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

HH 495

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495. As the life of spirits recently from the world is not unlike their life in the natural world and as they know nothing about their state of life after death and nothing about heaven and hell except what they have learned from the sense of the letter of the Word and preaching from it, they are at first surprised to find themselves in a body and in every sense that they had in the world, and seeing like things; and they become eager to know what heaven is, what hell is, and where they are. Therefore their friends tell them about the conditions of eternal life, and take them about to various places and into various companies, and sometimes into cities, and into gardens and parks, showing them chiefly such magnificent things as delight the externals in which they are. They are then brought in turn into those notions about the state of their soul after death, and about heaven and hell, that they had entertained in the life of the body, even until they feel indignant at their total ignorance of such things, and at the ignorance of the church also. Nearly all are anxious to know whether they will get to heaven. Most of them believe that they will, because of their having lived in the world a moral and civil life, never considering that the bad and the good live a like life outwardly, alike doing good to others, attending public worship, hearing sermons, and praying; and wholly ignorant that external deeds and external acts of worship are of no avail, but only the internals from which the externals proceed. There is hardly one out of thousands who knows what internals are, and that it is in them that man must find heaven and the church. Still less is it known that outward acts are such as the intentions and thoughts are, and the love and faith in these from which they spring. And even when taught they fail to comprehend that thinking and willing are of any avail, but only speaking and acting. Such for the most part are those that go at this day from the Christian world into the other life.


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