477. A person's being kept in this great gap, and constantly in the middle of it, is solely for the purpose of giving him free will in spiritual matters. For this is spiritual equilibrium, since it is between heaven and hell, and so between good and evil. All who are in that great gap are linked as regards their interiors either with the angels of heaven or with the devils of hell; at the present time however, with Michael's angels or the dragon's angels. Everyone after death betakes himself to his own people in that gap, and associates with those with a love similar to his. For it is love that links each person there to people like him, and makes him breathe freely and resume his state during his previous life. But then by stages the externals which do not make one with the internals are shed, and when this is done the good person is raised to heaven, and the wicked person takes himself to hell, each going to people like himself, with whom he makes one in respect of his ruling love.