Hell and Its Fire
THE DOCTRINE OF CHARITY AND FAITH
Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
That which anyone does from love remains inscribed on his heart, for love is the fire of life, thus is the life of everyone. Consequently such as is the love, such is the life; and such as is the life, thus such as is the love, such is the whole man as to soul and as to body.
As love to the Lord and love toward the neighbor make the life of heaven with man, so when they reign do the love of self and the love of the world make the life of hell with him, for these loves are opposite to the former; and therefore those with whom the loves of self and of the world reign, can receive nothing from heaven; but all that they receive is from hell. For whatever a man thinks, and whatever he wills, or whatever a man believes, and whatever he loves is either from heaven or from hell.
From this it is that those in whom the love of self and the love of the world make the life, desire what is good for themselves alone, and not for others except for the sake of themselves. And as their life is from hell, they despise others in comparison with themselves, they are angry with others if they do not favor them, they hold them in hatred, they burn with revenge against them, and even desire to vent their rage upon them. At last these things become the delights of their life, thus their loves.
These are they who have hell in them, and who after death come into hell, because their life is in agreement with the life of those who are in hell; for all there are of this character; and everyone comes to his own people.
As these persons receive nothing from heaven, in their hearts they deny God and the life after death, and consequently hold in contempt all things of the church. It avails not that they do good to their fellow-citizen, to society, to their country, and to the church; or that they speak well about these; because they do all this for the sake of themselves and the world, in order to save appearances, and to secure reputation, honors, and gains. These are the external bonds by which such persons are brought to do what is good, and are withheld from doing what is evil. As for internal bonds, which are those of conscience, and which dictate that what is evil must not be done because it is sin, and is contrary to the Divine laws, they have none.
And therefore when these persons come into the other life, which takes place immediately after death, and external things are taken away from them, they rush headlong into every wickedness in accordance with their interiors, such as contempt of others in comparison with themselves, enmity, hatred, revenge, rage, cruelty, and also into hypocrisy, fraud, deceit, and many other kinds of wickedness. These are then the delights of their life; and therefore they are separated from the good, and cast into hell.
In the world many such persons are not aware that these thing are the delight of their life, because these things hide themselves in the loves of self and of the world; and at that time such persons call all things goods that favor these loves; and all things that confirm them they call truths. Neither do they know and acknowledge any other goods and truths, because they receive nothing from heaven, which they have closed against themselves.
As love is the fire of life, and everyone’s life is in accordance with his love, it may from this be known what heavenly fire is, and what infernal fire. Heavenly fire is love to the Lord and love toward the neighbor, and infernal fire is the love of self and the love of the world, and the consequent concupiscence of all evils, which spring from these loves as from their fountains.
The nature of the life with those who are in hell can be inferred from what it would be among such persons in the world if external bonds were taken away, and there were no internal bonds to restrain them.
The life of man cannot be changed after death. It then remains such as it had been. Nor can the life of hell be transferred into the life of heaven, because they are opposites. From this it is evident that those who come into hell remain there forever; and that those who come into heaven remain there forever.
(Arcana Coelestia 10740 – 10749)
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Mike Cates PO Box 292984 Lewisville, TX 75029