49. They went on to tell me that they are divided into tribes, families and households, each of which live in separate groups composed only of their own people. As a result they associate only with their kinsfolk. No one ever covets another's property, so it never occurs to anyone to desire anything which is another's, much less to devise schemes for getting hold of it, still less to seize and plunder it. They regard this as a crime against human nature and therefore repulsive. When I wanted to tell them that in our world we have wars, plundering and murders, they turned their backs, and refused to listen.
 I was told by angels that the earliest people in this world lived in similar fashion, divided into tribes, families and households. They were then all content with their own property, and it was unheard of to get rich at the expense of others' property, or selfishly to dominate others. For this reason ancient times, and especially the most ancient period, were more pleasing to the Lord than those which followed. Since such was their state, there was a reign of innocence coupled with wisdom. Everyone then did good out of goodness and honest deeds out of honesty. They did not know what it was to do good and honest deeds for one's own reputation or advantage. Then too they spoke nothing but the truth, not so much for truth's sake as because of goodness; that is to say, their motive came not from the intellectual faculty acting alone, but from the voluntary faculty combined with the intellectual.
Such were ancient times, so that angels could then mix with human beings, and virtually lift their minds out of bodily thoughts and carry them off into heaven. In fact, they could take them touring around heaven, showing off its magnificence and happiness, sharing with them their own happiness and pleasures. The ancient writers too knew about this period and called it the Golden Age or the reign of Saturn.
 The reason the period was like this was, as I said, that they lived divided into tribes, the tribes divided into families, and these into households, each household living by itself. Then it never occurred to anyone to seize another's inheritance in order to acquire wealth from it or power. Selfishness and love of the world were unknown. Every one was happy with his own property, and no less happy at other people's property. But as time went on, this scene changed and turned into its opposite, when men's minds were seized with the greed for power and great possessions. Then to protect itself the human race grouped itself into kingdoms and empires. Since the laws of charity and conscience, which men had had inscribed on their hearts, ceased to operate, it became necessary to pass legislation to control violent acts, so as to reward observance with honours and advantages and disobedience with punishments. This brought about so great a change that heaven itself moved away from men, retreating further and further down to the present age, when people no longer know whether heaven or hell exist, and some actually deny their existence. The purpose of these remarks is to illustrate by a parallel the condition of the people of the world of Jupiter, and to show where their uprightness and wisdom too come from. More will be said about this in what follows.