(ML) - Wisdom's Delight in Marriage Love: Followed by Insanity’s Pleasure in Promiscuous Love

ML 207

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207. To the above, I will add two Memorable Relations. First: Some time after [the second visit to Parnassus (no. 182)], I looked towards the city Athens, of which something was said in a former Relation (no. 156a), and heard thence an unusual clamor. There was something of laughter in it, in this something of indignation, and in this something of sadness; yet the clamor was not therefore dissonant but harmonious, because the one sound was not simultaneous with the other but the one was within the other. In the spiritual world, the variety and commingling of affections in sound are distinctly perceived.
While still at some distance, I asked what it meant, and received the answer: "A messenger has come from the place where new-comers from the Christian world first appear, saying that he had heard from three new-comers there, that in the world whence they came, they with others had believed that after death the blessed and happy would have entire rest from labors; and since administrations, offices, and employments are labors, that they would have rest from these. Clamor was made because the three have now been conducted hither by our emissary and are standing at the gate waiting. It has been decreed in council that for the purpose of disclosing their news from the Christian world, they were to be introduced, not into the Palladium on Parnassus like the previous new-comers, but into the great auditorium there; and some delegates have been sent to introduce them formally."
[2] Because I was in the spirit, and with spirits distances are according to the states of their affections; and because my affection was then moved to see and hear these new-comers, I seemed to myself to be present in the auditorium. There I saw the new-comers introduced and heard them speak. The seniors or wiser men were seated at the sides, the rest being in the middle. In front of the latter was a raised platform. Thither, in formal procession through the middle of the auditorium, the three new-comers and the herald were conducted by some younger men; and when silence had been obtained and they had been greeted by one of the elders, the new-comers, being asked, "What news from earth?" answered, "There is much news, but tell us, pray, on what subject?" When the elder replied, "What is the news from earth respecting our world and respecting heaven", they answered: "On first coming into this world, we heard that here and in heaven there were administrations, ministries, employments, businesses, studies in all kinds of learning, and wonderful handicrafts; and yet we had thought that after removal or transition from the natural world to this spiritual world, we should come into eternal rest from labors; and what are employments but labors?"
[3] To this the elder replied: "By eternal rest from labors, did you mean eternal idleness in which you would be continually sitting and lying down, inhaling delights into your breasts and drinking in joys with your mouth?" Smiling blandly, the three new-comers said that they had supposed something of the kind.
Answer was then given them: "What have joys and delights and the happiness therefrom in common with idleness? By idleness the mind becomes, not expanded, but collapsed, that is, a man is not enlivened but deadened. Picture a man sitting in complete idleness, hands hanging down, eyes withdrawn; and suppose that at the same time he is surrounded by an aura of gladness; would not drowsiness take possession of his head and body? Would not the living expansion of his face fall away? and at last, with fiber relaxed, would he not nod again and again until he fell to the ground? What keeps the whole bodily system expanded and tense but intentness of mind? and whence comes intentness of mind but from administrations and occupations when done from delight? Let me, therefore, tell you something new from heaven: There are administrations and ministries there, and courts of justice, higher and lower, and also mechanical arts and handicrafts."
[4] When the three new-comers heard that there were higher and lower courts of justice in heaven, they said: "Why these; are not all in heaven inspired and led of God, and so, do they not know what is just and right? What need then of judges?" The presiding elder replied: "In this world we are taught what is good and true and what is just and equitable, and we learn this just as in the natural world, learning it, not immediately from God, but mediately through others. Every angel, like every man, thinks truth and does good as of himself; and this good is not pure but mixed, according to the state of the angel. Moreover, among angels there are the simple and the wise; and when, from simplicity and ignorance, the simple are in doubt as to what is just, or when they swerve from it, the wise must give judgment. But since you have newly come into this world, follow me into our city, if that is your pleasure, and we will show you everything."
[5] They then left the auditorium, some of the elders accompanying them. They went first into a large library which was divided into smaller libraries according to the sciences. The three new-comers were amazed at seeing so many books, and said, "Are there also books in this world? Where do the parchment and paper come from? and the pens and ink?"
To this the elders replied: "We perceive that in the former world you thought that this world was empty because spiritual; and that you so thought because the idea you entertained concerning the spiritual world was an idea abstracted from what is material, and to you, what is abstracted from the material appeared as nothing and thus as a vacuum. Yet in this world is a plenitude of all things. Here all things are SUBSTANTIAL not material; and material things derive their origin from things substantial. We who are here are spiritual men because substantial and not material. Hence all things which are found in the natural world are here in their perfection, even books and writings and much else."
When the three new-comers heard them called SUBSTANTIAL, they thought that they were substantial, and this both because they saw the written books and because they heard the statement that matter originated from substances. That they might be still further confirmed, they were taken to the dwellings of scribes who were making copies of the writings of the wise men of the city; and they inspected the writings and admired their neatness and elegance.
[6] After this they were conducted to museums, gymnasiums and colleges, and to places where literary sports were being held. Some of these were called sports of the Heliconians, some sports of the Parnassians, some sports of the Athenians, and some sports of the Virgins of the Fountain. They were told that these latter were so called because virgins signify affections for he sciences, and every one has intelligence according to his affection for the sciences. The so-called sports were spiritual exercises and trials of skill. They were then taken around the city to its rulers and administrators and their subordinate officials; and by the latter they were shown the marvelous productions wrought by artisans in a spiritual manner.
[7] After they had seen all this, the presiding elder, again addressing them on the subject of the eternal rest from labor into which the blessed and happy come after death, said: "Eternal rest is not idleness, for from idleness come languor, torpidity, stupor and drowsiness of the mind and so of the whole body. These are death not life, still less the eternal life in which are the angels of heaven. Eternal rest, therefore, is a rest which dispels them and makes a man live. Such rest can be nothing else than something which elevates the mind, and therefore some study and work whereby the mind is aroused, vivified and delighted, being thus affected according to the use from which, in which, and for which the work is done. Hence it is that the whole of heaven is regarded by the Lord as a containant of uses, and every angel is an angel according to his use. The delight of use carries him along as a favoring current carries a ship, and causes him to be in eternal peace and in the rest that belongs to peace. This is what is meant by eternal rest from labors. That an angel is living, according to the devotion of his mind [to use] from use, is clearly manifest from the fact that every angel has conjugial love, with its virtue, its potency, and its delights, according to his devotion to the genuine use in which he is."
[8] When the three new-comers had been convinced that eternal rest is not idleness but the delight of some work which is of use, there came some virgins with pieces of embroidery and netting, the work of their own hands. These they gave them; and when the novitiates were leaving, these virgins sang an ode wherein, in an angelic melody, they expressed the affection for works of use together with the pleasantness thereof.


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