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

ML 5

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5. Saying this, the angel took the lead and was accompanied first by the company of those who had persuaded themselves that heavenly joys consisted solely in cheerful companionship and sweet conversation. These he introduced to assemblies in the northern quarter, consisting of those to whom, in the former world, these were the only joys of heaven. In that quarter was a spacious house in which such persons were gathered together, and in the house were more than fifty rooms, distinguished according to the various kinds of conversation. In some of these rooms, they were talking about things they had seen and heard in the market place and the streets. In some, they were telling pleasant stories concerning the fair sex interspersed with facetious remarks, and these were so multiplied that the countenances of all in the company expanded with hilarious laughter. In other rooms they talked about the news of courts, of ministries, of the body politic, and of various matters which had emanated from secret committees,* together with arguments and conjectures respecting future events. In others, they talked of business; in others, on literary subjects; in others, of such things as pertain to civic prudence and moral life; in others, about ecclesiastical affairs and the sects; and so on. It was granted me to look into this house, and I saw men running about from room to room, seeking out companies in harmony with their affections and so with their joy. In these companies, I observed men of three kinds; some as though panting to speak, some longing to ask questions, and others eager to listen.
[2] The house had four doors, one towards each quarter; and I noticed that many left their companies and were hastening to get out. Some of these I followed to the eastern door, and saw several sitting near it with a sad countenance. Going up to them, I asked them the cause of their sadness. They answered: "The doors of this house are kept closed against those who would go out. It is now the third day since we entered, and we have exhausted the life of our desire in companies and conversations, and are so utterly wearied, with continual chattering that we can scarcely bear to hear the murmur of the sound thereof. Therefore, in weariness we betook ourselves to this door and knocked. But we are answered: "The doors of this house are not opened for those who would go out but only for those who would come in. Remain and enjoy the joys of heaven." From this answer, we conclude that we must remain here to eternity, and therefore sadness has invaded our minds. And now our breast begins to be oppressed and anxiety overtakes us."
[3] The angel then spoke to them and said: "This state is the death of the joys which you believed to be alone heavenly, when yet they are nothing but accessories of heavenly joys." They then asked the angel, "What then is heavenly joy?" and the angel replied briefly: "It is the delight of doing something which is of use to oneself and to others; and the delight of use derives its essence from love, and its existence from wisdom. The delight of use springing from love by means of wisdom is the soul and life of all heavenly joys. [4] In the heavens there are most cheerful companionships, which exhilarate the minds of the angels, are pleasing to their animi,** delight their breasts and recreate their bodies. But they enjoy these delights after they have performed the uses of their employments and occupations. From these uses comes the soul and life in all their joys and pleasures, and if you take away this soul or life, the accessory joys successively become joyless, becoming first indifferent, then like trifles, and finally sad and distressing."
When these words had been spoken, the door was opened, and those sitting by it sprang out and fled to their homes, each to his own employment and his own work; and they received new life.
* The "secret committee" was an important arm of the Swedish government. It was elected from the three Houses--Nobles, Clergy, and Burghers--and its members were sworn to keep secret its transactions.
** Throughout Swedenborg's theological and philosophical works, the word animus (plural, animi) is used to designate the external mind which man has in common with animals, as distinguished from mens designating the rational mind which is peculiar to man. Animus also means the disposition, and is sometimes so translated in the present work.


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