332. To this shall be added four Memorable Relations. First:
I once heard loud shouts, which seemed to gurgle up from the lower regions through waters, one toward the left, crying, "O how just!" another toward the right, "O how learned!" and a third from behind, "O how wise!" And as the thought came to me, whether even in hell there are just, learned and wise persons, I had a desire to see whether there were or not; and it was said to me from heaven, "You shall see and hear."
And having in spirit left the house I saw before me an opening; and approaching it, and looking down, I saw a ladder by which I descended. And when I was below I saw plains covered with shrubbery intermixed with thorns and nettles; and I asked whether this was hell. They said, "This is the lower earth, which is just above hell." Then following the order of the shouts, I went first toward the cry, "O how just!" and I saw an assembly of those who in the world had been judges, and who had been influenced by friendship and bribes; then toward the second cry, "O how learned!" and I saw an assembly of those who in the world had been reasoners; then toward the third cry, "O how wise!" and I saw an assembly of those who in the world had been conformers.
From these latter I turned to the first, where the judges were who had been influenced by friendship and bribes and who were proclaimed just; and I saw at the side as it were an amphitheater built of brick and roofed with black tiles; and I was told that in that was their Tribunal. On the north side there were three entrances to it and on the west three, but none on the south and east, an indication that their decisions were not decisions of justice, but arbitrary.  In the center of the amphitheater was a fireplace, into which the servants attending the fire were throwing pitch-pine dipped in sulfur and bitumen, the light from which, flickering upon the plastered walls, presented images of birds of evening and night. But this fire-place, and the flickering of the light from it forming such images were representations of their decisions, that they were able to color the facts in any case, and give them an appearance according to their own prepossessions.  Half an hour afterwards I saw old men and young men clad in gowns and cloaks enter, and removing their caps, take seats beside the tables to sit in judgment. And I heard and perceived how skillfully and ingeniously, out of regard for friendship, they turned and twisted their decisions into seeming justice; and this they did to such an extent that they did not see their injustice to be anything but justice, or what is just to be anything but unjust. Such persuasions concerning these matters shone from their faces and were heard in the tones of their voices. There was then granted me enlightenment from heaven, whereby I had a perception of each particular, whether it was in accordance with justice or not; and I saw how industriously they veiled over injustice, and made it look like justice, and selected from the laws that which favored them, to which they bent the matter in question, and by skilful reasonings put all else aside. After their decisions had been given, they were announced without to their clients, friends, and partisans, and these, to return the favor, cried out for a long distance, "O how just! O how just!"
 After this I talked about these with the angels of heaven, and told them some of the things that I had seen and heard. And the angels said, "Such judges seem to others to be gifted with the keenest intellectual vision, when in fact they do not see the least particle of justice or equity. If you take away their friendship for anyone, they sit in judgment like statues, and merely say, 'I grant it; I agree to this, or to that.' This is because all their decisions are prejudiced, and their prejudice with partiality follows the case from beginning to end; consequently they see nothing in it but their friend's interest; at everything opposed to this, they look askance, viewing it with piratical glances, and if they take it up again they involve it in reasonings as spiders entangle their captives in their webs and devour them. Therefore it is that when they do not follow the thread of their prejudice, they see nothing of what is right. They have been examined as to whether they were able to see, and they were found unable. The inhabitants of your world will be astonished at this fact, but tell them that this is a truth that has been investigated by the angels of heaven. Because they see nothing of justice, we in heaven do not think of them as men, but as monstrous images of men, the heads of which are formed of what pertains to friendship, the breasts of what pertains to injustice, the hands and feet of what pertains to confirmation, and the soles of the feet of what pertains to justice; and if this is unfavorable to their friends, they cast it under foot and trample upon it.  But what they are, viewed in themselves, you shall see, for their end is near."
And lo, the ground suddenly gaped, the tables fell one upon another, and the men, together with the whole amphitheater, were swallowed up, cast into caverns, and imprisoned.
I was then asked if I wished to see them there; and behold, they appeared with faces like polished steel; their bodies from the neck to the loins looked like sculptured work clothed with leopard skins, and their feet like serpents. And I saw the law books which had lain upon their tables turned into playing-cards; and now instead of acting as judges they were hired to make cinnabar into paint for besmearing the faces of harlots, and turning them into beauties.
Having seen all this, I wished to visit the other two assemblies, one composed of mere reasoners and the other of mere confirmers. But I was told to wait a while, and angel companions would be given me from a society most nearly above those spirits, and that through them light would be given me from the Lord, and I would see marvelous things.