185. To this shall be added the following Memorable Relations. First:
In the spiritual world there are climates and zones just as in the natural world. Nothing exists in this world that does not also exist in that; yet in origin they differ. In the natural world climates vary according to the distance of the sun from the equator; in the spiritual world they vary according to the distances of the will's affections and the consequent thought of the understanding from true love and true faith; for of these latter all things in that world are correspondences.
In the frigid zones of the spiritual world things appear similar to those in the frigid zones of the natural world; lands and waters alike are bound in ice with snow upon them. Those come hither and dwell here who in the world had lulled their understanding to sleep by their indolence in thinking of spiritual things, and who were consequently indolent in doing anything useful. Such are called boreal spirits.
 On one occasion I had a strong desire to see some region of the frigid zone where these boreal spirits dwell. I was therefore conducted in spirit northward to a region where the whole earth appeared to be covered with snow and all the water frozen. It was the Sabbath day; and I saw men, that is, spirits similar in stature to the men of our world, with their heads, owing to the cold, covered with lions' skins, the mouth of the skin fitted to their own; while before and behind and down to the loins their bodies were clad with leopard skins and their feet with bear skin. I also saw many riding in chariots, and some in chariots carved in the form of a dragon with the horns projecting forward. The chariots were drawn by small horses with their tails clipped, which ran like frightful wild creatures, the driver holding tight the reins and continually speeding and whipping them to a run.
At length I saw that the crowds were flocking towards a temple, which was invisible because it was buried in snow; but the caretakers of the temple were shoveling away the snow and digging a path for the coming worshipers, who descended and entered.
 I was permitted to see the inside of the temple. It was lighted with an abundance of lamps and torches. There was an altar of hewn stone, behind which hung a tablet with the inscription, The Divine Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who are essentially one God, but personally three.
At length a priest who stood at the altar, after kneeling thrice before the tablet, went up into the pulpit with a book in his hand and began a discourse on the Divine trinity. "O how great the mystery," he exclaimed, "that God in the highest begot a Son from eternity, and through Him sent forth the Holy Spirit, the three conjoining themselves by their essence but dividing themselves by their properties, which are imputation, redemption, and operation! But if we look upon these things from reason our vision grows obscure, and a spot comes before it such as appears before the eye of one who fixes his gaze upon the naked sun. Therefore, my hearers, in this matter let us keep the understanding under obedience to faith."
 Again he exclaimed, "O how great a mystery is our holy faith, that God the Father imputes the righteousness of His Son and sends the Holy Spirit, who from that imputed righteousness works out the evidences of justification! These in brief are forgiveness of sins, renovation, regeneration, and salvation, of the influx of action of which a man is no more conscious than the statue of salt into which Lot's wife was turned; and of the indwelling or the state of which he is no more conscious than a fish in the sea. But, my friends, in this faith there lies a treasure so enclosed and hidden that not a particle of it can be seen; therefore in this matter also let us keep the understanding under obedience to faith."
 After some deep sighs he again exclaimed, "O how great is the mystery of election! He becomes one of the elect to whom God imputes that faith, which He imparts, at His good pleasure and out of pure grace, to whomsoever He wills and when He wills, and while it is being poured into him man is like a stock, but when this has been done he becomes like a tree. It is true that there are fruits, that is, good works, hanging upon the tree (which in a representative sense is our faith); but the fruit does not cling to it, and therefore the worth of the tree is not in the fruit. Yet as this sounds heterodox, although it is a mystical verity, let us, my brethren, keep the understanding under obedience to faith in it."
 Then again, after a brief pause, standing as if he would produce something further from his memory, he continued, "From the mass of mysteries I will present one more, namely, that in spiritual things man has not a grain of free-will. For the primates and rulers of our order say in their theological canons that in matters pertaining to faith and salvation, which are especially called spiritual, man has no ability to will, think or understand anything, nor even adapt or apply himself to their reception. Therefore of myself I say, that a man is no better able than a parrot or a magpie or a raven to think about these things from reason and talk about them from thought; so that in spiritual things man is in fact an ass, and only in natural things is he a man. But, my friends, lest this should annoy your reason, let us in this as in the others keep the understanding under obedience to faith. For our theology is a bottomless abyss, and if you let your intellectual vision down into it you will be overwhelmed, and will perish as by shipwreck. And yet keep this in mind: we are none the less in the true light of the Gospel, which is shining far above our heads; but sad to say, the hairs of our heads and the bones of our skulls stand in the way and keep the light from penetrating the recesses of our understanding."
 Having said this he came down from the pulpit; and when he had offered a prayer at the altar and the service was over I approached some who were talking together, among whom was the priest; and those standing around him said, "We give you everlasting thanks for a discourse so magnificent and so rich in wisdom."
But I said to them, "Did you understand anything?"
And they answered, "We took in everything with full ears; but why do you ask whether we understand? Is not the understanding benumbed by such matters?"
And to this the priest added, "Forasmuch as you have heard and have not understood you are blessed, for thereby you have salvation."
 Afterwards I talked with the priest and asked him whether he had a degree. He answered, "I am a laureled Master."
I then said, "Master, I have heard you preaching mysteries; if you know of the mysteries but know nothing that they contain, you know nothing; for they are like chests locked with triple bolts; and unless you open them and look inside, which must be done by the understanding, you do not know whether the contents are precious or whether they are worthless, or are hurtful. They may contain vipers' eggs or spiders' webs, according to the description in Isaiah" (59:5).
At this the priest looked at me grimly; and the worshipers withdrew and entered their chariots, drunken with paradoxes, muddled with empty words, and enveloped in darkness respecting all things of faith and the means of salvation.