Love in Marriage #7

За Емануель Сведенборг

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7. After this he called to him the group of so - called wise people who had placed the joys of heaven and the eternal happiness from them in supreme power, richest treasures, more prestige than royalty, and more brilliant glory, because in the Word it says they will be kings and princes, that they will reign with Christ to eternity, and that angels will serve them - among other things. The angel said to them, "Follow me, and I will lead you into your joys."

He led the way into a portico built of columns and pyramids.

In front of it was a low palace with an entrance open to the portico. He led them in through the arcade. Twenty people were waiting here and twenty there! And then suddenly someone came along impersonating an angel and told them, "The way to heaven is through this portico. Wait a while and get ready, because the older ones of you are going to be kings and the younger ones princes."

When he said this, a throne appeared by each column, with a silk robe on the throne and a scepter and crown on the robe. And by each pyramid an official seat appeared, elevated four and one half feet above the ground, and on the seat a chain of gold links and the ribbon of an order of knighthood joined at the ends with diamond circlets. And then came an announcement: "Now go enrobe yourselves, be seated, and wait." And immediately the older men scrambled to the thrones, and the younger to the official seats, and they put the robes on and sat down.

Then something mist-like appeared to rise up from below, and under its influence the ones seated on the thrones and seats began to swell in their faces, puff their chests out, and fill up with the assurance that now they were kings and princes. The mist was an airy form of the fantasy that inspired them. And suddenly, young men flew down as if from the sky and stood, two behind each throne and one behind each seat, to serve them. And then, from time to time, a herald would announce, "You kings and princes, wait a little longer. Your palaces are now being prepared in heaven. Courtiers with attendants will come right away and lead you in." They waited and waited until they were yawning and worn out with anticipation.

After three hours the sky opened up over their heads, and angels looked down at them. In pity for them they said, "Why are you sitting there playacting so foolishly? They have played tricks on you and changed you from men to idols, because you have persuaded yourselves that you will reign with Christ like kings and princes and that angels will serve you. Have you forgotten the Lord's words, that whoever wants to be great in heaven should be a servant? So you have to learn what 'kings and princes and reigning with Christ' means. It means being wise and doing useful things, for the kingdom of Christ, which is heaven, is the kingdom of usefulness. For the Lord loves everyone, so He wants what is good for everyone, and good is usefulness. Since the Lord does good, or useful, things indirectly through angels and through people in the world, He gives a love of usefulness to those who are faithfully useful, and its reward is inward blessedness - which is eternal happiness.

"In the heavens, just as on earth, there is preeminent dominion and boundless wealth, for there are governments and forms of government, so there are greater and lesser powers and dignities.

And for those in the highest positions there are palaces and courts whose magnificence and splendor outdoes the palaces and courts of emperors and kings on earth. And due to the number of courtiers, ministers, and attendants, as well as their splendid clothing, they have overflowing honor and glory. But the highest ones of them are chosen from people whose hearts are in the public good.

Only their bodily senses are involved in the abundance that goes with nobility - and only to command obedience.

"Anything anyone does that is useful contributes to the public good in society, which is like the public's body, and all the useful things that angels and people do as if on their own are from the Lord, so clearly this is reigning with the Lord."

When they heard these words come out of heaven, those pretended kings and princes climbed down from the thrones and official seats and threw away their scepters, crowns, and robes.

The mist with its aura of fantasy left them, and a bright cloud veiled them over with an aura of wisdom, which brought sanity back to their minds.

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