« EdellinenJatka »
done them for the sake of himself, and that he might have remuneration in the life of his body, when he was set over others, and had ruled over them, and had thus his delight; moreover, he had never thought of another life. It was also stated, that certain simple-minded persons believed something similar from the Word, because it is there said, that they shall have a reward in the other life, and that there are very many such persons, who, notwithstanding they have thought so, are in heaven, They are such as to be content with few things in the Lord; nor do they aspire to higher things, nor to dominion. But it is otherwise with those who are not content with few things, and who wish to rule over others; such are never content, wherefore they are kept so remote from heaven, Such persons also can never have any charity towards their neighbour, and wish as well to him to themselves, still less can they have any delight when it happens to others better than to themselves, case with all the angels.
Concerning Heaven and Hell. 4593. Heaven is in the light of truth which is from the Lord; hence are all thoughts concerning the Lord, and they are angels who receive the Lord in this manner, that they may be delighted with the happiness of all, and desire it, and find their own happiness consist in promoting that of others; of such a nature is the communion of felicities throughout the universal heaven. But they who seek their own happiness only, and care not for others, cannot be in heaven; they communicate no happiness from themselves to others), and they consequently fall down like dead weights, not being able to sustain the influx of such happiness [as prevails in heaven], for they are in the opposite. I have conversed with the angels, saying how wonderful it is that so few in the other life seek or enquire after the Lord, although the Christian world is very numerous. Whereas others, such as the worshipers of men and saints, whom they had worshiped in the life of the body, enquire after them, and are delighted when they find them, and even the gentiles who worship idols; but it was replied that evil spirits, namely, infernal or diabolical spirits, immediately they perceive any thing truly divine, are averse to it, and shun it, because it is opposed to their nature; hence it was abundantly manifest, that the Lord is the Divine Itself, whom wicked spirits hate and shun. Concerning the intercourse or connexion between the Soul and
the Body. 4616. Concerning the intercourse (or connexion] of the soul with the body, nothing can be known, unless it be first known what the soul
is; since it is impossible to state what the intercourse is between a thing known as the body, with a thing (as the soul) entirely unknown as to all its nature or quality. Who, at the present day, knows any thing concerning the soul ? Do not some think it to be a kind of flame, or somewhat ethereal ? Do not others imagine it to be a thinking principle in such [things] as in its subject ? And do not others think it to be a pure thinking principle without a substantial form from which [it proceeds] ? What sort of opinions are entertained concerning the soul is also evident from this circumstance, that various places in the body are assigned to it. Some place it in the heart, others in some part of the head; some in the striate body, in the stomach, in the striate substance, yea in the very small pineal gland, from which also it plainly appears, that what the soul is, is a thing at the present day most unknown. It is believed, however, that it continues to exist after death, but that it is kept in a certain place called pu [by the ancient fathers] until the day of judgment. If it be enquired whether the soul has any form, they fear to reply to this enquiry, hence (without a form) no quality can be ascribed to it.
4617. Now as the soul is so entirely unknown, it is not to be wondered at, that nothing could be known concerning its state, concerning influx, and concerning its intercourse [commercium], as it is called, with the body.
4618. As to the soul itself, respecting which it is said, that it lives after death, it is nothing else than the man himself, who lives in a body; thus it is the purer part of man, which is conjoined with the (natural] body, that by the body it may perform its duties in the world: the body lives from it. This after death is called a spirit, which then an entirely human form: he has senses; namely, touch, smell, sight, hearing, much more exquisite than in the world: he has appetites, cupidities, desires, affections, loves, similarly as in the world, but in a much purer state; he then thinks as in the world, but in a purer manner; he converses with others, is also in company; and as this is the case, if the man does not reflect upon the circumstance, that he is in another life, he knows no otherwise than that he is in the world, which I have sometimes heard stated. This is the soul of man, and because this is the interior man to whose obedience the body is formed, which in the world is considered to be the man, and is so called ; his interiors also resemble a man, as is evident from the angels who are in interior principles, and appear in like manner as men, which is also known from the Word, when they appeared to men. Hence it is evident that the angelic form, even to the least particular, is the human
appears in form. The reason why souls appear in the human form, is because the universal heaven conspires to no other form but that, and because in heaven the case is this, that the universal heaven acts into every particular there, and every particular acts on the universal; hence it is that it can by no means be otherwise than that every one there, whether he be an angel or a spirit, is in the form of a man. From what has been now stated, it is evident what the soul is; and since man is in the densest ignorance concerning the nature of the soul, it is better not to call it soul, but instead of that term to say spirit, because this is the soul of man which lives after death; or if you would rather, instead of spirit, it
may be called the interior man, for it is the man himself who lives after death. That this is really the case, I ought certainly to know from the almost unremitted intercourse of from eight to nine years with spirits and angels.
MATERIALS FOR MORAL CULTURE.
(Continued from page 26.)
XCV. THERE exists a striking distinction between the Internal and the External church, in respect to the idea entertained of the Divine Providence. With the man of the External church, hís highest exercise of faith is, that Providence will not (although It could if It pleased) forsake him. But the man of the Internal church believes that Providence, from the necessity of the Divine Nature, and because Divine Love is unchangeable, cannot forsake him, or, in other words, cannot possibly be willing to forsake him. The results of this difference of idea are, that the man who holds the external idea regards the being forsaken of God as the worst thing that could happen, and at this idea he trembles; but he who entertains the internal idea has no fear, but instead of it, a sense of liberty, except, indeed, when his mind is darkened and bound under painful states of temptation. The idea and hope of the External church is—of an infinite partiality; but of the Internal church, of an infinite impartial Love. With the conviction that Divine Love in its operation is the Divine Providence, the man of the Internal church can endure patiently “the terrors by night, and the arrow that flieth by day;" because such a conviction affords an assurance, that all trials are necessary, or else Divine Love could not permit them. N.S. NO. 55.-VOL. v.
XCVI. How is it that while we pray to be delivered from our evils, we so seldom pray to be delivered from our errors ? Is it because we think our judgment has escaped the mischief of the fall, and therefore is all but infallible ? But surely our practical, if not our doctrinal errors, are at least as numerous as our evils; and we are no less liable to be overtaken by the one, than the other. The Word is very explicit. It is not only said that the heart is desperately wicked, but also deceitful above all things, and consequently very prone to error, and that “the imaginations of man's heart are evil, and that continually," that is, they have a constant tendency to error and falsehood. Truly, then, we have great need to pray against errors of every kind, and all deceitful views, and groundless imaginations.
XCVII. It is seldom worth while to draw a far-fetched inference, for, in the first place, it can only receive justice from persons who in intellectual boldness and long-sightedness resemble its author; and, in the second place, it happily is the fact, that all really important truths are either the clear declarations of things unquestionable, or are such inferences as lie very near to their evidently just premises.
XCVIII. Vanity is seldom, if ever, found to accompany real excellences, because the light which they yield discovers its folly, and leads to its rebuke. Hence it is, that vanity is found to annex itself permanently, only to imaginary or unreal perfections. It may therefore justly be regarded, wherever it exists, as a sure mark of a light mind, and a hollow character.
XCIX. Want of confidence in, or inattention to, the judgment of others, may originate equally in an underrating of them through the overrating of ourselves, as in a real deficiency in their intellectual claims to respect and deference.
C. When a person is prompted to express his views with an appearance of more than usual confidence, or, as it is called, dogmatically, he would do well to remember, that he is actually prompted to defeat his own object--that of making a strong impression, by abating, or, as it were, beating down, the confidence of the other party in the accuracy of his side of the question. It is usually found, that over confidence on one side, kindles a corresponding feeling on the other, leading to increased difference; while moderation and serenity, by inspiring kindred feelings, tend to subdue the spirit of opposition, and to open a way to a clear understanding, and mutual agreement.
CI. Every one who feels that he has a right to give his opinion, should remember, that his auditor has an equal right to demand the reason of it; and he who claims the former right, without ability to concede the latter, presumes to dictate while he confesses his ignorance, and while he cannot deny his incapacity, he sets himself up as an oracle.
CII. The most external sphere in which truth can find practical operation, is, in its application to discover the faults of others. This, under proper regulation, is not an evil, for it is necessary to guard us from being imposed upon and injured. But if truth finds no admission into the more interior sphere, of judging our own conduct, the first-named application of it will run into the evil of censoriousness; and the more censoriously truth is applied, or rather mis-applied, the more will truth be rejected towards the exteriors of the mind, and be immersed in, and defiled by, the self hood, until, in the end, it is “cast out of the vineyard slain.” If our motives as well as our actions, are faithfully scrutinized, truth will obtain an admission into us more and more interiorly; but if the acts are examined only, and not the motives, truth will then be unable to find any more interior ground in us than the natural mind, and in the fear of man, and the love of reputation which reside there.
There are persons whose mental vision is keen enough in discovering faults in others, but dull enough to the perception of their excellences. The case is this. So far as a man is desirous to see his own faults, such desire must originate in, and therefore presupposes, the love of goodness which is called charity. This love necessarily is attracted to mark and appreciate good in others; but so far as a man is blind to his own faults, he can have no real love to goodness, either as an object to be attained by himself, or as actually attained by others : it is his little relish for goodness in the abstract, and thence as manifested in others, which is the real cause of his overlooking their merits. In such a state of mind, a man cannot be kept in any advertence to evil as evil, except by his being permitted to indulge the illusion, that the keenness of his detec