(HH) - Heaven and Its Wonders and Hell - From Things Heard and Seen

HH 587

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587. As to the positions of the hells in detail, it is something wholly unknown even to the angels in heaven; it is known to the Lord alone. But their position in general is known from the quarters in which they are. For the hells, like the heavens, are distinguished by their quarters; and in the spiritual world quarters are determined in accordance with loves; for in heaven all the quarters begin from the Lord as the sun, who is the East; and as the hells are opposite to the heavens their quarters begin from the opposite point, that is, from the west. (On this see the chapter on the four quarters in heaven, n. 141-153.) [2] For this reason the hells in the western quarter are the worst of all, and the most horrible, becoming gradually worse and more horrible by degrees the more remote they are from the east. In the western hells are those who in the world were in the love of self, and in consequent contempt of others, and in enmity against those who did not favor them, also in hatred and revenge against those who did not render them respect and homage. In the most remote hells in that quarter are those that had belonged to the Catholic religion, so called, and that had wished to be worshiped as gods, and consequently had burned with hatred and revenge against all who did not acknowledge their power over the souls of men and over heaven. These continue to have the same disposition, that is, the same hatred and revenge against those who oppose them, that they had in the world. Their greatest delight is to practice cruelties; but in the other life this delight is turned against themselves; for in their hells, with which the western quarter is filled, one rages against everyone who detracts from his Divine power. (But more will be said about this in the treatise on The Last Judgment and the Destruction of Babylon.) [3] Nevertheless, no one can know how the hells in that quarter are arranged, except that the most dreadful hells of that kind are at the sides towards the northern quarter, and the less dreadful towards the southern quarter; thus the dreadfulness of the hells decreases from the northern quarter to the southern, and likewise by degrees towards the east. Towards the east are the dwelling places of the haughty, who have not believed in the Divine, and yet have not been in such hatred and revenge, or in such deceit, as those have who are in a greater depth in the western quarter. [4] In the eastern quarter there are at present no hells, those that were there having been transferred to the western quarter in front. In the northern and southern quarters there are many hells; and in them are those who while in the world were in love of the world, and in various kinds of evil therefrom, such as enmity, hostility, theft, robbery, cunning, avarice, and unmercifulness. The worst hells of this kind are in the northern quarter, the milder in the southern. Their dreadfulness increases as they are nearer to the western quarter, and also as they are farther away from the southern quarter, and decreases towards the eastern quarter and towards the southern quarter. Behind the hells that are in the western quarter there are dark forests, in which malignant spirits roam like wild beasts; and it is the same behind the hells in the northern quarter. But behind the hells in the southern quarter there are deserts, which have been described just above. This much respecting the situation of the hells.


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