324. But as regards the heathen of the present day, they are not so wise, but most of them are simple in heart. Nevertheless, those of them that have lived in mutual charity receive wisdom in the other life, and of these one or two examples may be cited. When I read the seventeenth and eighteenth chapters of Judges (about Micah, and how the sons of Dan carried away his graven image and teraphim and Levite) a heathen spirit was present who in the life of the body had worshiped a graven image. He listened attentively to the account of what was done to Micah, and his grief on account of his graven image which the Danites took away, and such grief came upon him and moved him that he scarcely knew, by reason of inward distress, what to think. Not only was this grief perceived, but also the innocence that was in all his affections. The Christian spirits that were present watched him and wondered that a worshiper of a graven image should have so great a feeling of sympathy and innocence stirred in him. Afterwards some good spirits talked with him, saying that graven images should not be worshiped, and that being a man he was capable of understanding this; that he ought, apart from a graven image, to think of God the Creator and Ruler of the whole heaven and the whole earth, and that God is the Lord. When this was said I was permitted to perceive the interior nature of his adoration, which was communicated to me; and it was much more holy than is the case of Christians, This makes clear that at the present day the heathen come into heaven with less difficulty than Christians, according to the Lord's words in Luke:
Then shall they come from the east and the west, and from the north and the south, and shall recline in the kingdom of God. And behold, there are last who shall be first, and there are first who shall be last (13:29, 30).
For in the state in which that spirit was he could be imbued with all things of faith and receive them with interior affection; there was in him the mercy of love, and in his ignorance there was innocence; and when these are present all things of faith are received as it were spontaneously and with joy. He was afterwards received among angels.