(TCR) - True Christian Religion: Containing the Whole Theology of the New Church Predicted by the Lord in Daniel 7:13-14 and Revelation 21:1-2

TCR 693

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693. Second Memorable Relation:
Some weeks after this I heard a voice from heaven saying, "There is again a meeting on Parnassium; come, we will show you the way."
I went; and when I came near, I saw one standing on Heliconeum with a trumpet, with which he proclaimed and appointed the meeting. And I saw persons going up as before from the city Athenaeum and its borders, and in their midst three newcomers from the world. These were from among Christians; one a priest, the second a politician, and the third a philosopher. The others entertained them on the way with varied conversation, especially about some ancient wise men whom they named. The new-comers asked if they should see these, and were told that they would, and might be introduced to them if they wished, as they were affable.
They asked about Demosthenes, Diogenes, and Epicurus, and were told, "Demosthenes is not here, but is with Plato; Diogenes with his scholars dwells at the foot of Heliconeum; because he regards worldly things as of no account, and studies heavenly things only; Epicurus dwells on the border toward the west, and does not come among us, because we distinguish between good affections and evil affections, and insist that good affections are one with wisdom, and that evil affections are contrary to wisdom."
[2] When they had ascended the hill Parnassium, some guards there were bringing water from a fountain at the place in crystal cups, and saying, "This is water from the fountain which the ancients in their fables say was broken through by the hoof of the horse Pegasus, and afterward consecrated to the nine Muses." By the winged horse Pegasus they meant the understanding of truth, through which comes wisdom; by his hoofs they meant the experiences through which comes natural intelligence; and by the nine Muses all kinds of knowledges and facts. These things are now called fables, but they were correspondences, from which the earliest peoples spoke.
To the three newcomers their companions said, "Do not be surprised; the guards have been taught to speak in this manner; and drinking water from this fountain means to us being taught about truths, and by means of truths about goods, and thus becoming wise."
[3] They then entered the Palladium, and with them the three new-comers from the world - the priest, the politician, and the philosopher. Then those crowned with laurel who were seated at the tables asked, "What news from earth?"
And they answered, "This is news, that a certain man claims to talk with angels, and to have his sight opened into the spiritual world as fully as into the natural world; and from the spiritual world he reports many new things, among which are the following: That man lives a man after death, as he before lived in the world; that he sees, hears, and talks as he did before in the world; that he is clothed and decorated as formerly in the world; that he hungers and thirsts, eats and drinks, enjoys the delights of marriage, and sleeps and wakes, all as he did before in the world; that there are lands and lakes, mountains and hills, plains and valleys, springs and rivers, gardens and groves there; also palaces and houses, cities and villages, as in the natural world; and again that there are writings and books - different kinds of occupation and business, also precious stones, gold and silver, in a word, that each and every thing that exists on the earth is there, although those in the heavens are infinitely more perfect, with this difference only, that all things in the spiritual world have a spiritual origin, and are therefore spiritual; since they are from the sun there which is pure love; while all things in the natural world have a natural origin, and are therefore natural and material, since they are from the sun there which is pure fire; in other words, man after death is perfectly a man, even more perfectly a man than before in the world; for he was then in a material body, while in this world he is in a spiritual body."
[4] When this had been said, the ancient wise men asked what men on earth thought of these things.
The three replied; "We ourselves know that they are true, because we are here, and have investigated and examined everything; but how men talk and reason about them on earth we will now tell."
Then the priest said, "Those of our order, when they first heard these things, called them visions, and then fictions; afterwards they said that the man saw specters, and finally they hesitated and said, 'Believe him if ye will; we have always taught that man will not exist after death in a body, until the day of the last judgment."
It was then asked, "Are there not some intelligent persons among them, who are able to declare to them and convince them of the truth that man lives a man after death?"
[5] The priest answered, "There are some who declare it, but they fail to convince. Those who declare it say that it is contrary to sound reason to believe that a man does not live a man until the day of the last judgment, and that meanwhile he is a soul without a body. What is the soul, and where, is it meanwhile? Is it a breath, or something like wind, floating in the air, or an entity hidden in the center of the earth? Where is its abode? Are the souls of Adam and Eve and all who have lived since during six thousand years or sixty centuries, still flying about the universe, or are they kept shut up in the center of the earth awaiting the last judgment? What could be more painful and wretched than such a waiting? Might not their lot be compared to that of men bound in chains and fetters in prisons? If such were the lot of man after death, would it not be better to be born an ass than a man? Moreover, is it not contrary to reason to believe that the soul can be reclothed with its body? Is not the body eaten up by worms, mice, and fishes? Can such a new body be put on a skeleton that has been burnt up by the sun, or reduced to dust? How can those cadaverous and putrid things be collected and united again to their souls? But when they listen to such arguments they make no rational reply, but adhere to their faith, saying, 'We make reason obedient to faith.' As to the gathering of all from the graves at the day of the last judgment, they say, 'That is the word of omnipotence.' And when they mention omnipotence and faith, reason is exiled, and I may say that sound reason is annihilated, as it were, or with some is like a specter; and they can even say to sound reason, 'Thou art mad.'"
[6] Having heard this, the wise men of Greece said, "Are not such paradoxes dissipated of themselves as contradictions? And yet today in the world not even sound reason can dissipate them. Can anything more paradoxical be believed than what is asserted of the last judgment, that the universe will then perish, and the stars of heaven fall to the earth, which is smaller than the stars; and that the bodies of men, either corpses or mummies, eaten by others or become dust; will be re-united with their souls? When we were in the world we believed in the immortality of the souls of men from the inductions furnished us by reason; we also designated places for the blessed, which we called the Elysian Fields; and we believed them to be human in form or kind but subtle, because spiritual."
[7] When all this had been said, they turned to the second newcomer, who in the world had been a politician. He confessed that he had not believed in a life after death, and that he had regarded the new reports he had heard about it as fictions and inventions. "Meditating upon that life" he said, "I asked how souls could be bodies. Does not the whole of a man lie dead in the grave? Is not the eye there? How then can he see? Is the ear not there? How can he hear? Where is the mouth for him to talk with? If any sort of man were to live after death must it not be something like a specter? And how can a specter eat and drink and enjoy the delights of marriage? Where do its clothing, house, food, and other things come from? Moreover, specters, which are airy images, seem to be, and yet are not. These and like thoughts I had in the world about the life of men after death. But now, when I have seen everything and touched everything with my hands, I am convinced by the very senses that I am a man as in the world, even so that I am not aware that I live otherwise than as I formerly lived, with the difference that my reason is now more sound. I have often been ashamed of my former thoughts."
[8] The philosopher spoke in a like manner of himself, with this difference, however, that the new things he had heard respecting a life after death, he classed among the opinions and hypotheses which he had collected from both ancients and moderns.
The Sophi were astounded when they heard these things; and those belonging to the Socratic school said that they perceived by this news from earth that the interiors of men's minds were gradually closing up, and that belief in falsity is now shining in the world like truth, and infatuated ingenuity like wisdom, and that the light of wisdom had lowered itself since their times from the interiors of the brain to the mouth beneath the nose, where it appeared to the eye like a brightness of the lips, and consequently the mouth's utterances appear like wisdom.
One of the tyros after hearing this said, "How stupid are the minds of those who now dwell on earth! Would that the disciples of Heraclitus who laugh at all things, and of Democritus who weep at all things, were here, and we should hear both great laughter and great weeping."
After the business of the meeting was finished, they gave to the three newcomers from the earth badges of their authority which were plates of copper on which some hieroglyphics were written. With these they departed.


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