and thus ceasing to be men, they are led in the natural* world to think, under the influence of fear of the loss of reputation, and so of honour and gain ; under the influence of fear too of the law and its penalties; and they are also led to apply their minds to some particular pursuit or business, by which they are kept in their externals, and thus in a state of intelligence, however wild and insane they may be
* The word in the original is spirituali, but the context proves unquestionably that this is a misprint for naturali.
in their interiors.” After this I inquired, whether all such as are under the influence of lust, are also in its phantasy? They replied, that all are in the phantasy of their lust, who think interiorly within themselves, and indulge their imaginations too much by conversing with themselves, for such almost separate their spirits from all connexion with their bodies, and by their visionary fancies drown their understanding, and take a foolish delight in the thoughts of possessing the universe and all that it contains. Into such delirium every one falls after death, who has abstracted his spirit from the body, and would not recede from the delight of his delirium, by turning his mind to religious contemplation on evils and falses, and least of all to the consideration of the unbridled love of self, as being destructive of love to the Lord, and of the unbridled love of the world, as being destructive of love towards the neighbour.
After this, the two angels, as well as myself, were desirous of seeing those, who, under the influence of the love of the world, are in the visionary lust or phantasy of possessing the wealth of all; and we perceived that we were inspired with the desire to the end that the character of such visionaries might be detected and made known. Their dwellings were under the ground on which we stood, but above hell; so we looked at each other and said, “ Let us go :" and there appeared an opening and a ladder at the entrance, by which we descended ; and warning was given us to approach them from the eastern side, lest we should enter into the mist of their phantasy, by which our understanding, and our sight at the same time, would be beclouded. And lo! there appeared a house built of reeds, and of consequence full of chinks, standing in a mist, which continually burst forth like smoke through the chinks, on three sides of the building : we entered, and saw fifty persons in one spot and fifty in another, sitting on benches, having their faces turned from the east and the south, and directed towards the west and the to say,
north; before each person was a table, with purses full of money upon it, and around the purses abundance of gold coin. And we asked, “ Is that the wealth of all persons in the world ?" They replied, “ Not of all persons in the world, but of all in the kingdom.” Their voices had a hissing sound, and they themselves appeared to have round faces, which glittered like the shell of a snail, whilst the pupil of the eye, sparkled, as it were, in its green eye-ball, owing to the light of phantasy. We stood in the midst of them, and said, “ Do ye suppose that ye possess all the riches of the kingdom ?" They replied, “ We do.” Then we asked, “Which of you?" “ Every one of us,” they replied. We asked, “ How, every one of you ? ye are many." They said, “ Every one knows that all which another hath is his own; it is not allowed any one of us to think, much less
Mine is not thine,' but it is allowed us to think and say, 'Thine is mine.” The coin on the tables appeared to be of pure gold, even to our sight, but when we let in light from the east, it was nothing but gold dust, which, by their common united phantasy, they had magnified to this degree : they said, that every one who enters should bring with him a bit of gold; and this they cut into small pieces, and then again into little grains, and these, by the unanimous power of phantasy, they enlarge into pieces of coin of considerable size. Then we said, “Were ye not born rational men? how came ye by this visionary infatuation?” “We are aware,” they replied, “ that it is an imaginary vanity, but since it gratifies the interiors of our minds, here we come and delight ourselves, as with the actual possession of all things: but we continue in this place only for a few hours, at the end of which time we depart, and then, as often as we do so, our sober senses return; yet still our visionary propensity alternately comes over us, so that by turns we enter, and by turns depart; thus we are wise and foolish by turns. We know also, that a very severe fate awaits those who by
artifice defraud others of their property.” We asked, “ What fate ?" They replied, “ They are swallowed up, and are thrust naked into some infernal prison, where they are kept to hard labour for clothes and food, and afterwards for a few pieces of coin of little value, which they collect, and in which they place the joy of their hearts ; but in case they do mischief to their companions, they are fined a part of their
663. THE THIRD MEMORABLE RELATION. I was once standing in the midst of angels attending to their di course ; it was on the subject of intelligence and wisdom, as that man has no other sensation and perception of them but that both are in himself, and consequently that whatsoever he wills and thinks is from himself, when yet not the least portion of them is from man, but only the faculty of receiving them : among many other observations, this was one, that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden of Eden signified a belief that intelligence and wisdom were from man, and the tree of life, that intellige.ce and wisdom were from God; and because Adam, by the persuasion of the serpent, ate of the former tree, thus supposing that he was, or should become, as God, he was driven out of the garden, and cursed. Whilst the angels were engaged in this discourse, there came two priests, and along with them a man who in the world had been a regal ambassador; to them I related what I had heard from the angels respecting intelligence and wisdom; on which the three began to dispute together about those virtues, and likewise about prudence, whether they are from God, or from man.
* The wbole of this Memorable Relation presents a most useful lesson of instruction to all those, who by indulging their own visionary fancies, in what is commonly called a fool's paradise, create to themselves an imaginary happiness grounded only in their own lasts and vain notions, undirected and unrestrained by the laws of the divine light and love. The danger of such a turn of mind is the greater, because it is but little attended to, and few persons are apprehensive of any evil consequences arising from it. May all therefore take warning by the examples here set before them, and learn in good time to place their affections and imaginations under the restraints of sobriety and wisdom, by examining and checking the evils and falses that are in their bearts through the pernicious influence of worldly and selfish love! Thus may they hope to escape the terrible consequences here described as attending, in another world, the unbridled indulgence of evil lust with its foolish phanta- • sies ; and having their hearts and minds purified from their natural evils and falses, through the true love of the Lord and of their neighbour, they may have good ground to expect true peace here, and a glorious resurrection hereafter in the kingdom of the just and pure.
The dispute was warm : all the three entertained the same belief, that they are from man, because it is confirmed by common sensation and the perception thence resulting ; but the priests, being at that instant heated with theological zeal, insisted, that nothing of intelligence and wisdom, and consequently nothing of prudence, are from man, which they confirmed by the following quotations from the Word: “A man can take nothing except it be given him from above," John iii. 27 : “ Without Me ye can do nothing," chap. xv. 5. But the angels immediately perceived, that notwithstanding what the priests urged in debate, they were still in heart of the same opinion with tbe ambassador, so they said to them, “ Pull off your own garments, and put on the garments of ministers of state, and suppose yourselves to be such ministers :" and they did so, and then they thought from their interior selves, and argued in favour of the opinions which they inwardly cherished, to this effect, “ That all intelligence and wisdom dwell in man, and are really his; for who ever perceived or felt them to enter by influx from God?" and they looked at each other, and confirmed themselves in these sentiments. It is a circumstance peculiar to the spiritual world, that every spirit fancies himself to be actually such a person, as the garment he has on represents him to be, and the reason is, because in that world the understanding clothes every
At that instant there appeared a tree near them, and