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Chapter 62

The Equilibrium Between Heaven and Hell.

589. For any thing to have existence there must be an equilibrium of all things. Without equilibrium is no action and reaction; for equilibrium is between two forces, one acting and the other reacting, and the state of rest resulting from like action and reaction is called equilibrium. In the natural world there is an equilibrium in all things and in each thing. It exists in a general way even m the atmosphere, wherein the lower parts react and resist in proportion as the higher parts act and press down. Again, in the natural world there is an equilibrium between heat and cold, between light and shade, and between dryness and moisture, the middle condition being the equilibrium. There is also an equilibrium in all the subjects of the three kingdoms of nature, the mineral, the vegetable, and the animal; for without equilibrium in them nothing can come forth and have permanent existence. Everywhere there is a sort of effort acting on the one side and reacting on the other. [2] All existence or all effect is produced in equilibrium, that is, by one force acting and another suffering itself to be acted upon, or when one force by acting flows in, the other receives and harmoniously submits. In the natural world that which acts and reacts is called force, and also endeavor [or effort]; but in the spiritual world that which acts and reacts is called life and will. Life in that world is living force, and will is living effort; and the equilibrium itself is called freedom. Thus spiritual equilibrium or freedom has its outcome and permanence in the balance between good acting on the one side and evil reacting on the other side; or between evil acting on the one side and good reacting on the other side. [3] With the good the equilibrium is between good acting and evil reacting; but with the evil the equilibrium is between evil acting and good reacting. Spiritual equilibrium is between good and evil, because the whole life of man has reference to good and to evil, and the will is the receptacle. There is also an equilibrium between truth and falsity, but this depends on the equilibrium between good and evil. The equilibrium between truth and falsity is like that between light and shade, in that light and shade affect the objects of the vegetable kingdom only so far as heat and cold are in them. That light and shade themselves have no effect, but only the heat that acts through them, is evident from the fact that light and shade are the same in winter time and in spring time. This comparison of truth and falsity with light and shade is from correspondence, for truth corresponds to light, falsity to shade, and heat to the good of love; in fact, spiritual light is truth, spiritual shade is falsity, and spiritual heat is good of love (see the chapter where light and heat in heaven are treated of, n. 126-140).

590. There is a perpetual equilibrium between heaven and hell. From hell there continually breathes forth and ascends an endeavor to do evil, and from heaven there continually breathes forth and descends an endeavor to do good. In this equilibrium is the world of spirits; which world is intermediate between heaven and hell (see above, n. 421-431). The world of spirits is in this equilibrium because every man after death enters first the world of spirits, and is kept there in a state like that which he was in while in the world, and this would be impossible if there were not a perfect equilibrium there; for by means of this the character of every one is explored, since they then remain in the same freedom as they had in the world. Spiritual equilibrium is freedom in man and spirit (as has been said just above, n. 589). What each one's freedom is the angels recognize by a communication of affections and thoughts therefrom; and it becomes visible to the sight of angelic spirits by the ways in which the spirits go. Good spirits there travel in the ways that go towards heaven, but evil spirits in the ways that go towards hell. Ways actually appear in that world; and that is the reason why ways in the Word signify the truths that lead to good, or in the opposite sense the falsities that lead to evil; and for the same reason going, walking, and journeying in the Word signify progressions of life [62.1]. Such ways I have often been permitted to see, also spirits going and walking in them freely, in accord with their affections and thoughts.

591. Evil continually breathes forth and ascends out of hell, and good continually breathes forth and descends out of heaven, because every one is encompassed by a spiritual sphere; and that sphere flows forth and pours out from the life of the affections and the thoughts therefrom [62.2]. And as such a sphere flows forth from every individual, it flows forth also from every heavenly society and from every infernal society, consequently from all together, that is, from the entire heaven and from the entire hell. Good flows forth from heaven because all there are in good; and evil flows forth from hell because all there are in evil. The good that is from heaven is all from the Lord; for the angels in the heavens are all withheld from what is their own, and are kept in what is the Lord's own, which is good itself. But the spirits in the hells are all in what is their own, and every one's own is nothing but evil; and because it is nothing but evil it is hell [62.3]. Evidently, then, the equilibrium in which angels are kept in the heavens and spirits in the hells is not like the equilibrium in the world of spirits. The equilibrium of angels in the heavens exists in the degree in which they have been willing to be in good, or in the degree in which they have lived in good in the world, and thus also in the degree in which they have held evil in aversion; but the equilibrium of spirits in hell exists in the degree in which they have been willing to be in evil, or have lived in evil in the world, and thus in heart and spirit have been opposed to good.

592. Unless the Lord ruled both the heavens and the hells there would be no equilibrium; and if there were no equilibrium there would be no heaven or hell; for all things and each thing in the universe, that is, both in the natural world and in the spiritual world, endure by means of equilibrium. Every rational man can see that this is true. If there were a preponderance on one part and no resistance on the other would not both perish? So would it be in the spiritual world if good did not react against evil and continually restrain its uprising; and unless this were done by the Divine Itself both heaven and hell would perish, and with them the whole human race. It is said unless the Divine Itself did this, because the self of every one, whether angel, spirit, or man, is nothing but evil (see above, n. 591); consequently neither angels nor spirits are able in the least to resist the evils continually exhaling from the hells, since from self they all tend towards hell. It is evident, then, that unless the Lord alone ruled both the heavens and the hells no one could ever be saved. Moreover, all the hells act as one; for evils in the hells are connected as goods are in the heavens; and the Divine alone, which goes forth solely from the Lord, is able to resist all the hells, which are innumerable, and which act together against heaven and against all who are in heaven.

593. The equilibrium between the heavens and the hells is diminished or increased in accordance with the number of those who enter heaven and who enter hell; and this amounts to several thousands daily. The Lord alone, and no angel, can know and perceive this, and regulate and equalize it with precision; for the Divine that goes forth from the Lord is omnipresent, and sees everywhere whether there is any wavering, while an angel sees only what is near himself, and has no perception in himself of what is taking place even in his own society.

594. How all things are so arranged in the heavens and in the hells that each and all of those who are there may be in their equilibrium, can in some measure be seen from what has been said and shown above respecting the heavens and the hells, namely, that all the societies of heaven are distinctly arranged in accordance with goods and their kinds and varieties, and all the societies of hell in accordance with evils, and their kinds and varieties; and that beneath each society of heaven there is a society of hell corresponding to it from opposition, and from this opposing correspondence equilibrium results; and in consequence of this the Lord unceasingly provides that no infernal society beneath a heavenly society shall gain any preponderance, and as soon as it begins to do so it is restrained by various means, and is reduced to an exact measure of equilibrium. These means are many, only a few of which I will mention. Some of these means have reference to the stronger presence of the Lord; some to the closer communication and conjunction of one or more societies with others; some to the casting out of superabundant infernal spirits into deserts; some to the transference of certain spirits from one hell to another; some to the reducing of those in the hells to order, and this also is effected in various ways; some to the screening of certain hells under denser and thicker coverings, also letting them down to greater depths; besides other means; and still others that are employed in the heavens above the hells. All this has been said that it may in some measure be perceived that the Lord alone provides that there shall be an equilibrium everywhere between good and evil, thus between heaven and hell; for on such equilibrium the safety of all in the heavens and of all on the earth rests.

595. It should be known that the hells are continually assaulting heaven and endeavoring to destroy it, and that the Lord continually protects the heavens by withholding those who are in it from the evils derived from their self, and by holding them in the good that is from Himself. I have often been permitted to perceive the sphere that flows forth from the hells, which was wholly a sphere of effort to destroy the Divine of the Lord, and thus heaven. The ebullitions of some hells have also at times been perceived, which were efforts to break forth and to destroy. But on the other hand the heavens never assault the hells, for the Divine sphere that goes forth from the Lord is a perpetual effort to save all; and as those who are in the hells cannot be saved, (since all who are there are in evil and are antagonistic to the Divine of the Lord,) so as far as possible outrages in the hells are subdued and cruelties are restrained to prevent their breaking out beyond measure one against another. This also is effected by innumerable ways in which the Divine power is exercised.

596. There are two kingdoms into which the heavens are divided, the celestial kingdom and the spiritual kingdom (of which see above, n. 20-28). In like manner the hells are divided into two kingdoms, one of which is opposite to the celestial kingdom and the other opposite to the spiritual kingdom. That which is opposite to the celestial kingdom is in the western quarter, and those who are in it are called genii; and that which is opposite to the spiritual kingdom is in the northern and southern quarters, and those which are in it are called spirits. All who are in the celestial kingdom are in love to the Lord, and all who are in the hells opposite to that kingdom are in the love of self; while all who are in the spiritual kingdom are in love towards the neighbor, and all who are in the hells opposite to that kingdom are in love of the world. Evidently, then, love to the Lord and the love of self are opposites; and in like manner love towards the neighbor and love of the world are opposites. The Lord continually provides that there shall be no outflowing from the hells that are opposite the Lord's celestial kingdom towards those who are in the spiritual kingdom; for if this were done the spiritual kingdom would perish (for the reason given above, n. 678, 579). These are the two general equilibriums that are unceasingly maintained by the Lord.

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Footnotes to Chapter 62

[62.1] In the word "to journey," as well as "to go," signifies progression of life (n. 3335, 4375, 4554, 4585, 4882, 5493, 5605, 5996, 8181, 8345, 8397, 8417, 8420, 8557).

"To go (and to walk) with the Lord" means to receive spiritual life, and to live with Him (n. 10567).
"To walk" means to live (n. 519, 1794, 8417, 8420).

[62.2] A spiritual sphere, which is a sphere of life, flows forth and pours forth from every man, spirit, and angel, and encompasses him (n. 4464, 5179, 7454, 8630).

It flows forth from the life of their affections and thoughts (n. 2489, 4464, 6206). The quality of spirits is recognized at a distance from their spheres (n. 1048, 1053, 1316, 1504).
Spheres from the evil are the opposites of spheres from the good (n. 1695, 10187, 10312).
Such spheres extend far into angelic societies in accordance with the quality and quantity of good (n. 6598-6613, 8063, 8794, 8797).
And into infernal societies in accordance with the quality and quantity of evil (n. 8794).

[62.3] Man's self is nothing hut evil (n. 210, 215, 731, 874-876, 987, 1047, 2307, 2308, 3518, 3701, 3812, 8480, 8550, 10283, 10284, 10286, 10732).

Man's self is hell in him (n. 684, 8480).

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