- HE Scholar asked his Master, saying;
- Whither goeth the Soul when the Body dieth?
- His master answered him;
- There is no Necessity for it to go any whither.
- What not! said the inquisitive Junius:
- Must not the Soul leave the Body at Death, and go
either to Heaven or Hell?
- It needs no going forth, replied the venerable
- Only the outward mortal Life with the Body shall
separate themselves from the Soul. The Soul hath Heaven and Hell within itself
before, according as it is written, The Kingdom of God cometh not with Observation,
neither shall they say, Lo here! or Lo there! For behold
the Kingdom of God is within you. And which soever of the two, that is, either
Heaven or Hell is manifested in it, in that the Soul standeth.
- Here Junius said to his Master;
- This is hard to understand. Doth it not enter
into Heaven or Hell, as a Man entereth into a House; or as one goeth through a Hole or
Casement, into an unknown Place; so goeth it not into another World?
- The Master spake and said;
- No. There is verily no such Kind of entering
in; forasmuch as Heaven and Hell are everywhere, being universally co-extended.
- How is that possible? said the Scholar.
- What, can Heaven and Hell be here present, where we
are now sitting? And if one of them might, can you make me believe that both should
ever be here together?
- Then spoke the Master in this Manner:
- I have said that Heaven is everywhere present; and it
is true. For God is in Heaven; and God is everywhere. I have said also, that
Hell must be in like Manner everywhere; and that is also true. For the wicked
One, who is the Devil, is in Hell; and the whole World, as the Apostle hath taught
us, lieth in the wicked One, or the evil One; which is
as much as to say, not only that the Devil is in the World, but also that the World is in
the Devil; and if in the Devil, then in Hell too, because he is there. So Hell
therefore is everywhere, as well as Heaven; which is the Thing that was to be proved.
- The Scholar, startled hereat, said,
- Pray make me to understand this.
- To whom the Master said:
- Understand then what Heaven is: It is but the
Turning in of the Will into the Love of God. Wheresoever thou
findest God manifesting himself in Love, there thou findest Heaven, without travelling for
it so much as one Foot. And by this understand also what Hell is, and where
it is. I say unto thee, it is but the Turning in of the Will into the Wrath of
God. Wheresoever the Anger of God doth more or less manifest itself, there
certainly is more or less of Hell, in whatsoever Place it be. So that it is but the Turning
in of thy Will either into his Love, or into his Anger; and thou art accordingly
either in Heaven or in Hell. Mark it well. And this now cometh to pass in this
present Life, whereof St. Paul speaking, saith, Our Conversation is in Heaven.
And the Lord Christ saith also; My Sheep hear my Voice, and I know them, and
they follow me, and I give them the Eternal Life; and none shall pluck them out of my Hand.
Observe, he saith not, I will give them — after this Life
is ended; but I give them, that is, now — in the Time of this Life.
And what else is this Gift of Christ to his Followers but an Eternity of Life;
which for certain, can be nowhere but in Heaven. And also if Christ be certainly in
Heaven, and they who follow him in the Regeneration are in his Hand, then are they where
he is, and so cannot be out of Heaven: Yea, moreover none shall be able to pluck them out
of Heaven, because it is he who holdeth them there, and they are in his Hand which nothing
can resist. All therefore doth consist in the Turning in, or Entering of the Will
into Heaven, by hearing the Voice of Christ, and both knowing him and following
him. And so on the contrary it is also. Understandest thou this?
- His Scholar said to him;
- I think, in part, I do. But how cometh this
entering of the Will into Heaven to pass?
- The Master answered him;
- This then I will endeavour to satisfy thee in; but
thou must be very attentive to what I shall say unto thee. Know then, my Son, that
when the Ground of the Will yieldeth itself up to God, then it sinketh out of its own
Self, and out of and beyond all Ground and Place that is or can be imagined, into a
certain unknown Deep, where God only is manifest, and where he only worketh and
willeth. And then it becometh nothing to itself, as to its own working and willing;
and so God worketh and willeth in it. And God dwells in this resigned Will; by which
the Soul is sanctified, and so fitted to come into Divine Rest. Now in this Case
when the Body breaketh, the Soul is thoroughly penetrated all over with the Divine Love,
and so thoroughly illuminated with the Divine Light, even as a glowing hot Iron is by the
Fire, by which being penetrated throughout, it loseth its Darkness and becometh bright and
shining. Now this is the Hand of Christ, where God's Love thoroughly
inhabiteth the Soul, and is in it a shining Light, and a new glorious Life. And then
the Soul is in Heaven, and is a Temple of the Holy Ghost, and is itself the very Heaven of
God, wherein he dwelleth. Lo, this is the entering of the Will into Heaven and how
it cometh to pass.
- Be pleased, Sir, to proceed, said the Scholar,
- and let me know how it fareth on the other Side.
- The Master said:
- The godly Soul, you see, is in the Hand of Christ,
that is in Heaven, as he himself hath told us; and in what Manner this cometh to be so,
you have also heard. But the ungodly Soul is not willing in this Lifetime to come
into the Divine Resignation of its Will, or to enter into the Will of God; but goeth on
still in its own Lust and Desire, in Vanity and Falsehood, and so entereth into the Will
of the Devil. It receiveth thereupon into itself nothing but Wickedness; nothing
but Lying, Pride, Covetousness, Envy, and Wrath; and thereinto it giveth up its Will and
whole Desire. This is the Vanity of the Will; and this same Vanity or vain Shadow
must also in like Manner be manifested in the Soul, which hath yielded up itself to be its
Servant; and must work therein, even as the Love of God worketh in the regenerated Will,
and penetrates it all over, as Fire doth Iron.
And it is not possible for this Soul to come into the Rest of God; because God's
Anger is manifested in it, and worketh in it. Now when the Body is parted from this
Soul, then beginneth the Eternal Melancholy and Despair; because it now findeth that it is
become altogether Vanity, even a Vanity most vexatious to itself, and a distracting Fury,
and a self-tormenting Abomination. Now it perceiveth itself disappointed of every
Thing which it had before fancied, and blind, and naked, and wounded, and hungry, and
thirsty; without the least Prospect of being ever relieved, or Obtaining so much as one
Drop of Water of Eternal Life. And it feeleth itself to be a mere Devil to itself,
and to be its own Vile Executioner and Tormentor; and is affrighted at its own ugly dark
Form, appearing as a most hideous and monstrous Worm, and fain would flee from itself, if
it could, but it cannot, being fast bound with the Chains of the Dark Nature, whereinto it
had sunk itself when in the Flesh. And so not having learned nor accustomed itself
to sink down into the Divine Grace, and being also strongly possessed with the Idea of
God, as an Angry and Jealous God, the poor Soul is both afraid and ashamed to bring its
Will into God, by which Deliverance might possibly come to it.
The Soul is afraid to do it, as Fearing to be consumed by so doing, under the Apprehension
of the Deity as a mere devouring Fire. The Soul is also ashamed
to do it, as being confounded at its own Nakedness and Monstrosity; and therefore
would, if it were possible, hide itself from the Majesty of God, and cover its abominable
Form from his most holy Eye, though by casting itself still deeper into the Darkness,
wherefore then it will not enter into God; nay, it cannot enter with its
false Will; yea, though it should strive to enter, yet it cannot enter into the Love,
because of the Will which hath reigned in it. For such a Soul is thereby captivated
in the Wrath; yea, is itself but mere Wrath, having by its false Desire, which it
had awakened in itself, comprehended and shut up itself therewith, and so transformed
itself into the Nature and Property thereof.
And since also the Light of God doth not shine in it, nor the Love of God incline it, the
Soul is moreover a great Darkness, and is withal an anxious Fire-Source,
carrying about a Hell within itself, and not being able to discern the least Glimpse of
the Light of God, or to feel the least Spark of his love. Thus it dwelleth in itself
as in Hell, and needeth no entering into Hell at all, or being carried thither; for in
what Place soever it may be, so long as it is in itself, it is in the Hell. And
though it should travel far, and cast itself many hundred thousand Leagues from its
present Place, to be out of Hell; yet still would it remain in the Hellish Source and
- If this be so, how then cometh it, said the Scholar
- that a Heavenly Soul doth not in the Time of this
Life perfectly perceive the Heavenly Light and Joy; and the Soul which is without God in
the World, doth not also here feel Hell, as well as hereafter? Why should they not
both be perceived and felt as well in this Life as in the next, seeing that both of them
are in Man, and one of them (as you have shown) worketh in every Man?
- To whom Theophorus presently returneth this
- The Kingdom of Heaven is in the Saints operative and
manifestative of itself by Faith. They who carry God within them, and live
by his Spirit, find the Kingdom of God in their Faith; and they feel the
Love of God in their Faith, by which the Will hath given up itself into God, and
is made Godlike. In a Word, all is transacted within them by Faith, which
is to them the Evidence of the Eternal Invisibles, and a great Manifestation in their
Spirit of this Divine Kingdom, which is within them. But their natural Life is
nevertheless encompassed with Flesh and Blood; and this Standing in a Contrariety thereto,
and being placed through the Fall in the Principle of God's Anger, and surrounded about
with the World, which by no Means can be reconciled to Faith, these faithful Souls cannot
but be very much exposed to Attacks from this World, wherein they are Sojourners; neither
can they be insensible of their being thus compassed about with Flesh and Blood, and with
this World's vain Lust, which ceaseth not continually to penetrate the outward mortal
Life, and to tempt them in manifold Ways, even as it did Christ. Whence the World on
one side, and Devil on the other, not without the Curse of God's Anger in Flesh and Blood,
do thoroughly penetrate and sift the Life; whereby it cometh to pass that the Soul is
often in Anxiety when these three are all set upon it together, and when Hell thus
assaulteth the Life, and would manifest itself in the Soul. But the Soul hereupon
sinketh down into the Hope of the Grace of God, and standeth like a beautiful Rose in the
Midst of Thorns, until the Kingdom of this World shall fall from it in the Death of the
Body; And then the Soul first becometh truly manifest in the Love of God, and in his
Kingdom, which is the Kingdom of Love; having henceforth nothing more to hinder it.
But during this Life she must walk with Christ in this World; and then Christ delivereth
her out of her own Hell, by penetrating her with his Love throughout, and standing by her
in Hell, and even changing her Hell into Heaven.
But in that thou moreover sayest, why do not the Souls which are without God feel Hell in
this World? I answer; They bear it about with them in their wicked Consciences, but
they know it not; because the World hath put out their Eyes, and its deadly Cup hath cast
them likewise into a Sleep, a most fatal Sleep. Notwithstanding which it must be
owned that the Wicked do frequently feel Hell within them during the Time of this mortal
Life, though they may not apprehend that it is Hell, because of the earthly Vanity which
cleaveth unto them from without, and the sensible Pleasures and Amusements wherewith they
are intoxicated. And moreover it is to be noted, that the outward Life in every such
one hath yet the Light of the outward Nature, which ruleth in that Life; and so the Pain
of Hell cannot, so long as that hath Rule, be revealed.
But when the Body dieth or breaketh away, so as the Soul cannot any longer enjoy such
temporal Pleasure and Delight, nor the Light of this outward World, which is wholly
thereupon extinguished as to it; then the Soul stands in a eternal Hunger and Thirst after
such Vanities as it was here in Love withal, but yet can reach nothing but that false
Will, which it had impressed in itself while in the Body; and wherein it had abounded to
its great Loss. And now whereas it had too much of its Will in this Life, and yet
was not contented therewith, it hath after this Separation by Death, as little of it;
which createth in it an everlasting Thirst after that which it can henceforth never more
obtain, and causeth it to be in a perpetual anxious Lust after Vanity, according to its
former Impression, and in a continual Rage of Hunger after those Sorts of Wickedness and
Lewdness whereinto it was immersed, while being in the Flesh.
Fain would it do more Evil still, but that it hath not either wherein or wherewith to
effect the Same, left to it; and therefore it doth perform this only in itself.
All is now internally transacted, as if it were outward; and so the Ungodly Soul is
tormented by those Furies which are in his own Mind, and begotten upon himself by himself.
For he is verily become his own Devil and Tormentor; and that by which he sinned
here, when the Shadow of this World is passed away, abideth still with him in the
Impression, and is made his Prison and his Hell. But this hellish Hunger and Thirst
cannot be fully manifested in the Soul, till the Body which ministered to the Soul what it
lusted after, and with which the Soul was so bewitched, as to dote thereupon, and pursue
all its Cravings, be stripped off from it.
- I perceive then, said Junius to his Master,
- that the Soul having played the Wanton with the Body
in all Voluptuousness, and having served the Lusts thereof during this Life, retaineth
still the very same Inclinations and Affections which it had before; so that when it hath
no more Opportunity nor Capacity to satisfy them; and when it finds it cannot, then Hell
will open in that Soul, which before had been shut up, by Means of the outward Life in the
Body, and of the Light of this World. Do I rightly understand?
- Theophorus said,
- It is very rightly understood by you. Go on.
- On the other Hand, the Scholar went on,
- I clearly perceive by what I have heard, that Heaven
cannot but be in a loving Soul, which is possessed of God, and hath subdued thereby the
Body to the Obedience of the Spirit in all Things, and perfectly immersed itself into the
Will and Love of God. And when the Body dieth, and this Soul is hence redeemed from
the Earth, it is now evident to me, that the Life of God which was hidden in it, will
display itself gloriously, and Heaven will consequently be then manifested. But
notwithstanding, if there be not also a local Heaven besides, and a local Hell, I am still
at a loss where to place no small Part of the Creation, if not the greatest. For
where must all the intellectual Inhabitants abide?
- In their own Principle, answered the Master,
- whether it be of Light or of Darkness. For
every created intellectual Being remaineth in its Deeds and Essences, in its Wonders and
Properties, in its Life and Image; and therein it beholdeth and feeleth God, as who is
everywhere, whether it be in the Love, or in the Wrath.
If it be in the Love of God, then beholdeth it God accordingly, and feeleth him as he is
Love. But if it hath captivated itself in the Wrath of God, then it cannot behold
God otherwise than in the wrathful Nature, nor perceive him otherwise than as an incensed
and vindictive Spirit. All Places are alike to it, if it be in God's Love; and if it
be not there, every Place is Hell alike. What Place can bound a Thought? Or what
needeth any understanding Spirit to be kept here or there, in order to its Happiness or
Misery? Verily, wheresoever it is, it is in the abyssal World,
where there is neither End nor Limit. And whither, I pray, should it go? Since
though it should go a thousand Miles off, or a thousand Times ten thousand Miles, and this
ten thousand Times over, beyond the Bounds of the Universe, and into the imaginary Spaces
above the Stars, yet it were then still in the very same Point from whence it went out.
For God is the Place of Spirit; if it may be lawful to attribute
to him such a Name, to which the Body hath a Relation: And in God there is no Limit; both
near and afar off is here all one; and be it in his Love, or be it in his Anger, the abyssal
Will of the Spirit is altogether unconfined. It is swift as Thought, passing
through all Things; it is magical, and nothing corporeal or from without can let or
obstruct it; it dwelleth in its Wonders, and they are its House.
Thus it is with every Intellectual, whether of the Order of Angels, or of human Souls; and
you need not fear but there will be Room enough for them all, be they ever so many; and
such also as shall best suit them, even according to their Election and Determination; and
which may thence very well be called his own Place.
- At which, said the Scholar;
- I remember, indeed, that it is written concerning the
great Traitor, that he went after Death to his own Place.
- The Master here said:
- The same is true of every Soul, when it departeth
this mortal Life: And it is true in like Manner of every Angel, or Spirit whatsoever;
which is necessarily determined by its own Choice. As God is everywhere, so also the
Angels are everywhere; but each one in its own Principle, and in its own Property, or (if
you had rather) in its own Place. The same Essence of God, which is as a
Place to Spirits, is confessed to be everywhere; but the Appropriation, or Participation
thereof is different to every one, according as each hath attracted magically in the
Earnestness of the Will. The same Divine Essence which is with the Angels of God
above, is with us also below: And the same Divine Nature which is with us, is likewise
with them; but after different Manners and in different Degrees, communicated and
And what I have said here of the Divine, is no less to be considered by you in
the Participation of the Diabolical Essence and Nature, which is the Power of Darkness,
as to the manifold Modes, Degrees, and Appropriations thereof in the false Will. In
this World there is Strife between them: but when this World hath reached in any one the
Limit, then the Principle catcheth that which is its own: and so the Soul receiveth
Companions accordingly, that is, either Angels or Devils.
- To whom the Scholar said again:
- Heaven and Hell then being in us at Strife in the
Time of this Life, and God himself being also thus near unto us, where can Angels and
- And the Master answered him thus:
- Where thou dost not dwell as to thy Self-hood,
and to thine own Will, there the holy Angels dwell with thee, and everywhere all
over round about thee. Remember this well. On the contrary, where thou
dwellest as to thyself, in Self-seeking, and Self-will, there to be sure the Devils will
be with thee, and will take up their abode with thee, and dwell all over thee, and round
about thee everywhere. Which God in his Mercy prevent.
- I understand not this, said the Scholar,
- so perfectly well as I could wish. Be pleased
to make it a little more clear to me.
- The Master then spoke:
- Mark well what I am going to say. Where the
Will of God in any Thing willeth, there is God manifested; and in this very manifestation
of God, the Angels do dwell. But where God in any Creature willeth not with the
Will of that Creature, there God is not manifested to it, neither can he be; but dwelleth
in himself, without the Co-operation and Subjection of the Creature to him in
Humility. There God is an unmanifested God to the Creature. So the Angels
dwell not with such a one; for wherever they dwell, there is the Glory of God; and they
make his Glory. What then dwelleth in such a Creature as this? God dwelleth
not therein; the Angels dwell not therein; God willeth not therein, the Angels also will
not therein. The case is evidently this, in that Soul or Creature its own Will is
without God's Will, and there the Devil dwelleth; and with him all whatever is without
God, and without Christ. This is the Truth; lay it to Heart.
- The Scholar:
- It is possible I may ask several impertinent
Questions; but I beseech you, good Sir, to have Patience with me, and to pity my
Ignorance, if I ask what may appear to you perhaps ridiculous, or may not seem fit for me
to expect an Answer to. For I have several Questions still to propound to you; but I
am ashamed of my own Thoughts in this Matter.
- The Master:
- Be plain with me, and propose whatever is upon your
Mind; yea, be not ashamed even to appear ridiculous, so that by Querying you may but
- The Scholar thanked his Master for this Liberty, and
- How far then are Heaven and Hell asunder?
- To whom he answered thus:
- As far as Day and Night; or as far as Something and
Nothing. They are in one another, and yet they are at the greatest Distance one from
the other. Nay, the one of them is as nothing to the other; and yet notwithstanding
they cause Joy and Grief to one another. Heaven is throughout the whole World, and
it is also without the World over all, even everywhere that is, or that can be but so much
as imagined. It filleth all; It is within all; It is without all;
It encompasseth all; without Division, without Place; working by a Divine
Manifestation, and flowing forth universally, but not going in the least out of
itself. For it worketh only in itself, and is revealed, being one, and undivided in
all. It appeareth only through the Manifestation of God; and never but in itself
only: And in that Being which cometh into it, or in that wherein it is manifested, there
also it is that God is manifested. Because Heaven is nothing else but a
Manifestation or Revelation of the Eternal One, wherein all the Working and Willing is in
So in like Manner Hell also is through the whole World, and dwelleth and worketh but in
itself, and in that wherein the Foundation of Hell is manifested, namely, in Self-hood,
and in the False Will. The visible World hath both in it; and there is no Place but
what Heaven and Hell may be found or revealed in it. Now Man as to his temporal
Life, is only of the visible World; and therefore during the Time of this Life, he seeth
not the spiritual World. For the outward World with its Substance, is a Cover to the
spiritual World, even as the Body is to the Soul. But when the outward Man dieth,
then the spiritual World, as to the Soul, which hath now its Covering taken away, is
manifested either in the Eternal Light with the holy Angels, or in the Eternal Darkness,
with the Devils.
- The Scholar further queried:
- What is an Angel, or a human Soul, that they can be
thus manifested either in God's Love or Anger, either in Light or Darkness?
- To whom Theophorus answered:
- They come from one and the self-same Original: They
are little Branches of the Divine Wisdom, of the Divine Will, sprung from the Divine Word,
and made Objects of the Divine Love. They are out of the Ground of Eternity, whence
Light and Darkness do spring: Darkness, which consisteth in the receiving of Self-Desire;
and Light, which consisteth in Willing the same Thing with God. For in the
conformity of the Will with God's Will, is Heaven; and wheresoever there is this Willing
with God, there the Love of God is undoubtedly in the Working, and his Light will not fail
to manifest itself. But in the Self-Attraction of the Soul's Desire, or in the
Reception of Self into the Willing of any Spirit, angelical or human, the Will of God
worketh difficultly, and is to that Soul or Spirit nought but Darkness; out of which,
notwithstanding, the Light may be manifested. And this Darkness is the Hell of that
Spirit wherein it is. For Heaven and Hell are
nought else but a Manifestation of the Divine Will either in Light or Darkness,
according to the Properties of the Spiritual World.* [* From the
Beginning of the Supersensual Life to the Reference of this Note, was found among the
Papers of the late Editor, in the Hand Writing of the truely pious and learned Mr. Law,
who has so enlarged and elucidated it (as the Reader may see by compraring it with the
Original) that probably he intended it for a separate Publication.]