(TCR) - True Christian Religion: Containing the Whole Theology of the New Church Predicted by the Lord in Daniel 7:13-14 and Revelation 21:1-2

TCR 737

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737. After this the angel returned to the house where the wise from the Christian world had assembled, and called to him those who had persuaded themselves that the joys of heaven and eternal happiness were paradisal delights.
To them he said, "Follow me, and I will conduct you into paradise, your heaven, so that you may enter into the beatitudes of your eternal happiness." And he led them through a lofty gate formed by the interwoven branches and shoots of noble trees; and when they had passed through this he led them about by winding paths from one quarter to another. The place was actually a paradise which is at the first entrance to heaven, and into which are admitted those who had believed when in the world that all heaven is a paradise, because heaven is called paradise, and who had impressed upon themselves the idea that after death there is complete rest from labor, and that this rest is nothing else than breathing the very soul of delights, walking upon roses, being gladdened by the finest juice of the grape, and banqueting; and that this life is to be found only in a heavenly paradise.
[2] As they followed the angel they saw a great multitude of men both old and young, and of boys, women and girls, sitting in groups of three and groups of ten on flower-beds, weaving wreaths with which they decorated the heads of the old men and the arms of the young men, and bands of which they fastened across the breasts of the boys; others were pressing juice from grapes, cherries, and mulberries, into cups, and drinking it sociably; others were inhaling the fragrance exhaled and diffused from flowers, fruit, and odoriferous leaves; others were singing sweet songs which soothed the ears of the listeners; others sat at fountains, turning the water of the gushing streams into different shapes; some were walking about, talking and jesting; some entered into little garden-houses to recline on couches; and many other paradisal forms of pleasure they saw.
[3] When they had seen these things, the angel led his companions here and there through winding ways, and at last to some persons seated on a most beautiful flower-bed surrounded by orange, olive, and citron trees. These sat swaying themselves to and fro, wailing and weeping, their faces resting on their hands. The angel's companions addressed them asking why they sat thus. They answered, "It is now seven days since we came into this paradise. When we came in, our minds seemed to be exalted to heaven and to be admitted into the innermost satisfactions of its joys; but after three days those satisfactions began to diminish, to fade from our minds, to become imperceptible, and so to fail altogether. And when our imaginary joys had thus ceased, we feared the loss of all the delights of our life, and began to doubt whether there is any such thing as eternal happiness. After this we wandered through paths and plots in search of the gate by which we entered; but we simply walked about and about, making inquiries of those we met. Some of them said that the gate could not be found, because this paradisal garden is a vast labyrinth of such a nature that anyone wishing to go out only entered more deeply in, adding, 'Therefore you will have to remain here to eternity; you are now in the midst of the paradise where is the center of all its delights!'" To the companions of the angels they said further, "We have already been sitting here a day and a half; and as we are now hopeless of finding our way out, we sat down here on this flower-bed, and are looking about us at the abundance of olives, grapes, oranges, and citrons. But the more we look about the more does our sight become weary of seeing, our smell of smelling, and our taste of tasting. This is the cause of the sadness in which you find us and of our wailing and weeping."
[4] When they had heard this, the angel of the company said to them, "This paradisal labyrinth is really an entrance to heaven. I know the way out, and will lead you to it." At these words those who were seated arose and embraced the angel, and joining his company went with him. And the angel taught them on the way what heavenly joy and its eternal happiness are, that they are not external paradisal delights unless there is in them internal paradisal delights. "External paradisal delights," he said, "are delights of the bodily senses only, while internal paradisal delights are delights of the soul's affections; unless these are in the former there is no heavenly life in them, because there is no soul in them; and any delight apart from its correspondent soul gradually languishes, becomes torpid, and wearies the mind more than labor. There are paradisal gardens everywhere in heaven, and from them the angels derive their joys; and so far as the soul's delight is in them, so far those joys are joys to them."
[5] Hearing this they all asked, "What is the soul's delight, and what is its origin?"
The angel replied, "The soul's delight comes from love and wisdom from the Lord; and because love is the efficient, and becomes efficient by means of wisdom, so the abode of both is in the effect and the effect is use. This delight flows from the Lord into the soul, and descends through the higher and lower regions of the mind into all the bodily senses, and finds its fullness in them. Joy thereby becomes joy, and it becomes eternal from the Eternal in whom it originates. You have been viewing paradisal scenes, and I declare to you that there is not one thing there, not even a little leaf, that does not come from the marriage of love and wisdom in use. Therefore if man is in this marriage he is in a heavenly paradise, and thus in heaven."


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