Extracts

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Hell

swedenborg

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[1 of 1] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Hell, Hades" (search under Afterlife/Afterlife, Heaven, Hell)": source "Heaven and Hell": detail "Section 574"
An evil spirit casts himself into hell of his own accord. It shall now be told in a few words how this comes about, when yet there are in hell such torments. From every hell there exhales a sphere of the lusts of those who are in it. Whenever this sphere is perceived by one who is in a like lust he is affected at heart and filled with delight, for lust and its delight make one, since whatever one lusts after is delightful to him; and because of this a spirit turns himself hellward, and from delight of heart lusts to go thither, since he does not yet know that such torments exist there, although he who knows it still lusts to go there. For no one in the spiritual world can resist his lust, because his lust belongs to his love, and his love belongs to his will, and his will belongs to his nature, and everyone there acts from his nature.
 When, therefore, a spirit of his own accord and from his freedom drifts toward his hell and enters it, he is received at first in a friendly manner, which makes him believe that he has come among friends. But this continues for a few hours only. In the meanwhile he is explored in respect to his astuteness and consequent ability; and when this has been done they begin to infest him, and this by various methods, and with gradually greater severity and vehemence.
 This is accomplished by introducing him more interiorly and deeply into hell; for the more interior and deeper the hell the more malignant are the spirits. After these infestations they begin to treat him cruelly by punishments, and this goes on until he is reduced to the condition of a slave.
 But rebellious movements are continually springing up there, since everyone wishes to be greatest, and burns with hatred against the others; and in consequence new uprisings occur, and thus one scene is changed into another, and those who are made slaves are delivered that they may assist some new devil to subjugate others; and again those who refuse to submit and render implicit obedience are tormented in various ways; and so on continually. Such torments are the torments of hell, which are called hell fire.