Scientific discovery of Spiritual Laws given in Rational Scientific Revelations

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Conjugial Love Stories

Edited excerpts from Conjugial Love

CL 1. I anticipate that many who read the following descriptions and the accounts at the ends of the succeeding chapters will believe they are figments of my imagination. I swear in truth, however, that they are not inventions, but actual occurrences to which I was witness. Nor were they witnessed in any condition of unconsciousness but in a state of full wakefulness. For it has pleased the Lord to manifest Himself to me and send me to teach the doctrines that will be doctrines of the New Church, the church meant by the New Jerusalem in the book of Revelation. To this end He has opened the inner faculties of my mind and spirit. As a result, it has been made possible for me to be in the spiritual world with angels and at the same time in the natural world with men, and this now for twenty-five years.*

* This work was originally published in the year 1768.

CL 2. I once saw an angel flying beneath the eastern sky holding a trumpet to his mouth, who sounded towards the north, towards the west, and towards the south. He was wearing a cape which swept backwards as he flew; and he was girded with a sash of garnets and sapphires that seemed ablaze with fire and light.

Flying in horizontal position, facing forward and down, he slowly descended to the tract of ground surrounding me. Landing upright upon his feet, he began to pace back and forth, and then seeing me he headed in my direction. I was in the spirit, and in this state was standing on a hill in the southern zone.

When he drew near, I spoke to him and asked, "What is happening? I heard the sound of your trumpet and saw you descending through the air."

The angel answered, "I have been sent to call together people most renowned for their learning, most discerning in their brilliance, and foremost in their reputation for wisdom, who have come from the kingdoms of the Christian world and are living in this surrounding land. I have been sent to assemble them on this hill where you are standing, to express their honest opinions as to what they had thought, understood and perceived in the world regarding heavenly joy and eternal happiness.

[2] "The reason for my mission is that some newcomers from the world, admitted into our heavenly society in the east, have told us that not even one person in the whole Christian world knows what heavenly joy and eternal happiness are, thus what heaven is. My brothers and companions were very surprised at this, and they said to me, 'Go down, call together and assemble the wisest in the world of spirits (the world into which all mortals are first gathered after they leave the natural world) in order that we may learn from the testimony of many whether it is true that Christians are in such darkness and unenlightened ignorance concerning the life to come.'"

He also added, "Wait here a little, and you will see companies of the wise streaming here. The Lord is going to prepare a hall of assembly for them."

[3] I waited, and behold, after half an hour I saw two bands of people coming from the north, two from the west, and two from the south. As they arrived, they were led by the angel with the trumpet into the hall prepared for them, where they took places assigned to them according to the zones they came from.

They formed six groups or companies. A seventh came from the east, but it was not visible to the others owing to the light.

After they were assembled, the angel explained the reason they had been called together, and he asked the companies to present in turn their wisdom regarding heavenly joy and eternal happiness. Each company then gathered into a circle, its members facing each other, in order to recall the ideas they had acquired on the subject in the previous world, to consider them now, and after conferring to present their conclusion.

CL 3. After conferring, the first company, which came from the north, said that heavenly joy and eternal happiness are the same as the life of heaven. "Consequently," they said, "everyone who enters heaven enters with his life into its festivities, just as one who enters into a wedding celebration enters into its festivities. Is not heaven something we can see above us, thus something that has location?* There and nowhere else exists bliss upon bliss and pleasure upon pleasure. On account of the fullness of joys in that place, a person is introduced into this bliss and pleasure with every perception of his mind and every sensation of his body when he is introduced into heaven. Therefore heavenly happiness, which is also eternal happiness, is simply admission into heaven, and admission by Divine grace."

[2] Following that statement, the second company from the north presented in accordance with its wisdom this conjecture: "Heavenly joy and eternal happiness consist simply in delightful associations with angels and enjoyable conversations with them, which keep the countenance in continual expressions of gladness and the mouths of all in pleasant laughter as a result of charming and witty exchanges. What are heavenly joys but varying interchanges of this sort to eternity?"

[3] The third company, which was the first of the wise from the western zone, expressed in accordance with the thoughts of its members' affections this opinion: "What else is heavenly joy and eternal happiness but dining with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,** at tables that will be set with rich delicacies and fine vintage wines, followed by exhibitions and dances by young men and women performed to the rhythms of stringed and wind instruments, and from time to time the sweet singing of songs? And finally in the evening there will be theatrical performances, and after that more dining. And so on every day to eternity."

[4] After that pronouncement, the fourth company, the second from the western zone, reported its verdict, saying, "We have entertained many ideas with respect to heavenly joy and eternal happiness, but having considered various kinds of joy and compared them with each other, we have come to the conclusion that heavenly joys are like those of a paradise. What else is heaven but a paradise,*** stretching from east to west and from the south to the north, containing fruit trees and delightful flowers, and in their midst the magnificent tree of life, around which the blessed will sit, feeding on fruits of exquisite flavor**** and adorned with garlands of sweet-smelling flowers?

"We conclude, too, that owing to a climate of endless spring, these fruits and flowers are produced again and again daily, with unlimited variety; and that because of their continual production and growth, and at the same time the constantly springlike temperature, minds and hearts cannot help but breathe in and out new joys every day, being forever rejuvenated so as to return to the flower of their youth and through this to the pristine state into which Adam and his wife were created. Thus they are restored to the paradise of old, transferred from earth to heaven."

[5] The fifth company, which was the first of the brilliant from the southern zone, declared the following: "Heavenly joys and eternal happiness are nothing else but positions of great power, possessions of great riches, and so superregal magnificence and superglorious splendor. We have discerned that the joys of heaven and the continual enjoyment of them (which is eternal happiness) consist in such things from observing people in the previous world who there possessed them. Furthermore, we know that the happy in heaven will reign with the Lord and will be kings and princes, because they are the sons of Him who is King of kings and Lord of lords.***** Also that they will sit upon thrones, and that the angels will minister to them.******

"As for the magnificence of heaven, we have discerned this from the account of the New Jerusalem, by which the glory of heaven is described, that it will have gates, each one of which will be one pearl, and streets of pure gold, and a wall founded upon precious stones.******* From this we conclude that everyone received into heaven has his own palace of gold, resplendent with precious things, and that the right of dominion will pass from one to another in turn. And because we know that joys are intrinsic to such things and happiness inherent in them, and that the promises of God are unbreakable, we have been unable to trace the origin of the most happy state of heavenly life from any other source."

[6] After this, the sixth company, the second from the southern zone, raised its voice and said, "The joy of heaven and eternal happiness there consist solely in a continual glorifying of God, a religious celebration lasting to eternity, and blessed worship with singing and exultation, resulting in constant elevation of the heart to God, with full confidence in His acceptance of prayers and praises offered in gratitude for His Divine munificence in rendering the worshipers blessed."

Some members of the company added that this celebration would be accompanied by magnificent lighting and sweet-smelling incense, with solemn processions led by a high priest carrying a great trumpet, followed by prelates and other clergy, great and small, and behind them men with palm branches and women with golden images in their hands.

CL 4. The seventh company, invisible to the rest on account of the light, was from the east part of heaven. Its members were angels from the same society that the angel with the trumpet came from. When they heard in their heaven that not even one person in the Christian world knows what the joy of heaven and eternal happiness are, they said to each other, "This cannot be true! Such great darkness and numbness of mind is not possible among Christians. Let us go down, too, and hear for ourselves whether it is so. If it is, it is without doubt an astonishing event."

[2] These angels now said to the angel with the trumpet, "As you know, everyone who has longed for heaven and has had some particular opinion about the joys there, after death is introduced into the joys of his imagination. Then when he has experienced what those joys are like and found that they reflect empty theories or his own irrational fantasies, he is afterwards taken out of them and instructed. This happens with most in the world of spirits who in their former life thought about heaven and came to some conclusion respecting joys there to the point of longing for them."

Hearing this, the angel with the trumpet said to the six companies assembled from the wise of the Christian world, "Follow me and I will introduce you to your joys and so into heaven."

CL 5. So saying, the angel led the way, accompanied first by the company of those who had persuaded themselves that heavenly joys consisted simply in delightful associations and enjoyable conversations. The angel introduced them to gatherings in the northern zone, comprised of people who in the former world had had the same idea of the joys of heaven. There was a huge house there, into which people like this were brought together. The house had more than fifty rooms, each devoted to a different topic of conversation.

In some of the rooms they were talking about things they had seen or heard in the public square and in the streets. In others they were saying various amiable things about the fair sex, interspersed with witty exchanges that kept increasing until the faces of all in the gathering expanded into merry laughter. In other rooms they were discussing news relating to the royal courts, their ministries, the political condition, and various matters emanating from the privy councils, with arguments and conjectures regarding the outcomes. In other rooms the subject was business. In others, scholarly matters. In others, concerns having to do with citizenship and moral living. In others, affairs having to do with the church and religious denominations. And so on.

It was granted me to look into the house, and I saw people running from room to room, looking for gatherings with their same affection and so in harmony with their joy. In the gatherings I also saw three kinds of people: some practically panting to speak, some anxious to ask questions, and some eager to listen.

[2] The house had four doors, one toward each of the four points of the compass, and I noticed that many were leaving their gatherings and hurrying to get out. Following several of these to the east door, I saw a number of them sitting beside it with downcast faces. I went over to them and asked why they were sitting there so sadly.

They answered, "The doors of this house are kept closed to anyone trying to leave. It is now the third day since we arrived, and having lived the life we longed for in socializing and conversation, we have grown tired of the constant talk, to the point that we can hardly bear to hear the murmur of sounds coming from it. So, out of weariness and boredom we made our way to this door and knocked. But we received the reply that the doors of this house are not opened for people wishing to leave, only for those wanting to enter. 'Stay and enjoy the joys of heaven!' we were told. From this response we concluded that we are to remain here to eternity. Our minds were filled with dejection at this, and now we are becoming oppressed at heart and taken with anxiety."

[3] The angel then spoke to them and said, "This state is the state in which your joys die, joys you believed to be the only heavenly joys, when in fact they are merely subsidiary adjuncts to heavenly joys."

So they asked the angel, "What, then, is heavenly joy?"

The angel answered, briefly, "It is the pleasure of doing something that is of use to oneself and to others, and the pleasure in being useful takes its essence from love and its expression from wisdom. The pleasure in being useful, springing from love through wisdom, is the life and soul of all heavenly joys.

[4] "Angels in heaven enjoy delightful associations which stimulate their minds, gladden their spirits, gratify their hearts, and recreate their bodies. But they enjoy these associations after they have performed useful services in their occupations and employments. The life and soul in all their delights and pleasures comes from the useful services they perform. If you take away that life or soul, however, the subsidiary joys gradually become no longer joys, but first matters of indifference, then stupid, and finally dreary and distressing."

With these words the door was opened, and the people sitting there leapt up and fled away home, each one to his occupation and employment, and so they were revitalized.

CL 6. After this the angel spoke to the ones who had instilled in themselves the idea that the joys of heaven and eternal happiness would be dinners with Abram, Isaac and Jacob,* followed by exhibitions and shows and more dining, and so on to eternity. And the angel said to them, "Follow me and I will introduce you to the felicities of your joys." He then led them through a grove of trees to a level clearing overlaid with wooden boards on which stood tables, fifteen on one side and fifteen on the other.

And they asked, "Why so many tables?"

The angel answered that the first table was Abram's, the second Isaac's, the third Jacob's, and the tables after these, in order, the tables of the twelve apostles. "And on the other side," he said, "are again as many tables belonging to their wives. The first three are the tables of Sarah, Abram's wife, of Rebekah, Isaac's wife, and of Leah and Rachel, the wives of Jacob. The remaining twelve are the tables of the wives of the twelve apostles."

[2] After some delay the tables all appeared filled with plates of food, with the spaces between them decorated with little pyramidal vessels containing condiments. Dinner guests were standing around the tables awaiting the appearance of the hosts of the tables. Following a short wait, the hosts appeared, entering in order of procession from Abram to the last of the apostles. And presently, going over to their tables, they each took a place on the couch at the head of the table. Then they said to the people standing about, "Recline here with us also." And the men reclined with the patriarchs and the women with the patriarchs' wives, and they ate and they drank in gladness and with veneration.

After the meal the patriarchs departed, and then the exhibitions began - the dances of young men and women, and afterwards shows.

When these came to an end, the guests were again invited to dine, but with the stipulation that those who on the first day ate with Abram, on the second would dine with Isaac, on the third with Jacob, on the fourth with Peter, on the fifth with James, on the sixth with John, on the seventh with Paul, and so on with the rest in order until the fifteenth day, whereupon they would change seats and begin the dinner parties again in the same sequence, and so on to eternity.

[3] At this point the angel called together the men of the company and said to them, "All these people that you saw at the tables had the same imaginary idea of the joys of heaven and consequent eternal happiness that you did. So in order that they may see the foolishness of their ideas and be weaned from them, dinner scenes like this have been instituted and have been permitted by the Lord. The leaders you saw at the heads of the tables were actors playing old men, most of them from a backward people, who let their beards grow and developed a haughtiness over the rest on account of their possessing a certain wealth. A fantasy has been produced them that they are those patriarchs.

"But follow me to the paths leading out of this arena."

[4] So they followed, and they saw fifty people here and fifty there, people who had stuffed their bellies with food to the point of nausea, and who longed to return to the familiar settings of their homes, some to their professional duties, some to their businesses, and some to their employments. But the guards of the grove detained many of them and interrogated them about the days of their dining, as to whether they had eaten yet at the tables of Peter and Paul, telling them that if they were leaving before doing so, it would be to their disgrace, because it was impolite.

But most of them answered, "We have had enough of our joys. The food has become tasteless to us and our ability to taste has run dry. Our stomachs are sick of food. We cannot bear to taste it. Having dragged out several days and nights in this dissipation, we earnestly beg to be released."

And being released, with panting breath and hurried step they fled away home.

[5] Afterwards the angel called the men of the company and on the way explained to them the following things about heaven:

"In heaven they have food and drink just as in the world, also dinner parties and festive meals. And in the homes of the leading citizens there they have tables set with rich, choice and exquisite foods, which enliven and refresh their spirits. They also have exhibitions and shows, and instrumental and vocal musical performances, all in the highest perfection. Such things, too, they regard as joys, but not as happiness. Happiness must be in the joys in order to come from the joys. Happiness in the joys causes the joys to be joys. It enriches them and sustains them so that they do not become common and loathsome. This happiness everyone has from being useful in his occupation.

[6] "Latent in the affection of every angel's will is a certain inner tendency which draws the mind to accomplish something. By accomplishment the mind finds peace and satisfaction. This satisfaction and peace produce a state of mind receptive of a love of useful service from the Lord. From the reception of this love comes heavenly happiness, which is the life in the joys just referred to.

"Heavenly food in its essence is nothing else than love, wisdom and useful service combined, that is, useful service accomplished through wisdom out of love. Consequently in heaven everyone is given food for the body in accordance with the useful service he performs - magnificent food in the case of those engaged in outstanding service, modest food but of excellent flavor and taste in the case of those in an intermediate degree of useful service, and humble food in the case of those in humble service, while the lazy receive none."

* Cf. Matthew 8:11.

CL 7. After that the angel called to himself the company of the so-called wise who had placed heavenly joys, and because of them eternal happiness, in positions of great power, possessions of great riches, and so superregal magnificence and superglorious splendor, because it says in the Word that they will be kings and princes,* that they will reign with Christ to eternity,** and that the angels will minister to them,*** among other things.

The angel said to them, "Follow me and I will introduce you to your joys." And he led them to a gallery constructed out of columns and pyramidal piers. In front of it was a humble palace, through which the entrance to the gallery opened. The angel led them through the palace, and behold, they saw people waiting, twenty here and twenty there. Then suddenly an actor appeared, playing the part of an angel, who said to them, "The way to heaven lies through this gallery. Wait here a little while and prepare yourselves, because the older ones among you are going to become kings and the younger princes."

[2] At these words a throne appeared next to each column, with a silk robe upon the throne, and upon the robe a scepter and crown. And next to each pier appeared a chair of state raised three cubits**** from the ground, with a chain made of links of gold upon the chair and sashes of knighthood fastened at the ends with circlets of diamonds. Then the proclamation rang out, "Go now, dress yourselves, take your seats, and wait!"

And instantly the older ones ran to the thrones and the younger ones to the chairs of state, and they dressed themselves and took their seats.

But then a kind of mist appeared rising from below, which the people sitting upon the thrones and chairs of state breathed in, and because of it their faces began to swell and their chests to rise, and they became filled with confidence that they were now kings and princes. The mist was an aura of fantasy, with which they were infused.

And suddenly young men flew to their sides, as though from heaven, and they stood two behind each throne and one behind each chair of state, to serve in attendance on them. Then from time to time some herald would cry out, "You kings and princes, wait a little while longer. Your courts are now being prepared in heaven. Your courtiers will arrive presently with attendants to conduct you."

They waited and waited, until their spirits were panting and they grew weary with longing.

[3] After three hours heaven opened above their heads and angels looked down, and taking pity on them the angels said, "Why are you sitting there so foolishly and behaving like play-actors? They are playing games with you and have turned you from men into idols, because you have instilled in your hearts that you will reign with Christ as kings and princes and that angels will then minister to you. Have you forgotten the Lord's words, that in heaven whoever desires to be great becomes a servant?*****

"Learn therefore what is meant by kings and princes and by reigning with Christ. It means to be wise and perform useful services. For the kingdom of Christ, namely, heaven, is a kingdom of useful services. The reason is that the Lord loves all people and so wills good to all, and good means useful service. Now because the Lord performs good or useful services indirectly through angels, and in the world through people, therefore to those who faithfully perform useful services He gives a love of being useful and its reward. The reward is internal blessedness, and this blessedness is eternal happiness.

[4] "Positions of great power and possessions of great riches exist in heaven as well as on earth, for they have governments and forms of government in heaven and so also greater and lesser positions of power and rank. Moreover, people who are in the highest positions have palaces and courts which surpass in magnificence and splendor the palaces and courts of emperors and kings on earth. And because of the number of their courtiers, ministers and attendants and the magnificent vestments in which these are appareled, they are surrounded with honor and glory.

"Yet the people in the highest positions are chosen from those whose heart is in the public welfare, and only their bodily senses in the grandeur of magnificence for the sake of being obeyed. And because it contributes to the public welfare for everyone to be of some useful service in society, as in a common body, and because all useful service comes from the Lord and is rendered through angels and men as though from them, it is evident that this is what it is to reign with the Lord."

When they heard these words from heaven, the people playing at being kings and princes descended from their thrones and chairs of state and threw away their scepters, crowns and robes. And the mist which contained the aura of fantasy receded from them, and a bright cloud enveloped them, which contained an aura of wisdom. So sanity returned to their minds.

CL 8. After this the angel returned to the house where the wise from the Christian world were assembled, and he called to him those who had instilled in themselves the belief that the joys of heaven and eternal happiness were the delights of a paradise.

He said to them, "Follow me and I will introduce you to paradise, your heaven, so that you may start on the blessings of your eternal happiness." And he led them through a high gateway constructed out of the interwoven branches and boughs of stately trees. Beyond the entrance he led them around through winding paths from place to place.

It was, in fact, an actual paradise at the first entrance to heaven, to which people are admitted who in the world had believed that the whole of heaven is a single paradise, because it is called Paradise,* and who had fixed in themselves the idea that after death they would find complete rest from their labors, rest that would consist solely in breathing in delightful essences, walking on rose petals, enjoying the delicate juices of grapes, and partaking of liquid refreshments at festive parties, a way of life they believed possible only in a heavenly paradise.

[2] Led by the angel they saw an immense number of people - of men, old and young, and boys, and also women and girls. Some of them were sitting by beds of roses, in groups of three and groups of ten, weaving garlands with which to adorn the heads of the older men, the arms of the youths, and - as though with sashes - the breasts of the boys. Other groups were picking fruits from the trees and carrying them in baskets to their companions. Others were pressing the juice from grapes, cherries and berries into cups and good-naturedly drinking. Others were breathing in and smelling the wafting aromas given off by the flowers, fruits and fragrant leaves. Others were singing sweet songs with which they delighted the ears of those present. Others were sitting at fountains and spraying the jets of water into various patterns. Others were walking, talking and exchanging pleasantries. Others were running, playing, and dancing, sometimes in sets, and sometimes in circles. Others were going into garden houses to lie down on the couches. And so on with other pleasures suitable to a paradise.

[3] After they had viewed these scenes, the angel led his companions along by-paths here and there, and finally to some people sitting in a beautiful rose garden surrounded by olive trees, orange trees, and citrons. Rocking back and forth, they sat with their cheeks in their hands, grieving and weeping. The companions of the angel spoke to them and said, "Why are you sitting here like this?"

And they replied, "It is now the seventh day since we came into this paradise. When we arrived it seemed as though our minds had been raised into heaven and admitted into the inmost blessings of its joys. But after three days these blessings began to grow dull and vanish in our minds, becoming no longer perceptible and so no longer blessings. And when our imagined joys thus died, we became afraid of losing all delight in our lives, and we started to doubt whether there is any eternal happiness.

"Moreover, we then wandered about through the paths and areas to look for the gate through which we entered. But we went around and around in circles. When we asked the people we met, some of them said the gate is never found, because this garden paradise is an immense maze, of the sort that if anyone tries to leave, he goes in deeper. 'Consequently you have no choice but to remain here to eternity,' we were told. 'You are at the center of the paradise, where all its delights are at their focus.'"

And they said further to the companions of the angel, "We have been sitting here now for a day and a half. And because we have lost hope of finding the way out, we have set ourselves down by this rose garden, and we look about us at the abundance of olive trees, grapes, oranges, and citrons. But the more we look at them, the wearier our eyes grow of seeing them, our noses of smelling them, and our mouths of tasting them. This is the reason for the sorrow, grief and tears in which you see us."

[4] On hearing this, the angel with the company said to them, "This maze or paradise actually is an entrance into heaven. I know the way out and will take you."

At that, the people sitting there got up and embraced the angel, and went with him along with his company. And on the way the angel explained to them what heavenly joy and so eternal happiness are, saying that they are not the outward delights of a paradise unless they include at the same time the inward delights of a paradise.

"The outward delights of a paradise," he said, "are only delights of the physical senses, while the inward delights of a paradise are delights of the affections of the soul. Unless the inward delights are in the outward, there is no heavenly life, because the soul is not in them, and every delight without its corresponding soul at once grows weak and dull, wearying the mind more than labor. Garden paradises exist everywhere in the heavens, and they are also sources of joy to the angels, but the joys are joys to the angels to the degree that a delight of the soul is in them."

[5] When they heard this, they all asked, "What is a delight of the soul, and where does it come from?"

The angel answered, "Delight of the soul comes from love and wisdom from the Lord. And because love is creative of effects, and is effective through wisdom, therefore the abode of both love and wisdom is in the effect, and the effect is useful service. This delight flows from the Lord into the soul, and it descends through the higher and lower regions of the mind into all the senses of the body and fulfills itself in them. Joy becomes joy from this, and it becomes eternal from Him who is its eternal source.

"You have seen what paradise holds, but I assure you that there is not one thing there, not even a tiny leaf, that does not originate from a marriage of love and wisdom in useful service. Consequently if a person is in this marriage, he is in a heavenly paradise, thus in heaven."

CL 9. After that the angel guide returned to the hall, to the ones who had firmly persuaded themselves that heavenly joy and eternal happiness are a continual glorifying of God and a religious celebration lasting to eternity, because in the world they had believed that then they would see God, and because the life of heaven is called a perpetual Sabbath on account of its worship of God.

To them the angel said, "Follow me and I will introduce you to your joy." And he led them to a small city, in the middle of which was a temple, and all the houses were called sacred halls.

In that city they saw a flood of people from every corner of the surrounding land, and among them a number of priests. The priests met and greeted the people as they arrived and, taking them by the hand, led them to the doors of the temple and from there to some of the buildings around the temple. Then they introduced them into a never-ending worship of God, saying that this city was a forecourt to heaven, and that the temple of the city was an introduction to the magnificent and grand temple existing in heaven, where God is glorified by the angels with prayers and praises to eternity.

"The rules," they said, "both here and there, are that people must first enter the temple and stay there three days and three nights. Then after that initiation they must go into the houses of the city (all of them sacred halls that we have sanctified), and passing from building to building, in communion with the congregations there they must pray, cry out, and deliver sermons.

"Above all," they said, "be careful that you do not think to yourselves or say to your companions anything that is not reverent, pious and religious."

[2] Afterwards the angel led his company into the temple. It was packed full of people, many of whom had been in high position in the world, and also many who had been of the common people. Moreover, guards had been stationed at the doors to prevent anyone from leaving before his three days were up.

Then the angel said, "Today is the second day since these people came in. Look at them and you will see their glorifying of God."

So they looked, and they saw most of the people sleeping, and the ones who were awake kept yawning and yawning. Furthermore, because of the continual elevation of their thoughts to God without returning again back down into the body, some of them appeared to have faces separated from their bodies, for that is how they seemed to themselves, and so that is how they appeared to others as well. Some looked wild-eyed from constantly averting their gaze.

In short, they all looked oppressed at heart and weary in spirit with boredom, and turning away from the pulpit they began crying, "Our ears are growing numb! Put an end to your sermons! No one is listening to a word any more, and the very sound is becoming detestable."

And then they got up and rushed en masse to the doors, broke them open, and pressing upon the guards drove them away.

[3] Seeing this, the priests followed them and attached themselves to their sides, preaching and teaching, praying, sighing, and saying, "Join in the religious celebration! Glorify God! Sanctify yourselves! In this forecourt of heaven we will prepare you for the eternal glorifying of God in the magnificent and grand temple which is in heaven, that you may enter the enjoyment of eternal happiness."

But the people did not understand and scarcely even heard what the priests were saying, owing to their numbness from having their minds suspended for two days and from being withheld from their domestic and occupational concerns.

When they tried to pull away from the priests, however, the priests took hold of their arms and also their garments, urging them to the halls where the sermons were to be delivered. But in vain. And the people began crying out, "Leave us alone. Our bodies feel as though we are about to faint!"

[4] At these words, behold, four men appeared in bright white clothing and wearing miters. One of them had been an archbishop in the world, and the other three, bishops. Now they had become angels.

They called together the priests and addressing them said, "From heaven we have seen you with your flock and how you feed them. You feed them to insanity! You do not know what is meant by glorifying God. It means to bring forth the fruits of love, that is, to perform the work of one's occupation faithfully, honestly, and diligently. For this is the effect of love of God and love of the neighbor, and it is what binds society together and makes its goodness. It is by this that God is glorified, and afterwards by worship at prescribed times. Have you not read these words of the Lord:

By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and become My disciples. (John 15:8)

[5] "You priests can go on glorifying in worship because it is your profession, and from it you have honor, glory and remuneration. But even you could not go on glorifying like that any more than they if honor, glory and remuneration did not come with your office."

So saying, the bishops ordered the keepers of the doors to let everyone pass in and out. "For," they said, "there is a host of people who have been unable to imagine any other heavenly joy than everlasting worship of God, because they have known nothing about the state of heaven."

CL 10. After this the angel returned with his companions to the place of assembly, which the companies of the wise had not yet left, and there he called to him the ones who believed that heavenly joy and eternal happiness are simply admission into heaven, and admission by Divine grace, thinking that then they would have joy, as people do in the world who are admitted into the courts of kings on days of celebration or who are admitted by invitation to the celebration of a wedding.

To them the angel said, "Wait here a while, and I will sound my trumpet, and some distinguished people will come to this hall who are renowned for their wisdom in spiritual matters connected with the church."

Several hours later nine men appeared, each wreathed with laurel as a mark of his reputation. The angel led them into the hall of assembly, where all those previously called together were waiting.

Addressing the nine laureates in their presence, the angel said, "I know that in answer to your prayer in accordance with your belief, it was granted you to ascend into heaven, and that you have returned to this lower or subcelestial land with full knowledge regarding the state of heaven. Tell us, therefore, what heaven seemed like to you."

[2] Then they replied in turn, and the first of them said, "From earliest childhood to the end of my life in the world my idea of heaven had been that it was a place of all blessings, felicities, delights, gratifications, and pleasures. And I thought that if I should be allowed in, I would be surrounded with an atmosphere of enjoyments of this sort and would drink them in with full breast, like a bridegroom when he celebrates his wedding and enters the marriage chamber with his bride.

"With this idea I ascended into heaven, and I passed the first sentries and also the second, but when I came to the third, the captain of the guard spoke to me and said, 'Who are you, friend?'

"So I replied, 'Is this heaven? I have longed and prayed for it and therefore I have come up here. Please let me in.' And he let me in.

"And I saw angels in white garments. And surrounding me and looking me over, and they began to murmur, 'Look, a new visitor not dressed in a garment of heaven.'

"Hearing this, I thought to myself, 'It appears I am in a similar situation as the one who the Lord says went to a wedding without a wedding garment.'* So I said, 'Give me such garments.'

"But they laughed. And then one of them came running from the court with the order, 'Strip him naked, throw him out, and throw his clothes out after him.'** And so I was thrown out."

[3] The second of the laureates in turn said, "I believed as he did, that if I should only be let into heaven (heaven being above my head), I would be surrounded with joys and breathe them in to eternity. I, too, got my wish. But when the angels saw me, they fled away, and they said to each other, 'What monstrosity is this? How did this bird of the night get here?'

"And I actually felt a change in myself from being human, even though I was not changed. It was an effect I experienced from breathing in the heavenly atmosphere.

"But presently one of them came running from the court with an order for two servants to lead me away and take me back by the way I had ascended till I reached my home. And once I was home I appeared to myself and others as a human being."

[4] The third laureate said, "I constantly thought of heaven in terms of a place and not in terms of love. Therefore when I arrived in this world, I longed for heaven with a great longing. And seeing others ascending, I followed them and was let in, though no more than a few paces.

"But when I went to enjoy myself in accordance with my idea of the joys and blessings there, the light of heaven (which was as white as snow and whose essence is said to be wisdom) caused a numbness to seize my mind and then darkness my eyes, and I began to lose my reason. And shortly the heat of heaven (which matched in intensity the brightness of its light and whose essence is said to be love) caused my heart to pound, and I was seized with anxiety, and being tormented by an inward pain, I threw myself flat on my back on the ground.

"Then as I lay there, an attendant came from the court with an order for them to carry me down slowly into my own light and heat, on reaching which, my spirit and my heart were restored to me."

[5] The fourth laureate said that he, too, had thought of heaven in terms of a place and not in terms of love. "And as soon as I arrived in the spiritual world," he said, "I asked the wise whether I might be allowed to ascend into heaven. They told me that everyone is allowed to, but people should beware of being cast down.

"I laughed at this and ascended, believing as others do that all in the entire world are capable of receiving the joys there in their fullness.

"But in fact, once I was in, I almost died, and from pain and then torment in head and body, I flung myself to the ground, and writhing like a snake held next to a fire, I wriggled along to a precipice and threw myself over the edge.

"Afterwards I was taken up by some bystanders below and carried to an inn, where I was restored to health."

[6] The five remaining laureates also told surprising tales about their attempts to ascend into heaven. And they likened the changes they experienced in the state of their lives to the state of fish lifted out of the water into the air, and to the state of birds in outer space.

They said further that after those harsh experiences they no longer yearned for heaven, but only for a life shared in common with people like themselves, wherever they may be. Moreover, they know that in the world of spirits, "where we are now," they said, all are first prepared, the good for heaven and the evil for hell, and that when they have been prepared, they see paths opened to them leading to societies of people like themselves, with whom they will remain to eternity; and that they then enter upon these paths with delight, because they lead in the direction of their love.

Hearing these accounts, the people who had been called together originally all confessed as well that the only idea they, too, had had of heaven was an idea of some place, where with open mouth they would drink their fill of the surrounding joys to eternity.

[7] Afterwards the angel with the trumpet said to them, "You see now that the joys of heaven and eternal happiness do not have to do with location, but with the state of a person's life. The state of heavenly life comes from love and wisdom. And because useful service is the containing vessel of both love and wisdom, the state of heavenly life comes from a combination of these two in useful service.

"It is the same if we use the terms charity, faith, and good work, since charity is love, faith is truth that results in wisdom, and good work is useful service.

"Furthermore, in our spiritual world we have locations just as in the natural world. Otherwise we would not have dwellings and separate places to stay. Still a location there is not a place, but it is an appearance of place according to some state of love and wisdom or of charity and faith.

[8] "Everyone who becomes an angel carries his own heaven within him, because he carries the love that belongs to his heaven. For man from creation is a little effigy, image and replica of the larger heaven. The human form is nothing else. Therefore everyone comes into a society of heaven of which he is a form in individual effigy. Consequently when he comes into that society, he enters into a form corresponding to himself, thus passing as if out of himself into that larger self, and entering as if from that larger self into the same self within him, so that he draws its life as his own, and his own life as life belonging to it.

"Every society is like a whole unit, and the angels in it like similar parts out of which the whole is formed.

"From this it now follows that people who are caught up in evils and their resulting falsities have formed in themselves an effigy of hell, and this effigy suffers torment in heaven as a result of the activity flowing in and the violent action of opposite upon opposite. For hellish love is opposed to heavenly love, and consequently the delights of the two loves clash with each other like enemies and destroy each other when they meet."

CL 11. Following these events, a voice was heard out of heaven saying to the angel with the trumpet, "Choose ten of all the people assembled and bring them to us. We have heard from the Lord that He will prepare them so that the heat and light, or love and wisdom, of our heaven will not do them any harm for three days."

So the angel chose ten, and they followed him. And they ascended by a steep path to a certain hilltop, and from there to a mountaintop, on which those angels had their heaven, which before had appeared to them in the distance like an expanse in the clouds. The gates were also opened for them, and after they passed the third of these, the angel guide hurried to the prince of that society or heaven and reported their arrival.

And the prince replied, "Take some of my attendants and report to the visitors that I welcome their arrival, and bring them to my outer hall and assign each of them his apartment with his bedroom. Take some of my courtiers and servants, too, to wait on them and serve them at their bidding."

And so it was done.

However, when the angel brought them to the outer hall, they asked whether they might go and see the prince, and the angel answered, "It is now morning and visits are not allowed before noon. Till then they are all engaged in their official duties and employments. But you are invited to the midday luncheon, and then you will sit down to dine with our prince. Meanwhile, I will take you into the palace, where you will see magnificent and splendid things."

CL 12. As they were being taken to the palace, they first viewed it from the outside. It was large, built out of porphyry, with a foundation of jasper, and in front of the entrance there were six tall columns of lapis lazuli. Its roof was covered with sheets of gold. Its high windows were made of the clearest crystal, and their frames were also of gold.

After this they were ushered into the palace and taken around from room to room, and they saw ornaments of indescribable beauty, with carvings beyond imitation decorating the ceilings. Positioned along the walls they saw tables of silver mixed with gold, and on them various utensils made of precious stones and of whole gems in heavenly forms. They also saw many other things which no eye on earth had ever seen, and consequently no one could ever have persuaded himself to believe that such things exist in heaven.

[2] As they stood in amazement at these magnificent sights, the angel said, "Do not marvel. The wonders you see were not made or crafted by the hand of any angel, but were fashioned by the Maker of the Universe and given as a gift to our prince. Therefore architectural art exists here in its quintessential form, and from it come all the rules of the same art in the world."

The angel said further, "You may suppose that wonders like these enchant our eyes and captivate them to the point that we believe them to be the joys of our heaven. But since our hearts do not lie in them, they are only subsidiary adjuncts to the joys of our hearts. As a result, to the extent that we view them as subsidiary adjuncts, and as works of God, to that extent we view in them the Divine omnipotence and benevolence."

CL 13. After that the angel said to them, "It is not yet noon. Come with me to our prince's garden, adjacent to this palace."

So they went, and at the entrance he said, "Look, the most magnificent garden in this heavenly society!"

But they replied, "What do you mean? This is not a garden. We see only one tree, with what appear to be fruits of gold on its branches and at the top, and what seem to be leaves of silver, whose edges are adorned with emeralds. And under the tree we see children with their nursemaids."

At this the angel said with inspired voice, "This tree is in the middle of the garden. We call it the tree of our heaven, and some call it the tree of life. But go, get closer, and your eyes will be opened and you will see the garden."

So they did so. And their eyes were opened, and they saw trees loaded with flavorful fruits and covered with leafy vines, the tops of which swayed with their fruits towards the tree of life in the center.

[2] These trees had been planted in a continuous series which went out and around in perpetual circles or rings, in a seemingly endless spiral. It was a perfect spiral of trees, with one species following another in unbroken succession in the order of the excellence of their fruits. The beginning of the spiral started at a considerable distance from the tree in the middle, and the intervening space was lit up by a sparkling stream of light, which caused the trees in the spiral to shine with a successive and continued radiance from the first to the last of them.

The first trees were the most excellent of them all, abounding with rich fruits, and called trees of paradise, which the visitors had never seen because these trees do not and cannot exist in the lands of the natural world. After them came trees whose fruits are used in the production of oil. Next, trees whose fruits are used in making wine. Then trees marked by their fragrance. And finally timber trees whose wood is used in construction.

Here and there in this spiral or circular course of trees were places to sit, formed by the trained and interwoven branches of the trees behind them, and loaded and adorned with their fruits. This unending circle of trees had openings which led out into flower gardens, and from these to lawns, divided into areas and beds.

[3] Seeing all this, the companions of the angel exclaimed, "Look, a model of heaven! Wherever we turn the gaze of our eyes, some sight of a heavenly paradise comes flooding in that is beyond description!"

On hearing this the angel rejoiced and said, "All the gardens of our heaven are, in their origin, representative forms or images of heavenly blessings. And because your minds were elevated by the flowing in of these blessings, you cried out, 'Look, a model of heaven!' But people who do not receive that influx see these sights of paradise simply as woodsy scenes. Moreover, all people receive the influx who are motivated by a love of being useful. But people who are motivated by a love of glory, and this not for the sake of any useful purpose, do not receive it."

Afterwards the angel explained to them and taught them what each thing in the garden represented and symbolized.

CL 14. While they were thus engaged, a messenger arrived from the prince, who invited them to break bread with him. And at the same time two attendants of the court brought linen garments and said, "Put these on, because no one is allowed at the table of the prince without being dressed in the garments of heaven."

So they girded themselves and accompanied their angel, and they were led into a cloister, the enclosed courtyard of the palace, where they waited for the prince. And the angel introduced them there into gatherings that included dignitaries and officials who were also awaiting the prince.

Then behold, a short while later the doors were opened, and through one broader doorway on the west side they saw the prince entering in the line of a grand procession. Preceding him were the privy councillors. After these came the cabinet councillors, and behind them the principal officials of the court. In the middle of them was the prince, followed by courtiers of various distinction and finally attendants. All told, they numbered up to one hundred and twenty persons.

[2] Standing before the ten newcomers (who by their dress then looked like residents), the angel went with them to the prince and respectfully presented them. And the prince without pausing in the procession said to them, "Come take bread with me."

So they followed into the dining hall, where they saw a table magnificently set. In the center of the table they saw a high pyramid of gold with a hundred saucers in three rows upon its tiers, containing cakes and wine jellies, along with other delicacies made from cake and wine. And up through the middle of the pyramid gushed what appeared to be a spurting fountain of nectarlike wine, whose stream sprayed out from the top of the pyramid and filled the goblets.

Around the sides of this high pyramid were various heavenly forms of gold, holding plates and dishes filled with all sorts of foods. The heavenly forms holding the plates and dishes were forms of art arising from wisdom, forms which in the world cannot be depicted in any field of art or described in words. The plates and dishes were made of silver, engraved all around their surface with forms like the forms on which they rested. The goblets were made of translucent gems.

That was how the table was set.

CL 15. The dress of the prince and his ministers, moreover, was as follows. The prince wore a full-length purple robe decorated with embroidered silver-colored stars. Under the robe he had on a blue tunic of shiny silk. It was open around the chest, revealing the front part of a kind of cummerbund bearing the emblem of his society. The emblem was an eagle brooding over her young at the top of a tree. It was made of gleaming gold bordered with diamonds.

The privy councillors were dressed in almost the same manner, but without the emblem. Instead of the emblem they had carved sapphires hanging from the neck by a golden chain. The courtiers were in gowns of a light brown color, inwoven with flowers surrounding young eaglets. Their tunics underneath were of silk having an opalescent color. So, too, were their breeches and stockings.

That was what their dress was like.

CL 16. The privy councillors, cabinet councillors and officials were standing around the table, and at the bidding of the prince they folded their hands and murmured together a prayer of praise to the Lord. After this at a sign from the prince they took their places on the couches at the table. Then the prince said to the ten visitors, "Recline here with me also. See, there are your seats."

So they reclined, and the courtiers previously sent by the prince to wait on them stood in attendance behind them.

Then the prince said to them, "Take a plate, each of you, from its serving ring and afterwards a saucer from the pyramid."

So they did so, and behold, immediately new plates and saucers appeared, taking the place of the ones they removed. And their goblets were kept filled with wine by the fountain spurting from the great pyramid. So they ate and they drank.

[2] Halfway through the meal, the prince spoke to the ten guests and said, "I have heard that you were called together in the land which is below this heaven, to reveal your thoughts about the joys of heaven and so eternal happiness, and that you presented divergent views, each according to the delights of his physical senses.

"But what are delights of the physical senses apart from delights of the soul? It is the soul that makes them delightful.

"Delights of the soul in themselves are imperceptible states of bliss, but they become more and more perceptible as they descend into the thoughts of the mind and from these into the sensations of the body. In the thoughts of the mind they are perceived as states of happiness, in the sensations of the body as delights, and in the body itself as pleasures.

"Eternal happiness results from all these combined. But happiness resulting from the latter delights and pleasures alone is not eternal but temporary. It comes to an end and passes away, and sometimes turns into unhappiness.

"You have now seen that all your joys are also joys of heaven, joys more excellent than you ever could have imagined. But even so, they still do not affect our minds inwardly.

[3] "There are three things which flow as one from the Lord into our souls. These three things together, or this trinity, are love, wisdom, and usefulness. Love and wisdom, however, do not occur by themselves except in imagination, because by themselves they exist only in the affection and thought of the mind. In useful service, on the other hand, they exist in actuality, because they exist at the same time in the action and activity of the body. And where they exist actually, there they also remain.

"Now because love and wisdom exist and endure in useful service, it is useful service that affects us, and useful service is to carry out the duties of one's occupation faithfully, honestly and diligently.

"The love of being useful, and its consequent application in useful service, keeps the mind from being dissipated and wandering, and from taking in all sorts of seductions which pour in alluringly through the senses from the body and from the world. As a result of these seductions, the truths of religion and the truths of morality are scattered with their goodness to the four winds. In contrast, application of the mind in useful service holds these truths and anchors them, and orders the mind into a form receptive of wisdom as a consequence of them. Moreover, the mind then thrusts aside the shams and pretenses of both falsities and illusions.

"But you will hear more about this from some of the wise of our society, whom I will send to you this afternoon."

So saying, the prince arose, followed by his companions, and he bade them farewell, having told their angel guide to take them back to their apartments and to show them all the considerations of courtesy. He also told the angel to call urbane and affable men as well, to entertain them with conversation about the various joys of that society.

CL 17. When they got back to their apartments, it happened as arranged, and men summoned from the city arrived to entertain them with conversation about the various joys of the society. After an exchange of greetings, they went walking, and the men made polite conversation with them. But their angel guide said that the ten visitors had been invited into that heaven to see its joys and so gain a new idea of eternal happiness.

"Tell them, therefore, something about its joys," he said, "the joys that affect the physical senses. Later some men of wisdom will come to explain some of the things that make those joys pleasing and delightful."

Heeding the angel, the men summoned from the city told them the following:

(1) "We have days of celebration here, proclaimed by the prince, to relax people's spirits from the fatigue that the drive to excel may have produced in some of them. These days are accompanied by instrumental and choral musical performances in the public squares, and by athletic and theatrical performances outside the city.

"Bandstands are erected in the public squares on such occasions, surrounded by latticework woven out of vines, with clusters of grapes hanging from them. The musicians sit inside in three tiers, with stringed and wind instruments, both high-voiced and low, shrill-voiced and mellow. On either side of them are singers, male and female, and they entertain the citizens with delightful exultation and singing, in concert and solo, varying the type of music periodically. On these days of celebration, such performances last from morning to noon, and after noon till evening."

[2] (2) "In addition, every morning we hear the most charming singing of young women and girls coming from the houses around the public squares, filling the whole city with its sound. Each morning they express some particular affection of spiritual love in song, which is to say that they express it in sound by the variations or modulations of the singing voice, and the affection is perceived in the singing as though the singing were the affection itself. The sound infuses itself into the souls of its hearers and stirs them to a corresponding state. Such is the nature of heavenly song.

"The singers say that the sound of their singing seems to be inspired and to take life on its own from within, and by itself to rise delightfully in quality, according to the reception of it by its hearers.

"When the singing comes to an end, the windows are closed in the houses on the square and at the same time in the houses along the streets, and the doors are shut, too, and then the whole city falls silent. Not a sound is heard anywhere, nor is anyone seen wandering about. All are then ready to carry on the duties of their appointed tasks."

[3] (3) "Around noon, however, the doors are opened, and here and there in the afternoon the windows, too, and boys and girls are seen playing games in the streets, under the supervision of their nursemaids and teachers sitting on the porches of the houses."

[4] (4) "On the edges of the city, in its outskirts, various activities go on for boys and adolescent youths. There are running games, ball games, and games with rebounding balls, called rackets. Competitive exercises are held among the boys to show who is quicker and who is slower in speaking, acting and comprehending. And the quicker ones receive several laurel leaves as a prize. There are also many other activities which serve to encourage the latent abilities in boys."

[5] (5) "Moreover, outside the city theatrical performances are put on by comic actors on stages, who portray the various honorable qualities and virtues of moral life, with dramatic actors among them also to provide points of comparison."

At that, one of the ten visitors asked, "What do you mean, 'to provide points of comparison'?"

And the men answered, "No virtue with its honorable and becoming qualities can be presented convincingly except through relative comparisons of those qualities, from the greatest of them to the least of them. The dramatic actors portray the least of those qualities even to the point that they become non-existent. But it has been prescribed by law that they may not exhibit anything of the opposite that is called dishonorable and unbecoming, except symbolically and, so to speak, from a distance.

"The reason it has been so prescribed by law is that no honorable or good quality of any virtue ever passes through diminishing stages to the point of becoming dishonorable and bad, but only to the point of becoming so very little that it dies, and when it dies, then the opposite begins. That is why heaven, where all things are honorable and good, has nothing in common with hell, where all things are dishonorable and bad."

CL 18. While they were speaking, a servant ran up and announced that eight men of wisdom were there by order of the prince and were waiting to enter. Hearing this, the angel went out and welcomed them and brought them in. Then after a brief exchange of the customary courtesies of greeting, the men of wisdom first spoke with them about the initial and developmental stages of wisdom, including various remarks on the way it progresses, saying that wisdom in the case of angels never comes to an end and stops, but grows and increases to eternity.

Listening to the discussion, the angel with the company said to the men, "At luncheon our prince talked to them about the abode of wisdom, saying that it lies in useful service. Speak to them, if you please, about this as well."

So they said, "When human beings were first created, they were imbued with wisdom and a love of wisdom, not for their own sake, but for the sake of their having it to share with others. Therefore it was engraved on the wisdom of the wise that no one should be wise and live for himself alone, unless he was wise and lived at the same time for others. This was the origin of society, which otherwise would not exist. To live for others is to perform useful services. Useful services are the bonds of society, there being as many bonds as there are good and useful services, and useful services are unlimited in number.

"Useful services are spiritual when they have to do with love toward God and love for the neighbor. They are moral and civic services when they have to do with love for the society or civil state in which a person resides, and with love of the companions and fellow citizens with whom he is associated. Useful services are natural when they have to do with love of the world and its necessities. And they are corporeal when they have to do with the love of self-preservation for the sake of higher uses.

[2] "All these capacities for being useful are engraved on the human spirit, and they follow in sequence, one after another, and when they are combined, one exists within another.

"People who concern themselves with the first useful services, which are spiritual, also concern themselves with the ones that follow, and these people are wise. People who do not concern themselves with the first useful services, however, and yet concern themselves with the second kind and those that follow after, are not so wise, but only appear as if they were on account of their outward morality and civic-mindedness.

"People who are not concerned with the first and second types of useful service, but with the third and fourth kinds, are hardly wise at all, for they are followers of Satan, in that they love only the world, and themselves for worldly ends; while people who concern themselves only with useful services of the fourth kind are the least wise of all, being devils, because they live for themselves alone, and if they do anything for others, it is merely for the sake of themselves.

[3] "Furthermore, every love has its own delight, for love lives through delight, and the delight of the love of performing useful services is heavenly delight, which descends into the succeeding delights in turn and in the order of its descent ennobles them and makes them eternal."

Afterwards the men recounted some of the heavenly delights resulting from the love of being useful, saying that there are millions of them and that people enter into those delights who enter into heaven. And speaking further about the love of being useful, they drew out the day with them with wise discussions until evening.

CL 19. Around evening, however, a runner dressed in linen came looking for the ten visitors accompanying the angel and invited them to a wedding to be celebrated the following day. And the visitors greatly rejoiced that they would also see a wedding in heaven.

After this they were taken to one of the privy councillors and they dined with him. Then after dinner they came back, and taking their departure from each other, they separated, each to his own bedroom, where they slept till morning.

On waking in the morning, they then heard the singing of young women and girls coming from the houses around the public square, as previously described.** The affection expressed in the singing that morning was one of conjugial love. Being deeply affected and moved by the sweetness of it, they began to perceive a pleasant sense of bliss being implanted in their feelings of joy, which elevated those feelings and gave them a new quality.

When it was time, the angel said, "Get yourselves ready and put on the garments of heaven which our prince sent to you before."

So they dressed, and suddenly their garments began to shine as if with a flaming light. And they asked the angel, "Why is this happening?"

The angel replied, "It is because you are going to a wedding. It happens with us that on such occasions our garments shine and they become wedding garments."

CL 20. Afterwards the angel took them to the house where the wedding was to take place, and a doorman opened the doors for them. Then shortly, inside the doorway, they were welcomed and greeted by an angel sent by the bridegroom, and they were taken in and escorted to seats reserved for them. Presently, then, they were invited into an anteroom outside the marriage chamber, where they saw a table in the center. On the table stood a magnificent candelabrum with seven branches and cups of gold. Over on the walls hung lampholders of silver, which, once lit, caused the surroundings to appear as though golden. And to the sides of the candelabrum they saw two tables holding cakes placed in three rows, and in the four corners of the room, tables set with crystal goblets.

[2] While they were looking at these things, suddenly a door opened from a room next to the bridal chamber, and they saw six young women coming out, and behind them the bridegroom and bride, holding each other by the hand and escorting each other to a seat of honor. The seat was placed facing the candelabrum, and they took their places on it, the bridegroom on the left side of the bride, and the bride on his right. And the six young women stood to the side of the seat, next to the bride.

The bridegroom was dressed in a glistening purple robe and a tunic of shining linen, with an ephod bearing a gold plaque studded around the edges with diamonds. Engraved on the plaque was a young eaglet, the wedding emblem of that society of heaven. And on his head the bridegroom wore a turban.

The bride, moreover, was dressed in a scarlet mantle, and under it an embroidered gown, extending from her neck to her feet, and about the waist she wore a golden cummerbund, and on her head a crown of gold studded with rubies.

[3] When they were thus seated together, the bridegroom turned to the bride and placed a gold ring on her finger, and taking out bracelets and a necklace of pearls, he fastened the bracelets on her wrists and the necklace around her neck. Then he said, "Accept these tokens." And when she accepted them, he kissed her and said, "Now you are mine," and he called her his wife.

This done, the guests cried out, "May there be a blessing!" They each called this out individually, and then all together. One sent by the prince in the prince's stead also called out. And at that moment the room was filled with an aromatic smoke, which was the sign of a blessing from heaven.

Then servants in attendance took cakes from the two tables next to the candelabrum, and goblets, now filled with wine, from the tables in the four corners of the room, and they gave each guest a piece of cake and a goblet, and they ate and they drank.

Later the husband and his wife arose, followed to the doorway by the six young women carrying silver lamps, which were now lit. And the married couple entered the marriage chamber, and the door was closed.

CL 21. Afterwards the angel guide spoke with the guests regarding his ten companions, saying that he had brought them in by command and had shown them the magnificence of the prince's palace with the wonders it contained, and that they had dined at luncheon with the prince. He said, too, that they had subsequently spoken with some of the wise men of the society, and he asked the guests if they would permit the visitors to engage in some conversation with them as well.

So they came and spoke with them. And one of the wise among the men at the wedding said, "Do you understand the meanings of the things you have seen?"

They said, a little. And then they asked him why the bridegroom - now the husband - was dressed as he was.

The wise man replied that the bridegroom - now the husband - represented the Lord, and the bride - now the wife - represented the church, because weddings in heaven represent a marriage of the Lord with the church.

"That is why the groom had a turban on his head," the wise man said, "and why he was dressed in a robe, tunic and ephod like Aaron. And that is why the bride - now the wife - wore a crown on her head and was dressed in a mantle like a queen. Tomorrow, however, they will be dressed differently, because this representation lasts only this one day."

[2] Again the visitors asked, "If the groom represented the Lord and the bride the church, why did she sit on his right side?"

The wise man answered, "It is because a marriage of the Lord and the church is formed by two things, namely, love and wisdom, the Lord being the love and the church being the wisdom, and wisdom sits on the right hand of love. For a person of the church becomes wise as though on his own, and as he becomes wise, he receives love from the Lord. The right hand also symbolizes power, and love has power through wisdom.

"But as I said, after the wedding the representation changes, for then the husband represents wisdom and the wife represents love of that wisdom. This love, however, is not the first love referred to before, but a secondary love which the wife has from the Lord through the wisdom of her husband. The Lord's love, which is the first love, is the love in the husband of becoming wise. Consequently, after the wedding the two together, the husband and his wife, represent the church."

[3] The visitors further asked, "Why did you men not stand beside the bridegroom - now the husband - as the six bridesmaids stood beside the bride - now the wife?"

The wise man answered, "The reason is that on this day we are counted among the maidens, and the number six symbolizes all people and completeness."

But they said, "What do you mean?"

He replied, "Maidens symbolize the church, and the church is made up of both sexes. Therefore we, too, are maidens in terms of the church. That this is so appears from these words in the book of Revelation:


These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins and follow the Lamb wherever He goes. (Revelation 14:4)


"Moreover, because maidens symbolize the church, therefore the Lord likened the church to ten virgins invited to a wedding (Matthew 25:1ff.). And because the church is symbolized by Israel, Zion and Jerusalem, therefore the Word so often refers to the 'virgin' and 'daughter' of Israel, of Zion and of Jerusalem. The Lord also describes His marriage with the church by these words in the Psalms of David:


At your right hand, the queen in the fine gold of Ophir..., her clothing of inweavings of gold, she shall be brought to the King in garments of needlework, the virgins after her, her companions..., they shall come into the palace of the King. (Psalms 45:9-15)"


[4] Afterwards the visitors asked, "Is it not proper for a priest to be present and officiate in these ceremonies?"

The wise man answered, "It is proper on earth, but not in heaven because of the couple's representing the Lord and the church. People on earth do not know this. But among us a priest still performs betrothals and hears, receives, confirms and consecrates the consent. The consent is the essential element in marriage, and the rest of the things that follow are its formalities."

CL 22. After this the angel guide went over to the six bridesmaids and told them as well about his companions, and he asked them to grace the visitors with their company. So they started to approach, but when they drew near, they suddenly turned back and went into the women's quarters where their friends, young women like them, were.

Seeing this, the angel guide followed them and asked them why they had turned away so suddenly without speaking to the visitors. They replied, "We could not go near." And the angel said, "Why not?" And they answered, "We do not know, but we felt something that repelled us and drew us back. We hope they forgive us."

So the angel returned to his companions and told them the young women's response, and he added, "I divine that you do not have a chaste love for the opposite sex. In heaven we love young women for their beauty and elegance of manners, and we love them very much, but chastely."

At this his companions laughed and said, "You divine correctly. Who can see such beauties near and not feel some desire?"

CL 23. At the end of this festive reception, the wedding guests all departed, including the ten men with their angel. It was late evening and they went to bed.

At dawn they heard a cry proclaiming, "Today is the Sabbath." So they arose and asked the angel, "What does this mean?"

The angel replied that it was a call to worship of God, which recurs at prescribed times and is proclaimed by the priests. "The worship takes place in our temples," he said, "and lasts about two hours. Come with me, therefore, if you like, and I will take you in."

So they readied themselves, and accompanying the angel, they went in. And lo, the temple was huge, capable of holding about three thousand people. It was semicircular, with benches or pews arranged around in circular fashion following the contour of the temple, and the seats in back were higher than those in front. The pulpit was in front of the seats, placed a little way back from the center. There was a door behind the pulpit on the left.

The ten newcomers entered with their angel guide, and the angel gave them places to sit, saying to them, "Everyone who comes into the temple knows his own place. He knows this by instinct, nor can he sit anywhere else. If he sits elsewhere, he hears nothing and understands nothing, and he also disturbs the order of things; and when the order is disturbed, the priest is not inspired."

CL 24. When the congregation was assembled, a priest went up into the pulpit, and he preached a sermon full of the spirit of wisdom. He preached on the sacredness of the Holy Scripture and on the conjunction of the Lord with each world, the spiritual and the natural, by means of it. In the enlightenment in which he was, he established fully that that Holy Book was dictated by Jehovah the Lord, and that the Lord is therefore present in it, even so that He is the wisdom in it. But that wisdom, he said, which is the Lord in it, lies hidden beneath the literal meaning and is not disclosed except to people who are concerned with truths of doctrine and at the same time with goodness in life, thus who are in the Lord and the Lord in them.

He concluded the sermon with a reverent prayer and descended.

As the members of the congregation were leaving, the angel asked the priest to say a few words of farewell to his ten companions. So he came over to them, and they talked for half an hour. The priest spoke about the Divine Trinity, saying that it exists in Jesus Christ, in whom dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, according to the statement of the apostle Paul.* Then he spoke of the union of charity and faith, though he said the union of charity and truth, because faith is truth.

CL 25. After expressing their thanks, the visitors went home, and there the angel said to them, "Today is the third day since your ascent into the society of this heaven, and you were prepared by the Lord to stay here for three days. Consequently it is time for us to part. Take off the garments sent by the prince, therefore, and put on your own."

Then, when they were in their own clothing, they were filled with a desire to leave, and they left and descended, with the angel accompanying them till they reached the place of assembly. And there they gave thanks to the Lord, that He had deigned to bless them with knowledge and so with understanding regarding heavenly joys and eternal happiness.

CL 26. Again I swear in truth that these events and words occurred as I have related them, the first ones in the world of spirits, which is midway between heaven and hell, and the subsequent ones in a society of heaven, the society from which came the angel with the trumpet, who acted as guide.

Who in the Christian world would know anything about heaven and the joys and happiness there - knowledge of which is also knowledge of salvation - unless it pleased the Lord to open to someone the sight of his spirit and to show him and teach him?

Corroboration that things like these occur in the spiritual world appears plainly from the things seen and heard by the apostle John, as described in the book of Revelation. For example, he describes having seen the following:

The Son of Man in the midst of the seven lampstands.*

A tabernacle, temple, ark, and altar in heaven.**

A book sealed with seven seals. The book opened, and horses going out of it.***

Four living creatures around a throne.****

Twelve thousand taken from each tribe.*****

Locusts arising out of the abyss.******

A dragon and its fight with Michael.*******

A woman giving birth to a male child and fleeing into the wilderness because of the dragon.********

Two beasts, one rising up out of the sea, the other out of the earth.*********

A woman sitting on a scarlet beast.**********

The dragon cast into a lake of fire and brimstone.***********

A white horse, and a great supper.************

A new heaven and a new earth, and the holy Jerusalem coming down, described as to its gates, wall, and foundations.*************

Also a river of water of life, and trees of life yielding fruits every month.**************

Besides many other things, all of which were seen by John, and seen when he was in the spirit*************** in the spiritual world and in heaven. In addition, those things which were seen by the apostles after the Lord's resurrection.**************** And which were later seen by Peter (Acts of the Apostles, chapter 11).***************** Also which were then seen and heard by Paul.******************

Moreover, there were the things seen by the prophets. For example, Ezekiel saw the following:

Four living creatures, which were cherubs. (Ezekiel 1 and 10)

A new temple and a new earth, and an angel measuring them. (Ezekiel 40-48)

Being carried off to Jerusalem, he saw the abominations there. (Ezekiel 8) And he was also carried off into Chaldea, to those in captivity. (Ezekiel 11)*******************

Something similar happened with Zechariah:

He saw a man riding among myrtle trees. (Zechariah 1:8ff.)

He saw four horns, and then a man with a measuring line in his hand. (Zechariah 1:18ff., 2:1ff.)

He saw a lampstand and two olive trees. (Zechariah 4:1ff.)

He saw a flying scroll, and an ephah. (Zechariah 5:1,6)

He saw four chariots coming from between two mountains, with horses. (Zechariah 6:1ff.)

Likewise with Daniel:

He saw four beasts come up from the sea. (Daniel 7:1ff.)

Also the combats of a ram and a goat. (Daniel 8:1ff.)

He saw the angel Gabriel, who spoke at length with him. (Daniel 9)********************

Moreover, Elisha's young man saw fiery chariots and horses around Elisha, and he saw them when his eyes were opened.*********************

From these and many other passages in the Word, it is evident that the things which exist in the spiritual world have appeared to many, before and after the Lord's Advent. Why should it be surprising for them to appear also now, when the Church is beginning and the New Jerusalem is coming down from the Lord out of heaven?

* Revelation 1:12,13.

** E.g., Revelation 6:9, 8:3, 9:13, 11:19, 14:17,18, 15:5,6,8.


People cannot accept as a matter of faith that marriages exist in heaven if they believe that a person is a soul or spirit after death, and hold to an idea of the soul or spirit as being like thin air or a puff of breath. Nor can they accept it if they believe that a person does not live again as a person until after the day of the Last Judgment.

In general, people cannot accept the existence of marriages in heaven if they know nothing about the spiritual world, the world in which angels and spirits live, consequently where the heavens and hells are. Moreover, because that world has till now remained unknown, and because it has not been known at all that the angels in heaven are people in perfect form, likewise that the spirits in hell are people in imperfect form, therefore nothing could be revealed respecting marriages in that world. Indeed, people would have said, "How can a soul be united with a soul, or a bit of breath with a bit of breath, as husbands and wives are united on earth?"

There would have been many other objections, too, which, the moment they were voiced, would have taken away and dispelled belief in the existence of marriages in the other world.

Now, however, many things have been revealed about that world, and what that world is like has been described. This I did in the book, Heaven and Hell, and also in The Apocalypse Revealed. Because of this, the existence of marriages there can be defended, even to the sight of reason, by the following arguments:


(1) A person lives as a person after death.

(2) A male is then still a male, and a female still a female.

(3) Everyone's own love remains in him after death.

(4) Especially does a love for the opposite sex remain, and in the case of people coming into heaven, namely, people who become spiritual on earth, conjugial love.

(5) All of this has been fully attested by personal observation.

(6) Consequently, marriages exist in heaven.

(7) Spiritual marriage is meant by the Lord's words, that after the resurrection they are not given in marriage.

Development of these arguments now follows, taking them one by one:

CL 28. (1) A person lives as a person after death. It has not been known in the world till now that a person lives as a person after death, for the reasons just mentioned above. And what is remarkable, it has not been known even in the Christian world, where people have the Word and therefore enlightenment regarding eternal life on account of the Word, in which the Lord Himself teaches that the dead all rise again, and that God is not God of the dead, but of the living (Matthew 22:31,32, Luke 20:37,38).

Moreover, in respect to the affections and thoughts of his mind a person is in the midst of angels and spirits and is so associated with them that he could not be severed from them without dying. It is still more remarkable that this, too, is not known, even though every person who has died from the beginning of creation, after death has gone and continues to go to his own, or, as the Word says, has been gathered and is gathered to his people.*

In addition, people also have a general perception (which is the same thing as saying an influx of heaven into the inner faculties of their minds), which causes them to perceive truths inwardly in themselves and, in a way, to see them, and especially this truth, that one lives as a person after death, happily if he has lived well, and unhappily if he has lived ill. For who does not have this thought when he elevates his mind a little from the body and from the thinking nearest his senses, as happens when he is inwardly in a state of Divine worship, or when he lies dying in his bed and is awaiting the end. Likewise when he is told about the deceased and their lot.

I have reported thousands of things about the dead, as for example, what the lot of certain people's brothers, married partners, and friends was like. I have written as well about the lot of Englishmen, Dutchmen, Roman Catholics, Jews, and gentiles, and also about the lot of Luther, Calvin and Melanchthon. And I have never yet heard anyone say, "How can that be their lot when they have not yet risen from their graves, seeing that the Last Judgment has not yet taken place! Are they not in the meantime souls that are bits of breath, existing in some limbo or other?"

I have heard no one say anything like that yet. And from this I have been able to conclude that everyone has an inner perception that one lives as a person after death.

What man who has loved his married partner and his infants and children, does not say to himself when they are dying or dead, if he is in a state of thought raised above the sensory things of the body, that they are in the hand of God, and that following his own death he will see them again and join with them once more in a life of love and joy?

CL 29. Who cannot see in accord with reason, if he is willing to see, that a person after death is not a bit of breath, of which he has no other idea than that it is like a puff of wind, or like air or ether, which is or in which is the person's soul, longing and waiting for union with its body so that it may enjoy sensations and the pleasures of the senses as it did before in the world? Who cannot see that if this were the case with a person after death, his condition would be worse than the condition of fishes, birds and animals of the earth, whose souls do not live on and so do not exist in a state of such anxious suspense from longing and waiting?

If a person after death were such a bit of breath and thus a puff of wind, either he would then be flitting around the universe, or, according to the traditions of some, he would be kept in some sort of nether world, or as the church fathers call it, in limbo, until the Last Judgment.

Who using his reason cannot conclude accordingly that people who have lived from the beginning of creation - a period reckoned at six thousand years - would still be in the same state of suspense, and in a progressively more anxious state of suspense, since all waiting with desire produces anxious suspense and with the passage of time increases it. And would not one conclude accordingly that they either must still be flitting around the universe or are being kept shut up in limbo, and so are in extreme misery? This would include Adam and his wife, likewise Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and likewise all the rest from that time.

According to this line of thinking, nothing would be more lamentable than to be born a human being.

But the opposite has been provided by the Lord, who is Jehovah from eternity and the Creator of the universe. He has provided that the condition of a person who conjoins himself with Him by living according to His commandments be more blessed and happy after death than his condition before it in the world, and that it be more blessed and happy for the reason that the person is then spiritual, and a spiritual person feels and experiences spiritual delight, which is superior to natural delight, because it exceeds it a thousand times.

CL 30. Angels and spirits are people, and this can be seen from the ones who appeared to Abraham, Gideon, Daniel and the prophets, especially to John when he wrote the book of Revelation, and also to the women at the Lord's tomb. Indeed, the Lord Himself appeared to the disciples after His resurrection. These appearances occurred because the eyes of the spirit of the people who saw them were opened, and when the eyes of the spirit are opened, angels appear in their true form, which is human. But when the eyes of the spirit are closed, that is, when they are covered over by the sight of eyes which draw all their sensations from the material world, then angels and spirits do not appear.


CL 31. It must be known, however, that after death a person is not a natural person, but a spiritual person, and yet he appears just the same to himself, and so much the same that he is not aware of being anywhere else than still in the natural world. For he is the same in body, in facial appearance, in speech and in the sensations he feels, because he is the same in affection and thought, having the same will and intellect.

He is, in fact, not actually the same, because he is spiritual and therefore an interior man. But the difference is not apparent to him, because he cannot compare his present state with his earlier, natural state, having put off the natural state and being in a spiritual state.

I have quite often heard such persons say, therefore, that they are not aware of being anywhere else than in the previous world, with the sole difference that they no longer see people whom they left behind in that earlier world, while they do see those who had departed or passed on from that world.

Nevertheless, the reason they now see people who had passed on and not those whom they left behind is because they are not natural people but spiritual or essential people, and a spiritual or essential person sees another spiritual or essential person in the same way as a natural or material person sees another natural or material person.

Natural people and spiritual people do not see each other, however, on account of the difference between the essential and the material, which is like the difference between something prior and something subsequent. And because the prior is in itself purer, it cannot be seen by the subsequent, which, in itself, is cruder; nor can the subsequent, owing to its being cruder, be seen by the prior, which in itself is purer. Consequently, an angel cannot be seen by a person of this world, neither can a person of this world be seen by an angel.

A person after death is a spiritual or essential person because the spiritual or essential person lay hidden within the natural or material person. The latter served him as clothing, or like a shell to be put off, and when it is laid aside, the spiritual or essential person emerges, being thus purer, more interior and more perfect.

A spiritual person is still a complete person, even though not visible to a natural person, and this was clearly shown by the Lord's appearances to the apostles after His resurrection, in that He appeared and then disappeared, and yet remained the same person He was whether He was seen or unseen. They also said that when they saw Him, their eyes were opened.

CL 32. (2) A male is then still a male, and a female still a female. Since a person lives as a person after death, and people are male and female, and since it is one thing to be masculine and another to be feminine, with the two qualities being so different that one cannot be converted into the other, it follows that after death a male still lives as a male and a female still lives as a female, each of them being a spiritual person.

We say that masculinity cannot be converted into femininity, nor femininity into masculinity, and that after death a male is consequently still a male, and a female still a female. But because people do not know what masculinity consists in essentially, and what femininity consists in essentially, therefore we must say a few words about it here.

The difference essentially consists in this, that the inmost quality in masculinity is love, and its veil wisdom, or in other words, it is love veiled over with wisdom, while the inmost quality in femininity is that same wisdom, the wisdom of masculinity, and its veil the love resulting from it. This second love, however, is a feminine love, and it is given by the Lord to a wife through the wisdom of her husband, whereas that first love is a masculine love, which is a love of becoming wise, and it is given by the Lord to a husband according to his reception of wisdom. Consequently, the male is a form of the wisdom of love, and the female is a form of the love of that wisdom. Therefore from creation there was implanted in both male and female a love of uniting into one. But more on this subject will be said later.

Testimony that femininity is derived from masculinity, or that woman was taken out of man, appears from these verses in Genesis:


Jehovah God...took one of the ribs of the man, and closed up the flesh in its place. And the rib which He had taken from man He fashioned into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And the man said: "She is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. Therefore she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." (Genesis 2:21-23)


Elsewhere it will be said what a rib symbolizes, and what flesh symbolizes.

CL 33. It is owing to this original formation that a male is born intellect-oriented and that a female is born will-oriented, or in other words, that a male is born with an affection for knowing, understanding and becoming wise, while a female is born with a love for joining herself to that affection in the male.

Furthermore, because interior qualities form the exterior ones to their likeness, and the masculine form is a form of the intellect while the feminine form is a form of the love of the intellect, therefore the male has a different look, a different sound, and a different physique from the female. Namely, he has a tougher look, a rougher sound, and a stronger physique, and moreover his lower face is bearded. In general, he has a less beautiful form than the female. The two sexes also differ in behavior and manners. In short, nothing in the two sexes is the same, although there is nevertheless a capacity for conjunction in every detail.

Indeed, masculinity in the male is masculine in every part, even in the least part of his body, and also in every idea of his thought, and in every bit of his affection. So, too, with femininity in the female. And because one cannot as a consequence be converted into the other, it follows that after death a male is still male, and that a female is still female.

CL 34. (3) Everyone's own love remains in him after death. People know that love exists, but they do not know what love is. They know that it exists from common conversation. For instance, people say that "he loves me," that a king loves his subjects and the subjects love their king, that a husband loves his wife, and a mother her children, and vice versa, also that this person or that loves his country, his fellow citizens, his neighbor. So, too, with matters abstracted from person, as in saying that one loves this or that thing.

But even though love is so frequently mentioned, nevertheless scarcely anyone knows what love is. Whenever someone meditates on it, he cannot then form for himself any idea in his thought about it, thus he cannot bring it into the light of his understanding, because it is not a matter of light but of warmth. Therefore he says either that love is not anything, or that it is merely some stimulus flowing in through his vision, hearing and social interaction, which thus affects him. He does not know that love is his very life, not only the general life in his whole body and the general life in all his thoughts, but also the life in every single particle of them.

The wise person can perceive this from considering the following proposition: If you take away the impulse of love, can you form any thought? Or can you perform any action? In the measure that the affection belonging to love cools, is it not true that in the same measure thought, speech and action cool? And the warmer the affection grows, the warmer they grow?

Love, therefore, is the warmth in a person's life or his vital heat. The warmth of the blood, and also its redness, have no other origin. The fire of the angelic sun, which is pure love, causes it.


CL 35. Everyone has his own love, or a love different from anyone else's love. That is, no one person has the same love as another. This can be seen from the endless variety in facial features. Faces are the representative images of loves. Everyone knows that facial expressions change and vary according to the affections of love. Desires also, which have to do with love, as well as feelings of joy and pain, shine forth from the face.

From this it is evident that a person is what he loves, or rather, that he is the form of his love. But it should be known that it is the inner person - which is the same as his spirit that lives after death - that is the form of his love. Not so the outer person in the world, because the outer person has learned from early childhood to hide the desires of his love, indeed, to pretend and feign other desires than his true ones.

CL 36. Everyone's own love remains in him after death for the reason that love is a person's life (as just said above, no. 34), and consequently it is the real person. A person is also what he thinks, thus what his intelligence and wisdom are, but these are united with his love. For a person thinks because of his love and according to it; in fact, if he is free to do so, he speaks and acts from it. From this it can be seen that love is the being or essence of a person's life, and that thought is the resulting expression or manifestation of his life. Speech and action that spring from thought, therefore, do not spring from thought, but from love acting through thought.

I have been granted to know from a good deal of experience that a person after death is not what he thinks but what his affection is and what he thinks from that, which is to say that he is what his love is and subsequently his intelligence. I have also been granted to know that after death a person puts away everything that is not in harmony with his love; indeed, that he progressively takes on the look, sound, speech, behavior and manners of his life's love. It is for this reason that the whole of heaven has been set in order according to all the varieties in the affections connected with the love of good, and that the whole of hell has been arranged according to all the affections connected with the love of evil.

CL 37. (4) Especially does a love for the opposite sex remain, and in the case of people coming into heaven, namely, people who become spiritual on earth, conjugial love. A love for the opposite sex remains in a person after death for the reason that a male is then still a male, and a female still a female, and masculinity in the male is masculine in the whole and every part of him, likewise femininity in the female, and there is a capacity for conjunction in every detail - indeed, in every least detail - of the two sexes.

Now, because that capacity for conjunction was introduced from creation and is therefore permanently present in the two sexes, it follows that each yearns for and aspires to conjunction with the other.

Love regarded in itself is nothing but a desire for and consequent effort to conjunction, and conjugial love is a desire for and effort to conjunction into one. For the human male and the human female were so created that from being two they might become as though one person or one flesh.* And when they become one, then taken together they are man in his fullest sense.** But without that conjunction they are two, and each is like a person divided or half a person.

Now, because that innate capacity for conjunction lies inmostly within every single aspect of the male and in every single aspect of the female, and an ability and desire for conjunction into one is present in every part, it follows that a mutual and reciprocal love for the opposite sex remains in people after death.

CL 38. We use the terms, love for the opposite sex and conjugial love, because a love for the opposite sex is not the same as conjugial love. A love for the opposite sex is found in a natural person, but conjugial love in a spiritual person.

A natural person loves and wants only external conjunctions, with the physical pleasures arising from them, while a spiritual person loves and wants an internal conjunction, with the states of spiritual happiness resulting from it. The spiritual person also perceives that these states of happiness are possible with only one wife, with whom he can be continually joined more and more into one. And the more he is so joined with her, in the same degree he feels his states of happiness ascending and remaining constant to eternity. The natural person, on the other hand, does not think in this way.

That, now, is why we say that conjugial love remains after death in the case of people coming into heaven, who are those who become spiritual on earth.

CL 39. (5) All of this has been fully attested by personal observation. That a person lives as a person after death, that a male is then still a male, and a female a female, and that everyone's own love remains in him, especially love for the opposite sex and conjugial love - these points I have so far endeavored to establish by the sort of arguments that appeal to the intellect and are called rational.

But from early childhood people have acquired the belief from parents and teachers, and afterward from the learned and the clergy, that a person will not live as a person after death until after the day of the Last Judgment, which they have been waiting for, now, for six thousand years.

Because of this, and because many people have placed this question among matters to be accepted on faith and not with the understanding, it has become necessary that these same points be attested also by the affidavits of an eyewitness. Otherwise people who trust only in their senses will say, in accord with the faith instilled in them, "If people lived as people after death, I would see them and hear them. Besides, who has come down from heaven or ascended from hell and told us?"

It has not been possible, however, neither is it possible, for any angel of heaven to descend or any spirit of hell to ascend so as to speak with any person, except with those who have had the inner faculties of their mind, the faculties of their spirit, opened by the Lord. And this cannot take place fully except in the case of those who have been prepared by the Lord to receive such things as have to do with spiritual wisdom.

It has therefore pleased the Lord to do this with me, in order to keep the states of heaven and hell and the state of people's life after death from remaining unknown, and from being laid to sleep in ignorance, and from being finally buried in denial.

But my personal observations and testimony regarding the points outlined above are too extensive to be presented here. I have presented them, however, in the book, Heaven and Hell, and then in Continuation Concerning the Spiritual World,* and later in The Apocalypse Revealed. Meanwhile, respecting marriages specifically, see what is presented here in the narrative accounts that come at the end of the sections or chapters of this book.

CL 40. (6) Consequently, marriages exist in heaven. Since this has now been established by reason and at the same time by my experience, it does not need further demonstration.

CL 41. (7) Spiritual marriage is meant by the Lord's words, that after the resurrection they are not given in marriage. In the Gospels we read the following:


Some of the Sadducees, who deny that there is a resurrection..., asked Jesus, saying, "Teacher, Moses wrote...that if anyone's brother dies, having a wife, and he dies without children, his brother should take his wife and raise up offspring for his brother.... There were seven brothers, (and one after another they took her as wife, but they died childless).... Lastly...the woman died also. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife of them does she become...?"

But Jesus, answering, said to them, "The children of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who shall be held worthy to attain the second age, and the resurrection from the dead, shall neither marry nor be given in marriage; nor can they die any more, for they are like the angels, and are children of God, being children of the resurrection. Moreover, that the dead rise again, even Moses showed in reference to the bush, when he calls the Lord 'the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' So, then, He is not God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him." (Luke 20:27-38; cf. Matthew 22:23-32, Mark 12:18-27)


The Lord taught two things by these words. First, that a person rises again after death. And secondly, that people are not given in marriage in heaven.

He taught that a person rises again after death by saying that God is not God of the dead but of the living, and that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are still alive. So likewise in the parable about the rich man in hell and Lazarus in heaven (Luke 16:19-31).

[2] Secondly, He taught that people are not given in marriage in heaven by saying that those who are held worthy to attain the second age neither marry nor are given in marriage.

The only kind of marriage meant here is spiritual marriage, and this clearly appears from the words that immediately follow, that they cannot die any more because they are like the angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection.

By spiritual marriage, conjunction with the Lord is meant, and this is achieved on earth. And when it has been achieved on earth, it has also been achieved in heaven. Therefore in heaven the marriage does not take place again, nor are people given in marriage. This, too, is meant by the words, "The children of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are held worthy to attain the second age neither marry nor are given in marriage."

Such persons are also called by the Lord, "children of the wedding"* (Matthew 9:15, Mark 2:19), and here, "angels," "children of God," and "children of the resurrection."

[3] To marry means to be conjoined with the Lord, and to go to a wedding means to be received into heaven by the Lord. This appears from the following references:


The kingdom of heaven is like a man, a king, who arranged a wedding for his son, and sent out his servants (with invitations to a wedding). (Matthew 22:2,3, to verse 14)


The kingdom of heaven is like ten virgins, who...went out to meet the bridegroom (five of whom were prepared to go to the wedding). (Matthew 25:1ff.)


The Lord meant Himself in this passage, which is apparent from the thirteenth verse there, where it says,


Stay awake..., because you know not the day and the hour in which the Son of Man will come. (Matthew 25:13)


Also from the book of Revelation:


The time for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.... Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. (Revelation 19:7,9)


There is a spiritual meaning in each and every thing the Lord said, and this we fully showed in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem Regarding the Sacred Scripture (published in Amsterdam in 1763).

* Actually, "children of the bridechamber."

CL 42. To this I will append two narrative accounts from the spiritual world. Here is the first:


One morning I looked up into the sky, and I saw above me expanse upon expanse. And as I looked, the first or nearest expanse was opened, and shortly the second, which was above it, and finally the third, which was the highest of all. By the light coming from them I perceived that on the first expanse were angels of the first or lowest heaven, on the second expanse were angels of the second or middle heaven, and on the third expanse were angels of the third or highest heaven.

I wondered at first what was happening and why. But shortly I heard a voice from heaven like the sound of a trumpet, saying, "We have perceived, and now see, that you are meditating on conjugial love. Moreover, we know that so far no one on earth knows what true conjugial love is in its origin or in its essence, and yet it is important for them to know. Therefore it has pleased the Lord to open the heavens to you, that the inner faculties of your mind may receive an influx of illuminating light and thus perception.

"Among us in heaven, especially in the third heaven, our heavenly delights come principally from conjugial love. Consequently, by permission granted us, we will send a married couple down to you, in order that you may see."

[2] And suddenly, then, a carriage appeared, coming down from the highest or third heaven, in which I saw a single angel. But as it drew near, I saw that it held two.

The carriage shone before my eyes in the distance like a diamond, and harnessed to it were young horses as white as snow. And the couple sitting in the carriage held in their hands a pair of turtledoves.

And the couple called out to me, "You want us to come closer. But beware, then, of the flashing light coming from our heaven, the heaven we descended from. It is a blazing light, and you must take care that it does not penetrate interiorly. By its influx, indeed, the higher ideas of your understanding are enlightened, ideas that, in themselves, are heavenly. But these same ideas are inexpressible in the world in which you live. Receive the things you are about to hear, therefore, in rational terms and so explain them to the understanding."

I replied, "I will take care. Come closer."

So they came, and behold, it was a husband and his wife. And they said, "We are married. We have lived a blessed life in heaven from the earliest time, which you call the golden age, remaining forever in the same flower of youth that you see us in today."

[3] I looked at the two of them closely, because I perceived that they represented conjugial love in their life and in their adornment - in their life as shown in their faces, and in their adornment as shown in the garments they wore. For all angels are affections of love in human form. The essential, dominant affection shines out from their faces, and they are given clothing on the basis of their affection and in accordance with it. Consequently, in heaven they say that everyone is clothed in his own affection.

The husband appeared to be between adolescence and early manhood in age. From his eyes flashed a light sparkling with the wisdom of love. His face seemed to be inmostly radiant with this light, and because of the radiance from within, outwardly his skin virtually shone. As a result, his whole facial appearance was singularly one of dazzling good looks.

He was dressed in a full-length robe, and under the robe he wore a blue-colored garment, which was tied about the waist with a golden girdle bearing three precious stones, two of them sapphires, one on each side, and a garnet in the middle. His stockings were of shining linen, into which had been woven threads of silver; and his shoes were made entirely of silk.

This was the representational form that conjugial love took in the case of the husband.

[4] In the case of the wife, however, it took the following form. I saw her face, and did not see it. I saw it as the very essence of beauty, and did not see it because the beauty was beyond expression. For there was in her face the bright glow of a blazing light, like the light possessed by angels in the third heaven, and this light dimmed my vision, so that I was simply stupefied by it.

Noticing this, the wife spoke to me, saying, "What do you see?"

I answered, "I see only conjugial love and a picture of it. But I see and do not see."

At this she turned at an angle away from her husband, and then I could look more intently. Her eyes flashed with the light of her heaven, which is blazing, as I said, and so takes its quality from the love of wisdom. For wives in the third heaven love their husbands on account of their husbands' wisdom and in response to it, and the husbands love their wives on account of and in response to that love directed towards them, and so they are united.

The wife had her beauty as a result of this, such beauty that no artist could reproduce it or portray it in its true form, for a flashing of light like that is not possible in the painter's colors, nor is such loveliness expressible in his art.

Her hair was attractively arranged in a style to match her beauty, with jewels in the form of flowers inserted into it. She had a necklace of garnets, from which hung a rosette of peridots. And she had bracelets of pearls. She was dressed in a scarlet gown, and under it a purple bodice fastened in front with rubies. But what surprised me, the colors kept changing depending on which way she was facing in relation to her husband, and their sparkle also kept changing accordingly, being now more, now less - more when they faced each other, and less when she faced away at an angle.

[5] When I had seen these things, they spoke with me again. And when the husband spoke, he spoke as though he spoke at the same time on behalf of his wife, and when the wife spoke, she spoke as though she spoke at the same time on behalf of her husband. For such was the union of their minds, from which comes their speech. It was then that I heard as well the way conjugial love sounds, how it was inwardly together with, and also the result of, the delights of a state of peace and innocence.

Finally they said, "They are calling us back. We have to go."

They then appeared to be again riding in a carriage, as before, and they were borne off along a road stretching out between flower gardens, from whose beds rose olive trees and trees full of oranges. And as they drew near their heaven, young women came to meet them and welcome them and take them in.

CL 43. After this, an angel from that heaven appeared to me, holding in his hand a sheet of paper, which he unrolled, saying, "I saw that you were meditating on conjugial love. This sheet of paper contains secrets of wisdom hitherto undiscovered in the world. They are disclosed now, because it is important. In our heaven there are more of these secrets than in the rest of the heavens, because we live in a marriage of love and wisdom. But I predict that none will make that love their own except those who are received by the Lord into the New Church, which is the New Jerusalem."

Saying this, the angel sent the unrolled sheet of paper down, and one angelic spirit took it and placed it on a table in a particular room, which he immediately locked. And handing me the key he said, "Write."

CL 44.

The second account:

I once saw three spirits newly arrived from the world, who were wandering about, exploring and asking questions. They were in a state of astonishment that they were living as people just as before and that they were seeing the same things as before. For they knew they had departed from the former or natural world, and they had believed there that they would not live as people until after the day of the Last Judgment, when they would be clothed with the flesh and bones laid in their graves.

To remove all doubt that they were still truly people, therefore, they alternately inspected and touched themselves and others, and handled the things they found, and in a thousand ways kept convincing themselves that they were now people as they had been in the former world, except that they were seeing each other in a brighter light and the things they found in a greater splendor, thus seeing them more perfectly.

2 Then by chance two angelic spirits met them and stopped them, saying, "Where are you from?"

And they answered, "We have departed from the world and are again living in a world, so we have traveled from one world to another. At this we are now marveling!"

Then the three newcomers began asking the two angelic spirits about heaven. And because two of the three newcomers were adolescents, and from their eyes darted what seemed to be a spark of lust for the opposite sex, the angelic spirits said, "You have, perhaps, seen some of the women."

And they replied, "We have."

So, because the newcomers had asked about heaven, the angelic spirits told them the following:

"In heaven all things are magnificent and splendid, and are such as eye has never seen. There are also young men and women there, young women of such beauty that they may be called the very pictures of beauty, and young men of such morality that they may be called the very pictures of morality. And the beauty of the young women and the morality of the young men correspond to each other, as reciprocal and mutually adaptable forms."

The two newcomers then asked whether human forms in heaven are entirely similar to human forms in the natural world. And the angelic spirits answered that they are completely alike, with nothing taken from either man or woman.

"In a word," the angelic spirits said, "a man is still a man, and a woman is still a woman, in all the perfection of the form in which they were created. Step aside, if you like, and investigate in your own case whether anything is missing to keep you from being the man you were before."


6 On hearing this, the two adolescent newcomers rejoiced and said, "Then there is still love between the sexes in heaven! What else is conjugial love?"


To this the angelic spirits added, "In heaven they do not know at all what licentiousness is, not even that it exists or is possible. The angels grow cold with their whole body at unchaste love or love outside of marriage, and on the other hand, they grow warm with their whole body as a result of chaste or conjugial love. In the case of men there, all their sinews sink at the sight of a licentious woman, and grow taut at the sight of their wife."

8 The three newcomers, hearing this, asked whether there is the same love-making between married partners in heaven as on earth.

The two angelic spirits answered that it is entirely the same. And because they perceived that the newcomers were wanting to know whether they had the same end delights in heaven, they also said that these are entirely the same, but much more blissful, since the perception and sensation of angels is much more exquisite than the perception and sensation of people.

"Moreover, what is the life accompanying that love," the angelic spirits asked, "if it does not stem from an underlying condition of ability? If this ability fails, does that love not fail and cool? Is this power not a real measure, a real progression and real foundation of that love? Is it not its beginning, support and fulfillment?

"It is a universal law that the primary elements in a series exist, subsist and persist on the basis of the final elements. So also with that love. Consequently, without the end delights, there would not be any delights in conjugial love."

9 The newcomers then asked whether as a result of the end delights of that love, children are born in heaven. And if children were not born, of what use those delights were.

The angelic spirits replied that they do not have any natural offspring, but spiritual offspring.

"And what are spiritual offspring?" the newcomers asked.

The angelic spirits answered, "By the end delights the two partners become more united in a marriage of goodness and truth, and a marriage of goodness and truth is a marriage of love and wisdom, and love and wisdom are the offspring that are born of such a marriage. Because the husband in heaven is a form of wisdom, and his wife is a form of the love of it, and both moreover are spiritual, therefore no other than spiritual offspring can be conceived and begotten there.

"That is why, after experiencing these delights, angels do not become depressed as some do on earth, but joyful, and they have this characteristic as a result of a continual influx of fresh vigor to follow the firstfresh vigor that rejuvenates and at the same time enlightens them. For, all who come into heaven return into the springtime of their youth and into the powers of that age, and so they remain to eternity."

10 When the three newcomers heard this, they said, "Does it not say in the Word that there are no marriages in heaven, because they are angels?{2}"

To this the angelic spirits replied, "Look up into heaven, and you will receive an answer."

They then asked why they should look up into heaven.

"Because," the angelic spirits said, "we have all our interpretations of the Word from heaven. The Word is inwardly spiritual, and the angels, being spiritual, must explain its spiritual meaning."

Then, after some time, heaven opened over their heads and they caught sight of two angels. And the two angels said, "There are marriages in heaven, as on earth, but only in the case of people there who already possess a marriage of goodness and truth. They are the only ones who become angels. Therefore spiritual marriages are meant in the Word, which are marriages of goodness and truth. These spiritual marriages take place on earth and not after death, thus not in heaven. So it is said of the five foolish virginseven though they, too, were invited to the weddingthat they could not go in, because they did not have a marriage of goodness and truth, since they had no oil, but only lamps.{3}

"Goodness is meant by oil, and truth by lamps. And to be given in marriage is to enter into heaven where that marriage is."

The three newcomers were glad to hear this explanation, and were filled with a longing for heaven and the hope of being married there. And they said, "We will strive for morality and a decent and proper life, that we may obtain the object of our prayers."

@1 See Matthew 22:30, Mark 12:25, Luke 20:35,36.

CL 45. We have just shown in the preceding chapter that marriages exist in heaven. In this chapter we will now show whether or not a marriage covenant contracted in the world will continue and remain in force after death.

It is necessary that I make this known, because it is not a matter of judgment but of personal experience, and I have had this experience through association with angels and spirits. Nevertheless, I must make it known in such a way that reason may also assent.

Among the prayers and yearnings of married partners, moreover, is a wish to know the state of married partners after death. For men who have loved their wives wish to knowif their wives have diedwhether it is well with them. So, too, wives who have loved their husbands. And they want to know whether they will meet again.

Many married couples also would like to know in advance whether partners separate after death or whether they stay together. Those who are discordant in spirit wish to know whether partners separate. And those who are concordant in spirit wish to know whether they stay together.

Because these are some of the things people would like answers to, they will be made known, and this will be done in the following order:

(1)In every person after death, love for the opposite sex continues to be what it was like inwardly, that is, what it was like in the person's inner will and thought in the world.

(2)Likewise conjugial love.

(3)Most married couples meet after death, recognize each other, associate again, and live together for a time, which occurs in their first state, thus while they are still maintaining the outward aspects of their lives as they did in the world.

(4)Progressively, however, as married partners put off outward appearances and enter into their inward qualities, they gradually perceive what sort of love and mutual feeling they had had for each other, and consequently whether it is possible for them to live together or not.

(5)If it is possible for married partners to live together, they remain partners. But if it is not possible, they separate, the husband sometimes separating from the wife, the wife sometimes from the husband, and both of them sometimes from each other.

(6)A man is then given a suitable wife, and a woman, likewise, a suitable husband.

(7)Married couples enjoy the same intimate relations with each other as in the world, only more delightful and blessed, but without begetting children. Instead of or to take the place of begetting children, they experience a spiritual procreation, which is one of love and wisdom.

(8)This is what happens in the case of people who come into heaven. It is different, however, with those who go to hell.

Development of this outline now follows, elucidating and supporting the various statements.


CL 46. (1) In every person after death, love for the opposite sex continues to be what it was like inwardly, that is, what it was like in the person's inner will and thought in the world. All a person's love goes with him after death, because love is the inner being of his life. And the dominant love, which heads the rest, remains in a person to eternity, along with other loves subordinate to it. These loves remain, because love is properly an affection of the spirit in a person and is felt in the body from the spirit. And since a person becomes a spirit after death, he consequently carries his love with him. Moreover, since love is the inner being of a person's life, it is apparent that a person's lot after death becomes such as his life was in the world.

As regards love for the opposite sex, this is universal in all people, for it is implanted from the moment of creation in a person's very soul, from which comes the essential nature of the whole person, and it is implanted for the sake of propagating the human race. This love remains especially, because after death a man is still a man, and a woman is still a woman, and there is nothing in the soul, mind, or body which is not masculine in the male and feminine in the female; and the two sexes have been so created as to strive for conjunction, indeed, for conjunction in order that they may become one. This impulse is the love for the opposite sex which precedes conjugial love.

Now because an inclination to conjunction has been engraved on each and every element in the male and female, it follows that this inclination cannot be wiped out or die with the body.

47(3) Most married couples meet after death, recognize each other, associate, and live together for a time, which occurs in their first state, thus while they are still maintaining the outward aspects of their lives as they did in the world. There are two states that a person goes through after death, an external state and an internal state. A person comes first into the external state, and afterwards into the internal one. It is during the external stateif both partners have diedthat they meet, recognize each other, and, if they lived together in the world, associate and live together for a time. And when they are in this state, one partner does not know the other's feelings toward him, because these feelings keep themselves hidden inside.

Later, however, when they come into their internal state, the feelings manifest themselves. And if these feelings are concordant and congenial, the partners continue their married life. But if these feelings are discordant and uncongenial, they end it.

If a man has had several wives, he associates with them in turn, so long as he is in the external state. But when he comes into the internal state, and perceives what their feelings of love are like, he then either chooses one or leaves them all. For in the spiritual world, just as in the natural world, a Christian is never allowed to have several wives, because this attacks religion and profanes it.

A similar thing happens with a wife who has had several husbands, although wives in this case do not attach themselves to their husbands. They only present themselves, and the husbands attach the wives to them.

Let it be known that husbands rarely recognize their wives, but that wives readily recognize their husbands. The reason is that women have an interior perception of love, while men have only a more superficial perception.

CL 48(2) ...

A love for the opposite sex is love for several of the opposite sex and experienced with several, whereas conjugial love is love solely for one of the opposite sex and experienced with one. Love for several and experienced with several is moreover a natural love, being shared in common with animals and birds, which are natural, while conjugial love is a spiritual love, being particular and peculiar to human beings, because human beings were created and are thus born to become spiritual. The more spiritual a person becomes, therefore, the more he divests himself of a love for the opposite sex and clothes himself in conjugial love.

It appears to begin with in marriage as though a love for the opposite sex were bound together with conjugial love. But as the marriage progresses, the two loves are separated, and then in the case of people who are spiritual, a love for the opposite sex is banished and conjugial love insinuated. In the case of those who are natural, however, the opposite occurs.

From what we have now said, it is apparent that a love for the opposite sex is impure and unchaste, because it is experienced with several and is in itself natural, being, in fact, animal, and that it is licentious, because it is promiscuous and not restricted. It is altogether different, on the other hand, with conjugial love.

CL 49. (5) If it is possible for married partners to live together, they remain partners. But if it is not possible, they separate, the husband sometimes separating from the wife, the wife sometimes from the husband, and both of them sometimes from each other. The reason separations occur after death is that unions formed on earth are seldom formed on the basis of any internal perception of love, but as the result of an external perception which conceals the internal one.

An external perception of love takes its cause and origin from such things as have to do with love of the world and love of one's own person. Love of the world is concerned primarily with wealth and possessions, and love of one's own person with positions of rank and honor. In addition to these, there are also various other attractions that entice into marriage, such as good looks and a pretended elegance of manners. Sometimes even a lack of chastity attracts.


CL 50. (6) A man is then given a suitable wife, and a woman, likewise, a suitable husband. This is because the only married couples who can be accepted into heaven so as to remain there are those who have been inwardly united, or who can be united as though into one. For married couples in heaven are not called two but one angel. This is meant by the Lord's words, that they are no longer two but one flesh.{1}

The reason these are the only married couples who can be accepted into heaven is that they are the only ones who can live together there, that is, who can be together in the same house and in the same bedroom and bed. For all those who are in heaven are associated according to the affinities and close similarities of their love, and their homes are determined accordingly. This is because there are no dimensional spaces in the spiritual world, but they have appearances of space, and these appearances are determined according to the states of their life, and their states of life are determined according to states of love.

Consequently, no one in the spiritual world can stay anywhere but in his own house, which is provided and appointed for him according to the nature of his love. If he stays anywhere else, his chest labors and he has difficulty breathing. By the same token, two people cannot live together in the same house unless they are likenesses of each other. And they cannot live together at all as married partners unless their feelings for each other are mutual. If these feelings of attraction are external and not at the same time internal, the very house or place separates them, repels them and drives them away.

So it is that, in the case of people who after preparation are introduced into heaven, marriage is provided with a partner whose soul inclines to union with the soul of the other, to the point that they do not wish to lead two lives but one. That is why, after separation, a man is given a suitable wife, and a woman, likewise, a suitable husband.

CL 51. (7) Married couples enjoy the same intimate relations with each other as in the world, only more delightful and blessed, but without begetting children. Instead of or to take the place of begetting children, they experience a spiritual procreation, which is one of love and wisdom. Married couples enjoy the same intimate relations as in the world for the reason that after death a male is still a male and a female is still a female, and an inclination to conjunction has been implanted in each of the sexes from creation. In the human being, moreover, this inclination is an inclination of the person's spirit, and of the body as a result of his spirit.

After death, therefore, when a person becomes a spirit, the same mutual inclination continues, and this would not be possible without a continuation of the same relations. For people are people as they were before, and nothing is missing from the male, and nothing from the female. They are the same as they were before in form, likewise in their affections and thoughts.

What other conclusion follows from this, then, but that they have the same intimate relations? And because conjugial love is chaste, pure and sacred, that their intimate relations are also full and complete? (But for more on this subject, see the narrative account in no. 44.)

The reason these relations are then more delightful and blessed is that when a person becomes a spirit, this love then becomes more interior and pure and so more capable of being perceived, and every delight increases with a person's perception of it, increasing even to the point that the blessedness of the love is noticed in its delight.

CL 52. The reason marriages in heaven do not result in the begetting of children, but that instead they experience a spiritual procreation, which is one of love and wisdomthe reason is that in the case of people who are in the spiritual world, a third element is missing, which is the natural element. This element is the containing vessel of spiritual things, and spiritual things without their containing vessel do not assume fixed form like those that are produced in the natural world. Also, regarded in themselves, spiritual things relate to love and wisdom. Consequently, it is spiritual things that are born of their marriages.

We say that these are born, because conjugial love perfects an angel, since it unites him with his partner so that he becomes more and more human. For, as we said above, married couples in heaven are not two but one angel. Therefore by the conjugial union they fulfill themselves in respect to their humanity, which is to want to be wise and to love what has to do with wisdom.

CL 53. (8) This is what happens in the case of people who come into heaven. It is different, however, with those who go to hell. When we say that after death a man is given a suitable wife, and a woman, likewise, a suitable husband, and that they enjoy delightful and blessed relations, but without any procreation other than a spiritual procreation, it should be understood that we are referring to people who are received into heaven and become angels. That is because these people are spiritual, and marriages are in themselves spiritual, and therefore sacred.

In contrast, however, those people who go to hell are all natural people, and merely natural marriages are not marriages, but pairings that result from unchaste lust. What these pairings are like will be told later, in the chapter on chastity and its absence,{1} and further in the chapters on licentious love.

CL 54. 2. When one partner is spiritual and the other natural, they, too, separate after death, and a suitable husband or wife is given to the spiritual partner, while the natural one is consigned to his or her like in places of lasciviousness.

3 3. Moreover, in the case of people who lived a celibate life in the world and completely turned their minds away from marriage, if they are spiritual, they remain celibate. But if they are natural, they become licentious.

It is different, however, if during their unmarried state they had wanted to marry, and still more if they had sought marriage without success. If these people are spiritual, they are provided blessed marriages, though not before they come into heaven.

4 4. In the case of people who in the world were shut away in convents and monasteries, both unmarried women and men, their cloistered life continues for some period of time after death. At the end of this time they are released and let go, and they gain the desired freedom they had prayed for, either to live married, if they wish, or not. If they wish to marry, they become married. If not, they are conveyed to other celibates at the side of heaven. Those who burned with forbidden lust, however, are cast down.

CL 55. To this I will append two narrative accounts. Here is the first:

I once heard a very sweet melody coming from heaven. The singers there were wives, and also young women, who were singing a little song together. The sweetness of the singing sounded like the harmoniously flowing affection of some love. (Heavenly songs are nothing else but voiced affections, or affections expressed and varied in musical tones. For as thoughts are expressed in spoken words, so affections are expressed in the singing of songs. Angels perceive the subject of the affection from the balance and flow of the musical variations.)

I had many spirits around me at the time, and I heard from some of them that they were listening to this very sweet melody, and that it was the melody of a some lovely affection whose subject they did not know. Therefore they began to make various guesses, but without success. Some guessed that the singing expressed the affection of a bridegroom and bride when they become engaged. Some supposed that it expressed the affection of a bridegroom and bride when they celebrate their wedding. And some thought that it expressed the early love of a husband and wife.

2 However, an angel from heaven then appeared in the midst of them, and he said that they were singing about a chaste love for the opposite sex.

But the spirits standing around asked what a chaste love for the opposite sex was.

So the angel said that it is the love of a man for a maiden or married woman beautiful in form and lovely in manners, which is free of any idea of lasciviousness, and vice versa [that is, the same sort of love of a woman for a single or married man]."

Having said that, the angel vanished.

The singing continued, and now that the spirits knew the subject of the affection that the singing expressed, they began to hear it with a great deal of variety, each in accordance with the state of his own love. Those who looked upon women chastely heard the singing as harmonious and sweet. Those, however, who looked upon women unchastely heard it as discordant and sorrowful. And those who looked upon women with repugnance heard it as harsh and grating.

3 But then, suddenly, the plain on which they were standing was turned into a theater, and they heard a voice say, "Examine and discuss this love."

Suddenly, too, spirits from various societies were present, and in the midst of them some angels in white. And the angels then addressed them saying, "We have inquired into all kinds of love in this spiritual world, not only the love of a man for a man, and of a woman for a woman, and the mutual love of a husband and wife, but also the love of a man for women, and the love of a woman for men. We have been allowed to pass through society after society as well, and to investigate, and we have not yet found the prevailing love for the opposite sex to be chaste, except in those who, because of their truly conjugial love, are in a constant state of sexual ability, and these are in the highest heavens.

"Moreover, we have also been granted to perceive an influx of this chaste love for the opposite sex into the affections of our hearts, and we felt it exceed every other love in its sweetness, except the love of two married partners whose hearts are one.

"But we pray you examine and discuss this love, because to you it is new and unknown. Also, because it is so exceedingly pleasant, in heaven we call it heavenly sweetness."

4 As they were therefore discussing it, the first to speak were spirits who could not think of chastity as applying to marriages, and they said, "When one sees a beautiful and lovely woman, maiden or married, is there anyone who can so chasten the ideas in his thought and so purify them from lust that he loves her beauty, yet without at all wishing to taste it if he could? Who can turn the instinctive lust that every man feels into chasteness like that, thus into something against his own nature, and still feel love? When love for the opposite sex enters from the eyes into the thoughts, can it stop at a woman's face? Does it not instantly descend to her breast and beyond?

"The angels have spoken nonsense, saying that a chaste love like that exists and yet is the sweetest of all loves, and that it is only possible in husbands who are in a state of truly conjugial love and who consequently possess an extraordinary sexual ability with their wives. When these husbands see beautiful women, can they hold the ideas of their thought on high any more than others, and keep them suspended, so to speak, to prevent those ideas from descending and extending to that which prompts such a love?"

5 After them, spirits spoke who were in both a state of coldness and a state of heat, in a state of coldness towards their wives and in a state of heat towards the opposite sex. And they said, "What is a chaste love for the opposite sex? Is it not a contradiction in terms when the word chastity is added to love and sex? What is left when a contradictory adjective is added but something robbed of its proper attribute, which is meaningless? How can a chaste love for the opposite sex be the sweetest of all loves when it is chastity that deprives it of its sweetness? You all know in what the sweetness of that love lies. Consequently, when the idea naturally accompanying this love is banished, where is the sweetness then, and what does it come from?"

Some others then interrupted and said, "We have been in the company of some very beautiful women, and we have not lusted. Therefore we know what a chaste love for the opposite sex is."

But their companions, who knew their lascivious natures, replied, "You were then in a state of antipathy toward the opposite sex owing to impotence, and that is not a chaste love for the opposite sex but the final result of an unchaste love."

6 Having heard these things, the angels crossly asked the spirits who were standing to the right, towards the south, to speak, and these spirits said, "There is a love between men, also a love between women, and there is the love of a man for a woman and the love of a woman for a man. And these three pairs of loves are completely different from each other.

"Love between two men is like the love between one intellect and another, for men were created and so are born to become forms of understanding.

"Love between two women is like the love between one affection and another for the understanding of men, for women were created and are born to become forms of love for the understanding of men.

"These loves, namely, the love between two men and the love between two women, do not enter deeply into their hearts, but remain outside and only touch. Thus these loves do not unite the two of them interiorly.

"That is why two men together also spar with each other with endless arguments, like two athletes boxing, and two women sometimes as well, with endless insistence on their own wishes, like two marionettes battling with their fists.

7 "On the other hand, the love between a man and a woman is a love between intellect and its affection, and this enters deeply and unites them. The union also is the love. But a union of the minds and not at the same time of the bodies, or an effort to a union of minds only, is a spiritual love and therefore a chaste love. This love is possible only in those who are in a state of truly conjugial love and who consequently possess an elevated sexuality, because men like this, out of chastity, do not permit themselves to feel an influx of love on account of the body of any other woman than their wife. And because they possess a highly elevated sexuality, they cannot help but love the opposite sex and at the same time turn their backs on anything unchaste.

"Thus they have a chaste love for the opposite sex, which regarded in itself is interior spiritual friendship. This friendship takes its sweetness from an elevated sexuality, but one that is chaste. These men have an elevated sexuality owing to their total renunciation of licentiousness. And it is chaste, because they are only in love with their wives.

"Now, then, because that love in them does not partake of the flesh but only of the spirit, it is chaste. And because the beauty of a woman, owing to the inherent attraction, enters at the same time into their mind, it is sweet."

8 On hearing this, many of those standing around put their hands to their ears, saying, "Your words hurt our ears! The things you have said are meaningless to us."

These spirits were unchaste.

Then again, the singing was heard from heaven, and now sweeter than before. But to those unchaste spirits, it grated so discordantly that because of the harshness of the discord, they threw themselves out of the theater and ran away, the few spirits remaining being those who in their wisdom loved conjugial chastity.

CL 56. The second account:

One time, while speaking with angels in the spiritual world, I was filled with a pleasant wish to see the Temple of Wisdom, which I had seen once before.{1} So I asked the angels about the way to it.

They said, "Follow the light, and you will find it."

And I said, "What do you mean, follow the light?"

They said, "Our light grows brighter the closer we get to that temple. Follow the light, therefore, in the direction it grows brighter. For our light emanates from the Lord as the sun of this world, and so, regarded in itself, that light is wisdom."

In the company of two angels I then went in the direction that the light grew brighter, and I ascended by a steep path to the top of a certain hill which was in the southern zone, where I found a magnificent gate. When the guard saw the angels with me, he opened it, and behold, I saw an avenue of palm trees and laurels, which we followed. The avenue curved around and ended up at a garden, in the middle of which stood the Temple of Wisdom.

As I looked around in the garden, I saw some smaller buildings, replicas of the temple, with wise men in them. We went over to one of the buildings, and we spoke at the entrance with the receptionist there, telling him the reason for our coming and the way we had arrived. And the receptionist said, "Welcome! Come in, have a seat, and let us spend some time together in conversations of wisdom."

2 I saw inside that the building was divided into two sections, and yet the two were still one. It was divided into two sections by a transparent partition, but it looked like one room because of the partition's transparency, which was like the transparency of the purest crystal. I asked why it was arranged like that.

The receptionist said, "I am not alone. My wife is with me, and though we are two, yet we are not two but one flesh."

To which I replied, "I know you are wise, but what does a wise man or wisdom have to do with a woman?"

At this, with some feeling of annoyance, the receptionist's expression changed, and he stretched out his hand, and suddenly, then, other wise men were present from the neighboring buildings. To them he said with amusement, "Our visitor here says he wants to know what a wise man or wisdom has to do with a woman!"

They all laughed at this and said, "What is a wise man or wisdom apart from a woman or apart from love? A wife is the love of a wise man's wisdom."

3 But the receptionist said, "Let us join together now in some conversation of wisdom. Let the conversation be about causes, today the reason for the beauty in the female sex."

So they then spoke in turn. And the first speaker gave this reason, that women were created by the Lord to be forms of affection for the wisdom in men, and affection for wisdom is beauty itself.

The second speaker gave this reason, that woman was created by the Lord through the wisdom in man, because she was created from man, and that she is therefore a form of wisdom inspired by the affection of love. And because the affection of love is life itself, a woman is a form of the life in wisdom, while the male is a form of wisdom, and the life in wisdom is beauty itself.

The third speaker presented this reason, that women have been given a perception of the delights in conjugial love. And because their whole body is an instrument of that perception, the abode where the delights of conjugial love dwell with their perception cannot help but be a form of beauty.

4 The fourth speaker gave this reason, that the Lord took beauty and grace of life from man and transferred them into woman, and that is why a man not reunited with his beauty and grace in woman is stern, severe, dry and unattractive, and also not wise except for his own sake alone, in which case he is a dunce. On the other hand, when a man is united with his beauty and grace of life in a wife, he becomes agreeable, pleasant, full of life and lovable, and therefore wise.

The fifth speaker gave this reason, that women were created to be beauties, not for their own sake, but for the sake of men, so that men's natural hardness might become softer, the natural solemnness of their dispositions more amiable, and the natural coldness of their hearts warmer. And this is what happens to them when they become one flesh with their wives.

5 The sixth speaker offered this reason, that the universe created by the Lord is a most perfect work, but nothing is created in it more perfect than a woman attractive in appearance and becoming in behavior, in order that a man may thank the Lord for such a gift and repay it by receiving wisdom from Him.

After these and several other similar views were expressed, one of the wives appeared through the crystal-like partition, and she said to her husband, "Speak, if you wish."

And when he spoke, the life in his wisdom from his wife was perceived in his speech, for her love was in the tone of his voice. Thus did experience bear witness to the truth expressed.

After this we looked at the Temple of Wisdom, and also at the things in the paradise surrounding it. And being filled with feelings of joy on account of them, we departed and went along the avenue to the gate, and so descended by the way we had come.

CL 59. Nevertheless, truly conjugial love is so rare that people do not know what it is like, and scarcely that it exists. This is because the state of happy feelings before the wedding afterwards turns into a state of indifference as these feelings become no longer felt. The reasons for this change in state are too many to be presented here, but they will be presented in a later chapter, where the reasons for states of coldness, separations and divorces are disclosed in turn.{1} It will be seen from these that in most people today, the image of conjugial love referred to above is so extinguishedand with it, knowledge of this lovethat people do not even know what it is like, and scarcely that it exists.

People know that every person is merely physical at birth, and that from being physical he becomes more and more deeply natural, and thus rational, and finally spiritual. The reason for such a progressive development is that the physical element is the soil, so to speak, in which natural, rational and spiritual qualities are planted in turn. A person thus becomes more and more human.

2 Almost the same sort of thing happens when one enters marriage. A person then becomes a more complete human being, because he is united with a partner with whom he may act as one person. In the first state, however, this is reflected in a kind of image, as mentioned before. In similar fashion he then starts from the physical element and progresses into the natural, only this time in respect to married life and so union into one.

People who in this state love the physical, natural aspects, and the rational aspects only on account of these, cannot be united with their partner as though into one, except in respect to these external aspects. When the external aspects then fade, the inward ones are invaded by coldness, which takes away the delights of this love, driving them first from the mind and so from the body, and afterwards from the body and so from the mind. And this finally reaches the point that nothing remains of their memory of the early state of their marriage, nor do they consequently retain any concept of it.

Now because this is what happens in the case of most people today, it is plain that people do not know what truly conjugial love is like, and scarcely that it exists.

It is different in the case of people who are spiritual. In their case, the first state of marriage is an introduction to continuing states of happiness, which advance as the spiritual rationality of the mind and consequently the natural sensuality of the body in one partner join and unite with these same qualities in the other. But people like this are rare.

CL 61. In the next chapter we will demonstrate that conjugial love comes from the marriage between good and truth. We only introduce the concept here to show that this love is celestial, spiritual and holy, because it comes from a celestial, spiritual and holy origin.

In order to show that conjugial love originates from the marriage between good and truth, it is useful that something be said about it in brief summary here.

We said just above that there is a union of good and truth in each and every created thing. And union does not come about without reciprocation, for union on one side and not on the other in return, of itself comes undone.

Now because there is a union of good and truth, and this a reciprocal one, it follows that there is a truth of good, or truth from good, and also a good of truth, or good from truth. In the next chapter we will show that the truth of good or truth from good exists in the male and is the essence of masculinity, and that the good of truth or good from truth exists in the female and is the essence of femininity. We will also show that there is a conjugial union between the two.

This much is mentioned here to give a preliminary idea of the concept.

CL 62. (3) There is a correspondence between this love and the marriage of the Lord and the church. In other words, as the Lord loves the church and wants the church to love Him, so a husband and wife love each other.

In the Christian world, people know there is a correspondence between these two relationships, but they do not yet know the nature of it. Therefore this correspondence will be explained in a separate chapter as well, in the chapter after next.{1} It is mentioned here in order to show that conjugial love is celestial, spiritual and holy, because it corresponds to the celestial, spiritual and holy marriage of the Lord and the church.

This correspondence also follows from the origin of conjugial love from the marriage between good and truth, referred to under the preceding heading, because the church in a person is a marriage of good and truth. For a marriage of good and truth is the same thing as a marriage of charity and faith, since good is a matter of charity and truth is a matter of faith. One cannot help but recognize that this marriage forms the church, because it is a universal truth, and every universal truth is acknowledged as soon as it is heard, which occurs as a result of the Lord's influx and, at the same time, the affirmation of heaven.

Now, since the church is the Lord's, being from the Lord, and since conjugial love corresponds to the marriage of the Lord and the church, it follows that this love comes from the Lord.

CL 76. The second account:

The next day the same angel came to me and said, "Would you like me to take and accompany you to the peoples who lived in the silver age or period, so that we may hear from them about the marriages of their time?" He also said that these people, too, could not be approached except under the Lord's guidance.

I was in the spirit as before, and I went with my guide. And we came first to a hill in the border region between the east and the south. Then, as we stood upon its slope, he showed me a far extended stretch of land, and we saw in the distance an elevation like that of a mountain. Between it and the hill on which we stood was a valley, and beyond that a level area, and after that a gently rising incline.

We descended from the hill to cross the valley, and here and there on each side we saw blocks of wood and stone carved into the shapes of people and various kinds of animals, birds and fish. So I asked the angel, "What are these? Are they idols?"

And he answered, "Not at all. They are figures representative of various moral virtues and spiritual truths. Among the peoples of this age there was a knowledge of correspondences. Since every person, animal, bird and fish corresponds to some quality, therefore each carving represents some aspect of a virtue or truth, and a group of them taken together represents the whole virtue or truth in a general, extended form. They are what in Egypt were called hieroglyphics."

2 We continued through the valley, and as we entered the level area, suddenly we saw horses and chariotshorses with variously decorated harnesses and halters, and chariots variously shaped, some carved out like eagles, some like whales, and some like stags with horns, or like unicorns. At the end we also saw some wagons, and stables around at the sides. But when we drew near, both the horses and the chariots disappeared, and instead of them we saw people in couples and pairs, walking, talking and reasoning together.

The angel then said to me, "The various horses, chariots and stablesas they seem at a distanceare appearances expressive of the rational intelligence of the people of this age. For by correspondence a horse symbolizes an understanding of truth; a chariot, its accompanying doctrine; and stables, sources of instruction. You know that in this world, all things take on appearances according to correspondences."

3 We went on by these things, however, and we ascended by a long incline, until at last we saw a city, which we entered. As we wandered through it, from the streets and public squares we observed its houses. They were all palaces, built out of marble. In front they had steps of alabaster, with columns of jasper on each side of the steps. We also saw temples made of precious stone the color of sapphire and lapis lazuli.

The angel said to me, "They have houses made of different kinds of stone because stones symbolize natural truths, and precious stones symbolize spiritual truths. The people who lived in the silver age all had their intelligence from spiritual truths and so from natural truths. Silver also has a similar symbolism."

4 As we surveyed the city, we saw married couples here and there in pairs; and since they were husbands and wives, we waited to see if we would be invited in somewhere. Even as we had this in mind, moreover, as we were passing by, two of them called us back into their house. So we went up the steps and went in. Then, speaking with them on my behalf, the angel explained the reason for our coming to that heaven, saying that we had come to be instructed concerning marriages among ancient peoples"you here being some of them," he said.

They then replied, "We come from peoples in Asia, and the focus of our age was the pursuit of truths, by which we acquired intelligence. This pursuit was the focus of our soul and mind. But the focus of our physical senses was on representations of truths in forms, and a study of correspondences combined the sensory interests of our bodies with the perceptions of our minds, gaining for us intelligence."

5 Hearing this, the angel asked them to tell us something about marriages among them.

So the husband said, "There is a correspondence between the spiritual marriage, which is a marriage of truth with good, and natural marriage, which is the marriage of a man with one wife. And because we have studied correspondences, we see that the church with its truths and goods can by no means exist except in people who live with one wife in a state of truly conjugial love. For a marriage of good and truth in a person is the church in him.

"Consequently, we who are here all say that a husband is a form of truth, and his wife a form of good, and that good cannot love any other truth than its own truth, nor can truth love any other good in return than its own good. If it were to love another, the inner marriage that forms the church would die, and the marriage would become merely externalthe kind of marriage that idolatry corresponds to, not the church. Therefore we call marriage with one wife a sacred union, but if it were contracted with more than one among us, we would call it a sacrilege."

6 Saying this, he showed us into an anteroom outside the bedroom, which had a number of works of art on the walls and little images apparently cast out of silver. I then asked what they were.

They said, "They are pictures and forms representing the many qualities, attributes and delights which have to do with conjugial love. These ones here represent the unity of souls; these other ones, the conjunction of minds; the ones there, the harmony of hearts; those over there, the delights arising as a result."

While we were looking, we saw on the wall a kind of rainbow, consisting of three colors, purple, blue, and bright white. And we saw how the purple color passed through the blue and tinted the white with a purplish blue hue, and that the latter color flowed back through the blue into the purple and raised it into a kind of flaming radiance.

7 Then the husband said to me, "Do you understand it?"

And I said, "Instruct me."

So he said, "The purple by its correspondence symbolizes the conjugial love of the wife; the bright white, the intelligence of the husband; the blue, the beginning of conjugial love in the husband's perception from the wife; and the purplish blue, which tinted the white, conjugial love then in the husband. This latter color's flowing back through the blue into the purple and raising it into a kind of flaming radiance symbolizes the conjugial love of the husband flowing back to the wife. Things like these are represented on these walls whenever we reflect on conjugial love, its mutual, progressive and simultaneous union, and then look closely at the rainbows exhibited there."

At this I said, "Things like this today are more than mysteries, for they are of a representational type, representing the secrets of the conjugial love of one man with one wife."

He replied, "So they are, but to us here they are not secrets, and therefore not mysteries."

8 When he said this, a chariot appeared in the distance drawn by white ponies, and seeing it, the angel said, "That chariot is a signal for us to depart."

Then as we were going down the steps, our host gave us a cluster of white grapes with leaves from the vine still attached, and suddenly the leaves turned silver. And we took them away with us as a memento that we had spoken with people of the silver age.

CL 79. The fifth account:

The same angel as before, who had been my guide and companion to the ancient peoples who had lived in the four ages called golden, silver, copper and ironthe same angel appeared again and said to me, "You would like to see the age that followed those ancient ages, to find out what it was like, and what it is still like today. Follow me, then, and you will see. These are the people of whom Daniel prophesied when he said:

(A kingdom will arise after those other four, in which iron will be mixed with miry clay.) They will mingle together through the seed of man, but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. (Daniel 2:41-43)"

The angel added, "The seed of man, through which iron will be mingled with clay, and yet without their adhering togetherthis seed means the truth of the Word falsified."

2 After these words I followed him, and on the way he told me this. "They live," he said, "in the border region between the south and the west, but at a great distance beyond those who lived in the previous four ages, and also deeper down."

So we continued through the south to a region bordering on the west, and we passed through a dreadful forest. For we found pools of water there from which crocodiles raised their heads, gaping at us with jaws open wide and showing their teeth. And between the pools we saw horrible dogs, some of them with three heads like Cerberus, some of them with two heads, all of them with hideous mouths and watching us with savage eyes as we passed by. Entering the western part of this area, we also saw dragons and leopards, like the ones described in the book of Revelation, chapters 12:3 and 13:2.

3 Then the angel said to me, "All these wild beasts you have seen are not beasts but correspondent and thus representative forms of the lusts that motivate the inhabitants we are going to visit. Those hideous dogs represent the lusts themselves; the crocodiles, their deceits and deceptions; the dragons and leopards, their falsities and corrupt feelings towards things that have to do with worship.

"The inhabitants thus represented, however, do not live just the other side of the forest, but beyond a great desert that lies between, to keep them completely away and separate from the inhabitants of the preceding ages. Moreover, they are altogether alientotally different from those other people. Indeed, they have heads above their breasts, breasts above their loins, and loins above their feet, like the earliest people. But there is not a bit of gold in their heads, or of silver in their breasts, or of bronze in their loins. In fact, there is not a bit of just plain iron in their feet. Instead, they have iron mixed with clay in their heads, both of these mixed with bronze in their breasts, both of these also mixed with silver in their loins, and these mixed with gold in their feet.

"By this inversion they have been transformed from human beings into caricatures of human beings, in which nothing inwardly holds together. For what had been uppermost has become lowermost, so that what was the head has become the heel, and vice versa. Viewed from heaven, they look to us like play-actors who turn their bodies upside down, support themselves on their elbows and thus move about. Or they look like animals that lie upside down on their backs, raise their feet in the air, and, digging their heads into the ground, from that position look up at the sky."

4 We passed through the forest and proceeded into the desert, which was no less horrible. It consisted of piles of rocks, with pits in between, out of which crept poisonous snakes and vipers and from which flew fiery serpents.

This whole desert kept sloping downward, and we descended by a long decline, until at last we came to a valley inhabited by the people of that region and age. We saw huts here and there, which finally appeared to come together and be joined into the form of a city.

We went into the city, and behold, the houses were constructed out of charred tree branches mortared together with clay. The roofs were made of black tiles. The streets were irregular, all narrow at first, but widening as they went, becoming finally quite broad and terminating in squares. Consequently there were as many squares as there were streets.

Darkness fell as we entered the city, because the sky was not visible. We looked up, therefore, and we were given light by which to see.

I then asked the people I encountered, "Can you see, since the sky does not appear above you?"

And they replied, "What sort of question is this? We see clearly. We walk in full light."

Hearing this the angel said to me, "Darkness to them is light, and light to them is darkness, as it is for nocturnal birds. For they look downwards instead of upwards."

5 We went into some of the shacks here and there, and in each we saw a man with his woman. And we asked whether all of them here lived each in his own house with only one wife.

But they replied to this with a hiss, "What do you mean, with only one wife? Why not ask whether we live with only one harlot? What is a wife but a harlot?

"According to our laws we are not allowed to commit whoredom with more than just one woman, but still it is not dishonorable or shameful for us to do so with more than one, provided we do it away from the house. We boast about it with each other! In this way we enjoy license and its pleasure more than polygamists do.

"Why is having more than one wife denied to us, when it has been permitted in the past and is permitted today in the whole world around us? What is life with just one woman but captivity and imprisonment?

"But here we break open the bar of this prison and so rescue ourselves from slavery and set ourselves free. Who is angry with a prisoner if he liberates himself when he can?"

6 To this we replied, "You speak, my friend, like one devoid of religion. What person endowed with any power of reason does not know that adulterous affairs are profane and hellish, and that marriages are sacred and heavenly? Are not adulterous relationships found among devils in hell, and marriages among angels in heaven? Have you not read the sixth commandment in the Decalogue? And in Paul, that adulterers can by no means come into heaven?{1}"

At this our host laughed heartily, and he looked on me as a simpletonalmost, even, as insane.

But at that very moment a messenger came running from the headman of the city and said, "Bring the two strangers to the city square, and if they will not come voluntarily, drag them there! We saw them under the dark cover of daylight. They have come here in secret. They are spies!"

The angel then said to me, "The reason we seemed to be under dark cover is that we were in the light of heaven, and the light of heaven to them is darkness, while the darkness of hell to them is light. This is because they regard nothing as sinful, not even adultery, and consequently they see falsity altogether as truth. Falsity shines with light in hell, in the eyes of satanic spirits, while truth darkens their eyes like the gloom of night."

7 Then we said to the messenger, "We will not be forced, still less dragged to the city square, but we will go with you voluntarily."

So we went, and behold, we found a great crowd there. From it came some lawyers who whispered in our ear, "Take care that you do not say anything against religion, against our form of government, or contrary to good manners."

But we kept answering, "We will only speak in favor of them and in accordance with them."

Then we asked, "What is your religion in regard to marriage?"

At this the crowd began to murmur, and they said, "What concern do you have here with marriage? Marriages are marriages."

So we asked a second time, "What is your religion in regard to licentious relationships?"

At this the crowd began to murmur again, saying, "What concern do you have here with licentious relationships? Illicit affairs are illicit affairs. He who is without guilt, let him throw the first stone.{2}"

So we asked a third time, "Does your religion teach regarding marriages that they are sacred and heavenly, and regarding adulterous affairs that they are profane and hellish?"

In response to this many in the crowd guffawed, mocked, and jeered, saying, "Ask our priests about matters of religion, not us. We accept without comment whatever they say, since nothing of religion falls within the ability of the understanding to judge. Have you not heard that the understanding is devoid of reason in the mysteries on which the whole of religion is based?

"Besides, what do our actions have to do with religion? Is it not the pious murmurings of the heart that makes souls blessed murmurings about expiation, satisfaction and imputation and not works?"

8 But then some of the so-called wise men of the city came over and said, "Get away from here. The crowd is becoming inflamed. There will be a riot in a minute. Let us talk about this by ourselves. There is an alley behind the courthouse. Let us go back there. Come with us."

So we followed. And then they asked us where we came from and what our business was there.

We said, "We have come to be instructed about marriage, to find out whether or not marriages among you are sacred unions as they were among the ancient peoples who lived in the golden, silver and copper ages."

But they replied, "What do you mean, sacred unions? Are they not deeds of the flesh and the night?"

Then we began to answer, "Are they not also deeds of the spirit? And what the flesh does impelled by the spirit, is that not spiritual? Moreover, everything that the spirit does, it does from a marriage of goodness and truth. Is it not this spiritual marriage which enters into the natural marriage that exists between husband and wife?"

To this the so-called wise men replied, "You probe and refine the matter too much. You leap over rational considerations to spiritual ones. Who can begin there, then descend and thus form a judgment about anything?" To which they added sarcastically, "Perhaps you have the wings of an eagle and can soar to the uppermost regions of the sky and look down on such matters. But we cannot."

9 So we then asked them to tell us, from the height or region to which the ideas of their minds flew aloft, whether they knew or were able to know that such a thing exists as the conjugial love of one man with one wife, into which have been gathered all the blessings, felicities, delights, gratifications and pleasures of heaven. Moreover, that this love comes from the Lord according to people's reception of goodness and truth from Him, thus according to the state of the church.

10 Hearing this they turned away and said, "These men are crazy. They go into outer space with their rational faculties, form empty conjectures and shower us with nutty speculations."

Afterwards they turned around to us and said, "We will give a straight answer to your airy conjectures and dreams."

Then they said, "What does conjugial love have in common with religion and with being inspired by God?

"Does that love not exist in everyone according to the condition of his sexual powers? Is it not found among people who are outside the church as well as among people who are in the church? Among gentiles as well as among Christians? In fact, among impious people as well as among pious ones?

"Does the vigor of that love in everyone not come either from heredity, or from good health, or from temperance of life, or from the warmth of the climate? And can it not also be strengthened and stimulated by drugs?

"Is the same love not found in animals, especially in birds which mate in pairs? Is that love not a matter of the flesh? What does a matter of the flesh have to do with the spiritual state of the church?

"Does that love with a wife in its ultimate expression differ one bit from love with a harlot in its ultimate expression? Is the lust not the same, and the delight the same?

"It is harmful, therefore, to trace the origin of conjugial love from the sacred things of the church."

11 When we heard this we said to them, "You are reasoning from the heat of lasciviousness and not from conjugial love. You do not know at all what conjugial love is because among you that love is cold. We are convinced by what you have said that you come from the age that is named after and consists of iron and clay, which do not cohere, according to the prophecy in Daniel 2:43. For you make conjugial love and licentious love the same thing. Can these two cohere any more than iron and clay? People believe you are wise and call you wise, yet you are anything but wise!"

Inflamed with anger at these words, they began to cry out and call the crowd to throw us out. But then, by a power given us by the Lord, we stretched out our hands, and suddenly fiery serpents, vipers and poisonous snakes came from the desert, and dragons, too, and they invaded and filled the city, so that the inhabitants became frightened and fled away.

And the angel said to me, "New people keep coming from earth to this region every day, and the previous inhabitants are by turns removed and cast down into chasms in the west, which at a distance look like lakes of fire and brimstone. The people there are all adulterers, both spiritually and naturally."

The Doctrine of Conjugial Love explained here

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