Conjugial Love (Rogers) n. 266

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266. After witnessing these sad and terrible scenes, I looked around and saw two angels standing and talking not far from me. One was dressed in a dazzling woolen gown of blazing purple, with a tunic of glistening silk underneath. The other was similarly dressed, in clothing of scarlet, with a miter in which some garnets had been set on the right side. Going over to them, I welcomed them and respectfully asked, "Why are you here below?" Answering they replied, "We have been sent here from heaven by the Lord's command, to speak with you about the blessed lot of people who want to govern from a love of accomplishing useful ends. We are worshipers of the Lord. I am the prince of a society; this other is the high priest there." The prince then said that he was a servant of his society, because he served it by rendering useful services. And the other said he was an attendant of the church there, because to serve the people he attended to its sanctities for the service of their souls. [2] Moreover, they said they both experienced continual joys from an eternal happiness which they had in them from the Lord; and that everything in their society was splendid and magnificent - splendid on account of its gold and precious stones, and magnificent on account of its palaces and paradise-like parks. "The reason for this," they said, "is that our love of governing does not arise from a love of self, but from a love of accomplishing useful ends; and because a love of accomplishing useful ends comes from the Lord, therefore all good and useful things in heaven are splendid and radiant. "In our society we are all possessed of this love, and therefore its atmosphere appears golden, from the light which it draws there from the blaze of the sun - for the blaze of the sun corresponds to that love." [3] When they said this, I saw as well a similar atmosphere appearing about them, and I sensed a fragrance emanating from it, which I also mentioned to them. And I asked them to add something further to what they had said about a love of being useful. So they continued, saying, "The positions we hold are positions we admittedly sought, but for no other purpose than to be able to perform useful services more fully and to extend them more widely. We are also surrounded with honor, and we accept it, yet not for our own sake, but for the good of the society. For our comrades and friends among the common people there scarcely know otherwise than that the honors of our positions are lodged in us, and consequently that the services we render come from ourselves. We, however, feel differently. We feel that the honors of our positions are outside us, and are like garments with which we are clothed, while the services we render come from a love of them within us from the Lord. This love, moreover, gains its bliss from its communication through useful service with others. We know, too, from experience, that the more we perform useful services from a love of them, the more this love increases, and with it the wisdom on which the communication depends. But the more we keep these services to ourselves and do not communicate them, the more the bliss dies away; and when this happens, useful service becomes like food retained in the belly, which is not distributed so as to nourish the body and its parts, but remains undigested and so produces nausea. "The whole of heaven, in short, is nothing but a world of useful service, from the firsts to the lasts of it. What is useful service but love of the neighbor in act? And what holds the heavens together except this love?" [4] Having listened to this, I inquired, "How can anyone know whether he performs useful services from a love of self or whether he does so from a love of accomplishing useful ends? Everyone, be he good or evil, performs some useful services, and he is prompted to do them because of some love. Suppose that there were in the world a society composed only of devils, and another society composed only of angels. Moved by the fire of their love of self and the splendor of their own glory, the devils would perform, I think, as many useful services in their society as the angels would in theirs. Who can know, therefore, from what love and from what origin these services flow?" [5] To this the two angels replied, "Devils perform useful services for the sake of themselves and their reputation, in order to be promoted to positions of honor or gain wealth. Angels, on the other hand, do not perform useful services on that account, but for the sake of the services, from a love of them. A person cannot distinguish the one and the other kinds of service, but the Lord sees the difference. Everyone who believes in the Lord and refrains from evils as sins performs useful services from the Lord. But everyone who does not believe in the Lord and does not refrain from evils as sins performs the services he does from himself and for the sake of himself. "That is the difference between services performed by devils and services performed by angels." Having said this, the two angels departed. And watching from a distance, I saw them apparently carried off in a chariot of fire like Elijah and so taken up to their heaven.

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