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it was told them, "It is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; take heed to yourselves that ye eat not of it:" but they, notwithstanding the caution, infatuated with their own intelligence, burned with desire to eat of it, and said to each other, "Why should we not eat? is not the fruit good?" so they approached and ate. When the ambassador observed this, he joined them, and they were united in cordial friendship, and walked together hand in hand in the way of their own intelligence, which led towards hell: but I saw them afterwards coming back again, because as yet they were not prepared.
664. THE FOURTH MEMORABLE RELATION.
I was once looking into the spiritual world towards the right, and I observed some of the ELECT conversing together; so I approached them, and said, "I saw you from a distance, and perceived around you a sphere of heavenly light, by which I knew that ye were of those who in the Word are called the elect; so I drew nigh for the sake of hearing what heavenly subject engaged your conversation." They replied, "Why call us elect?" "Because in the world," I replied "where I am in the body, they know no other than that by the elect, in the Word, are meant those who are elected or predestinated to heaven by God, either before they are born, or afterwards, and that to these only, faith is given as a pledge or token of election, while all others are reprobated, and left to themselves to go to hell which ever way they choose; and yet I know that there is no election either before a man's birth or after it, but that all are elected and predestinated, because all are called, to heaven, and that the Lord after death elects those who have lived well and believed aright, after they have been examined. That this is the case, has been granted me to know by much experience; and seeing that your heads were encircled with a sphere of heavenly light, I perceived that ye were some of the elect who are preparing for heaven." To this
they replied, "Thou hast told us what we never heard before who does not know, that there is not a single man born who is not called to heaven, and that of those who are called, such are elected after death, as had believed on the Lord and lived according to His commandments; and that to acknowledge any other election is to charge the Lord Himself not only with inability to save, but with injustice?” ,665. After this there was a voice heard from heaven, proceeding from the angels who were immediately above us, saying, "Come up hither, and we will question him who, with respect to his body, is still in the natural world, on what they know in that world about cONSCIENCE." So we went up, and when we were entered, some of the wise came to meet us, and asked me, "What do they know in thy world concerning conscience ?" and I replied, "If you please, we will go down, and call together a number of such laymen and clergymen as are reputed wise, and we will stand directly under you, questioning them, that so, with your own ears, ye may hear their answers." They consented to this proposal, and immediately we went down, and one of the elect took a trumpet, and sounded it towards the south, the north, the east, and the west; and lo! in a short time so many were collected, that they occupied a space of almost a furlong square then the angels above us arranged them into four companies, one of which consisted of politicians, a second of deep-read scholars, a third of physicians, and a fourth of clergymen. When they were thus arranged, we said, " Pardon us for thus calling you together; the reason is, because the angels who are directly above us, are ardently desirous of knowing what were your thoughts, in the world where ye formerly lived, on the subject of conscience, and consequently what ye still think concerning it, since ye still retain your former ideas on such subjects; for it hath been represented to the angels, that amongst the knowledges lost to the world, is the knowledge of conscience." After this
we began the inquiry; and first directing ourselves to the company which consisted of politicians, we requested them, if they pleased, to declare from their hearts, what they had formerly thought, and consequently what they still thought concerning CONSCIENCE. To this they replied, one after another, and their answers collected together were to this purport; that they had no other idea of conscience, but that it consisted in a person's knowing within himself, that is, being conscious, of what he intended, thought, did, and said. But we told them, that we did not inquire about the etymology of the word conscience, but about conscience itself: and they replied, "What else is conscience, but some uneasiness arising from a preconceived apprehension of the loss of honour or wealth, and also of reputation as a consequence upon their loss, which uneasiness is dispelled by good eating and cups of generous wine, with conversation about the sports of Venus and of Cupid?" To this we said, "Surely, ye do but jest; be pleased to declare whether any of you ever felt anxiety arising from any other cause?" They replied, "From what other cause? Is not the whole world like a stage, on which every one acts his part, just as comedians do on theirs? We have tricked and over-reached whomsoever we could, by taking advantage of their particular weakness, alluring some by mock promises, some by flattery, some by cunning artifices, some by pretended friendship, some by feigned sincerity, and some by other political arts and allurements; we experience, however, no uneasiness of mind in consequence of such prac tices, but, on the contrary, gaiety and cheerfulness, which silently and yet in fulness animate our breast. We have been told indeed by some of our companions, that they were at times seized with anxiety, and as it were with a straitness of heart and breast, and with a kind of contraction of mind in consequence; but on consulting their apothecaries about such symptoms, they were informed, that they origin.
ated in a melancholy humour from their food remaining indigested in the stomach, or from a disordered state of the spleen; but we have heard of some, who by means of medicine were restored to their former cheerfulness." After this we addressed ourselves to the company consisting of deep-read scholars, amongst whom were also several skilled in natural philosophy; and we said, "Ye who have studied the sciences, and are consequently supposed to be oracles of wisdom, declare, if you please, what conscience is." They replied, "What sort of a proposition is this? we have heard indeed, that some persons are subject to sadness, sorrow, and anxiety, infesting not only the gastric regions of the body, but also the abodes of the mind, for we believe that the two brains are its abodes, and as these consist of component fibres, that there is some acrid humor which rends, frets, and corrodes those fibres, and so compresseth the sphere of the mind's thoughts, that they cannot be diffused into any of the gratifications which arise from a variety of objects, whence it comes to pass, that the man attends to one object only, which destroys the tensibility and elasticity of those fibres, so that they grow rigid and stiff, causing that irregular motion of the animal spirits, which is called by physicians an atary, and also a defect in their functions, which is called a lypothymia: in a word, the mind under such circumstances is as if it were hemmed in by hostile troops, and has no more power to turn itself this way or that, than a wheel which is fastened with nails, or than a ship wrecked on a quicksand. Such straitness of the mind, and of the breast in consequence, arises where the ruling love is thwarted and disappointed; in which case, the fibres of the brain contract themselves, and that contraction prevents the mind from exerting itself with freedom, and enjoying its delights under various forms; in such a crisis the patient is exposed, according to his particular temperament, to the attacks of phantasy, madness and delirious follies of divers kinds,
and, in some cases, is assaulted with brain-sick fancies about religion, which they call stings of conscience." After this, we addressed ourselves to the third company, which consisted of physicians, amongst whom were also some surgeons and apothecaries; and we said, "Ye possibly know what conscience is, whether it be an uneasy pain which seizes both the head and the parenchyma of the heart, and thence the epigastric and hypogastric regions which are beneath, or whether it be something else." "Conscience," they replied, "is nothing but such a pain; we know its origins better than other people, for they are contingent diseases which infest the organical parts of the body, and also the organical parts of the head, consequently the mind, for the mind has its seat in the organs of the brain, just as a spider has in the center of the threads of its web, along which it runs to and fro in the same manner: these diseases we call organical diseases, and such of them as return at times, chronic diseases: but the pain which sick people describe to us as a pain of conscience, is nothing else but a hypochondriac disease, which first invades the spleen, and secondarily the pancreas and mesentery, depriving them of their kindred functions; hence come diseases of the stomach, and among the rest cacochymia, or imperfect digestion; compression too is produced about the orifice of the stomach, which is called cardialgia, or heart burn; and from these together are derived humors impregnated with black, yellow, or green bile, causing an obstruction of the smaller blood vessels, called capillaries, so as to produce cachexy, atrophy, and symphesis, and also the bastard peripneumony, occasioned by the presence of a sluggish pituitous matter, and an ichorous corrosive lymph, in the whole mass of blood. The like consequences follow from an efflux of purulent matter into the blood and its serum, owing to a discharge of empyemas, abscesses, and imposthumes in the body, which blood, ascending by the carotids into the head, frets, corrodes, and consumes