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True Christian Religion, by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1771], tr. by John C. Ager [1906] at

True Christian Religion


And the reason why the Dutch occupy those quarters of the Christian center is that business is their final love, and money a mediate love subservient thereto; and such a love is spiritual. But where money is the final love and business a mediate love subservient thereto, as with the Jews, that love is natural and springs from avarice. The love of business,- when final, is spiritual, because of its use, in that it subserves the common good to which indeed the man's own good is closely conjoined and appears to him to be of more importance than the common good, because he thinks from his natural man. Nevertheless, when business is an end, the love of it is also the end, and in heaven everyone is regarded in accordance with his final love; for the final love may be likened to the ruler of a kingdom or the master of a house, and the other loves to their subjects or servants. Moreover, the final love has its seat in the highest or inmost parts of the mind, while the mediate loves are below it or outside of it, and subservient to its every nod. The Dutch are in that spiritual love more than any others. But the Jews are in that love inverted; consequently their love of business is purely natural, containing within it nothing of the common good, but solely their own good.


The Dutch cling more firmly than others to the principles of their religion, nor are they to be moved from them. Even when they are convinced that this or that does not agree with their belief, they refuse to admit it, and turn away and remain unmoved. Thus they separate themselves from any interior intuition of truth, keeping their reason closely under obedience. Such being their character, when, after death, they enter the spiritual world they are prepared in a peculiar manner to receive the spiritual things of heaven, which are Divine truths. They are not taught truths, because they do not receive; but the nature of heaven is described to them, and after that they are permitted to ascend thither and see it; and whatever is then in harmony with their genius is infused into them, and being sent down in this state they return to their companions with a full desire for heaven. [2] If they do not then receive the truth that God is one in Person and in Essence, and that the Lord the Redeemer and Savior is this God, and that in Him is the Divine trinity, also this truth, that faith and charity in knowledge and in speech, apart from a life of faith and charity, are of no effect, and that the Lord bestows these when man after self-examination repents; - if when they are taught these truths they still turn away from them, and still think of God as existent in three Persons, and of religion as a fact merely, they are brought into a miserable condition, and their business is taken away from them, even until they find themselves reduced to extremities. They are then conducted to those who, because they are in Divine truths, abound in all things, and among whom business flourishes; and there the thought is insinuated into them from heaven, "Why is it that these people are so prosperous?" At the same time they are led to reflect upon the faith and life of such, in that they are averse to evils as sins; and having thought carefully about the matter they perceive a harmony with their own thought and reflection. This is repeated at intervals. At length, they are brought to think that if they are freed from their misery they must believe in a like manner; and then, as they accept that belief and live that life of charity, riches and a happy life are given to them. [3] In this manner those who have to some extent lived a life of charity in the world, are of themselves reformed and prepared for heaven. Afterwards they come to excel in constancy to the extent that they might be called constances; and they do not permit themselves to be led away by any reasoning or fallacy or obscurity induced by sophistry, or by any mere confirmations arising from any absurd points of view; for they become more clear-sighted than before.


The teachers who instruct in their lyceums study the mysteries of the prevailing faith very intently, especially those who are there called Cocceians; and because the dogma of predestination springs inevitably from those mysteries, and, moreover, has been established by the Synod of Dort, it also is sown and planted there, as seed from the fruit of any tree is planted in a field. Because of this the laity talk much among themselves about predestination; but in different ways; some grasping it with both their hands, some with one only, laughing at it, and some hurl it from them as a snaky lizard; for they know nothing of the mysteries of the faith from which that viper was hatched. These mysteries they are ignorant of, because they are intent upon their business; and while these mysteries do indeed touch their understanding, they do not penetrate it. Therefore the dogma of predestination among the laity, and even among the clergy, is like an image in the human form placed on a rock in the sea, with a large shell glittering like gold in its hand, at the sight of which some captains sailing past lower their sails as a mark of honor and reverence; some merely wink at it and salute it; while some hiss at it as at something ludicrous. It is also an unknown bird from India placed on a high tower, which some swear is a turtledove, some guess is a cock, and others loudly affirm that it, is certainly an owl.


The Dutch are easily distinguished from others in the spiritual world, because they appear in garments like those they wear in the natural world, with the difference that those who have received faith and spiritual life are more elegantly clad. They appear in like garments because they hold steadfastly to the principles of their religion, and in accordance with those principles all in the spiritual world are clad; and therefore those there who are in Divine truths have white garments and garments of fine linen.


The cities in which the Dutch dwell are guarded in a peculiar manner. All the streets are roofed and have gates in them, in order that no one may see into them from the rocks and hills round about. This arises from their innate prudence in not disclosing their counsels or divulging their intentions; for in the spiritual world such things are drawn out by investigation. When anyone comes with the intention of examining into their state, he is led, when he withdraws, to the closed gates of the streets, and then led back and led to other gates until he becomes greatly annoyed, and then he is let out. This is to prevent his return. Wives who desire to rule over their husbands dwell at one side of the city and meet their husbands only when they are invited, and that is done in a civil manner. The husbands then take them to houses where marriage partners live who do not exercise authority one over the other, and show them how beautiful and clean the houses of such are, and how happy their lives, and that all this comes from mutual and marriage love. Those wives who give attention to these things and are influenced by them leave off exercising authority and live with their husbands; and they then have dwellings given them nearer to the center of the city, and are called angels. This is because true marriage love is heavenly love which is without dominion.


THE ENGLISH IN THE SPIRITUAL WORLD. There are two states of thought in man, an external and an internal; in the external state he is in the natural world, in the internal in the spiritual world. In the good these states make one, but not in the evil. Man's internal nature is rarely manifest in the world, because from infancy he has learned to be moral and rational, and loves to appear such. But in the spiritual world it is clearly manifest what his nature is, for man is then a spirit, and a spirit is the internal man. And since it has been granted me to be in that world, and there to see the internal nature of men from different kingdoms of the world, I feel it necessary, because of its importance, to make this known.


As to the English nation, the better ones among them are at the center of all Christians, because they have an interior intellectual light; a light that is not manifest to anyone in the natural world, but it is clearly manifest in the spiritual world. This light they acquire from their freedom of speech and of the press, and consequent freedom of thought. With others, who have not such freedom, that light is suppressed because it has no outlet. It is true that such light is not active of itself, but it is rendered active by others, especially by men of repute and authority. As soon as anything is said by them, the light shines forth. For this reason governors are appointed over the English in the spiritual world, and priests are given them who are men of celebrity and of eminent ability, whose judgment they accept because of this inherent quality.


They possess also a similarity of disposition, which leads them to become closely attached to friends who are of their own nation, but rarely to others; they also aid each other; they love sincerity; they are lovers of their country and are zealous for her glory. They look upon foreigners as one, from the roof of his own palace, might look with a spy-glass at persons dwelling outside of a city, or wandering about there. The political affairs of their kingdom occupy their minds and possess their hearts, sometimes so far as to withdraw their minds from studies of loftier inquiry, by which a higher intelligence is acquired. It is true that these studies are eagerly pursued in youth by those who give attention to them in the schools; but they pass away as transient things. Nevertheless their rationality is quickened by these studies, and sparkles with a light by which they form beautiful images, as a glass prism turned toward the sun forms a rainbow, and paints it in glowing colors on a plane surface fixed to receive it.


There are two large cities like London, to which most of the English go after death. I was permitted to see one of these and to walk through it. Where in London the merchants meet, which is called the Exchange, there in that city is the center where its governors reside. Above that center is the east, below it is the west; on the right is the south, and on the left the north. In the eastern quarter those dwell who have lived a life of charity in a greater degree than others; here are magnificent palaces. In the southern quarter the wise dwell, and among them there is much splendor. In the northern quarter those dwell who more than others have loved freedom of speech and the press. In the western quarter those dwell who deal in justification by faith alone. On the right in this latter quarter there is an entrance to the city and also an exit therefrom; and those who live wickedly are here put out of the city. The preachers who live in the western quarter and teach the doctrine of faith alone, do not dare to enter the city by the large streets, but only through the narrow alleys, because none but those who believe in charity are tolerated in the city proper. I have heard them complaining of the preachers from the west, that they composed their sermons with so much art and eloquence, secretly weaving into them the doctrine of justification by faith, that they did not know whether good ought to be done or not. They preach that faith inwardly is a good, and this good they distinguish from the good of charity, which they call good that claims a merit, and therefore not acceptable to God. But when those who dwell in the eastern and southern quarters of the city hear such sermons they leave the churches, and the preachers are afterward deprived of the priestly office.


I afterward heard many reasons why those preachers were deprived of their office. I was told that the chief reason is, that they did not prepare their sermons from the Word and thus from the Spirit of God, but from their own rational light, and thus from their own spirit. They begin, indeed, as a prelude, with a text from the Word; but this they merely touch with their lips, and then abandon as tasteless, immediately selecting something savory from their own intelligence, which they roll about in their mouths and turn over upon their tongues as something delicious. Such is their teaching. It was said that as a consequence there was no more spirituality in their sermons than in the songs of birds, and that they were merely allegorical adornments, like wigs beautifully curled and powdered on bald heads. The mysteries of their discourses on justification by faith alone were likened to the quails brought up from the sea and strewn about the camps of the children of Israel (Num. 11), because of which several thousand persons died; while the theology of charity and faith together were likened to the manna from heaven. I once heard their preachers talking together about faith alone; and I saw a kind of image formed by them, which represented their faith alone. In their light, which was the light of hallucination, this appeared like a great giant; but when light from heaven was let in upon it, it appeared like a monster above and a serpent below. Seeing this, they withdrew, and the bystanders threw the image into a pond.


The other great city, also called London, is not in the Christian center, but at some distance to the north. Into it those pass after death who are interiorly wicked. In the center of it there is an open communication with hell, by which they are at times swallowed up.


From those in the spiritual world who were from England it was seen that they have two kinds of theology, one derived from their doctrine of faith, and the other from their doctrine of charity; the former is held by those who are initiated into the priesthood, and the latter by the laity, especially those who dwell in Scotland and on its borders. With these latter the believers in faith alone are afraid to engage in argument, because they combat them both from the Word and from reason. This doctrine of charity is set forth in the exhortation read in the churches on the Sabbath day to those who approach the sacrament of the holy supper. In that exhortation it is openly declared that if they are not in charity and do not shun evils as sins, they cast themselves into eternal damnation; and if in such a state they approach the holy communion, the devil will enter into them as he did into Judas.


THE GERMANS IN THE SPIRITUAL WORLD. It is known that the natives of a kingdom that is divided into several provinces are not alike in genius, but differ from each other in particular ways as the inhabitants of the earth's different climates do in general ways, and yet that a common genius prevails among those who are under one king, and therefore under one code of laws. As to Germany it is more divided into separate states than the surrounding kingdoms. It is an empire, with all the states under its general supervision, while the prince of each state enjoys despotic power in his own realm; for there are greater and lesser dukedoms there, and each duke is like a monarch in his own kingdom. Furthermore, religion is there divided; in some dukedoms are the so-called Evangelicals, in some the Reformed, and in some the Papists. With such diversity of both government and religion, the dispositions, inclinations, and lives of the Germans are more difficult to describe from those seen in the spiritual world than those of the nations and peoples of other parts. And yet, as a common genius reigns everywhere among peoples of the same language, this may be in some measure seen and described from ideas collected together.


As the Germans are under a despotic government in each particular dukedom, they have no such freedom of speech and of the press as the Hollanders and the British have, and when that freedom is restrained, freedom of thought, that is, the freedom to investigate matters to the furthest extent, is also kept in restraint. For this restraint is like a high wall about the basin of a fountain, which causes the water within to rise even to the orifice of the inflowing stream, so that the stream can no longer leap forth. Thought is like the inflowing stream, and speech therefrom is like the basin. In a word, influx adapts itself to efflux, and in like manner the understanding from above adapts itself to its measure of freedom to speak and publish its thoughts. For this reason that noble nation is little devoted to matters of judgment, but rather to matters of memory. This is why they are especially given to historical writings, and in their books trust to men of reputation and learning among them, quoting opinions of such abundantly, and subscribing to some one of them. In the spiritual world this state of theirs is represented by a man carrying books under his arm, and when anyone disputes about any matter of judgment, he says, "I will give you an answer," and immediately draws a book from under his arm and reads from it.


From this state of theirs many things proceed, and among them this, that they keep the spiritual things of the church inscribed upon the memory, and seldom elevate them into the higher understanding, but admit them only into the lower, from which they reason about them, which is doing wholly differently from free nations. Such nations, as regards the spiritual things of the church called theological, are like eagles which rise to whatever height they please; while nations that are not free are like swans in a river. Again, free nations are like the larger deer with lofty horns, that roam the fields, groves, and forests at perfect liberty; while nations that are not free are like the deer kept in parks to please a prince. And still again, free peoples are like the winged horse which the ancients called Pegasus, that flew not only over the seas, but over the so called Parnassian hills, and also over the hills of the Muses beneath them; while a people not freed are like noble horses handsomely caparisoned in kings' stables. There are like differences in their judgments regarding the mysterious matters of theology. The clergy of the Germans, while they are students, write out from the mouths of their teachers in the colleges certain dicta, and these they guard as the authoritative utterances of erudition; and when they are inaugurated into the priesthood, or made lecturers in the schools, they, for the most part, draw their official utterances in the desk or in the pulpit from those dicta. Such of their priests as do not teach in accordance with orthodoxy usually preach about the Holy Spirit and its wonderful workings and excitations of holiness in men's hearts. But those who teach about faith according to the orthodoxy of the present day, appear to the angels as if decorated with wreaths of oak leaves; while those who teach from the Word about charity and its works appear to the angels to be adorned with wreaths of odoriferous leaves of laurel. Those there who are called Evangelical, in their disputes with the Reformed about truths, appear to be rending their garments, because garments signify truths.


I asked where the people of Hamburg were to be found in the spiritual world, and was told that they are nowhere now gathered together in one society, still less in any civil community, but are scattered about and intermingled with the Germans in the various quarters. And when the reason was asked it was said that it arose from their continual mental introspections and wanderings, as it were, outside of their own city, and very little within it; for such as the state of man's mind is in the natural world, such it is in the spiritual world; for man's mind is his spirit, or the posthumous man that lives after his departure from the material body.


THE PAPISTS IN THE SPIRITUAL WORLD. The Papists in the spiritual world appear round about and beneath the Protestants, and separated from them by inter-spaces which they are forbidden to pass, although the monks by clandestine arts secure for themselves a way through, and also send out emissaries by hidden paths to make converts; but they are traced out, and after being punished, are either sent back to their companions or cast down.


Since the last judgment, which took place in the spiritual world in the year 1757, the state of all, and consequently the state of the Papists, is so changed that they are not permitted, as formerly, to congregate in bodies; but for every love, either good or evil, ways are appointed, which those who come from the world immediately enter, and pass to societies correspondent to their loves. Thus the wicked are borne to societies that are in hell, and the good to societies in heaven; and in this way their forming for themselves artificial heavens, as they previously did, is guarded against. Such societies are very numerous in the world of spirits, which is intermediate between heaven and hell, for they are as many as the genera and species of affections pertaining to the love of good and the love of evil; and in the meantime, before their members are raised up into heaven or cast down to hell, they are in spiritual conjunction with the men of the world, because men also are intermediate between heaven and hell.


The Papists have a sort of place of council in the southern quarter toward the east, where their leaders assemble and deliberate about various matters pertaining to their religion, especially about how to keep the common people in blind obedience and how to enlarge their own dominion. But no one who had been a pope in the world is admitted to this assembly, because a semblance of Divine authority is fixed in the minds of such, on account of their having arrogated to themselves the Lord's power in the world. Neither are any cardinals permitted to enter that council, because of their sense of pre-eminence. Nevertheless these latter assemble together in a spacious room beneath the others, but after staying there a few days are taken away, I was not permitted to know where. There is also another place of meeting in the southern quarter towards the west, where the business is to introduce the credulous common people into heaven. There they arrange round about themselves several societies which provide for various external delights; in some there are dances, in some musical concerts, in some processions, in some theaters and scenic amusements; in some there are persons who by hallucination produce various forms of magnificence; in some there is merely clownish acting and jesting; in some again there is friendly conversation, here about religious matters, there about civil affairs, and elsewhere they even talk lasciviously; and so on. Into some of these societies they introduce the credulous, each one according to the kind of pleasure he prefers, and this they call heaven. But when they have been there a day or two they all become weary and go away, because those delights are external and not internal. In this way also many are led away from the folly of their belief about the power to admit into heaven. As to the particulars of their worship, it is nearly the same as their worship in the world, consisting in like manner of masses which are conducted in a language not common to spirits but composed of high-sounding words which inspire external sanctity and trembling, but which the hearers do not at all understand.


All who go from the earth to the spiritual world are kept at first in the confession of faith and religion of their own country; and as this is true of the Papists, they always have a representative of a pope placed over them, whom they worship with ceremonies like those they observed in the world. It rarely happens that anyone who has been a pope in the world is placed over them after his demise; but one who filled the pontifical chair thirty or forty years ago was placed over them because he had cherished in his heart a clearer idea of the holiness of the Word than was generally held, also that the Lord ought to be worshiped. I was permitted to talk with him, and he said that he worshiped the Lord alone, because He is God, and has all power in heaven and on earth, according to His words (Matt. 28:18). He said that the invocation of saints is an absurdity; he said also that he had intended when in the world to re-establish such a church, but was unable to do so, for reasons which he stated. When the great northern city which contained both Papists and Reformers, was destroyed on the day of the last judgment, I saw him carried out on a litter and transferred to a place of safety. On the borders of the large society in which he exercises pontifical authority schools are established, where those go who are undecided about religion; and there they find converted monks who teach them about God the Savior Christ, and also about the holiness of the Word, leaving it to their own judgment whether they will turn their minds away from the methods of sanctification maintained in the Roman Catholic church. Those who receive instruction are introduced into a large society composed of those who have withdrawn from the worship of the pope and the saints; and when they enter that society they are like men who have been aroused from sleep and are fully awake, or like those who have come from the inclemency of winter into the sweetness of early spring, or like sailors who have just come to port, and are then invited by those there to feasts, and noble wine in crystal goblets is given them to drink. And angels, I have heard, sent down from heaven to the host a plate containing manna, in form and taste like that which fell upon the camps of the children of Israel in the desert, and this plate is carried around to all the company, and everyone is permitted to taste of its contents.


All those of the Catholic religion who in the former world had thought more of God than of the papacy, and from a simple heart had done works of charity, when they find themselves living after death, and have been taught that the Lord Himself, the Savior of the world, reigns there, are easily led away from the superstitions of that religion. To them the transition from popery to Christianity is as easy as to pass through an open door into a temple, or to pass the guards in the entrance hall and enter a palace when the king so commands, or to raise the face and look up to heaven when voices are heard therefrom. But on the other hand, to lead away from the superstitions of that religion those who during the course of their life in the world have rarely if ever thought of God, and who have entered that worship merely for its festivities, is as difficult as to enter a temple through closed doors, or to pass through the guards in the entrance hall into the palace when the king forbids, or for a snake in the grass to raise its eyes to heaven. It is wonderful that not one of those who pass into the spiritual world from that Catholic religion see there the heaven where the angels dwell. That religion is like a dark cloud above them which terminates the vision. But as soon as any convert comes among those who have been converted heaven is opened, and sometimes they behold the angels there in white garments; and when they have passed the period of preparation they are taken up to the angels.


THE POPISH SAINTS IN THE SPIRITUAL WORLD. It is well known that man has in him from his parents inherent or inherited evil, but few know where that evil dwells in its fullness. It dwells in the love of possessing the goods of all others, and in the love of exercising dominion; for this latter love is such that, so far as the reins are given to it, it rushes forth until it is aflame with the lust of exercising dominion over all, and finally seeks to be invoked and worshiped as God. This love is the serpent that deceived Eve and Adam, for it said to the woman, God doth know that in the day ye eat of the fruit of that tree your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods (Gen. 3:4-5). So far therefore, as man rushes into this love without restraint, he turns away from God and turns to himself, and becomes a worshiper of himself; and then he can call upon God from love of self with fervent lips, but with a heart cold from contempt of God. And then also the Divine things of the church may serve him as means, but dominion being his end, his heart is in the means only so far as they subserve that end. Such a man, if exalted to the highest honors, seems to himself like Atlas carrying the terraqueous globe on his shoulders, or like Phoebus with his horses bearing the sun around the earth.


Because of man's being such by inheritance, all those who have been made saints by papal bulls are removed from the sight of others in the spiritual world and kept out of sight; and are deprived of all interaction with their worshipers, lest that worst root of evils should be quickened in them, and they should be carried away into fantastic delusions such as prevail with demons. Into such delusions do those come who, while living in the world, earnestly seek to become saints after death, that they may be invoked.


Many from the papal jurisdiction, especially the monks, when they enter the spiritual world, search for the saints, especially the saint of their order, and are astonished that they do not find them. But they are afterward taught that these saints are intermingled either with those who are in heaven or with those who are in the lower earth and that they know nothing in either place about their being invoked and worshiped; and that those who do know of it and wish to be invoked, fall into delusions and talk like fools. The worship of saints is such an abomination in heaven that when it is merely heard of it excites horror, because so far as worship is yielded to any man, so far it is denied to the Lord; for in that case the Lord alone cannot be worshiped; and when the Lord is not alone worshiped, a separation occurs which destroys communion with Him and the happiness of life that flows from it. That I might learn the character of the Popish saints and make it known, as many as a hundred of them who knew that they had been made saints were brought forth from the lower earth. They came up behind me. Only a few of them were in front of me, with one of whom I spoke. They said he was Xavier. While he was talking to me he was like a fool; and yet he was able to declare that in his own place, where he was shut up with others, he was not a fool, but became such as often as he thought himself a saint and wished to be invoked. I heard a murmur of the same thing from those who were behind. With the so-called saints in heaven it is different; they know nothing at all of what is done on earth, and they are not permitted to talk with any of the Papists who are in that superstition, that no idea of that thing may enter into them.


From this state of the saints anyone may conclude that the invocation of saints is a mere mockery; and I can affirm, moreover, that they no more hear the invocations addressed to them on earth than do their images by the wayside, or the walls of the church, or the birds building nests in its towers. It is said by those who serve them in the world, that the saints reign in heaven in company with the Lord Jesus Christ; but this is a fiction and fabrication; for they no more reign with the Lord than a groom does with his king, or a porter with a nobleman, or a footman with a primate. For John the Baptist said of the Lord, That he was not worthy to unloose the latchet of His shoes (Mark 1:7; John 1:27). What then can be said of such?


To the Parisians, who form a society in the spiritual world, there sometimes appears a woman of the usual height in shining raiment and with a face that seems holy, and she calls herself Genevieve. But when some of them begin to worship her, her face and also her clothing instantly change, and she becomes like an ordinary woman; and she rebukes them for wanting to worship a woman who among her companions is no more esteemed than a servant maid, and is surprised that the men of the world are duped by such nonsense.


To this I will add this most notable fact: Mary the Mother of the Lord once passed by and appeared overhead in white raiment. Then pausing a little she said that she had been the mother of the Lord, and that He was indeed born of her; but that when He became God, He put off everything of the human He had derived from her, and that therefore she now worships Him as her God, and is unwilling that anyone should acknowledge Him to be her son, since in Him everything is Divine.


THE MOHAMMEDANS IN THE SPIRITUAL WORLD. The Mohammedans in the spiritual world appear behind the Papists in the west, and form as it were a border around them. They appear next behind the Christians because they acknowledge our Lord to be the greatest prophet, the wisest of all men, who was sent into the world to teach men, and also that He is the Son of God. In that world everyone dwells at such a distance from the central region, where the Christians are, as accords with their confession of the Lord and of one God; for that confession is what conjoins minds with heaven, and determines distance from the east, above which quarter is the Lord.


Because religion has its seat in the highest things in man, and the lower things in him have life and light from the highest, and because Mohammed is always associated with religion in the minds of Mohammedans, some Mohammed is always kept before their sight; and in order that they may turn their faces toward the east, over which is the Lord, he is placed beneath the Christian center. This is not the Mohammed who wrote the Koran, but another person who fills his office; nor is it always the same person; but he is changed. Formerly it was a man from Saxony who had been taken prisoner by the Algerines, and had become a Mohammedan; and having once been a Christian he was sometimes moved to speak to them about the Lord, saying that He was not Joseph's son but the Son of God Himself. Other Mohammedans afterward succeeded this one. In the place where that representative Mohammedan has his station; there appears a fire like a small torch to distinguish him; but that fire is invisible to all but Mohammedans.


The Mohammed who wrote the Koran is not seen at the present day. I was told that in former times he presided over them; but because he desired to rule as God over all things pertaining to their religion he was ejected from his seat, which he had beneath the Papists, and was sent down to the right side near the south. A certain society of Mohammedans was once incited by some malicious spirits to acknowledge Mohammed as God. To quiet this disturbance, Mohammed was brought up from the lower earth and shown to them; and at that time I also saw him. He looked like those corporeal spirits who have no interior perception, with a face inclined to black. I heard him utter these words, "I am your Mohammed;" and immediately he seemed to sink down.


The Mohammedans are hostile to the Christians mainly because of the Christian belief in three Divine persons and the consequent worship of three Gods, and as many Creators; and still more hostile to the Roman Catholics, because of their bending the knee before images; and for this reason they call them idolaters; and the former they call fanatics, declaring that they make God a three-headed being, also that they say one and mutter three, and consequently divide up omnipotence, and from one and of one make three; therefore they are like fauns with three horns, one for each God, and at the same time three for one; and so they pray, so they sing, and so they harangue from their pulpits.


The Mohammedans, like all nations who acknowledge one God, love justice and do good from religion, have their own heaven, but it is outside of the Christian heaven. The Mohammedan heaven, however, is divided into two. In the lower they live uprightly with several wives; but only those who give up their concubines and acknowledge the Lord our Savior, and also His dominion over heaven and hell, are raised up from this into their higher heaven. I have heard that it is impossible for them to conceive of God the Father and our Lord as one, but that it is possible for them to believe that the Lord rules over the heavens and the hells because He is the Son of God the Father. It is because of their holding this belief that it is granted them by the Lord to ascend into the higher heaven.


That the Mohammedan religion is received by more nations than the Christian religion, may be a stumbling-block to those who meditate upon the Divine Providence and believe at the same time that only those who are born Christians can be saved. But the Mohammedan religion is not a stumbling-block to those who believe that all things are of the Divine Providence. Such inquire how this is, and they find out. It is this, that the Mohammedan religion acknowledges the Lord as the greatest prophet, the wisest of men, and also the Son of God. But as they have made the Koran the only book of their religion, and as in consequence the Mohammed who wrote it resides in their thoughts, and upon him they bestow some worship, they think but little about our Lord. To make it clearly known that this religion was raised up by the Divine Providence of the Lord to blot out the idolatry of many nations, it shall be set forth somewhat in order; but first, as to the origin of all idolatries. [2] Previous to that religion idolatrous worship was spread over very many kingdoms of the world. This was so because the churches that existed before the Lord's coming were all representative churches. Such was the Israelitish church. The tabernacle there, the garments of Aaron, the sacrifices, all things belonging to the temple at Jerusalem, and even the statutes, were representative. And among the ancients there was a knowledge of correspondences (which is also the knowledge of representatives), the very knowledge of knowledges. It was cultivated especially in Egypt, and from it came their hieroglyphics. From that knowledge the signification of all kinds of animals and all kinds of trees was known, also of mountains, hills, rivers, and springs, and of the sun, moon, and stars. Through that knowledge they also had a knowledge of spiritual things, because these representations had their origin in the things they represented, which were such as pertain to spiritual wisdom among the angels in heaven. [3] And as all their worship was representative, consisting of mere correspondences, so they worshiped on mountains and hills, as also in groves and gardens, and sanctified fountains, and moreover made sculptured horses, oxen, calves, and lambs, and also birds, fishes, and serpents, and placed them near their temples and in the courts thereof, and likewise in their houses, arranging them in an order that was in accord with the spiritual things of the church to which they corresponded or which they represented and therefore signified. After a time, when the knowledge of correspondences had been forgotten, their posterity began to worship the sculptured images themselves as in themselves holy, not being aware that the ancients, their forefathers, saw nothing holy in them, but only that they represented, in accordance with their correspondences, what is holy. [4] Such was the origin of the idolatries that had filled so many kingdoms of the world. To uproot these idolatries, by the Lord's Divine Providence it came to pass that a new religion adapted to the genius of the Orientals was introduced, in which there was something from the Word of both Testaments, and which taught that the Lord came into the world, and that He was the greatest prophet, the wisest of men, and the Son of God. This was effected through Mohammed, from whom that religion was named. From all this it is clear that this religion was raised up by the Divine Providence of the Lord, and as before said, was adapted to the genius of the Orientals, in order that it might blot out the idolatries of so many nations and give them some knowledge of the Lord previous to their entering the spiritual world, which they do after death. And this religion would not have been received by so many kingdoms, and could not have uprooted their idolatries, if it had not been made conformable to the ideas of their thought, and especially if polygamy had not been permitted, for the reason that the Orientals without that permission would have been inflamed with filthy adulteries more than the Europeans, and would have perished.


It was once granted me to perceive the nature of the heat of their polygamic love. I had a talk with one who had occupied the place of Mohammed, and after some conversation with him at a distance this substitute sent to me an ebony spoon and some other things, which were proofs that they came from him; and at the same time there were opened from various places outlets for the heat of their polygamic love. From some of these this was felt to be like the heat in bathing rooms after bathing, from some like the heat in kitchens where meats are boiling, from some like the heat in eating-houses where strong-smelling food is exposed for sale, from some like the heat in apothecaries' cellars, where emulsions and such things are prepared, from some like the heat in stews and brothels, and from others like the heat in stores where skins, leather, and shoes are sold. There was also something rank, harsh, and burning in the heat, arising from jealousy. But the heat in the Christian heavens, when the delight of their love is perceived as an odor, is fragrant like the odor in gardens, vineyards, and rose-gardens, in some places like that where spices are sold, and in others like that of wine-presses and wine-cellars. That the delights from loves in the spiritual world are frequently perceived as odors has been shown throughout my Memorable Relations which follow the chapters.


THE AFRICANS IN THE SPIRITUAL WORLD; ALSO SOMETHING IN REGARD TO THE GENTILES. The Gentiles who have known nothing about the Lord are seen in the spiritual world round about those who have known Him; yet so arranged that the outmost border is formed exclusively of those who are thorough idolaters, and who in the former world worshiped the sun and moon. But those who acknowledge one God, and who accept such precepts as the Decalogue contains as the precepts of the religion and consequently of their life, communicate more directly with the Christians at the center; for in this case the communication is not intercepted by the Mohammedans and Papists. The Gentiles are also distinguished according to their genius and their capacity to receive light through the heavens from the Lord; for there are among them some who are interior and some who are exterior, which difference comes partly from climate, partly from the stock from which they have sprung, partly from education, and partly from religion. The Africans are more interior than the others.


All who acknowledge and worship one God, the Creator of the universe, cherish an idea of God as being a Man; they say that no one can have any other idea of Him. When they hear that many cherish the idea that God is like ether or a cloud, they ask where such people are; and when told that they are among the Christians they deny that it is possible. But they are told that they get this idea from God's being called in the Word a Spirit, and of spirit they have no other idea than that it is an ethereal substance, or some kind of a cloud, not knowing that every spirit and every angel is a man. When a further inquiry is made to ascertain whether their spiritual idea is similar to their natural idea, it is found to be different with those who interiorly acknowledge the Lord as the God of heaven and earth. I heard a certain elder saying that no man could conceive of a Divine Human; and I saw him taken among different Gentile peoples, to the more and more interior of them, also to their heavens, and finally to the Christian heaven, and their interior perception of God was everywhere communicated to him; and he observed that they had no other idea of God than that of a Divine Man, and that by no other God could man, who is an image and likeness of God, have been created.


As the Africans surpass all other Gentiles in interior judgment, I have had conversation with them on matters of more profound inquiry, and latterly about God, and the Lord the Redeemer, and about the inner and outer man. And as they were delighted with this conversation, I will state some of the things relating to these three subjects which they perceived from interior sight. Of God they said, that He certainly did descend and present Himself to be seen by men, inasmuch as He is their Creator, Protector and Guide, and the human race is His; also that He sees, surveys and provides each and all things that are in the heavens and on earth, regarding their good as if it were in Himself, and Himself as in them; and this, because He is the sun of the angelic heaven, which is to be seen as high above the spiritual world as the sun of the earth is above the natural world, and as He is that sun, He sees, surveys, and provides each thing and all things that are beneath Him. And as it is His Divine Love that appears as a sun, it follows that He provides both for the greatest and for the least such things as pertain to their life, and for men such things as pertain to love and wisdom, whatever pertains to love by means of the heat of that sun, and whatever pertains to wisdom by means of its light. If, therefore, you form to yourselves an idea of God as the sun of the universe, you will certainly from that idea see and acknowledge His omnipresence, omniscience, and omnipotence.


I had a further talk with them about the Lord the Savior. It was said that God in His essence is Divine love, and that Divine love is like the purest fire; and as love viewed in itself seeks no other end than to become one with him whom it loves, so the Divine love seeks no other end than to unite itself to man and man to itself, even until It is in him and he in It. And since the Divine love is like the purest fire, it is evident that God, being such a fire, could not in the least degree be in man and cause man to be in Him, for He would thus reduce the entire man to a most subtle vapor. But inasmuch as God from His very essence burned with a love to unite Himself with man, to do this He must needs veil Himself with a body adapted to reception and conjunction. For this reason He came down and took on a Human in accordance with the order established by Him from the creation of the world; which order was, that by means of a power generated from Himself a Human should be conceived, carried in the womb, and born, and then increase in wisdom and love, and thereby draw near to a union with its Divine origin; thus God became Man and Man became God. That this is true the Scripture respecting Him (which exists among Christians and is called the Word), clearly teaches and testifies; and God Himself, who in His Human is called Jesus Christ, declares that the Father is in Him and He in the Father, and that whosoever sees Him sees the Father; besides other things to the same purport. That God, whose love is like the purest fire, could unite Himself to man and man to Himself in no other way reason also can see. Is it possible for the sun's fire as it is in itself to touch man, still less to enter into him, unless it veils its rays with atmospheres, and thus by a tempered heat presents itself in an adapted form? Is it possible for the pure ether to envelop man, still less enter his bronchial tube, unless it is made dense with air, and thus adapted? A fish is not able even to draw breath in the air, but only in an element adapted to its life; nor indeed is a king on earth able to administer each and all the affairs of his kingdom in his own person or directly, but only by means of higher and lower officers, who together constitute his royal body. Nor can a man's soul render itself visible to another, enter into companionship with him, and communicate proofs of his love, except by means of a body. How then can God do so except through a Human of His own? The Africans when they heard these things had a clearer perception of them than others, because they are more interiorly rational; and each one favored them in accordance with his perception.


Finally we talked about the interior and exterior man. It was said that men who perceive things interiorly are in the light of truth, which is the light of heaven, while those who perceive things exteriorly are in no light of truth, because they are in the light of the world only; thus interior men are in intelligence and wisdom, but exterior men are in insanity and in distorted vision (n. 345); that interior men are spiritual because they think from the spirit exalted above the body, and therefore see truths in light; while exterior men are sensual-natural because they think from the fallacies of the bodily senses; therefore they see truths as in a thick cloud, and when they reflect upon them in themselves they see fallacies as truths; that internal men are like those standing on a mountain in the midst of a plain, or on a tower in a city, or on a lighthouse at sea; while external men are like those standing in a valley at the foot of a mountain, in a vault beneath a tower, or in a boat at the foot of a lighthouse, seeing only what lies nearest to them. Moreover, internal men are like those who live in the second or third story of a house or palace, the walls of which are a continuous window of clear glass, who look round about upon the city in its whole extent and recognize every cottage in it; while external men are like those who live in the lowest story, the windows of which are made of pasted pieces of paper, who cannot see even a single street outside of the house, but only what is within it, and not even that, except by the light of a candle or of the fire. And again, internal men are like eagles soaring aloft and seeing all things spread out beneath them; while external men, on the other hand, are like cocks standing on a post and crowing aloud before the hens that are walking on the ground. Furthermore, internal men perceive that what they know compared with what they do not know is like water in a pitcher as compared to that in a lake; while external men have no other thought than they know everything. The Africans were delighted with these remarks, because from the interior vision in which they excel they recognized that it was so.


Because the Africans are such, a revelation has been made among them at the present time, which is spreading round about from the region where it began, but has not yet reached the coasts. They keep aloof from European strangers who believe that man is saved by faith alone, and thus by mere thought and word, and not by will and deed also; saying that he is no man who has any worship and fails to live according to his religion, for then he must needs become stupid and wicked, because he then receives nothing from heaven. They also call crafty wickedness stupidity, because there is no life in it, but death only. I have several times talked with Augustine, who was bishop of Hippo in Africa, in the third century. He said that he is there at this time, inspiring them with the worship of the Lord, and that there is hope that this new gospel will be extended into the surrounding regions. I have heard the angels rejoicing over that revelation, because through it there is being opened to them a communication with the human rational, hitherto closed up by the universal dogma that the understanding must be kept in obedience to the faith of the ministers of the church.


THE JEWS IN THE SPIRITUAL WORLD. Previous to the last judgment, which took place in the year 1757, the Jews appeared in a valley in the spiritual world at the left side of the Christian center. Afterwards they were transferred to the north, and interaction with Christians, except with those wandering outside of the cities, was forbidden them. In this quarter there are two large cities to which the Jews were taken after death, and both of these, previous to the judgment, they called Jerusalem, but after it by another name; because since the judgment "Jerusalem" means a church with reference to doctrine wherein the Lord alone is worshiped. In their cities converted Jews are placed over them who warned them not to speak contemptuously of Christ, and who punish those that persist in doing so. The streets of their cities are filled with mud ankle-deep; and the houses are full of filth, from which they smell so abominably that they cannot be approached. I afterward noticed that others of that nation obtained a place of abode in the southern quarter; and when I asked who they were I was told that they were those who made light of the worship of the rest, and who questioned in their minds whether the Messiah would come, and who had also thought rationally about various matters in the world, and had lived accordingly. Those called Portuguese Jews constitute the greater part of this class.


Sometimes an angel with a staff in his hand is seen by the Jews, above, at a middle altitude, who gives them to believe that he is Moses. He exhorts them to refrain from their senseless expectation even there of a Messiah, since Christ is the Messiah, who rules them and all men; telling them that he knows this and also knew of Him when he was in the world. When they have heard this they go away. The greater part of them forget it, but a few remember it, and these are sent to synagogues composed of converted Jews, and are instructed; and when they have been instructed, new clothes in place of their tattered ones are given them, also a copy of the Word neatly written, and a not unhandsome dwelling in the city. But those who do not receive are cast down, many of them into forests and deserts, where they practice robbery among each other.


In that world as in the former the Jews traffic in various articles, especially in precious stones, which they obtain for themselves by unknown ways from heaven, where there are precious stones in abundance. They traffic in precious stones because they read the Word in the original tongue, and hold the sense of its letter to be holy, precious stones corresponding to that sense. That the spiritual origin of precious stones is the sense of the letter of the Word, and that from this arises their correspondence, may be seen above in the chapter on the Sacred Scripture (n. 217, 218). Moreover, the Jews are able to imitate these stones artificially, and to produce the illusion that they are genuine; but those who do so are heavily fined by their governors.


The Jews more than others are unaware that they are the spiritual world, believing that they are still in the natural world. This is because they are wholly external men and give no interior thought to any religious subject. Consequently, they continue to talk about the Messiah as before, some saying that He is to come with David, and glittering with diadems will go before them and lead them into the land of Canaan; and on the way will dry up the rivers they are to cross by raising His staff, and that Christians (whom among themselves they also call Gentiles) will then take hold of the skirts of their garments, suppliantly beseeching permission to go with them; that they will accept the rich according to the amount of their wealth, and that these also shall serve them. In this belief they confirm themselves by what is written in Zechariah (8:23); and in Isaiah (66:20); also by what is said of David, that he is to come and be their king and shepherd (Jer. 30:9; Ezek. 34:23-25; 37:23-26). They are utterly unwilling to hear that by "David" our Lord Jesus Christ is there meant and by "the Jews" those who will belong to His church.


When they are asked whether they firmly believe that they will all get to the land of Canaan, they say that all will then go there, and that the Jews who are dead will then rise again, and from their sepulchres will enter that land. To the reply that they cannot possibly come out of the sepulchres, because they are already living after death they say that they will then descend and enter their bodies, and so live again. When told that the land cannot hold them all, they reply that it will then be enlarged. When told that the kingdom of the Messiah, because He is the Son of God, will not be on earth but in heaven, they reply that the land of Canaan will then be heaven. When told that they do not know where Bethlehem Ephratah is, where the Messiah is to be born, according to the prediction in Micah (5:2), and in the Psalms (132:6), they reply that the mother of the Messiah will nevertheless there give birth to Him; and some say that wherever she brings forth there is Bethlehem. When they are asked how the Messiah can dwell with such wicked people, and it is proved by many passages in Jeremiah, and especially by the sons of Moses (Deut. 32), that they are the worst of men, they reply that among the Jews there are both good and bad, and that the bad are there meant. When they are told that they sprang from a Canaanitish woman, and from Judah's whoredom with his daughter-in-law (Gen. 38), they answer that that was not whoredom. But when to this it is replied that still Judah commanded her to be brought forth and burnt for whoredom, they go away to consult about it, and after consultation say that Judah only acted the part of a brother-in-law, a duty which neither his second son, Onan, nor his third son, Selah, fulfilled. And to this they add that very many of them are of the tribe of Levi, who held the priestly office, and that it is enough that they are all from the loins of Abraham. When they are told that within the Word there is a spiritual sense wherein Christ or the Messiah is fully treated of, they reply that this is not true; and some of them say that within the Word, or in its depths, there is nothing but gold; and other such statements they make.


I was once taken up as to my spirit into the angelic heaven and into a society there; and some of the wise ones there came to me and asked, "What news from the earth?" I answered, "The news is that the Lord has revealed mysteries, which in excellence surpass all the mysteries revealed from the beginning of the church even to the present time." They asked "What are they?" I replied, "They are the following: (i.) That in each thing and in all things in the Word there is a Spiritual Sense corresponding to the natural sense; that by means of that sense the Word conjoins the men of the church with the Lord, and also associates them with angels; and that the holiness of the Word resides in that sense. [2] (ii.) The Correspondences of which the spiritual sense consists are disclosed." The angels asked, "Did not the inhabitants of the earth know about correspondences before this?" I answered, "Nothing whatever; these have been hidden now for thousands of years, that is, since the time of Job; but among those who lived at that time and before it, the knowledge of correspondences was the knowledge of knowledges, from which they had wisdom, because thereby they had knowledge of the spiritual things pertaining to heaven and the church. But because that knowledge was changed into idolatrous ideas, it became, by the Lord's Divine Providence, so obliterated and lost that not the least sign of it remained visible. Nevertheless it is now disclosed by the Lord, in order that a conjunction of the men of the church with the Lord and their affiliation with the angels, may be effected, and this is done by means of the Word, wherein each thing and all things are correspondences." The angels rejoiced exceedingly that it had pleased the Lord to reveal this great mystery, so deeply hidden for thousands of years; and they said that this was done in order that the Christian church, which is founded on the Word, and which is now at its end, may again revive and draw breath through heaven from the Lord. They asked whether the signification of baptism and of the holy supper, about which such different opinions have heretofore been held, is now disclosed by means of that knowledge. I replied that it was. [3] (iii.) I said further that the Lord had at this time made a revelation respecting the life of men after death. The angels said, "What about the life after death? Does not everyone know that man lives after death?" I replied, "They know it and they do not know it. They say that man does not live after death, but only his soul, and that this lives as a spirit; and the idea they have of spirit is that it is like wind or ether; and they say that man does not live as a man until after the day of the last judgment, when the corporeal elements which he had left in the world, although eaten up by worms, mice, and fishes, would be collected together again, and again formed into a body, and that in this way men will rise again." The angels said, "How is this? Does not everyone know that man lives a man after death, with the sole difference that he then lives a substantial man, not a material man, as before, and that the substantial man sees the substantial man, in the same way as the material man sees the material, and that men know no difference except that they are in a more perfect state." [4] (iv.) The angels asked, "What do they know about our world, and about heaven and hell?" I answered, "They have known nothing; but at this day the nature of the world in which angels and spirits live, that is, the nature of heaven and of hell, has been disclosed by the Lord; also that angels and spirits are in conjunction with men, besides many wonderful things respecting them." The angels rejoiced that it had pleased the Lord to disclose such things, so that man might no longer from ignorance be in doubt respecting his immortality. [5] (v.) I said further, "It has been revealed by the Lord at this time that there is in your world a sun different from that of our world; that the sun of your world is pure love, and the sun of our world pure fire; consequently all that goes forth from your sun, because it is pure love, partakes of life, while all that goes forth from our sun, because it is pure fire, partakes not at all of life; also that this is the nature of the difference between the spiritual and the natural, which difference, hitherto unknown, has also been disclosed. And all this has made clear the source of the light that enlightens the human understanding with wisdom, and of the heat which enkindles the human will with love. [6] (vi.) And still further, it has been disclosed that there are three degrees of life, and consequently three heavens; that the mind of man is divided into those degrees, and that man therefore corresponds to the three heavens." The angels asked, "Did not men know this before?" I answered that they knew about the degrees existing between more and less, but nothing about the degrees between the prior and the posterior. [7] (vii.) The angels asked whether anything further had been revealed. I said that many other things had; in respect to the Last Judgment; the Lord, as being the God of heaven and earth; God, as being one both in Person and in Essence in whom is a Divine Trinity, and as being the Lord; a New Church to be established by Him; the Doctrine of that church; and the Holiness of the Sacred Scripture; that the Apocalypse had been unfolded; an account had been given of the Inhabitants of the Planets; also an account of the Earths in the Universe; with many other memorable and wonderful matters from the spiritual world, whereby much more pertaining to wisdom had been divulged from heaven.


After this I again talked with the angels, and told them that another matter still had been revealed in the world by the Lord. They asked what. I said, "Respecting love truly conjugial and its spiritual delights." The angels said, "Who does not know that the delights of conjugial love surpass those of all other loves? And who cannot see that into some one love all kinds of blessedness, happiness, and delight that it is possible for the Lord to bestow may be gathered together, and that the recipient love of these is true conjugial love, since that love corresponds to the love of the Lord and the church, and is capable of receiving and perceiving a full sense of these joys?" I replied, that men are ignorant of this, because they have not approached the Lord, and so have not shunned the lusts of the flesh, and therefore could not be regenerated; and love truly conjugial is from the Lord alone, and is given to those who are regenerated by Him; and these are they who are received into the Lord's New Church, which is meant in the Apocalypse by "the New Jerusalem." And to this I added that I doubted whether those in the world at this day are willing to believe that this love is in itself spiritual, and therefore from religion, since they cherish a merely corporeal idea of it; and therefore are willing to believe that since it is in accord with religion, it is spiritual with the spiritual, natural with the natural, and merely carnal with adulterers.


The angels were exceedingly delighted with both of these conversations, but perceiving a sadness in me, they asked, "Why are you sad?" I said, "Because these mysteries that are now revealed by the Lord, although they surpass in excellence and dignity all the knowledge hitherto divulged, are nevertheless regarded on the earth as of no value." At this the angels were astonished, and besought the Lord to permit them to look down upon the world; and they looked down, and behold, mere darkness was there. And they were told to write these mysteries on paper and the paper would be let down to the earth, and they would see a strange sight. This was done, and behold, the paper on which these mysteries were written being let down from heaven, in its progress while it was still in the spiritual world shone like a star, but when it reached the natural world its light waned, and as it fell was darkened. And when it was let down by the angels into assemblies of learned and accomplished clergy and laymen a murmur of many voices was heard, in which were the words, "What is this? Is it anything? What matters it whether we know these things or not? Are they not mere progeny of the brain?" And the appearance was that some of them took the paper and folded it up and rolled and unrolled it with their fingers, and that others tore it to pieces and wished to trample it under foot. But they were withheld by the Lord from such an outrage, and the angels were directed to withdraw the paper and guard it. And because the angels were thereby saddened, and thought "How long shall this be?" it was said: For a time, and times, and half a time (Apoc. 12:14).


After this I heard a hostile murmur from the lower regions, and with it these words, "Work miracles and we will believe." I answered, "Are not these things miracles?" They replied, "They are not." I asked, "What then, are miracles?" They said, "Show and reveal future events, and we will have faith." But I said, "Such things are not granted by the Lord, because so far as a man knows what is to come his reason and understanding, with his prudence and wisdom sink into inertness and become torpid and collapse." Again I asked, "What other miracles shall I work." Then arose the cry, "Such as Moses wrought in Egypt." And I replied, "Perhaps you would harden your hearts thereat, like Pharaoh and the Egyptians." The answer was "No." Again I said, "Assure me that you will not dance about a golden calf and worship it, as the posterity of Jacob did a single month after they had seen all Mount Sinai burning, and had heard Jehovah Himself speaking out of the fire, thus after the greatest of all miracles. ("A golden calf" means in the spiritual sense the pleasures of the flesh.) An answer came from the lower regions, "We will not be like the posterity of Jacob." At that moment I heard it said to them from heaven, "If you believe not Moses and the Prophets, that is, the Word of the Lord, you will not believe on account of miracles, any more than the posterity of Jacob did in the desert, or any more than they believed when with their own eyes they saw the miracles wrought by the Lord Himself when He was in the world."


After this I saw some persons ascending from the lower regions, from which these things had been heard; and addressing me in a grave tone, they said, "How is it that your Lord revealed the mysteries that you have just enumerated in a long series, to you who are a layman, and not to some one of the clergy?" To this I replied, "Such was the good pleasure of the Lord, who prepared me for this office from my early youth. Nevertheless, I will ask you a question in return; Why did the Lord, when in the world, choose fishermen for His disciples, instead of some of the lawyers, scribes, priests, or rabbis? Discuss this question among yourselves, draw your conclusions from judgment, and you will discover the reason." When they heard this, a murmur arose among them, and then they became silent.

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