Heavenly Joy and Happiness (Continued)

We may gather the magnitude of heaven’s pleasure simply from the fact that for everyone there it is delightful to share their pleasure and bliss with someone else; and since everyone in the heavens is like this, we can see how immense heaven’s pleasure is. For as I explained above (Section 268), there is in heaven a sharing by everyone with each individual, and by each individual with everyone.

This kind of sharing flows from the two loves of heaven, which as noted are love for the Lord and love for our neighbor. These loves by nature want to share their pleasures. The reason love for the Lord is like this is that because the Lord’s love is a love of sharing everything it has with everyone, it intends the happiness of everyone. Much the same love exists in individuals who love him, because the Lord is in them. So there is a mutual sharing of angels’ pleasures with each other. We shall see later that love for our neighbor is like this as well. We may gather from all this that these loves by nature want to share their pleasures.

It is different for love for oneself and love for the world. Love for oneself takes away and carries off all the pleasure of others and diverts them to itself because it has only its own welfare in mind. Love of the world wants the possessions of the neighbor to be its own. So these loves by nature want to destroy pleasures for other people. If they have any tendency to share, it is for their own interests and not for others; so in relation to others (except insofar as they can appropriate and embody the pleasures of those others) they do not tend to share but to destroy.

I have very often been shown by vivid experience that this is what love for oneself and love for the world are like when they are in control. Whenever spirits who were engrossed in these loves when they lived as people in the world have come up to me, my own pleasure has waned and vanished. I have also been told that if people like these so much as move toward any heavenly community, the pleasure of the members of that community decreases in direct proportion to their presence. Remarkably, too, the evil people are then delighted. I could see from this what the state of the human spirit in the body is like, for it is much the same as it is after separation from the body. Specifically, they crave and covet the pleasures or assets of others, and to the extent that they acquire them they themselves are pleased. We can see from this that love for oneself and love for the world are destructive of heavenly joy and are therefore diametrically opposed to heavenly loves, whose nature is to share.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 399

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