Extracts

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Afterlife, activities, work, uses in

swedenborg

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[1 of 2] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Afterlife, activities, work, uses in" (search under Afterlife/Afterlife, Heaven, Hell)": source "Heaven and Hell": detail "Section 391"
As all the societies in the heavens are distinct in accordance with their goods, so they are distinct in accordance with their uses, goods being goods in act, that is, goods of charity which are uses. Some societies are employed in taking care of little children; others in teaching and training them as they grow up; others in teaching and training in like manner the boys and girls that have acquired a good disposition from their education in the world, and in consequence have come into heaven. There are other societies that teach the simple good from the Christian world, and lead them into the way to heaven; there are others that in like manner teach and lead the various heathen nations.
 There are some societies that defend from infestations by evil spirits the newly arrived spirits that have just come from the world; there are some that attend upon the spirits that are in the lower earth; also some that attend upon spirits that are in the hells, and restrain them from tormenting each other beyond prescribed limits; and there are some that attend upon those who are being raised from the dead. In general, angels from each society are sent to men to watch over them and to lead them away from evil affections and consequent thoughts, and to inspire them with good affections so far as they will receive them in freedom; and by means of these they also direct the deeds or works of men by removing as far as possible evil intentions.
 When angels are with men they dwell as it were in their affections; and they are near to man just in the degree in which he is in good from truths, and are distant from him just in the degree in which his life is distant from good. But all these occupations of angels are occupations of the Lord through the angels, for the angels perform them from the Lord and not from themselves.


[2 of 2] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Afterlife, activities, work, uses in" (search under Afterlife/Afterlife, Heaven, Hell)": source "Spiritual Experiences, vol.3": detail "Section 3984 - 3985"
In the other life happiness lies especially in the good in the actions that they exercise, and without these they can in no wise be angels, much less have any happiness; for in these lies their greatest happiness. Now they add that if they want to take away good works, they are wishing for the whole of heaven and of the human race to perish.
 This is the consequence, for to be of service to mankind, to teach spirits, to raise them up, and to raise up the dead, to perform works of charity to one another mutually, these are the things that hold heaven and the human race together. Therefore, if these are taken away from them, all would perish.
 It was granted me to ask him what his opinion was about life in heaven, whether he would breathe only joy, in idleness, without any activity, that is, without a life of doing good. That idle life of joy, in a mental image appeared as a very sad and boring existence, for now the joy would disappear, would become as nothing, or something dirty, that after a short time would become disgusting and nauseous. But when there is an active life, then he felt that there was joy. He was asked what he thought of it when he found out that there are spirits serving mankind, whether they were serving him, or what about them, whether they also have such an idea of heavenly joy as being idle, breathing joy in laziness; and that there are spirits serving people on earth. Whether people after death become such, he did not know. In short, it was realized that an idle life of joy is no life, but that only an active one is accompanied with joy, and that it is life, because it is active.