Life in hell


[1 of 2] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Hell, Hades" (search under Afterlife/Afterlife, Heaven, Hell)": source "Divine Providence": detail "Section 340[6] - 340[7]"
Certain spirits were permitted to ascend from hell who said to me, "You have written much from the Lord; write something from us, too." I asked, "What shall I write?" They said, "Write that every spirit, good or evil, has his own enjoyment; a good spirit is in the enjoyment of his good, and an evil spirit in the enjoyment of his evil." I then asked, "What is your enjoyment?" They answered that it was the enjoyment of committing adultery, stealing, defrauding, and lying. Again I inquired, "What is the nature of those enjoyments?" They replied, "By others they are perceived as offensive odors from excrement and as the putrid smell from dead bodies and as the reeking stench from stagnant urine." I then said, "Do you find them enjoyable?" "Most enjoyable," they said. I remarked, "Then you are like unclean beasts which live in such filth." They replied to this, "If we are, we are; but such things are delightful to our nostrils."
 I asked, "What more shall I write from you?" They said, "Write this. Everyone is allowed to be in his own enjoyment, even the most unclean, as it is called, provided he does not infest good spirits and angels, but as we could not but infest them, we were driven off and cast into hell, where we suffer fearful things." I asked, "Why did you infest the good?" They replied that they could not help it; a fury seems to seize them when they see an angel and feel the divine sphere around him. Then I said, "So you are also like savage beasts!" On hearing this, a fury came over them which appeared like the fire of hate, and lest they inflict some injury, they were drawn back into hell.

[2 of 2] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Hell, Hades" (search under Afterlife/Afterlife, Heaven, Hell)": source "True Christian Religion": detail "Section 661"
After this the ground opened under the feet of each devil, and they sank down deep into their respective hells: and it was permitted me to see, that underneath their hells were places for labor, intended to receive those who do mischief to others: for everyone in hell is left to the enjoyment of his own phantasy, and is also allowed to boast, and glory in it, but not to injure another. The reason why they are so circumstanced is, because a man after death is in his spirit, and a spirit, when separated from the body, enjoys a full liberty of acting according to the bent of his affections and of his thoughts thence derived.