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

ML 264

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264. After this, the earth again opened but on the right; and I saw another devil rising up. On his head was, as it were, a miter twined about with coils as of a serpent, with its head rising up from the top. His face from forehead to chin was leprous, as were also his two hands. His loins were naked and black as soot, and through the blackness was the dusky glow of fire as of a hearth. The ankles of his feet were like two vipers.
Seeing him, the former devil fell upon his knees and adored him. "Why do you do that?" I asked. He answered, "He is the God of heaven and earth and is omnipotent."
I then asked the other, "What do you say to that?" He replied, "What can I say? I have all power over heaven and hell. The lot of all souls is in my hand."
I asked further, "How can one who is the emperor of emperors thus submit himself, and you receive his adoration?" He answered "He is nevertheless my servant. What is an emperor before God? In my right hand is the thunderbolt of excommunication."
[2] I then said: "How can you be so insane? In the world you were only a canon; and because you labored under the fantasy that you also had the keys and hence the power of binding and loosing, you raised your spirit to such a degree of insanity that now you believe you are God himself."
Indignant at this, he swore that he was, and added, "The Lord has no power in heaven because He has transferred it all to us. We need only to command, and heaven and hell reverently obey. If we send any one to hell, the devils immediately receive him; so likewise do the angels him whom we send to heaven."
When asked, "How many are you in your society?" he said, "Three hundred; and there we are all gods, but I am the god of gods."
[3] After this, the earth opened under their feet and each sank down into his hell. It was then granted me to see that under their hells were workhouses into which those sink down who do harm to others; for it is left to every one in hell to remain in his own fantasy and also to boast therein, but he is not allowed to do evil to another. The reason why they are such is because man is then in his spirit, and when separated from the body, the spirit comes into the full liberty of acting according to its affections and the thoughts therefrom.
[4] After this it was granted me to look into their hells. The hell where they were emperors of emperors and kings of kings was full of all manner of uncleanness and they seemed like different kinds of wild beasts with fierce eyes. So likewise in the other hell where were the gods and the god of gods. Here, flying about them, were seen dreadful birds of night which are called ochim and ijim.* Thus did the images of their fantasy appear to me.
From these experiences, the nature of the political love of self, and that of the ecclesiastical love of self became evident, namely, that the nature of the latter is to wish to be gods, and that of the former, to wish to be emperors; and men have this wish and aspiration so far as the reins to these loves are loosed.
* These are two Hebrew words occurring in the Prophets and signifying evil birds of night of some unknown kind.

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