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

HH 456

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456. That the spirit of man, when it has been loosed from the body, is still a man and in a like form, has been proved to me by the daily experience of many years; for I have seen such and have listened to them a thousand times, and have talked with them about this fact, that men in the world do not believe them to be men, and that those that do believe this are regarded by the learned as simple. Spirits are grieved at heart that such ignorance still continues in the world, and above all within the church. [2] But this belief they said had emanated chiefly from the learned, who had thought about the soul from ideas derived from bodily sense; and from such ideas the only conception they formed of the soul was as being mere thought; and when this is regarded apart from any subject as its containant and source it is merely a fleeting breath of pure ether that must needs be dissipated when the body dies. But as the church believes from the Word in the immortality of the soul they are compelled to ascribe to it something vital, such as pertains to thought, but they deny to it any thing of sense, such as man possesses, until it has again been joined to the body. On this opinion the doctrine in regard to the resurrection is based, with the belief that the soul and body will be joined again at the time of the final judgment. For this reason when any one thinks about the soul in accordance with this doctrine and these conjectures, he has no conception that it is a spirit, and in a human form. And still further, scarcely any one at this day knows what the spiritual is, and still less that spiritual beings, as all spirits and angels are, have any human form. [3] Consequently, nearly all that go from this world are greatly surprised to find that they are alive, and are as much men as before, that they see, hear, and speak, and that their body enjoys the sense of touch as before, with no difference whatever (see above, n. 74). And when they cease to be astonished at themselves they are astonished that the church should know nothing about this state of men after death, thus nothing about heaven or hell, when in fact all that have ever lived in the world are in the other life and live as men. And as they wondered also why this had not been disclosed to man by visions, being an essential of the faith of the church, they were told from heaven that although this might have been done, since nothing is easier when it is the Lord's good pleasure, yet those that have confirmed themselves in the opposite falsities would not believe even if they themselves should behold it; also that there is danger in confirming any thing by visions when men are in falsities, for they would then first believe and afterwards deny, and thus would profane the truth itself, since to believe and afterwards deny is to profane; and those who profane truths are cast down into the lowest and most grievous of all the hells.# [4] This danger is what is meant by the Lord's words:

He hath blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts lest they should see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and should turn and I should heal them (John 12:40).

And that those that are in falsities would not believe [even if visions were given] is meant by these words:

Abraham said to the rich man in hell, They have Moses and the Prophets, let them hear them. But he said, Nay, father Abraham, but if one came to them from the dead they would be converted. But Abraham said to him, If they hear not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they believe though one should rise from the dead (Luke 16:29-31).

# Profanation is the mixing of good and evil and of truth and falsity in man (n. 6348).
Only those can profane truth and good, or the holy things of the Word and the church, who first acknowledge them, and still more who live according to them, and who afterwards recede from the belief and reject it, and live for themselves and the world (n. 593, 1008, 1010, 1059, 3398, 3399, 3898, 4289, 4601, 10284, 10287).
If man after repentance of heart relapses to former evils he profanes, and his latter state is then worse than his former (n. 8394).
Those that have not acknowledged holy things, still less those that have no knowledge of them, cannot profane them (n. 1008, 1010, 1059, 9188, 10284).
The heathen who are out of the church and do not have the Word cannot profane it (n. 1327, 1328, 2051, 2284).
On this account interior truths were not disclosed to the Jews, for if they had been disclosed and acknowledged that people would have profaned them (n. 3398, 4289, 6963).
The lot of profaners in the other life is the worst of all, because not only the good and truth they have acknowledged, but also their evil and falsity remain, and as these cling together, the life is rent asunder (n. 571, 582, 6348).
Consequently most careful provision is made by the Lord to prevent profanation (n. 2426, 10287).


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