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for shipping : I walked towards it, and, taking a nearer view, I saw vessels of various sizes, laden with all kinds of merchandise, which were liberally distributed to all comers, by some boys and girls that sat on the decks. And I heard those boys and girls say, “We are in expectation of seeing our beautiful turtles, which will soon rise out of the sea, and come to us.
And lo! I saw turtles of different sizes, both great and small, on whose shells and scales there sat young turtles, which looked towards the islands that surrounded the coast. The parent-turtles had two heads, one of large size, covered over with a shell, like that which covered their bodies, so that they were of a glowing polish, and the other of small size, such as turtles generally have, which they drew back into the fore part of the body, and inserted it, in a manner scarcely discernible, into the larger head. I kept my eyes fixed on one of the large shining heads, and observed that it had a face like that of a man, and that it talked with the boys and girls that were sitting on the decks, and licked their hands; whereupon the boys and girls gently stroked them, and gave them food and dainties, with various precious articles, as silk for clothes, almug wood for tables, purple for ornaments, and scarlet for coloring. Having made these observations, I was desirous to learn what each thing represented, because I knew that all appearances in the spiritual world are correspondences, and represent something spiritual coming down from heaven: and immediately angels entered into conversation with me from heaven, and said, “Thou knowest already what is represented by a dock or arsenal for shipping, and also what by ships, and by boys and girls on their decks ; but thou dost not know what is signified by the turtles. Understand, therefore, that the turtles represent such of the clergy as entirely separate faith from charity and its good works, affirming, in their own minds, that there is no sort of conjunction between them whatever, but that the Holy Spirit
, through faith in God the Father, for the sake of his Son's merits, enters into man, and purifies his interiors till it reaches to man's own will, of which will they make, as it were, an oval plane, supposing that when the operation of the Holy Spirit approaches that plane, it turns itself about on its left side, and never enters into contact with it, and that thus the interior or superior part of the human faculties is intended for God, and the exterior or inferior part for man; and, consequently, that nothing which man does appears in God's sight, whether it be good or evil, the good not appearing because it is meritorious, nor the evil because it is evil, whence if either were to appear, the man would inevitably perish ; but as they are there kept out of sight, they suppose that it is allowable for a man to will, to think, to speak, and to act, as he pleases, having nothing to guard against but worldly censures and punishments. I then asked, whether such persons assert also, that it is allowable to think of God as not being omnipresent and omniscient: and the angels replied, “ This also is allowable according to their maxims, since God, with such as have obtained faith, and are thereby purified and justified, does not look at any thing belonging to their thought and will; and they still retain, in the inner chamber or superior regions of their mind, or faculties, that faith which they had received in its first act or operation, which act, they insist, may some time or other return, without their knowing any thing of the matter. These tenets are what are represented by the small head, which they draw into the fore part of the body, and also insert in the great head, whilst they talk with the laity ; for their discourses with such persons do not proceed from the small head, but from the great one, which appears in front, with a face resembling that of a man: and they converse with them from the Word about love, charity, good works, the commandments of the decalogue, and repentance; in which discourses they quote from the Word almost all that is said on these subjects, but at times they put the small head into the great one, and think with themselves in the former, that these duties are not to be performed for the sake of God and salvation, but only with a view to the public good, or private advantage. Since, however, their discourses on such occasions, are pleasing and elegant, particularly when they speak
about the Gospel, the operation of the Holy Spirit, and the nature of salvation; therefore they appear to their hearers like handsome and comely persons, of a wisdom superior to the rest of mankind; and this is the reason why, as thou observedst, the boys and girls on the decks of the ships, gave them delicate food and other things of value. These, then, are they whom thou sawest represented as turtles. In the world where thou livest, they are hardly to be distinguished from other people, save in this respect, that they fancy themselves wiser than others, and treat the rest of mankind with contempt, even those who profess the same doctrine respecting faith as themselves, but do not dive so deep into its mysteries. They carry about them a particular mark, or badge, in their clothes, by which they are known to one another. I shall not tell thee,” said my angelic instructer, “ what are their sentiments in regard to other subjects, connected with their faith, as election, free-will, baptism, and the holy supper; which are such as they never divulge, but yet are known to us in heaven. This, however, being their nature and quality in the world, and no one being permitted, after death, to think one thing and say another, therefore when they come into another world, where they cannot refrain from uttering all their wild and extravagant conceits, they are considered as insane ; and they are expelled from all societies, and are at length cast down into the bottomless pit, mentioned in the Revelation ix. 2, where they become corporeal spirits, and appear like Egyptian mummies ; for the interiors of their minds contract a hard callous covering, by reason of the barrier which they themselves had placed between the two regions of their minds while in the world. The infernal society, consisting of such spirits, is in the neighborhood of that of the Machiavelists; and they are continually passing from one to the other, and calling one another fellow-companions ; but they do not stay long with each other, because there is a diversity between them, arising from the circumstance, that some sort of religious impression connected with their notion concerning the act of justification by faith, had been cherished by the former,
whilst the Machiavelists had rejected every thing of the kind.”
After I had seen these spirits expelled from the societies, and collected together, in order to be cast down into the bottomless pit, I observed a ship flying in the air, having seven sails, and in it officers and sailors clad in purple garments, with caps magnificently adorned with laurel, who exclaimed, with a loud voice, " Lo, we are in heaven! we are the truly learned, distinguished above others by our purple robes, and our grand laurel wreaths, because we are the chief of the wise from all the clergy in Europe.” I was wondering what this exbibition could mean, when I was informed that it arose from the conceited images, and ideal thoughts called phantasies, that proceeded from those who had before appeared as turtles, and who were now expelled from every society, as persons insane, and collected in a body into one place. I was straightway seized with a desire to converse with them, and accordingly walked towards the place where they were assembled, and paid my respects to them, and said, “ Are ye the people who have separated the internals of men from their externals, and the operation of the Holy Spirit, as being within faith, from its coöperation with man's, as having nothing to do with faith, and who have thus separated God from man? Have ye not, by so doing, not only separated charity and its works from faith, as many other teachers among the clergy bad done, but also faith itself, as to its manifestation in the sight of God, from man? But, in discussing this subject with you, which do you prefer, that I should draw my arguments from reason, or from the Sacred Scriptures ?” And they said, “Begin with reason.” So I proceeded, saying, “How is it possible for the internal and external of man to be separated from each other? Who does not, or cannot, see plainly by virtue of a perception common to all men, that all the interiors of man proceed and are continued to his exteriors, and even to his most external, in order to produce their effects and perform their works ? Do not internal things exist for the sake of external, that they may be terminated by them, and subsist in them, and thus exist, just as a column does upon its pedestal ? How plain is it to see, that unless there was such a continuation and consequent conjunction, the things most external must be dissolved and melt to nothing, like bubbles in the air? Who can deny that the interior operations of God in man, are myriads of myriads, utterly unknown to man himself? And what signifies it, if they be unknown or not, provided only that what is extreme and most external be known, in which man, with his thought and will, is together with God? But let us illustrate this matter by an example: Is a man at all acquainted with the operations of his faculty of speech, as, how the lungs draw in the air, and thereby fill the vesicles, the bronchia, and the lobes; how they emit it into the trachea, and there convert it into sound; how the sound is modified in the glottis by the assistance of the larynx ; and how the tongue afterwards articulates it, and the lips complete the articulation, in order to its becoming speech? Do not all these interior operations, of which man is altogether unconscious, exist for the sake of the last or most external, which is articulate discourse ? If you remove or separate any one of those internal operations, so as to destroy its connexion with the last, or most external, would it not be as impossible for man to speak, as for a stock or a stone ? Take another example;—the two hands are the ultimate or extreme parts of the human body; but do not the interior, which are continued to them, descend from the head through the neck, and also through the breast; the shoulders, the arms, and the fore-arms ? Are there not innumerable muscular textures, innumerable orders of moving fibres, innumerable collections of nerves and blood-vessels, with several bony articulation with their ligaments and membranes, of which man is utterly 'unconscious ? And yet, are not all and every one of these unknown parts necessary to the operation of the hands ? Supposing those interior parts to be reflected back to the right or left about the elbow-joint, and not to be continued below, would not the hand, in such case, necessarily fall from the joint, and putrify, like something inanimate that was separated from all connexion