[T]he entire heaven is arranged in societies according to the affections of good, and the entire hell according to the lusts of evil opposite to the affections of good.
As to his spirit every man is in some society; in a heavenly society if he is in an affection for good, but in an infernal society if he is in a lust of evil. This is unknown to man so long as he lives in the world; nevertheless he is in respect to his spirit in some society, and without this he cannot live, and by means of it he is governed by the Lord.
If he is in an infernal society he can be led out of it by the Lord only in accordance with the laws of His Divine providence, among which is this,
- the man must see that he is there,
- must wish to go out of it,
- and must try to do this of himself.
This he can do while he is in the world, but not after death; for he then remains forever in the society into which he has inserted himself while in the world. This is the reason why man must examine himself, must recognize and acknowledge his sins and repent, and then must persevere even to the end of his life.