513. Instruction is given by the angels of many societies, especially those in the northern and southern quarters, because those angelic societies are in intelligence and wisdom from a knowledge of good and truth. The places of instruction are towards the north and are various, arranged and distinguished according to the kinds and varieties of heavenly goods, that all and each may be instructed there according to their disposition and ability to receive; the places extending round about to a great distance. The good spirits who are to be instructed are brought by the Lord to these places when they have completed their second state in the world of spirits, and yet not all; for there are some that have been instructed in the world, and have been prepared there by the Lord for heaven, and these are taken up into heaven by another way-some immediately after death, some after a short stay with good spirits, where the grosser things of their thoughts and affections which they had contracted from honors and riches in the world are removed, and in that way they are purified. Some first endure vastations, which is effected in places under the soles of the feet, called the lower earth, where some suffer severely. These are such as had confirmed themselves in falsities and yet had led good lives, for when falsities have been confirmed they inhere with much force, and until they have been dispersed truths cannot be seen, and thus cannot be accepted. But vastations and how they are effected have been treated of in the Arcana Coelestia, from which the notes below have been collected.#
# Vastations are effected in the other life, that is, those that pass into the other life from the world are vastated (n. 698, 7122, 7474, 9763).
The well disposed are vastated in respect to falsities, while the evil are vastated in respect to truths (n, 7474, 7541, 7542).
The well disposed undergo vastations that they also may be divested of what pertains to the earth and the world, which they had contracted while living in the world (n. 7186, 9763).
Also that evils and falsities may be removed, and thus there may be room for the influx of goods and truths out of heaven from the Lord, and ability to accept these (n. 7122, 9330).
Elevation into heaven is impossible until such things have been removed, because they obstruct heavenly things and are not in harmony with them (n. 6928, 7122, 7186, 7541, 7542, 9763).
Those who are to be raised up into heaven are thus prepared for it (n. 4728, 7090).
It is dangerous to come into heaven before being prepared (n. 537, 538).
The state of enlightenment and the joy of those who come out of vastation and are raised up into heaven, and their reception there (n. 2699, 2701, 2704).
The region where those vastations are effected is called the lower earth (n. 4728, 7090).
That region is under the soles of the feet surrounded by the hells; its nature described (n. 4940-4951, 7090); from experience (n. 699).
What the hells are which more than others infest and vastate (n. 7317, 7502, 7545).
Those that have infested and vastated the well disposed are afterwards afraid of them, shun them, and turn away from them (n. 7768).
These infestations and vastations are effected in different ways in accordance with the adhesion of evils and falsities, and they continue in accordance with their quality and quantity (n. 1106-1113).
Some are quite willing to be vastated (n. 1107).
Some are vastated by fears (n. 4942).
Some by being infested with the evils they have done in the world, and with the falsities they have thought in the world, from which they have anxieties and pangs of conscience (n. 1106).
Some by spiritual captivity, which is ignorance of truth and interception of truth, combined with a longing to know truths (n. 1109, 2694).
Some by sleep; some by a middle state between wakefulness and sleep (n. 1108). Those that have placed merit in works seem to themselves to be cutting wood (n. 1110).
Others in other ways, with great variety (n. 699).