Arcana Coelestia # 4804

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4804. There are very many communities in the next life which are called friendship-communities. They consist of those who during their lifetime preferred the delight of association with others to any other delight and who loved those with whom they associated, without any interest at all in whether these were good or evil people, provided they gave them delight. Thus they were not ones who befriended what was good and true. Those who have been like this during their lifetime remain the same in the next life; they attach themselves to one another solely because of their delight of association with others. Many such communities have been present with me, though kept at a distance, visible for the most part overhead, slightly to the right. I was made aware of their presence by a dull and sluggish feeling, and by a loss of my own feeling of delight; for the presence of communities such as these leads to this. Indeed when they arrive on the scene they remove others' feeling of delight, and what is remarkable they make it their own. For they turn away the spirits present with others and direct them towards themselves, thereby transferring another's delight to themselves. And because such communities are for this reason dangerous and harmful to those governed by good, the Lord therefore holds them back to prevent them going near heavenly communities. From this I was enabled to know how much harm friendship does to someone's spiritual life if he pays attention to the person but not to what is good. Anyone can indeed befriend another; but most of all he ought to befriend what is good.

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Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.