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252 FROM EDEN TO THE WILDERNESS.

mental faculties. For the will is ever, openly or secretly, the master of the reason. The predominant passion will bend the intellect in its own direction, and make it the subservient instrument of its purposes; more especially will this be so when the reason, uninstructed in truths that would rebuke the insatiate cravings of an ever-hungry selfishness, is left to such action as may be prompted by that principle. The love that filled the heart would, in such case, blind the reason to evidence antagonistic to itself, and would quicken it to see and seize upon every favouring fact and argument; for nothing so sharpens the intellect in the direction of its own tendencies as the love that commands the will. The memory retains no fact or principle so tenaciously as that which is at one with the feelings. With the good the heart lends the gift of intuition to the head, while with the bad it lends intensity and acuteness to a perverted reason. And as the body appropriates only such material substances as are capable of assimilation with itself, so the heart draws from the memory and reason only such things as confirm its own predispositions. All others it rejects as useless or destructive. It may, indeed, be said that memory and reason contain and confirm many things which are opposed to the bad dispositions of the heart. To-day, because Revelation exists, that is so. But a deeper insight will make it clear that, even in such case, so long as the heart retains its evil, the truths known are but adventitious accretions, having no root in the nature of the man, and fall away before the power of those thoughts which, springing from the heart and rooted in it, live with all the energy of its vital forces.

But here we have to do with a supposed case, in which no light superior to that which originated with the man himself was present to give him guidance. Hence will and thought would be indissolubly united, for the love of self would prompt the intellect only to such exercise as would result in its own gratification, and the confirmation of its own tendencies. But that which man chiefly loves he, altogether, tends to exalt and worship. And if primeval man were left to the promptings of that absorbing love, what other worship could originate from it than the worship of self? It rejects the idea of superior power, and, left to its free action, will acknowledge none. And, granting the theory of the philosophers, it would appear that the development of savage humanity, "without God in the world," would be the growth of self-love, and the sharpening of the subtlety and deceit that guide that love to its purposes. Its loftiest aspiration could have led it no higher than the deification of self, and its affection would be narrowed to that circumference beyond which it was powerless to enslave others to its service. Devotion to that would be the highest worship, and the PROM EDEN TO THE WILDERNESS. 253

best life the most complete obedience to its behests. It has no power to open those higher regions of the soul, where the capacity of loving God and man with a whole-souled and disinterested love exists, for these motives are abhorrent to its nature. There is, therefore, nothing iu the nature of man, when that nature is untaught and unillumined by the light of heaven, to account for the origination of the ideas of God, selfsacrifice, immortality, heaven, goodness and truth. Now, indeed, when the Word has inscribed itself in deep furrows on the laws, institutions, and forms of thought extant among us,—when its truths have become the common spiritual atmosphere of the civilized world, these ideas are among our most familiar associations. But what we can apprehend, when revealed, is no measure of what we are able to discover without the aid of Revelation. And when philosophers profess to base systems of moral and even religious doctrine upon foundations independent of that Revelation, it must never be forgotten that they have, from childhood, breathed a moral and intellectual atmosphere everywhere more or less impregnated with the truths which have, directly or indirectly, proceeded from the Word. To separate wholly from the stores of memory, and the very texture of the mind itself, so much as has been received from that source, is simply impossible. And we cannot, therefore, permit the class of thinkers to whom we have referred to assume for humanity the power to originate Divine and spiritual ideas, because there is nothing in humanity, untaught from a higher source, to account for their production. Nor can we admit that from the gradual and unassisted development of humanity from a savage to an angel do we owe their origination,—-first, for the reason just given, and second, because the purpose of the Divine in the creation of man would have been left incomplete, had not the most perfect provision been made for his intellectual and spiritual growth, just as, in the outward world all things were given in rich profusion and nicest fitness to promote the well-being of his physical nature. And again, it may be said that, as the very nature of the Divine necessitated, so to speak, the creation of beings who should enjoy distinctly from Itself, life and happiness, so the Love of God could not find its perfect satisfaction except in the creation of organised beings who should receive life from Him in the greatest fullness and perfection compatible with the conditions of finite existence. Desiring to bless, He desired to bless to the uttermost; and in man, as he came from the hands of God, this desire was realised.

G. P. {To be continued.)

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254

-THE NATURE OF FUTURE PUNISHMENT.

(Continued from page 200.)

The precise nature of the punishments and torments which evil spirits undergo, or inflict upon each other, may be best seen from some examples. Says Swedenborg—

"They who are in hell have equally sensations [as in the material body], and do not know otherwise than that it is really or actually so as it appears to their senses. There are divers kinds of punishments with which the wicked are mo9t grievously tormented in the other life, rushing into them as they return into their own filthy lusts. These punishments are of various kinds, but in general they consist of lacerations, cutting to pieces, punishments under the veil, and many others. Such as have, whilst here, contracted a habit of speaking one thing, and thinking another, especially if, under the mask of friendship, they have sought to obtain the wealth of others, wander about in the other life; and wheresoever they come, ask whether they may abide there, saying that they are poor. On being received in any place, they covet all they see, in consequence of the lust that is in them; but as soon as their evil nature is discovered, they are punished and expelled, sometimes being miserably racked in different ways, according to the nature of the deceit and hypocrisy they have practised; some as to their whole body, others as to the feet, loins, breast, or head, and others only as to the region about the mouth. These torments consist of reciprocal blows of a nature not to be described, being violent collisions, and consequent stretching of the parts, which make them fancy themselves torn in pieces, they all the while struggling violently. These rack-like punishments are repeated at frequent intervals, till the subjects of them become affected with terror and horror at the thought of deceiving by false speeches. Some persons from habit, and others from a spirit of derision, accustom themselves to introduce texts of Holy Scripture into common discourse, however trifling or ridiculous it may be, thinking thus to add weight and give a finish to their idle jesting. But such thoughts and sayings adjoin themselves to their corporeal and defiled ideas, and in the other life, by returning with their profane adjuncts, occasion them much hurt. Such spirits also undergo the punishment of the rack, till they desist from such habits. There is a mode of punishment in which spirits are, as it were, torn asunder as to their thoughts) so that the interior thoughts are at war with the exterior. This is attended with interior torture. The punishment of the veil is a very common one, and is effected in this manner. The offender, in consequence of the phantasies by which he is impressed, appears to himself to be under a veil, stretched out to a great distance, which is, as it were, a cohering cloud, condensed according to the culprit's phantasy. Under this oloud he runs hither and thither, with a burning desire to escape, until he is wearied out. This generally continues for the space of an hour, more or less, being attended with different degrees of torture, according to the spirit's desire to extricate himself. The punishment of the veil is inflicted on those who, although they see jthe truth, yet from self-love are unwilling to acknowledge it, and are angry to think that it is the truth. Some spirits have such anxiety and terror under the veil, that they despair of ever being liberated. There is also another kind of veil, in which the offender is enveloped as in a kind of sheet, so that hs THE NATURE OF FUTURE PUNISHMENT. 255

seems to himself to be bound hand, foot, and body, while at the same time there is impressed upon him an eager desire to extricate himself. This he imagines may be easily effected, as he is wrapped only in a single fold; but on making the attempt, the more he unfolds it, the longer it grows, till at last he is driven to despair. There is a dreadful hell, where the inhabitants seem to strike at each other with knives, aiming them, like furies, at each other's breasts; but at the instant of giving the blow, the knife is taken from them. These are such as have borne so violent a hatred against others, that they even burned to kill them cruelly; whence they had contracted so terrible a nature. Those who are so delighted with hatred and revenge, as not to be content with killing the body only, but who also desire to destroy the soul, which yet the Lord has redeemed, are let down through an exceedingly dark and narrow passage towards the lowest parts of the earth,* to a depth proportioned to the degree of their hatred and revenge. Then they are struck with grievous terror and horror; but being kept in their lust of revenge, they descend more deeply as this is increased. Afterwards they are sent to a place where appear terrible serpents, of monstrous size, by the bites of which they are tormented.f Both the appearance of the serpents and the pain they produce, are as sensibly perceived as if they were real; for such things are exquisitely felt by spirits, being as much suited to their life as corporeal things are to those in the body. In the meantime they live in direful phantasies, and continue so for ages, until they no longer know that they were men." J

Such is the account given by Swedenborg of some of the punishments which the wicked undergo after death: those which have been adduced, however, are but a few; they are indefinitely various, as many, indeed, as are the evils of the human heart, forevil and its punishment are indissolubly connected. And these representations, striking and terrible as they are, are yet entirely cred ible. That phantasies have such power over the mind, will be easily understood by one who has witnessed experiments in the modern science of Mesmerism or Electro-Biology (as it is termed), in which the patients are made to see and feel .anything that the operator chooses, and at times to be tortured with alarm and terror at sights and sounds which have no existence but in their own phantasy. Every one's experience, too, in dreams may give an idea of this. Those are states of phantasy; and do we not suffer, in distressing dreams, as fully and terribly as if what we were experiencing were realities? When we seem to ourselves to be falling from a precipice, or pursued by robbers, or attacked by wild beasts, are not our mental sufferings as acute as if we were really involved in those frightful circumstances? Now, hell is, so to speak, a perpetual nightmare; the whole existence of evil spirits is, as it were, horrid phantasy. All the wicked are, in fact, interiorly insane: they are in a delirium; they see things that are not. In the

• Not the natural, but the spiritual earth.

T " There will I command the serpent, and he shall bite them." (Amos, ix. 3.)

} Arcana Calestia, nn. 054—964, 818, 81S.

256 THE NATURE OF FUTUBE PUNISHMENT.

words of Holy Writ, "they put darkness for light, and light for darkness; bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter: they call evil good, and good evil." Thus the evil are in a perpetual phantasm. Says Swedenborg—

"They who are in hell do not know otherwise than that it really is as it appears to their senses; but still when those things are inspected by the angels, they are seen as phantasms and disappear, and the evil spirits themselves are seen, not as men, but as monsters. The reason the things that thus appear to them are not real, is, because they are in what is contrary or opposite to the Divine, that is, in evils and falses; and moreover, the evil spirits themselves, so far as they are in the lusts of evil and the persuasions of the false, are nothing else than phantasies as to their thoughts."*

But we need not go to the other world, or even to dreams, to understand the nature and the power of phantasies. Every man, even in this world, is possessed by them, just in the degree in which he departs from truth and goodness, which are, indeed, the only realities. Do not moralizers tell us—and tell us truly,—that men of the world are chasing phantoms, pursuing shadows, holding before their mind's eye visionary forms of happiness, which when reached and grasped are found to have no reality? What is this but a species of insanity? And are not such men, too, often tortured with anxieties and fears, which are solely the creations of their own diseased imaginations? And what is this but a present hell? The only difference is, that after death they will behold outwardly the fantastic shapes which they now see only with the mind's eye. Their terrors will then assume a bodily form, and approach and torture them,—as is the case, even in this world, with the wretched victim of delirium tremens, that state which of all, perhaps, that men here on earth can experience, most nearly approaches the condition of hell.

But now, the question may arise^in some minds, Why, after all, does the Divine Being thus inflict punishments on the wicked after death, if, as Scripture declares, He is a God of love, and is " kind even to the unthankful and to the evil"? Suppose a man even to have sinned all his life in this world, yet is it just,—they may ask,—to punish him for ages on account of evils committed only for years?

To these inquiries it is to be replied, in the first place, that the punishments are not inflicted by way of revenge; the wicked are not punished for the evil they have done here, but for the evil they continue to do, or strive to do, there. Says our author—

"No one there suffers punishment on account of the evils which he had done

in the world, but on account of the evils which he then does. Yet it amounts to

the same thing, whether it be said that they suffer punishment on account of their

evils in the world, or on account of the evils done in the other life, since every one

Arcana Calestia, n. 4023.

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