(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 739

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739. After this the angel returned with his companions to the place of meeting, from which the different companies of wise men had not yet departed, and there he called to him those who believed that heavenly joy and eternal happiness are merely admittance into heaven, and that this admittance is from Divine grace, and that those admitted are at once gifted with joy, like those in the world who are permitted to enter royal palaces on days of festivity, or are invited to weddings.
To these the angel said, "Wait here a while, and I will sound my trumpet, and those who are celebrated for wisdom in the spiritual affairs of the church will come hither." After a few hours there came nine men, each decorated with a laurel wreath as a token of his reputation. These were led by the angel in to the place of meeting where all those called together before were waiting, and in their presence the angel addressed the nine wearing the wreaths, saying, "I know that you, because of your wish and in accordance with your ideas, have been permitted to ascend to heaven, and that you have returned to this lower or sub-celestial earth with a full knowledge of the state of heaven; tell us therefore how heaven appeared to you."
[2] They replied in order. The first said, "My idea of heaven, from earliest boyhood even until the end of my life in the world, was, that it was a place of all kinds of blessedness, satisfaction, delight, gratification, and pleasure; and that if I were to be admitted there I should be surrounded by an aura of such felicities, and should inhale them with full breast, like a bridegroom when he celebrates his marriage and enters the marriage-chamber with his bride. With this idea I ascended to heaven; I passed the first guards, and also the second; but when I came to the third, the officer of the guards addressed me and said, 'Who are you, friend?' I answered, 'Is not this heaven? I came here prompted by my own earnest desire; admit me, I entreat you.' And he admitted me. And I saw some angels in white garments, who walked around me, and looked at me, and murmured, 'Here is a new guest, not clothed in the garments of heaven.' I heard the remark, and thought, 'This seems to me like what the Lord said of the man who came to the wedding not having a wedding-garment;' and I said, 'Give me such garments of heaven.' But they only laughed. And then one came running from the court with the command, 'Strip him naked, cast him out, and throw his clothes after him.' And so I was cast out."
[3] The second in order then said, "I also believed as he did, that if I were only admitted into heaven, which was above my head, joys would flow around me, and I should breathe them forever. I also obtained my wish. But when the angels saw me they fled, and said to one another, 'What portent is this? How did that bird of night get here?' And I actually felt myself to be changed from being a man, although I was not changed. This effect was produced by my inhaling the heavenly atmosphere. And presently one ran from the court with the command that two servants should lead me out, and conduct me back by the way I came, right to my own house. And when I was at home, I again appeared to myself and others as a man."
[4] The third said, "My constant idea of heaven was derived from place, not from love; and therefore when I entered this world I longed intensely to get into heaven, and seeing some ascending, I followed, and was admitted, though only a few steps. But when I wished to gladden my mind with an idea of the joys and blessedness there, owing to the light of heaven (which was white like snow, and the essence of which is said to be wisdom), a stupor seized my mind, and from it a thick darkness came upon my eyes, and I began to be insane; and presently, owing to the heat of heaven (which corresponded to the brightness of that light, and the essence of which is said to be love), my heart palpitated, anxiety took possession of me, I was tortured with interior pain, and threw myself down at full length upon the ground. And while I was lying there, an attendant came from the court with the command for them to carry me away carefully into my own light and heat, and as soon as I came into these my spirit and heart were restored to me."
[5] The fourth said, "My idea of heaven also was derived from place, not from love, and as soon as I entered the spiritual world I asked some wise men whether it was allowable to ascend to heaven. They told me that everyone is permitted, but he should beware lest he be cast down again. I laughed at this, and went up, believing like the others that all in the whole world are capable of receiving the joys of heaven in their fullness. But verily, as soon as I entered I became almost dead; and from the pain and consequent torture in my head and body, I threw myself upon the ground, writhed like a serpent near a fire, crawled to the brink, and thus cast myself down. Afterwards I was taken up by some who stood below, and carried to an inn, where my health was restored."
[6] The remaining five also gave wonderful accounts of their ascents to heaven, comparing the changes of their states of life to that of fishes when taken out of water into the air, and of birds when taken up into the ether, and they said, that after those hard experiences they no longer had any desire for heaven; but only for a life in company with their like, wherever they might be; and that they knew that in the world of spirits where we then were, all are first prepared, the good for heaven and the evil for hell; and when prepared, they see ways opened for them to societies of those like themselves, with whom they are to remain forever; also that they then enter these ways with delight, because they are the ways of their love.
When those of the first assembly had heard these statements, they all confessed that they, too, had entertained no other idea of heaven than as a place where with full mouth they might forever drink in the joys flowing around them.
[7] The angel with the trumpet then said to them, "You now see that the joys of heaven and eternal happiness are not a matter of place, but of the state of man's life, and the state of heavenly life is from love and wisdom; and as use is the containant of these two, the state of heavenly life is from the conjunction of these in use. It is the same if we say instead, charity, faith, and good works, since charity is love, faith is truth from which comes wisdom, and good works are uses. Furthermore, there are places in our spiritual world as in the natural world, otherwise there would be no habitations or distinct dwellings; and yet place here is not place, but an appearance of place in accordance with the state of love and wisdom, or charity and faith. [8] Everyone who becomes an angel carries his heaven within him, because he carries within him the love that belongs to his heaven; for man by creation is a lesser likeness, image, and type of the great heaven; and the human form is nothing else; so that everyone enters that heavenly society whose form he is as an individual likeness; consequently when he enters into that society he enters a form correspondent to his own, thus he enters the society as if entering into himself from himself, and as if from the society into the society in himself, and partakes of its life as his own, and of his own life as its life. Every society is like a common body, the angels therein are the like parts of which the general exists. From this it now follows that those who are in evils and in consequent falsities, have formed in themselves a likeness of hell, and this is what suffers torture in heaven from the influx and vehemence of the activity of opposite against opposite; for infernal love is the opposite of heavenly love, and the delights of the two loves come into collision like hostile forces, and destroy each other when they meet."


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