BY JOHN WORCESTER
MASSACHUSETTS NEW-CHURCH UNION
THROUGH the oesophagus there is a straight road from the mouth to the stomach. Its office is to conduct the food gently and properly from one province to the other. The food does not fall from the mouth into the stomach by mere force of its weight, -- we can swallow upward nearly as well as downward; as we do in drinking from a brook, and as the grazing animals constantly do. The oesophagus takes it in charge, and conducts it to the stomach with uniform motion, warming and lubricating it by the way, and thus preparing it somewhat for digestion, and preventing its doing injury to the stomach by sudden blows or chills. Perhaps it should be mentioned, also, that in the oesophagus the food first receives the motion of the heart and lungs, which afterwards is a necessity to its life, as long as it is a part of the body. [p. 38] The mouth is in the province of the head, which constitutes the third heaven; the stomach is in the domain of the first or natural heaven; and the heart and lungs belong to the second heaven (T. C. R. 119). By angels of the third heaven spirits are first received, that, at their introduction into the spiritual world, they may receive all the care that the kindest and wisest of the angels can give; and, further, that their quality may be carefully discriminated by the most sagacious angels, through whom the whole heaven may be informed of their presence and quality, and exactly such care may be provided for them as they need.
Still another advantage arising from the reception of spirits by these angels, is, that the spirits of infants, and of others who have become innocent as infants, may be received by the shortest way into heaven, being spared unnecessarily harsh treatment, and carrying at once the treasures of their innocent lives to increase the happiness of the heavenly societies to which they belong. [p. 39]
But it is necessary for spirits in whom good is not yet freed from evil or falsity, and those in whom evil still assumes the cloak of piety and morality, to have these elements of their natural character thoroughly made known, and to pass through whatever discipline is necessary to make them homogeneous, before the good can be taken up into heaven or the evil cast down into hell; and therefore such spirits pass from the care of angels of the third heaven, under the kind and wise direction of those of the second heaven, into the province of the stomach, on the natural plane.
They do not remain long in company with angels of the second heaven. These serve as friendly guides and introducers; also they initiate the new comers into the flow of thought and affection of the Greatest Man, which they themselves receive with peculiar fulness by reason of their nearness to and close connection with the heart and lungs of the heavens.
This heavenly rhythmical motion the same angels, in conjunction with those of the [p. 40] diaphragm, impress upon the whole world of spirits; for the oesophagus is continued into the stomach, upon which the diaphragm also presses from above; and all their motions they impart in considerable degree to the stomach; and this communication is an important element in the training which spirits undergo to fit them for life in the kingdom of heaven, every fibre of which responds to the throbs of the same heart and the respirations of the same lungs. Not fully do the new spirits receive the influence. This they cannot do till the angelic plane of their minds is opened, and they pass once more through this heaven in the circulation of the lungs and heart -- where they become angels, and their angelic faculties are opened -- on their way to their own societies. As yet they perceive only the general influence of it, so far as it can affect their natural life.
End of Chapter 3.