696. Every single thing in the next life is balanced in such a way that evil punishes itself. So evil carries its own punishment with it, as likewise does falsity which comes back on him in whom falsity dwells. Consequently the punishment and torment which anybody suffers he brings upon himself, and at such times exposes himself to the devilish crew who inflict them. The Lord never sends anyone to hell, but wishes to lead all away from hell; less still does He bring anyone into torment. But since an evil spirit rushes into it himself the Lord turns all the punishment and torment to good and to some use. No punishment can possibly take place unless the Lord has some use as the end in view, for the Lord's kingdom is a kingdom of ends and uses. The uses which people in hell can perform however are the poorest of all. While they are engaged in these uses their torment is not so great; but once the use has been completed they are returned to hell.