8118. I have been told by the angels that the most ancient people on this earth dwelt in like manner, that is, distinguished into nations, families and houses; that they were all content with their own goods; and that to grow rich from the goods of others, and to exercise dominion, were then quite unknown. On this account, the ancient times, and especially the most ancient, were more acceptable to the Lord than the succeeding ones; and such being the state, innocence also then reigned, and with innocence, wisdom. Everyone then did what is good from good, and what is just from justice. They did not know what it is to do what is good and just with a view to self-honor, or for the sake of profit. They did not then speak anything but the truth; and this not so much from truth, as from good; that is, not from the understanding separate, but from the will conjoined. Such were the ancient times, and therefore angels could then have interaction with men, and lead their minds home to heaven in a state almost separated from bodily things, and could take them round, and show them the magnificent and happy things there, and likewise communicate to them their own happinesses and delights. Moreover those times were known to ancient writers, and were called by them the Golden and also the Saturnian Age.
 Those times were of this nature, because, as before said, they lived distinguished into nations, and the nations into families, and the families into houses, and each house dwelt by itself; and because it never then came into anyone's mind to attack the inheritance of another, and thereby get for himself wealth and dominion. Far removed then were the love of self and the love of the world, and everyone rejoiced at heart by reason of his own good, and not less by reason of another's.
 But in the succeeding time this scene was changed and turned into the opposite, when the lust of dominion and of possessing the goods of others invaded the mind. Then for the sake of self-defense, the human race gathered into kingdoms and empires. And as the laws of charity and conscience, which had been written on hearts, ceased to operate, it became necessary to enact laws to restrain acts of violence; in which laws, honors, and riches were the rewards, and the deprivation of these were the penalties. When the state was thus changed, heaven removed itself from man, and this more and more, even to the present age, when it is no longer known whether there is a heaven, and consequently whether there is a hell, and when it is even denied that these exist. These things have been stated, in order that by the parallelism there may be illustrated the quality of the state of those who are on the earth Jupiter, and whence comes their good disposition, and also their wisdom, of which more will be said in what follows.