159. To this I will add the following Memorable Relations. First:
Once when in company with the angels in heaven, I saw below at some distance a great smoke, and then fire breaking out from it; and I said to the angels talking with me that the smoke seen in the hells, as a few among them knew, arises from falsities confirmed by reasonings, and that the fire is burning anger against those who contradict; and I added, "In this world, as in mine where I live in the body, it is unknown that flame is simply smoke on fire. That such is the fact I have often proved by experiment; for I have seen streaks of smoke rising from wood on the hearth, and when I set fire to them with a brand I have seen them turn to flames, which assumed a shape like that of the smoke; for the separate particles of smoke become little sparks which blaze up together, like gunpowder when it is ignited. So is it with the smoke we see below. This consists of an equal number of falsities; and the fire breaking out like flames is the glow of zeal in behalf of those falsities."
 Then the angels said to me, "Let us ask the Lord for leave to go down and draw towards the smoke, that we may perceive what those falsities are that so smoke and blaze with those there."
This was granted; and lo, there appeared round about us a column of light reaching continuously to the place. And then we saw four crowds of spirits, who were strenuously maintaining that it is God the Father who should be approached and worshiped, because He is invisible, and not His Son born in the world, since He is a man and is visible.
Looking towards the sides I saw on the left some learned men of the clergy, and behind these the unlearned; and on the right the learned of the laity, and behind these the unlearned; while between us and these there was a yawning gulf which was impassable.
 But we turned our eyes and ears to the left, where were the learned of the clergy, and behind them the unlearned, and we heard them reasoning about God in this wise, "From the doctrine of our church respecting God which is the same everywhere in Europe, we know that God the Father ought to be approached, because He is invisible, and at the same time God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, who are also invisible, being co-eternal with the Father; also God the Father, being the Creator of the universe, and therefore in the universe, is present wherever we turn our eyes; and whenever we pray to Him He graciously listens, and after accepting the mediation of the Son He sends the Holy Spirit, who implants in our hearts the glory of His Son's righteousness and bestows blessedness upon us. We who have been made doctors in the church have felt in our breasts, when preaching, the holy operation of that sending, and from the presence of the Spirit in our minds have then breathed forth devotion. We are thus affected because we direct all our senses to the invisible God, who operates not singly upon the sight of our understanding, but universally upon our whole system, mental and corporeal, by the Spirit He sends. Such effects as these would not result from the worship of a visible God, that is, of a God conspicuously before the mind as a man."
 When this was said the unlearned of the clergy who stood behind the others applauded, and added, "Whence comes what is holy but from an invisible and imperceptible Divine? At this, the moment it touches the entrance to our ears, our features expand, and we are gladdened as by the sweetness of a fragrant aura, and we smite upon our breasts. But it is otherwise with a visible and perceptible Divine; when this enters our ears it becomes merely natural, and not Divine. For a like reason the Roman Catholics repeat their masses in Latin, and the host (to which they ascribe Divine mystical properties) they bring out from the recesses of the altar and hold up to sight; whereupon the people fall on their knees as before something most mysterious, and take in breaths of holiness."
 After this we turned to the right, where the learned of the laity stood, and the unlearned behind them; and from the learned we heard the following: "We know that the wisest of the ancients worshiped an invisible God whom they called Jehovah; but after them in the succeeding ages men made for themselves gods out of deceased rulers, among whom were Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Pluto, Apollo, and also Minerva, Diana, Venus, and Themis; and to these they built temples and offered divine worship; and as in time this worship degenerated it gave rise to idolatry, from which at last the whole world became filled with insanity. We therefore agree unanimously with our priests and elders that there were and are three Divine persons from eternity, each one of whom is God; and it is enough for us that they are invisible."
To this the unlearned behind them added, "We agree. Is not God God, and man man? Still we know that if anyone should set before them a God-Man, the common people, who have a sensuous idea about God, would accept it."
 When they had said this their eyes were opened and they saw us near them; but being indignant because we had heard them they became silent. But presently the angels, from a power given them, closed the outer or lower things of their thoughts, from which they had been speaking, and opened the inner or higher things, and compelled them to speak from these about God. And speaking thus they said, "What is God? We have neither seen His shape nor heard His voice. What, then, is God but nature in its firsts and lasts. Nature we have seen, for she beams in our eyes; and we have heard her, for she sounds in our ears."
On hearing this we said to them, "Have you ever seen Socinus, who acknowledged God the Father only; or Arius, who denied the Divinity of the Lord our Savior, or have you seen any of their adherents?" To which they answered, "We have not."
We said, "They are in the deep beneath you." And shortly some of them were summoned from the deep and questioned about God; and they spoke as the others had done; and they added, "What is God? We can make as many gods as we like."
 And then we said, "It is useless to talk with you about the Son of God born in the world; yet we will say this much: Lest faith respecting God and faith in God and from God, which in the first two ages, from no one's having beheld God, had been like a beautifully colored bubble in the air, should for the same reason in the third and following age collapse to nothing, it pleased Jehovah God to descend and assume a Human and thus make Himself visible, and convince men that He is not a mere figment of reason, but the Itself, which was and is and will be, from eternity to eternity; also that God is not a mere word of three letters, but is the All of reality from Alpha to Omega, consequently the life and salvation of all who believe in Him as visible, but not of those who say that they believe in an invisible God. For believing, seeing, and knowing make one. Therefore the Lord said to Philip:
That whosoever sees and knows Him sees and knows the Father; and elsewhere:
That it is the will of the Father that men should believe in the Son and that whosoever believes in the Son has eternal life, while he who does not believe in the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him (John 3:15-16, 36; 14:6-15).
Hearing this many of the four crowds were so enraged that smoke and flame issued from their nostrils; we therefore left them; and the angels, after accompanying me home, ascended to their heaven.