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evils for any other reason than because they are sins, we are not abstaining from them, but merely making them invisible to the world.537

Evil and good cannot coexist; the more evil is removed, the more good is focused on and felt. This is the case because all who are in the spiritual world have a field of their particular love emanating around them. This field spreads all around and has an effect on others. It creates feelings of harmony or antipathy. These fields separate the good from the evil.

The fact that evil has to be removed before goodness is recognized, perceived, and loved could be compared with many situations that are possible in our world; for example, the following: Suppose someone keeps a leopard and a panther in an apartment and, as the one who feeds them, is able to live safely with them. No one else can visit unless their owner first removes these wild animals.

[2] Guests invited to the table of the king and queen would not forget to wash their faces and hands before attending. No bridegroom goes into the bedroom with his bride after the wedding without first washing himself all over and putting on a wedding garment. Anyone must first purify ore with fire and remove slag before getting pure gold or silver. Everyone separates the tares or weeds from the harvested wheat before taking it into the barn. Everyone removes the beards538 from harvested barley with threshing tools before bringing it home.

[3] Everyone cooks some of the juice out of raw meat before it becomes edible and is set on the table. Everyone knocks the grubs and caterpillars off the leaves of trees in the garden to prevent them from devouring the leaves and causing a loss of fruit. Everyone removes garbage from the house and the front entrance and cleans up those areas, especially when expecting a visit from a prince or the prince's daughter to whom one is engaged. Does any man love a young woman and propose to marry her if she is riddled with malignancies or covered all over with pustules and varicose veins, no matter how much she puts makeup on her face, wears gorgeous clothing, and makes an effort to be attractive by saying nice things and paying compliments?

[4] The need for us to purify ourselves from evils, and not to wait for the Lord to do it without our participation, is like a servant coming in with his face and clothes covered in soot and dung, approaching his master, and saying, "Lord, wash me." Surely his master would tell him, "You foolish servant! What are you saying? Look, there is the water, the soap, and a towel. Don't you have hands? Don't they work? Wash yourself!"

The Lord God is going to say, "The means of being purified come from me. Your willingness and your power come from me. Therefore use these gifts and endowments of mine as your own and you will be purified." And so on.

The need for the outer self to be cleansed, but to be cleansed through the inner self, is something that the Lord teaches in Matthew chapter 23 from beginning to end.

To these points I will add four memorable occurrences.

The first memorable occurrence. On one occasion I heard sounds of shouting that seemed as if they were bubbling up through water from below. One shout was to the left: " They are so just!" A second shout was to the right: " They are so learned!" A third shout was at the back: " They are so wise!" Because I was struck by the thought that there might be just, learned, and wise people in hell as well, I had a desire to see whether there were in fact people like that down there. From heaven I was told, "You will see and hear."

I left home in the spirit and saw an opening in front of me. I went over to it and looked down. There was a ladder! I climbed down it. When I was below, I saw plains that were covered in shrubs, with thorn bushes and stinging-nettles here and there. I asked whether it was hell. The people said that it was the lower earth,539 which is the next level up from hell. I tracked down the uproars one at a time.

I went toward the first shout: " They are so just!" I saw a group of people who in the world had been judges who took bribes and showed favoritism. Then I went toward the second shout: " They are so learned!" I saw a group of people who had been debaters in the world. I went toward the third shout: "They are so wise!" I saw a group of people who in the world had been providers of arguments.540 I turned away from this last group and headed back toward the first group, where there were judges who took bribes, showed favoritism, and were proclaimed just.

To one side I saw a kind of amphitheater made of bricks with a black-tiled roof. I was told that this was their courtroom. There were three doorways into it on the north side and three on the west side. There were no doorways on the south side or the east side. This was an indication that their judgments were arbitrary and had nothing to do with justice.

[2] In the middle of the amphitheater there was a fireplace. The keepers of the fire were throwing pitch-pine logs full of tar and sulfur into it. The light that these logs cast onto the plaster walls created colorful images of birds that come out only in the evening or the night. The fireplace and

the light cast from it that took the shape of these images were in fact symbolic of these people's judgments—they reflected the ability these people had to color the issues in any case and make the issues look a certain way, depending on the favor the judges would receive.

[3] After half an hour, I saw elders and youths coming in wearing robes and gowns. They took their hats off and sat down on chairs behind tables to hear cases.

I heard and sensed how, by way of looking out for their friends, the judges skillfully and ingeniously bent and inverted their decisions into something that seemed just. They were so effective that they themselves were not able to see their injustice as anything but just, and justice as unjust. Their conviction of this was apparent in their faces and audible in the sound of their voices.

At that point enlightenment from heaven was granted to me, which enabled me to perceive whether individual points were lawful or not. I saw how energetically these judges covered up injustice and overlaid it with an appearance of justice. Out of all laws they would pick one that was supportive and bend the central issue of the case in its direction, using skillful argumentation to set other laws aside.

After they arrived at their judgments, they handed down sentences in favor of their clients, friends, and supporters. To pay back the favor the judges had done them, the clients, friends, and supporters went all the way down a long road shouting, " They are so just! They are so just!"

[4] After that I talked to angels of heaven about these judges, recounting some of the things I had seen and heard. The angels said, "Judges like that seem to others as if they have the sharpest intellects, when in fact they do not see what is just and fair at all. If favoritism is not involved, they sit like statues during the trials and say only, 'I accede,' and 'I am willing to go along with this person or that person.' The reason is that all their judgments are prejudiced; prejudice and favoritism dog their cases from beginning to end. They see nothing but what would benefit their friends. They avoid looking directly at anything that would argue against their friends; they only glance at it out of the corner of their eyes. If they have to address it, they wrap it up in argumentation and devour it the way a spider wraps its prey in silken threads.

"Therefore if they are not following the web of their prejudice they see no law. In fact, they have been assessed to find out whether they could see the law; the finding was that they could not. The people who live in your world will find this incredible; but tell them that this is a truth discovered by angels of heaven. Because these judges do not see justice at all, we in heaven view them not as human beings but as monstrous human images: their heads are made of friendship, their chests are made of injustice, their arms and legs are made of supporting arguments, and the soles of their feet are made of justice. If a particular form of justice doesn't favor their friend, they remove it and trample it. [5] You are about to find out what they are truly like inside. Their end has come."

Then suddenly the ground split open. Tables crashed into tables. Along with the whole amphitheater, the people were swallowed up. They were thrown into caves and imprisoned.

Then I was asked, "Do you want to see them there?"

To my amazement I saw that their faces were like polished steel; from their necks to their groins their bodies were like statues clothed in leopard skins, and their legs were like snakes. I saw that the law books that they had set on their tables had turned into playing cards. Now instead of being judges, they were given the task of turning vermilion into makeup and applying it to the faces of promiscuous women to make them beautiful.

After seeing this I wanted to go to the other two groups, the one that consisted entirely of debaters and the other that consisted entirely of providers of arguments, but I was told, "Rest for a little while. You will be given angels from the community directly above those groups to accompany you. The Lord is going to give you light through these angels, and you are going to see amazing things."

The second memorable occurrence. After a time I heard again the voices from the lower earth that I had heard before: " They are so learned! They are so learned!"

I looked around to see who was beside me, and to my surprise there were angels from the heaven that was directly above the people who were shouting, " They are so learned."

I talked to the angels about the shouting. They said, "These are the type of scholars who argue only about whether something exists or not.541 They rarely think, it does exist. Therefore they are like the wind that blows and goes on by; they are like bark around a tree with nothing inside it; they are like almond shells without almonds; they are like skins empty of fruit. Their minds lack inner judgment and are connected only to their bodily senses. If their senses cannot discern something, they are unable to come to a conclusion about it. They are exclusively oriented to their senses. We call them debaters because they never come to a conclusion.

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