Heaven and Hell #535

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535. I have been allowed to talk with some people in the other life who had distanced themselves from the affairs of the world in order to live in devotions and sanctity, and also with some who had mortified themselves in various ways because they thought this was renouncing the world and taming the desires of the flesh. However, most of them had wound up with a gloomy kind of life from this and had distanced themselves from that life of active thoughtfulness that can be led only in the world, so they could not associate with angels. The life of angels is cheerful and blessed. It consists of worthwhile activities that are deeds of thoughtfulness. Particularly, people who have led a life withdrawn from worldly concerns are aflame with a sense of their own worth and constantly crave heaven. They think of heavenly joy as their reward, with no knowledge whatever of what heavenly joy actually is. When they are with angels and are let into that joy - which has no sense of merit and consists of activities and public duties and in bliss at the good that is accomplished through them - they are as bewildered as though they were seeing something totally alien to their faith. Since they are not open to these joys, they move off and associate with people who have led the same kind of life in the world.

[2] There are other people who have lived outwardly devotional lives, constantly in churches and at prayer there. They have mortified their souls while constantly thinking about themselves, how they are worthier and more estimable than others and will be regarded as saints after their death. They are not in heaven in the other life because they have done all this with themselves first in mind. Since they have polluted divine truths by the self-love they immersed them in, some of them are so deranged that they think they are gods. So they are with similar people in hell. Some of them are ingenious and crafty and are in hells for the crafty people who used their skills and wiles to construct outward appearances that would lead the masses to believe them possessed of a divine sanctity.

[3] This includes many of the Catholic saints. I have been allowed to talk with some of them and have had their lives clearly described, both the lives they had led in the world and what they were like afterward.

I have mentioned all this to let it be known that the life that leads to heaven is not one of withdrawal from the world but a life in the world, and that a life of piety apart from a life of thoughtfulness (which is possible only in the world) does not lead to heaven at all. Rather, it is a life of thoughtfulness, a life of behaving honestly and fairly in every duty, every affair, every task, from our deeper nature and therefore from a heavenly source. The source of this life is within us when we act honestly and fairly because doing so is in accord with divine laws. This life is not hard, but a life of piety apart from a life of thoughtfulness is hard. Still, this latter life leads away from heaven as surely as people believe it leads to heaven. 1

Footnotes:

1. A life of piety apart from a life of thoughtfulness accomplishes nothing, but together they accomplish everything: Arcana Coelestia 8252-8253. Thoughtfulness toward our neighbor is doing what is good, fair, and upright in every task and in every duty: 8120-8122. Thoughtfulness toward our neighbor includes absolutely everything we think, intend, and do: 8124. A life of thoughtfulness is a life by the Lord's commandments: 3249. Living by the Lord's commandments is loving the Lord: 10143, 10153, 10310, 10578, 10648 [10645?]. True thoughtfulness is not for credit because it comes from a deeper affection and a consequent deeper pleasure: 2340 [2380?], 2373 [2371?], 2400, 3887, 6388-6393. Our abiding character after death is determined by the quality of our life of thoughtfulness in the world: 8256. Heavenly bliss flows from the Lord into a life of thoughtfulness: 2363. No one is let into heaven simply by thinking, but by intending and doing together with thinking: 2401, 3459. Unless doing what is good is united to intending what is good and thinking what is good, there is no salvation and no union of our inner person with our outer: 3987.

  
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Table of Contents
The Lord is God of Heaven 2-6 It Is the Lord's Divine Nature That Makes Heaven 7-12 The Lord's Divine Nature in Heaven Is Love for Him and Thoughtfulness toward One's Neighbor 13-19 Heaven Is Divided into Two Kingdoms 20-28 There Are Three Heavens 29-40 The Heavens Are Made Up of Countless Communities 41-50 Each Community Is a Heaven in Smaller Form and Each Angel a Heaven in Smallest Form 51-58 The Whole Heaven, Grasped as a Single Entity, Reflects a Single Individual 59-67 Each Community in the Heavens Reflects a Single Individual 68-72 Therefore Every Angel Is in Perfect Human Form 73-77 It Is Owing to the Lord's Divine Human That Heaven, in Its Entirety and in Its Parts, Reflects a Person 78-86 There Is a Correspondence of Everything in Heaven with Everything in the Human Being 87-102 There Is a Correspondence of Heaven with Everything Earthly 103-115 The Sun in Heaven 116-125 Light and Warmth in Heaven 126-140 The Four Quarters in Heaven 141-153 How the States of Angels in Heaven Change 154-161 Time in Heaven 162-169 Representations and Appearances in Heaven 170-176 The Clothes Angels Appear In 177-182 Angels' Homes and Houses 183-190 Space in Heaven 191-199 Heaven's Form, Which Determines How People Associate and Communicate There 200-212 Forms of Government in Heaven 213-220 Divine Worship in Heaven 221-227 The Power of Heaven's Angels 228-233 The Language of Angels 234-245 How Angels Talk with Us 246-257 Written Materials in Heaven 258-264 The Wisdom of Heaven's Angels 265-275 The State of Innocence of Angels in Heaven 276-283 The State of Peace in Heaven 284-290 The Union of Heaven with the Human Race 291-302 Heaven's Union with Us through the Word 303-310 Heaven and Hell Come from the Human Race 311-317 Non-Christians, or People outside the Church, in Heaven 318-328 Children in Heaven 329-345 Wise and Simple People in Heaven 346-356 Rich and Poor People in Heaven 357-365 Marriages in Heaven 366-386 What Angels Do in Heaven 387-394 Heavenly Joy and Happiness 395-414 The Vastness of Heaven 415-420 The World of Spirits and Our State After Death 421-431 Each of Us Is Inwardly a Spirit 432-444 Our Revival from the Dead and Entry into Eternal Life 445-452 After Death, We Are in a Complete Human Form 453-460 After Death, We Enjoy Every Sense, Memory, Thought, and Affection We Had in the World: We Leave Nothing Behind except Our Earthly Body 461-469 Our Nature after Death Depends on the Kind of Life We Led in the World 470-484 After Death, the Pleasures of Everyone's Life Are Turned into Things That Correspond 485-490 Our First State after Death 491-498 Our Second State after Death 499-511 Our Third State after Death, Which Is a State of Instruction for People Who Are Entering Heaven 512-520 No One Enters Heaven on the Basis of Mercy Alone 521-527 It Is Not So Hard to Lead a Heaven-Bound Life as People Think It Is 528-535 Hell 536-544 The Lord Does Not Cast Anyone into Hell: Spirits Cast Themselves In 545-550 All the People Who Are in the Hells Are Absorbed in Evils and Consequent Falsities because of Their Love for Themselves and the World 551-565 Hellfire and Gnashing of Teeth 566-575 The Malice and Unspeakable Skills of Hellish Spirits 576-581 The Appearance, Location, and Number of the Hells 582-588 The Equilibrium between Heaven and Hell 589-596 Our Freedom Depends on the Balance between Heaven and Hell 597-603
From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Apocalypse Revealed 552

Divine Providence 307

True Christian Religion 475

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 129


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 121, 195, 227, 324, 391


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