Originally published in the Swedenborg Foundation’s newsletter, Logos, in the summer of 2001.
The Reverend Don Rose, assistant pastor of the Academy of the New Church of Bryn Athyn and board member of the Swedenborg Foundation, introduces from the New Century Edition of Heaven and Hell.
“Generally, readers of Swedenborg read on their own, but some, who like to share and discuss as they go, join reading circles. I belong to a group of twenty busy people who get together each Tuesday evening for the purpose of discussing our reading of Swedenborg.
Our formula is simple. We assign ourselves ten pages of reading to do beforehand. When we first sit down, we go around the circle to see what passage numbers each person wants to discuss. Then we put those passages in numerical order and start talking. Suddenly, the clock says our hour is coming to a close. Others get on their way, after making sure what next week’s assignment is. Some pause for light refreshment and further discussion.
Our reading group has been currently moving through the NCE version of Heaven and Hell. At times, someone may observe that a word choice in the new translation falls strangely upon the ear. More often, there are comments on how a passage has become clear that was not so clear before. Occasionally, we simply enjoy the beauty of a passage. The passage about “peace” here had outstanding beauty.” — Don Rose
Heaven and Hell §288
“Since heaven’s peace is a divine blessedness that profoundly affects the essential good within angels, it does not come to their open perception except through a heartfelt delight when they are involved in the good of their life, a pleasure when they hear something true that is in accord with their good, and a gaiety of mind when they perceive the union of the two. Still, it does flow into all the acts and thoughts of their life and makes itself known as joy, even in outward form.
 Peace varies in quality and quantity in the heavens, though, in proportion to the innocence of the people in any given location, because innocence and peace walk hand in hand. For as already noted, innocence is the source of everything good in heaven and peace is the source of all the joy of that good. We may conclude, then, that we can say much the same about the state of peace as has already been said about the state of innocence in the preceding chapter, since innocence and peace are united the way anything good and its delight are. Whatever is good is in fact sensed by its delight, and whatever is delightful is recognized by virtue of its goodness. This being the case, we can see that angels of the inmost or third heaven are in the third or inmost level of peace because they are in the third or inmost level of innocence, and that angels of the lower heavens are in lesser levels of peace because they are in lesser levels of innocence (see above, §280).
 If we look at little children, we can see that innocence and peace occur together in the same way that anything good and its delight do. Because they are in innocence, they are at peace as well; and because they are at peace, everything associated with them has a playful quality. However, their peace is an outward peace. Inner peace, like inner innocence, is found only in wisdom; and since it does dwell in wisdom, it is found in the union of the good and the true, since this is the origin of wisdom.
Heavenly or angelic peace occurs in us when we are attuned to wisdom because of the union of the good and the true and therefore see ourselves as contented in God. However, as long as we are living in this world, that peace lies hidden in our depths. Still, it is unveiled when we leave our bodies behind and enter heaven, because then those depths are opened.
Since divine peace arises from the Lord’s union with heaven—and in particular with each individual angel by virtue of the union of the true and the good—when angels are in a state of love they are in a state of peace, because this is when the good within them is united to what is true (it has been explained above that angels’ states change periodically, §§154–160). Much the same is true of us when we are being regenerated. When a union of the good and the true takes place within us, which happens principally after trials by temptation, we come into a state of delight that arises from heavenly peace.d
That peace is like the morning time or dawn in spring, when, once the night has passed, all things of earth begin to take new life from the rising of the sun; the dew that falls from heaven spreads a leafy fragrance far and wide, and springtime’s gentle warmth makes meadows fertile and instills its charm in human minds as well. This is because morning or dawn in springtime corresponds to the state of peace of angels in heaven (see §155).e
I have talked with angels about peace as well, and have told them that on earth they call it peace when wars and conflicts between nations are over, or enmities and disagreements between individuals, and that they think inner peace is simply the peace of mind we have when anxieties are banished, or especially the relief and delight when things turn out well for us. The angels have responded, though, that this peace of mind, this relief and delight when anxieties are banished and things turn out well for us, may look like effects of peace; but they do not come from real peace except in people who are focused on heavenly good. This is because peace occurs only in that good. Peace actually flows in from the Lord into the very core of such individuals, and from that core comes down and spreads into their lower natures, causing peace of mind, relief of the spirit, and a consequent joy.
For people engrossed in evil, though, there is no peace.f There is an apparent calm, tranquillity, and pleasure when they get their way, but this is outward only, with no inward substance. Inside there is raging hostility, hatred, vengefulness, cruelty, and all kinds of evil cravings. Their spirits rush into these feelings the moment they see anyone who is not on their side, and it bursts forth whenever there is no fear [to restrain it]. This is why their delight is at home in insanity, while the delight of people involved in good is at home in wisdom. It is like the difference between hell and heaven.”
d. The union of the good and the true in people who are being regenerated takes place in a state of peace: 3696, 8517.
e. The state of peace in heaven is like the state of morning or spring on earth: 1726, 2780, 5662.
f. The cravings that arise from love for oneself and for the world totally destroy peace: 3170, 5662. Some people find peace in restlessness and in other such things that are the opposite of peace: 5662. There is no peace until the cravings of evil have been taken away: 5662.