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Further : when anyone goes from one place to another, whether it be in his own city, in the courts, or the gardens, or to others out of his own city, he arrives sooner when he has a strong desire to be there, and later when his desire is less strong; the way itself being length. ened or shortened according to his desire of arrival. Hence again it is evident that distances, and consequently spaces, exist with the angels altogether according to the state of their minds.
These principles settle that often asked question, “Shall we know each other in the future life?” We shall, if we are in the same state as to love and truth; but if in different states, we shall not, but shall be separate ; and, moreover, we shall have no desire for acquaintance. The only friendships in heaven are those formed on the ground of similarity of character. If this similarity do not exist, - with the exception perhaps of a short meeting in the world of spirits, death is au everlasting, though in such case not a mournful, farewell.
There are governments in heaven, various according to the varied classes of mind which compose the heavenly societies. ment of mutual love is the only government which exists in heaven. Governors in heaven are distinguished by love and wisdom more than others, and by willing well to all from love; and knowing, from their superior wisdom, how to realize the good they purpose. They do not domineer, and command imperiously, but minister and serve : not making themselves greater than others, but less ; for they put their own good last, and the good of their society first: nevertheless they enjoy honour and glory; for they dwell in the midst of their society, in a more elevated situation than others, and inhabit magnificent palaces ; but they accept glory and honour, not for the sake of themselves, but for the sake of obedience; for all in heaven know that they enjoy honour and glory from the Lord, and that therefore they ought to be obeyed. These are the things which are meant by the Lord's words to his disciples : “Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant; even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.”—Matthew 20. 27, 28. “He that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger : and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.”—Luke 22. 26. A similar government prevails also in every house in heaven ; for in every house there is a master, and there are servants, the master loving the servants, and the servants loving the master, so that they serve each other from love.
The master teaches the servants how they ought to live, and directs what they ought to do, while the servants obey, and perform their duties.
Divine worship performed in heaven, is much the same in externals, as on earth. In the heavens, as on earth, there are doctrines, preachings, and temples. As the angels have houses and palaces, so also they have temples in which preaching is performed. Such things exist in heaven because the angels are continually perfecting in wisdom and love. But real divine worship in the heavens does not consist, any more than on earth, in frequenting temples, and hearing sermons, but in a life of love and usefulness; sermons and prayers being only means whereby the mind is enlightened to perform its various duties. “To work is to pray,” is a heavenly precept, which we should all do well to engrave upon our hearts.
The sermons of heaven are fraught with such wisdom that nothing of the kind in the world can be compared with them. They are all drawn from the Word. The same Bible that we read here, the angels read in heaven, but to them it is a very different book from that which it is to us.
Where we read and think of earthly and material things, they read and think of spiritual and divine things. To them its spiritual and celestial senses are as open as the natural sense is to us. From the Word they derive their highest wisdom ; and through continual converse with it, they grow wiser and wiser day by day. The Word is the wisdom of the Lord, and eternity cannot exhaust it.
All infants go to heaven, whether born within the church or out of it; whether of pious parents or wicked ones. When infants die, they are still infants in the other life. They are not angels, but become angels. Everyone, on his decease, is in a similar state of life to that in which he was in the world; an infant in a state of infancy, a boy in a state of boyhood, and a youth, a man, or an old man, in the state of youth, of manhood, or of age ; but the state of everyone is afterwards changed. As soon as infants are raised from the dead, which takes place immediately after decease, they are carried up into heaven, and delivered to the care of angels of the female sex, who in the life of the body loved infants tenderly, and at the same time loved God. By these good angels, they are educated and brought up until they attain a suitable age, when they are transferred to other teach
They grow up and become young men and women ; are instructed in wisdom, and trained in the duties of the heavenly life, and when their character is fully developed, they become settled in some society, either of the celestial or spiritual kingdom, in agreement with their inherited genius or disposition. What a delightful faith is this! Do not its beauty and rationality prove its truthfulness ?
Many persons imagine that infants are for ever infants in heaven, and that there is indeed something infantile about all angels.
This idea probably arises from the pictures which are frequently seen, in which angels are drawn as infants. But this is a great mistake. Children in heaven grow up into youth, and the old come into all juvenile freshness. They who are in heaven are continually advancing to the spring time of life, and the more thousands of years they live, the more delightful and happy is the spring to which they attain ; and this progression goes on to eternity. Good women who have died old and worn out with age, after a succession of years come more and
more into the flower of youth, and into a beauty which exceeds all the conceptions of beauty which can be formed from what the eye has In a word, to grow old in heaven is to grow young.
It is worthy of note, that the human form of every man after death, is beautiful in proportion as his love and practice of divine truths is interior. The angels of the inmost heaven are consequently the most beautiful, because their love of truth is the deepest, and their lives are the most perfect. “I have seen,” says Swedenborg, “the faces of angels of the third heaven, which were so beautiful, that no painter, with the utmost power of art, could depict even a thousandth part of their light and life; but the faces of the angels of the lowest heaven may, in some measure, be adequately depicted.
It is a thought too common in the world that heaven is a place of idleness, full of mere refined sensual delights, of pleasant sights and harmonious sounds; in short, some such place as a laborious trades. man, struggling for a fortune, fancies he shall enjoy when his gains shall have enabled him to "retire.” But this is a great mistake. Man's nature remains the same in heaven as on earth; and who has not felt that his happiest moments are not those of mere pleasure and idleness, but those in which he was rendering himself most eminently useful? Happiness in heaven is as little consonant with idleness as on earth. Jesus himself said, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.”—John 5. 17. The angels are employed. All the delights of heaven are conjoined with uses, and are inherent in them. In proportion to an angel's usefulness, is his bliss. Some spirits, we read, conceived the opinion that heavenly happiness consisted in a life of ease, and in being served by others; but they were told that happiness by no means consists in mere rest from employment, because everyone would then desire to take away the happiness of others to promote his own; and since all would have the same desire, none would be happy : that such a life would not be active but indolent, and that indolence makes life torpid: and that without activity there can be no happiness, and that cessation from employment is only for the sake of recreation, that a man may return, with new vigour, to the activity of his life. They who entertained the idea that heavenly joy consists in a life of indolence, and sucking in eternal delight without employment, were allowed some experience of such a life;
and they perceived that it is most sorrowful, and that all joy being destroyed, they would after a time loathe and nauseate it.
Some spirits who believed that heavenly joy consists solely in praising and celebrating God, were instructed that to praise and celebrate God is not properly an active life; and that God has no need of praise and celebration. The Lord's will is that all should perform nses, and the angels testify that in the performance of good works is the highest freedom, conjoined with ineffable delights.
From all this it follows that heaven is full of employments, in com. parison with which those of the world are few. There are societies whose occupation consists in taking care of infants ; other societies, whose employment is to instruct and educate them as they grow up; others which in like manner instruct and educate the young; others which instruct the simply good from the Christian world, and lead them in the ways of heaven; others which perform the same office to Gentile nations ; others which defend novitiate spirits, or those who are newly arrived from the world, from the infestations of evil spirits ; some also are attendant on those who are preparing in the world of spirits for heaven ; and some are present with those who are in hell, to restrain them from tormenting each other beyond limit : there are also others who attend those who are being raised from the dead. In general, angels of every society are sent to men, that they may guard them, and withdraw them from exil affections and consequent evil thoughts, and inspire them with good affections, so far as they are willing to receive them. All these employments are performed by the Lord through their instrumentality, and hence it is that by angels in the Word, in its internal sense, are not meant angels, but something of the Lord ; and for the same reason, angels in the Word are called gods.
These employments of the angels are their general employments, but everyone has his own particular duty ; for every general use is composed of innumerable others which are called mediate, ministering, and subservient uses. But in heaven there are so many offices that it is impossible to enumerate them on account of their multitude. All angels feel delight in their employment derived from the love of use, and none from the love of self or of gain ; nor is anyone influenced by the love of gain for the sake of his maintenance, because all the necessaries of life are freely given them; their habitations, their clothes, their food.
It is De Quincey, we think, who accuses Swedenborg of sensualizing heaven, and reducing its sublime glories to the common order of things in this world. The assertion could only have been made through want of a practical acquaintance with the writings of Swedenborg No one can use the words (Isaiah 64. 4,) quoted by the Apostle, (1 Cor. 2. 9,)“ Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him," with more fervour and truth than the New Church preacher. Everywhere we are told by Swedenborg, that the joys and delights of heaven transcend the highest power of language to express ; everywhere we are told that our highest ideas formed from natural things, fall indefinitely short of the common realities of the heavenly life. Yet we also learn that the common humanities and pleasures of this life are not lost in the next, and that as men and
women we carry with us to our eternal home every faculty of thought and affection we possess here. In this most rational doctrine there is gain every way. In thinking of heaven we know we can never overrate its bliss, think as we will; and yet with this idea is associated nothing of dreamy vagueness.
We feel that as we live well we are but walking onwards to a pleasant home, in which all that is truest and best in this life will go with us. What stronger incentive can a man have to a pure and igious life than this divine faith. Entertaining it, with what feeling may he, at the close of life, utter the poet's words,
“ Draw near, sweet death; Come raise me into life!" The condition of admission to heaven is the possession of a soul whose existence is a continual fulfilment of those two commandments on which the Lord says, “hang all the law and the prophets ;”-love to God, and love to man. To enter heaven, we must habitually place self last, and our neighbour first; and unless we can do this, we can never know eternal bliss. Now we are born into this world selfish, and hence it is truly said we are hereditarily depraved. It is the Divine will to take all to heaven. To do this it is necessary that we should be divested of our corrupt hereditary nature ; as the Lord said to Nicodemus, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”—This regeneration of mind, this change from a supreme love of self, to a supreme love of God and our neighbour, is, of necessity, a gradual work. It is not accomplished in a day, nor in a month, nor in a year. Like all Divine works, it proceeds gradually, step by step; “first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. The regeneration of man is a Divine work, and as the Divine end in the creation of man was the formation of heaven out of the human race, the Lord's providence is unceasingly exerted to draw man out of evil, by all means consonant with the maintenance of the inalienable freedom of his will. It thus follows that the Lord, in all his dealings with man, has respect solely to his eternal state, and amid all the apparent accidents and vicissitudes of life, he is present, bending them and making them all conduce to man's everlasting peace.
Life in this world, its cares, trials, pleasures, comforts, friendships, sympathies, and affections, form the divinely appointed regenerative process, and those who will only believe this great truth, and submit to the Divine leading, will encounter nothing in life but what is good for them; and existence here, however bitter and painful at times, will resolve itself into a series of lessons devised by infinite wisdom to uproot all latent and known evils, transforming the patient sufferer into a true child of God. The Lord permits one man to be rich, powerful, and famous, and another to be afflicted with disease and perplexed with poverty; one to have a settled and calm