(HH) - Heaven and Its Wonders and Hell - From Things Heard and Seen

HH 360

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360. I have spoken with some after death who, while they lived in the world, renounced the world and gave themselves up to an almost solitary life, in order that by an abstraction of the thoughts from worldly things they might have opportunity for pious meditations, believing that thus they might enter the way to heaven. But these in the other life are of a sad disposition; they despise others who are not like themselves; they are indignant that they do not have a happier lot than others, believing that they have merited it; they have no interest in others, and turn away from the duties of charity by which there is conjunction with heaven. They desire heaven more than others; but when they are taken up among the angels they induce anxieties that disturb the happiness of the angels; and in consequence they are sent away; and when sent away they betake themselves to desert places, where they lead a life like that which they lived in the world. [2] Man can be formed for heaven only by means of the world. In the world are the outmost effects in which everyone's affection must be terminated; for unless affection puts itself forth or flows out into acts, which is done in association with others, it is suffocated to such a degree finally that man has no longer any regard for the neighbor, but only for himself. All this makes clear that a life of charity towards the neighbor, which is doing what is just and right in every work and in every employment, is what leads to heaven, and not a life of piety apart from charity;# and from this it follows that only to the extent that man is engaged in the employments of life can charity be exercised and the life of charity grow; and this is impossible to the extent that man separates himself from those employments. [3] On this subject I will speak now from experience. Of those who while in the world were employed in trade and commerce and became rich through these pursuits there are many in heaven, but not so many of those who were in stations of honor and became rich through those employments; and for the reason that these latter by the gains and honors that resulted from their dispensing justice and equity, and also by the lucrative and honorable positions bestowed on them were led into loving themselves and the world, and thereby separating their thoughts and affections from heaven and turning them to themselves. For to the extent that a man loves self and the world and looks to self and the world in everything, he alienates himself from the Divine and separates himself from heaven.
# Charity towards the neighbor is doing what is good, just, and right, in every work and every employment (n. 8120-8122).
Thus charity towards the neighbor extends to all things and each thing that a man thinks, wills, and does (n. 8124).
A life of piety apart from a life of charity is of no avail, but together they are profitable for all things (n. 8252, 8253).


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