Love in Marriage #8

द्वारा इमानुएल स्वीडनबोर्ग

इस मार्ग का अध्ययन करें

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8. After this the angel went back to the house where the wise from the Christian world were convened, and he gathered up the ones who had persuaded themselves that the joys of heaven and eternal happiness are the delights of Paradise. "Follow me," he said, "and I will lead you into Paradise - your heaven - to begin the blessings of your eternal happiness."

And he led them through a lofty gateway made from the limbs and branches of stately trees twined together. After entering he led them in a roundabout way from one place to another. It actually was a paradise in the first entrance to heaven, where they send people who had believed, while in the world, that heaven is all one paradise, because it is called that - people who had the notion impressed on them that after death comes total rest from labor and that this rest is nothing other than inhaling breezes of delight, walking on roses, cheered by the most delicious grape juice, and having festive banquets, and that this life is found only in a heavenly Paradise.

Led by the angel, they saw a great crowd of old and young men, boys, women, and girls, sitting three by three and ten by ten in rose gardens, weaving garlands to deck the heads of the old men and the arms of the young men and to twine around the chests of the boys. They saw others gathering fruit from the trees and taking it to their friends in osier baskets; others pressing the juice of grapes, cherries, and berries into cups and merrily drinking it; others sniffing the fragrances that the flowers, fruits, and odoriferous leaves gave off all around; others singing sweet songs to charm the ears of anyone around; others sitting at fountains making the water squirt from the ducts in various shapes; others walking around talking and tossing off pleasantries; others running, playing, and dancing, here in rhythm and there in circles; others going into little garden houses to relax on the couches.

And there were many other paradisal delights.

After they saw these things, the angel led his group around here and there and at last to some people sitting in a very beautiful rose garden surrounded by olive, orange, and citron trees. They rocked back and forth with their hands to their cheeks, wailing and weeping. The angel's followers spoke to them and said, "Why are you sitting like that?"

"It is the seventh day now since we entered this Paradise," they answered. "When we came it looked as if our minds were raised to heaven and placed in the deepest happiness of its joys.

But after three days the edge began to wear off this happiness. It faded from our minds and feelings, till it was no happiness at all.

And when our imaginary joys ended like this we were afraid we had lost all pleasure from our life. We're becoming skeptical about eternal happiness - if there is such a thing.

"Then we wandered through paths and clearings looking for the gate where we came in, but we were wandering round and round in circles.

"We asked people we met. Some of them said, 'You won't find the gate, because this garden of Paradise is a great big labyrinth - the kind where anyone who wants to get out gets deeper in. So there's nothing to do but stay here forever. You are in the middle of it - the central point of all its delights.'"

And they further informed the angel's followers, "We have been sitting here for a day and a half now. We have no hope of finding the way out, so we sat down in this rose garden, and we see plenty of olives, grapes, oranges, and citrons around us. But the more we look at them the more tired our eyes are of seeing, our noses of smelling, and our mouths of tasting. This is why you see us weeping in grief and sorrow."

When the group's angel heard this he said, "This labyrinth of a paradise really is an entrance to heaven. I know the way and will lead you out."

When he said this, the people sitting there stood up and hugged the angel and followed him, together with his group. And the angel taught them on the way about the joy of heaven and the eternal happiness from it - that these are not the superficial delights of Paradise unless the inward delights of Paradise are there within them at the same time. "The outward delights of Paradise are only delights for the body's senses, but the inward delights of Paradise delight the feelings in your soul. The outward delights have no soul, so the life of heaven is not in them unless the inward delights are in them. And any delight without soul related to it gradually gets feeble and dull and is more tiring to the mind than work.

There are garden paradises all over heaven, and the angels get pleasure from them, too, and they enjoy the pleasures just to the extent that the delight of their soul is in them."

"What is the delight of a soul?" everyone asked, when they heard this, "and where does it come from?"

"The delight of a soul is from the love and wisdom from the Lord," the angel replied. "Love is the motive force, and it acts through wisdom, so you find them both in their activity - which is something of use. This delight flows from the Lord into your soul and works down through the higher and lower levels of your mind into all your bodily senses, and there it is fulfilled.

This is what makes joy really joy, and makes it eternal - from the Eternal, Whom it comes from. You have seen something of Paradise, and I assure you that not one thing is there - - not even a leaf - that is not from a marriage of love and wisdom in usefulness.

So if a person has this marriage in him he is in the paradise of heaven - in other words, in heaven."

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Thanks to the Swedenborg Foundation for its permission to use this translation on the site.