2603. There are some Gentiles from those regions where they are black, who bring with them from their life in the world a wish to be treated severely; believing that no one can come into heaven except through punishments and afflictions, and that they will afterwards receive more gladsome things, which they call paradisal. As they have such ideas from their religion they are at first treated severely in the other life by some whom they call devils, and are afterwards taken to the paradises already described (n. 1622). But they are instructed by the angels that their punishments and afflictions are turned by the Lord into what is good for them, as with those who are in temptations; also that paradisal things are not heaven, but that heaven is the affection of the celestial and spiritual things that are in them; and that they have been in a certain way of truth, although in the shade of ignorance. They spoke with me a long time. While in their state of affliction their speech was attended with a kind of collision; thus was distinct from that of others; but after their afflictions were over, and they were taken up to the paradises, they no longer had such a speech, but one that was almost angelic. From their religion they have that they believe, and desire to have interior things. They said that whenever they are treated severely they are black; but that they shortly put off the blackness, and put on whiteness; knowing that their souls are white, but their bodies black.