Δευτέρα, 2 Αυγούστου 2010


An angel came to me and said: 'O pitiable foolish young man! O
horrible! O dreadful state! Consider the hot burning dungeon thou art
preparing for thyself to all eternity, to which thou art going in such
career.' I said: 'Perhaps you will be willing to shew me my eternal lot & we
will contemplate together upon it and see whether your lot or mine is most
desirable.' So he took me thro' a stable & thro' a church & down into the
church vault. At the end of which was a mill: thro' the mill we went, and came
to a cave: down the winding cavern we groped our tedious way, till a void
boundless as a nether sky appear'd beneath us. & we held by the roots of trees
and hung over this immensity; but I said: 'If you please we will commit
ourselves to this void, and see whether providence is here also: if you will
not, I will?' But he answered: 'Do not presume, o young-man, but as we here
remain, behold thy lot which will soon appear when the darkness passes away.'
So I remain'd with him, sitting in a twisted root of an oak; he was suspended
in a fungus, which hung with the head downward into the deep. By degrees we
beheld the infinite abyss, fiery as the smoke of a burning city; beneath us,
at an immense distance, was the sun, black but shinning; round it were fiery
tracks on which revolv'd vast spiders, crawling after their prey, which flew,
or rather swum, in the infinite deep, in the most terrific shapes of animals
sprung from corruption; & the air was full of them, & seem'd composed of them:
these are devils, and are called powers of the air. I now asked my companion
which was my eternal lot? He said: 'Between the black & white spiders'n but
now, from between the black & white spiders, a cloud and fire burst and rolled
thro' the deep. Black'ning all beneath, so that the nether deep grew black as
a sea, & rolled with a terrible noise; beneath us was nothing now to be seen
but a black tempest, till looking east between the cloudes & waves, we saw a
cataract of blood mixed with fire, and not many stones' throw from us appear'd
and sunk again the scaly fold of a monstrous serpent; at last, to the east,
distant about three degrees, appear'd a fiery crest above the waves; slowly it
reared like a ridge of golden rocks, till we discover'd two globes of crimson
fire, from which the sea fled away in clouds of smoke; and ow we saw it was
the head of Leviathan;
his forehead was divided into streaks of green & purple
like those on a tyger's forehead: soon we saw his mouth & red gills hung just
above the raging foam, tinging the black deep with beams of blood, advancing
towards us with all the fury of a spiritual existence. My friend the angel
climb'd up from his station into the mill; I remain'd alone; & then this
appearance was no more, but I found myself sitting on a pleasant bank beside
a river by moonlight hearing a harper, who sung to the harp; & his theme was:
'The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, & breeds
reptiles of the mind.' But I apose and sought for the mill, & there I found
my angel, who, surprised asked me how I escaped? I answer'd: 'All that we saw
was owing to your metaphysics; for when you ran away, I found myself on a bank
by moonlight hearing a harper. But now we have seen my eternal lot, shall I
shew you yours?' He lugh'd at my proposal; but I by force suddenly caught him
in my arms, & flew westerly thro' the night, till we were elevated above the
earth's shadow; then I flung myself with him directly into the body of the
sun; here I clothed myself in white & taking in my hand Swedenborg's volumes,
sunk from the glorious clime, and passed all the planets till we came to
Saturn: here I staid to rest, & then leap'd into the void between Saturn &
fixed stars. 'Here', said I, 'Is your lot, in this space, if space it may be
call'd.' Soon we saw the stable and the church, & I took him to the altar and
open'd the bible, and lo! It was a deep pit, into which I descended, driving
the angel before me; soon we saw seven houses of brick; one we enter'd; in it
were a number of monkeys, baboons, & all of that species, chain'd by the
middle, grinning and snatching at one another, but witheld by the shortness
of their chains: however, I saw that they sometimes grew numerous; and then
the weak were caught by the strong, and with a grinning aspect, first coupled
with, & then devour'd, by plucking off first one limb and then another, till
the body was left a helpless trunk; this, after grinning & kissing it with
seeming fondness, they devour'd too; and here & there I saw one savourily
picking the flesh off of his own tail; as the stench terribly annoy'd us both,
we went into the mill, & in my hand brought the skeleton of a body, which in
the mill was Aristotele's analytics. So the angel said: 'Thy phantasy has
imposed upon me, & thou oughtest to be ashamed.' I answered: 'We impose on one
another, & it is but lost time to converse with you whose works are only
analytics.' Opposition is true friendship. (PLATES 21-22) I have always found
that angels have the vanity to speak of themselves as the only wise; this they
do with a confident insolence sprouting from systematic reasoning, Swedenborg
boasts that what he writes is new; Tho' it is only the contents or index of
already publish'd books. A man carried a monkey about for a shew, & because
he was a little wiser than the monkey, grew vain, and conciev'd himself as
much wiser than seven men. It is so with Swedenborg: He shews the folly of
churches & exposes hypocrites, till he imagines that all religious, & himself
the single one on earth that ever broke a net. Now hear a plain fact:
Swedenborg has not written one net truth, now hear another: he has written all
the old falsehoods. And now hear the reason. He conversed with angels who are
all religious & conversed not with devils who all hate religion. For he was
incapable thro' his conceited notions. Thus Swedenborg writings are a
recapitulation of all superficial opinions, and an analysis of the more
sublime but not further. Have now another plain fact. Any man of mechanical
talents may, from the writings of Paracelus or Jacob Behmen, produce ten
thousand volumes of equal value with Swedenborg's, and from those of Dante or
Shakespeare an infinite number. But when he has done this, let him not say
that he knows better than his master, for he only holds a candle in sunshine.

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