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

ML 500

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500. To the above I will add the following Memorable Relation:
Once, in the world of spirits, I heard a great tumult. It was from thousands of men gathered together and crying out, "Punish them! Punish them!" Going nearer, I asked, "What is the matter?" and one who stood apart from that great gathering told me they were in the burning heat of anger against three priests who were going around everywhere and preaching against adulterers, saying, that adulterers have no acknowledgment of God; that heaven is closed to them and hell opened; that in hell they are unclean devils because at a distance they appear like swine wallowing in dung; and that the angels of heaven abominate them.
To my question, "Where are those priests? and why such shouting on that account?" he replied: "Those three priests are in their midst guarded by attendants; and the gathering consists of men who believe adulteries are not sins, and declare that adulterers have an acknowledgment of God equally as do those who cleave to their wives. They are all from the Christian world, and a visitation has been made by angels to see how many there were who believed adulteries to be sins, and out of a thousand, there were not found a hundred." [2] He further told me: "The nine hundred speak about adulteries in this way: "Who does not know that the delight of adultery is pre-eminent above the delight of marriage? that adulterers are in perpetual heat and thence in alacrity, industry, and an active life above those who live with one woman only? and on the other hand, that with a married partner, love grows cold, and sometimes so cold that at last there is scarcely a single word of speech with her or [any sort] of companionship that is living? Not so with harlots. By whoredoms the deadness of life with a wife arising from a lack of potency is restored and vivified. Is not that which restores and vivifies of more value than that which deadens? What is marriage but legalized whoredom? who knows of any distinction? Can love be forced? Yet love with a wife is forced by covenant and the laws. Is not love with a married partner love of the sex? and so universal is this love that it exists even with birds and beasts. What is conjugial love but love of the sex? and love of the sex is free when [indulged in] with any woman whatsoever. The civil laws are against adulteries because those who laid down the law thought it was for the public good; yet sometimes they themselves as well as the judges commit adultery and say among themselves, He that is without sin, let him cast the first stone. Only the simple and the religious believe adulteries to be sins. Not so the intelligent. They, like us, view them from the lumen of nature. [3] Are not offspring born from adulteries equally as from marriages? Are not bastards just as fit and useful for offices and employments as legitimate children? Moreover, in this way provision is made for families otherwise unfruitful. Is not this a benefit and not an injury? What harm is it to a wife if she admits several rivals? and what harm to her man? As to its being a dishonor to the man, that is a frivolous notion from fantasy; and as to adultery being contrary to the laws and statutes of the Church, this comes from the ecclesiastical order, for the sake of power. But what has the theological and spiritual to do with a delight that is merely corporeal and carnal? Are there not elders and monks who are adulterers? Are they therefore unable to acknowledge and worship God? Why then do these three men preach that adulterers have no acknowledgment of God? We cannot tolerate such blasphemies. Let them therefore be judged and punished.""
[4] After this I saw that they called judges and asked them to sentence the priests to punishment. But the judges said: "This matter does not belong to our province for it concerns the acknowledgment of God and sin and thus salvation and damnation. Judgment concerning these must come from heaven. We will, however, give you counsel as to how you can learn whether these three priests have been preaching truths. There are three places of which we judges know, where such matters are investigated and laid open in a singular manner. ONE is a place where a way to heaven is open to all men; but when they come into heaven, they themselves perceive what their nature is in respect to the acknowledgment of God. The SECOND is a place where also a way opens to heaven, but none can enter that way save he who has heaven within him. The THIRD is a place where a way is open to hell, and those who love infernal things enter upon that way of their own accord, because from delight. We judges remand to those places all who demand of us judgement respecting heaven and hell."
[5] Hearing this, the assembled men said, "Let us go to those places." And as they were going to the first place, where a way into heaven is open to all, it suddenly became dark. Therefore some of them lighted torches and with these they led the way. The accompanying judges told them: "This happens to all who go to the first place; but as they draw near, the fire of the torches grows dim and, in the place itself, it is extinguished by reason of the inflowing light of heaven. This is a sign that they are there. The reason is because heaven is first closed to them and afterwards opened."
Arrived at the place, and the torches having gone out of themselves, they saw a way tending obliquely upwards into heaven, and those who were in the burning heat of anger against the priests entered upon it. The first among them were those who were adulterers from purpose, after whom came those who were adulterers from confirmation. While they were ascending, those in front cried out, "Follow us"' and the followers cried, "Make haste"; and they pressed on.
[6] After a short time, when all were within the heavenly society, then, between them and the angels was seen a gulf. Over the gulf was the light of heaven, and this light, flowing into their eyes, opened the interior regions of their mind from which they were constrained to speak as they were inwardly thinking. They were then questioned by the angels as to whether they acknowledged that there is a God.
The first, who were adulterers from purpose of the will, answered, "What is God?" And they looked at each other and said, "Who among you has seen Him?" The second, who were adulterers from confirmation by the understanding, said, "Are not all things from nature? what is there above her but the sun?"
The angels then said to them: "Depart from us. Now you yourselves perceive that you have no acknowledgment of God. When you descend, the interiors of your mind will be closed and the exteriors opened, and then you can speak contrary to your interiors and say that there is a God. Be sure of this, that as soon as a man becomes an adulterer actually, heaven is closed to him, and when this is closed, God is not acknowledged. Listen to the reason: From adulteries comes all the uncleanness of hell, and this stinks in heaven like the stinking mire of the streets."
Hearing this, they turned around and descended by three ways. When they were below, the first and second groups conversing. among themselves said: "In that place the priests conquered; but we know that we can speak of God just as well as they can, and when we say that He is, do we not acknowledge Him? The interiors and exteriors of the mind of which the angels spoke are inventions. But let us go to the second place designated by the judges, where a way to heaven lies open to those who have heaven within them, that is, to those who are to go to heaven."
[7] When they drew near that heaven, a voice went forth therefrom, "Shut the gates; there are adulterers in the neighborhood." And suddenly the gates were closed and guards with staves in their hands drove them away, and releasing from custody the three priests against whom the tumult had been raised, they introduced them into heaven. Moreover, no sooner were the gates opened for the priests, when out of heaven there breathed upon the rebels the delight of marriage, and being chaste and pure, it almost took away their breath. Therefore, for fear of fainting from suffocation, they hurried away to the third place of which the judges had said that there was a way from there to hell. From that place there then breathed forth the delight of adultery, and those who were adulterers from purpose, and those who were such from confirmation, were so vivified thereby that they went down as though dancing and, like swine, immersed themselves in the unclean things there.


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