Punishment in hell


[1 of 2] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Hell, Hades" (search under Afterlife/Afterlife, Heaven, Hell)": source "Arcana Coelestia, vol.9": detail "Section 6977"
While living in the world a man is continually kept in such a state that he can be reformed, if only by virtue of his freedom he desists from evils. But after death his life follows him, and he remains in the state which he had procured for himself through the whole course of his life in the world. He who is in evil, can then no longer be reformed; and lest he should have communication with any society of heaven, all truth and good are taken from him: in consequence of this he remains in evil and falsity, which increase according to the faculty of receiving them which he had acquired to himself in the world, but nevertheless he is not allowed to pass beyond the acquired bounds. And the case is such, that he can no longer be amended as to the interiors, but only as to the exteriors, that is to say, through fear of punishments, which, when often endured, compel him at length to abstain from evil, not from freedom, but by compulsion, the lust of doing evil still remaining, but this lust is kept in check, as was said, by means of fears, which are the external and compulsive means of amendment. This is the state of the evil in the other life.

[2 of 2] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Hell, Hades" (search under Afterlife/Afterlife, Heaven, Hell)": source "Arcana Coelestia, vol.10": detail "Section 8232"
What immersion and casting into hell are, is known to few. It is supposed that it is being cast down into a certain place where is the devil with his crew, who torment those who are there; but such is not the case. Being cast into hell is nothing else than being choked up with mere falsities which are from evil, in which evil they had been when in the world. When they are there choked up with these falsities, they are in hell; the evils and falsities themselves in which they then are, torment them. But the torment does not arise from their grieving at having done evil, but from their not being able to do it, for this is the delight of their life; for when they do evil to others in hell, they are punished and tormented by those to whom they do it. They especially do evil to one another from the lust of domineering, and of subjugating others with this end in view, which takes place, if others do not suffer themselves to be subjugated, by a thousand methods of punishments and torments. But the dominations there, to which they continually aspire, alternate, and thus those who had punished and tormented others are themselves afterwards punished and tormented by them, and this until at length this ardour abates from the fear of the penalty. From all this it can now be evident whence, and what hell is. The fire of hell is nothing else than the lust which is of the love of self, which inflames and torments.