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Chapter 9

Each Society in Heaven Reflects a Single Man.

68. I have frequently been permitted to see that each society of heaven reflects a single man, and is in the likeness of a man. There was a society into which several had insinuated themselves who knew how to counterfeit angels of light. These were hypocrites. When these were being separated from the angels I saw that the entire society appeared at first like a single indistinct body, then by degrees in a human form, but still indistinctly, and at last clearly as a man. Those that were in that man and made up the man were such as were in the food of that society; the others who were not in the man and did not make up the man were hypocrites; these were cast out and the former were retained; and thus a separation was effected. Hypocrites are such as talk well and also do well, but have regard to themselves in everything. They talk as angels do about the Lord, heaven, love, and heavenly life, and also act rightly, so that they may appear to be what they profess to be. But their thinking is different; they believe nothing; and they wish good to none but themselves. Their doing good is for the sake of self, or if for the sake of others it is only for the appearance, and thus still for the sake of self.

69. I have also been permitted to see that an entire angelic society, where the Lord is visibly present, appears as a one in the human form. There appeared on high towards the east something like a cloud, from glowing white becoming red, and with little stars round about, which was descending; and as it gradually descended it became brighter, and at last appeared in a perfect human form. The little stars round about the cloud were angels, who so appeared by virtue of light from the Lord.

70. It must be understood that although all in a heavenly society when seen together as one appear in the likeness of a man; yet no one society is just such a man as another. Societies differ from one another like the faces of different individuals of the same family, for the reason given above (n. 47), that is, they differ in accordance with the varieties of good in which they are and which determines their form. The societies of the inmost or highest heaven, and in the center there, are those that appear in the most perfect and beautiful human form.

71. It is worthy of mention that the greater the number in any society in heaven and the more these make a one, the bore perfect is its human form, for variety arranged in a heavenly form is what constitutes perfection, as has been shown above (n. 56), and number gives variety. Moreover, every society of heaven increases in number daily, and as it increases it becomes more perfect. Thus not only the society becomes more perfect, but also heaven in general, because it is made up of societies. As heaven gains in perfection by increase of numbers, it is evident how mistaken those are who believe that heaven may be closed by becoming full; for the opposite is true, that it will never be closed, but is perfected by greater and greater fullness. Therefore, the angels desire nothing so much as to have new angel guests come to them.

72. Each society, when it appears as one whole is in the form of a man, for the reason that heaven as a whole has that form (as has been shown in the preceding chapter); moreover, in the most perfect form, such as the form of heaven is, there is a likeness of the parts to the whole, and of lesser forms to the greatest. The lesser forms and parts of heaven are the societies of which it consists, which are also heavens in lesser form (see 51-58). This likeness is perpetual because in the heavens the goods of all are from a single love, that is, from a single origin. The single love, which is the origin of the good of all in heaven, is love to the Lord from the Lord. It is from this that the entire heaven in general, each society less generally, and each angel in particular, is a likeness of the Lord, as has been shown above (n. 58).

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Footnotes to Chapter 9

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