Heaven and its Wonders and Hell
by Emanuel Swedenborg
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522. But first let us consider what the Divine mercy is. The divine mercy is pure mercy towards the whole human race, to save it; and it is also unceasing towards every man, and is never withdrawn from any one; so that everyone is saved who can be saved. And yet no one can be saved except by Divine means, which means the Lord reveals in the Word. The Divine means are what are called Divine truths, which teach how man must live in order to be saved. By these truths the Lord leads man to heaven, and by them He implants in man the life of heaven. This the Lord does for all. But the life of heaven can be implanted in no one unless he abstains from evil, for evil obstructs. So far, therefore, as man abstains from evil he is led by the Lord out of pure mercy by His Divine means, and this from infancy to the end of his life in the world and afterwards to eternity. This is what is meant by the Divine mercy. And from this it is evident that the mercy of the Lord is pure mercy, but not apart from means, that is, it does not look to saving all out of mere good pleasure, however they may have lived.

523. The Lord never does anything contrary to order, because He Himself is Order. The Divine truth that goes forth from the Lord is what constitutes order; and Divine truths are the laws of order. It is in accord with these laws that the Lord leads man. Consequently to save man by mercy apart from means would be contrary to Divine order, and what is contrary to Divine order is contrary to the Divine. Divine order is heaven in man, and man has perverted this in himself by a life contrary to the laws of order, which are Divine truths. Into this order man is brought back by the Lord out of pure mercy by means of the laws of order; and so far as he is brought back into this order he receives heaven in himself; and he that receives heaven in himself enters heaven. This again makes evident that the Lord's Divine mercy is pure mercy, and not mercy apart from means.{1}

{Footnote 1} Divine truth going forth from the Lord is the source of order, and Divine good is the essential of order (n. 1728, 2258, 8700, 8988). Thus the Lord is order (n. 1919, 2011, 5110, 5703, 10336, 10619). Divine truths are the laws of order (n. 2447, 7995). The whole heaven is arranged by the Lord in accordance with His Divine order (n. 3038, 7211, 9128, 9338, 10125, 10151, 10157). Therefore the form of heaven is a form in accord with the Divine order (n. 4040-4043, 6607, 9877). So far as a man is living in accordance with order, that is, so far as he is living in good in accordance with Divine truths, he is receiving heaven in himself (n. 4839). Man is the being in whom are brought together all things of Divine order, and by creation he is Divine order in form, because he is a recipient of Divine order (n. 3628, 4219, 4220, 4223, 4523, 4524, 5214, 6013, 6057, 6605, 6626, 9706, 10156, 10472). Man is not born into good and truth but into evil and falsity, thus not into Divine order but into the opposite of order, and for this reason he is born into pure ignorance; consequently it is necessary for him to be born anew, that is, to be regenerated, which is effected by the Lord by means of Divine truths, that he may be brought back into order (n. 1047, 2307, 2308, 3518, 8480, 8550, 10283, 10284, 10286, 10731). When the Lord forms man anew, that is, regenerates him, He arranges all things in him in harmony with order, that is, in the form of heaven (n. 5700, 6690, 9931, 10303). Evils and falsities are contrary to order; nevertheless those who are in them are ruled by the Lord not in accordance with order but from order (n. 4839, 7877, 10777). It is impossible for a man who lives in evil to be saved by mercy alone, for that would be contrary to Divine order (n. 8700).

524. If men could be saved by mercy apart from means all would be saved, even those in hell; in fact, there would be no hell, because the Lord is mercy itself, love itself, and goodness itself. Therefore it is inconsistent with His Divine to say that He is able to save all apart from means and does not save them. It is known from the Word that the Lord wills the salvation of all, and the damnation of no one.

525. Most of those who enter the other life from the Christian world bring with them this belief that they can be saved by mercy apart from means, and pray for that mercy; but when examined they are found to believe that entering heaven is merely gaining admission, and that those who are let in are in heavenly joy. They are wholly ignorant of what heaven is and what heavenly joy is, and consequently are told that the Lord denies heaven to no one, and that they can be admitted and can stay there if they desire it. Those who so desired were admitted; but as soon as they reached the first threshold they were seized with such anguish of heart from a draught of heavenly heat, which is the love in which angels are, and from an inflow of heavenly light, which is Divine truth, that they felt in themselves infernal torment instead of heavenly joy, and struck with dismay they cast themselves down headlong. Thus they were taught by living experience that it is impossible to grant heaven to any one from mercy apart from means.

526. I have occasionally talked with angels about this, and have told them that most of those in the world who live in evil, when they talk with others about heaven and eternal life, express no other idea than that entering heaven is merely being admitted from mercy alone. And this is believed by those especially who make faith the only medium of salvation. For such from the principles of their religion have no regard to the life and the deeds of love that make life, and thus to none of the other means by which the Lord implants heaven in man and renders him receptive of heavenly joy; and as they thus reject every actual mediation they conclude, as a necessary consequence of the principle, that man enters heaven from mercy alone, to which mercy God the Father is believed to be moved by the intercession of the Son. [2] To all this the angels said that they knew such a tenet follows of necessity from the assumption that man is saved by faith alone, and since that tenet is the head of all the rest, and since into it, because it is not true, no light from heaven can flow, this is the source of the ignorance that prevails in the church at this day in regard to the Lord, heaven, the life after death, heavenly joy, the essence of love and charity, and in general, in regard to good and its conjunction with truth, consequently in regard to the life of man, whence it is and what it is; when it should be known that thought never constitutes any one's life, but the will and the consequent deeds; and that the life is from the thought only to the extent that the thought is derived from the will; neither is life from the faith except so far as the faith is derived from love. Angels are grieved that these persons do not know that faith alone is impossible in any one, since faith apart from its origin, which is love, is nothing but knowledge, and in some is merely a sort of persuasion that has the semblance of faith (see above, n. 482). Such a persuasion is not in the life of man, but outside of it, since it is separated from man unless it coheres with his love. [3] The angels said further that those who hold to this principle concerning the essential means of salvation in man must needs believe in mercy apart from means, for they perceive both from natural light and from the experience of sight that faith separate does not constitute the life of man, since those who lead an evil life are able to think and to be persuaded the same as others; and from this comes the belief that the evil as well as the good can be saved, provided that at the hour of death they talk with confidence about intercession, and about the mercy that is granted through that intercession. The angels declared that they had never yet seen any one who had lived an evil life received into heaven from mercy apart from means, whatever trust or confidence (which is preeminently meant by faith) he had exhibited in his talk in the world. [4] When asked about Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and the apostles, whether they were not received into heaven from mercy apart from means, the angels replied that not one of them was so received, but everyone in accordance with his life in the world; that they knew where these were, and that they were no more esteemed there than others. They said that these persons are mentioned with honor in the Word for the reason that in the internal sense the Lord is meant by them—by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Lord in respect to the Divine and the Divine Human; by David the Lord in respect to the Divine royalty; and by the apostles the Lord in respect to Divine truths; also that when the Word is read by man the angels have no perception whatever of these men, for their names do not enter heaven; but they have instead a perception of the Lord as He has just been described; consequently in the Word that is in heaven (see above, n. 259) there are no such names mentioned, since that Word is the internal sense of the Word that is in the world.{1}

{Footnote 1} In the internal sense of the Word by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Lord in respect to the Divine itself and the Divine Human is meant (n. 1893, 4615, 6098, 6185, 6276, 6804, 6847). In heaven Abraham is unknown (n. 1834, 1876, 3229). By David the Lord in respect to the Divine royalty is meant (n. 1888, 9954). The twelve apostles represented the Lord in respect to all things of the church, that is, all things pertaining to faith and love (n. 2129, 3354, 3488, 3858, 6397). Peter represented the lord in respect to faith, James in respect to charity, and John in respect to the works of charity (n. 3750, 10087). The twelve apostles sitting on twelve thrones and judging the twelve tribes of Israel, signified that the Lord will judge in accord with the truths and goods of faith and love (n. 2129, 6397). The names of persons and of places in the Word do not enter heaven, but are changed into things and states; and in heaven these names cannot even be uttered (n. 1876, 5225, 6516, 10216, 10282, 10432). Moreover, the angels think abstractedly from persons (n. 8343, 8985, 9007).

527. I can testify from much experience that it is impossible to implant the life of heaven in those who in the world have lived a life opposite to the life of heaven. There were some who had believed that when after death they should hear Divine truths from the angels they would readily accept them and believe them, and consequently live a different life, and could thus be received into heaven. But this was tried with very many, although it was confined to those who held this belief, and was permitted in their case to teach them that repentance is not possible after death. Some of those with whom the experiment was made understood truths and seemed to accept them; but as soon as they turned to the life of their love they rejected them, and even spoke against them. Others were unwilling to hear them, and at once rejected them. Others wished to have the life of love that they had contracted from the world taken away from them, and to have the angelic life, or the life of heaven, infused in its place. This, too, was permitted to be done; but as soon as the life of their love was taken away they lay as if dead, with their powers gone. By these and other experiments the simple good were taught that no one's life can by any means be changed after death; and that an evil life can in no way be converted into a good life, or an infernal life into an angelic life, for every spirit from head to heel is such as his love is, and therefore such as his life is; and to convert his life into its opposite is to destroy the spirit completely. The angels declare that it would be easier to change a night-owl into a dove, or a horned-owl into a bird of paradise, than to change an infernal spirit into an angel of heaven. That man after death continues to be such as his life had been in the world can be seen above in its own chapter (n. 470-484). From all this it is evident that no one can be received into heaven from mercy apart from means.


There are some who believe that to live the life that leads to heaven, which is called the spiritual life, is difficult, because they have been told that man must renounce the world, must divest himself of the lusts called the lusts of the body and the flesh, and must live spiritually; and they understand this to mean that they must discard worldly things, which consist chiefly in riches and honors; that they must walk continually in pious meditation on God, salvation, and eternal life; and must spend their life in prayers and in reading the Word and pious books. Such is their idea of renouncing the world, and living in the spirit and not in the flesh. But that this is not at all true it has been given me to know by much experience and from conversation with the angels. I have learned, in fact, that those who renounce the world and live in the spirit in this manner acquire a sorrowful life that is not receptive of heavenly joy, since everyone's life continues the same after death. On the contrary, to receive the life of heaven a man must needs live in the world and engage in its business and employments, and by means of a moral and civil life there receive the spiritual life. In no other way can the spiritual life be formed in man, or his spirit prepared for heaven; for to live an internal life and not at the same time an external life is like dwelling in a house that has no foundation, that gradually sinks or becomes cracked and rent asunder, or totters till it falls.

529. When the life of man is scanned and explored by rational insight it is found to be threefold, namely, spiritual, moral, and civil, with these three lives distinct from each other. For there are men who live a civil life and not as yet a moral and spiritual life; and there are men who live a moral life and not as yet a spiritual life; and there are those who live a civil life, a moral life, and a spiritual life at the same time. These live the life of heaven; but the former live the life of the world separated from the life of heaven. This shows, in the first place, that the spiritual life is not a life separated from natural life or the life of the world, but is joined with it as the soul is joined with its body, and if it were separated it would be, as was said, like living in a house that has no foundation. For moral and civil life is the active plane of the spiritual life, since to will well is the province of the spiritual life, and to act well of the moral and civil life, and if the latter is separated from the former the spiritual life consists solely of thought and speech, and the will, left with no support, recedes; and yet the will is the very spiritual part of man.

530. That it is not so difficult as some believe to live the life that leads to heaven will now be shown. Who cannot live a civil and moral life? For everyone from his childhood is initiated into that life, and learns what it is by living in the world. Moreover, everyone, whether evil or good, lives that life; for who does not wish to be called honest, and who does not wish to be called just? Almost everyone practices honesty and justice outwardly, so far as to seem to be honest and just at heart, or to seem to act from real honesty and justice. The spiritual man ought to live in like manner, and can do so as easily as the natural man can, with this difference only, that the spiritual man believes in the Divine, and acts honestly and justly, not solely because to so act is in accord with civil and moral laws, but also because it is in accord with Divine laws. As the spiritual man, in whatever he is doing, thinks about Divine things, he has communication with the angels of heaven; and so far as this takes place he is conjoined with them; and thereby his internal man, which regarded in itself is the spiritual man, is opened. When man comes into this state he is adopted and led by the Lord, although himself unconscious of it, and then whatever he does that is honest and just pertaining to moral and civil life, is done from a spiritual motive; and doing what is honest and just from a spiritual motive is doing it from honesty and justice itself, or doing it from the heart. [2] His justice and honesty appear outwardly precisely the same as the justice and honesty of natural men and even of evil and infernal men; but in inward form they are wholly unlike. For evil men act justly and honestly solely for the sake of themselves and the world; and therefore if they had no fear of laws and penalties, or the loss of reputation, of honor, of gain, and of life, they would act in every respect dishonestly and unjustly, since they neither fear God nor any Divine law, and therefore are not restrained by any internal bond; consequently they would use every opportunity to defraud, plunder, and spoil others, and this from delight. That inwardly they are such can be clearly seen from those of the same character in the other life, while everyone's externals are taken away, and his internals in which he at last lives to eternity are opened (see above, n. 499-511). As such then act without external restraints, which are, as just said, fear of the law, of the loss of reputation, of honor, of gain, and of life, they act insanely, and laugh at honesty and justice. [3] But those who have acted honestly and justly from regard to Divine laws, when their externals are taken away and they are left to their internals, act wisely, because they are conjoined to the angels of heaven, from whom wisdom is communicated to them. From all this it can now be seen, in the first place, that when the internal man, that is, the will and thought, are conjoined to the Divine, the civil and moral life of the spiritual man may be wholly like the civil and moral life of the natural man (see above, n. 358-360).

531. Furthermore, the laws of spiritual life, the laws of civil life, and the laws of moral life are set forth in the ten commandments of the Decalogue; in the first three the laws of spiritual life, in the four that follow the laws of civil life, and in the last three the laws of moral life. Outwardly the merely natural man lives in accordance with the same commandments in the same way as the spiritual man does, for in like manner he worships the Divine, goes to church, listens to preachings, and assumes a devout countenance, refrains from committing murder, adultery, and theft, from bearing false witness, and from defrauding his companions of their goods. But all this he does merely for the sake of himself and the world, to keep up appearances; while inwardly such a person is the direct opposite of what he appears outwardly, since in heart he denies the Divine, in worship acts the hypocrite, and when left to himself and his own thoughts laughs at the holy things of the church, believing that they merely serve as a restraint for the simple multitude. [2] Consequently he is wholly disjoined from heaven, and not being a spiritual man he is neither a moral man nor a civil man. For although he refrains from committing murder he hates everyone who opposes him, and from his hatred burns with revenge, and would therefore commit murder if he were not restrained by civil laws and external bonds, which he fears; and as he longs to do so it follows that he is continually committing murder. Although he does not commit adultery, yet as he believes it to be allowable he is all the while an adulterer, since he commits adultery to the extent that he has the ability and as often as he has opportunity. Although he does not steal, yet as he covets the goods of others and does not regard fraud and wicked devices as opposed to what is lawful, in intent he is continually acting the thief. The same is true of the commandments relating to moral life, which forbid false witness and coveting the goods of others. Such is every man who denies the Divine, and who has no conscience derived from religion. That he is such is clearly evident from those of like character in the other life when their externals have been removed and they are let into their internals. As they are then separated from heaven they act in unity with hell, and in consequence are affiliated with those who are in hell. [3] It is not so with those who in heart have acknowledged the Divine, and in the actions of their lives have had respect to Divine laws, and have lived as fully in accord with the first three commandments of the Decalogue as they have in accordance with the others. When the externals of such are removed and they are let into their internals they are wiser than they were in the world; for entering into their internals is like entering from darkness into light, from ignorance into wisdom, and from a sorrowful life into a happy life, because they are in the Divine, thus in heaven. This has been said to make known what the one kind of man is and what the other is, although they have both lived the same external life.

532. Everyone may know that thoughts are led or tend in accord with the intentions, that is, in the directions that one intends; for thought is man's internal sight, and resembles the external sight in this, that to whatever point it is directed or aimed, thither it turns and there it rests. Therefore when the internal sight or the thought is turned towards the world and rests there, the thought in consequence becomes worldly; when it turns to self and self-honor it becomes corporeal; but when it is turned heavenwards it becomes heavenly. So, too, when turned heavenwards it is elevated; but when turned selfward it is drawn down from heaven and immersed in what is corporeal; and when turned towards the world it is also turned down-wards from heaven, and is spent upon those objects that are presented to the natural sight. [2] Man's love is what constitutes his intention and determines his internal sight or thought to its objects; thus the love of self fixes it upon self and its objects, the love of the world upon worldly objects, and the love of heaven upon heavenly objects; and when the love is known the state of the interiors which constitute the mind can be known, that is, the interiors of one who loves heaven are raised towards heaven and are opened above; while the interiors of one who loves the world or who loves himself are closed above and are opened outwardly. From this the conclusion follows that when the higher regions of the mind are closed above, man can no longer see the objects pertaining to heaven and the church, but those objects are in thick darkness to him; and what is in thick darkness is either denied or not understood. And this is why those that love themselves and the world above all things since the higher regions of their minds are closed, in heart deny Divine truths; and if from their memory they say anything about them they nevertheless do not understand them. Moreover, they regard them in the same way as they regard worldly and corporeal things. And being such they are able to direct the mind to those things only that enter through the senses of the body, and in these alone do they find delight. Among these are also many things that are filthy, obscene, profane and wicked; and these cannot be removed, because into the minds of such no influx from heaven is possible, since their minds, as just now said, are closed above. [3] Man's intention, by which his internal sight or thought is determined, is his will; for what a man wills he intends, and what he intends he thinks. Therefore when his intention is heavenward his thought is determined heavenward, and with it his whole mind, which is thus in heaven; and from heaven he beholds the things of the world beneath him like one looking down from the roof of a house. So the man that has the interiors of his mind open can see the evils and falsities that are in him, for these are beneath the spiritual mind. On the other hand, the man whose interiors are not open is unable to see his evils and falsities, because he is not above them but in them. From all this one may conclude whence man has wisdom and whence insanity, also what a man will be after death when he is left to will and think and to act and speak in accordance with his interiors. All this also has been said in order to make clear what constitutes a man's interior character, however he may seem outwardly to resemble others.

533. That it is not so difficult to live the life of heaven as some believe can now be seen from this, that when any thing presents itself to a man that he knows to be dishonest and unjust, but to which his mind is borne, it is simply necessary for him to think that it ought not to be done because it is opposed to the Divine precepts. If a man accustoms himself so to think, and from so doing establishes a habit of so thinking, he is gradually conjoined to heaven; and so far as he is conjoined to heaven the higher regions of his mind are opened; and so far as these are opened he sees whatever is dishonest and unjust, and so far as he sees these evils they can be dispersed, for no evil can be dispersed until it is seen. Into this state man is able to enter because of his freedom, for is not any one able from his freedom to so think? And when man has made a beginning the Lord quickens all that is good in him, and causes him not only to see evils to be evils, but also to refrain from willing them, and finally to turn away from them. This is meant by the Lord's words,

My yoke is easy and My burden is light (Matt. 11:30).

But it must be understood that the difficulty of so thinking and of resisting evils increases so far as man from his will does evils, for in the same measure he becomes accustomed to them until he no longer sees them, and at length loves them and from the delight of his love excuses them, and confirms them by every kind of fallacy, and declares them to be allowable and good. This is the fate of those who in early youth plunge into evils without restraint, and also reject Divine things from the heart.

534. The way that leads to heaven, and the way that leads to hell were once represented to me. There was a broad way tending towards the left or the north, and many spirits were seen going in it; but at a distance a large stone was seen where the broad way came to an end. From that stone two ways branched off, one to the left and one in the opposite direction to the right. The way that went to the left was narrow or straitened, leading through the west to the south, and thus into the light of heaven; the way that went to the right was broad and spacious, leading obliquely downwards towards hell. All at first seemed to be going the same way until they came to the large stone at the head of the two ways. When they reached that point they divided; the good turned to the left and entered the straitened way that led to heaven; while the evil, not seeing the stone at the fork of the ways fell upon it and were hurt; and when they rose up they ran on in the broad way to the right which went towards hell. [2] What all this meant was afterwards explained to me. The first way that was broad, wherein many both good and evil went together and talked with each other as friends, because there was no visible difference between them, represented those who externally live alike honestly and justly, and between whom seemingly there is no difference. The stone at the head of the two ways or at the corner, upon which the evil fell and from which they ran into the way leading to hell, represented the Divine truth, which is rejected by those who look towards hell; and in the highest sense this stone signified the Lord's Divine Human. But those who acknowledged the Divine truth and also the Divine of the Lord went by the way that led to heaven. By this again it was shown that in externals the evil lead the same kind of life as the good, or go the same way, that is, one as readily as the other; and yet those who from the heart acknowledge the Divine, especially those within the church who acknowledge the Divine of the Lord, are led to heaven; while those who do not are led to hell. [3] The thoughts of man that proceed from his intention or will are represented in the other life by ways; and ways are visibly presented there in exact accord with those thoughts of intention; and in accord with his thoughts that proceed from intention everyone walks. For this reason the character of spirits and their thoughts are known from their ways. This also makes clear what is meant by the Lord's words:

Enter ye in through the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many be they that enter in thereby; for straitened is the way and narrow the gate that leadeth to life, and few be they who find it (Matt. 7:13, 14).

The way that leads to life is straitened not because it is difficult but because there are few who find it, as is said here. The stone seen at the corner where the broad and common way ended, and from which two ways were seen to lead in opposite directions, illustrated what is signified by these words of the Lord:

Have ye not read what is written? The stone which the builders rejected was made the head of the corner. Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken (Luke. 20:17, 18).

"Stone" signifies Divine truth, and "the stone of Israel" the Lord in respect to His Divine Human; the "builders" mean those who are of the church; "the head of the corner" is where the two ways are; "to fall" and "to be broken" is to deny and perish.{1}

{Footnote 1} "Stone" signifies truth (n. 114, 643, 1298, 3720, 6426, 8609, 10376). For this reason the law was inscribed on tables of stone (n. 10376). "The stone of Israel" means the Lord in respect to the Divine truth and His Divine Human (n. 6426).

535. I have been permitted to talk with some in the other life who had withdrawn from worldly affairs that they might live in a pious and holy manner, also with some who had afflicted themselves in various ways, believing that they were thereby renouncing the world and subduing the lusts of the flesh. But as most of these have thus acquired a sorrowful life and had withdrawn from the life of charity, which life can be lived only in the midst of the world, they are incapable of being affiliated with angels, because the life of angels is a life of joy resulting from a state of blessedness, and consists in performing good deeds, which are works of charity. Moreover, those who have lived a life withdrawn from worldly employments are inflamed with the idea of their own merit, and are continually desiring heaven on that account, and thinking of heavenly joy as a reward, utterly ignorant of what heavenly joy is. When such are admitted into the company of angels and into their joy, which discards merit and consists in active labors and practical services, and in a blessedness resulting from the good thereby accomplished, they are astonished like one who has found out something quite foreign to his belief; and since they are not receptive of that joy they go away and ally themselves with spirits of their own kind that have lived in the world a life like their own. [2] But those who have lived an outwardly holy life, constantly attending church and praying and afflicting their souls, and at the same time have thought constantly of themselves that they would be esteemed and honored for all this above others, and finally after death would be accounted saints— such in the other life are not in heaven because they have done all this for the sake of themselves. And as they have defiled Divine truths by the self-love in which they have immersed them, some of them are so insane as to think themselves gods; and are consequently in hell among those like themselves. Some are cunning and deceitful, and are in the hells of the deceitful. These are such as by means of cunning arts and devices have maintained such pious conduct as induced the common people to believe that they possessed a Divine sanctity. [3] Of this character are many of the Roman Catholic saints. I have been permitted to talk with some of them, and their life was then plainly disclosed, such as it had been in the world and as it was afterwards. All this has been said to make known that the life that leads to heaven is not a life withdrawn from the world, but a life in the world; and that a life of piety separated from a life of charity, which is possible only in the world, does not lead to heaven; but a life of charity does; and a life of charity consists in acting honestly and justly in every employment, in every business, and in every work, from an interior, that is, from a heavenly, motive; and this motive is in that life whenever man acts honestly and justly because doing so is in accord with the Divine laws. Such a life is not difficult. But a life of piety separate from a life of charity is difficult; and as much as such a life is believed to lead towards heaven so much it leads away from heaven.{1}

{Footnote 1} A life of piety separated from a life of charity is of no avail, but united with charity it is profitable for all things (n. 8252, 8253). Charity to the neighbor consists in doing what is good, just, and right in every work and in every employment (n. 8120-8122). Charity to the neighbor takes in all things and each thing that a man thinks, wills, and does (n. 8124). A life of charity is a life in accordance with the Lord's commandments (n. 3249). Living in accordance with the Lord's commandments is loving the Lord (n. 10143, 10153, 10310, 10578, 10645). Genuine charity claims no merit, because it is from interior affection and consequent delight (n. 2371, 2380, 2400, 3816, 3887, 6388-6393). Man continues to be after death such as was his life of charity in the world (n. 8256). Heavenly blessedness flows in from the Lord into a life of charity (n. 2363). Mere thinking admits no one into heaven; it must be accompanied by willing and doing good (n. 2401, 3459). Unless doing good is joined with willing good and thinking good there is no salvation nor any conjunction of the internal man with the external (n. 3987).


Above, in treating of heaven it has been everywhere shown (especially in n. 2-6) that the God of heaven is the Lord, thus that the whole government of the heavens is the Lord's government. And as the relation of heaven to hell and of hell to heaven is like the relation between two opposites which mutually act contrary to each other, and from the action and re-action of which an equilibrium results, which gives permanence to all things of their action and reaction, so in order that all things and each thing may be kept in equilibrium it is necessary that He who rules the one should rule the other; for unless the same Lord restrained the uprisings from the hells and checked insanities there the equilibrium would perish and everything with it.

537. But something about that equilibrium shall first be told. It is acknowledged that when two things mutually act against each other, and as much as one reacts and resists the other acts and impels, since there is equal power on either side, neither has any effect, and both can then be acted upon freely by a third. For when the force of the two is neutralized by equal opposition the force of a third has full effect, and acts as easily as if there were no opposition. [2] Such is the equilibrium between heaven and hell. Yet it is not an equilibrium like that between two bodily combatants whose strength is equal; but it is a spiritual equilibrium, that is, an equilibrium of falsity against truth and of evil against good. From hell falsity from evil continually exhales, and from heaven truth from good. It is this spiritual equilibrium that causes man to think and will in freedom; for whatever a man thinks and wills has reference either to evil and falsity therefrom or to good and truth therefrom. [3] Therefore when he is in that equilibrium he is in freedom either to admit or accept evil and its falsity from hell or to admit or accept good and its truth from heaven. Every man is held in this equilibrium by the Lord, because the Lord rules both heaven and hell. But why man is held in this freedom by such an equilibrium, and why evil and falsity are not taken away from him and good and truth implanted in him by Divine power will be told hereafter in its own chapter.

538. A perception of the sphere of falsity from evil that flows forth from hell has often been granted me. It was like a perpetual effort to destroy all that is good and true, combined with anger and a kind of fury at not being able to do so, especially an effort to annihilate and destroy the Divine of the Lord, and this because all good and truth are from Him. But out of heaven a sphere of truth from good was perceived, whereby the fury of the effort ascending from hell was restrained. The result of this was an equilibrium. This sphere from heaven was perceived to come from the Lord alone, although it appeared to come from the angels in heaven. It is from the Lord alone, and not from the angels, because every angel in heaven acknowledges that nothing of good and of truth is from himself, but all is from the Lord.

539. In the spiritual world truth from good is the source of all power, and falsity from evil has no power whatever. This is because the Divine Itself in heaven is Divine good and Divine truth, and all power belongs to the Divine. Falsity from evil is powerless because truth from good is the source of all power, and in falsity from evil there is nothing of truth from good. Consequently in heaven there is all power, and none in hell; for everyone in heaven is in truths from good, and everyone in hell is in falsities from evil. For no one is admitted into heaven until he is in truths from good, neither is any one cast down into hell until he is in falsities from evil, (That this is so can be seen in the chapters treating of the first, second, and third states of man after death, n. 491-520; and that all power belongs to truth from good can be seen in the chapter on the power of angels in heaven, n. 228-233.)

540. Such, then, is the equilibrium between heaven and hell. Those who are in the world of spirits are in that equilibrium, for the world of spirits is midway between heaven and hell. From the same source all men in the world are kept in a like equilibrium, since men in the world are ruled by the Lord by means of spirits in the world of spirits, as will be shown hereafter in its own chapter. No such equilibrium would be possible unless the Lord ruled both heaven and hell and regulated both sides. Otherwise falsities from evil would preponderate, and would affect the simple good who are in the outmosts regions of heaven, and who can be more easily perverted than the angels themselves; and thereby equilibrium would perish, and with it freedom in men.

541. Hell, like heaven, is divided into societies, and into as many societies as there are in heaven; for every society in heaven has a society opposite to it in hell, and this for the sake of equilibrium. But evils and falsities therefrom are what distinguish the societies in hell, as goods and truths therefrom are what distinguish the societies in heaven. That for every good there is an opposite evil, and for every truth an opposite falsity may be known from this, that nothing can exist without relation to its opposite, and what anything is in kind and degree can be known from its opposite, and from this all perception and sensation is derived. For this reason the Lord continually provides that every society in heaven shall have an opposite in some society of hell, and that there shall be an equilibrium between the two.

542. As hell is divided into the same number of societies as heaven, there are as many hells as there are societies of heaven; for as each society of heaven is a heaven in smaller form (see above, n. 51-58), so each society in hell is a hell in smaller form. As in general there are three heavens, so in general there are three hells, a lowest, which is opposite to the inmost or third heaven, a middle, which is opposite to the middle or second heaven, and a higher, which is opposite to the outmost or first heaven.

543. How the hells are ruled by the Lord shall be briefly explained. In general the hells are ruled by a general outflow from the heavens of Divine good and Divine truth whereby the general endeavor flowing forth from the hells is checked and restrained; also by a particular outflow from each heaven and from each society of heaven. The hells are ruled in particular by means of the angels, to whom it is granted to look into the hells and to restrain insanities and disturbances there; and sometimes angels are sent to them who moderate these insanities and disturbances by their presence. But in general all in the hells are ruled by means of their fears. Some are ruled by fears implanted in the world and still inherent in them; but as these fears are not sufficient, and gradually subside, they are ruled by fears of punishments; and it is especially by these that they are deterred from doing evil. The punishments in hell are manifold, lighter or more severe in accordance with the evils. For the most part the more wicked, who excel in cunning and in artifices, and who are able to hold the rest in subjection and servitude by means of punishments and consequent terror, are set over them; but these governors dare not pass beyond the limits prescribed to them. It must be understood that the sole means of restraining the violence and fury of those who are in the hells is the fear of punishment. There is no other way.

544. It has been believed heretofore in the world that there is one devil that presides over the hells; that he was created an angel of light; but having become rebellious he was cast down with his crew into hell. This belief has prevailed because the Devil and Satan, and also Lucifer, are mentioned by name in the Word, and the Word in those places has been understood according to the sense of the letter. But by "the devil" and "Satan" there hell is meant, "devil" meaning the hell that is behind, where the worst dwell, who are called evil genii; and "Satan" the hell that is in front, where the less wicked dwell, who are called evil spirits; and "Lucifer" those that belong to Babel, or Babylon, who would extend their dominion even into heaven. That there is no one devil to whom the hells are subject is evident also from this, that all who are in the hells, like all who are in the heavens, are from the human race (see n. 311-317); and that those who have gone there from the beginning of creation to this time amount to myriads of myriads, and everyone of them is a devil in accord with his opposition to the Divine while he lived in the world (see above, n. 311, 312).


An opinion has prevailed with some that God turns away His face from man, casts man away from Himself, and casts him into hell, and is angry with him on account of his evil; and some believe also that God punishes man and does evil to him. In this opinion they establish themselves by the sense of the letter of the Word, where such things are declared, not knowing that the spiritual sense of the Word, by which the sense of the letter is made clear, is wholly different; and consequently that the genuine doctrine of the church, which is from the spiritual sense of the Word, teaches otherwise, namely, that God never turns away His face from man, and never casts man away from Himself, that He casts no one into hell and is angry with no one.{1} Everyone, moreover, whose mind is enlightened perceives this to be true when he reads the Word, from the simple truth that God is good itself, love itself, and mercy itself; and that good itself cannot do evil to any one, and love itself and mercy itself can not cast man away from itself, because this is contrary to the very essence of mercy and love, thus contrary to the Divine Itself. Therefore those who think from an enlightened mind clearly perceive, when they read the Word, that God never turns Himself away from man; and as He never turns Himself away from him He deals with him from goodness, love, and mercy, that is, wills good to him, loves him, and is merciful to him. And from this they see that the sense of the letter of the Word, in which such things are declared, has stored up within itself a spiritual sense, and that these expressions that are used in the sense of the letter in accommodation to man's apprehension and according to his first and general ideas are to be explained in accordance with the spiritual sense.

{Footnote 1} In the Word anger and wrath are attributed to the Lord, but they are in man, and it is so expressed because such is the appearance to man when he is punished and damned (n. 798, 5798, 6997, 8284, 8483, 8875, 9306, 10431). Evil also is attributed to the Lord, although nothing but good is from Him (n. 2447, 6071, 6991, 6997, 7533, 7632, 7679, 7926, 8227, 8228, 8632, 9306). Why it is so expressed in the Word (n. 6071, 6991, 6997, 7632, 7643, 7679, 7710, 7926, 8282, 9010, 9128). The Lord is pure mercy and clemency (n. 6997, 8875).

546. Those who are enlightened see further that good and evil are two opposites, and are therefore opposed as heaven and hell are, and that all good is from heaven and all evil from hell; and as it is the Divine of the Lord that makes heaven (n. 7-12), nothing but good flows into man from the Lord, and nothing but evil from hell; thus the Lord is continually withdrawing man from evil and leading him to good, while hell is continually leading man into evil. Unless man were between these two, he could have no thought nor any will, still less any freedom or any choice; for all these man has by virtue of the equilibrium between good and evil; consequently if the Lord should turn Himself away, leaving man to evil alone, man would cease to be man. All this shows that the Lord flows into every man with good, into the evil man as well as the good; but with the difference that the Lord is continually withdrawing the evil man from evil and is continually leading the good man to good; and this difference lies in the man himself, because he is the recipient.

547. From this it is clear that it is from hell that man does evil, and from the Lord that he does good. But man believes that whatever he does he does from himself, and in consequence of this the evil that he does sticks to him as his own; and for this reason man is the cause of his own evil, and in no way the Lord. Evil in man is hell in him, for it is the same thing whether you say evil or hell. And since man is the cause of his own evil he is led into hell, not by the Lord but by himself. For so far is the Lord from leading man into hell that it is He who delivers man from hell, and this He does so far as man does not will and love to be in his own evil. All of man's will and love continues with him after death (n. 470-484). He who wills and loves evil in the world wills and loves the same evil in the other life, but he no longer suffers himself to be withdrawn from it. If, therefore, a man is in evil he is tied to hell, and in respect to his spirit is actually there, and after death desires nothing so much as to be where his evil is; consequently it is man who casts himself into hell after death, and not the Lord.

548. How this comes about shall also be explained. When man enters the other life he is received first by angels, who perform for him all good offices, and talk with him about the Lord, heaven, and the angelic life, and instruct him in things that are true and good. But if the man, now a spirit, be one who knew about these things in the world, but in heart denied or despised them, after some conversation he desires and seeks to get away from these angels. As soon as the angels perceive this they leave him. After some interaction with others he at length unites himself with those who are in evil like his own (see above, n. 445-452). When this takes place he turns himself away from the Lord and turns his face towards the hell to which he had been joined in the world, in which those abide who are in a like love of evil. All this makes clear that the Lord draws every spirit to Himself by means of angels and by means of influx from heaven; but those spirits that are in evil completely resist, and as it were tear themselves away from the Lord, and are drawn by their own evil, thus by hell, as if by a rope. And as they are so drawn, and by reason of their love of evil are eager to follow, it is evident that they themselves cast themselves into hell by their own free choice. Men in the world because of their idea of hell are unable to believe that this is so. In fact, in the other life before the eyes of those who are outside of hell it does not so appear; but only so to those who cast themselves into hell, for such enter of their own accord. Those who enter from a burning love of evil appear to be cast headlong, with the head downwards and the feet upwards. It is because of this appearance that they seem to be cast into hell by Divine power. (But about this more will be said below, n. 574.) From all this it can be seen that the Lord casts no one into hell, but everyone casts himself into hell, both while he is living in the world and also after death when he comes among spirits.

549. The Lord from His Divine Essence, which is goodness, love, and mercy, is unable to deal in the same way with every man, because evils and their falsities prevent, and not only quench His Divine influx but even reject it. Evils and their falsities are like black clouds which interpose between the sun and the eye, and take away the sunshine and the serenity of its light; although the unceasing endeavor of the sun to dissipate the opposing clouds continues, for it is operating behind them; and in the meantime transmits something of obscure light into the eye of man by various roundabout ways. It is the same in the spiritual world. The sun there is the Lord and the Divine love (n. 116-140); and the light there is the Divine truth (n. 126-140); black clouds there are falsities from evil; the eye there is the understanding. So far as any one in that world is in falsities from evil he is encompassed by such a cloud, which is black and dense according to the degree of his evil. From this comparison it can be seen that the Lord is unceasingly present with everyone, but that He is received variously.

550. Evil spirits are severely punished in the world of spirits in order that by means of punishments they may be deterred from doing evil. This also appears to be from the Lord; and yet nothing of punishment there is from the Lord, but is from the evil itself; since evil is so joined with its own punishment that the two cannot be separated. For the infernal crew desire and love nothing so much as doing evil, especially inflicting punishments and torment upon others; and they maltreat and inflict punishments upon everyone who is not protected by the Lord. When, therefore, evil is done from an evil heart, because it thereby discards all protection from the Lord, infernal spirits rush upon the one who does the evil, and inflict punishment. This may be partly illustrated by evils and their punishments in the world, where the two are also joined. For laws in the world prescribe a penalty for every evil; therefore he that rushes into evil rushes also into the penalty of evil. The only difference is that in the world the evil may be concealed; but in the other life it cannot be concealed. All this makes clear that the Lord does evil to no one; and that it is the same as it is in the world, where it is not the king nor the judge nor the law that is the cause of punishment to the guilty, because these are not the cause of the evil in the evil doer.


All who are in the hells are in evils and in falsities therefrom, and no one there is in evils and at the same time in truths. In the world evil men for the most part have some knowledge of spiritual truths, which are the truths of the church, having been taught them from childhood and later by preaching and by reading the Word; and afterwards they have talked about them. Some have even led others to believe that they are Christians at heart because of their knowing how to talk with pretended affection in harmony with the truth, also how to act uprightly as if from spiritual faith. But those of this class whose interior thoughts have been hostile to these truths, and who have refrained from doing the evils that were in harmony with their thoughts only because of the civil laws, or with a view to reputation, honors, and gain, are all of them evil in heart, and are in truths and goods not in respect to their spirit but only in respect to their body; and consequently, when their externals are taken away from them in the other life, and their internals which pertain to their spirit are revealed, they are wholly in evils and falsities, and not at all in truths and goods; and it is thus made clear that truths and goods resided only in their memory merely as things known about, and that they brought them forth therefrom when talking, putting on a semblance of good seemingly from spiritual love and faith. When such are let into their internals and thus into their evils they are no longer able to speak what is true, but only what is false; since they speak from evils; for to speak what is true from evils is then impossible, since the spirit is nothing but his own evil, and from evil what is false goes forth. Every evil spirit is reduced to this state before he is cast into hell (see above, n. 499-512). This is called being vastated in respect to truths and goods.{1} Vastation is simply being let into one's internals, that is, into what is the spirit's own, or into the spirit itself (see above, n. 425).

{Footnote 1} Before the evil are cast down into hell they are devastated of truths and goods, and when these have been taken away they are of themselves carried into hell (n. 6977, 7039, 7795, 8210, 8232, 9330). The Lord does not devastate them, but they devastate themselves (n. 7643, 7926). Every evil has in it what is false; therefore those who are in evil are also in falsity, although some do not know it (n. 7577, 8094). Those who are in evil must needs think what is false when they think from themselves (n. 7437). All who are in hell speak falsities from hell (n. 1695, 7351, 7352, 7357, 7392, 7689).

552. When man after death comes into this state he is no longer a man-spirit, as he was in his first state (of which above, n. 491-498), but is truly a spirit; for he is truly a spirit who has a face and body that correspond to his internals which pertain to his mind, that is, has an external form that is a type or effigy of his internals. A spirit is such after he has passed through the first and second states spoken of above; consequently when he is looked upon his character is at once known, not only from his face and from his body, but also from his speech and movements; and as he is then in himself he can be nowhere else than where his like are. [2] For in the spiritual world there is a complete sharing of affections and their thoughts, and in consequence a spirit is conveyed to his like as if of himself, since it is done from his affection and its delight. In fact, he turns himself in that direction; for thus he inhales his own life or draws his breath freely, which he cannot do when he turns another way. It must be understood that this sharing with others in the spiritual world is effected in accordance with the turning of the face, and that each one has constantly before his face those who are in a love like his own, and this in every turning of the body (see above, n. 151) [3] In consequence of this all infernal spirits turn themselves away from the Lord toward the densely dark body and the dark body that are there in place of the sun and moon of this world, while all the angels of heaven turn themselves to the Lord as the sun of heaven and as the moon of heaven (see above, n. 123, 143, 144, 151). From all this it is clear that all who are in the hells are in evils and in falsities therefrom; also that they are turned to their own loves.

553. All spirits in the hells, when seen in any light of heaven, appear in the form of their evil; for everyone there is an image of his evil, since his interiors and his exteriors act as a one, the interiors making themselves visible in the exteriors, which are the face, body, speech and movements; thus the character of the spirit is known as soon as he is seen. In general evil spirits are forms of contempt of others and of menaces against those who do not pay them respect; they are forms of hatreds of various kinds, also of various kinds of revenge. Fierceness and cruelty from their interiors show through these forms. But when they are commended, venerated, and worshiped by others their faces are restrained and take on an expression of gladness from delight. [2] It is impossible to describe in a few words how all these forms appear, for no one is like another, although there is a general likeness among those who are in the same evil, and thus in the same infernal society, from which, as from a plane of derivation, the faces of all are seen to have a certain resemblance. In general their faces are hideous, and void of life like those of corpses; the faces of some are black, others fiery like torches, others disfigured with pimples, warts, and ulcers; some seem to have no face, but in its stead something hairy or bony; and with some only the teeth are seen; their bodies also are monstrous; and their speech is like the speech of anger or of hatred or of revenge; for what everyone speaks is from his falsity, while his tone is from his evil. In a word, they are all images of their own hell. [3] I have not been permitted to see what the form of hell itself in general is; I have only been told that as the entire heaven in one complex reflects a single man (n. 59-67), so the entire hell in one complex reflects a single devil, and might be exhibited in an image of a single devil (see above, n. 544). But the forms of particular hells or infernal societies I have often been permitted to see; for at their entrances, which are called the gates of hell, a monster commonly appears that represents in a general way the form of those within. The fierce passions of those who dwell there are represented at the same time in horrible and hideous ways that I forbear to describe. [4] But it must be understood that this is the way infernal spirits appear in the light of heaven, while among themselves they appear as men. This is of the Lord's mercy, that they may not appear as loathsome to one another as they appear before the angels. But this appearance is a fallacy, for as soon as any ray of light from heaven is let in, their human forms appear changed into monstrous forms, such as they are in themselves (as has been described above). For in the light of heaven everything appears as it is in itself. For this reason they shun the light of heaven and cast themselves down into their own light, which is like that from lighted coals, and in some cases like that from burning sulphur; but this light also is turned into mere thick darkness when any light from heaven flows in upon it. This is why the hells are said to be in thick darkness and in darkness; and why "thick darkness" and "darkness" signify falsities derived from evil, such as are in hell.

554. From an inspection of these monstrous forms of spirits in the hells (which, as I have said, are all forms of contempt of others and of menaces against those who do not pay them honor and respect, also forms of hatred and revenge against those who do not favor them), it became evident that in general they were all forms of the love of self and the love of the world; and that the evils of which these are the specific forms have their origin in these two loves. Moreover, I have been told from heaven, and it has been proved to me by much experience, that these two loves, the love of self and the love of the world, rule in the hells and constitute the hells as love to the Lord and love towards the neighbor rule in the heavens and constitute the heavens; also that the two loves that are the loves of hell and the two loves that are the loves of heaven are diametrically opposite to each other.

555. At first I wondered how it is that love of self and love of the world could be so diabolical, and how those who are in these loves could be such monsters in appearance; for in the world not much thought is given to love of self, but only to that elated state of mind in external matters which is called haughtiness, and that alone, being so apparent to the sight, is regarded as love of self. Furthermore, love of self, when it is not so displayed, is believed in the world to be the very fire of life by which man is stimulated to seek employment and to perform uses, and if he found no honor or glory in these his mind would grow torpid. It is asked, Who has ever done any worthy, useful, and distinguished deed except for the sake of being praised and honored by others, or regarded with esteem and honor by others? And can this be from any other source than the fire of love for glory and honor, consequently for self. For this reason, it is unknown in the world that love of self, regarded in itself, is the love that rules in hell and constitutes hell in man. This being so I will first describe what the love of self is, and then will show that all evils and their falsities spring from that love as their fountain.

556. The love of self is wishing well to oneself alone, and to others only for the sake of self, even to the church, one's country, or any human society. It consists also in doing good to all these solely for the sake of one's own reputation, honor, and glory; and unless these are seen in the uses he performs in behalf of others he says in his heart, How does it concern me? Why should I do this? What shall I get from it? and therefore he does not do it. Evidently, then, he who is in the love of self does not love the church or his country or society, nor any use, but himself alone. His delight is solely the delight of the love of self; and as the delight that comes forth from his love is what constitutes the life of man, his life is a life of self; and a life of self is a life from what is man's own, and what is man's own, regarded in itself, is nothing but evil. He who loves himself loves also those who belong to him, that is, in particular, his children and grandchildren, and in general, all who are at one with him, whom he calls his. To love these is to love himself, for he regards them as it were in himself, and himself in them. Among those whom he calls his are also all who commend, honor, and pay their court to him.

557. What love of self is can be seen by comparing it with heavenly love. Heavenly love consists in loving uses for the sake of uses, or goods for the sake of goods, which are done by man in behalf of the church, his country, human society, and a fellow-citizen; for this is loving God and loving the neighbor, since all uses and all goods are from God, and are the neighbor who is to be loved. But he who loves these for the sake of himself loves them merely as servants, because they are serviceable to him; consequently it is the will of one who is in self-love that the church, his country, human societies, and his fellow citizens, should serve him, and not he them, for he places himself above them and places them beneath himself. Therefore so far as any one is in love of self he separates himself from heaven, because he separates himself from heavenly love.

558. ạ Furthermore, so far as any one is in heavenly love, which consists in loving uses and goods and being moved by delight of heart when doing them for the sake of the church, country, human society, and ones fellow-citizens, he is so far led by the Lord, because that love is the love in which the Lord is, and which is from Him. But so far as any one is in the love of self, which consists in performing uses and goods for the sake of himself, so far he is led by himself; and so far as any one is led by himself he is not led by the Lord. And from this it also follows that so far as any one loves himself he separates himself from the Divine, thus also from heaven. To be led by one's self is to be led by what is one's own; and what is man's own is nothing but evil; for man's inherited evil consists in loving self more than God, and the world more than heaven.{1} Whenever man looks to himself in the good that he does he is let into what is his own, that is, into his inherited evils for he then looks from good to himself and from himself to good, and therefore he presents an image of himself in his good, and not an image of the Divine. That this is so has also been proved to me by experience. There are evil spirits whose dwelling places are in the middle quarter between the north and the west, beneath the heavens, who are skilled in the art of leading well-disposed spirits into their nature [proprium] and thus into evils of various kinds. This they do by leading them into thoughts about themselves, either openly by praises and honors, or secretly by directing their affections to themselves; and so far as this is done they turn the faces of the well-disposed spirits away from heaven, and to the same extent they obscure their understanding and call forth evils from what is their own.

{Footnote 1} Man's own, which he derives by inheritance from his parents, is nothing but dense evil (n. 210, 215, 731, 876, 987, 1047, 2307, 2308, 3518, 3701, 3812, 8480, 8550, 10283, 10284, 10286, 10731). Man's own is loving self more than God, and the world more than heaven, and making nothing of one's neighbor in comparison with oneself, except for the sake of self, that is one's own self; thus it consists in love of self and of the world (n. 694, 731, 4317, 5660). All evils flow from the love of self and the love of the world when these predominate (n. 1307, 1308, 1321, 1594, 1691, 3413, 7255, 7376, 7488, 7489, 8318, 9335, 9348, 10038, 10742). These evils are contempt of others, enmity, hatred, revenge, cruelty, deceit (n. 6667, 7370, 7374, 9348, 10038, 10742). From these evils all falsity flows (n. 1047, 10283, 10284, 10286).

558. ḅ That the love of self is the opposite of love to the neighbor can be seen from the origin and essence of both. The love of the neighbor of one who is in the love of self begins with oneself, for he claims that everyone is neighbor to himself; and it goes forth from him as its center to all who make one with him, diminishing in accordance with the degree of their conjunction with him by love. All outside of this circle are regarded as of no account; and those who are opposed to those in the circle and to their evils are accounted as enemies, whatever their character may be, however wise, upright, honest, or just. But spiritual love to the neighbor begins with the Lord, and goes forth from Him as its center to all who are conjoined to Him by love and faith, going forth in accordance with the quality of their love and faith.{1} Evidently, then, the love of the neighbor that has its beginning in man is the opposite of the love to the neighbor that has its beginning in the Lord; and the former proceeds from evil because it proceeds from what is man's own, while the latter proceeds from good because it proceeds from the Lord, who is good itself. Evidently, also, the love of the neighbor that proceeds from man and from what is his own is corporeal, while the love to the neighbor that proceeds from the Lord is heavenly. In a word, in the man in whom love of self prevails that love constitutes the head, and heavenly love constitutes the feet. On that love he stands; and if it does not serve him he tramples it under foot. This is the cause of the appearance that those who are cast down into hell fall with the head downward towards hell, and with the feet upwards towards heaven (see above, n. 548).

{Footnote 1} Those who do not know what it is to love the neighbor imagine every man to be a neighbor, and that good is to be done to everyone who is in need of help (n. 6704). They also believe that everyone is neighbor to himself, and thus that love to the neighbor begins with self (n. 6933). Those who love themselves above all things, that is, with whom self-love prevails, also make love to the neighbor to begin with themselves (n. 6710). In what manner everyone is neighbor to himself, explained (n. 6933-6938). But those who are Christians and who love God above all things make love to the neighbor to begin with the Lord, because He is to be loved above all things (n. 6706, 6711, 6819, 6824). The distinctions of neighbor are as many as the distinctions of good from the Lord, and there should be distinction in doing good to everyone in accordance with the quality of his state, and this is a matter of Christian prudence (n. 6707, 6709, 6711, 6818). These distinctions are innumerable, and for this reason the ancients, who knew what is meant by the neighbor, reduced the exercises of charity into classes, which they denoted by suitable names, and from this knew in what respect everyone was a neighbor, and in what manner good was to be done to everyone with prudence (n. 2417, 6628, 6705, 7259-7262). The doctrine in the ancient churches was the doctrine of charity towards the neighbor, and from this they had wisdom (n. 2417, 2385, 3419, 3420, 4844, 6628).

559. Again, love of self is such that so far as the reins are given it, that is, so far as external bonds are removed, which are fears of the law and its penalties, and of the loss of reputation, honor, gain, employment, and life, so far it rushes on until it finally longs to rule not only over the entire world but also over the entire heaven, and over the Divine Himself, knowing no limit or end. This propensity lurks hidden in everyone who is in love of self, although it is not manifest to the world, where it is held in check by such bonds as have been mentioned. Everyone can see examples of this in potentates and kings who are subject to no such restraints and bonds, but rush on and subjugate provinces and kingdoms so far as they are successful, and aspire to power and glory without limit; and still more strikingly in the Babylon of this day, which has extended its dominion into heaven, and has transferred to itself all the Divine power of the Lord, and continually lusts for more. That such men, when they have entered after death the other life, are directly opposed to the Divine and to heaven, and are on the side of hell, can be seen in the little work on The Last Judgment and the Destruction of Babylon.

560. Picture to yourself a society of such persons, all of whom love themselves alone and love others only so far as they make one with themselves, and you will see that their love is precisely like the love of thieves for each other, who embrace and call one another friends so long as they are acting together; but when they cease to act together and discard their subordination to one another, they rise up against and murder one another. When the interiors or the minds of such are explored they will be seen to be full of bitter hatred one against another, and at heart will laugh at all justice and honesty, and likewise at the Divine, which they reject as of no account. This is still more evident in the societies of such in the hells treated of below.

561. The interiors pertaining to the thoughts and affections of those who love themselves above all things are turned towards themselves and the world, and thus are turned away from the Lord and from heaven; and consequently they are obsessed with evils of every kind, and the Divine cannot flow in; for if it does flow in it is instantly submerged in thoughts of self, and is defiled, and is also mingled with the evils that flow from what is their own. This is why all such in the other life look backwards away from the Lord, and towards the densely dark body that is there in the place of the sun of the world, and is diametrically opposite to the sun of heaven, which is the Lord (see above, n. 123). "Thick darkness" signifies evil, and the "sun of the world" the love of self.{1}

{Footnote 1} "The sun of the world" signifies the love of self (n. 2441). In this sense "to worship the sun" signifies to worship those things that are antagonistic to heavenly love and to the Lord (n. 2441, 10584). "The sun's growing hot" means an increasing lust of evil (n. 8487).

562. The evils of those who are in the love of self are, in general, contempt of others, envy, enmity against all who do not favor them, and consequent hostility, hatred of various kinds, revenge, cunning, deceit, unmercifulness, and cruelty; and in respect to religious matters there is not merely a contempt for the Divine and for Divine things, which are the truths and goods of the church, but also hostility to them. When man becomes a spirit this hostility is turned into hatred; and then he not only cannot endure to hear these truths and goods mentioned, he even burns with hatred against all who acknowledge and worship the Divine. I once talked with a certain spirit who in the world had been a man in authority, and had loved self to an unusual degree; and when he simply heard some one mention the Divine, and especially when he heard him mention the Lord, he was so excited by hatred arising from anger as to burn with the desire to kill; and when the reins of his love were loosened he wished to be the devil himself, that from his love of self he might continually infest heaven. This is the desire also of some of the Papist religion when they perceive in the other life that the Lord has all power and they have none.

563. Certain spirits were seen by me in the western quarter towards the south, who said that they had been in positions of great dignity in the world, and that they deserved to be more highly esteemed than others and to rule over others. Their interior character was explored by angels, and it was found that in their offices in the world they had not looked to uses but to themselves, and thus that they had set themselves before uses. But as they were very eager and importunate to be set over others they were allowed to associate with those who were consulting about matters of great importance; but it was perceived that they were unable to give any thought to the business under discussion, or to see matters as they are in themselves, or to speak with reference to the use of the thing, but were able to speak only with reference to self, and that they wished to act from what is pleasing on the ground of favor. They were therefore dismissed from that duty, and left to seek employment for themselves elsewhere. Therefore they went further into the western quarter, where they were received here and there, but everywhere were told that they thought only of themselves, and of no business except with reference to self, and for this reason were stupid and like merely sensual corporeal spirits. On this account wheresoever they went they were sent away. Some time afterwards they were seen reduced to a destitute state and asking alms. Thus it was made clear that those who are in the love of self, however from the fire of that love they may seem to speak in the world wisely, speak merely from the memory, and not from any rational light. Therefore in the other life, when they are no longer permitted to bring forth the things of the natural memory, they are more stupid than others, and for the reason that they are separated from the Divine.

564. There are two kinds of dominion, one of love towards the neighbor and the other of love of self. These two dominions in their essence are direct opposites. One who rules from love towards the neighbor wills good to all, and loves nothing so much as uses, that is, serving others; which is willing good to others and performing uses, either to the church, or to the country, or to society, or to a fellow citizen. This is his love and the delight of his heart. Moreover, so far as he is exalted to dignities above others he rejoices, not for the sake of the dignities but for the sake of the uses he is then able to perform in greater abundance and of a higher order. Such dominion exists in the heavens. [2] But one who rules from the love of self wills good to no one except himself; the uses he performs are for the sake of his own honor and glory, which to him are the only uses; his end in serving others is that he may himself be served, honored, and permitted to rule; he seeks dignities not for the sake of the good offices he may render to his country and the church, but that he may gain eminence and glory and thereby the delight of his heart. [3] Moreover this love of dominion continues with everyone after his life in the world. Those that have ruled from love towards the neighbor are entrusted with authority in the heavens; but then it is not they who rule, but the uses which they love; and when uses rule the Lord rules. But those who have ruled while in the world are in hell, and are there vile slaves. I have seen those who had power in the world, but who exercised dominion from love of self, cast out among the most vile, and some among those who are in excrementitious places.

565. But in respect to the love of the world: it is a love opposed to heavenly love in a less degree than love of self, because the evils hidden within it are lesser evils. The love of the world consists in one's desiring to secure to himself, by any kind of artifice, the wealth of others, and in setting his heart upon riches, and permitting the world to draw him and lead him away from spiritual love, which is love towards the neighbor, and thus from heaven and from the Divine. But this love is manifold. There is a love of wealth for the sake of being exalted to honors, when these alone are loved. There is a love of honors and dignities with a view to the increase of wealth. There is a love of wealth for the sake of various uses that give delight in the world. There is a love of wealth merely for the sake of wealth, which is a miserly love; and so on. The end for the sake of which wealth is sought is called its use; and it is the end or use that gives to love its quality; for the love is such as is the end in view, and all other things merely serve it as means.


What eternal fire is, and what the gnashing of teeth is, which are mentioned in the Word in reference to those who are in hell, scarcely any one as yet has known, because the contents of the Word have been thought about only in a material way, and nothing has been known about its spiritual sense. So fire has been understood by some to mean material fire, by others to mean torment in general, by others remorse of conscience, and others have held that it is mentioned merely to excite terror in the wicked. Likewise some have supposed the gnashing of teeth to mean actual gnashing, and some only a horror, such as is excited when such a collision of teeth is heard. But any one who is acquainted with the spiritual meaning of the Word may know what eternal fire is, and what the gnashing of teeth is; for every expression and every meaning of the expressions in the Word contains a spiritual meaning, since the Word in its bosom is spiritual; and what is spiritual can be set before man only in natural forms of expression, because man is in the natural world and thinks from the things of that world. Therefore it shall now be told what is meant by "eternal fire" and "the gnashing of teeth" into which the spirits of evil men enter after death, or which their spirits, then in the spiritual world, endure.

567. There are two origins of heat, one the sun of heaven which is the Lord, and the other the sun of the world. The heat that is from the sun of heaven, that is, the Lord, is spiritual heat; and this in its essence is love (see above, n. 126-140); but the heat from the sun of the world is natural heat, and this in its essence is not love, but serves spiritual heat or love as a receptacle. Evidently love in its essence is heat, since it is love, in accord with its degree and quality, that gives heat to the mind, and thence to the body; and this man experiences as well in the winter as in the summer. The heating of the blood is from the same source. That the natural heat that springs from the sun of the world serves spiritual heat as a receptacle is evident from the heat of the body, which is excited by the heat of its spirit, and is a kind of substitute for that heat in the body. It is especially evident from the spring and summer heat in animals of every kind which then annually renew their loves. [2] It is not the natural heat that produces this effect, but it disposes their bodies to receive the heat that flows into them from the spiritual world; for the spiritual world flows into the natural as cause into effect. Whoever believes that natural heat produces these loves is much deceived, for influx is from the spiritual world into the natural world, and not from the natural world into the spiritual; and as all love belongs to the life itself it is spiritual. [3] Again, he who believes that any thing comes forth in the natural world without influx from the spiritual world is deceived, for what is natural comes forth and continues to exist only from what is spiritual. Furthermore, the subjects of the vegetable kingdom derive their germinations from influx out of the spiritual world. The natural heat of spring time and summer merely disposes the seeds into their natural forms by expanding and opening them so that influx from the spiritual world can there act as a cause. These things are mentioned to make clear that there are two kinds of heat, spiritual heat and natural heat; and that spiritual heat is from the sun of heaven and natural heat from the sun of the world, and that influx and consequent cooperation produce the effects that appear before the eyes in the world.{1}

{Footnote 1} There is an influx from the spiritual world into the natural world (n. 6053-6058, 6189-6215, 6307-6327, 6466-6495, 6598-6626). There is also an influx into the lives of animals (n. 5850). And into the subjects of the vegetable kingdom (n. 3648). This influx is a continual endeavor to act in accordance with the Divine order (n. 6211 at the end).

568. Spiritual heat in man is the heat of his life, because, as was said above, it is in its essence love. This heat is what is meant in the Word by "fire," love to the Lord and love towards the neighbor by "heavenly fire," and love of self and love of the world by "infernal fire."

569. Infernal fire or love springs from a like origin as heavenly fire or love, namely, the sun of heaven, or the Lord; but it is made infernal by those who receive it. For all influx from the spiritual world varies in accordance with reception, that is, in accordance with the forms into which it flows, just as it is with the heat and light from the sun of the world. The heat from that sun flowing into shrubberies and beds of flowers produces vegetation, and draws forth grateful and sweet odors; but the same heat flowing into excrementitious and decaying substances produces putrefactions, and draws forth rank and disgusting stenches. In like manner the light from the same sun produces in one subject beautiful and pleasing colors, in another unbeautiful and disagreeable colors. The same is true of the heat and light from the sun of heaven, which is love. When the heat, or love, from that sun flows into good, as it does in good men and angels, it makes their good fruitful; but when it flows into the evil it produces a contrary effect, for their evils either suffocate it or pervert it. In like manner when the light of heaven flows into the truths of good it imparts intelligence and wisdom; but when it flows into the falsities of evil it is turned into insanities and phantasies of various kinds. Thus in every instance the result is in accordance with reception.

570. As infernal fire is the love of self and of the world it is also every lust of these loves, since lust is love in its continuity, for what a man loves he continually lusts after. Infernal fire is also delight, since what a man loves and lusts after he perceives, when he obtains it, to be delightful. Man's delight of heart is from no other source. Infernal fire, therefore, is the lust and delight that spring from these two loves as their origins. The evils flowing from these loves are contempt of others, enmity, and hostility against those who do not favor them, envy, hatred, and revenge, and from these fierceness and cruelty; and in respect to the Divine they are denial and consequent contempt, derision, and detraction of the holy things of the church; and after death, when man becomes a spirit, these evils are changed to anger and hatred against these holy things (see above, n. 562). And as these evils breathe forth continually the destruction and murder of those whom they account as enemies, and against whom they burn with hatred and revenge, so it is the delight of their life to will to destroy and kill, and so far as they are unable to do this, to will to do mischief, to injure, and to exercise cruelty. [2] Such is the meaning of "fire" in the Word, where the evil and the hells are treated of, some passages from which I will here quote in the way of proof:

Everyone is a hypocrite and an evil doer, and every mouth speaketh folly. For wickedness burneth as the fire; it devoureth the briers and thorns, and kindleth in the thickets of the forests, and they roll upward in the rising of smoke; and the people is become like food for fire; no man spareth his brother (Isa. 9:17-19).

I will show wonders in the heavens, and in the earth blood and fire, and pillars of smoke; the sun shall be turned into darkness (Joel 2:30, 31).

The land shall become burning pitch; it shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up forever (Isa. 34:9, 10).

Behold the day cometh burning as a furnace, and all the proud and every worker of wickedness shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall set them on fire (Mal. 4:1).

Babylon is become a habitation of demons. They cried out as they saw the smoke of her burning. Her smoke goeth up unto the ages of the ages (Apoc. 18:2, 18; 19:3).

He opened the pit of the abyss, and there went up a smoke out of the pit as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun was darkened, and the air, by the smoke of the pit (Apoc. 9:2).

Out of the mouth of the horses went forth fire and smoke and brimstone; by these was the third part of men killed, by the fire and by the smoke and by the brimstone (Apoc. 4:17, 18).

If any one adores the beast he shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God mixed with unmixed wine in the cup of His anger, and shall be tormented with fire and brimstone (Apoc. 16:9, 10).

The fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun; and it was given unto it to scorch men with fire; therefore men were scorched with great heat (Apoc. 16:8, 9).

They were cast into a lake burning with fire and brimstone (Apoc. 19:20; 20:14, 15; 21:8).

Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit shall be hewn down and cast into the fire (Matt. 3:10; Luke 3:9).

The Son of man shall send His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that cause stumbling and them that do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire (Matt. 13:41, 42, 50).

The King shall say to them that are on the left hand, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into eternal fire, prepared for the devil and his angels (Matt. 25:41).

They shall be sent into everlasting fire, into the hell of fire, where their worm shall not die, and the fire shall not be quenched (Matt. 18:8, 9; Mark 9:43-49).

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