I. Prefatory Remarks                                   
II. History of "The Word Explained"

Early Notices                                   

Rediscovery and Appraisal of the Manuscript

The Printing of the Text                     

The Title "Adversaria"       

Previous Translations       
III. Swedenborg's Intromission into the Spiritual World

Exceeds All Miracles

Long Preparation Necessary                     

Swedenborg's Heredity a Factor in His Preparation

Preparation in Infancy

Preparation in Later Years

First Premonitions

Early Dreams

Early Temptations

"The Animal Kingdom"

"The Journal of Dreams"

The Manifestation of the Lord

Swedenborg's Double Thoughts

The Lord's Second Manifestation

Swedenborg's Attitude to this Vision

The Opening of Swedenborg's Spiritual Sight

Swedenborg's Confessions of Sin

Swedenborg's Confessions an Essential Part of his Preparation

Women in Swedenborg's Dreams

Incidents in Swedenborg's Life during the Journal Period

Swedenborg's Journal and his Learned Works

The Epilogue to The Animal Kingdom

Visions during April, 1744

The Lord Again Appears to Swedenborg

"The Five Senses"

Additions to "The Brain"

A Closer Approach to the Spiritual World. The Society of the Palace

Effect of his Visions on Swedenborg's Literary Plans

The Last of the Scientific-Philosophical Works

Swedenborg Addressed by a Spirit

Swedenborg actually Admitted into the Spiritual World

The Dangers Encountered

"The Worship and Love of God"

The Call to the Office of Revelator
IV. The Intermediate Period of Swedenborg's Life

Swedenborg's Study of the Word. His First Index to the Bible

"The History of Creation." "The Historical Word Explained"

Index of Biblical Names. The Study of Hebrew.

"The Prophetical Word Explained"

Resignation from the College of Mines

Bible Indices with the Spiritual Sense. The Index to the Memorabilia

The Writing of the Arcana Coelestia

Resume of Swedenborg's Preparatory Work

Swedenborg Prepared As if of Himself

The Works of the Intermediate Period, a Preparation for the Writings

The "As of Itself" Necessary for a Rational Revelation
V. Theological Terms in "The Word Explained"

Creation from Nothing

"The Prince of the World"

"Three Persons"
VI. Conclusion






The work now presented to the public for the first time in English dress, or indeed in any complete translation, has been known in the past by the title "Adversaria" bestowed upon it by Dr. J. F. Immanuel Tafel, in 1842, when he commenced the publication of the Latin text. Dr. Tafel did not then know that Swedenborg had himself given a title to the work, and moreover he was under the impression, as will be noted later, that the work itself, of which he had seen but a small portion, consisted merely of notes in preparation for the Arcana Coelestia. We have preferred to publish the work under the title given to it by its author.

The work was written by Swedenborg during what may be called the intermediate period of his life; he had been admitted into the spiritual world, he had wholly laid aside the study of science and philosophy, but he had not yet entered upon the composition of those Writings which constitute the Doctrines of the New Church. As compared with his other works, it presents marked contrasts in language, style, and manner of treatment; and to one who is familiar only with the author's earlier or later writings, and who is also unacquainted with the particulars of his life during the period when the present work was penned, these contrasts may be a matter of some wonder and enquiry. Nor need we be surprised if such is the case; for it is doubtful whether there can be any just appraisal of The Word Explained, or even any adequate comprehension of its contents, without some knowledge concerning the intermediate period of the life of its author, and so concerning the relation which this work bears to those which preceded it and to those which followed. Therefore, in presenting The Word Explained to a larger audience than it has hitherto reached, it has seemed advisable that it be introduced by some account of Swedenborg's preparation for his final mission, and, more especially, of the steps by which he was intromitted into the spiritual world and of the means whereby his preparation was then completed.

Before entering upon this subject, however, and after some remarks on the present translation, we wish to give the reader some particulars respecting the work itself and its place in the history of the New Church.
The translation has been made from a phototype copy of the autograph manuscript preserved in the Royal Academy of Sciences, Stockholm. This autograph consists of four folio volumes as follows:

I. (Codex 59), 739 pages: The History of Creation, followed by the Exposition of Genesis up to the 35th chapter; the paragraphs of this Exposition are numbered consecutively from 1 to 1713.

II. (Codex 60), 590 pages: Continuation of volume I, carrying the Exposition to Exodus 1428; the paragraphs, however, are numbered independently from 1 to 2476.

III. (Codex 61), 666 pages: Continuation of volume II, containing the Exposition of the rest of Exodus up to chapter 28, of selected passages from Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Samuel, Kings and Chronicles and of the whole of Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. This volume also is numbered independently, the numbers running from 1 to 7762.

IV. (Codex 62), 107 pages plus 630 blank pages: The Exposition of Isaiah and Jeremiah. The paragraphs of this volume are unnumbered.[1]

On the backs of Codices 59 to 61 is the inscription, in printed letters made apparently by Swedenborg's direction, "Explicatio in Verbum Historicum Vet. Test." On the back of Codex 62 is the title, in Swedenborg's own hand, "Esajas Jeremias explicat."

The title The History of Creation is written out in full at the commencement of the work, and Scripture passages are given that are intended to face this title; but the text of The Word Explained is not preceded by any title. In sundry notes that occur on the inside of the cover pages of Codex 61, however, directions are given to prefix certain passages to " the Explanation of Genesis or of Exodus or of both." Moreover, in a list of things to be attended to, prepared by Swedenborg in 1748 prior to his sailing for England, he calls this work his "Spiritual Exposition." It may therefore be taken as established that the title inscribed on the back of Codices 59 to 61 is Swedenborg's own title to the work contained in those volumes.[2] We shall have more to say on this subject when we come to the causes that led to the name "Adversaria."

It is quite evident that the work was commenced with the intention of printing it, though according to Swedenborg's custom, a clean copy with more or less of alterations would be made for the printer. Swedenborg clearly held it to be his bounden duty to publish what had been made known to him, especially in regard to the spiritual world, that so he might give his testimony.[3] Moreover, he more than once explicitly implies his intention to print, as for instance, when he expresses doubt as to whether certain particulars should be included in the notes "that are to be printed."[4] The intention to print is also clearly implied in other passages, as in n. 210 which opens with the words "Believe me, readers, for I speak the truth."

In the first volume of the autograph (Codex 59), the exposition oft he spiritual sense is given in much detail, especially after the first few pages; but in the second volume (Codex 60) it becomes gradually somewhat briefer, and in places it appears as though the author intended to amplify his statements when the time came for printing. The same is true to a much greater extent of the third volume (Codex 61), where the explanations are frequently mere jottings; but later on in the volume, in the exposition of the Book of Numbers, they again become quite extensive.. In volume IV (Codex 62), where the paragraphs are unnumbered, the exposition is for the most part in the form of notes.

It seems evident that the author commenced The Word Explained and continued it for some time with the intention of printing in the near future. As the work proceeded, however, the idea of printing seems gradually to have fallen into the background. Perhaps Swedenborg was in obscurity as to what Providence would indicate for him; perhaps also, especially in view of the fact that as he proceeded in his exposition obscurities were sometimes brought upon his mind by the spirits who were around him, he began to consider that the primary use of the work was his own preparation for some future work.

Here and there in the autograph volumes, we find passages which are crossed off by the author, and which in the Latin edition are therefore for the most part omitted. They are included in the present translation, though in the form of footnotes, for the reason that the use of the present work to the student will, we think, be not only the understanding of the Exposition there set forth, but also the study of Swedenborg's preparation for his mission; and, as will readily be seen, in this study even the passages which he crossed off have their place.

As already noted, the first three volumes of the autograph (Codices 59 to 61) have each a separate and independent numbering of the paragraphs, while in the fourth volume (Codex 62) there are no paragraph numbers; the same observations apply also to the work as published in Latin. For the sake of easy reference, however, we have thought it best to number the work consecutively, and to continue the numbering to include Codex 62, or The Exposition of Isaiah and Jeremiah.

In the latter part of the Exposition of the Historical Word, and particularly in Codex 61, the paragraphs are frequently very short, sometimes consisting of merely one or two lines, or even of one or two words, and sometimes being the completion of a sentence commenced in the preceding paragraph. A study of these short paragraphs makes it quite evident that here Swedenborg simply entered a note of what he intended to write out more fully when the time came to prepare his work for the press. As the work now stands, however, to print all these paragraph numbers would merely be a multiplication of numbers, and would serve no practical use. We have therefore combined many of the short paragraphs to which have alluded, into a single paragraph. In this way we make the work to consist of 8200 paragraph numbers, instead of 12,500 as would otherwise have been the case.

It has not seemed necessary to add the original paragraph numbers to each individual paragraph, since the very plan of the work makes reference to the Latin text (or from the Latin to the present translation), a very simple matter. But to satisfy the needs of those who do not have access to the Latin text, the original paragraph numbers are given with sufficient frequency to enable the reader easily to find any references made to the original Latin, such, for instance, as are found in The Swedenborg Concordance.

Grateful acknowledgment is made of the courtesy of The Theological School of the General Convention for the loan of a manuscript translation of a part of The Word Explained made by the late Rev. Edwin Gould of Montreal. After Mr. Gould's death, this manuscript was deposited in The Theological School by his son, the Rev. E. M. Lawrence Gould. This translation was evidently intended as a first draft. As a whole it is extremely literal, and we have received many valuable suggestions in consulting it.

I also wish to express my appreciation of the services of my niece and secretary, Miss Beryl G. Briscoe, who has made many useful suggestions and has exercised much care in the preparation of the manuscript. Miss Briscoe has also prepared the Index of Scripture Passages.

1. In the Latin edition, Codex 59 constitutes Part I, vols. 1, 2; Codex 60, Part I, 3, 4; Codex 61, Part I, 5, 6 and Parts II and III; Codex 62, Part IV. These are usually referred to as Adversaria, vols. 1, 2, 3 and 4; but vol. 4 includes Parts II and III as well as Part IV. In the following pages we shall refer to these volumes as "1 Lat.," "2 Lat." etc.

2. Both Dr. R. L. Tafel (3 Documents conc. Swedenborg, 951) and the Rev. James Hyde (Bibliography, p. 110) imply disapproval of the title "Adversaria," the latter calling the work The Historical Word, and the former, Explanation of the Historical Word.

3. Word Explained, 475.

4. W. E. 1596; see also 1767 (2 Lat. 54).






On Swedenborg's death his manuscripts were committed by his heirs to the charge of the Royal Academy of Sciences in Stockholm. In the catalog which they then prepared, the four codices containing The Word Explained are listed as "3 volumes folio, containing probably the first sketch of the Arcana Coelestia," and "a volume in folio containing an explanation of Isaiah and Jeremiah." The detailed contents of each volume are given, and also the numbers of the paragraphs. This catalog was subsequently printed in Stockholm in 1800 and again in 1820.[1]

In 1782 a new catalog was published by Nordenskjold in his Introduction to the German translation of Heaven and Hell. Here the volumes are described as "a Summary Exposition of Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy in 2352 paragraphs; of Joshua and Judges in 405 paragraphs; of the Books of Samuel and Kings in 448. Likewise, an Explanation of Genesis and Exodus; altogether three volumes folio bound. The author seems to have composed these volumes before the Arcana Coelestia, and before being called to his office. A Summary Exposition of Isaiah and Jeremiah in 106 pages."

Three years later Benedict Chastanier issued a prospectus for printing Swedenborg's posthumous works, which he included in the English edition of Heaven and Hell published in London, 1785. Here he lists The Word Explained as "an Explanation of the Historical Books of the Word and also of the Prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah."

After this publication, no further interest seems to have been manifested until 1836, when in The Intellectual Repository for January[2] a correspondent published an English translation of the Heirs' Catalog. In this catalog it is noted that Codex 59 (Genesis) consists of 1713 paragraphs, Codex 60 (Genesis and Exodus) of 3027, and Codex 61 (Exodus, etc.) of 7762.

1. Doc. III, 779-80.

2. Page 22.




The publication of this catalog in English seems to have excited no desire to further investigate Swedenborg's Explanation of the Historical Books of the Word, and it might have remained unknown for many years had it not been for the efforts of one not formally connected with the New Church. "Swedenborg's manuscripts, it would appear (says a writer in 1840[1]) have been undisturbed in the library of the Royal Academy of Sciences at Stockholm, or only partially enquired into, until very recently when a learned Swedish Divine, penetrated with a sense of the amazing importance of the truth contained in the writings of his enlightened and honorable countryman, resolved to explore these hidden treasures and to examine their contents."

The learned Divine referred to was Dr. Achatius Kahl of Lund, an ardent though, as it seems, as yet unknown admirer of Swedenborg's doctrines. So impressed was Dr. Kahl with the value of the contents of The Explanation of the Books of the Historical Word that, obtaining permission to copy from them, he transcribed from Codex 61 the whole of the Explanation of Leviticus.[2]

Dr. Kahl's intention was to print this transcript; and, hearing that Dr. Immanuel Tafel of Tubingen was engaged in editing the Latin reprint of the Arcana Coelestia, he communicated with him in October, 1839. "In the Academy of Sciences in Stockholm (he wrote) there are still preserved many of Swedenborg's manuscripts. Among them are some which in my judgment at least should see the light and be published. For instance, the Commentaries on Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, which exist entire; and also the Commentaries on the other Historical Books of the Old Testament as well as the Prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah. All these manuscripts seem to me to be of more value than that, by the process of time, they should become the food of moths and worms. But these Commentaries are written so carelessly and hastily that in many plates they cannot be read and understood." This did not apply to Genesis (he adds) which was carefully written and could be read without doubt and difficulty. He then continues: "Whoever undertakes to transcribe and edit them ought to be a learned man who can correct the faults and supply what is defective and imperfect. I feel quite certain that Swedenborg neither had given these manuscripts a final revision nor did he purpose giving them to the public in their present form. So far as I can form an opinion, these Commentaries were written between 1745 and 1749, in which period Swedenborg published nothing, but merely devoted himself sedulously to the study of sacred literature. Called to the sacred office, he read the Holy Scriptures, as he himself relates, many times through; and whilst reading he no doubt illustrated them with commentaries; and these are the Commentaries, which are preserved at Stockholm. He afterwards enlarged upon them and, pardon the expression, heavenized them, when writing upon Genesis and Exodus, and gave them to the public under the title Arcana Coelestia. This appears evident to me, partly from some notes of Swedenborg and partly from this circumstance, that the Commentaries on Genesis and Exodus which are still preserved in the Library are not only shorter than the Arcana Coelestia but also differ from them no less in words than in matter. The Commentaries appear to me to contain and express the spiritual sense, but the Arcana the celestial sense as well; from which I conclude that Swedenborg was gradually and, as it were, by steps, brought to that high state of illumination which he eventually enjoyed. But that you may form your own opinion concerning them, I have sent you some extracts as specimens.[3] Whether, however, these manuscripts contain a spiritual or a celestial sense, they can be of great use to him who desires in all points to have a correct and perfect idea of those senses."[4]

Dr. Tafel's interest was immediately aroused, especially since he regarded the Commentary on Leviticus as a continuation in draft of the Arcana Coelestia which he was then editing. He therefore communicated with friends in England, undertaking to edit the work if furnished with means. His proposal was favorably received, but he was asked for further particulars, and this request being forwarded to Dr. Kahl, the latter wrote: "You may confidently assure our friends in Britain that the writings which I forwarded to you are not suppositious. The autographs of Swedenborg-manifestly his by the peculiarities of style and handwriting-are still preserved in the same chest in which they were deposited immediately after the death of the author."[5]

Dr. Tafel wrote to the English friends in December, 1839, assuring them that Dr. Kahl's position in the learned world was sufficient guarantee of the accuracy of his transcript, and that while, owing to his living at a distance from Stockholm, he could not himself continue the work, he could be relied on to secure competent copyists. As to the extent of these manuscripts, Dr. Tafel could say nothing positive, but (he adds) "you can see a description of them in The Intellectual Repository for January, 1836."[6]

The whole matter was laid before the New Church public by the printing of the letters of Doctors Kahl and Tafel in the February number of The Intellectual Repository for 1840, and at once the utmost interest was aroused not only in England but also in America and France where the news was spread by the New Church periodicals.[7]

It was generally supposed that the Exposition of Genesis and Exodus was the first sketch of the Arcana Coelestia, and that the Expositions of the remaining Books were outlines for a proposed continuation of that work. It was therefore decided to print them in uniform style with the Arcana Coelestia.

"We have no reason to hope (wrote the Editors of The Intellectual Repository[8]) that the Exposition of Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy is so full and complete as The Apocalypse Explained. It is clear, we think, that Swedenborg intended them as a basis on which he meant to write an exposition similar to the Arcana Coelestia; for from several indications in that work we have always thought that Swedenborg intended, if possible, to expound the whole Word, but owing to the great magnitude of the undertaking he was induced to break off when he had completed as far as Exodus and to commence other works essentially necessary to the building up of the Lord's Church."

Similar sentiments were expressed a few months later, in a review of the first portion of the Latin text of the Explanation of Leviticus, which had then been printed. The reviewer concludes that the work consists of annotations which "would have served Swedenborg as outlines had he continued to draw out his Arcana Coelestia for the press, which, we think, was his original intention; some of which he would certainly have rejected and others he would have modified and extended. This work (he continues) commences with n. 5410; the previous numbers contain his annotations on Genesis and Exodus, and are, we understand, materially different from the Arcana Coelestia, which is a proof that when he began to write the Arcana Coelestia for the press, he omitted many assertions and remarks made in those annotations, and that he modified and extended others.[9]

1. Intellectual Repository, 1840, p. 48.

2. He chose this part of the work probably because it was both short and complete. The parts on Genesis and Exodus were too voluminous for transcription in the time at his disposal, and the parts on Joshua to Chronicles were expositions only of selected passages.

3. Namely, W. E. 475 and 1003.

4. Int. Rep. 1840, p. 92.

5. Int. Rep. 1840, p. 91; London Swedenborg Society Reports, 1841, p. 14-16.

6. Ibid., p. 92. In view of this reference to the published catalog, which shows that the whole work contains nearly twelve thousand paragraphs besides 106 pages of unnumbered paragraphs, it is rather surprising that Dr. Tafel, in a letter which he wrote about this time to the Rev. Richard de Charms of America, should estimate, on the basis of Leviticus, the transcript of which he had then received and where the paragraphs are very short, that the whole work would comprise two volumes octavo of about 500 pages (Precursor, Sept. 1840, p. 219).

7. See N. C. Magazine, Boston, April, 1840, p. 320; Precursor, Sept. 1840, p. 919; La Nouvelle Jerusalem, June, 1840, p. 128.

8. 1840, p. 94.

9. Int. Rep. August, 1840, p. 382.




Ample funds were soon secured in England; money was sent to Dr. Tafel, and 250 copies of the Commentaries on Leviticus were ordered as soon as printed. Subscriptions were also sent from America and France.[1]

The transcript of Leviticus was received in Tubingen on April 1, 1840, and by April 5 it was in press. It was ready for distribution some time in June. Dr. Tafel's plan was to issue the work in Parts, which were afterwards to be bound in a volume. Writing to the Swedenborg Society, London, on July 12, 1840, he says that he would have the sheets already printed "put in a separate wrapper as Part I." This was done, and the first issue of what was afterwards to be Part III of the Adversaria was published under the title "Leviticus; Opus Emanuelis Swedenborgii posthumum, ex ejus Manuscriptis, Fasciculus Primus."[2] It was a pamphlet of 96 pages with a short preface by the Editor.[3] Numbers and Deuteronomy were printed early in 1841 and sent to the subscribers as separate fascicles.[4] Towards the end of the year Dr. Tafel received the transcript of Joshua to Chronicles, and also of Isaiah and Jeremiah. Seeing that the notes on Joshua to Chronicles ran from n. 4451 to 5409 and those on Leviticus to Deuteronomy from n. 5410 to 7762, Dr. Tafel assumed that the Notes on Genesis and Exodus filled n. 1-4450 and thus that they would occupy but a single volume. Early in 1842, therefore, he published the fascicles containing Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy as a separate volume with the title "Adversaria in Libros Veteris Testamenti, Pars 111, Tubingen, 1842." Part II containing Joshua to Chronicles was published later in the same year,[5] and Part IV (Esaias and Jeremias) early in 1843, Part I being reserved for Genesis and Exodus.

The supposition by Dr. Tafel, and also by the reviewer in The Intellectual Repository, that Genesis and Exodus comprised only n. 1-4450, indicates forgetfulness on their part, for both gentlemen had read the catalog published in 1836 where it is shown that Genesis filled 3224 paragraphs and Exodus over 4450, a total of 7700 paragraphs; and that Parts II and III filled only 3300 paragraphs. Moreover, in November 1841 Dr. Kahl had written Dr. Tafel that Genesis and Exodus filled three large volumes.[6]

A long interval elapsed before the printing of the Adversaria was resumed. The copying of Genesis and Exodus was not undertaken, partly, as it seems, because Dr. Kahl strongly urged the printing of the Index Biblicus. On November 28, 1841, he writes to Dr. Tafel, "I understand that the French brethren want to see the Adversaria on Genesis and Exodus printed, so as to compare it with the Arcana Coelestia. This comparison will doubtless be very interesting, especially for one who would have an exact knowledge of the history of Swedenborg and the development of his spiritual intuition. But Swedenborg has left also other manuscripts which are perhaps more important for theology and deserve to be copied first. I speak of his Index to the Books of the Old Testament. When at Stockholm, I made an incomplete extract from it of which I send you a fragment still more incomplete. It seems to me that one might regard it as a gate to the whole system, calculated to facilitate the study of the internal sense and the Doctrine of Correspondences. It is not so voluminous as the Adversaria on Genesis and Exodus which fills three large volumes. Take counsel with the friends in England and France whether it would not be better to print the Dictionary first. I am ready to carry out what you decide. For myself, I cannot deny that I would like to see the Index first."

Dr. Tafel adopted this suggestion, and wrote: The Adversaria "whose importance is, above all, historical, must yield to the Index Biblicus which should have a theological value." Subscriptions, therefore, were opened to make a transcript of this work.[7]

The printing of the Index Biblicus, however, was not commenced until 1859; for after the copy of the manuscript had been commenced, a new situation arose in London which was to have a profound influence on the work of publishing Swedenborg's writings. In 1841, the Swedenborg Society, London, came into possession of two autograph volumes of Swedenborg's Spiritual Diary (volume 2 and the Diary Minor), and also of a volume containing the Dicta Probantia. Doubt being expressed as to the rightful ownership of these autographs, steps were taken to settle the matter, with the ultimate result that the Society resolved to return the autographs to the Royal Academy of Sciences of Stockholm as the rightful owners. This step, thus voluntarily taken, made a most favorable impression on the Royal Academy, and in consequence, not only was the Swedenborg Society permitted to send its manuscripts to Dr. Tafel for printing before returning them to Stockholm, but the Academy formally rescinded in its favor the statute which forbade the Academy to loan its Swedenborg manuscripts; and furthermore, the Academy expressed its willingness to send these manuscripts to London for transmission to Dr. Tafel.

The two volumes of the Diary already in the possession of the Swedenborg Society were sent to Dr. Tafel in November, 1842, and their receipt, together with the promise of more to come, entirely altered the situation as regarded the Adversaria; for it was deemed more important to print from originals than from transcripts, and to publish later works than earlier. Accordingly, as soon as Part IV of the Adversaria (Isaiah and Jeremiah) was published early in 1843, Dr. Tafel at once proceeded with the Diary, commencing with Part IV Diary Minor (1843) and continuing with Parts II and III (1843-44). By this time other manuscripts of the Diary had been received from Sweden, and Parts I, VI and V were published from 1844-46.

With this work finished, Dr. Tafel was once more free to continue the Adversaria, but now under happier circumstances; for in October, 1846, he had received from Sweden the four volumes of the original. With these before him, he soon saw the truth of Dr. Kahl's statement as to their size. The matter which he had supposed would fill a single volume to be called Part I was nearly four times as much as Parts II to IV combined and would fill five or six volumes. But as Parts II to IV were already published, it remained only to issue Part I in several volumes. Dr. Tafel at once set his amanuensis to copy the manuscript for the press. The printing of the Index Biblicus and of the Diary, which was then in hand, had first to be finished, but in May, 1847, volume 1 of Part I of the Adversaria was published, Dr. Tafel then supposing that the work would fill five volumes.[8] Volume 2 appeared in February, 1848.

But now a serious obstacle to the further printing of the work arose, by the entire and practically permanent withdrawal of its chief supporter, the Swedenborg Society, owing to lack of funds.[9] Confronted with the possibility of having to return the manuscripts to Sweden without publication, Dr. Tafel strained every means to secure subscriptions from America, France, and Germany. His efforts were successful but only after long delay. Volume 3 did not appear until the Spring of 1851, and volumes 4-6 appeared in the years 1852, 1853, and 1854 respectively. In the latter year was also published the supplementary volume containing corrections of the text of Parts II-IV which had been printed from transcripts.

1. Int. Rep. 1840, p. 94, 233.

2. Int. Rep. August, 1840, p. 380; N. C. Mag., November, 1840, p. 120. The reviewer of this pamphlet states that Dr. Tafel "is now printing" the Latin text of Schmidius' Version of Leviticus as an appendix (Int. Rep., 1840, p. 382). The same information is also given by M. le Boys des Guays (La. Nouv. Jerus. June, 1840, p. 148). No such supplement has ever been discovered.

3. Two years later, when this first Fascicle was included in Part III of the Adversaria, this preface was omitted; but it was reprinted in 1854 as a "Clausula" at the end of a "Supplement" containing the corrections of Parts II-IV, published by Dr. Tafel after he had received the original manuscripts. This Supplement is usually bound in with volume 3 of the Adversaria. A French translation of the preface was printed in La Nouvelle
Jerusalem, November, 1840, p. 288.

4. Lond. Swed. Soc. Reports, 1841, p. 91; La. Nouv. Jerus., December, 1848, p. 319.

5. Lond. Swed. Soc. Reports, 1842, p. 27.

6. La. Nouv. Jer., March, 1842, p. 30.

7. La. Nouv. Jer., March, 1848, p. 30.

8. N. C. Mag., August, 1847, p. 548; La Nouv. Jer., March, 1847, p. 373; N. C. Mag., July, 1849, p. 975.

9. N. C. Mag., January, 1849, p. 35.




Dr. Tafel had entitled the work "Adversaria" and sometimes he refers to it as "Commentaries," being under the impression then prevalent that the work consisted of notes made in preparation for the Arcana Coelestia. But when the autograph was received, he saw that the title given in the printed catalogs was in fact Swedenborg's own title. Writing to The New Jerusalem Magazine in 1847, Dr. Tafel describes these manuscripts as, three volumes "bound, as it seems by order of Emanuel Swedenborg himself, with the printed inscription on the back, Explicatio in Verbum Hist. Vet. Test., Tom. I, II, III; and the fourth volume, bound in parchment, has the written inscription on the back: Esaias et Jeremias Explicat."[1] In his preface to volume 1 of his Latin edition, Dr. Tafel gives these titles a prominent place, but for obvious reasons he continued the publication under the title Adversaria.

When a work has been so long known in the Church under a given title, only the weightiest reasons would justify the change of that title. Such reasons we believe exist in the present case. The Latin word adversaria means "notes" and, as we have already stated, this title was adopted by Dr. Tafel under the erroneous impression that the work consisted merely of notes in preparation for the Arcana. But it is quite evident, from an examination of the earlier volumes which were then unknown to Dr. Tafel, that the work was written, or at any rate commenced, not as notes but as a complete exposition of the internal sense of the Word. The title "Adversaria" is not only inadequate but also misleading, and the only point that can be made in its defence is, that the name being in a foreign tongue has for the New Church reader no other meaning than the work to which it has been attached. This reason might have justified the retention of the name in the present translation, were it not for the fact that Swedenborg has given the work his own title, a title that is strictly descriptive. The author did not wish to write a "commentary" on the Word, that is to say, a work of explanatory comment dealing with the subject on the plane of the Letter, as the word "comment" implies. His conception of the Word was unique. To him it contained interior senses, one within the other, and the purpose of his writing was to unfold or explain these senses. Therefore, he deliberately entitled his work an "Explanation of the Word," and in sundry references to it, as already noted in our Prefatory Remarks, he speaks of it as an "Exposition," or "Spiritual Exposition."

1. New Jerusalem Magazine. February, 1847, p. 252.




The Word Explained has never appeared in any complete translation, but from time to time portions have appeared in English and German. The translations into English, which were frequently paraphrases, were made mainly in 1840-1842 when interest in the newly discovered manuscripts was at its height. The first translation by the Rev. J. H. Smithson, was published in The Intellectual Repository, and a large part of it was reprinted in America.[1] It covered some 245 paragraphs from the Book of Numbers and a few paragraphs from Leviticus and I Samuel.

Two remarkable passages in the first volume of the autograph,[2] which had been sent to Dr. Tafel as specimens of the whole work, appeared in Latin and English in 1841;[3] and n. 475, translated by Professor Bush, was printed in America in 1848.[4] All these translations, however, were made merely as illustrations of the nature of the work.

In 1848, however, a translation was commenced by Mr. Elihu Rich which was intended to cover all the Latin text then published, commencing with Leviticus. It appeared in the form of Supplements to The New Church Quarterly Review for 1848 to 1849, and was to have been issued in book form under the title "Commentaries on some of the Books of the Old Testament." Only four of these Supplements (96 pages in all) were printed, but owing to the copious notes of the translator they included only fourteen pages of the Latin text.

Many years later, an English translation of the whole work was commenced by the Rev. E. M. Gould of Montreal, who had reached as far as n. 2848[5] when he died in 1907. As already stated, Mr. Gould's manuscript has been kindly placed at our disposal.

The History of Creation was published in English translation in New Church Life in 1910 and issued in book form in 1911. From time to time also, specimens of the present translation have been published in the same journal during the last few years.

A German translation, by the Rev. L. H. Tafel, of selected passages from The Word Explained, was commenced in Neu Kirchenblatt for 1896 and continued until Mr. Tafel's death in 1910. This translation comprises 140 paragraphs from volume 1 of the Latin edition, 50 from volume 2, and over 1300 from volume 3. In the latter volume, the translation became continuous, extending from n. 3803 to n. 4765.[6]

N. 475 and 1003, and also certain passages concerning Baalam's Ass from the Explanation of Numbers, were published in French translation by La Nouvelle Jerusalem,[7] and the passages concerning Baalam's Ass were translated from the French by the Rev. Richard de Charms and published in the New Churchman.[8]

1. Int. Rep. 1840-1849, and 1853. N. C. Mag., Boston, 1841.

2. W. E. 475 (in part), and 1003.

3. In Swed. Soc. Reports for 1841, p. 214.

4. New Church Repository, January, 1848.

5. Latin ed., II, 1158.

6. W. E. 5613-6048.

7. April, 1841, p. 63; May, p. 67.

8. 1841, p. 314.




The Revelation to the New Church is characterized by the words NUNC LICET-Now it is allowed to enter intellectually into the mysteries of Faith. These words involve that it is now allowed not only to comprehend the mysteries of faith as abstract theological truths but also to comprehend them in their manifestations and operations on every plane. No man can enter intellectually into the truths of theology if his science and philosophy do not make one with those truths, or rather if his science and philosophy are not animated by them. A rational revelation necessarily implies a revelation that shall so unify experience, science, philosophy and theology, that they all testify with one voice to the Love and Wisdom of God.

The words NUNC LICET also involve the revelation of the spiritual world; for no man can ever enter into the mysteries of faith if the very goal of faith, heaven and the life after death, remains still a mystery; nor can he have any clear knowledge of God, or any true philosophy or even science, if the world of spiritual causes is hidden from his view.

It follows that the man by means of whom such a revelation was to be given must have been prepared by a long course of training in the sciences, by searching investigation into the mysteries of nature and by the discovery of natural and philosophical truths which should enable his mind to receive and communicate spiritual truths rationally. It follows also that such a man must be introduced into the other world to be in both worlds at the same time, that he might reveal the one to the other and declare their relation.




The introduction of a man into the spiritual world while still living on earth among men, is indeed something new and unique which had never before been known. "When the interior sight was first opened in me (says Swedenborg) and spirits and angels saw through my eyes the world and the things in the world, they were so amazed that they said it was a miracle of miracles.[1] It was not a miracle in the ordinary sense of the word, that is to say, it was not an extraordinary manifestation of Divine power in a sudden act without preparatory antecedents; but it was a miracle in the sense of being a wonderful thing. It involved the preparation of a human mind and a human brain to enable it to perceive the presence of spirits, to hear their voices, to see their surroundings, and at the same time to lose nothing of the perceptions of the senses and of the actions of the body. Many men have had their spiritual eyes opened, but they were then in a vision or in sleep and were not aware of their natural surroundings. What they saw they saw, as it were, in the imagination,-thought and reflection being in abeyance; and they could do little more than observe the correspondential images presented before them, and afterwards describe these. Such was the sight of Ezekiel, John, and others. Or, as in the case of Abraham and others, they saw visions induced by spirits in dreams, and knew no other than that they had seen natural objects.[2] In the Most Ancient Church, men indeed had open intercourse with angels, but they also saw spiritual things only as represented in natural visions; and, though deeply affected by them and perceptive of their spiritual import, they did not see rationally the spiritual things which were thus represented before them; or rather, they saw them as reflected in natural representations. That they were wise, we know from Revelation, though we can have little conception of the nature of their wisdom. Certainly it was not the wisdom that sees spiritual truths in natural rational light, for such sight is not possible until the vessels of the mind are prepared by the sciences. Therefore Swedenborg, after saying that the manifestation of the Lord to him and his admission into the spiritual world exceeds all miracles, and that such a condition had never before been granted to anyone since creation, continues: The men of the golden age did indeed speak with angels but it was not granted them to be in other than natural light; but to me it is granted to be in both spiritual and natural light at the same time. By this it has been granted me to see the marvels of heaven and at the same time to draw forth spiritual truths in light, and thus to perceive and teach them; consequently, to be led by the Lord.[3]

A long course of deep and abstract thought had so molded Swedenborg's brain, had so opened and formed the interior organism of its nerve cells wherein the mind performs her operations, that he was gradually initiated into thinking from spiritual light. At times, he even perceived such light as though it were seen by his natural eyes; and at last, as his mind and brain became fitly formed, he actually saw things in the spiritual world. Yet the mind which saw, still preserved its connection with the body, and he was able to look upon these spiritual things from both natural and spiritual light. He was able to be among spirits as one of themselves, and yet at the same time to reflect and ponder over what he saw and heard, to weigh and judge it in his natural rational thought, and to describe it in speech and writing to the comprehension of men. He could be separated from the body by an elevation of thought, and yet retain full connection with the body.[4] This was the miracle by which it became possible to reveal the spiritual world to men, and the relations between that world and the natural. "The things related concerning myself (says Swedenborg) are not miracles but are testimonies that I have been introduced by the Lord into the spiritual world."[5] And he says further: It is more than miracles that I speak with angels and spirits in the spiritual world; that I have described the states of heaven and hell and of the life after death; and that the spiritual sense of the Word has been opened to me, etc. This commerce, so far as I know, has never before been granted by the Lord to anyone. They are signs that this was done for the sake of the New Church which is the crown of all the Churches.[6]

1. A. C. 1880.

2. S. D. 4250.

3. Invitation to the New Church, 52.

4. Ult. de Miraculis, 5.

5. Invit., 29.

6. Invit., 39; see also 43.




It is obvious that the preparation for such a unique condition must be a long one. It were a comparatively simple matter to enable the sight to be opened into the spiritual world, as in the case of the Prophets of old, and also of later seers; this is nothing more than the seeing of spiritual representations. But so to prepare a man, that seeing into the spiritual world and being as one among spirits he shall at the same time retain his natural sight and rational thought, requires long preparation, a preparation whereby the very brain must be reformed and, as it were, remolded; not formed and molded by physical exercises or supernatural means, but by profound meditation upon the inner mysteries of nature. Who of the Catholic miracle workers, says Swedenborg, "has ever taught the way to heaven or the truths of the Church from the Word? For this reason (he continues) it has pleased the Lord to prepare me from my first youth to perceive the Word; He has introduced me into the spiritual world and has more nearly enlightened me by the light of His Word; and this exceeds all miracles."[1]

1. Invit., 55.




The preparation must indeed have been from early infancy, nay and even before for we do not doubt but that Swedenborg's inherited disposition was a part of the preparation for the unique condition which was to be his. The report that Swedenborg's father, a man of the utmost virility, spirited, energetic, delighted in the performance of active uses,[1] possessed of great executive ability, a man of learning and at the same time a simple believer in the holiness of the Word-the report that this able bishop saw spirits; the statement made by himself that this eminently practical churchman had a guardian angel with him, who even spoke with him;[2] need not be dismissed as fancy. It may well be the fact, and may have its place in that preparation which was to result in the production of a unique condition in the mind of his son Emanuel.

We are well aware that in making this statement we may seem to approach nearly to the position of those who maintain that Swedenborg was a mere enthusiast, and who support this by the doctrine of hereditary transmission; but what matters it! It is none the less certain that the preparation for the state into which Swedenborg came must have involved something of heredity; and if the steps in this preparation are deemed by some to be indications of mere enthusiasm, this does not lessen the necessity of the preparation itself.

Of a truth, the view that will be taken of the progress and signs of this preparation, will be taken not so much on the basis of the signs themselves but in accordance with the estimate in which the doctrines taught by Swedenborg are held. As an eminent medical man[3] has observed in a work written to disprove the claims of Swedenborg: "A slight study ought to convince one that either Swedenborg was subject to delusion and hallucinations, or that his pretensions to commune with the dead and his claim to announce a new revelation were really founded on truth. To admit the latter would entail the admission of the truth of a new religion."

The matter is here expressed in a nutshell. The judgment as to Swedenborg's claim to communion with the spiritual world, is in effect nothing more than a judgment as to the truth of his teachings. No charge of delusion can ever be justly made against Swedenborg simply on the basis of the facts of his life. His work, his official position, the honor in which he was universally held, all testify to his probity; and his scientific works give abundant evidence of the acumen of his mind and its ability to thread its way through the most complicated mazes of scientific facts.

It is only because Swedenborg's teachings are rejected that men have been led to seek to attack the sanity of the man who wrote them. And it is by no means difficult for a clever man to interpret the means by which alone Swedenborg could have been prepared, as signs of delusions. But, we repeat, what then! Preparation must certainly have been made for so unique a state as was Swedenborg's, and if the goal to be reached was unique, something of the unique must attach also to the steps by which it was reached.

1. S. D. 4182.

2. Doc. I, 140, 148.

3. William W. Ireland, in Through the Ivory Gate, Edinburgh, 1889, p. 2.




Leaving aside the question of heredity, we have Swedenborg's direct testimony that he was prepared in his infancy. He writes: I was first accustomed to breathe in this way (i.e., with an insensible breathing hardly perceptible) in infancy when saying morning and evening prayers.[1] Speaking elsewhere on the same subject, he says: Before I spoke with spirits, it was granted me to know by much experience that respiration corresponds with thought; as when, in my infancy, I purposely wished to hold my breath when they were saying evening and morning prayers.[2]

That sensation depends on respiration, is evident in the case of the body; for when the breathing ceases, all conscious sensation also ceases. The same law applies also to the mind or spirit; for the latter, being a vessel receptive of life, must have its own animation, and if it is to be conscious of sensations, it must have also its own respiration.

In itself, sensation is nothing but the perception of activities coming in from without; and the sensation of the spirit, which is thought and perception, is nothing else than the sensation of spiritual activities. In our normal state, however, the respiration of the spirit is so bound in with the respiration of the body, that spiritual sensations are felt not as sensations but as operations in the brain which we call imagination, thought,[3] etc. In sleep, however, when the respiration of the body becomes unconscious, something of the sensation of the spirit becomes manifest in the representations of dreams, when we, that is our spirit, see before us and feel ourselves to sensate the activities of spirits flowing from without into the things of the memory whose organic seat is in the brain. It is when man dies, that is to say, when the respiration of the body entirely ceases and that of the spirit alone endures, that he for the first time becomes aware of his spiritual surroundings, which he then consciously sensates instead of feeling them merely as operations in the brain, or as the representations of dreams, as he had done when in the world.

It follows that if a man while on earth is to see spirits and speak with them, he must first be initiated into the respiration of the spirit apart from that of the body, and yet without the death of the latter.[4] The prophets had something of this state when they were in vision; but because they had not been accustomed to conscious internal respiration, since with man this consciousness is possible only in states of profound thought, therefore they then came into a trance,[5] and while sensating spiritual representations-almost as in a dream-they were unconscious, or only dimly conscious of natural sensations. They were passive spectators of a spiritual vision, but, not being in the state of free agents, had no active and still less any rational reflection concerning it. They saw it only as a vision seen in natural light.[6]

Swedenborg, however, was both to sensate spiritual things and at the same time to reflect upon them, while yet preserving the life and respiration of his body. Therefore, he was to be initiated into this state by a conscious exercise of internal respiration with a quasi        suspension of the respiration of the body; but always with the ability to return again into full bodily respiration. Hence, he says that he was introduced into internal respiration in infancy, "then I purposely wished to hold my breath."[7]

Swedenborg could not have been consciously in the company of spirits and angels unless he had been introduced into the respiration of the spirit apart from that of the body;[8] and we may take it for granted that it was a physical necessity (if we may use the expression) that this introduction must have been prepared for in infancy, in order that thus the interiors of the brain might be initiated into states, which in later years would enable Swedenborg to enter into those profound philosophical meditations in which the respiration of the body was tacit and almost suspended. Still later, when he was intromitted into the spiritual world, he became so accustomed to the separate respiration of the spirit that he could enter into it at will, and, if he chose, could at the same time be in q the full vigor of bodily respiration and sensation.[9]

On this point we have the specific teaching of Swedenborg himself. After speaking of a conversation with spirits of the Most Ancient Church concerning their respiration he continues, "I was instructed that the respiration. of the lungs was varied according to the state of their faith. This was unknown to me before, but still I can perceive and believe it because my respiration was so formed by the Lord that I could breathe internally for a considerable time directed inwards; and yet the external senses and also actions remained in their vigor; this is not possible, unless miraculously,[10] except with those who have been so formed by the Lord. I have also been instructed that the respiration is so directed without my knowledge, in order that I might be able to be with spirits and to speak with them."[11]

In another passage, Swedenborg speaks in a more general way concerning the Divine leading of his life, and indeed of the lives of all men. His words are: The things which are represented spiritually by one's acts of life do not come to the knowledge of the men themselves unless this be pleasing to God Messiah, which sometimes happens a long time afterwards; as also of the Divine mercy of God Messiah happened in my case, who, at the time, did not perceive what the acts of my life involved, but was afterwards taught respecting some of them, nay respecting many; and from them I could see at last that the tenor of the Divine Providence has ruled the acts of my life from my very youth, and has so governed them that I might at last come to this end, that so, by means of the knowledges of natural things, I might be able to understand the things which lie deeply concealed in the Word of God; and thus of the Divine mercy of God Messiah be able to serve as an instrument for laying them bare.[12]

The experience in breathing which Swedenborg had in childhood, when as yet he could hardly know its significance, was afterwards seen to be a part of his preparation, giving him the ultimate basis for the profound speculations which characterized his later years. Therefore, in the passage from the Memorabilia or Spiritual Diary which we have quoted concerning his respiration in infancy, he goes on to say: Thus, from my infancy I was for many years introduced into such respirations; especially by speculations in which the respiration became quiescent, otherwise intense speculation of truths is not possible; [13]-a concluding sentence, calculated to induce modesty as to one's own thought.

1. S. D. 3464.

2. S. D. 3320.

3. Cf., Apocalypse Explained, 625.

4. S. D. 3464; A. C. 1114; cf., 805 fin. We note in this connection that because Swedenborg's lips had not been initiated into certain motions "from Infancy" he could not receive such motions when certain spirits endeavored to Induce them on his lips (A. C. 4799).

5. Cf., Balaam's words "He hath said which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance but having his eyes open" (Num. 24:16).

6. In the case of Abraham, Gideon, and others, who seemed to see spiritual representations and at the same time material objects, their body was then in sleep and what they saw was seen in a dream-not the ordinary dream, but a dream in which the spirit was wholly awake (S. D. 4950). Swedenborg also came into such dreams; but while Abraham and the others thought of their dreams only from natural light, Swedenborg reflected on his from spiritual and rational light. See p. 512.

7. S. D. 3320.

8. S. D. 3317 fin., 3464 fin., A. C. 805 fin.

9. This, we take it, is the meaning of Swedenborg's statement, before alluded to, that "I am in the spiritual world with a certain separation from my body but only as to the intellectual part of my mind, not as to the voluntary" (Ult. De Mirac., 5).

10. By this word we understand Swedenborg to mean "unless In a sudden way without previous preparation, and thus in a way contrary to the order of the Lord's government of man."

11. S. D. 3317.

12. W. E. 2532 (2 Lat. 839).

13. S. D. 3464. The name "Spiritual Diary" is due to the Latin editor of that work, Dr. J. F. Im. Tafel. Swedenborg's title for the work is Memorabilia-a name much to he preferred.




In the years of his youth and early manhood, Swedenborg, while devoting himself to the mechanical and experimental sciences, was yet constantly reflecting on the inner causes of phenomena. We see the beginnings of his speculative philosophy in the early productions of his pen. In 1717 he wrote On the Causes of Things; and in 1719, Tremulation, in which work he sought by anatomy and physiology to discover the universal cause of human sensation. In 1720, he is every day making new discoveries in chemistry, "as to everything that concerns the constitution of subtle substances," and he begins to see that experiments seem to give their consent to his speculations.[1]

The fruits of these early studies are seen in his Chemistry and Miscellaneous Observations, published in 1721 and 1722; and their development into a complete system of cosmology is seen in the first volume of his Opera Mineralogica published in 1734. It is a remarkable feature of this work, that while ostensibly dealing with the most ultimate kingdom of nature, it yet opens with the most profound speculations regarding creation by the Infinite. Here we see the foundations of Swedenborg's whole subsequent philosophy, from which he never afterwards deviated. Indeed, in a dream in 1744, when his spiritual eyes were being opened, he was directed to this work as the necessary means for further advance in the study of the intercourse between the soul and the body by means of sensation, on which subject he was then writing; and in his writing he explicitly states that The Principia was undertaken with this study in view, [2] -a statement which finds many confirmations in The Principia itself. Before writing The Principia, Swedenborg had studied the nerves and the sensory organs; and in two works[3] written while it was still in press, he applied his Principia doctrine to elucidating the nature of the communion between soul and body,- a study which he further developed in his Psychologica and De Infinito, which were written immediately afterwards.[4] Moreover, after publishing The Principia, Swedenborg devoted himself to the study of anatomy and particularly of the anatomy of the brain, in preparation for his next work, The Economy of the Animal Kingdom. That the latter was intended as a continuation of The Principia, where the new principles in philosophy there advanced would be developed and applied, Swedenborg himself openly declares. In a letter to the College of Mines, written in May, 1736, he speaks of The Economy as the "continuation" of The Principia;[5] and in a letter to the King, written in the same month, he says, in reference to The Principia: "That work was only a beginning and part of what I intended to work out more fully, as I announced and promised in that prior work. I therefore feel bound to do what I have promised and to accomplish what has been begun, and am obliged for this purpose to employ all possible diligence to bring it to completion." He therefore asks for two or three years leave of absence, since the work he contemplates would require "long and deep thought, and a mind unencumbered by cares."[6]

Leave was granted, and in July, 1736, Swedenborg departed from Stockholm to enter upon those anatomical studies which afterwards occupied him for so many years.

1. Opera I p. 304; I Doc. 326.

2. Senses, 262, 267.

3. Motion of the Elements, and Mechanism of Soul and Body.

4. See Introd. to Psychologica, p. xv seq.

5. Doc. I, 451.

6. Doc. I, 448.




The Economy of the Animal Kingdom was commenced in Amsterdam about August 18th, 1736, though it is probable that this commencement consisted in some notes embodying his meditations on the nature of the human blood. In any event, it was at this time that Swedenborg underwent his first recorded experience of a quasi separation of the spirit from the body. Perhaps he himself did not reflect on its significance at the time, and certainly he did not see the future states to which it was a preliminary; but he refers to it later in his Journal of Dreams for October 27, 1744, where he says: In the morning when I awoke, there came again upon me such a swoon as I experienced six or seven years ago in Amsterdam, when I began The Economy of the Animal Kingdom, but much more subtle, so that I seemed near to death. It came upon me as I saw daylight and threw me on my face. Gradually, however, it passed off because I fell into brief slumbers. Thus this swoon was more internal and deeper, but passed off right away. It signifies, as at the former time, that my head is being put in order and is actually being cleansed of that which might obstruct these thoughts; as also happened at the former time, because it gave me penetration, especially with the pen.[1]

The swoon here described as marking the commencement of The Economy, whatever it may have seemed in appearance, was certainly not an ordinary swoon, due to physical causes, but was the result of a state of profound thought, when his breathing was suspended and he thought solely in the spirit. Perhaps also, something of despair of a solution, and the thought that no solution was possible except from God, resulted in the body falling into complete swoon; for he says that his head was then cleansed of what might obstruct his thoughts.

From Amsterdam he went to Paris, and here on September 6, he wrote in his journal: Drafted my introduction to the Transactions, on the subject that the end of wisdom is the knowledge and acknowledgment of the Deity. On the 10th, he writes: Worked on the outline of my work, namely on the subject of the Atmospheres in general.[2]

He pursued his studies during his eighteen months' stay in Paris and also for four months in Venice and five in Rome. About May, 1739, he returned to Amsterdam and there, on December 27, at the stroke of midnight, he finished his Economy of the Animal Kingdom.[3] He remained in Amsterdam during the greater part of 1740, seeing the work through the press.

Meanwhile, about February, 1740, he wrote a little treatise, Corpuscular Philosophy in Brief, in which he connects the doctrine of The Principia with that of The Economy of the Animal Kingdom. The work is remarkable because its last words give the earliest recorded instance of the opening of Swedenborg's spiritual sight and because it contains Swedenborg's first declaration that he enjoyed some extraordinary guidance. " These things are true (he says) because I have the sign."[4]

To realize the full import of these words, it should be noted that they are appended not to some obscure statement requiring the prop of a supernatural sign, but to the statement of the logical conclusion, arrived at by a laborious analysis of facts, that all nature, from first to last, is geometrical and mechanical. Swedenborg's studies had brought to fruition the hopes of his earlier years, that he would be able to "reach forward and establish that which surely our posterity will establish-the truth, namely, that this body of ours, its organs and senses, nay and the intellect, the reason, and the soul itself" are mechanical. And now this truth was confirmed by a sign.

Neither on this nor on any other occasion was Swedenborg taught by signs. The signs that were given him were always confirmations of the results of his own research, analysis and deep thought. The reader of The Economy would never for a moment suspect that its author were other than a learned man, widely versed in the sciences and skilled in logical analysis. There is no suggestion of "signs," and still less any appeal thereto. The observant reader may indeed wonder at the absolute confidence with which Swedenborg states his new doctrines, but he will also note that that confidence is the confidence not of a visionary but of a keen thinker who fortifies his conclusions by an abundance of facts. His reader is asked not blindly to believe but to follow the thread of reason. I foresee (says Swedenborg in his Introduction) that many things here set forth will seem like conjectures and paradoxes. But this will be the case only with those who have not gone through the courses of Anatomy, Physics, Chemistry and other sciences and arts; or with those who start with assumptions and prejudices before they form a judgment, and from one thing lay down the law for all; or with those who have no capacity for comprehending distinctly the connections of things. Therefore, let the result declare whether, by the persuasion of an abundant store of facts, those statements which at first may perhaps appear as obscure guesses, are not finally seen to be genuine oracular responses and truths.[5]

The nature of the sign given to Swedenborg is not stated in The Corpuscular Philosophy, but a passage in The Word Explained throws some light on the subject and also indicates that while writing The Animal Kingdom and probably also The Economy, Swedenborg had many such signs. The passage is treating of Jewish rituals where confirmations were given by means of flames, and then continues: Of the Divine mercy of God Messiah, a flame of divers sizes and with a diversity of color and splendor has often been seen by me. Thus while I was writing a certain little work, hardly a day passed by for several months in which a flame was not seen by me, as vividly as the flame of a household hearth; at the time, this was a sign of approbation; and this happened before the time when spirits began to speak with me viva voce.[6] It would appear from this passage that the sign spoken of in The Corpuscular Philosophy was a living flame seen with the eyes of the spirit; and when we compare with this statement a passage in The Economy (to be quoted presently), it would further seem that this flame, seen perhaps in a dream, was the representation of that spiritual light which illumined Swedenborg's mind when thinking and writing. The passage we refer to must be regarded as descriptive of Swedenborg's own state. It reads: To search out the causes of things from given phenomena is a peculiar gift into which the infant's brain is in a way inducted from its first stem and with which it is later imbued by easy stages by means of use and cultivation. As soon as they [who have this gift] revolve any matter in their lower mind, they at once arouse the rationality of their higher mind, distribute their philosophical ideas into a suitable form, and then think upon the matter until at last they see clearly whether opinions are in agreement with judgments. And if anything intervenes that involves the matter in shade, they separate this part from the other parts that are wholly clear, and do this by second nature, as it were; and then they form some other chain of reasoning better fitted to the idea, so that all things may be in just coherence. The more profoundly they penetrate into the sciences, the less do they confide in their imaginative faculty; in the absence of experience, they fear to extend the chain of their reasons beyond the nearest link, and, should they extend it somewhat further, then, so long as experience is silent, they class their conclusions as among hypotheses. In the presence of fictions, their mind is saddened; in the presence of obscurities it is pained; in the presence of truths it is exhilarated; and in the presence of things that are clear it is rendered serene. As soon as they light upon the truth, after a long course of reasoning, straightway there is a certain cheering light and joyful flash,[7] which brings confirmation, and which bathes the sphere of their mind. There it also a certain mysterious radiation-I know not whence it springs-that darts through some sacred temple of the brain. Thus a kind of rational instinct displays itself, and indicates, as it were, that at that moment the soul has relapsed, as it were, into the golden age of her integrity. The mind that has known this pleasure (for no desire attaches to the unknown), is entirely carried away by this study and begins to feel the glow of its flame; and, as compared with this pleasure, it despises all merely corporeal pleasures as playful pastimes.[8]

That the seeing of a "living flame," the perceiving of a "mysterious radiation" from an unknown source, and the experiencing of an "extraordinary enlightenment in the things that were being written,"[9] were among the earlier steps in the preparation of Swedenborg for his future state, is intimated also in a passage in the work On Heaven and Hell, where we read: That there is a true light enlightening the mind, and wholly distinct from the light called natural lumen, it has been granted me many times to perceive, and also to see. I was interiorly elevated into that light by degrees; and as I was elevated, the understanding was enlightened until at last I could perceive things which I had not perceived before, and finally such things as cannot even be comprehended by thought from natural lumen. I have sometimes been indignant that they were not comprehended, when yet they were perceived in heavenly light with clearness and perspicuity.[10]

We can well imagine that Swedenborg enjoyed this heavenly light when he penned those inspired passages in The Economy concerning God as the Sun of Life and Wisdom,[11]-a light which conducted him "almost beyond the bounds of nature" so that "a certain holy tremor's moved his mind and warned him to go no further; for, says he, "the mind knows not whether that which it thinks enters in by the prior way or by the posterior. And what also adds itself to the tremor (he continues) is the love of truth, which, that it may hold the supreme place, I desire with all my being."[12]

In addition to the "sign" and the enlightenment spoken of in The Corpuscular Philosophy and The Economy, there were also other means by which Swedenborg was gradually to become an inhabitant of both worlds at the same time. The following passage in The Spiritual Diary gives these means in some detail: For many years previous to the time when my mind was opened so that I could speak with spirits and so be persuaded by living experience, such proofs existed with me that I now wonder that I had not then come into persuasion concerning the Lord's government by means of spirits. Not only were there dreams for some years, informing me concerning the things that were being written, but there were also changes of states while I was writing; a certain extraordinary light in the things that were being written; later there were also many visions when my eyes were closed, and a light miraculously given; and spirits [flowed in] sensibly, in a way just as manifest to the senses as are the corporeal sensations. Many times in temptations, and also afterwards when things were being written to which evil spirits were averse, there were infestations by evil spirits effected in various ways, so that I was obsessed almost to the point of horror; fiery lights were seen; there were speeches in the time of early morning; besides many other phenomena, until at last a spirit addressed me in a few words.[13]

1. Journal of Dreams, 282. Six or seven years prior to 1744 would be 1738 or 1737. Swedenborg was in Amsterdam, August, 17-90, 1736, en route to Paris. After eighteen months In Paris, he spent several months studying In Venice and Rome. He was again In Paris in May, 1739, and from there went to Amsterdam where probably he commenced to make the clean copy of The Economy which he finished on December 27. The swoon, therefore, must have come upon him either in August, 1736, or in May or June, 1739; but the latter date would he less than "five years ago." It may be noted, moreover, that, as we shall show presently, Swedenborg's significant dreams commenced in 1736.

2. Itinerarium (1910), p. 74; 2 Doc. 91-92. See E. A. K. 19, 22, 35 seq.

3. Cod. 88, front cover page; reproduced in 2 photol. 141; 2 Doc. 130.

4. Scientific and Philosophical Treatises, II, 60.

5. E. A. K. 9.

6. W. E. 6905 (3 Lat. 7019). The "little work" referred to is undoubtedly The Animal Kingdom.

7. laetum fulgur, gladsome lightning.

8. E. A. K. 19; cf. Div. Providence, 169, and especially A. C. 5121 quoted below, p. 141:7.

9. S. D. 2951.

10. H. H. 180.

11. E. A. K. II, 257 seq.

12. E. A. K. II, 259.

13. S. D. 2951.




Significant dreams were the first intimations that came to Swedenborg of his being destined for some unusual mission,[1] though he himself interpreted them only as confirming his own rational conclusions,[2] and as giving some assurance that he would succeed in his aim to establish a universal philosophy of nature; certainly he never derived instruction from them. These dreams commenced in 1786 and thus preceded the "sign" and the extraordinary enlightenment of which we have spoken above.

In the catalog of Swedenborg's manuscripts prepared by his heirs, it is said[3] that Codex 88 (the volume in which Swedenborg entered his journal of travels for 1736-39) contained at the end "descriptions of several of Swedenborg's dreams during the years 1736, 1737, 1738, 1739, 1740, p. 730-33 and again p. 741-45" [nine pages folio in all]; but that these leaves were "removed from the volume and are in the safekeeping of the family." They have not yet come to light, but the fact of their existence is a confirmation of the statement respecting Swedenborg's early preparation by dreams. We shall speak more of Swedenborg's dreams later on. For the present we merely note that it is significant that his first recorded dreams occurred in 1736 when he was engaged in a work "requiring long and deep thought.[4]

During the writing of The Economy, Swedenborg had also further experiences of that interior breathing, inseparable from profound thought, for which he had been prepared in early childhood. In a passage from which we have already quoted, he says: I was accustomed to breathe in this way first in infancy and afterwards at times when exploring the concordances of the lungs and heart; especially when, for many years, I was writing from my mind the things that have been published; I then frequently observed that there was a tacit respiration, hardly sensible, respecting which it was later granted me to think and also to write.[5]

1. W.       E. 1351, 1353.
       2. Cf. S. D. 2951 quoted above.

3. Doc. III, 784.

4. We are aware that in making this statement we may seem to give some support to those who hold that Swedenborg's long and abstract meditations led him to become a mere visionary. But what of it? Granted that the spiritual world is the world of causes, there can be no other means for the opening of the internal sight of a man into that world than profound meditations on the causes of things. If such meditations be taken as signs of phantasy, let the attack be openly directed to the sanity of the meditations and not to the sanity of the man. As to the man, it is sufficient to point to his scientific works written many years after the commencement of his dreams and which contain carefully demonstrated conclusions, at which scholars of our own day have wondered, not knowing how they could have been arrived at without the aid of modem experiments.

5. S. D. 3464; cf. 2 E. A. K. 10, 42.




Though Swedenborg was not as yet aware that spirits were with him, for as he frequently states[1] he would have denied the possibility of spirits reading his thoughts, yet very early in his preparation he became sensible of the effects of their operation and in this he had a foretaste of that hatred and malice with which later he was to become so familiar. Writing in 1748, he says: After these words were written, it was perceived that the societies around me had reasoned concerning this matter. Their reasoning flowed in, in a most general way, so that nothing was perceived except a confused obscurity which affected the brain with a certain foul sensation that was horrible. Therefore, were all the reasonings of spirits to flow in, man would be in general obscurity mutely painful and would perceive nothing. This was also perceived as affecting me many years ago, when I was in an obscure idea, namely, that a dull pain of this kind affected my head.[2]

The reader will also recall the statement quoted above, that many times when things were written to which evil spirits were averse, Swedenborg was infested even to the point of horror.[3] This occurred later than the time which we are now considering, but the same causes were operating in the earlier years of Swedenborg's preparation, though he did not then feel them so acutely.

All the experiences thus far recounted were so many means by which the temple of Swedenborg's brain was being prepared to have open intercourse with the spiritual world, and also to face the dangers which such intercourse involves. The experiences must have had a profound effect on Swedenborg himself, but no trace of them appears in his published works.

1. S. D. 4390; A. C. 2488, 5855.

2. S. D. 4088. See S. D. 4149, quoted on p. 155, where it is said that intellectual things reside in the left side of the head, and are there subject to inspection; and that if falsities he there and inspection be made by angels, the result is pain and torment. It would follow that if truths be there the afflux of evil spirits would be felt in like manner.

3. S. D. 2951.




After publishing The Economy, Swedenborg returned to Stockholm in September, 1740, where he at once entered upon the duties of his office as an Assessor of the College of Mines, testing ores and metals, serving on commissions of enquiry, and acting as a member of the court in the settlement of mining disputes. As a member of the House of Nobles, he also busied himself with the political affairs of the country. But his pen was still active. He had as yet no other goal before him than to be an explorer into the secrets of nature, and it was with this purpose that he now undertook the writing of The Fibre, which was to be the continuation of The Economy. In this work, he must have continued to experience the illumination of which he speaks in The Economy and which gave him such deep, convictions. "I know that I speak strange things (he writes[1]) but what does it matter since they are true;" and again he says, when treating of the vortical form,[2] "I am unaware of what modern authors think respecting the existence of this vortex, but this causes me no delay since the actual phenomena fully persuade me that they can be explained in no other way."

After The Fibre, Rational Psychology, and some smaller works, Swedenborg entered upon the writing of The Animal Kingdom. This occupied him until the summer of 1743, when he again asked for leave of absence to continue his studies and to publish his work. "My purpose (he says) is to be useful and to show that there are some in Sweden as well as abroad who seek to be of use in the re-public of letters; for which purpose I have spared neither care, labor, nor expense."[3]

The leave was granted for an indefinite period, and on July 21, 1743, Swedenborg set out on a journey, the most momentous of his life, and during which he was to experience events fraught with the utmost importance to generations yet unborn. He left Stockholm as a searcher into the secrets of nature; he returned, two years later, as the Servant of the Lord in His Second Coming. When he left, he had no other intention than to pursue and complete his philosophical studies; when he returned, he had entirely abandoned this field and devoted himself solely to the study of the Word.

That in writing The Animal Kingdom Swedenborg continued to enjoy extraordinary light and indeed in a greater degree, is not indicated in the work itself, which like The Economy gives evidence only of analytical reasoning based on facts; but it is plainly indicated in The Word Explained, which was written three years later. Here he says: As concerns the reins (kidneys), these also are cleansers of the blood. Those things may be adduced which were written by me concerning the reins,[4] and a comparison may be instituted; and also [the statement as to] why the reins are said to be searched;[5] and how they signify these things in their different senses,[6] etc., etc.; for the several points coincide. Here also some description of them may be given in a series; and moreover, if it be allowed here, a description of regeneration as to how it is learned from things natural. If it be allowed, I may then also relate the things which happened when I was setting forth the whole series of regeneration by means of thought and representation, in the [chapter on] the Liver;[7] [namely] that all and single things had been then taken up and understood spiritually in the inmost heaven-a fact which I myself perceived in no other way than that it was then indicated to me in a wonderful manner.[8]

Swedenborg arrived at Amsterdam in August, 1743, where doubtless he finally prepared his Animal Kingdom for the press. In November he left for The Hague, where he remained until May, 1744, when he sailed for England.

1. Fibre, 520.

2. Fibre, 265.

3. New Church Life, 1896, p. 168.

4. A. K. 222 seq. (Eng. ed. 284 seq.).

5. A. K. 232 (Eng. 293).

6. Ibid., note u.

7. A. K. 200 seq.

8. W. E. 4983 (3 Lat. 2217-21); cf. 2532 (2 Lat. 839) quoted on p. 24.




During his stay in Holland and England, Swedenborg went through some remarkable experiences. He had two separate states; one in the daytime when he was busily engaged as an author and man of letters, and another at night when he had vivid and significant dreams gradually merging into open visions. These two states appear as yet to have been completely separated, but they were a preparation for the time, soon to come, when he was to be in both worlds at the same time.

As already noted, Swedenborg had had significant dreams as early as 1736, and from then to 1740, but his record of these is not now available. We do, however, have the record of his dreams in 1744. In this record the dreams prior to March are merely fragmentary undated notes which together would fill less than two pages of print. But of the dreams from March 24 to October, he gives a detailed description which is indispensable for the understanding of the states through which he passed, and of the means whereby he was intromitted into the spiritual world.

The record to which we allude is ordinarily known as the Dream Book, but is more suitably entitled by Professor C. Th. Odhner in his English translation,[2] The Journal of Dreams. This work came to light in 1858, and was published in the following year, being subsequently republished both in the original[3] and in English translation. It created a great stir and was the object of attack by those who sought to prove Swedenborg a visionary. Unfortunately, these critics and sometimes also, though to a much less extent, even Swedenborg's defenders have confined their attention to the contents of the Journal; and the result could hardly be other than the appearance as of a life passed mainly in dreams and visions. The only just way to examine Swedenborg's Journal is to consider it in connection with the contemporary life and work of its author. Seen thus, the Journal assumes an entirely different aspect. It is no longer a record of vague dreams, but is the careful description, by a man of learning, accustomed to accuracy in his statements and logic in his reasonings, of experiences, the significance of which he sought to elicit, but of whose actuality he, as a witness, could have no doubt.

In the daytime he wrote these dreams in his Journal and reflected on their meaning; but in the daytime he was also busily engaged in adding the finishing touches to his Animal Kingdom, consulting anatomical authorities, meeting learned men, and seeing his work through the press. During the period covered by his Journal, he wrote and published that masterpiece of reasoning, the Epilogue to the second volume of The Animal Kingdom, and also the whole of the third volume dealing with the senses in their relation to the mind. He also wrote The Five Senses, and the Introduction to his work On the Brain, in which he lays down the laws of analytical thought. It is unthinkable that the writer of works such as these could at the same time be a visionary or a mystic.

Swedenborg's philosophy was founded on the acknowledgment of God, and of a prior world or world of causes; but he was equally convinced that the only way whereby man could see God's operation and could penetrate into the interior causes of things, was by carefully gathering facts in every field of experimental knowledge; by arranging these facts in order; and by analyzing them in the light of reason. If now to the facts of experience were added the phenomena of significant dreams, Swedenborg, as attested by his writings at the time, did not therefore cease to be the accurate observer, the analytical reasoner, the lover of truth.

It was by no accident that he had so many dreams at this time. His profound thought, almost independent of the respiration of the body, with the concomitant development of internal respiration, had brought him into close touch with the spiritual world and made him sensitive to the spheres of spirits quite independent of the state of his body. The immediate operation of these spheres is into the substances of the cerebral nerve cells. With most men, the effect of these operations is covered over and, as it were, obliterated by the powerful states induced by the senses, and is not sensated, unless it makes one with states induced from without; as, for instance, in anxiety and worry, which are apt to affect the stomach; or in morbid states of fear, jealousy etc., when both the keenness of the senses and the thought of the rational mind are dulled by the passions of the animus, and, as a result, the activities of spiritual spheres are felt as phantasies in the imagination, sometimes producing the appearance of corporeal sensations almost entirely independent of the actual sensations of the body.[3]

In the case of Swedenborg, however, because of the early molding of his brain, and because of his profound abstract thought with its accompanying internal respiration, the sensations of the internal organisms of the brain, that is to say, the sensations of the spirit, were becoming separated and as it were disentangled from the sensations of the body. Hence he was able to sensate the operations of spiritual spheres apart from bodily sensations, and yet at the same time to be in the full exercise of his rational faculties. In his waking moments these operations were perceived as states of unusual mental illustration, accompanied by an exhilaration felt in the body itself; and sometimes by an actual sensation of seeing flames, lights or other signs. At other times they were perceived as states of obscurity, accompanied by a horrible feeling of pain in the head, quite independent of any external cause.[4] But when he was in sleep, these same operations were seen as dreams whose representative forms were drawn from his memory. It is not, therefore, surprising that Swedenborg should be peculiarly susceptible to dreams; indeed, in view of his state, this should be expected.

The dreams that came to Swedenborg were more clearly representative of spiritual activities than is ordinarily the case. Dreams are the activities of spirits set forth in representative pictures varied and modified by the form and state of the vessels of the memory and imagination.[5] With Swedenborg these vessels were extremely ductile to the operations of the mind,-as shown by the fact that he could readily summon before his mind's eye all the things of his memory that pertained to a given thought, and could exclude all else;[6] but with most men the vessels of the memory and imagination are rendered stiff and hard by the phantasies of the animus.

Swedenborg was not taught by dreams, nor does he ever appeal to them in support of his own teachings. But reflection on his dreams must have led him to apply, and more fully to develop, that doctrine of Correspondences and Representations which his study of the realm of causes had led him to formulate as early as 1739. In 1741, he states[7] his intention of writing "A Key to natural and spiritual arcana by way of correspondences and representations," a doctrine "hitherto unknown to the world." Two years later, he declares in The Animal Kingdom,[8] that this doctrine reveals that "the physical world is merely symbolic of the spiritual world;" and then in the light of it he gives the spiritual meaning of the words "searching the reins." In 1744, the year we are now considering, he wrote his promised Hieroglyphic Key to Natural and Spiritual Arcana,[9] and afterwards, and probably concurrently with his Journal of Dreams, or even later in the year, he wrote an application of this doctrine to the elucidation of the Scriptures.[10] It was with this Doctrine in mind that Swedenborg reflected on his dreams, and learned" in part" their signification.[11]

Of a truth however, we can have but a general idea of the way in which Swedenborg viewed his dreams and visions. That he interpreted them as confirmations of the conclusions of his rational thought; that he saw in them representations of the spiritual dangers in which he was, and also of the protection of the Lord,-this we know from his own words; and that he also saw in them effects produced by spiritual causes, we cannot doubt. But after all it is impossible for us to put ourselves in Swedenborg's unique state, and to see with his eyes. We can do little more than surmise, basing our surmises however on our knowledge of Swedenborg's development thus far, and especially of the future states into which he was to enter. It was no ordinary man who experienced these dreams and visions, but a man of deep learning and profound thought; a man accustomed to penetrating into the hidden causes of things; a man who could think interiorly almost without the breath of the body; with whom it was "second nature" to search into and discover the causes of the various phenomena that came before the sight of his mind;[12] who, with his penetrating gaze, perceived the interior sources of the forms and operations in the human body with an insight almost supernatural. What shall we say of the thoughts of such a man, when he reflected on his dreams? or of the conclusions which his reflections brought him?

1. Bryn Athyn, 1918.

2. When referring to the Swedish text of this Journal, we have used the edition edited by Knut Barr (Stockholm, 1924).

3. S. D. 1752, A. C. 1967.

4. S. D. 4088, 2951.

5. S. D. 4033, A. C. 1980.

6. See E. A. K. 19.

7. In The Soul or Rational Psychology, 567.

8. A. K. 993, and note u.

9. See Preface to Psychological Transactions p. xx seq., where the date of the Hieroglyphic Key is discussed.

10. Namely the work on Correspondences and Representations which is translated in Psychological Transactions p. 917 seq.

11. W. E. 1994 (9 Lat. 193).

12. See E. A. K. 19.




As already stated, the first detailed description of Swedenborg's dreams as recorded in his Journal is dated March 24, 1744, at which time also he came into peculiar states of spiritual temptation.[1] But before this date, an extraordinary event took place, being nothing less than the manifestation of the Lord. In a letter addressed to the Duke of Hesse-Darmstadt in 1771, Swedenborg writes: The Lord manifested Himself in person before me, His servant, and sent me to do this work. This took place in the year 1743; and afterwards He opened the sight of my spirit and thus introduced me into the spiritual world, and this constantly for twenty-seven years. I declare in truth that this is so.[2]

This statement is explicit, and there is no possibility of misprint or error. We mention this because in the case of a similar statement in another document, the question of error has been raised. We refer to Swedenborg's letter to Hartley, dated August, 1769, where he says: The Lord most mercifully manifested Himself in Person before me His servant in the year 1743, and then He opened my sight into the spiritual world and granted me to speak with spirits and angels, which gift has continued up to the present day. From that time I began to print the various arcana which appeared and were revealed to me.[3]

The autograph of this letter is not extant, but it appears that it was printed by Swedenborg's own order.[4] In 1840, it was maintained that the date 1743 was a misprint for 1745.[5] The same doubt seems to have been raised by some of the early New Churchmen in Sweden, for it is put before Dr. Beyer. The latter affirms the date 1743 to be correct, but explains the passage as meaning that the call in 1743 was the first step in a process of preparation which did not culminate till 1745. "In connection with this occasion (he writes) when the Lord in a miraculous manner opened the interiors of his servant and the sight of his spirit into the other world, I may mention here that this opening did not take place at once but gradually. A preparation had to precede. Consequently, it was not in the year 1743 (which is not written by mistake but agrees with all the information on the subject contained in his books) that he was all at once at home in the truths, which, three or four years afterwards, he collected together and was able to publish in due order in the Arcana Coelestia in 1749. Meanwhile, he had explored and instructed himself in natural things and afterwards in spiritual things in a rational manner. He was thus occupied until the year 1745."[6]

It is clear from the above, that Swedenborg's statement that the Lord appeared to him in 1743 and then opened his spiritual sight, must be interpreted in a way that will cover the period from 1743-45; for it was not until April, 1745 that he received his commission.[7]

As to how the Lord appeared to him in 1743, we have no information. From the fact, however, that the opening of Swedenborg's eyes was gradual, and that he first saw the spiritual world represented in dreams,[8] we infer that the Lord first appeared to him in a dream. In this connection, we note that in October, 1743, while Swedenborg was in Amsterdam, he experienced for the first time "a preternatural sleep" which afterwards continued with him. The nature of this sleep is not explained, but that it was more than profound slumber, is clear from Swedenborg's statement,[9] that during such a sleep in April, 1744, it seemed to him that "it was said that something will be given from within." It is not improbable that this sleep was a state of peaceful sleep as to the body with some opening of the spiritual senses; and that it was in such a sleep that the Lord first manifested Himself to Swedenborg.

The year 1744 is also indicated in the Invitation to the New Church, which was certainly written in 1771 since it refers to the published T. C.. R. In n. 43 of this work, Swedenborg speaks of his unique state as having lasted for 97 years, which would give 1744.

Again, in Earths in the Universe, n. 1, it is said that Swedenborg's state has lasted for 12 years. This work was published In the early part of 1758, and the statement was probably written in 1757, which would yield the year 1745; but the writer in the Documents has assumed that it was written in 1756. So the statement In H. H. 1, published later in 1758, which gives the number of years as 13, has been assumed to have been written in 1757, though it was probably written in 1758.

It is clear that no precise date can be determined on, from statements such as the above. Even did we know the exact date when the statements were written, it would still be a question whether by 26 years, for example, Is meant the 26th year or more than 26 years. The only passages on which we can certainly build are those where the specific year of Swedenborg's admission into the spiritual world is given.

From these, and also from other indications to be given in the text, the following points can be deduced with certainty, and all other statements must be interpreted in accordance with these:
1) That the Lord appeared to Swedenborg in 1743 (1 Doc. 9; 2 Doc. 387).
2) That from October, 1743, Swedenborg had preternatural sleep (Jour. 140).
3) That the Kingdom of God was first shown him in the "repose of sleep" (W. E. 541).
4) That In 1744, heaven was opened to him, and he had daily consort with spirits (2 Doc. 257, D. W. VII, 1); the Lord also appeared to him during this year (Jour. 54).
5) That in April, 1745, he came into the state in which he could not only see into the spiritual world and talk with angels "but could at the same time be with men" (W. E. 1003; 5. D. 821).
6) That from that time he gave up all worldly studies (1 Doc. 36).

It is perhaps to such a sleep that Swedenborg refers, when in December, 1745, he says: The Kingdom of God was first shown me in the repose of sleep, but afterwards sometimes in the day or in time of wakefulness, so that I perceived it most clearly with the very senses. The sweetness and happiness was so great that it cannot be expressed in words, for it deeply penetrated the fibres and inmost marrows.[10] He adds, that he has frequently experienced this felicity for two years, that is to say, since about December, 1743.

Swedenborg probably refers to some such experience of bliss in the summary of his dreams prior to March, 1744, where he speaks of his "joys at night" and his "wakeful ecstasies." In the same summary, he refers also to a dream" about the king who gave [me] something very precious in a peasant's but "-words which suggest the appearance of the Lord.[11]

1. Jour. 186.
       2. Doc. II, 387.

3. Latin ed. (usually bound in with volume VI of Lat. A. C.) p. 5-6; translated in 1 Doc. 9.

4. Hyde's Bibliography, n. 2593.

5. Int. Rep., 1840, p. 409.

6. Tafel, Samlung von Urkenden, IV, p. 79-80; 2 Doc. 496-97.

7. In the Documents concerning Swedenborg, an attempt is made to show that, in proportion to Swedenborg's increase in spiritual light he consistently antedated the opening of his spiritual sight; that up to 1752 or 1753, he set this date as 1745; from 1752-06, as 1744; and from 1768-79, as 1743 (3 Doc. 1118 seq.) The argument is based on a comparison of Swedenborg's various statements as to the number of years he has enjoyed the opening of his spiritual sight, with the date on which such statements were made. If the latter date were known, the argument might be sound; but as a fact, in many cases it Is not known. Thus, in T. C. R. 157, Swedenborg says he has been in the spirit and at the same time in the body for twenty-six years. The date of this passage is assumed as 1769, since the whole work was finished in June, 1770; therefore the opening of Swedenborg's eyes must have been In 1743., But the matter is not so simple. After completing the first draft of T. C. R., In June, 1770, Swedenborg rewrote it in Amsterdam (2 Doc. 482); and that he then made changes, is clear from the fact that in the very beginning of the work (nos. 4 and 108) he refers to the time when it was completed. Cuno's testimony shows that n. 157 was copied In December, 1770. Twenty-six years back from 1770 would yield 1744-or even 1745; for from April, 1745 (the date specifically fixed In many passages as that of his full entrance into the spiritual world) to December, 1770, is twenty-five years and eight months, which might well have been spoken of as twenty-six years.

Again, T. C. R. 851 states that the interiors of his mind had been open for 97 years. It is assured that this statement was written in 1770; but since it belongs to the "additions" to the T. C. R. as finished in June, 1770, It was more probably written in 1771, which would give the date 1744. It was copied from C. L. 1 (published in 1768), where the number of years is put as 95, which would yield 1743. This might indicate that T. C. R. 851 was written in 1770, though this is against the evidence; but the "25 years" in C. L. 1 most probably Indicates the 25th year and not 25 complete years; for "25 years" is again mentioned in C. L. 419, which is copied from D. L. W. 353 published In 1763, where the number of years is given as 19, which would yield 1744.

8. W. E. 1351, 1353.

9. Jour. 140.

10. W. E. 541.

11. Jour. 12, 11.




The Lord's second manifestation was not in a dream but in a waking vision, that is, in a state in which Swedenborg while asleep as to the body, was awake as to his interior sight and reflection. For the purpose of this manifestation, there seems to have been some special preparation, which commenced on March 27, 1744, when Swedenborg was at The Hague. Prior to that date, he had had "wakeful ecstasies" and "the best of sleep which has been more than delightful," and also fearful dreams; he had thought much about his own unworthiness and ignorance, and had experienced temptations.; he had also seen in a dream one whom he took to be his guardian angel.[1] But on March 27 a change came upon him. To quote his own words: I now represented the internal man, and was, as it were, another than myself, so that I saluted my own thoughts, frightened them, the things of my memory; accused another. Thus, there has now been a change, so that I represent one who is opposed to another, or the internal man.[2]

This new state into which Swedenborg was now introduced, is what elsewhere[3] he calls a state of "double thoughts." Writing four years later, when this state had become his usual state, he says of it: Because I was gifted with a double thought, one more interior and the other interior, therefore, when I was in the company of evil spirits I could still at the same time be in the company of the good, and could thus perceive the nature of the spirits who were desirous of leading me. Without this observation, namely, that I am in the company of evil spirits and that it is these spirits who think in this way and affect me, I could know no other than it was myself who was such and was meditating such things.[4]

Thus, Swedenborg was now being initiated into a realization by actual experience, of the truth that all evil flows in from evil spirits, and that all good comes from heaven. Even before his eyes were opened to see spirits, he was beginning to see the effects of their influx, as thoughts and desires existing in his own mind; and at the same time he was able to look down upon these as upon another self and to frighten and accuse them. When Swedenborg first entered this state, it brought him those fearful temptations, "with double thoughts fighting one another," of which such frequent mention is made in the Journal;[5] but, as we shall show later, without these experiences he could not have been in both worlds at the same time without destruction of his spiritual life, for he could not possibly have resisted the assaults of evil spirits but would have made one with the spirits themselves. By these experiences also, he was led to perceive more deeply, that all good comes from the Lord.

1. Jour. 14, 15, 13, 17.

2. Drommar, p. 49; Jour. 133.

3. Jour. 118, 121, 174.

4. S. D. 383; cf. 1911.

5. Jour. 118.




During this period, the Lord appeared to Swedenborg a second time, while he was at Delft on a brief visit connected with his anatomical studies.[1]

On Easter Sunday, April 5, he had taken communion.[2] During the night of that day he experienced in his sleep, such "life and glory," all in answer to his thoughts, that though it had been clear to him at the time, yet he could not describe it. "In a word (he says[3]) I was in heaven, and heard a speech which no human tongue can utter." In the morning he found himself in a state of radiant happiness and felt that, in the cause of God, it would be a little thing to sacrifice even life itself.

The next day, Monday, April 6, he travelled from The Hague to Delft, and during the whole day was in spiritual thoughts more profound and beautiful than any he had ever experienced.[4] In the evening, when reading in the tenth chapter of Exodus concerning the miracles wrought by Moses, doubts crept into his mind as to the possibility of these miracles-doubts as to why God had hardened Pharaoh's heart; why He had used wind to disperse the locusts, etc. He believed, and did not believe; and the thought came to him that perhaps God could not reveal Himself to the learned philosopher who insists on his own understanding taking part in everything, but only to the simple and to shepherds.[5] In the midst of these doubts, his interior thought was still active, so that he smiled at his own lack of faith; and he strengthened the latter by reflecting on the extreme fallibility of the external senses. This state continued for an hour and a half. At ten in the evening he retired to rest in a state of peace. "Half an hour later (he writes), I heard a noise under my head; and I thought that the tempter was then gone. Immediately there came over me a tremor, very powerful, from the head and the whole body, together with a crashing sound, and this several times. I found that something holy was over me." He then slept; but after midnight (he continues) "there came over me a very powerful tremor from head to feet, with a crashing sound, as though many winds had come together in collision, which shook me. It was indescribable and prostrated me on my face. Then, while I was prostrated, at that very moment I was wholly awake and saw that I had been thrown down. I wondered as to what it might mean, and I spoke as if I were awake, but found nevertheless that the words were put into my mouth:[6] 0 Almighty Jesus Christ, that Thou of thy great mercy deignest to come to so great a sinner, make me worthy of this grace. I held my hands together and prayed; and then came forth a hand which squeezed my hands hard.[7] Thereupon I at once continued my prayer, and said that Thou hast promised to receive in grace all sinners; Thou canst do no other than keep Thy word. In the same moment I lay in His bosom and saw Him face to face. It was a countenance of a holy mien and in all, which cannot be described; and He smiled, so that I believe that His countenance was also such while He lived [upon earth]. He spoke to me and asked if I had a certificate of health. I answered: Lord, that knowest Thou better than I. Well, so do, He said; that is, as in my mind I found it to signify, Love me really, or Do what thou hast promised. God, give me grace for this; I found it was not in my own power. I awoke with tremors. I came again into such a state that I was in thought [being] neither asleep nor awake. I thought, What may this be? Is it Christ, God's Son that I saw? But it is a sin that I am in doubt thereof. But as it is commanded that one must try the spirits, therefore I thought over all, and found from what had occurred the previous night,[8] during the whole night I had been purified and enwrapped and guarded by the Holy Spirit, and so [had been] prepared for this; as also that I fell on my face, and the words that I spoke and the prayer, came not front myself, but the words were put in my mouth; still that it was I who spoke; and that all was holy. Thus I found that it was God's own Son who came down with a sound as of a crash and Who from Himself prostrated me to the ground and made the prayer and so said it was Jesus Himself. I asked for grace, in that I had doubted so long concerning this, and also that it had come to my thought to wish for a miracle, which I found was improper."[9]

As to how the Lord appeared to Swedenborg in this vision, we have the following teaching in The Spiritual Diary: Sometimes it has happened to me that I have supposed no other than that the Lord Himself was present and spake [with me] as He had also spoken with others; but the case is thus: It is then the Lord who appears [but] by means of others who are then not themselves; and these others suppose likewise that they are the Lord. This thought flows [from him by whom the Lord appears] into the thought of the one with whom he is, since he himself is nothing; and the Lord then appears by means of him [and] in his form,-for his form still remains; for the Lord does not will to appear through another by entirely changing the form or genius of that other. In this way also the Lord speaks through another.[10]

1. Swedenborg's description of the Lord's appearance to him in Delft is so worded as to suggest in the strongest way that this was the Lord's first manifestation to him; yet we have his own statement, that the first manifestation was in 1743. It would seem, therefore, that In 1748 the Lord appeared to him in a dream, and perhaps that Swedenborg did not at first realize the full significance of the dream.

2. In 1744, for some unknown reason, Easter was celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church in The Hague on April 5. The true Easter Sunday was March 22, which was observed by the Protestant Church.

3. Jour. 44.

4. Jour. 47, 51.

5. Jour. 151.

6. In the autograph, the word "mouth" is followed by "och" (and) and what appears to be the letter "a" but which, in any case, is the beginning of a word that Swedenborg did not complete. It appears that Swedenborg contemplated writing some other words, and changed his mind but forgot to cross off the "och." The English translators retain the "och" and translate "and [I said]."

7. Cf. S. D. 81.

8. On the day preceding the day of this vision, Swedenborg had been in great temptations, feeling himself to be utterly damned, though he still preserved hope. In the night of that day, that is to say, the night preceding the night of the present vision, he dreamed that he was fighting a man who represented voluptuousness, riches, and vanity; and that he obstinately withstood him. Afterwards, he was fighting a dog which finally he seized and squeezed it by the nose until the venom burst out. By this wan and dog are undoubtedly meant Swedenborg's other self, as it were. Afterwards he was enveloped by wonderful convolutions (cf. A. K. 457 note s, which Swedenborg was writing at this time), and was finally embraced. Again sleeping, he had that vision of which we have already spoken, when he was In heaven and heard a speech that no human tongue can utter (Jour. 40-44).

9. Drom. p. 24-26; Jour. 51-58. Cf. S. D. 2474 and 4791 as to the Lord's manifestation to Swedenborg in 1747 and 1751. In regard to the question as to whether Swedenborg had a certificate of health, see below, p. 93.

10. S. D. 2990, written August 30, 1748.




It is of interest and importance to note the attitude assumed by Swedenborg on this occasion when the Lord manifested Himself. It was not the attitude of the emotional visionary ready to believe any phantom of the imagination, especially when it seems to give him the distinction of being the chosen of God. Nor was it the attitude of the man who believes nothing but what he perceives with his bodily senses. Swedenborg was par excellence a philosopher-but a Christian philosopher who held that the aim of philosophy must be the knowledge, acknowledgment and worship of the Creator; who believed that the end and the animating cause of creation is a heaven of human souls; and that in all his analytical reasonings, the philosopher, if he is to arrive at the truth, must be inspired and guided by the acknowledgment of this end.

To those who consider such a position as itself the sign of a visionary, all that Swedenborg writes in his Journal will seem to be more or less phantastic. Others, however, will read the Journal in the spirit, of the man who wrote it. And it should not be forgotten that at this time Swedenborg was writing the Epilogue to the second volume of The Animal Kingdom,-that the author of this example of fine analytical reasoning is the same man who wrote that Journal which contains his reflections on the dreams and visions, for which his profound studies had prepared him.

Swedenborg was no blind believer, easily deceived by the vagaries of a dream. Alive to the reality of that world of causes whose powers had been so clearly manifested to him in the kingdoms of nature; and humbly conscious of the limitations of his own understanding; he was yet aware of the proneness of the human mind to phantasies and illusions, especially if inspired by conceit which is the greatest enemy to wisdom.[1] Throughout his writings he dwells on the necessity of experience, science, and the faculty of reasoning, as the three essentials of the philosopher; and on the danger of forming hypotheses which are not at every step approved by the voice of experience.

When, therefore, he reflected on the vision which he had seen during the night of April 6th, he asked himself the question whether it was truly Christ whom he had seen; and, keeping in mind the injunction to "try the spirits whether they are of God"[2] he reflected on all the circumstances, and also on what had come to him on the preceding day and night; and he came to the conclusion that what he had previously experienced had been a preparation for the manifestation of the Lord;' and that it was in truth the Lord whom he had seen. That this conclusion was not the result of a hasty or emotional judgment, but was reached only after serious consideration and reflection, is evident both revealed in his contemporaneous writings.

The same balanced attitude is shown elsewhere in his Journal. On April 10 he saw in a dream something which he believed to represent the power of the Holy Spirit; afterwards, he saw a "heavenly shining light" though he "did not dare" to regard this as certain; but in reflecting on these appearances, he "began to think whether this might not be phantasy." He noticed, however, that his faith was faltering, that is to say, that the spirit which excited his doubts was a spirit which demanded a miracle-something that would compel belief without any operation of the rational mind; and therefore he prayed for help. Later, he began very literally to try the spirits, and learned actually to distinguish between the good and the evil.[3]

We can safely assume that this struggle between the natural mind demanding a miracle and the spiritual mind enjoining belief because, after reflection, it perceives that God has spoken,[4] was often experienced by Swedenborg while writing the early part of his Journal, even where he does not speak of it; and that it entered into those severe temptations to which he so often refers. But, as we have already observed,[5] Swedenborg's genius was so unique, that only in a general way can we enter into his thoughts.

1. Jour. 151, 153.

2. I John, 4:1.

3. Jour. 96-98; 247.

4. It Is this Injunction by the spiritual mind that Swedenborg means when he says, that "we must wake our understanding captive to the obedience of faith" (Jour. 152). No one who understands his writings could possibly interpret him as meaning that we are to believe mysteries opposed to reason.

5. See above, p. 39.




From the description of Swedenborg's state, on the occasion when the Lord appeared to him, it would seem that this vision is the first recorded occasion when his spiritual eyes were opened-not opened to enable him to be with spirits as one of themselves, but opened to enable him to perceive in full wakefulness and as something outside himself the representations of the spiritual world presented in his dreams. Doubtless his spiritual eyes had been opened at times, in previous years, as when he saw the "sign" of which he speaks in The Corpuscular Philosophy, and when, as he was writing the first volume of The Animal Kingdom, lights and flames appeared to him almost daily; but of the nature of these experiences, we have no knowledge. In The Journal of Dreams, however, there is nothing to indicate any opening of his spiritual sight, until the night of Sunday, April 5.

We read that during his sleep this night, he "was in heaven and heard a speech which no human tongue can utter"; but though this vision had been clear to him at the time, he was quite unable to describe it. It is clearly evident, however, that his spiritual eyes were actually opened on the following night, when he saw the Lord. "Then, when I was prostrated (he writes), at that very moment I was wide awake." In this state he saw and heard, spoke and acted as one who was awake, and knew no other than that he was awake as to the body. After the vision had passed, he came into a state in which he was "in thoughts," but was neither asleep nor awake, that is to say, his spirit was not asleep and could think clearly, but his body was in slumber.

Two days later, he writes that he was "in the spirit"; and the day following, that he was "in the spirit and yet awake-for I could open my eyes and be awake and could come back again into that state"; and later in the same day, he says that he "came further into the spirit," and that he was then in the same state as when the Lord appeared to him.

On April 19, he was in a vision that was neither a state of sleep nor of wakefulness nor of ecstasy. Five days later, he writes that he was in "a strange trance, being neither asleep nor awake," and, during this state, his "double thoughts were, as it were, separated from each other." On July 30, when he was in London, "holy tremors" came over him, though at the same time he was "in deep sleep"; that is to say, although asleep, yet he plainly perceived that he was in tremor.[1] Finally, on July 2, after describing some experiences, he adds: This was in a vision, when I was neither awake nor asleep; for I had all my thoughts collected; it was the inward man separated from the outward that sensated it.[2]

For many years previously, Swedenborg as to his spirit had been in profound thoughts, while his body was in a state of quiescence almost without breath-and it would seem that it was in such states that he sometimes saw lights, flames, and other signs; but the state into which he came on April 5 and 6, was one in which the spirit had become so independent of the body that it could see external visual representations, could hear sounds, could speak and act, while the body was in the unconsciousness of sleep, -in a word, a state of complete wakefulness of the spirit while the body was asleep. In this state, the wakefulness of the spirit appeared to him to be exactly the same as bodily wakefulness. Hence, in reading Swedenborg's descriptions of his dreams, one has occasionally to pause and consider whether bodily or spiritual wakefulness is meant; as, for instance, in the passage where he describes what he saw when he "came into the spirit, although awake," and then adds "more I could not see because I had become awake."[3]

This state is described in The Spiritual Diary as follows: In sleep in the night-time, when there was no seeing whatever, I was led into a state of interior wakefulness which was such that I had no knowledge whatever other than that I was awake. I thought in the same way, saw in the, same way, and in the same way was persuaded that I was awake, so that I believed myself wholly awake. But it was an interior wakefulness in me, or a wakefulness of the spirit and not of the body. I then enjoyed all the senses and a like acumen and perspicacity.[4]

This advance in the independence, as it were, of the spirit from the body, would seem to have involved some signal changes in Swedenborg's respiration. At any rate, we know that on April 13, he makes some extended remarks in his Journal, as to the effect of deep thought on the respiration. "In a state of ecstasy (he writes [5]), one holds the breath, the thoughts then being, as it were, absent." With this may be compared the statement in the Memorabilia or Spiritual Diary: When heaven had been opened to me, so that I could speak with spirits, I was so fully introduced into internal respiration that for almost an hour I drew no breath except enough to think I was thus introduced by the Lord into internal respiration. Perhaps also in my dreams, for I noticed again and again that after falling asleep my respiration was almost entirely withdrawn, so that on waking I gasped for breath.[6]

In addition to this advance in the opening of Swedenborg's spiritual eyes there was also on the other hand a preparation for that state in which spirits could manifest their operations by Swedenborg as a medium; as for instance, when, some years later, they could direct his steps -though only so far as he willed. The first evidence of something of this kind is seen in the Journal for April 6, where Swedenborg states that when he woke from a dream in which he had been fighting against a man and a dog (his other self), the words on his lips were "Shut your mouth."[7] These words would appear to have been uttered by spirits who were with him, though probably he did not know this at the time. On the next night, however, when he saw the Lord, he directly states that words were put into his mouth. He writes also that in May "it came quite clearly into my thought and mouth that manna signifies the Holy Supper."[8] On this subject, we read in The Spiritual Diary: It has somewhat frequently happened that when I spoke with myself, spirits were speaking through me, which it was granted me to hear and perceive as though I perceived another man speaking through me, and this both from the sound and the clear sensation, and also from the spirit's own confession that it was he who had spoken through me; nor did he know other than that he was my body.[9]

In The Journal of Dreams, we see presented before us some of the steps by which Swedenborg was prepared for the state in
I which he could be in both worlds at the same time. The progression of these steps is indicated in a passage in The Word Explained,[10] written in February, 1746, where he enumerates four kinds of spiritual apparitions which he has experienced with varying frequency, namely: 1. Dreams, -experienced "for some years." 2. Apparitions "as clear as at noonday, in wakefulness with the eyes closed" -experienced "very frequently." (This was the state of deep thought in which Swedenborg saw lights, flames and other signs.) 3. Apparitions "in a state next to wakefulness, so that one believes no other than that he is awake, when yet it is not a true state of wakefulness" -experienced "several times." (This is the state we have just been describing.) 4. Apparitions "when in wakefulness, and the internal senses are removed as it were from the external" -experienced "often." (This was Swedenborg's final state.)

1. Jour. 75; 88; 90; 156; 174; 228.

2. Drom. p. 69; Jour. 210.

3. Jour. 90.

4. S. D. 4350. The passage goes on to say that it was in this state of Interior wakefulness that Abraham, Lot, and others saw and spoke with spirits. It may be added that after he had been fully admitted into the spiritual world Swedenborg was frequently in this state during his sleep. Of course, like other men he could have ordinary dreams, but he could also have dreams or visions in which his spirit was wholly awake and could observe and reflect. This gives us an understanding of certain statements occasionally occurring in the Memorable Relations, to the effect that Swedenborg saw representations from the spiritual world and afterwards "came into the spirit" and spoke with spirits concerning what he had seen; see T. C. R. 335. The first seeing was in dreams, the second was when he was awake in both worlds. See also W. E. 5141 (3 Lat. 2632).

5. Jour. 111-112.

6. S. D. 3464.

7. Jour. 41.

8. Jour. 199.

9. S. D. 2957.

10. W. E. 1351, 1353.




Here and there in his Journal, and especially in its earlier part, Swedenborg makes humble confessions of his own sinfulness. He is "weak in body and thought" knowing nothing but his own unworthiness; he is "unworthy above others and the greatest of sinners"; "impure from head to foot"; "a miserable creature," who, in a frightful dream, sees himself bound by the Evil One and cast into hell. He finds himself unworthy of the grace which God had deigned to show him, because the love of self and pride were so deeply enrooted; and he prays God to remove this, since it was not in his own power.[1] In fear and trembling he adopts the motto "Thy will be done. I am thine and not my own"; and immediately afterwards he prays for forgiveness. "To say I am thine (he writes[2]) belongs not to me but to God. I pray for the grace of being permitted to be thine and that I may not be left to myself."

He writes further: I found in myself, that in every single thought, yea in that which we believe to be almost pure, is contained an endless mass of sin and impurity; and also in every desire that comes from the body into the thoughts which are derived from very deep roots. Even though the thought may seem pure, yet underneath it, is the fact that one thinks it from fear, from hypocrisy, and much besides; which also one can discover to some extent by after-reflection. Thus, no one can make himself free from sin so that there is no thought in which is not mingled much impurity. Therefore, it is best to make oneself acknowledge that one is deserving of the punishment of hell every hour and moment, but [to believe] that God's grace and mercy, which are in Jesus Christ, overlook it yea I have also observed that our whole will which we have got and which is ruled by the body and brings in thoughts, is opposed to the spirit which does this [that is, which overlooks our faults]. Therefore, there is a continual strife, and we cannot in any way unite ourselves with the spirit; but from grace it unites with us. Therefore we are as though dead to all that is good, but in relation to evil, we are ourselves. Therefore one ought always to make oneself guilty of countless sins; for the Lord God knows all and we very little of those our sins which come only into the thoughts; only when they come into deeds do we become convinced of them.[3]

In resisting evils, Swedenborg undergoes terrible temptations, "reaching to the innermost" and so severe that he breaks out into perspiration; and he confesses that "if the grace of God had not been yet stronger" he must have fallen or become insane; yet he would rather become insane than fall. Still, even though feeling himself damned to hell, he kept firm his faith in Jesus Christ, and hope always remained strong.[4]

He dwells on the lines of the old Swedish hymn beginning" Jesus is my friend the best one." He has recourse to prayer and the reading of the Word, which gave him some relief; as also did fasting and songs of praise. He throws himself on God's mercy, and makes constant resistance by dwelling on the thought that God forgives if only we have living faith in His Word.[5]

It comes to his mind" how great is the Lord's grace which credits it to us that we have resisted in temptation, and which is imputed to us, when yet it is the grace and work of God alone. It is His and not ours, and He overlooks what weaknesses we have had in it." "One is happiest (he writes) when he is in God's grace. I had to beg for forgiveness with the most humble prayer before my conscience could be pacified."[6]

On one occasion he was so conscious of the Lord's grace that, to use his own words, " I fell a-weeping because I had not loved but rather had offended the one who has led me and shown me the way even to the kingdom of grace, and that I, unworthy one, have been received into grace." On another occasion he frequently burst into tears "not from sorrow but from inmost gladness that our Lord had willed to show such great grace to so unworthy a sinner."[7]

When in thoughts such as these, he found in himself, as "rays of light," that "it would be the greatest happiness to become a martyr; for consideration of the indescribable grace, combined with love towards God, makes one desire to endure that torture, which is nothing compared with the [life] everlasting; and the least thing would be to sacrifice one's life." Sometimes also he entered into so interior a joy that had it been more interior he would have been dissolved by this "veritable life of joy."[8]

He is filled with horror at the thought that anyone might ascribe any virtue to him. Two days after the Lord had manifested Himself, he wrote:[9] When I was in my thoughts, it often occurred to me, if it should happen that someone took me for a holy man and therefore made much of me; as indeed happens with some simpleminded folk, that they not only venerate but also adore a supposed holy man or saint; I then found that in the zeal in which I then was, I would want to inflict upon him every evil even to the extreme rather than that anything of such sin should cleave to him and that, with earnest prayers, I ought to propitiate our Lord that I may not have any share in so damnable a sin which would cleave to me.

These descriptions of confession, hope and confidence, have led some to designate this period of Swedenborg's life as the "depression period"; and they have compared it with periods in the lives of men more or less obsessed with religious mania, when they alternated between utter self damnation, and the highest spiritual exaltation. But, as already indicated, the underlying reason for this judgment is inability to see the truth of what Swedenborg teaches in his theological works. Surely, heartfelt confession of sin, with the rational effort to see and resist it, can never justly be taken as a sign of an unhealthy mind.

Moreover, these confessions do not mark any essential change in Swedenborg's character. They are nothing but the application to himself of sentiments he has frequently expressed in his published works. Humility was characteristic of him, and that it was a virtue which he cultivated, is shown in his life and writings. In The Economy of the Animal Kingdom, written several years before the Journal, when explaining why he has used his own anatomical observations so sparingly, he says: I found that as soon as I discovered anything that had not before been observed, I began, perhaps from self-love, to grow blind to the most acute lucubrations and researches of others and to desire to lead the whole series of rational deduction to my one discovery.[10]

He had long perceived man's proneness to conceit, and the intrinsic opposition between conceit and philosophy. The faculty of searching out causes (he writes) is chiefly dulled and destroyed by the vain ambition for glory and the love of self. I know not what gross darkness overspreads the mind when the animus swells up with pride or when the contemplation of things calls up in those things the image and the glory of one's own self. The organs of internal sensation, or of perception, become swollen, the powers of the thought are dulled, and they bring upon the stage an entirely different scene. Thus crippled, the rational faculty is compelled to halt its step; it goes backward rather than forward; and it is circumscribed by a boundary which men think to be the limit of human genius because it is the limit of their own; and in the works of others, even the most enlightening, they see little or nothing, while in their own they vaingloriously see all. The Muses love a tranquil mind, and these floods can be held in check only by humility and a contempt of self and the love of truth alone.[11]

Again, in The Animal Kingdom, writing a few days before the vision of April 6, and while in the very midst of his confessions and temptations,[12] he says concerning the pleasures of the body, the lusts of the animus, and the ambitions of the mind, that they are so many heats which extinguish the sacred fire of the love of truth. "A light still remains (he continues) warm in relation to the body but cold in relation to the soul and the superior mind. Thus, we still continue distinctly to revolve and combine ideas, and perspicuously to contemplate analyses framed of reasons; but these are only the spectres and impure phantoms of truth which behold ultimate ends in oneself and the love of self, and which powerfully and confidently persuade us that they are Delphian virgins and graces; and because we applaud them, we think that the whole Parnassian band will also applaud. If into the sphere of our rational mind we would invite truths themselves, whether natural, moral, or spiritual, it is necessary that we extirpate these impure fires of the body, and thus extinguish our fatuous lights and submit our mind to be illumined by the rays of a spiritual power. Then for the first time do truths flow in; for they all emanate from this source as from their fount."[13]

There is no essential difference between the sentiments so finely expressed in these published works, and the confessions in the private Journal. Both show horror of the love of self, and both teach the necessity of being ever on guard against it. But in the one, Swedenborg is speaking to a public audience, and in the other he is searching into his own heart and making confession before God.

The man who made these confessions was a man of high reputation. He had served for over thirty-five years as a public official, meeting men of affairs, miners, merchants, publishers, statesmen, savants, with never a breath of scandal against him. It is probable that the life of no man has been so thoroughly searched into; but no stain on his character has ever come to light. Even when his doctrines were assailed by the ecclesiastical supporters of Gothenburg; when a plot was made against his person;[14] when odium theologicum would quickly have seized on any means by which to attack the founder of an obnoxious religion; even then there is no breath against Swedenborg's personal character. In private he confessed himself a sinner above all men; - in public he was held in the highest esteem as a man of honor and probity.

Unlike the morbidly religious, Swedenborg had no confession of sinfulness to make before the world. To the world he was the polite gentleman, the experienced traveller, the busy student, the learned author. It was only in the privacy of his own chamber and in the pages of his intimate journal that he poured forth his confessions, and laid bare his heart before "the Father which seeth in secret."[15]

It was not that Swedenborg was in fact worse than other men, - nay the reverse is rather the case; but that he saw more fully than others the true nature of man's proprium. He himself declares this, when he writes, two days after the Lord had appeared to him: I found myself to be more unworthy than others and the greatest of sinners; for our Lord has given me to go into certain matters with my thoughts more deeply than many others; and [to see] that there, in the thoughts that are brought into act, lies the very source of the sin; so that in this manner my sins have come from a deeper ground than [is the case with] many others. Herein I found my unworthiness and my sins greater than those of others; for it is not enough to make oneself out unworthy, for this may consist of something from which yet the heart is far removed, and of pretense; but to find that one is such, this is the grace of the spirit.[16]

1. Jour. 71, 74, 85, 102, 137, 272.

2. Jour. 117-118.

3. Drom. 41-49; Jour. 109-10.

4. Jour. 71, 65; 65, 38; 37, 60.

5. Jour. 69; 39, 85; 189; 86; 166.

6. Drom. 22, 97; Jour. 42, 61.

7. Drom. 20, 30; Jour. 36, 71.

8. Drom. 93, 47; Jour. 47, 127.

9. Drom. 30-31; Jour. 72.

10. E. A. K. 18.

11. E. A. K. 22.

12. See Jour. 18.

13. A. K. 401 (Eng. 403).

14. Doc. I, 47.

15. Math. 6:6.

16. Drom. 31; Jour. 74.




In the preparation of Swedenborg for that unique state in which he could be in the natural and spiritual worlds at the same time, the formation of his mind by rational truths,[1] and the molding of the inner substances of his brain enabling him to enjoy internal respiration, while essential, were not in themselves sufficient. It was equally essential that he should actually experience in himself the truth that man is nothing but evil and that good comes solely from the Lord. Without this, his admission into the spiritual world would have brought not illumination but destruction; not spiritual health, but natural and spiritual insanity.

Every good Christian acknowledges that of himself he is a sinner, and that the imagination of his heart is evil continually; but the acknowledgment falls far short of the reality. A man has some inkling of the reality at times, when, owing to some ultimation of evil or to other causes, he beholds himself with shame and contempt; but such states are not permitted to last for long, for otherwise he would be too greatly tormented and would be deprived of freedom. It is because of this that the Lord permits evil spirits to be associated with man, as well as good spirits.[2]

The Writings teach us that unless man believes, as is the truth, that all evil comes from hell and all good from the Lord, he cannot shun the one or receive the other; for he would ascribe evil to himself, and thus, identifying himself with it, would no more be able to resist it than to lift his body from the earth without external means. He would also ascribe to himself whatever of good he may have, whether from hereditary or from training.[3] This truth is intuitively perceived by every Christian who resists evil; even though he may not be able to state it theologically; for resistance to evil is in itself a tacit acknowledgment that such evil is due to influences from without which can be resisted. Every Christian also prays that God and not the Devil may rule him.

Being the subject of two influxes, one from heaven and one from hell, man is able to exercise his rationality and liberty by choosing to receive the one or the other. This choice, however, would not be possible if, while living on earth, he were conscious of the presence of spirits.

Both good and evil spirits are present with every man, drawing near or departing according as he receives or rejects them. The wise among them know as a matter of doctrine, that spirits are associated with man; but no spirit, nor any man knows this as a matter of experience. Man feels the influx of evil-the surge of passion, the arousing of lust-only as a delight perceived in himself, and as though it sprang from himself; yet this delight is something that his higher mind can examine and judge, and either retain or reject. If he rejects it, he actually closes his mind to the influx of evil spirits, just as much as he may close his ears to the hearing of profane language; and those spirits are then compelled to leave him;[4] but if he retains it, he allies himself with evil spirits and makes one with them. It is in this way that the Lord rules spirits by means of man-a doctrine which was one of the first doctrines concerning the other world that came to Swedenborg's knowledge; for even with the evil, the external order which, perforce, they are obliged to observe, is a means by which evil spirits also are curbed.

The case would be entirely different if man had open intercourse with spirits, for spirits would then be aware of the fact that they were with some particular man. The wise would then have no desire to lead him, for it is inherent in wisdom to wish man to be led by the Lord in freedom. But the evil, as soon as ever they became aware that they were with a man, would at the same time become aware that they themselves have no longer a material body. It is in the nature of the evil to deny the existence of the spirit and of the spiritual world; and their constant persuasion, even after death, is that they are still in this world and enjoy all those corporeal delights in which they had placed their life. All this would be changed if they became aware that they were with a man, and thus became also aware of the fact that they themselves had no longer a material body or the sensual pleasures of such a body, but that these were mere phantasies of their own imagination. They would then strive to enter into the body of the man, to possess it, and thus again to enter into the full enjoyment of their lusts; just as in the case of profligates who, having destroyed the power of enjoying their pleasures, still strive to renew the delights of their body by every species of imagination and corporeal titillation. If the man with whom evil spirits are consciously present, refuses to be led by them, they do not leave him as they would were they not aware of being with an individual man. They are pleased enough with the idea that they are ruling the man; but they are incited to anger and fury if the man examines them, makes judgment of their character, and refuses to be ruled by them.[5] Once having obtained a corporeal abode, and so realizing that their life in the other world has been passed in phantasy, and not, as they had supposed, in actual material pleasures, their whole effort is to retain that abode. For this purpose, if the man resists and thus would dispossess them, they excite his evils, past and present, until at last he seems to himself to be nothing but evil, and so is without that power of resistance which comes only from the consciousness that evil flows in from without, and from the ability to see that evil as something apart from and beneath the rational mind. He would be held perpetually in that state-into which, to a slight extent, all regenerating men come at times-in which he identifies evil with himself and has and can have no hope of resistance.

The operations of evil spirits in this respect are much the same as the operations of evil men. The latter, when they find that a man will not submit to their influence, at once seek to accuse him, to rake up his past, to expose him in such manner that he may seem to himself to be worse than they; and they do this that they may retain advantage for themselves from his silence or his co-operation. But in this case, the man is still in freedom; for at best, his evil actions alone can be exposed, and of these he can both make and proclaim repentance. But if spirits were consciously with a man, they would excite the secret springs of his thoughts, -motives of which the man himself was hardly aware; and in this way they would so overwhelm him with the consciousness of guilt, that escape would be impossible; indeed the result would be actual insanity.[6]

This is the danger of open intercourse with spirits;[7] and this is the reason why such intercourse is not permitted at this day. Even where it seems to exist, it is but to a slight extent; and experience shows that those who are in such communication are sometimes led to evil words and deeds without volition of their own.

And yet, for the salvation of man and his preservation from the utter materialism by which Christianity was threatened with oblivion, it was necessary that the spiritual world be revealed to the natural; that the two worlds so long separated, again be made known to each other. And for this purpose, it was requisite that there be a man who could be present in the spiritual world and could at the same time give his testimony in the natural world, in rational language which men could comprehend, and, if they chose, could believe. Such a man would necessarily become at once the object of attack by evil spirits, who would strive by every means in their power to possess him as their own; and would, therefore, so excite evils in him, past and present, and make him so conscious of them, that he would be deprived of the power of resisting their presence or of rejecting their company.

The only way by which this danger could be averted-and we may note here that the danger is greater with the learned than with the simple[8]-was by the preparation of that man so that he would freely and from his heart perceive and acknowledge that all evil is from hell, and that unless man were guarded by the Lord every least moment, he would at once receive it from hell and make it his own.

Swedenborg was not yet so associated with spirits that he could meet them as man meets man. But he was on the very verge of such' association. His brain had been so prepared that he was extremely sensitive to the operations of spirits even before he was actually aware of their presence as individual beings.[9] Hence, at the presence of good spirits, he experienced joys such as could not be expressed in human words, and thus was confirmed in the Lord's mercy. But when evil spirits were present, he felt evils stirred up within him, such as he would not have supposed himself capable of;[10] in this way he was permitted by the Lord to enter more deeply into his evils than other men, and actually to see that he was impure from head to foot. But then he strengthened himself by faith in the Lord; and he resisted the seemingly overwhelming evils, not from himself, but because God had so commanded and because he believed that God would impart His Grace if only we resist in temptation. He sums up his faith in the words: Summa summarum 1. It is nothing else but grace by which we are saved. 2. The grace is in Jesus Christ who is the Throne of Grace. 3. It is love to God in Christ by which salvation is promoted; 4. and that one then allows himself to be led by the spirit of Jesus. 5. All that comes from ourselves is dead and nothing else than sin and deserving of eternal damnation. 6. For no good can come except from the Lord.[11]

This growing consciousness on Swedenborg's part that evil comes from hell and that good comes from the Lord alone, was the means by which he could afterwards be present with evil spirits without the least injury. For the power of spirits over man consists in their being able to attribute to the man the evils that they excite in him. If they cannot do this, they have no power. We see this truth also in its operation among men. If one man can arouse evil lusts in another-avarice, envy, the desire for glory-then he can lead that other; but if the latter, though knowing that he has these lusts, refuses to be governed by them, the power of leading is gone.

The strength of his confession of evil and of his trust in the Lord, is referred to in Swedenborg's Journal, where he writes: "I thought that I was accusing someone, yet in the end I crossed out and excused something, because he himself said so; but the words were very deep. It signifies, that I accused myself, and yet excused, because I myself confessed all," -that is to say, because he freely admitted the evil which was laid bare before him, and therefore took away from others the power of attributing it to him and thus of condemning him. He had an actual experience of this kind in the spiritual world many years later. Certain spirits wishing to prevent his approach, told him that he was nothing but evil; but he answered that he well knew this. Thus they were disarmed.[12]

Here we have the reason for the slow process of the actual opening of Swedenborg's spiritual eyes, a process which extended from the Fall of 1745 to the Spring of 1745. For many years he had been introduced into the sciences and philosophy; for some years also, he had enjoyed internal respiration while in profound thought. And now that the time was at hand for his actual introduction into the spiritual world, further preparation was required that he might learn and actually realize in himself that all evil comes from hell and all good from the Lord. Thus he was to be prepared not only for the illumination which he was to experience, but also for the dangers which he was to encounter.

With me (writes Swedenborg, in 1748) spirits have been present such as they were in the world, and not present as they are with other men. For with me they were present as men, not only in respect to their animus and mind, but also in respect to their sensation, so that they thought themselves to be, as it were, entirely in the world, that is to say, to have returned into the world. They could lead me, could see through my eyes, could hear others speaking through my ears, yea, had this been permitted, they could have spoken with those others in their own tongue, have written to them with their own pen, have touched others by means of my hands; but these things were not permitted. The case is different with other men. For from the Lord, the state with me has become such that I could be possessed by spirits, and still they could do me no harm whatever; as they can to others who are obsessed, and who then are not of their right reason. But I am exactly the same as I was before; I have been in company, as before, and not the least difference has been observed [though] I have been in this state for some years. Therefore, one who is in faith can be in such a state, but by no means others, for they would at once perish. The world is such at this day, that when man is possessed, he at once incurs danger of life, such being the internal hatred that rules at this day.[13]

Swedenborg was prepared in this way during many months for the sake of his own protection, but who shall say what evils might not have befallen the world if one who had not been thus prepared had become the medium by whom evil and malignant spirits could be actually present on earth in the body of a man.[14]

1. H. H. 130; C. L. 39; cf. 2 Doc. 426.

2. S. D. 218.

3. Divine Providence, 320.

4. S. D. 104.

5. S. D. 68, 104.

6. S. D. 2845, 3128; 2845.

7. See S. D. 1622.

8. S. D. 77, 3060a.

9. See S. D. 192.

10. We may note here, what we believe has not before been pointed out, that It was when Swedenborg was surrounded by the spheres of evil spirits penetrating into the inmost recesses of human nature and exposing its wickedness, that he wrote those sentences in his Journal which have led some to suppose him a man of intemperance whose ruling passion was licentiousness. It would be Impossible for a man with these vices to originate the analytical reasonings and the sublime thoughts so abundantly displayed in Swedenborg's philosophical works, to say nothing of the self-denying industry and concentration of thought required for the actual writing of those works. The Writings give many instances where, for the sake of experience, evil spirits were permitted to communicate to Swedenborg their delights. On such occasions Swedenborg felt in. himself an entire absence of spiritual perception (S. D. 3441) or distaste for all useful work (A. C. 1509) an impulse to commit suicide (S. D. 4530) depraved affections and sensual thoughts (ib,. 927 and 4582) etc.; but, knowing the source of these states Swedenborg could experience them without Injury, looking upon them as something outside himself. In the Journal period he would feel the approach of evil spirits in the same way, but the resulting states would seem to be his own. See Jour. 900.

11. Drom. 64.-65; Jour. 198.

12. Drom. 48, Jour. 132; A. C. 10808; cf. D. P. 290.

13. S. D. 3963. See also 2665, A. C. 59, 968, 5863.

14. Cf. S. D. 3893.




Among the dreams recorded by Swedenborg are some which have been singled out as the means of an attack on his moral character. When we consider Swedenborg's life, his laborious studies, his high reputation, and the noble sentiments expressed in his writings; we may fairly dismiss these insinuations without notice. But it may be of interest to give some thought to the nature and cause of such dreams.

It is not without significance that after he had written his Journal, Swedenborg, apparently in explanation of his statement,[1] that "all the objects of the sciences have represented themselves to me by means of women," adds the Note: Verities or virgins of this kind regard it as shameful to be offered for sale. They esteem themselves so precious and dear to those who cultivate them, that they are indignant if one offers a price, and still more if he comes to purchase them; and others, who hold them cheap, they treat with disdain. Therefore, that they may not come under the valuation of the former, or fall into the contempt of the latter they wish rather to offer themselves to their lovers freely. I who am their servitor do not dare to disobey them, lest I be deprived of the service.[2]

He had written in a similar vein, years before, when speaking of the time when the mysteries of nature were to be uncovered by the labors of the philosopher. He had then said: Nature has now hardly a covering wherewith to vest and girdle herself. Already she awaits from our age a man of genius, trained by experiments, disciplined by the sciences and study, and possessed of the faculty of searching out causes, of pursuing the argument by connections, and of making determinate conclusion according to the series; to whom, in our day, as I think, she will betroth herself; and I prophesy that she will then yield to the darts of love and join him in covenant and in bed. Would that I might scatter the nuts, and head the bearers of the torches.[3]

Read in the light of these words, the passages in the Journal of Dreams which have been used as means wherewith to attack. Swedenborg's character, assume an entirely different aspect.

The women, like all the other appearances that came to Swedenborg in his dreams, were representations from the other world. Thus the truths by which he was led are represented by a woman as his guardian angel in temptation.[4] So women were seen who represented the sciences, and sometimes his own philosophical studies, thoughts, and works.[5] Genuine truth leading to the worship and love of God was represented by means of a woman to whom Swedenborg had been introduced as it were, by first hearing "something holy which ended with the words Sacrarium et Sanctuarium," and which was dictated to him. A child was to be born of this woman; and that by this child was meant something spiritual and of unknown wonder seems to have occurred to Swedenborg even in his dream; for he went away from her en merveille.[6] In a later dream he learned that this child represented the profound truths set forth in his work The Five Senses, and more especially in the chapter of that work entitled On the Senses in General.[7]

Piety and wisdom were represented by a woman living in a beautiful estate, with whom Swedenborg united himself in marriage; and it is significant of the purity of his own thoughts, that it is in this connection that he writes: I ought not to contaminate myself with other books treating of theological and like matters, because this I have in God's Word and from the Holy Spirit.[8]

On the other hand, women also represented the falses which infested Swedenborg and held him back.[9] Sometimes he turned away from them as loathsome, and at other times he loved them entirely according to the ideas in the spiritual world which were being dramatically represented in his dreams. This, he himself explained five years later, when he said that in a dream he seemed to himself to commit whoredom, but that this was a representation resulting from the speech of certain spirits who declared that what he had written was not true.[10] In Swedenborg's mind, the spiritual idea of uniting his love to wisdom, was represented by marriage with a virgin bride; but the idea of uniting that love with what is false, was represented by the opposite of marriage.

It was on the occasion spoken of in the Diary, and by means of the dream there referred to, that Swedenborg learned how, in the minds of the Prophets, angelic speech had been turned into, or clothed itself with, the representations set forth in the Letter of the Word, where the relations between husband and wife and the opposites of these relations are so frequently described in vivid words.

Spiritual things deal with the marriage of faith and charity, the marriage namely between the truth of religion and the good or love which the Lord gives to those who obey that truth. This marriage is the center and foundation of all heavenly societies.

Spiritual things deal also with the opposite of this marriage, as when one knows and professes the truth of religion but in his heart cherishes the love of evil and so defiles that truth which should have been the bride of spiritual love, by uniting it in an illegitimate union with the love of self. Such illegitimate unions are the center and foundation of all infernal societies.

It should not, therefore, he a matter of wonder, that when in the Word spiritual things are clothed in earthy representations they so often come to be described in terms of the relations between man and woman, which are the universal factors, whether for good or for evil, of all human society. Nor should it be wondered at, that Swedenborg, now at the very verge of actual entrance into the other world, should sometimes in his dreams see representations of the thoughts and affections of the spirits around him similar to the representations described in the Scriptures.

But such is the state of the Christian world, that with many the word Marriage suggests the opposite of what is holy, and it is this that they see, even in the Word itself, when marriage is spoken of, -though they may be blind to the impurity of the heart. We need feel no surprise therefore, that, by some, these dreams of Swedenborg have been regarded solely in their most ultimate aspect; and that such persons have given no thought to interpreting them in any other way, even in face of the fact that their true interpretation is plainly indicated by Swedenborg himself when he says that in his dreams women represented wisdom and the objects of the sciences.

Swedenborg himself was not unaware as to how his dreams would have been regarded had they been made public; for, in commenting on a dream of April 24, he intimates that his love for the woman who then appeared to him, was the love of wisdom; but, he adds: Nothing must be said of this, and it must come to no one's ears; for in the understanding of the world, it is impure, though in itself it is pure.[11]

1. Jour. 213.

2. Drom. (Klemming ed.) p. 63; Jour. 286.

3. Harmony between Soul and Body, 40; In Psych. Trans., p. 55.

4. Jour. 17.

5. Jour. 129; 27, 134; 280.

6. Jour. 171.

7. Jour. 239.

8. Drom. 60; Jour. 179-80; cf. 2 Doc. 260, 261.

9. Jour. 83, 169, 177-78.

10. S. D. 4140.

11. Jour. 172.




Swedenborg's Journal with its notes of confession and exaltation has been taken to indicate that at this time he was in an abnormal, disturbed, emotional and even unbalanced state of mind. This conclusion might perhaps have some little excuse were the knowledge of Swedenborg's state at this period confined solely to his Journal; or were that Journal read without reflection on the life and works of its author. But the truth is, that could we have known Swedenborg during these months we should not have had the slightest inkling of the remarkable experiences through which he was passing. We should have seen him only as the travelled gentleman, the learned student, the busy writer.

That Swedenborg was deeply moved by his experiences, there can be no doubt; but his emotion was a rational emotion due to the confirmation of his philosophical principles and to the increased conviction that as he shunned the love of self-glory, he would make still further advance. It was not an emotion of the animus; there was no change in his philosophical attitude. His studies and his writing went on as before, with the same adherence to facts and the same power of logical analysis. His outward life likewise, and his dealings with men, continued the same as before. "During all these experiences (he writes), I was in varied company as usual, and none could [observe] the least change in me."[1] He writes to the same effect in 1746,[2] when he notes that he has had a year's experience of daily intercourse with spirits. "In company with other men (he says) I spoke just as any other man, so that no one was able to distinguish me either from myself as I had been formerly, or from any other man; and nevertheless, in the middle of company I sometimes spoke with spirits and with those who were around me; and perhaps they might have gathered something from this circumstance. However, I do not know whether anyone noticed anything from the fact that the internal senses were sometimes withdrawn from the external, -though not in such a way that anyone could make judgment from it; for at such times they could judge no other than that I was [buried] in thoughts." He makes similar statements in 1748;[3] and we may add that it was not until 1763 that there was the least inkling among Swedenborg's friends and acquaintances that he had spiritual experiences.[4]

Swedenborg purposely remained silent as to these experiences, for, says he: I found that it could serve no other purpose than [to make people] think one thing or another concerning me, and pro or con according to each one's [opinions]; or that it would perform no use.[5]

It is therefore to his friends and acquaintances, the men with whom he had daily dealings during this period, that Swedenborg himself makes direct appeal to show that he was in no state of phantasy. Writing in July, 1746, when he had been speaking with spirits for fifteen months, he says: That this is not phantasy, can be clearly known to those with whom I have had dealings in Sweden and other countries during this period. It can also be evident from an historical account of my life, should there be an opportunity of describing this.[6]

These words indicate the advisability of learning concerning Swedenborg's life and doings during the period we are now considering. Unfortunately, we have almost no information concerning this period, except that which is gleaned from the Journal itself. Here, however, we get some brief glimpses.

On April 8, two days after the Lord had appeared to him and on the day when he had suffered some terrible temptations "reaching to the innermost," he writes concerning a conversation which he had just heard at the table d'hote; and here we get a glimpse of the courteous gentleman listening modestly to the talk of others on a subject on which he himself could have spoken with both learning and authority. His words are: I heard someone at the table put to his neighbor the question, Whether anyone could be melancholy who had an abundance of money. I was amused in my mind and wanted to answer-if it had been proper for me to do so in that company, or if the question had been put to me-that a person who possesses everything in abundance, is not only subject to melancholy [but that] in this is a still deeper melancholy which belongs wholly to the mind and soul, or to the spirit that operates therein; I wondered that he raised the question. I can testify to this so much the more, since, by the grace of God, there has been bestowed upon me in abundance everything that I require in respect to temporal things; I can live richly on my income alone, and can carry out what I have in mind, and still have a surplus of revenue; and thus I can testify that the distress or melancholy which comes from lack of necessaries is melancholy in a grosser degree and belongs to the body but is not equal to the other kind.[7]

On the same day, he records some very human thoughts that came to his mind when he passed a bookshop, even though his modesty quickly checked them: I saw a bookshop and immediately thought that my work would accomplish more than the works of others, but at once checked myself [by the reflection] that one is servant to another, and that our Lord has many thousand ways of preparing one so that each and [every] book ought to be left in its own worth as a medium, near or remote, according to the state of the understanding of each and every man. Yet pride will straightway out. May God control it.[8]

He reveals the same striving after modesty when, again on the same day, he records the thoughts that occur to him when he meets certain persons. He is speaking of the persistence of self love, and continues: For instance, when anyone did not regard me according to [the estimation of] my own imagination, I always thought, If you knew what grace I had, you would act differently; which was at once something impure, and had its root in self love.[9]

The innate courtesy of the gentleman is revealed in one of his dreams, in which he is greeted by an acquaintance, but is slow in returning the greeting. He writes: I wished to excuse myself, [and] came to it finally and said that I was often [buried] in thoughts and do not see when someone salutes me, and that sometimes I can pass my friends on the street and not see them. I took to witness an acquaintance, who was there, and he said, Yes. And I said that no one wished (God grant that it be so) to be more polite and humble than I.[10]

On April 16, he dined with the Swedish Ambassador, Baron Preis, his valued friend of long standing with whom he maintained intimate relations during this period of his life, and to whom, before he left The Hague at the end of April, he presented the first two volumes of his Animal Kingdom which had just appeared in print.[11] On the 17th (and also on the 5th) he took communion; and on Sunday, the 19th, he attended Divine Worship. On the 23d, he was engaged in "worldly things " -probably his financial settlement with the printer of The Animal Kingdom, which had just been issued. On the same day, he travelled to Leyden en route to Amsterdam to arrange with his, banker about English credits.[12] In Amsterdam, on Saturday the 25th, he spent a pleasant and "amusing" evening at the house of a friend.[13]

On the 26th, he returned to The Hague; and on Monday, May 18, he sailed from Holland to England, arriving at Harwich on May 15 (in England it was May 4). He stayed in Harwich over night, and then proceeded to London where he lodged at the house of "a pious shoemaker" who had been one of his fellow travellers on the voyage from Holland; but on July 9, he changed to other lodgings.[14]

In London, he went sometimes to the Swedish Church and sometimes to the Moravian; met learned men from whom he gathered information connected with the work on The Five Senses which he was then writing; and attended to his banking business, making careful note of the rate of exchange at which he receives pounds sterling.[15]

Finally, in October, 1744, six months after the Lord had appeared to him, he attended an oration in London on the subject of the history of anatomy, and notes in his Journal: In my thoughts I prided myself that they would mention me as one who understood anatomy better; yet I was glad that it was not done.[16]

These glimpses, brief as they are, give us a picture of Swedenborg in his daily life. We see him walking the streets sometimes buried in deep thought; at the house of his friends; discussing matters of business with his publisher and his banker; travelling by ship and by coach; and the general impression, is the impression of a refined and courteous gentleman who, though engaged in laborious research, yet enjoys social recreation; and though an aristocrat, rich and learned, and above all conscious of the grace that had been given him, is yet modest in his demeanor, and always on guard against pride and the contempt of others.

1. Drom. 33; Jour. 80.

2. W. E. 3347 (2 Lat. 1684-85).

3. S. D. 722, 1166, 3963.

4. Doc. 977.

5. Drom. 33; Jour. 80. Compare a similar statement in A. C. 4527 fin.

6. W. E. 5292 (3 Lat. 3102).

7. Drom. 39; Jour. 76-77.

8. Drom 39-33; Jour. 78.

9. Drom. 31; Jour. 75.

10. Drom. 37; Jour. 93.

11. New Church Life, 1896, p. 186.

12. Drom. (Klemming) p. 64; 1 Doc. 382. The Messrs. Grill were Swedenborg's bankers In Amsterdam.

13. Jour. 135; 176; 148; 167.

14. Jour. 177; 191; 192; 197. The pious shoemaker was a member of the Moravian Church, named Seniff. From his house Swedenborg moved to the house of another Moravian, named Brockmer. See 2 Doc. 587, paragraph 2, and p. 892 below.

15. Jour. 199; 2 Doc. 587; Codex 58, p. 38 (Senses 85); Drum. (Klemming), p. 64 (1 Doc. 382).

16. Drom. 88; Jour. 270.




While we know but little of the details of Swedenborg's external life during the years 1743-45, of his literary work we have abundant information both in his published writings, The Animal Kingdom and The Worship and Love of God, and in those productions of his pen which he left in manuscript. We refer especially to a manuscript volume[1] in which he wrote during the greater part of 1744, and where, by the aid of his Journal, we can follow his work sometimes day by day. Here we see him, not in his dealings with individual men, but as he appeared or prepared to appear before the learned world.

In the Journal, we see Swedenborg as he was in his state of growing intercourse with the spiritual world; in his other writings, we see him as the student, thinker, and philosopher. The Journal presents the picture of a man whose thoughts are mainly on visions and piety; the other writings present this same man engaged in studies requiring accuracy, clearness of thought, and a mind free from distractions; and the two together present him as the Christian philosopher; the keen analytical reasoner who never allows himself to advance hypotheses unsupported by facts; and the humble lover of truth, who prays to be delivered from those enemies of the truth, pride and the love of self.

To some minds, it is difficult to conceive of a learned man being truly humble before God, and still more to conceive of him as confessing ignorance and sin. To them, such a man has lost the critical attitude of the erudite, and has become the victim of emotionalism. Let those who think thus read and examine Swedenborg's writings during this period, and ask themselves whether emotionalism can have any part in the production of works so closely reasoned and so abundantly fortified by the experience of the learned; and whether what they take for emotionalism is not rather sincere confession before God, made by a man who was wise because Christian, and truly learned because humble.

Swedenborg belonged neither to the school of visionaries or mystics, nor to the school of those philosophers who have lost sight of the end of philosophy which is the knowledge of God. In his Journal are to be seen the doctrines of his philosophical works, and in the latter, the piety and humility of his Journal; and we shall best secure a true picture of the man himself by following him, not in his learned works alone, nor in his Journal alone, but in the two together.

1. Codex 58. This volume has been published in photostat form by the Swedenborg Scientific Association.




At The Hague, on March 24, 1743, Swedenborg dreamt that he was caught in the spokes of a wheel, and he interprets this dream as signifying "something concerning the lungs in the womb." Immediately afterwards, he commenced that remarkable chapter in The Animal Kingdom[1] which was to be the Epilogue of the second volume, and which was sent to the printer a few days later.[2] In other dreams which he had while writing this Epilogue, he saw a man picking out a heap of vermin, which was "the impurity that ought to be rooted out of me"; he was arrested because he had a key, which signified that the key to the lungs is the pulmonary artery;[3] he was given a heap of rags, which were his "corporeal thoughts"; and he saw a magnificent procession, signifying "experimental science which is now greatly flourishing." It was during this same time also that he observed a change in himself, so that he represented the internal man.[4]

Let us now examine the Epilogue which Swedenborg was writing contemporaneously with these dreams and their interpretations. It occupies nearly forty quarto pages in the Latin original and should be read in full; a few extracts, however, will give some idea of its contents.

The Epilogue commences with a learned exposition on the subject of the opening of the lungs at birth and the effect of this opening on the cerebrum, which at that moment is introduced into consciousness of the external world, and takes over from the cerebellum the government of its own body. The author explains the physiological means by which this fundamental change is effected, whereby the unconscious fetus becomes a living human being. This leads him to a statement of the uses of respiration to the body and to the mind, and from this he passes on to a discussion of the means by which the newly awakened cerebrum which at first is weak and ignorant, is gradually instructed by means of the senses, that is to say, by the analytical way, the way namely which "by means of continual analyses and concatenated series induced from phenomena and effects by the aid of the sciences," leads us "from effects to causes, that is to say, from the body to the soul," and which is "the only way granted to the human race whereby it can obtain knowledge and finally wisdom."

But even by the analytical way "we cannot aspire after truths, whether natural or moral, and still less after the understanding of spiritual truths, without the influx of a higher power." There are, therefore, three causes which lead us to intelligence, namely, Experience, the Sciences, and the Faculty of thinking distinctly. Experience is the "accumulation of effects and phenomena collected by many laborers and for many ages," and its office is "to supply the objects for rational analyses, the links of the chain and the material for constructing the edifice." The Sciences-geometry, mechanics, physics, chemistry, optics, etc.-are "the mistresses who reduce the accumulations of experience into order." They "gather vague and scattered ideas under a few heads, and present them before the sight of the mind in a simpler and more connected form." And the Faculty of thinking distinctly is the faculty "of taking a clear view of the ideas that are now raised up to the purview of the mind; of combining them; of framing them analytically; and finally, of gathering together the results of the reasons into one equation, in which the mind perspicuously contemplates the cause of effects and the progression of means to the end." "Without this faculty, experience and the sciences are merely dead." But for its possession, there must be "native talent, a good memory, cultivation, a constant exercise of the gift and the ability thereby acquired, of recalling the mind from the cares and loves of the body and the allurements of the world."

But even though possessed of the three requisites of intelligence, there is still no perception of real truths unless the fires of self love -the pleasures of the body, the lusts of the animus, and the self-seeking ambitions of the mind which continually lead the mind astray-be first extinguished.

The author closes his Epilogue by a consideration of the reasons why it was ordained that man should enter into conscious life by the portal of the lungs. These reasons he sums up as being: 1. That men may dwell on the earth, and, by associating together, may contribute their different talents to the acquisition of a knowledge of the marvels of the world, which shall lead them to the worship of the Creator. 2. That a rational mind may be formed, which shall be the medium whereby "lowest things may be united to things supreme, worldly things to heavenly, or things corporeal to things spiritual." And, 3. That "our minds, finally become intelligences and wisdoms, may constitute a spiritual heaven."

This is but a brief summary of Swedenborg's Epilogue, every statement of which is fortified by the facts of experience or by rational argument; but it will suffice to show the clear reasoning of an erudite and God-fearing mind.

It was immediately after the completion of this Epilogue, that the Lord manifested Himself to Swedenborg on the night of April 6.       Those who regard the thoughts expressed in the Epilogue as more or less the result of religious emotionalism, will have a similar opinion concerning this manifestation; but those to whom the thoughts of the Epilogue are the sublime fruits of a rational mind, will regard them as the fitting prelude to the nearer approach and vision of the Lord.

1. See A. K. 456 note a.

2. Jour. 18. It has been assumed that at this time Swedenborg was revising chapter 13 of the first volume of The Animal Kingdom (2 Doc. 149), but this is contradicted by Swedenborg himself (see Journal, 93), and also by the fact that both volumes of The Animal Kingdom were published prior to April 95 (N. C. Life, 1896, p. 186).

3. Cf. A. K. 437, VII.

4. Jour. 19, 24, 25, 29, 133. See above, p. 43.




After completing the Epilogue, and attending to the final proofreading of The Animal Kingdom,[1] Swedenborg stayed in Holland until the publication of his work and for some two or three weeks afterwards; and it was perhaps during this period that he wrote his little treatise On Correspondences and Representations -largely a compilation of Scripture passages grouped under appropriate headings.[2]

His spiritual states during this period are very fully described in the Journal. He spends much time in prayer and reading of the Word; and sometimes he fasts, but not when occupied with business matters.[3]

He suffers many severe temptations, all directed to destroying his faith, but always constantly resists. "My courage was such (he writes on April 20) that I was so incensed against Satan that I wished to fight with him with the weapons of faith."[4] Finally it is granted him to receive "faith without reasoning," and to laugh at his own confirmations as something beneath him.[5] He then sees how difficult it is for the learned to acquire this faith, which, he says, is perhaps what is meant by the teaching that we should be as children.[6] In this connection, he refers in his Journal to two paragraphs in The Animal Kingdom which make clear what he means by "faith without reasoning." In these paragraphs, he says that the mind seems to be interdicted from penetrating into spiritual things, such as the nature of the soul, immortality, etc., these being matters of faith and above the province of reason. Moreover, when such things are seen to be true, what need is there to talk of demonstration? His work therefore is written, not for those who see and therefore believe, but for those who believe nothing but what they can see with their understanding. To these he desires to demonstrate truths by the analytical way, that thus he may lay down a path that shall lead them to faith.[7]

At this time he has in mind to continue The Animal Kingdom by a volume on the Senses, and he has a dream in which he sees a medical man, and which he interprets as meaning that for the work he has in view he must study the muscles. Another dream, in which he sees a ship, is interpreted as meaning that he should send his work over to England.[8]

In view of his remarkable visions, it is interesting to note that as yet Swedenborg had no idea of becoming a theologian. On April 15, he has a dream which he later found to mean that "he would rather remain in philosophical studies than in spiritual" and this (he adds) "more clearly showed my inclination."[9] A few days later he expresses a momentary hesitation as to going on with his work-but only because of his own unworthiness. He writes: Because I seemed to be so widely separated from God, I came into doubt as to whether I should not turn my journey homewards. But I gathered courage and found that I had come to do the very best and to promote God's glory. I had received talent; everything had contributed thereto; the spirit was with me from youth for this purpose. I hold myself unworthy to live if I do other than go on the right way; and so I laughed at the other seductive thoughts.[10]

He is also encouraged by a dream which he interpreted to mean that he is to be instructed; and a few days later he dreamed of that woman from whom he went away en merveille, and of whom later was to be born a child, signifying the truths concerning the senses which he was to attain.[11]

During this month, there are several indications that his spirit was becoming better able to see representations in the spiritual world quite independently of the body. On April 10, he came "still further into the spirit"; on the 12th, he sees "a spiritual light-writing."[12] The next day, when writing, he speaks of his thoughts as becoming "luminously red"; on the 19th, he experiences "a totally different kind of sleep," in which he has "a vision which was neither a state of sleep nor wakefulness nor ecstasy."[13]

1. That Swedenborg read the proofs of this work up to the time when It was published about April 22, is shown by the "Monitum" to the reader (orig. ed. Vol. II, p. 286), where he excuses himself for any typographical errors that may be found "many of which have escaped my eye and pen, since I was more intent on things than on words."

2. An English translation of this work is published in Psychological Transactions, p. 217 seq.

3. Jour. 82; 86.

4. Drom. 55; Jour. 159.

5 Jour. 149.

6. Jour. 151-52.

7. A. K. 21-22.

8. Jour. 130; 126, cf. p. 96 below; 176. It may be noted that the 3d volume of The Animal Kingdom is the only scientific work by Swedenborg to be published in England.

9. Drom. 49; Jour. 134.

10. Drom. 56; Jour. 164.

11. Jour. 104; 171, see also 179. As already noted (p. 66) it was at this time that it was represented to Swedenborg that he should not read theological books-a statement which he seems to have interpreted as meaning that he should continue in his philosophical studies.

12. Cf. W. E. 1894 (2 Lat. 183), where, speaking of his past experiences, Swedenborg says he had seen letters written before his eyes and read to him.

13. Drom. 42; Jour. 90; 111; 116; 154, 156.




Swedenborg arrived in London on May 5, and here, if we are to accept the testimony of C. J. Gjorwell, the Librarian of the Royal Library, the Lord again manifested Himself to him.

Gjorwell's testimony is as follows: The source from which Swedenborg learns is a supernatural sight and hearing; and the criterion that this source is true and is a true Revelation, is this, that God Himself revealed Himself before him in May, 1744, when he was in London; and afterwards, during the time of twenty years, God has prepared him through a thorough knowledge of all physical and moral virtues in this world to receive this new revelation; and ever since that time he has had communion with God continually and in a series; sees him as a sun before his eyes; speaks with angels and the departed; and knows all that takes place in the other world, in heaven as in hell-but not the future.[1]

This testimony stands alone. In his Journal, Swedenborg records only one dream in London during May,[2] and this can hardly be interpreted as indicating what Gjorwell reports. Gjorwell's statement, however, seems unimpeachable. He was an historian, chronicler, journalist, and bibliophile, and his numerous works show that he was fully alive to the value of exact contemporaneous testimony. In his capacity of librarian in the Royal Library, he called on Swedenborg on the 28th of August, 1764, and, on the same day, a few moments after his return to the Library he entered the particulars of the visit, ending with the words: That all this was Swedenborg's own narration, and that all that about which I have written, I saw and heard with my own bodily eyes and ears, this I attest by the signing of my name.[3] This document, presumably unaltered, was published in September, 1772, in a journal established by Gjorwell in that year. The details are specific. The Lord appeared to Swedenborg in May, 1744, while he was in London and twenty years prior to 1764. We know that Swedenborg was in London in May, 1744; and therefore, in the absence of anything to the contrary, Gjorwell's testimony must be accepted.[4]

1. Anmarkningar i Swenska Historien, Stockholm [1782], p. 222; 2 Doc. 404.

2. Jour. 199-202.

3. Anmark. i Sw. Hist., p. 220-224.

4. The alternative Is to suppose that Gjorwell's statement contains two errors. If the event referred to is the manifestation recorded In Swedenborg's Journal as of April 6, 1744, then "May" in Gjorwell's statement Is an error for "April" and London an error for "Delft"; if it is the appearance of April, 1745, then "May" is an error for "April" and "20 years" an error for "19 years."




In London, Swedenborg seems first to have devoted his time to preparing an Index to the second part of The Economy of The Animal Kingdom and to the two volumes of The Animal Kingdom.[1] This was done probably with a view to using these indices in the preparation of the treatise on The Five Senses which was the first draft of the projected third volume of The Animal Kingdom. This treatise, which fills two hundred folio pages,[2] consists largely of brief notes which were to be extended when the copy was prepared for the printer; but it also includes many paragraphs which treat in detail of the subject in hand.

The work opens with a comprehensive chapter on the Carotid Arteries and their branches, as the blood-carriers to the sensory organs of the head; and also on the causes of the promotion of the blood.[3] The author then takes up the subject of Sensation in General, dwelling especially on the modes by which sensations pass from the sense organs to the brain.[4]

In the chapter on the sense of Taste, he gives an exhaustive analysis of the uses of the lingual papillae and of the salivas, and speaks at some length concerning the effects of taste on the brain and the mind.[5] He introduces this analysis with the following words: At this day our wisdom goes little further than the senses and we live in the body or on the surface. Let us elevate ourselves to things superior, and to those genuine truths of things which, while invisible, are yet more true than the visible, because not fallacious and inconstant. In this way we draw nearer to the spiritual and truly human essence, and to a more perfect state. We are unwilling to believe that this is impossible, and that for ages we are still to labor in matters of sensation. These are arguments desired by men who are animal and corporeal; for the aspiration of corporeal ambition is that none shall ascend higher than itself. With the leading of our mind, let us strive upwards by the analytical way; in which case, the Deity is with us, whose essence is wisdom; but let us not therefore desert effects, for it is by means of these that we must pursue our striving.

The following chapter on the sense of Smell[6] opens with a discussion of the use of odors in the exhilaration of the brain. Here Swedenborg indicates that he is in some touch with the learned, for he confirms his statement that headaches are removed by subtle odors drawn through the nose, by referring to the practice of Dr. Walth[7] of London. He explains that in men the sense of smell is less keen than in animals, in order that human thought may not be disturbed by influx from the world which is especially strong in the case of odors. He also shows on the basis of anatomical and pathological facts, that odors serve to clear and purify the brain, lungs, blood and even the eye.[8]

In the chapter on Touch,[9] he shows the uses of the various parts that go to make up the skin. In general, he says, the skin is the great intermedium between the outer world and the inner, whereby the atmospheres of the macrocosm may bestow their gifts upon the microcosm, the latter freely receiving according to its needs; and whereby also the microcosm may throw off into the atmospheres of the macrocosm those substances of which it has no further use; just as the skin of the embryo casts off into the cavity of the amnion all that the embryo does not require for its own use, and, in later months, when the embryo's needs exceed the mother's supply, reabsorbs the same.

In the skin the epidermis is the general protector and outmost guard, lest the air inflict injury. The papillary membrane has the office of sensating all that is in the macrocosm, to the end that the mind may be informed of its surroundings, and may thus make suitable provision for its body. The papillae are regulated by the meshwork of the corpus reticulare. The miliary glands have the office of rejecting effete matters, and of receiving subtle substances for the finer nourishment of the body. A large part of the chapter is given to the consideration of this last named subject. That the skin absorbs effluvia is proved by experience, but Swedenborg admits that " to find the way by which this nourishment goes from the skin to the brain is difficult." Nevertheless, he pursues the search, and guided by anatomical and entomological facts and by the phenomena revealed by the microscope, he reaches a solution in his doctrine of the corporeal fibre, a solution which, as he shows, is in harmony with the observations of the learned.

Then follow chapters on Hearing and Sight,[10] in which Swedenborg not only considers the uses of each of the intricate parts of the ear and eye, but draws some remarkable deductions from an application of the laws of the atmospheres to the consideration of the two senses which are formed for the reception of their modifications. The chapter on the Eye includes a section on Light and Colors-a subject then much in dispute in the scientific world.

At this point, with a view to having at hand, when the time came to prepare his work for the press, a further store of those "experiences of the learned" from the guidance of which Swedenborg in his rational analyses rarely departed, and then only by way of hypothesis, he here interrupts his work to enter a number of quotations from Desagulliers' Physical Experiments and from Robert Smith's Course of Optics.[11]

About the middle of June, he commenced the last chapter of his work -The Epilogue[12]-a chapter which is remarkable, not only because of the profound thought exhibited but also because of several references which it contains to his contemporaneous spiritual experiences.

In this Epilogue, Swedenborg speaks of the senses in general, noting their relations to each other and the connection and harmony between sensations and ideas-a connection which "cannot be understood except by means of new doctrines, namely the doctrines of form, order, degrees" etc. "Meanwhile (he continues), we live, as it were, in the shadow of things, and though we recognize truths, we do it not by sight but, as it were, by touch; nor are truths ever acknowledged except by those whose understanding is immune to hypotheses and false principles. All posterior things [i.e., all facts] must first be reduced into true order by these doctrines, and after this, progress must be made from things prior to things posterior; while before we have worked our way from posteriors to primes. But even so, truths do not become evident by this means, unless order be so re-established, that the affections of the superior faculties flow into the inferior; nor even then, unless the affections of the Divine Spirit are received by the soul and thus by the understanding. To receive affections which indicate whether a form is truly harmonic, is a different thing from receiving light whereby the faculty is continually enlightened so as to be able to form its ideas and so to arrange them according to the loves of the body. The latter is granted to everyone; but to be affected according to superior loves and so according to superior truths -this can occur, only when the supreme affections are received by the inferior faculties."[13]

In this Epilogue, Swedenborg deals rather with psychology than physiology. He does indeed treat at some length of the differences between the senses and their modes of operation; and also of the manner in which sensations are communicated to the brain; but his principal theme is the mode by which the senses contribute to the imagination, the imagination to the forming of ideas, and ideas to the forming of thought. This leads him to a consideration of the formation of the will and understanding by the conjunction of affections, whether from the body or from the soul, with sensations-a subject which he illustrates from the rules of musical harmony. From this he passes on to treat of the nature of good and evil-in which connection he gives a remarkable definition of Science, Intelligence and Wisdom, and of the various loves of the human mind.[14] It is impossible, in any adequate way, to summarize this part of the work. In all probability it is the most illuminating exposition of the mode by which the human will and understanding-whether good or evil-are actually formed, that has even been written. To students of Swedenborg's theological works, it is well-nigh indispensable for the formation of a philosophy in which the spiritual truths of theology shall be demonstrated by the facts of anatomy.

Swedenborg must have been in extraordinary illustration while writing the work on The Five Senses, for despite the concentrated thought which it required, he completed it by July 3-two hundred folio pages in less than a month and a half! Its completion is referred to in his Journal, as being represented in a vision as follows: I took leave of her, as it were, with a special tenderness, kissing her, when another was seen a short distance off. When I was waking, the effect was as if I were in a continual burning of love. Still it was said, and regretted as it were, that it was not better understood. This signifies that I have now finished what I was writing on the Senses in General and on the operation of the interior faculties, which, as sketched out, cannot be comprehended; and that I am now come to the second part which is The Brain.[15]

1. Phot. in 6 Phot. ix-xxxvii. The date we have assigned to these Indices seems the most probable. They may, however, have been made after Swedenborg finished his Additions to the Brain about July 11 and before he commenced writing for the printer, the third volume of The Animal Kingdom on August 1. But this is not probable, since during the interval between the two works he wrote many pages of anatomical excerpts, to say nothing of looking up anatomical citations prior to commencing his work for the press.

2. It is contained in Codex 58, which has recently been published in photostat form by the Swedenborg Scientific Association. Part of the Latin text was published by Dr. J. F. Im. Tafel in 1848, and the complete text was translated by Prof. E. S. Price and published in 1914. Owing to unavoidable circumstances, the chapters in this translation do not follow In the order in which they were written by the author, and for this reason, In our references to the work we give the pages of the Codex. It should be added that while The Five Senses was written as the first draft of vol. III of The Animal Kingdom, the two works are very different in their contents; the latter moreover treats only of Touch and Taste, and was never finished.

3. Cod. 58, p. 1-11; Senses, 1-51.

4. Cod. 58, p. 14-19; Senses, 59-66. This chapter is interpolated between anatomical citations on The Tongue and the analysis of the sense of Taste; but Swedenborg has added a note in Swedish to the effect that he had been advised in a dream to transfer it to form part of the Epilogue. See p. 91:8.

5. Cod. 58, p. 20-38; Senses, 649-78.

6. Cod. 58, p. 32-43; Senses, 67-96.

7. Probably an error for Walsh.

8. Senses, 91 seq.

9. Cod. 58, p. 44-60; Senses, 679-749.

10. Cod. 58, p. 61-121; Senses, 97-443.

11. Cod. 58, p. 122-26; these extracts have never been published.

12. Cod. 58, p. 127-96; Senses, 444-641.

13. Cod. 58, p. 142; Senses, 489.

14. Cod. 58, p. 155, 157-59; Senses, 539, 542-48.

15. Drom. p. 70; Jour. 212. The statement that the work would not be understood, refers probably to the fact that it consists mainly of brief notes which were later to be amplified; but see Senses 533 fin., 589, 615 fin., and particularly n. 660 where Swedenborg says that until his new doctrines have been set forth, he must speak "in words not well understood."




Swedenborg's treatise on the brain, which was to form volume IV of The Animal Kingdom, had been written some time before, and the work to which he now addressed himself was the writing of the Preface, a slight rearrangement of some of the chapters, and several additions to the text on the subjects of the Fabric of the Brain, its Functions, the Soul, the Uses of the Brain and their connections, and the Uses of the Dura Mater.[1]

In the Preface, which he wrote on July 4, he treats of the two great uses of the brain-as the organ of the mind and as the chemical laboratory of the animal spirits-and then concludes: Let us take a broad view of things below, and so bring forth doctrines by the aid of which we may see as a whole, the particular things which are around us and beneath. And then, let us elevate the sight of our mind to things superior which are then nearer to us; and let us venerate the heavenly thing which then will meet us, and adore things Divine. This is the analytical ladder by which I mean to ascend, well knowing that no other way to Olympus is granted to human minds.

As to the Additions to the main treatise, it will be sufficient to say that they are written in a scientific spirit, -though of course from the view-point of Swedenborg's philosophy-and reveal the author's intimate knowledge of the intricacies of the brain, and his remarkable power of visualizing the whole of that organ with all its parts in living and harmonious operation.

As in the case of The Five Senses, while engaged in writing these additions to The Brain, Swedenborg had several visions, not recorded in his Journal, in which he was "admonished" or "commanded" to make certain rearrangements in the order of his work.[2] And in this connection, we may note that in one of the Additions to The Brain, we find the first mention of the doctrine of cerebral localization, the doctrine namely, that the highest lobes of the cerebrum control the muscles of the feet, and the lowest the muscles of the face.[3]

We have purposely dwelt at some length on the contents of Swedenborg's writings at this period. So firmly impressed is it, even on the minds of members of the New Church, that, during the opening of his spiritual eyes Swedenborg was in a more or less abnormal physical condition,[4] with his mind deeply disturbed, that it seems necessary to describe in some detail the literary work which he was carrying on during the whole of this period; work that required not only a comprehensive grasp of facts, but also the greatest mental concentration, or, to use Swedenborg's own words, "long and deep thought and a mind unencumbered by cares and troubles."[5] It would be an actual impossibility for a man in a constant state of mental disturbance and excitement to pen the works that Swedenborg penned during this period, -works which testify to the exhaustive researches made by their author, to his keen and undiminished power of logical analysis, and to the profound penetration of his thought. To recognize this, one needs but to read the works themselves.

In the midst of his confessions, exaltations, temptations, Swedenborg remained as before, the busy writer, careful of his facts and illuminating in his conclusions. His temptations were interior and spiritual, and, if we judge from his Journal, it was only on one or two occasions that they affected him physically, and then but for the moment.[6] They were combats waged by the spiritual or rational mind against the loves of the natural mind, as the inner nature of those loves became more fully discovered; and in these combats, the spiritual mind, resting firm in its trust in sod, made steady resistance. Combats such as these are not infestations of the animus or disturbances of the body; nor do they appear before the sight of the world. In his dealings with others the man who was engaged in these temptations and who resisted therein, was the same as before,-competent in his business transactions, experienced and prudent in his travels, modest and courteous in his behaviour, and capable of amusement and relaxation in the company of his friends. And so far were his spiritual temptations and heavenly exaltations from impairing his rational faculty that rather they enhanced its keenness,-as eloquently witnessed to by the works which we have reviewed, and indeed as should be expected from temptations and exaltations of this kind.

1. The Preface is translated in I Brain, p. 1-8; and the undeleted portions of the Additions in I Brain, p. 38 -44; 91-101 and 56-64; 64-66; 67-83; and 247-62. The last paragraph of the Addition On the Soul was separated by Dr. R. L. Tafel from the preceding paragraphs and printed in I Brain, p. 101-2. To this paragraph Swedenborg attached a note, reading: This must not be inserted in the chapter or thesis, for it is premature, but must be reserved. I seem to have been so commanded. (Cod. 58, p. 223.)

2. See Codex 58, p. 14, 202, 215, 23, and I Brain, p. 9, 56, 101. We Interpret the word "command" in this connection as meaning not a dictation but a representation or dream which confirmed matters after Swedenborg had spent much thought on them. Swedenborg's illustration was as to his thought, and was not the result of any external dictate.

3. This doctrine is generally thought to have been first announced in the latter part of the nineteenth century, and those who know of Swedenborg's work have expressed wonder as to how he was able to formulate It, when the necessary observations were lacking. It is possible that the doctrine was seen by Swedenborg rather as the logical conclusion of his thoughts regarding the relationship between first things and last, than as the result of an analytical examination of experimental facts.

4. See, for instance, N. C. Mag. 1914, p. 81.

5. I Doc. 448.

6. See Journal 71, 102, 140, 174.




Let us now see what Swedenborg's spiritual experiences were while engaged in writing these works; and in this case we can learn of these experiences, not only from The Journal but also from the works themselves.

About June 15, Swedenborg wrote in The Five Senses, at the beginning of the chapter on Sight: According to an admonition of the night, I ought to betake myself to my philosophical Principia; and it was said that thus it would be given me to fly whithersoever I will.[1] In pursuance of this admonition, or more probably of an intention confirmed thereby, Swedenborg approaches the subject of sight by a consideration of the atmospheres and their modifications, and a comparison of these with the structure of the eye.

That at this time he was coming into closer touch with the spiritual world is indicated elsewhere in The Five Senses, where the subject treated of is the harmonies instituted between truths and sensations. At the end of a passage[2] written about June 24, Swedenborg adds: "These things are very profound, and need to be explored by many things. Here they are expounded only obscurely. But these things are obscure, -perhaps not true." Then follow the surprising and unexpected words: "I saw a fly. It went away. I drew back." In an indented paragraph immediately following Swedenborg continues: "There was a representation concerning truths, according to an admonition, as I suppose. It [the fly] returned, I being unwilling, and I scarcely bore it." His exposition is then resumed, as though nothing unusual had occurred, with a demonstration of the proposition that all sensations are forms either harmonious or disharmonious.

It seems to us undoubted that we have here the description of a new spiritual experience that came to Swedenborg. None of the visions and dreams described in his Journal seems to have occurred while he was awake as to the body, but now, and perhaps for the first time,[3] his eyes were opened to see a representation from the spiritual world even while he was actually engaged in writing. The obscurity of his thought had been so great as to lead him not only to write "these things are obscure" but also to add the words perhaps not true." And yet he had not written a word that is not in complete harmony with all his doctrines.

In the paragraph immediately preceding that from which we have quoted, Swedenborg speaks of the love of truth for the sake of self glory, and the love of truth for its own sake; and in this connection he contrasts avarice and ambition with love of the Deity, and shows the intrinsic opposition between them. From this he passes on to the short paragraph previously quoted. Here he shows that animals recognize natural harmonies better than men because such harmonies communicate immediately with their imaginative principle by all the senses, whereas, with man, the eye is the only sense-organ which has direct communication with the brain, and so with the understanding. It is at this point that he speaks of the matter, first as being profound, then as being obscure, and finally as "perhaps not true."

In view of the clearness of both the thought and the language in what he had just written, these words come with a suddenness as startling as it is unexpected, and they can be accounted for only by an obscurity, equally sudden and unexpected, that had come upon Swedenborg himself as the result of the sudden afflux of the spheres of spirits who were stirred to opposition by his thoughts about natural and spiritual loves.

Spirits know the thoughts of man even though they know not that they are with any individual man; these thoughts are actually heard by them,[4] and we doubt not that they also see them represented visually; such thoughts also have their effects on spirits, according to the nature of the spirits and. of the thoughts.

Swedenborg had previously experienced obscurity of thought brought about by the spheres of spirits who objected to what he had written; he had suffered various infestations from their opposition, and sometimes had been affected by a horrible pain in the brain.[5] And now he again felt obscurity coming upon him because of the opposition of spirits; and so great was this obscurity that all perception seemed to have departed from him, and as though in despair, he writes: "Perhaps not true."[6] But now, so sensitive has he become to the activities of spiritual spheres that he has a new experience.- He is endeavoring to remove the obscurity of his thought, when suddenly and all unexpectedly he actually sees a representation brought about by the very spirits who had induced the obscurity, -and sees it while he is wide awake, sitting at his table and endeavoring to clarify his thoughts. He drew back, startled.

The seeing of a fly does not seem calculated to inspire a feeling of fear or horror; but Swedenborg saw more than a fly; he saw the spiritual thing which was thus presented in living form;[7] and we all know from experience in our dreams, that what in the dream brought us great agony or great happiness has sometimes seemed very trivial in the telling when the word alone seems present and not the reality which had so deeply affected us in the dream.

The vision of the fly then disappeared, and Swedenborg, relapsing into profound thought, almost absent from the body, saw some spiritual, representation "concerning truths"-perhaps the play of lights, or the circling of gyral forms;[8] then suddenly the fly was again seen, and he could "scarcely bear it." These last words, we take it, indicate that it was not the sight of the fly that he could scarcely bear, but the near and ultimate presence of the sensual spirits who had induced such great obscurity upon him.

Our reflections on this incident are of course hypothetical, but they are in harmony with what has preceded in Swedenborg's gradual approach to that state which would enable him to be in both worlds at the same time; and they are especially in agreement with incidents which are to be related presently. They also explain why Swedenborg should interpolate in a serious work an incident so apparently trivial. Even while he was awake, he now stood at the very brink of the spiritual world, and we may assume with some degree of certainty, that the incident described in The Five Senses was an actual instance, and probably the very first, I when he saw into the spiritual world -though as yet dimly -while still in the activity of his natural senses.

A few days earlier, on the night of Saturday, June 16th,[9] Swedenborg saw in a vision a beautiful grove planted with fine fig trees, on one of which, however, the figs were dried up.[10] This grove was surrounded by a moat which he wished to cross by means of a high foot-bridge, but dared not do so on account of the danger. At some distance from the grove (he writes) "I saw a large and very beautiful palace with wings. It seemed to me I wished to take lodgings there, that I might always have the prospect of the grove and moat. A window was open a long way down the wing, and it seemed that I wanted to have my room there. This signifies that on the Sunday I would be in what is spiritual, which is meant by the magnificent grove. The palace may mean the plan of my work,[11] which looks to the grove, whither, by means of it, I intend to look."[12]

This palace is seen by Swedenborg later on and more than once, and it is evident that he regarded it as a spiritual society into which he wished to be admitted, though he dared not seek admission of himself; that is to say, that he regarded it as some new state into which he desired to enter.

Five days later, on June 21, he refers to the society that dwelt in this palace. "It seemed to me (he writes), that deliberation was going on as to whether I should be admitted to the society there or to one of their councils."[13] It was three days after this that Swedenborg saw the fly spoken of above.

Writing in The Five Senses on or before July 1, Swedenborg makes reference to a temple which is undoubtedly the same as the palace of his visions. Speaking of the combat which takes place in the rational mind between the imagination stimulated by the senses, and the thoughts and perceptions that come from the soul, he says:[14] "But to demonstrate this, there is need of much digression; that is to say, a broad foundation must be laid, yea a temple must be built; for these things must adorn the interiors of our temple. Praise be to God." Immediately afterwards he adds: "This was represented by gold which I was carrying and which, though not very easily, would open the gate where within lay much gold upon a table; to the end, namely, that it might give me admission to spiritual things."

In the night of July 1, after writing the above, he had a most remarkable experience, which he thus describes in his Journal:[15] Something quite wonderful happened to me. I came into violent tremors, one after another, up to ten or fifteen in succession, like those which came when Christ showed me the Divine grace.[16] I expected that I would be thrown on my face, as on the former time, but this did not happen. At the last tremor I was lifted up, and felt with my hands a human back. I passed my hands over the whole of the back and underneath on the breast. Straightway it laid itself down, and in front I saw also a face, but this quite obscurely. I thought as to whether I should lay me down alongside, but this did not happen, as though it were not permitted. The tremors all went from below [in] the body up to the head. This was in a vision, when I was neither awake nor asleep, for I had all my thoughts collected. It was the inward man separated from the outward, that sensated it. When I was wholly awake, similar tremors came over me several times. This must have been a holy angel, since I was not thrown on my face. What this is to mean our Lord knows best. It seemed to be told me before,[17] that I should have something for my obedience, or something else. God's grace is shown to the inward and outward man with me. To God alone be praise and honor. From what followed and from other things, I note that it must mean that I shall discover truths concerning the internal sensations-but on the back, and in front obscurely; for before it came I thought it was told me that it was an announcement of what I have hitherto worked at on this [subject]; as also that it afterwards seemed to me that I am come to exchange my poor stivers into better coin, when a little gold was given me; still there was also copper at the side of it.

This vision was seen by Swedenborg when he was neither asleep nor awake, and yet with the full control of all his thoughts. The body was indeed asleep, for after describing the vision, Swedenborg says that he afterwards became "wholly awake" i.e., awake as to the body; but that he was then in more intimate association with the spiritual world, is indicated by the fact that even after he was wholly awake, similar tremors came over him several times. He was now experiencing a state in which he could feel in his very body the effects of the presence of spirits; and this confirms the view that we have advanced, namely, that when he saw the fly spoken of in The Five Senses, he was for the moment seeing in both worlds at the same time.

Swedenborg wrote the description of this vision the morning after he had seen it, and when he was still in doubt as to what it might mean. The doubt becomes resolved, however, in the course of the day as he pursues his work on The Five Senses. There he writes: "It was on account of these things (that is to say, on account of the things he had just been explaining) that wonderful things happened to me on the night between July 1 and 2." Later on he again refers to the same dream.[18]

The Journal contains a further reference to the society of the palace in the notes of July 8, where, commenting on a dream in which he had seen an oblong globe curving like a tongue, Swedenborg writes: It signifies, as I believe, that the inmost was the sanctuary and as the center of the subjacent globe; and that such things as are indicated by the tongue must in great part be thought out.[19] I believe that I am destined for this, as was unmistakably the signification of the sanctuary I had to do with.[20] This is confirmed by the fact that all the objects of the sciences presented themselves to me by means of women; and also that a deliberation was going on as to whether I should be admitted into the Society where my father was.[21]

More than once are Swedenborg's spiritual senses partly opened while he is in the body. On the morning of July 22, on awakening from sleep, he had a vision in which the air seemed to be full of gold.[22]

Moreover, he now comes into doubt as to whether he is to continue in the studies that thus far have been occupying his attention. On July 25 he writes: Whether I shall take another road with my work, and whether preparation is being made for another, I know not; it is dark to me.[23]

The following day, he notes concerning a dream in which he sees his father in priestly robes, that it means "that I had then begun to read the Bible in the evening;" and after he had been reading in Revelations concerning the Woman and the Dragon, he writes: I wished I could become an instrument to slay the dragon-which, however, lies not in my power but only in God's.[24]

1. Cod. 58, p. 84; Senses, 262. See p. 25.

2. Cod. 58, p. 144; Senses 492.

3. Unless the incident described at the end of Journal 165 (April 22) be taken In this sense and not as part of a dream.

4. A C. 1880; S. D. 315.

5. S. D. 2951, 4088.

6. The theological writings relate several instances where Swedenborg comes into states of obscurity, etc., resulting from the afflux of evil spheres. See S. D. 2391, 4088. See also p. 62:6.

7. Flies signify falses in the extremities of the natural mind, thus in the sensual which is next to the body. Such falses bring obscurity on all things interior, A. C. 7441. See also S. D. 4304 where sirens are compared to flies.

8. See Jour. 246.

9. The Journal has June 15, and adds that the 16th was Sunday; but Sunday was June 17.

10. Cf. T. C. R. 461.

11. That is, the treatise on The Five Senses, on which he was then engaged.

12. Drom 67-68; Jour. 204-5.

13. Drom. 68; Jour. 206. In this passage, Swedenborg adds that "A night thereafter, I was found in the Church, but naked, with only a shirt; this may mean that I am not yet clothed and prepared as I ought to be." As judiciously pointed out by Professor Odhner in his translation of The Journal, this entry may have been the origin of the slander originated by Brockmer, that Swedenborg had rushed naked into the street The entry in The Journal' was made while Swedenborg was staying with Mr. Seniff; but two weeks later, on July 9, he moved to Brockmer's house, where he appears to have stayed during the rest of his sojourn in London (see above, p. 71). According to Shearsmith, Brockmer and his maid continually Interrupted Swedenborg in his studies (N. C. Mag. 1914, p. 80), and used to meddle with his papers (2 Doc. 597). It Is not unlikely therefore that the above named slanderous story about Swedenborg-and also the story of his washing his feet (2 Doc. 590; see Jour. 91, 224) -was the result of this prying Into Swedenborg's private Journal. Brockmer, however, kept his information to himself for many years, and did not use it for the purpose of slander until the time when he was angry with Swedenborg, either because the latter did not live with him during his future sojourns In London, or because Swedenborg did not join the Moravian church (see Jour. 909). Later, Brockmer denied the truth both of the story and of the charge that he had spread It (2 Doc. 601).

14. Cod. 58, p. 167; Senses, 569-70.

15. Drom, 69-70; Jour. 209-11.

16. The reference is evidently to the Lord's manifestation on April 6.

17. This indicates some unrecorded vision which had led Swedenborg to hope for greater enlightenment. He speaks of this hope in The Five Senses In a passage which treat of changes of state as caused by changes of affections, and which was written a few hours before he saw the vision recorded in the text. His words are: But I confess that these things are thus far obscure. I expect clearer light (Senses, 589).

18. Cod. 58, p. 173; Senses, 592, 616.

19. It was probably at this time that Swedenborg wrote in Swedish his direction to transfer the chapter on Sense in General to the Epilogue; see above p. 79:8.

20. This is a reference to Journal 171. After hearing the words "Sacrarium et Sanctuarium" Swedenborg met a woman whom he loved; and when he left her, it was en merveille.

21. Drom. p. 70-71; Jour. 213; 226.

22. Jour. 222. This vision is specifically referred to in S. D. 3344; cf. also the golden atmosphere of A. C. 1621 and C. L. 266, and the golden shower of C. L. 155a.

23. Drom. p. 74; Jour. 225.

24. Drom. p. 74; Jour. 226, 227.




It may be profitable to pause here and consider what was Swedenborg's thought concerning the ultimate end of the experiences through which he was passing.

It is clear that at first he interpreted his dreams and visions as heavenly confirmations of his philosophical work, and as signs that he would make progress in his reaching to the soul. It is also clear that he experienced them with joy; for on April 5, when he had no dream, he thought that everything was past and gone and that he was forsaken.

Swedenborg had commenced his life with the high desire to be an ornament to his native land and to make that land better known to the learned world. With the publication of his Chemistry and Miscellaneous Observations, he had gone far to attain his ambition; and when the Opera Mineralogica appeared, his name became widely known as a learned man. As he advanced in his studies, however, and developed new doctrines, he found his way diverging from that of the scientific world. His Economy was indeed reviewed in the learned journals, but it is evident that the reviewers found its doctrine hard to understand. It is clear also that those doctrines had little or no effect on the thought of the learned. This becomes still more manifest in 1744, when The Animal Kingdom was published; for the work did not receive the acclaim which its author might justly have expected; and, as it appears, but few copies were sold.

That Swedenborg's ambition was hurt can perhaps not be questioned. But it is equally unquestionable that this did not diminish his profound intellectual conviction as to the truth of his doctrines. And now he had received confirmation from heaven. He knew he was possessed of talent, and he began to be encouraged by the thought that God had guided him to the end that he might set forth these new doctrines.[2] For, be it remembered, Swedenborg was more than a scientist in the ordinary sense of the word. His object was indeed to investigate nature, but his ultimate end was to lead those to the knowledge and veneration of the Deity who will not be led by the Word and who will believe nothing but what can be demonstrated.

In addition to the confirmation of his doctrines, Swedenborg received from heaven also warnings against pride and conceit, the great enemies of wisdom; arid, though devoted to wisdom's cause, and even willing to suffer martyrdom for her sake, yet it often came to him that he had many impurities. This, we take it, is the underlying meaning of the question in the vision of April 6, as to whether he had a certificate of health, and of his answer that the Lord knew better than he. Indeed, Swedenborg himself understood the incident as meaning that he should love the Lord really.[3]

From first to last, however, Swedenborg never thought that he would receive knowledges in a supernatural way. He prays to be enlightened, but only in the sense that heaven would guide him in his labors and defend him in his combats against evils. He rejoices when be feels that self-love for his work is lessened;[4] he is strengthened when a sign of approbation is given him; but never for a moment does he cease to be the wide reader, the careful student, the rational thinker and tireless writer. The confirming signs that he receives are given to him after and not before he has reached his philosophical conclusions. Thus he has a dream which he interprets as meaning that what he had just written concerning the corporeal fibre was "well pleasing"; and another, as meaning that he was writing correctly and would give birth to further truths on the subject engaging him.[5]

He looks forward, however, to the time when "speculation will turn to priora, while before it had been directed to posteriora,"[6] that is to say, to the time when, his analytical reasonings having led him to the formation of universal doctrines, he will be able to proceed in his studies in the synthetic way. This hope is spoken of in his philosophical works here and there; and that his visions greatly fostered it, is undoubted.

Throughout the Journal we find that he is encouraged to persevere in his studies. On April 20, he writes that the dream he has had means that with God's help he had won in the battle, and would gain his object in his studies;[7] and that he feels that these studies are being pursued under Divine leading, is evidenced in many passages.

Yet very early there must have been in his mind some suspicion that a work lay before him which was greater than his philosophical work -a suspicion which must have grown stronger as time went on. On April 7 he writes that it came to his mind that "the Holy Spirit wished to show me to Jesus and introduce me to Him as a work which He had thus prepared, and that I ought not to ascribe anything to myself"; and three weeks later, on the eve of his journey to London, he reflects that he ought to employ his remaining time, not upon lower things, but upon that which concerns Christ. When commencing to prepare the third volume of The Animal Kingdom for the press, he hopes that it will not draw him from what is more important;[8] and in the course of the work itself he has a dream which means that something will happen to him when he has finished the chapter in hand.[9] Finally, he is admitted to the society of the Palace, and a few days later he ceases work on The Animal Kingdom, and, making a change in his writings which was the herald of that greater change that was shortly to come, he commences The Worship and Love of God. In this work, he deviates from his past practices, in that he quotes no learned authorities, and says nothing about future literary productions; whereas, in all his preceding writings, it had been his practice to cite authorities, and to refer to the continuation and completion of his own studies on the human body.

The truth is that Swedenborg never expected to become a theologian. This he himself declared to Robsahm, adding that his whole purpose had been to explore the natural sciences. Despite the coming of his visions, he still regarded science and philosophy as his true field of work. Indeed, in the very midst of these visions he asserts that his inclination was "to remain in philosophical studies rather than to be in spiritual ones."[10] He therefore viewed his visions solely as the means of advancing his chosen work, and he had no idea whatsoever of turning to theology, and still less of becoming a revelator. As to the goal to which his visions were leading him he was in the dark; and this until the very moment in April, 1745, when he received his commission. Gradually, however, he began to realize that some unknown work was before him; but, fearing to push himself into that work, he was content to become as a little child and leave all in the Lord's hand.[11] Meanwhile he went on with the work that lay before him, and the healthy soundness of his mind, his judgment, his humility, his industry and love of use are all exemplified in the fact that even to the end he never for a moment abated his labors, nor presumed that any other mission lay before him than to continue his studies and his writings for the benefit of mankind. It was only when he was actually called to his unique office; only when the nature of that office was plainly declared to him, -it was only then that he ceased from his philosophical studies and laid down his busy pen, breaking off as it were in the very middle of a sentence.

After this digression, let us now return to the subject of Swedenborg's preparation for his mission.

1. Jour. 36.

2. Jour. 164.

3. See above, p. 47.

4. Jour. 12-14, 18.

5. Jour. 238-39; see A. K. 484 seq.

6. Jour. 194, 196.

7. Jour. 156.

8. Jour. 60; 184; 228.

9. Jour. 241. The chapter was that on Touch.

10. Doc. I, 35; Jour. 134.

11. Jour. 220-23. At this time, children were frequently seen by Swedenborg in his visions (Jour. 220).




When Swedenborg had completed The Five Senses, and the Preface and Additions to his work on the Brain, he moved into new lodgings,[1] and there devoted himself to the writing of the third volume of The Animal Kingdom, which was to treat of the Senses, and which, all unknown to himself was to be the last of his scientific-philosophical writings, that is to say, the last of his writings where citation is made of the observations of the learned in support of the conclusions of the thinker.

Before entering on this work, and in further preparation for it, Swedenborg spent several days in study. We have the evidence of this study in eleven folio pages of excerpts from Cassebohm's celebrated work On the Human Ear. Swedenborg also wrote at this time a short treatise of fourteen folio pages on the muscles of the head and the modes by which the affections of the animus are expressed in the countenance.[2] It was not until August 1, that he commenced the actual writing of the continuation of The Animal Kingdom, and the work was finished, so far as the author carried it, by October 7.[3]

It is not our purpose to review the contents of this work; the reader can form some just idea of it from what we have already said concerning The Five Senses. We may observe, however, that, unlike The Five Senses, this work gives not the slightest inkling that its author was any more than a learned man and a clear thinker. He confines himself strictly to the exposition of the physiological uses of the sense-organs, though always, after his usual manner, expounding these uses in the light of his universal doctrines and from the point of view that the sensories are directed by the soul for the upbuilding of the mind. He purposely avoids going into the psychology which is involved in a study of the senses; and merely touches on it, but refers his readers to future works on the Brain, the Fibre, and Rational Psychology, for further elucidation.[4] The fact of these references makes it clear that at this time Swedenborg had no other prospect in view than the continuation and completion of his Animal Kingdom -a labor which would necessarily occupy several years.

In the third volume of The Animal Kingdom every statement is fortified by many excerpts from anatomical authors and by citations to their works; and when one reflects on the tedious labor involved in the gathering together and verifying of these citations, and on the clearness of mind and close concentration of thought demanded for their analysis, one cannot but be amazed at the immense industry and application of the man who wrote this work, occupying 170 quarto pages in print, in the short space of two months; the latter three-fifths of the work was in fact written in less than three weeks.

The Journal contains several references to this continuation of The Animal Kingdom, and we can follow Swedenborg's progress somewhat closely. Describing a vision seen on the eve of the commencement of the work, Swedenborg writes on August 1: I was for a long time in holy tremors, though at the same time in deep sleep. I thought as to whether I was to see something holy. It seemed that I was thrown on my face, but I cannot affirm this for sure. Afterwards I was taken away therefrom, and found by me, under my back, one whom I thought was an acquaintance. I was vexed that he had taken me from it, and when he went away from me I also said that he should not do so again. The tremors then continued, but I saw nothing further. [The meaning] was that what is holy had come to me, and so moved me that I was led to, this work of mine on The Senses, which today I began to write; and that I wished that it would not draw me away from what is more important. Afterwards, I waited for a procession of horses. There came also in great number large horses, beautiful and of a light yellow color; then more, with fine teams of horses, which came to me; they were fat, large and beautiful, adorned with handsome harness; which signifies my work which I have now begun; the latter, the work on the Brain; so that I now find that I have God's permission for this purpose, which I believe gives me support therein.[5]

On August 8, he dreamed that some birds settled around his head and had to be picked off, which signified that he "had not properly arranged and carried out the subject of the Corpus Reticulare Malpighii."[6] Presumably the matter was re-written, for the rest of the chapter (32 pages quarto in print) was not finished until six weeks later. The cause of this slow progress is suggested by an entry on August 27, in which Swedenborg states that "for the last few days " he had been much troubled and oppressed by his sins.[7]

On August 27, when he had been writing concerning the pores of the skin, and more especially concerning the Corporeal Fibre, he dreamed that he was given a glass of wine which tasted like "heavenly nectar." This signifies (he writes) "how I received help in my work from a higher hand, so that I am simply used as an instrument." Three weeks later, as he is nearing the end of his first chapter On the Sense of Touch, he found himself in "considerable illustration"; and on September 18, when the chapter was almost finished, he was told in a dream: "You will come through safely."[8] This leads him to write that "something is before me when I get through the first chapter On the Sense of Touch."[9]

Before completing his treatment of the Sense of Tough, Swedenborg interpolated a chapter On Organic Forms Generally, after which he wrote On the Sense of Touch specifically. In the interpolated chapter, he develops the doctrine that simple parts or unities are the dominants in every organic form, and that it is the perfection and harmonious unity of these simples that makes the perfection of the compound, -a doctrine which he develops in its application to the various organs of the body. The chapter fills over seventy quarto pages of print, and Swedenborg must have been in a state of considerable illustration when he penned it; for, though like the rest of the work it abounds in citations from anatomical authorities, yet it was written in seven days.

1. Swedenborg seems to have had a preference for the homes of skilled workmen. In 1710-11 he lodged with a watchmaker, a cabinet maker and a maker of mathematical instruments (Doc. 211). In May, 1744, he lodged with a shoemaker, and on July 9 moved to the house of Brockmer (Jour. 197, 215) who was a gold watch engraver (N. C. Mag. 1914, p. 36). Later he lived with an organist (S. D. 5990).

2. Codex 58, p. 246-57 and 258-71. The treatise on the muscles, which is a first draft written in the style of The Five Senses, has never been translated.

3. Jour. 228-29, 249.

4. See A. K. 520, note n; 566, note e; 528, note g.

5. Dram. p. 75; Jour. 228-29.

6. Jour. 232. The reference is to A. K. 495-99.

7. Jour. 241, 233.

8. Jour. 235, 239, 241.

9. Drom. p. 79; Jour. 241.




In a vision which he had before commencing the chapter On Organic Forms, and while he was still writing on the subject of the Corporeal Fibre, he saw a woman, and wondered if she were the one who had been introduced to him in a dream five months earlier by the word "Sanctuary"[1] and whom he had loved; in which case, as she seemed to be with child, he thought it might mean "that I am now on the work of writing correctly and of giving birth to that which I have in hand; for on that day I found myself greatly enlightened in the matter which I had in hand." The woman offered him a glass of wine, but at that moment he awoke; and he remarks, "It seemed to me then, as also once or twice before, that I was conscious of quite a strong odor of wine?[2]

Here we have a further advance in the progress of Swedenborg to that state in which he would be an inhabitant of both worlds. Towards the end of June, his eyes had been opened to see a spiritual representation while he was fully awake, and even writing;[3] and the passage just quoted indicates a similar opening of his spiritual sensation in regard to odors. The time had now come, when, in the development of the organic forms of his mind towards independence of the body even while still connected therewith, he was to have a truly remarkable manifestation of the nearness and reality of the spiritual world. The undertaking of the chapter On Organic Forms was to be the occasion of this event; while the actual writing of that chapter was to be the means by which he was finally admitted to the society of the Palace.

It will be recalled that on September 18, when Swedenborg was still engaged in writing on the Corporeal Fibre, it was said to him in a vision, "You will come through safely"; and that afterwards, when reflecting on these words, he wrote "Something will happen to me when I get through with the first chapter on the Sense of Touch." This "something" is described in the next entry in the Journal.

The chapter on Touch was finished on Sunday, September 25; and respecting the evening of that day, Swedenborg writes: It was a Sunday. Before I slept I was in powerful thoughts concerning that which I had in hand to write. Then it was said to me, Hold your tongue or I will strike you. I then saw one who sat upon a block of ice, and I was frightened. I came, as it were, into a vision. I held in with the thoughts, and came into the usual tremor; which was [i.e., which means] that I should not keep at it so long, especially on the Sunday, or perhaps in the evenings.[4]

In these few lines, Swedenborg informs us of the first occasion when he actually heard a spirit speaking, while he was wide awake as to the body. There can be little doubt as to this, for the account, so far as it goes, agrees with what he himself declared four years later when writing in The Spiritual Diary,[5] as to the first occasion on which he heard the voice of a spirit. After describing the various steps by which he had been finally admitted into the spiritual world, he continues: "Until at last a spirit addressed me in a few words; and I greatly wondered that he perceived my thoughts. And I greatly wondered afterwards when it was open to me to speak with spirits; as also the spirit then wondered, and this for the same reason as I." He refers to the same event later on in the same work, when he writes: Before it was open to me to speak with spirits, I was of the opinion that no spirit or angel could ever understand or perceive my thoughts, these being within me, but only the Lord; and this I believed, merely because it is so stated in the Word. At that time it once happened that a spirit knew what I was thinking, for in a few words he spoke with me concerning it; at which I was amazed, especially from the fact that spirits could know my thoughts.[6]

On September 23, Swedenborg had been in "powerful thoughts" concerning the chapter on Organic Forms which he was then intending to write; and in his thoughts was the reflection that simples or unities are the source of the perfection of their compounds, because they themselves are of a celestial origin, being related to the first unities of the world, which are the sole source of the perfections of all succeeding unities.[7] In this reflection was involved the thought that perfection comes from the Lord alone. All unknown to Swedenborg, the spirits who were around him, knew his thoughts. In the world of spirits, these thoughts aroused active resistance; and, such was Swedenborg's state, so thin the veil between him and the other world, that this resistance became actually audible to Swedenborg's spirit even while his body was wide awake. Thinking deeply in the quiet of his own room, suddenly he heard the words "Hold your tongue or I will strike you." He was frightened, astounded. Not frightened as before, when he had seen a spiritual representation even while writing; not frightened merely because he had heard a voice; but frightened, astounded, because for the first time he then realized that his thoughts were known to spirits. Often before had he felt the obscurities brought to his mind by evil spirits; they had even caused him dull pains in the head;[8] often before also had he reflected on the fact that truth is hated by the evil; but never before had he known that spirits could actually read his thoughts; and that those thoughts could rouse up the hatred and opposition of the evil among them. The spirit who addressed Swedenborg, spoke but a "few" but to Swedenborg, conscious of the nature of the thoughts from which he was so curtly ordered to desist, those words were full of meaning "Hold your tongue or I will strike you."[9]

The further fact that Swedenborg interpreted what he heard as meaning that he should not work so hard, or on Sundays, etc., makes one with his fright. He thought, perhaps, that this voice with its threatening words heard while he was wholly awake, was the result of over protracted mental application; for it must be remembered that at this time Swedenborg, in spite of his unique experiences, had no idea of being other than a writer on scientific and philosophical subjects.

1. Jour. 171.

2. Drom. p. 78; Jour. 239.

3. See above, p. 86-87.

4. Drom. p. 79; Jour. 242. In the MS this is dated September 21, but by error, for the 21st was a Friday.

5. S. D. 2951.

6. S. D. 4390 = A. C. 5855, 6214.

7. A. K. 532.

8. See above, p. 87.

9. That the spirit who spoke was an evil one, is indicated not only by his words but also by the fact that he was sitting on a block of ice, by which is signified a state of spiritual cold or of spiritual absence of love to the Lord. As will be indicated later, however, it is not improbable that the one sitting on the block of ice was in reality Swedenborg himself represented as to his lower mind through which evil spirits then spoke (see p. 105).




Immediately after the entry in the Journal which we have just discussed, comes another, written a week later, which is of equal or even greater importance in the consideration of the subject now in hand.

The chapter on Organic Forms was finished on Saturday, September 29, and on the evening of that day Swedenborg again saw that beautiful palace in which he desired to lodge, and which, by his work on The Five Senses he had striven to attain, that so he might have ever before him the view of spiritual things.[1] And now, in the Journal entry to which we refer, he writes: September 29 to the 30, which was a Saturday to a Sunday. I saw a gable-end of the most beautiful palace that could possibly be seen, [and] over it a radiance like a sun. It was said to me that it had been resolved in the society that I should be a member, who was an immortal, which no one had ever been before, unless he had died and lived [again]; others said that there were several; I came into thoughts as to whether it was not the most important thing to be with God, and so to live. Thus this had regard to that which I had then brought to an end concerning Organic Forms in General, and especially the end.[2] Afterwards one said that he wished to visit me at 10 o'clock. He did not know where I lived. I then answered, as I thought, that I lived in the gable-end of that palace; which signified that what with God's help I had then written concerning Organic Forms was such that it would lead me still further to see that which is still more glorious. Afterwards, I was with women, but would not touch them inasmuch as previously I had had to do with the holier ones. Therewith much befell me which I left to God's good pleasure, because I am as an instrument with which He does according to His good pleasure; but I would wish to be with the former ones; still not my will but God's [be done]. God grant me that herein I have not offended; this I do not believe.[3]

In view of the fact that in this passage Swedenborg does not speak of seeing in a vision or dream, or of being awake or asleep; and taking this fact in connection with other considerations, it is highly probable that we have here an account of his first experience of being in both worlds at the same time. True, the occurrence was at night or early in the morning, yet Swedenborg might easily have been awake in the body, as he was most certainly awake in the spirit. But more important than the time is the direct statement that it had been resolved that he should become what no man living upon the earth had ever before been-a member of a spiritual society, an immortal.[4] Significant in this connection is the statement made to Swedenborg in a vision three weeks later, that since September 30, he "had begun to look much more handsome and to be like an angel"; on which he modestly comments: God grant that this be so.[5]

Swedenborg had indeed heard a spirit speaking a week earlier; but the passage relating to that event which we quoted from the Diary,[6] gives a clear indication that there was an interval between the time when Swedenborg first heard a spirit speaking and the time when he could speak with spirits. The particular words of the passage are "I greatly wondered [at hearing a spirit speaking] and I greatly wondered afterwards when it was open to me to speak with spirits."

Order would seem to demand that there was no single event by which Swedenborg was intromitted into the spiritual world, but that this intromission was gradual. If we are correct in what we have written on this subject, the first step towards actual intromission was the consciousness of spiritual sight simultaneously with natural; then came the perception of odors; and still later the hearing of spiritual speech; and finally complete perception of presence in the spiritual world. At first, however, this perception must have been only occasional and Swedenborg must have become accustomed to it gradually. At first, moreover, he would be a more or less passive witness of events, just beginning to realize the miraculous state into which he had been introduced. And, therefore, though he was intromitted into the spiritual world in 1744 according to the direct testimony of many passages in the Writings, yet according to the equally direct testimony of other passages, it was not until April, 1745, that he came into what afterwards became his normal state of being at home in both worlds.

But, whether or not we conclude that Swedenborg first began to be in both worlds at the same time on the night of Saturday, September 29 or the morning of Sunday the 80th, it is quite evident that this was his state a few days later; for on October 6, he, for the first time, speaks of spirits by their names. Writing of his experiences between October 8 and 6, he says: Several times I have observed that there are spirits of all kinds. The one spirit who is Christ, is the only one who has all blessedness with it. By the others, one is enticed in a thousand ways to go in with them, but unhappy is he who does so. There came before me once or twice, Korah and Dathan, who brought strange fire upon the altar, and it could not save. So is it when a fire is brought in, other than that which comes from Christ. I saw also, a fire, as it were, which came to me. Therefore is it necessary to discern the spirits, which is a thing one cannot do except through Christ Himself and His Spirit.[7]

1. Jour. 204-5.

2. The end of the chapter on Organic Forms treats of the brain as a center to which the corporeal fibres bring materia from the outer world, and by which that materia is digested, the good being used for the making of animal spirits which are then sent forth into the body for use, and the bad being cast off; and also as a center to which images are brought by the sensory nerves and by which those images are examined, the good being elevated by the thoughts and sent forth by the will into useful actions, and the evil being rejected. It is worthy of note, that in passages where Swedenborg received special approval of his work (Jour. 235, 238, 239, 243), the subject on which he was writing was the doctrine of the corporeal fibre.

3. Drom. p. 79-80; Jour. 243-245.

4. Cf. Invitation, 52, where it is said that what was granted to Swedenborg has never been granted to anyone since creation.

5. Jour. 268.

6. See p. 100.

7. Drom. p. 81; Jour. 247. This passage may indeed be regarded as the first of Swedenborg's spiritual Memorabilia.




In a preceding part of this work,[1] we pointed out the danger which would necessarily attend the opening of the spiritual world to a mast still living on earth. With Swedenborg, the danger would be greater than with others, for, being a man of wide learning, and so of great extension of thought, he was more fully admitted and consequently spirits would realize in greater number and with clearer discernment that they were with a man. This realization would come to every spirit with whom Swedenborg might come in contact; and the evil would at once burn to entice him and so get possession of his body.

Swedenborg had indeed been prepared-prepared by his introduction into the sciences whereby he had formed a rational mind with deep insight into the causes of things; prepared by a gradual but very real and very deep realization that everything of himself was evil, that the Lord alone was the source of good, and alone could protect from evil spirits; prepared by his very gradual intromission into the spiritual world. But the dangers of the actual intromission were not thereby removed; they still existed and had to be met.

It is these dangers that are referred to in the Journal for September 29 -30, in the same passage in which Swedenborg speaks of the determination arrived at to admit him to become an immortal. "Afterwards (he says) I was with women but would not touch them inasmuch as previously I had had to do with the holier ones. Therewith much befell me, which I left to God's good pleasure. God grant me that herein I have not offended." Considered alone these words do not convey any very clear meaning. To understand them, they must be viewed in the light of a later statement by Swedenborg, that on the night to which they refer he had passed through a "terrible danger." The statement follows immediately after the passage concerning Korah and Dathan, quoted at the end of our last section, and is incorporated with that passage under the date, October 5 to 6. It reads: In what terrible danger I had been on the night between the 29th and 50th, was afterwards represented to me in my sleep; that I was on a block of ice which afterwards could hardly carry me. I came further on to a terrible and great abyss. One who was on the other side could not come to help me, for I was going backwards. But God through Christ is the only One who helped me therein.[2]

Here, the "terrible danger" in which Swedenborg had been on the night when he was proposed as an "immortal" is represented as a picture of himself seen on a block of ice and going backward to a great abyss or gulf, from which none could save him but God; that is to say, what is represented is Swedenborg's natural mind when, being first opened to the manifest influx of evil spirits in the world of spirits, it was almost possessed by them; and when, had it not been for his preparation, his humility, and his supreme confidence in the grace of God, he must have succumbed or become insane.[3]

What the specific nature of the "terrible danger" was, we are not informed, but it seems clear that it consisted in the direct afflux of the spheres of evil spirits, stirring up affections of self-intelligence and the loves of the sciences born therefrom, and presenting them under the appearance of women. Perhaps also spirits then attempted to get possession of Swedenborg's body and so to obsess him. Swedenborg, however, was in his "double thoughts" and saw that evils flowed in from hell and were not to be appropriated by man as his own; saw also, more deeply than others the inner nature of human intelligence and its loves. Therefore, despite the powerful influx, despite the great temptation and the terrible danger he looked on these women as apart from himself; as coming from the Evil One; and so he did not wish to touch them. He had been with the "holier ones" -the verities who had enlightened him in his work[4]-and though "much befell him, he left all to God's good pleasure."

It is to this same "terrible danger" that Swedenborg refers later on in his Journal when he writes: "I afterwards came into thoughts and into the information that all love-to whatever it be directed, as to my work which I have in hand-when one loves them [for themselves] and not as a medium to the only love which is directed to God and Christ Jesus, is a meretricious love; therefore, also, in God's Word, such a thing is always likened to whoredom. This is also that which happened to me. But when one makes love to God the foremost, then one has no other love thereto [i.e., to one's own work] than the love he thereby finds to further the love to God. From this it is discovered how quickly and easily a man is seduced by other spirits, who represent themselves according to each and everyone's love; for loves .are represented with spirits, and in very fact by women."[5]

1. See p. 59 seq.

2. Drom. p. 81; Jour. 248.

3. S. D. 3963.

4. S. D. 484; Jour. 239.

5. Drom. p. 82-83; Jour. 250, 252.




After September 80, Swedenborg abandoned his anatomical works, never again to resume them. But first he completed the chapter on Taste, in the third volume of The Animal Kingdom. He must have commenced this chapter before September 30; for, despite the fact that the work ends very abruptly, yet within six pages of the end it is promised that the "next chapter" will treat of the sense of Smell-a certain evidence that up to the very last Swedenborg had no idea of becoming a theologian.

For some time, he had been at a loss as to what was before him, but had continued with his work awaiting further indications. After September 30, however, he saw that he was to be a pure philosopher and not a scientist. Therefore, as we have just noted, foreshadowing the greater charge yet to come, he abruptly ceased all work on his Animal Kingdom. He himself refers to this three weeks later when describing a vision in which he saw a beautiful girl lamenting in the arms of a friend, and whom he led away. He writes: This was my other work to which she addressed herself and from which I took her away.[1] Swedenborg did not abandon this beautiful girl-the truths of his former work; but he led her away to another work wherein all those truths were to be gathered together and consecrated anew to the service of God.

By October 6, he had conceived the idea of dedicating his philosophy to the worship and love of God in a work which would depict the whole universe, with God as the inspiring soul. In the evening of that same day, October 6, or on the following morning, he had a vision in which he was told something about his work: "One said that it was a Divine book concerning the worship and love of God. I believe there was also something about spirits. I believe I had something about this in my work On the Infinite."[2]

Swedenborg appears to have commenced The Worship and Love of God on Sunday, October 7. The leaves of Autumn were falling, and this furnished the theme for his opening paragraph: "Walking once alone in a pleasant grove, to dispel my distracted thoughts, and seeing that the trees were shedding their foliage and that the falling leaves were flying about, from being sad I became serious when I recalled the delights which that grove from Spring even to this season had so often diffused through my mind." He then pictures the whole life of the universe as a single year, the changes and seasons whereof he now proposes to contemplate.[3]

On the evening of the following day (October 8), he had the most delightful vision of a garden beautiful beyond imagination, which effigied the Kingdom of Innocence itself; and it can hardly be doubted that it was this vision that inspired him in the commencement of his work, where, with poetic eloquence, he describes the beauties of primeval Paradise.[4]

In The Worship and Love of God, Swedenborg gives the creation doctrine of his Principia,[5] and the physiological principles and the doctrines of Forms, Correspondences, etc., of his later works. The poetic flow of his pen is not interrupted by the introduction of these doctrines as such, but they are explained in footnotes, though without any reference to those writings where they are more fully expounded. Indeed, the absence of citations to other works, makes a marked contrast between The Worship and Love of God and Swedenborg's former writings. He omitted such citations of deliberate purpose, and his purpose was later confirmed in a vision which he interprets as meaning that he ought not to take from the wares of others.[6]

The Worship and Love of God was written in a remarkably short space of time, the equivalent of ninety-two printed quarto pages being written in twelve days.[7] The author was of course familiar with his subject, but he must have enjoyed considerable illustration, and he had a strong faith that the Lord would instruct him, as he went on.[8]

Except that it contains the same physiological and philosophical principles, The Worship and Love of God is entirely different from all Swedenborg's other writings. He himself declares this, and notes that it is written from "an entirely different love," that is to say, as we understand these words, that it was inspired by the desire to lead men to the knowledge of God by philosophy poetically clothed in the language of theology, rather than by that same philosophy demonstrated analytically and confirmed experimentally for the benefit of those who will believe nothing but what they can prove.[9]

At an early stage of his writing, this difference in style and purpose caused Swedenborg to doubt as to whether the work would succeed, or whether it would not rather be regarded as "mere talk or as a plaything" in comparison with The Animal Kingdom.[10] Indeed, on the morning of October 9, he had fully determined to abandon it entirely; but there constantly came to his mind the idea of the senses ascending to the brain and then descending,[11] and this determined him to persist in that work wherein he proposed to show that in the macrocosm or Grand Man there was a similar circle of ascent and descent from the world to heaven and from heaven to the world.

The last reference which the Journal makes to this work is in the entry made on October 27, where we read: "I was told before, that the 27th of October would return; it was when I undertook The Worship and Love of God."[12] We shall refer to this statement later, when speaking of The History of Creation;[13] for the present we merely call attention to it.

The Journal contains but a few lines after the entry last spoken of, and we can no longer follow Swedenborg's work by its aid. But it has served and will continue to serve some at least of the purposes for which it has been providentially preserved, namely, not only to enable us to see the truth of the statement in the Writings that Swedenborg was admitted into the spiritual world in 1744, but also to furnish us with the facts by which we can have some understanding of the means by which he was prepared for this admission.

It is not difficult to follow Swedenborg's work from the time when The Journal ends, to the day of his Call. His spiritual experiences undoubtedly continued and he came more frequently into the state when he was in both worlds at the same time, though at first only obscurely and for short periods.

His time was fully occupied in the printing and proofreading of his unfinished third volume of The Animal Kingdom, and in the writing and publishing of Parts 1 and 2 of The Worship and Love of God, all of which volumes were published early in 1745, Part 2 of The Worship and Love of God, appearing about the middle of March.[14]

The design of this work is to present in the life of a single married pair a picture of creation as the scene of the operations of the Divine Love working to the attainment of the Divine End,-a heavenly Society of souls. In Parts 1 and 2 Swedenborg, after treating of the creation of the earth and its kingdoms, passes on to the creation of the Firstborn, first as to his body and then as to his rational mind. After the birth of the body, the soul gives up the reins of government into the hands of the Intelligences and Wisdoms. These then instruct the Firstborn, and later his Bride, concerning the End of creation, setting also before his mind the opposition to that End which is inherent in the love of self, and revealing to him in graphic language the fury and insolence of that love when not restrained by the Prince of Heaven whose authority in this respect is delegated to the Wisdoms and Intelligences assigned to the Firstborn.

It is clear from the whole tenor of the work that by these Wisdoms and Intelligences are not meant angelic beings created such from the beginning, but the faculties of the spiritual mind whereby man is made superior to the brute; whereby he can receive the light of heaven and so can be instructed concerning the Creator and the End of creation; and whereby he can have dominion over the loves of self and the world, and make them humble servants instead of insolent rebels.

It is clear also that by the Firstborn is not meant an individual man but the human rational mind endowed with spiritual faculties, or rather the whole human race considered as to this mind. To this mind the Wisdoms and Intelligences present in vivid language the whole drama of creation, from the age of innocence to the tragedy of the Cross, brought about by the furies and hatreds of the natural mind.[15]

The third Part of the work was to present the final redemption and the formation from the human race, of the Heavenly Society. The manuscript of this Part was sent to the printer in installments as the author prepared the clearer copy. The printing was begun in April, but before the work could be completed, Swedenborg had received his Call to the office of Revelator, and thenceforth devoted himself entirely to theology. Still the work is preserved, at any rate so far as it was prepared for the press.[16]

It consists of an explanation of a vision seen by the first married pair: A center of dazzling light radiating throughout the universe; round about it a perpetually gyrating purple border in which were heavenly `forms crowned with stars; then an engirdling circle, changing to the color of brass and iron and wreathing itself like a heart. Into this heart opened two ways, one to the inner Border, the other to the brazen circle without. In the Border and in the Circle appeared innumerable eggs, and these, animated by the great heart, brought forth human forms, some of which turned inwards to the center while others, of a brutish countenance, turned outwards. Then around the whole orbit was seen a crystal girdle which reflected the motions of all the gyres as one ordered whole, and from which as from a great egg came forth a Human Body, a Grand Man, which ascended to heaven; the circumference then gyrated into a spire reaching ever upwards.

Was this a picture of the imagination, or was it a representation seen with the eyes of the spirit? In his explanation of this vision, Swedenborg says that it portrays "the universe with its destinies and inmost certainties," tending to "a certain ultimate and most holy end"; a universe in which the Divine End of the Creator proceeds through causes to effects that in effects it may return to the First in the form of a great Human Body, "a holy society, of which, as of one body, He might move the soul and His only Love the rational mind."[17]

Swedenborg had studied the atmospheres of the macrocosm, which, like bloods, as it were, carry in their bosom the Divine Creative Life for the sustenance of the world. He had studied the human body, as a kingdom constructed by the soul that she might descend to earth and then return in human angelic form. He had seen that the mind has two ways open to it, one from the world by which it is aroused to corporeal life, and the other from heaven, whereby it has rational and purely human life. He had seen man as a microcosm, and in contemplating the plan of his Worship and Love of God, he had constantly in his thought the picture of the perpetual circling gyre in which sensations ascend to the brain and I then descend as uses.[18] And now he turns from the microcosm to the macrocosm; from the individual creation to the Grand Man of the universe. Here, the Divine End is the Soul; and this Soul makes its descent in the great universe, that it may again ascend as the heavenly society of souls.

We can well imagine that Swedenborg, who had so long searched into the secrets of the microcosm, now in his interior thought beheld the macrocosm as One Man, the Body of God and the scene of the operations of His Love; and that this thought was presented before the eyes of his mind in living representative form, as the dazzling center with its surrounding circles giving birth to the spiritual and natural minds of man, and as the rising up of the Grand Society of human souls continually replenished from the earth. It was this vision of the interior imagination, that Swedenborg designed to expound in the third Part of The Worship and Love of God. The exposition was never completed, or rather the completion was to come in a way then unknown. Swedenborg had not yet come to the explanation of the "Great Body" that arose-the Grand Man, the Heavenly Society, -when his labors were halted. The further declaring of the vision was to be the work of Revelation.

A new scene in Swedenborg's life is now to be opened. Behind of his philosophical career had been the introduction to his new him lay philosophy; before him, theology; and as the closing years state, so the opening years of the new state were to be the introduction to his final office of Revelator.

1. Jour. 280.

2. Drom. p. 82; Jour. 250.

3. W. L. G. 1, 2.

4. Jour. 257, W. L. G. 19 seq.

5. Cf. the "admonition" to refer to the Principle, spoken of in The Five Senses, n. 262. See p. 85-86 above.

6. Jour. 278.

7. On Oct. 18 Swedenborg was writing on the subject of the Devil (Jour. 271), and in W. L. G., this subject is first referred to in n. 68; it is possible, however, that in the first draft of the work It was introduced in an earlier passage. However, Swedenborg himself speaks of "wanting to hurry too fast" In his writing (Jour. 263).

8. Jour. 266-67.

9. See A. K. 21-22.

10. This may account for the report that "something of egotism had introduced itself into The Worship and Love of God, as Swedenborg had made a playful use in it of the Latin tongue." This statement was made in 1869 by a Swedish New Churchman on the authority of Christian Johansson, who is said to have received the answer from Swedenborg himself (3 Doc. 710). In 1869, Johansson had been dead for over fifty years, and with the exception of the statement above, there is no evidence whatsoever that he ever met Swedenborg. It is quite possible, however, that Swedenborg expressed, perhaps to Dr. Beyer his most intimate friend, something of the thought written In his Journal; and that later his words became twisted in the way indicated. That they were not so twisted by Dr. Beyer, is sufficiently evident from the fact that The Worship and Love of God was included in the latter's Index to Swedenborg's theological writings. See a discussion of this subject by the present writer, in N. C. Herald, 1923, p. 265-66.

11. Jour. 261-62.

12. Jour. 276.

13. See p. 121. The W. L. G. was commenced on Oct. 7, and the words "I was told before" etc. should be understood as meaning: I was told on Oct.
7 when I commenced etc. It is possible, and perhaps probable, that the figure 27 is an error for 7, due to the fact that the entry was made on the 27th; and that the true meaning is "It was told me before, that October 7 would return," etc. The Journal contains several instances of errors in dates.

14. It had not appeared by March 11; see N. C. Life, 1896, p. 186.

15. The reference to the crucifixion of the only begotten Son by the furies of the animus (W. L. G. 78) is in itself sufficient to show that the W. L. G. is not the story of an individual man but of the mind of the whole human race, here set forth by Swedenborg after the pattern of spiritual representations.

16. The MS, as now preserved, constitutes probably a little less than one half the proposed work. It is partly in proof sheets and partly in MS.

17. W. L. G. 113, 115.

18. Jour. 262.




The Lord called Swedenborg and appointed him to the office of Revelator, in the middle of April, 1745; [1] and, following the example of Swedenborg himself in The Word Explained and The Memorabilia or Spiritual Diary, it is from this day that we must date his complete entrance into the spiritual world so that he could converse familiarly with spirits and at the same time with men.

The only detailed account of this Call, that has come down to us is the account by the Swedish Academician Carl Robsahm, who states that he received it from Swedenborg's own lips. Robsahm had asked Swedenborg concerning the possibility of other men having communication with the other world. "Take care (answered Swedenborg) this is the direct road to insanity; for in the state when a man pores over matters that are spiritual and are hidden from him, he knows not how to separate himself from the delusions of hell, which have opportunity to infest him when he, as a natural man, wishes from his own speculations to discover heavenly things that are beyond his comprehension. You are well aware (he continued) how often it has come to pass that students, and especially theologians, who lose themselves in unnecessary investigations, become affected in their understanding."

This answer led Robsahm to ask Swedenborg concerning his own case, whereupon he received the answer: I was in London and was eating my midday meal, somewhat late, in an inn where I was accustomed to eat, and where I had a private room. There I occupied myself with thoughts on the subject of which we have just spoken.[2] I was hungry and ate with a good appetite. Towards the end of the meal I noticed a sort of dimness before my eyes; it grew darker, and I saw the floor covered with the most horrible crawling animals, such as snakes, frogs, and such like creatures. I was astounded, for I was in full possession of my senses and had clear thoughts. At last the darkness became prevalent, when suddenly it dispersed, and I saw a man sitting in a corner of the room. As I was then quite alone, I became very much frightened at his speech, for he said, Eat not so much. All again became black before my eyes, but immediately it cleared away and I found myself alone in the room. Such an unexpected horror hastened my return home. I showed no sign of concern before the landlord, but I considered well what had happened and could not look upon it as a matter of chance or as produced by a physical cause.[3] I went home, but at night the same man revealed himself to me again. I

I was not frightened then. He then said that he was the Lord God, the Creator and Redeemer of the world, and that He had chosen me to declare to men the spiritual contents of Scripture; and that He Himself would declare to me what I should write on this subject. Then, on that same night the world of spirits, hell and heaven were opened to me with full conviction. There I recognized many acquaintances of every condition in life. And from that day I gave up all practice of worldly letters, and devoted my labor to things spiritual.[4]

Two accounts are given by Swedenborg of what appears to be the same incident.[5] But neither of these accounts gives any suggestion of the momentous nature of the occurrence; on the other hand, they are directed to showing the evil of intemperance. in eating. In one of them,[6] moreover, it is said that it was an angel who said, eat not so much. This, however, need make no difficulty, since, as we have already seen, the Lord appeared to Swedenborg through an angel. That these two accounts, however, refer to the same event as that related by Robsahm, seems to be plainly indicated by the fact that in The Word Explained and also in The Memorabilia Swedenborg plainly indicates that he received his commission in April, 1745. Robsahm does not assign any date to the incident which he reports; but it is clear beyond doubt, that that incident marks the call of Swedenborg to the office of Revelator.

The words Eat not so much, have been seized upon by some as indicating that this vision was the natural result of an immoderate appetite. The charge may well be ignored, for no one who is acquainted with Swedenborg's writings, his learning, his industry, and his sublime thoughts, can possibly reconcile these with the idea of an over-indulgence in the pleasures of the table;[7] to say nothing of the fact that the only testimony we have concerning this event was told by Swedenborg himself. It is, however, a matter of interest to consider the meaning of the strange event which marked the final step in the opening of Swedenborg's spiritual sight.

To the ordinary man, the words "Eat not so much" refer to nothing else than an over-indulgence in eating. But it must be remembered that these words were uttered by an angel, and angels do not think of fleshly appetites but of the spiritual things to which such appetites correspond. These words then, though actually heard by Swedenborg in the form recorded, must be interpreted-like the women who were seen in Swedenborg's dreams-as being the representation of something spiritual.

Spiritually considered, eating is the taking of spiritual nourishment for the sake of building up a healthy mind; and, in a bad sense, the taking of nourishment merely from the love of acquisition without any regard to the building up of the mind. They do this latter who, like Adam, eat of the Tree of Knowledge from the conceit of their own intelligence;[8] that is to say, endeavor to acquire heavenly things from merely natural ideas or ideas of time and space. Such men are continually incited to do this by the delight of an intellectual conceit which persuades them that there is nothing they cannot comprehend; that what they do not comprehend does not exist. A man who is in this state, eagerly receives all manner of insane notions; as for instance that there is no God, or that Nature is God; that the spiritual world is a myth; that man is no higher than the brute, etc.; and, with his mind inflamed by conceited confidence in the power of his own intelligence, he regards such notions as the choicest of foods. Yet such notions, while tickling and stimulating the self-conceit, lie in the mind like undigested food in the stomach, and are the source of spiritual diseases.

It is no more possible to comprehend spiritual things from merely natural ideas, than it is to weigh loves in a material scale, or to measure thoughts with a material yardstick. Spiritual truths-the truth that there is a God, that He created the world from a Divine End, that the soul is immortal, and other such universal spiritual principles,-are to be believed because they are seen to be true by the rational mind. To believe in this way is the road to intelligence. But human conceit incites man to believe nothing except from himself and his own powers; hence to believe nothing but what he can see and grasp with the natural mind, that is to say, with the mind which thinks solely from the senses. To think in this way is the road to spiritual insanity.

Swedenborg's writings, both published and unpublished, give abundant evidence that he had reflected much on this subject. He had penetrated deeply into the mysteries of nature and seen truths which none before him had seen. But this very fact made it clear to him that there were truths still deeper, which he could not perceive; and when merely natural spirits were present with him he could perceive in his mind the conflict between the spiritual man confessing truth because he sees that it is true, and the natural man who can believe nothing until it is proved to his natural comprehension. He was now engaged in explaining the meaning of that vision, set forth in the third Part of The Worship and Love of God, in which was concentrated the whole of his philosophy concerning the love of God and the creation of the world. Though he saw much of this meaning, yet it was clear to him that there was infinitely more that he could not see. This led him to reflect on the limitations of the human understanding; to think that without the aid of God, man with all his striving could never comprehend the mysteries of heaven.

It was thoughts such as these that were occupying Swedenborg's mind on the day of the Vision in April. The Vision was indeed a spiritual representation of these thoughts, and the Voice of the Vision was the counsel of heaven concerning them.

First was seen the growing darkness that gradually envelops the mind which thinks from self-intelligence concerning things spiritual; and then, upon the floor appeared horrid crawling animals which are the insanities that occupy the lowest region of such a mind.[9] Suddenly the scene was changed; the darkness disappeared and with it the loathsome creatures which lived in that darkness. And then was seen the Man; and the voice of the Divine counsel was heard to say, Eat not so much. With this came the closing of Swedenborg's spiritual sight, and so darkness; but in a moment, the darkness changed to the light of a London afternoon, and Swedenborg again found himself alone. The Vision was ended.

Eat not so much, -these were the words that came to Swedenborg's ears; that is to say, to the ears of a man who was learned, wise, humble and God-fearing; a man who even then was engaged in expounding the mystery of the "dazzling centre" with its encircling belts.[10] Eat not so much! Cease from the effort to penetrate by human speculations into the mysteries of heaven. However sublime the thoughts of the philosopher, there is a limit beyond which he cannot go; and to press further can lead only to darkness, and to the creatures that live therein.

Swedenborg was frightened at the words; but it was not their literal meaning that frightened him, for he had no reason to fear any accusation of intemperance. His mind, accustomed to spiritual and profound thought, saw the inner import of the vision, and the deeper meaning of the words. Had lie eaten too much? Had he been endeavoring to solve the mysteries of God by the speculation of human philosophy? to enter the sacred temple of heaven with profane feet?

He was alarmed; concerned as to the inner dangers that threatened him. And in this state of spiritual anxiety he pondered long on the Vision. Such a Vision, answering so exactly to the thoughts that had occupied his mind, could be no matter of chance; it could not be ascribed to any physical cause; but was in truth one more opening of his spiritual sight, one more beholding of a scene in the spiritual world. What it portended he knew not; and utterly remote from his mind was any suspicion of the momentous event to which it was the introduction. He knew only that there was spiritual danger; that a warning had been given him from heaven; and that he must submit his will and his work to the guidance of the Lord.

Thus his mind became calm, and his heart freed of its terrors; and when, in the night-time, the same Man again appeared to him, he was no longer frightened but listened with holy awe to the Divine command which was then laid upon him.

The Man sat near his bed, and was seen clothed in imperial purple and surrounded with majestic refulgence; but the brilliancy of the light brought no harm to the eyes of him who had so long been accustomed to the light of heaven. The Vision lasted about a quarter of an hour, and during that time the Divine Man declared to Swedenborg that He was the Lord God, the Creator and Redeemer of the world, and that he had chosen him to declare to men the spiritual contents of the Scriptures and would Himself declare to him what he should write.[11]

Such then was the answer given by heaven to Swedenborg's reflections on the vanity of human speculation in things Divine. First the words, Eat not so much; and then the Divine declaration-the declaration embodied in the phrase Nunc Licet-that the mysteries which were beyond the reach of the philosopher were now to be revealed by the Lord Himself; and this, not in the form of occult words and dark sayings, but by means of a man who had been prepared by the sciences, by literary experience, by rational philosophy, by humble submission to the will of God, and lastly by the opening of his spiritual eyes, to be the medium of a revelation which would give to mankind the boon of entering intellectually into the mysteries faith, not from the light of the world, but from the light of heaven itself.

1. W E. 1003.

2. Compare this with Swedenborg's thoughts prior to the Lord's appearance to him on April 6, 1744. See p. 45.

3. It should be noted that here Swedenborg exercises the same prudence as on April 6, 1744, when, after seeing the Lord, he thought of the injunction to "try the spirits whether they are of God." See p. 46.

4. Nykyrk Tidning, 1876, p. 75 and 91; 1 Doc. 34-36.

5. W. E. 3557 (2 Lat. 1957) and S. D. 397. It may be noted that the account in The Diary was especially inserted, and is not the current note of the day's experience; for it is dated April, 1745, but is inserted between two entries each dated December 25, 1747.

6. S. D. 397.

7. We note, as being of interest in this connection, the following statement in The Diary (618): "One evening, when I took considerable bread and milk and more than the spirits thought good for me, they kept their sensations in an intemperance, of which they accused me." Hence foul odors came to Swedenborg's nostrils, though the spirits perceived nothing of them.

8. See A. C. 202.

9. The crawling creatures here referred to were representations of the spheres proceeding from men who think from the senses, and who, like spiritual gluttons, wish to seize upon heavenly mysteries which they cannot comprehend. Such spiritual gluttony is actually the internal of all natural gluttony and what applies to the one applies also on its own plane to the other. It is not surprising therefore that the accounts of this incident written by Swedenborg himself are directed to the evil of gluttony. In these accounts it seemed to Swedenborg that these serpents or worms were generated from a gross watery sphere exuding from the pores of his body, and that they were afterwards burned up as if from themselves. Thus he seemed to himself to have been purified from all the worms that are generated by an immoderate appetite.

10. In Part III of W. L. G.

11. The only Information we have concerning the Lord's personal appearance to Swedenborg on this night in April, is contained in a letter written by Dr. Beyer on March 23, 1776. His words are: The information concerning the Lord's personal manifestation before the Assessor, who saw Him in purple and majestic refulgence, sitting near the bed, while He gave Assessor Swedenborg the Commission, I received from his own mouth at a noonday meal at the house of Dr. Rosen, when I saw the old gentleman for the first time. I remember that I then asked him how long it lasted; whereupon he answered, About a quarter of an hour; and also that I asked him whether the strong refulgence did not hurt his eyes, whereupon he said, No. (Tafel 4 Saml. v. Urk. 79; 2 Doc. 426).






From the first moment of his Call Swedenborg gave up "all practice of worldly letters," as witnessed by the abrupt discontinuation of The Worship and Love of God. He did this not merely because his use was now to be in theology, but because, for the arduous labors yet before him ere his preparation could be completed, much time was required' and a mind removed from the cares and distractions of worldly studies.

Swedenborg did not become a Revelator as soon as he received his Call. He had not yet passed through all the stages of his preparation; the last was still before him. He had been admitted into the spiritual world, but now he was to be "more nearly enlightened by the Lord"[1] by means of the study of the Word. "When heaven was opened to me (he writes[2]), I had first to learn the Hebrew language as well as the correspondences according to which the whole Bible is composed, which led me to read through God's Word many times; and since God's Word is the source from which all theology must be taken, I was by this means brought into a state to receive instruction from the Lord who is the Word."

Swedenborg did not at once take up the study of Hebrew. His first study was the Letter of the Word. He already had the habit of reading the Word daily; and that he had made a study of it for some years past is plainly evident from a manuscript[3] written about 1741, where hundreds of passages from the Word are classified under numerous headings. He had also pursued the study of the Word in the general light of correspondences, when in 1744 he wrote his Correspondences and Representations.[4] His first work after receiving his commission as Revelator, was to continue this study, but on a larger and more comprehensive scale. For this purpose he commenced to make an alphabetical index of the Old Testament, from Deuteronomy to 2 Kings, and of the Four Gospels. In this Index, he gives simply the words of Scripture without any attempt at explanation. The work is contained in three folio volumes,[5] comprising over eight hundred pages, most of them closely filled with fine writing. Swedenborg engaged in this work during the remainder of his stay in London, and also afterwards in Stockholm.[6] This, however, did not prevent him from again resuming his duties as Assessor in the College of Mines.

1. Inv. 55.

2. In a letter to Dr. Beyer; 2 Doc. 261. Our translation is made from a photograph of the original letter in the archives of the Academy of the New Church.

3. Codex 36, now being translated under the title A Philosopher's Note Book.

4. Translated in Psych. Tr. p. 217 seq. See p. 39.

5. Codices 40, 41 and 5, reproduced in 1 Ind. Bib. Phot. 1-354 and 3 ibid., 2-477. The contents of these codices up to and including the letter C were included by Dr. J. F. Im. Tafel in his edition of the Index Bibilcus. But Dr. Tafel died before the work could be completed, and no other parts of the codices have been printed since. It may be noted that at the end of Codex 5 (Index to the Gospels), Swedenborg enters a page or two of notes made apparently during his reading of some work treating of the Greek Church. These notes were translated in the New Philosophy, 1922, Jan.-April, p. 165. They suggest that Swedenborg entered upon the study of Church History. Among the books included in his library at the time of his death was Mosheim's Instit. Hist. Eccles., Helmst. 1764.

6. Swedenborg left London in July, arriving in Stockholm on August 19, 1745 (W. E. 1003).




Having completed his Index to the Letter of the Word, Swedenborg then entered upon a study of its spiritual sense, that thus he might learn, as if from himself, the inner meanings of the Scriptures. His first essay in this direction was The History of Creation, a work which he commenced "in the name of the Lord."[1] Here he instituted a comparison between the history of creation as given by Moses, and the last of his own philosophical works, The Worship and Love of God. The latter, he says "was written under the guidance of the understanding or according to the thread of reason"; and since "no trust is to be placed in human intelligence unless it be inspired by God, it is to the interest of truth that we compare what has been set forth in the above mentioned little work with what is revealed in the Sacred Volume.[2] After making the comparison, Swedenborg "was amazed at the agreement" which he found, and which he proceeds to set forth point by point.' He then passes on to the examination of the second and third chapters of Genesis, where-though this is not stated-he finds teaching similar to that given in the second and third Parts of The Worship and Love of God.

The History of Creation was written in October, 1745; and by this fact, we are reminded of the statement in The Journal of Dreams,[3] "I was told before, that the 27th of October would return; it was when I undertook the Worship and Love of God." When we quoted these words some pages back,[4] a footnote was added suggesting that October 27 is perhaps an error for October 7, which latter day, in 1744, was the day when Swedenborg commenced writing The Worship and Love of God. The meaning of the passage seems to be that something significant would happen on the anniversary of his commencing this work. Not that the future was revealed to him-he distinctly repudiates this;[5] but that when he commenced The Worship and Love of God, a work so different from all that he had written in the past, it came to his mind as a dictate from within, that this work presaged a distinct change in his life; and that the day on which he commenced it would in some way "return again" when this change became revealed to him. Independent evidence points to the conclusion that it was actually on or about October 7, 1745, when he again took up the work with the object of comparing it with the Word,[6] but then he took it up with the distinct idea of preparing himself for that use which had finally been announced to him.

At the end of The History of Creation, Swedenborg wrote the words, "These things are premised"; and on the top of the next immediately before the opening chapter of The Word Explained, he wrote, "But let us examine the Scriptures, especially with the purpose of searching the Kingdom of God, that is to say, its future quality," etc. Whether or not these words were written immediately before the commencement of The Word Explained, is not apparent, but there can be little doubt that they point to a compilation of Scripture passages, Concerning the Messiah about to come into the World,[7] made by Swedenborg, and which in all probability was written immediately after The History of Creation, and before the commencement of The Word Explained. This compilation also includes several lists or summaries of the points established by the Scripture passages, and in these summaries we find the first announcement ever made by Swedenborg, that the Second Coming is at hand. "Jesus Christ, our Savior (he writes) is the Messiah who will come and judge the world; and the time is now at hand and will surely come."[8]

At the end of the work, Swedenborg wrote in Swedish: "November 17, 1745; began here to write. Lord Jesus Christ, lead me to and upon the way on which Thou wouldest have me walk."        Following this comes the note, written in Latin: "Be ye sanctified and endowed with the Spirit of God and Christ, and be ye persevering in justice; this shall be the testimony of the Kingdom of God."[9]

It is clear from these notes, that Swedenborg commenced writing The Word Explained on Sunday,[10] November 17, 1745; and that he began the writing with prayer.

In this work, Swedenborg not only gives a spiritual exposition of the text, but from time to time he adds, in indented paragraphs, some of his memorabilia or spiritual experiences,[11] these being always given in connection with the text under consideration.

In these Memorabilia, some of which are dated, we notice something of a continuation of The Journal of Dreams which was discontinued in October, 1744; but there is the marked difference, indicative of the complete communion with the spiritual world to which Swedenborg has now advanced, that while in The Journal the signification of the dream is given, in The Word Explained and also in The Memorabilia or Spiritual Diary, and elsewhere in the Writings, when Swedenborg wakes up after a dream, he talks openly with the spirits who induced the dream. The Memorabilia in The Word Explained may indeed be regarded as the first part of those Memorabilia to which Dr. J. F. Im. Tafel gave the name Spiritual Diary; and that Swedenborg so considered them, is shown by his inclusion of them in his Index to that work.[12]

1. Cf. Jour. 278.

2. History of Creation, 9, 10.

3. Jour. 276.

4. See p. 109.

5. Gjorwell's letter, quoted above on p. 77-78.

6. As will be shown later, The Word Explained, which in the manuscript, immediately follows The History of Creation, was commenced on November 17, 1745; but between these two works Swedenborg wrote a compilation of passages concerning the Messiah, which fills the equivalent of ninety-two fob pages and which must have taken some time to write. This would indicate that The History of Creation was written in October; and probably In the early part of the month.

7. Codex 38, p. 68; reproduced in 8 Photol. MSS ad. fin.

8. Photol. MSS, VIII ad fin. p. 4, paragraph 11; p. 30, paragraph 12.

9. See 8 Phot. MSS ad fin. p. 32. The text of these Notes, which has never before been published reads as follows:
"Nov: 17, 1745, begynta har tilskriva.
"Herre Jesu Christe led mig til och pa the wagen en som Tu wll at jag wandra skal.
"Sancti eritis, dabimini Spiritu Dei et Christi, et perseverabitis in justitis, hoc erit regal Dei testimonium." This passage does not appear to be quoted from the Bible.

10. This conclusion as to the date when the work was commenced, is also supported by the work itself. N. 475 was written about December 20 and n. 1003 on January 29, 1746, being 228 pages in a month. From the beginning to n. 475 makes 239 pages, and, at the same rate of progress, the time required for writing these would bring us to about the middle of November.

11. These memorabilia were written in indented paragraphs probably with a view to singling them out when the time came to index them. We know at any rate that they are the only part of The Word Explained Included by Swedenborg in the Index to his Memorabilia.

12. It may here be noted that in Tomes II and III (Cod. 60, 61) of the W. E. are some references to passages "at the end" of the volume, which are not contained in the volume as now preserved; so likewise references to "Tom. III" are found in the marginal notes written by Swedenborg in his copy of Schmidius' translation of the Bible. It is a significant fact that all these references apparently, and some of them quite evidently, are to paragraphs in the missing portion of the Spiritual Diary. The references are:

Refers to S. D.
W. E. 1772 (2 Lat. 59). . .83              
W. E.       5336 (3 Lat. 3200). . .54
W. E.       5384 (3 Lat. 3333). . .39-40
Schm. Bible Gen. 4:8. . .31
Schm. Bible Gen. 15:8. . .147
Schm. Bible p. 62. . . 28 -9

It has been assumed that the reference to "Tom. III," on p. 62 of Schmidius is to the Index Biblicus (3 Doc. 957), but in view of the above facts and of the further fact that in Schmidius at Gen. 912 there is a reference to "Tom. IV" which is undoubtedly to Cod. 62 of The Word Explained, this assumption is not' Correct.

From the Table which we have just presented it would seem that the missing part of The Spiritual Diary (1-148) or at any rate a portion of it, was first written at the end of Codex 61, i.e. Tom. III (and perhaps also of Cod. 60, i.e. Tom. II) and contemporaneously with the latter part of The Word Explained. The same conclusion is drawn from the fact that a MS. discovered at Bath, England, which appears to be part of S. D. 28, is dated Feb. 8, 1747 (Hyde, Bibl. n. 498), whereas the date at the end of The Word Explained is Feb. 9, 1747. For some further particulars on this subject see p. 128.




Swedenborg finished his Explanation of the Historical Word towards the end of September, 1746. Instead of then passing on to the exposition of the Prophetical Word, he resumed the work of indexing the Bible by commencing an Index of the Proper Names occurring from Genesis to 2 to Kings 8. This Index-up to the point to which it was carried at this time-like the former Indices, does not give the spiritual sense.[1]

It was about this time that Swedenborg appears to have specially devoted himself to the study of Hebrew. He had already received some instruction in that language while a student in Upsala; for in 1714 his father, in recommending him to the notice of Lord Lieutenant Feif, speaks of him as being "accomplished in the oriental languages as well as the European,"[2] and Hebrew was the only oriental language taught in Upsala during Swedenborg's student days. We need not be surprised therefore, if his progress was rapid, when, many years later, he resumed the study. This however does not seem to have been until after he had made some progress in the writing of the historical portion of The Word Explained (n. 1-7566); for there we find little evidence of the study of Hebrew, while in the Exposition of the Prophetical Word (W. E. 7567 to the end), there are repeated directions to "look up the Hebrew text."[3] Even then, however, Swedenborg was at the commencement of the study of Hebrew, for no Hebrew is actually quoted either in his Index of Biblical Names as written at this time, or in his Exposition of the Prophetical Word; whereas, in the works that he is soon to write, he occasionally includes Hebrew q text.

After finishing his Index of Names up to 2 Kings, Swedenborg again resumed The Word Explained, taking up now the Prophetical Word. But when he had reached the seventh or eighth chapter of Jeremiah,[4] he paused to enter notes on the margin of Schmidius' Bible, beginning with the Prophet Jeremiah, and going through the other Prophets with a view to continuing his Exposition.

In January, 1747, he resumed the writing of The Word Explained, and went on with it until February 8, when he discontinued the work which was never again resumed.

Swedenborg does not appear to have entered upon any new writing during the next few months, and it is probable that his time was fully occupied with the study of the Hebrew language, and the reading of the Word. For a man of Swedenborg's scholarly mind, moreover, it would not suffice merely to read the Word many times over. Following the habits induced by long training, he must also have read and studied the works of the learned-not dogmatic or exegetical treatises (these he had been forbidden to read), but works clarifying the sense of the Letter in reference to historical, geographical and other such details.[5]

1. This Index (Cod. 39) is referred to in The Word Explained when treating of Isaiah and Jeremiah, but not earlier in the work; see W. E. 7679, 7695, 7696 (4 Lat. p. 35, 40, 41), etc. We may add that this codex was later added to by Swedenborg; see p. 1308. As completed, the contents of the codex from A to C were included by Dr. J. F. Im. Tafel in his edition of the Index Biblicus. It would appear that Swedenborg had intended to continue his first Index of the Bible (Cod. 40 and 41) before he wrote, or at any rate before he finished, The Word Explained, for volumes 2 and 3 of the latter work are paginated to receive an index. However, after carrying his Index of Names up to 2 Kings 8, he decided to continue with The Word Explained before undertaking further indexing.

2. Doc. III, 742.

3. See W. E. 7677, 7699, 7708 (4 Lat. p. 34, 43, 46) etc. The first mention of the Hebrew, so far as we know, is in W. E. 4714 (3 Lat. 1412) written about the middle of June, 1746.

4. W. E. 8113 (4 Lat. p. 185), ending with the exposition of Jeremiah 7, is dated November 21, 1746; hut a paragraph a little further on (W. E. 8263, Lat. p. 225) is dated February 8, 1747. There must, therefore, have been a pause in the work. Furthermore the Schmidius marginal notes are referred to in the Exposition of Jeremiah 18 seq. (W. E. 8168, 8253; 4 Lat. p. 196, 222), but no such references occur in the Exposition of Isaiah, or of the earlier chapters of Jeremiah.

5. We may note here that the books contained in Swedenborg's library included: Palestina Illustrata, by Adrian Relandus (Norimb. 1716), a work on the geography of the Holy Land which, as a competent critic has said, will never be superseded; Brugensis. Loca Insig. Correctionis in Bib. Latinis (1657); Lowe, Speculum Relig. Judaicae (1732); and an anonymous treatise entitled Conformite des Coutumes des Indiens au Celles des Juifs (1704). See also above, p. 1207.

Swedenborg's library also included the following Hebrew books: Buxtorf, Lex. Chald. et Talmud. (1639), a work containing a great store of information respecting Jewish tradition; Robertson, Thesaurus Ling. Sanct. (Lond. 1680), which is both a lexicon and a concordance; Stockius Clavis Ling. Sanct. (1744); Alberti, Lex. Heb. (1704); Tarnovius, Grammat. Heb. Biblica (1712).

His Hebrew Bibles were: Bib. Heb. cum interpret. Pagnini et Montani
(1657); Bib. Heb. Punctata cum Nov. Test. Graec. ed. Manasse Ben Israel
(1639); Bib. Heb. cum vers. Lat. Schmidii (1740); Bib. Heb. cura Reinecil
(1739). Of the last named work, C. F. Nordenskjold writes (N. J. Mag. 1790, p. 87): "Swedenborg's copy of this work is filled with remarks and with the Latin translations of several Hebrew words, as also some observations on the internal sense. The book is much used. I shall add it to the collection of manuscripts." The whereabouts of this book, however, is now unknown.

Besides the above, Swedenborg had also: Hederici, Lex. Graec. Manuale (1739), and the following Latin translations of the Bible: Old and New Test., Vulgate, 1647; Castellio, 1726; Schmidius, 1697; Tremellius and Junius, fol. 1596, duod. 1632. New Test: Leusden, Grec. et Lat., 1741; Castelllo, 1682 and 1715. He had also the Breeches' edition of the English Bible, 1599. That Swedenborg consulted several versions of the Bible is evident from his own words in W. E. and in his marginal notes in Schmidius' Bible.




All this work, the Indices, The Word Explained, and the study of Hebrew, was done in Stockholm where Swedenborg was at the same time active in his office as an Assessor of the College of Mines, discussing metallurgical problems, settling mining disputes, passing on appointments, adjusting tariffs, etc.[1] He was held in the highest esteem by his colleagues, being indeed invited to become one of the Councillors of the College, that is to say, a member of its governing body; and frequently he presided at the sessions of the College as though already a Councillor. But the time had come when he was to separate himself not only from worldly studies but also from all worldly employment, and this that he might have the time and leisure required for the work which remained yet to be done before his long preparation was at last completed.

In June, 1747, he wrote to the King, noting that the College had proposed to appoint him Councillor in primo loco, "but (he continues), as I feel it incumbent on me to finish the work on which I am now engaged, I would most humbly ask your Royal Majesty to select another in my place." He continues that he had been Assessor for more than thirty years, during which time he had made several foreign journeys at his own expense "to visit mines and other places," and had printed several works for the "benefit and honor" of his country, for which he had asked no public recompense; on the other hand, he had resigned one half of his salary for the past eleven years. He, therefore, prays "that you will graciously release me from office, without bestowing upon me any higher rank, which I most earnestly beseech you not to do." He asks also for leave to travel, and that he may continue to draw half his salary as Assessor, he being more confident that his request will be granted since for the thirty years of his office (as he writes) "as well as I can remember, no favor has ever been denied me."[2]

In his answer granting Swedenborg's request, the King, all unconsciously, used words which time has shown to be prophetic. He writes:[3] "Although we would gladly see him continue here at home the faithful services he has hitherto rendered to us and to his country, still we can so much the less oppose his wish, as we feel sufficiently assured that the work on which he is engaged will in time contribute to the general use and benefit, no less than the other valuable works written and published by him have contributed to the honor and use of his country as well as of humanity."

The Royal decree was handed to the College of Mines on June 15, 17457, and, to quote from the official minutes, "all the members of the Royal College regretted losing so worthy a colleague." At their request Swedenborg continued to attend the sessions during the time that cases were pending which had been commenced while he was present; and it was not until a month later (July 17) that he took formal leave of the College. Shortly afterwards he left for Holland.[4]

1. It is of interest to note that from August 19, 1745, when he arrived in Sweden, to July, 174,7, when he resigned his office of Assessor (a period of nearly two years), Swedenborg was only twelve times absent from the College on account of illness.

2. 1 Doc. 464.

3. 1 Doc. 468.

4. 1 Doc. 466. It may he noted that, with the exception of the solitary entry for April, 1745 (see p. 1145) the first dream recorded In The Spiritual Diary as now preserved, was on the evening of July 24, when Swedenborg was on his way to Amsterdam (S. D. 166).




It was here, probably on his arrival in Amsterdam, that he experienced a new state, which he records in a brief note on the first page of the manuscript book in which he was about to enter his third index to the Bible. His words are, "1747, August 7, Old Style. There was a change of state in me into the celestial kingdom in an image."[1] These words, which indicate the opening of a new and more interior communication with the heavens, are of especial interest in view of the fact that it was probably on this same day, or very shortly afterwards, that Swedenborg commenced his third Index to the Bible,[2] an index in which for the first time he included also the spiritual sense. His first intention in undertaking this index seems to have been to commence with Genesis, but after reaching the thirteenth chapter of that Book, he continued with the Prophets, and covered the whole of Isaiah and the first sixteen chapters of Jeremiah.[3] Swedenborg worked on this Index from August, 1747, to the first days of October, and during this period he used the last pages of the volume to enter his Memorabilia or spiritual experiences from August 19 to October 9.[4]

In the early part of October, 1747, Swedenborg, either because he had enlarged his plan or because his volume proved too small, took a new volume, Codex 4, and, after copying into it the Index thus far made in Codex 6, continued the same to include all the Prophets, the Prophetical portions of the Historical Word, and the whole of the Psalms, Job, Revelation, Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, giving the spiritual sense of each entry. This work comprises over 650 folio pages, many of them filled with small writing.[5] Like the preceding index (Cod. 6), which it incorporated, it contains Hebrew words;[6] but, unlike that index or any of the preceding indices, its text includes a few references to Swedenborg's spiritual experiences. Some of these are mentioned in The Memorabilia, but others are not entered in that volume.[7] During the writing of this index, Swedenborg had daily experiences with spirits of various kinds, while he was reading the Word and also while he was at meals, writing, walking in the streets, making purchases, etc. Sometimes, these experiences were irksome and painful, at other times they were most delightful. One of the latter occasions is specially noted on a blank page in the Index, where he makes the note: "1747, December 4 Old Style, a day of joy and of nuptials." This joy, we learn from The Memorabilia, lasted from morn till noon and was caused by the presence of angels of the inmost heaven. It was so intense that he all but dissolved for joy.[8]

Many months were occupied by Swedenborg in his work on his great Index to the Prophetical portions of the Word. He had commenced it in October, 1747, and was still occupied with it on June 28, 1748; for on that day he writes in The Memorabilia: Spirits were with me who had collected from the Word of the Lord merely the particulars of the sense of the letter, while I was collecting the particulars of the letter of the Word and at the same time was intent on the internal sense.[9]

During this time he also again resumed work on his Index of Names, in which formerly he had entered merely historical data from Genesis to 2 Kings, but which he now continues through the rest of the Word with the addition of the spiritual sense.[10] It was after this that Swedenborg appears to have entered his marginal notes on Genesis in direct preparation for the writing of the Arcana Coelestia.[11]

But what was more directly a preparation for the Arcana Coelestia, was the indexing of The Memorabilia or Spiritual Diary, including also the Memorabilia contained in The Word Explained. Swedenborg was engaged in this work from July, 1748, to the end of September, when he left Holland for England; and he continued work in London until the middle of November.[12]

1. Cod. 6, 1; I Ind. Bib., Phot. 357; 3 Doc. 839-40.

2. Cod. 6, reproduced in I Ind. Bib. Phot. 357-719. This Index has never been published.

3. That the Index of the Prophets was written after that of Genesis, is evident from the manuscript itself.

4. These memorabilia were afterwards gathered together into another volume and now constitute n. 149-200 of The Spiritual Diary. It is interesting to note that in these numbers we can follow Swedenborg's progress on the Bible-Index on which he was working at the time. Thus, Isa. 11 was being indexed on August 19 (S. D. 154); Isa. 34 on August 29 (S. D. 189); Isa. 39 on August 31 (S. D. 190 and IV Ind. Bib. s. v. Gazophylacium).

According to his usual custom, before making an index, Swedenborg prepared a blank volume by paging it A, B, C, D, etc., allowing to each letter the number of pages which he thought sufficient. At the end of the volume we are now discussing (Cod. 6), after page Z, fourteen blank leaves (p. 1-28) were still left which would not be required for the Index. On the second of these (p. 3), Swedenborg began to enter his Memorabilia, commencing on August 19 and continuing day by day simultaneously with his Indexing of the Prophets. Subsequently, he used the first blank leaf (p. 1-2) to make a long and apparently hurried entry (S. D. 152), which, should have come on the first page (p. 27) of the last leaf between n. 199 and 200. In his next entry, he returns to the last leaf (p. 27), and fills both sides (p. 27-28) with entries, the last of which is dated October 9. Having reached the end of his blank pages, and wishing to write still more on October 9, he then turned to the reverse side of page Z, which contained but two lines of index entry, and here lie wrote the remainder of his record for October 9 and afterwards the record for October 11 and 12 (n. 149-51). Numbers were not given to these paragraphs until much later, when Swedenborg was preparing his index to the Memorabilia, and then he numbered them, not in the order in which they were written, but in the order in which they actually occurred in the volume. The order in which they were written would be n. 153-99, 152, 200-5, 149-51.

We may here repeat, what we have already noted (p. 123:2) that the first portion of the Diary (n. 1-148) was entered in whole or in part on blank pages at the end of Tome III of The Word Explained, from about June, 1746, to June or July, 1747. When The Memorabilia came to be numbered and indexed, Swedenborg seems to have removed these pages from Tome III and joined them to the fifteen leaves (including the leaf marked "Z") of his Bible Index, Codex 6, and then paged them consecutively from 1 to 79. p. 64-79 (n. 149-205) are still preserved, but the other pages are lost.

5. This Index (Cod. 4) from A-C. was printed in Index Biblicus, vole. 1 -3 (see p. 1907). After Dr. J. F. Im. Tafel's death the rest of the codex was published by Dr. Achatius Kahl, as vol. IV. It is reproduced entire in 2 Ind. Bib. phot.

6. See Cod. 6 (1 Ind. Bib. phot. 357 seq.) s.v. Homo; and Cod. 4 (2 Ibid., and 4 Ind. Bib.) s.v. Delltium, Homo, Sacnificium.

7. See 4 Ind. Bib., p. 423, "what was seen on October [? Nov.] 9, 1747"
(S. D. 243). Ibid., p. 583 "what was seen on October 24-25, 1747" (S. D.
218, ?, 220). Ibid., p. 519, "a golden hand" seen by Swedenborg. Ibid., p. 1017-18, "evil spirits being admitted to the lowest heaven."

8. Cod. 4, in 2 Ind. Bib. Phot. 476; S. D. 293.

9. S. D. 2391.

10. Codex 39 reproduced in 3 Ind. Bib. Phot. 511 seq. The parts of this Index where the spiritual sense is given were extracted by Dr. R. L. Tafel and published as Supplern. Ind. Bib. London, 1873. See also p. 1248.

11. That the notes were written for this purpose, is indicated by some writing at the head of Genesis, chapter 28, which reads "Concerning the flood, see many things in my collections [that is, in his Index, Cod. 4]. They should be premised." In Arcana Coelestia, as published, the explanation of Genesis chapter 8 is actually preceded by a collection of passages concerning floods; see A. C. 705.

12. The time when Swedenborg wrote this Index is fixed by various references in The Spiritual Diary by means of which we can follow his progress. Thus, in n. 8335, this indexing is referred to as the work on which Swedenborg was engaged on September 26, 1748. On September 30, he is indexing n. 1719-20 s.v. Sensus (S. D. 3417). On October 6 (Oct. 17 in the New Style which was current in Holland and which Swedenborg had been using until his arrival in England), he is indexing n. 1948 s.v. Servus (S. D. 3495) -His slow progress here being accounted for by the journey from Holland to England. On October 17, he is indexing n. 2346-51 s.v. Iris (S. D. 3593); on October 19, n. 24.55 s.v. Interiora (S. D. 3616), 2455-56 s.v. Externis (S. D. 3616) and 2478-74 s.v. Fidee (S. D. 3617); and on November 17, n. 3617 s.v. Opus (S. D. 8979).




Having now, during the course of over three and a half years, completed his work of preparation, Swedenborg was at last ready to commence the first work that was publicly to announce the Second Coming of the Lord. He had written nearly two thousand folio pages of indices to the Bible; over two thousand pages of The Word Explained; nearly a thousand pages of Memorabilia including a copious Index; and many pages of Marginal Notes in Schmidius' version of the Bible. He had also studied and mastered the Hebrew language; and had read the Word through many times and thereby been instructed more and more in the internal sense.[1] And now, fully prepared for his Mission, he was ready to write the Arcana Coelestia, that he might proclaim to the world those heavenly mysteries which, in April, 1745, he had humbly confessed could never be discovered by the human intellect without the aid of God.

For the purpose of writing the Arcana, Swedenborg changed his temporary lodgings and secured a more peaceful and permanent home. On a scrap of paper pasted on the inside front cover of the second volume of The Memorabilia and written in Swedenborg's own hand, we read: "23 November, 1748. Began contract for renting of house, at 6s. a week for half a year. For one year sufficient will be subtracted to make the rent fourteen pounds, being a saving of thirty-two shillings."

In this new lodging, at the end of November or the beginning of December, 1748, Swedenborg commenced the writing of the Arcana Coelestia. The first volume (1-1885) was finished by June and it appeared in print in the middle of September but without the name of author, publisher, or place of publication.

We have set the date for the commencing of this work one year later than the date generally assumed, and as the matter is one of considerable importance in the study of Swedenborg's preparation, we may be pardoned for giving our reasons in detail.

It has been assumed that the first volume of the Arcana Coelestia occupied Swedenborg from the latter part of 1747 until September, 1748; and that in the beginning of October, when he left Holland for England, he took the manuscript with him to be printed. The only evidence on which this assumption is based, is an item in a list of Agenda[2] prepared by Swedenborg when contemplating his departure for London. The item is quoted as reading: "To take the Ex[positionem] Sp[iritualem] and lay it on top." This "Spiritual Exposition" has been assumed to mean the Arcana Coelestia, and the conclusion is naturally suggested that Swedenborg wished this manuscript to be at the top of his box or case, that it might be readily available when he arrived in London. Such a conclusion, however, would be based on an incorrect reading of the item in the list of Agenda. The correct reading would be translated: "To take out [the volumes of] the Spiritual Exposition and then lay them together" i.e. put them in order.[3] Moreover, the assumption that Swedenborg wrote the Arcana Coelestia in Holland is not in accordance with the available evidence. This we shall flow present.

FIRST: Many passages in the Arcana Coelestia were copied more or less verbatim et literatim from The Memorabilia or Spiritual Diary, where we find them crossed off by Swedenborg probably at the time of copying. In The Memorabilia all these passages are dated, and from them we learn the earliest possible date on which certain numbers of the Arcana could have been written, as shown in the following Table.[4]
A. C.              1748              S.D.              A. C.              1749              S. D.
951              Oct. 22       3651              1127              Dec. 1       4106
851              Oct 26       3699              1125              Feb. 4       4159
451              Nov. 5       3872              1110              March 22       4177
818              Nov 24       4049              1265        March 26       4185
788              Nov 26       4072              959              April 6       4236
1128        Nov 26       4078              1510              June 5       4505

From this Table it will be seen that n. 451 of the Arcana Coelestia could not have been written before November 5, 1748, at the very earliest, and that n. 959 could not have been written before April 6, 1749.

It may be argued that Swedenborg may have added these extracts from The Spiritual Diary after having completed his first draft of the Arcana Coelestia. The extracts, however (with the exception of the last) are not additions to numbered paragraphs but constitute the whole of such paragraphs, and to have added them after the work was finished, would have meant a wholesale alteration in the paragraph numbers of the whole volume. Moreover, to alter his paragraph numbers was against Swedenborg's uniform practice. We have the first draft of practically the whole of the Arcana Coelestia except volume 1, and though these drafts contain many additions, there is not a single case of an addition causing an alteration in the paragraph numbering.

SECOND: As we have already shown on page 130, from July to November, 1748, Swedenborg was busily engaged in writing the Index to his Memorabilia; and this, together with the continuation of The Memorabilia themselves, to say nothing of his studies of the Word must have fully occupied his time.

THIRD: Evidence that the Arcana was commenced about the beginning of December, 1748, is afforded by a number of passages in the Diary, which taken singly may have little weight, but whose accumulated evidence is convincing. On December 9, Swedenborg writes concerning spirits who did not wish anything to be said of the things revealed; but he answered them that such things are in place of miracles, without which men "did not know that there is such a Book, did not buy it or read or understand or believe; except only some of the learned who for the most part reject."[5] On December 29, he writes: "I spoke with myself or thought within myself concerning the meaning of the word Rib, from which woman was built";[6] this subject is treated of in A. C. 160. On January 9, 1749, spirits of the Most Ancient Church told Swedenborg that his statements should not be confirmed by passages from the Scriptures but should stand alone; to whom Swedenborg gave answer that, owing to man's present state, confirming passages are necessary; and he showed these spirits how men would regard what was being written were it without confirming passages;[7] at this time Swedenborg was probably writing n. 280 seq. On February 4,he spoke to spirits of the Church Enoch[8] mentioned in Genesis 426; this subject is treated of in A. C. 440. On February 17, he was making extracts from his latest Bible Index to insert them in what he was then writing.[9] On February 21, some angelic spirits said to him that "it is not the true internal sense that was written in those days" i.e., in former days.[10] The reference is of course to The Word Explained, and the passage indicates that he is now writing a new exposition, that is to say, the Arcana Coelestia. On February 26 and March 9, he learned from experience what is signified by a flood of waters;[11] this subject is treated of in A. C. 660. On April 1, he had a dream which referred to what he had just written "from the Word."[12]

FOURTH: While from December, 1747, to November, 1748 inclusive, Swedenborg wrote in his Memorabilia an average of 50 1/2 folio pages a month,[13] in December he wrote less than 3 1/2 pages, in January, 1749, 1 2/3, in February, less than 2 1/2, and so on, the average from December, 1748 to June, 1749 inclusive, being a little over 4 pages per month; and from December, 1748 to September 15, 1749 (after which no further dates are given in the Diary) less than 5 pages. This indicates that he was busily engaged on a work which wholly occupied his time, and there is no other work that can possibly have engaged him at this time than the writing of the Arcana Coelestia and the seeing of it through the press.

It is, therefore, we think, fully established that Swedenborg commenced his Arcana Coelestia about the beginning of December, 1748, after he had secured lodgings for six months dating from November 28, in order that he might pursue his work in quiet; and that this writing occupied him till some time in June. It is probable that before he had finished the first draft, he began making a clean copy which he supplied to the printer as the work was being printed.[14]

The work was published in September, 1749, and it is probable that Swedenborg read the proofs, as he read those of The True Christian Religion; and that, partly for this purpose, he stayed in London until the work was actually set up in type. We note in this connection that the last dated entry in The Memorabilia is September 15, when Swedenborg probably left London for Holland.

It follows from the above, that the "Spiritual Exposition" referred to in the list of Agenda made by Swedenborg in preparing for his journey to England is not the Arcana Coelestia but The Word Explained.

1. In The Spiritual Diary we can for a time follow Swedenborg in one of his readings through the Word, and in some cases can see plainly how he was instructed concerning the spiritual sense by means of his spiritual experiences. On May 9, 1748, he was reading Levit. 23 (S. D. 1909); on the 10th, Lev. 26 (S. D. 1934); on the 15th, Num. 10 (S. D. 1961); on the 19th, Num. 25 (S. D. 1995); on the 93rd, Deut. 1-3 (S. D. 2054, 2061); on June 7, Deut. 28 (S. D. 2929); on July 5, 2 Sam. 12 (S. D. 2617); and on August 11, 2 Kings 8 (S. D. 2791).

2. This list was written by Swedenborg in Codex 6, after he had copied the contents of that codex into Codex 4. Nearly every line is crossed off and can be read only with some difficulty.

3. The Swedish text is Taga uti [? ut] Exp. Sp. och se[n] lagg dem ihop. (Codex 6, in 1 Ind. Bib., Phot. p. 359. The reading ihop should possibly be hus, in which ease the translation would be "and store them In a house.") The translator in the Documents (1 Doc. 384) seems to have read this as:
"Taga... pa lagg"; but this reading ignores the word "uti" and omits the last three words.

4. When reading this Table, it should be remembered that Swedenborg sailed for England about October 4, New Style, 1747 (S. D. 3421), and arrived in England on or before October 2 Old Style, -October 18 New Style (S. D. 3444).

5. S. D. 4123.

6. S. D. 4129.

7. S. D. 4133.

8. S. D. 4139:2.

9. S. D. 4143. It may be noted that in quoting confirming passages in the Arcana Coelestia, Swedenborg makes constant use of his Bible Indices.

10. S. D. 4149. We shall have more to say concerning this passage later on.

11. S. D. 4155, 4165.

12. S. D. 4191.

13. In September he wrote 121 pages, in October 131, and in November when he moved his lodging, 94.

14. While The True Christian Religion was being printed, Swedenborg supplied the printer with 32 pages of clean copy per week (3 Doc. 1016); and vol. II of The Animal Kingdom was nearly all in print before the last chapter or Epilogue had been written. It is possible that Swedenborg made only one copy of the first volume of Arcana Coelestia, but this would be contrary to his uniform practice, so far as this is known to us.




Between April, 1745 and the time when the Arcana was commenced, a period of over three years and seven months, Swedenborg wrote over five thousand folio pages of manuscript; was busily engaged in studying the Word and the Hebrew language; and, necessarily for a considerable part of his time, was witnessing those scenes in the spiritual world which were daily revealed to him. We present below a complete list of his writings during this period.

1745       Bible Index, Deuteronomy-2 Kings (Cod. 40, 41) folio pages. . .350

Bible Index, Four Gospels (Cod. 5). . .465
1745-47 History of Creation and Word Explained. . .2100
1746       Index of Biblical Names, Historical portion (Cod. 39)

The above Indices are without the Spiritual sense; what follow, include that sense.
1747       Index of Bible names, Prophetical portion (Cod. 39). . .130

Bible Index, Isaiah and Jeremiah (Cod. 6). . .360
1747-48 Bible Index, Prophetical Word, etc. (Cod. 4). . .670

Spiritual Diary. . .680
1748       Spiritual Diary Index-circa. . .250
1746-48       Marginal Notes in Bible.

We have dwelt with some detail on Swedenborg's work and writings during this intermediate period of his life, because a knowledge of them is necessary for the obtaining of a true view, both of the status of these writings themselves and of the nature of Swedenborg's final preparation, and of his inspiration. We shall now consider the part that the work here done by Swedenborg played in this closing stage of his preparation.




During the period of his final preparation, Swedenborg labored in the same scholarly spirit and with the same zeal for scientific accuracy that had distinguished him in the period of his philosophical works. He was no mystic visionary empowered to transmit words of revelation merely by the opening of his spiritual eyes; no empty vessel suddenly inspired by some Divine afflatus. Just as among his earlier manuscripts, we find page after page of excerpts from the works of the learned, which afterwards he used when writing his own works; so also we find page after page of excerpts from Scripture, and page after page of Memorabilia, systematically indexed, in preparation for the inspired writings of the New Church. It was by no miracle that Swedenborg became so marvellously well acquainted with every verse of the Sacred Scriptures, or that he could so accurately describe the nature, the laws and the phenomena of the spiritual world-unless indeed we regard as miraculous the untiring zeal and laborious industry of a man nearly sixty years of age, who might well have rested his fame on the works which he had already produced.

Early in this work of preparation, and indeed almost at its very commencement, he set out to test, by the touchstone of the Word of God, those great doctrines to which his studies and profound meditations had led him.[1] It was as though he would see for himself whether he had truly been prepared for the use now assigned him; whether he had been led to think and write in accordance with the Word of God; or whether, on the other hand, he was to modify or even entirely cast aside his former doctrines. After making the test, he writes: "I was amazed at the agreement,"[2] and these words of confirmation constitute the one and only open reference to his former works that is to be found in all his writings from 1745 on.[3] But those works, or rather the philosophical principles which they enunciated, did not therefore cease to have their influence on his thought. He was now satisfied that they were in agreement with the Word of God; that his mind which had been molded and fashioned by them needed not to be molded anew, but that the Lord had in truth prepared him from early youth.[4] Guided by these philosophical principles, now become more luminous because of the clearer light that had been vouchsafed him by his intromission into the spiritual world, he was now ready to enter upon a thorough study of the Scriptures, and so further to prepare himself for his great mission.

After compiling his first index,[5] he commenced the study of the Word by writing his "Spiritual Exposition," that is to say, The Word Explained. Beginning with the Historical Word, he searched the Scriptures chapter by chapter and verse by verse. His reading of the Word brought him into association with the spirits whose loves are described in its internal sense, and so contributed to his enlightenment-as seen in the Memorabilia which occur from time to time in The Word Explained. It brought him also spiritual representations of the internal sense itself, whereby also he was more fully enlightened. This he specifically declares in his Index to the Prophetical Word,[6] where he says: "These things were shown me this day by a golden hand and by the motion of my own hand without any previous will, in order that what was being read [in the Word] might be understood." Yet it was not conversation with spirits or the seeing of representations that gave him enlightenment; the enlightenment was a consequence, not of the things seen, but of the mind that saw-a mind which, having been prepared, could not only be enabled to see into the spiritual world, but could also be inspired to understand what he saw.

Sometimes in The Word Explained, Swedenborg complains of obscurity brought about by the presence of evil spirits; sometimes also he is unable to see anything of the internal sense of what he is reading. At other times, especially as he advances in the work, he comes into states of illustration sometimes so great that the letter of the Word entirely disappears from his mind's view and he sees nothing but the internal sense alone.[7]

Throughout, however, there is a constant advance in his understanding of the Word. This advance was not due, as some have supposed, to any gradual rejection of his philosophical principles. Nay, the opposite is the case. Without those principles, he could never have served as the medium of Revelation; and as he came into more interior light, he saw the truth of the principles themselves more clearly. The evidence of this appears on every page of The Word Explained, where we see the influence of Swedenborg's great philosophical doctrines of the atmospheres, of degrees, modifications, influx, correspondence, etc.,-but now set forth in clearer light and with more interior applications.

In writing The Word Explained, Swedenborg progressed in his understanding of the Word, and this, as it were, by his own labor and study, though ever under the guidance of the Lord; for with him the influx of the Lord was into a mind that had been prepared by truth; and from this mind, the obscurities, which as yet prevented full inspiration, were being gradually removed.

By his extensive and minute indexing of the Bible, Swedenborg collected and compared together innumerable passages of Scripture treating of a given subject. Thus, and aided also by his study of Hebrew, which gave him not only exact translations, but also root meanings, he gradually elicited the spiritual meanings of words and then of passages. This he himself indicates in a short Preface which he wrote to his Index of Bible Names. There he says that if the fundamental signification of a name be first ascertained, the various applications of that signification can be perceived with ease.[8] This, we take it, is the reason why, before writing the spiritual sense, he spent many months of persistent labor in the bare indexing of the Word. As he himself declares[9] "I had first to learn the Hebrew language, as well as the correspondences according to which the whole Bible is composed, which led me to read through God's Word many times. By this means I was brought into a state to receive instruction from the Lord who is the Word."

In this work, as we have already stated, Swedenborg was especially, nay and essentially aided by his communion with the spiritual world, and, more particularly by the representations and associations which the reading of the Word brought him, and by means of which he became ever more familiar with the doctrine of correspondences.

The doctrine itself had been known to Swedenborg for many years; indeed, it is clearly involved in the teaching of the Principia, that the atmospheres are so many active forces by which the will of the Deity flows down into the organic forms of nature, there to be represented in corresponding forms of living uses. And when Swedenborg came to study the human microcosm, he saw there also the correspondential representations of superior forces decreeing their will and enacting their uses on lower planes. In the organs of the body, he saw the representations of the uses willed by the soul; in the diseases of the body, he saw the correspondential embodiment of the passions of the animus.

To him, correspondence was no mere general comparison. The motions of the body were actual wills in the mind. The sight of the mind was an actual sight to which the sight of the body corresponds in every least detail. Truth was real spiritual light, and good real spiritual heat, affecting the mind as light and heat affect the body. And so the Lord was actually the Sun of the Universe to which the suns of solar systems correspond.[10]

In 1744, when his spiritual eyes were being opened, Swedenborg wrote a special treatise on Correspondences, entitled A Hieroglyphic Key to Natural and Spiritual Arcana by way of Representations and Correspondences; and shortly afterwards he supplemented it by another, On Correspondences and Representations, where he made a general application of correspondences to the unfolding of Scripture. When, therefore, his spiritual eyes were opened, the doctrine itself was by no means unknown to him, and also the universality of its application. But now, this doctrine was seen in a way not before possible. Moreover, it was now possible to learn correspondences such as could never have been known except by intercourse with the spiritual world. Swedenborg sees spirits and angels, hears their conversations, notes their thoughts and affections, and observes the changed surroundings of the spiritual world resulting therefrom. He sees representations produced by spirits, which are exactly similar to scenes described in the Word; and, knowing the causes of the representations, he learns also the correspondence of the scenes.[11] He visits the societies of heaven and of hell; he observes the loves of their inhabitants; and, by the effects of those loves on his own body, he learns the position of those inhabitants in the Grand Man. Thus also, he learns the correspondences of the parts of the human body, being enlightened in the learning by his own profound knowledge of the natural functions of those parts.[12] He visits societies of spirits and angels who have lived in past ages, and learns their quality, and so the correspondences of the names by which in the Word they are designated, and also something concerning their history.[13] He visits other earths, and sees the vastness of the Lord's kingdom. He learns the relation between the two worlds, a thing never before known, by seeing and experiencing the operations of spirits upon himself, and the effects of his own thoughts and speech and actions upon the spirits; and this when he is walking, seeing sights in the streets, changing his lodgings, his clothing, his food, etc. He experiences in himself the benignity of the good and the malignity of the evil-the latter sometimes threatening him with injury and death.

It was by means of these experiences conjoined to his study of the Scriptures, that Swedenborg was instructed in the science of correspondences, and in the spiritual sense of the Word; and that he learned the nature and reality of the spiritual world. But it should be well noted, that he was not thus instructed merely by enjoying spiritual experiences. It was necessary that, as of himself, he should examine these experiences analytically, as formerly he had examined the experiences of the learned; and so should form a just judgment concerning them; in a word, that in observing them he should observe as an active subject and not as a passive. Hence the laborious chronicling of these experiences, the comparison of one with the other, and, as experiences accumulated, the surer judgment as to their real meaning.

Swedenborg, however, was not instructed by his experiences in the spiritual world; nor was he instructed by speech with any spirit or angel, howsoever wise; but by the Lord alone. "Whenever there was any representation, vision or discourse (he writes), I was kept more and more interiorly in reflection upon it as to what was useful and good, thus as to what I might learn therefrom. This reflection was not so well attended to by those who presented the representations and visions, and who did the speaking; nay, sometimes they were indignant when they perceived that I was reflecting. It is in this way that I have been instructed, and consequently by no spirit nor by any angel but by the Lord alone from whom is all truth and good;" or, as he states elsewhere, it was not allowed him to take anything from the mouth of any spirit or angel, "but only from the mouth of the Lord."[14]

Swedenborg was indeed instructed by the Lord alone, but this instruction did not preclude his working and studying as of himself; nay, rather it demanded it. Swedenborg's instruction by the Lord must not be conceived of as being like the instruction of man by man, or as being dictated from within in a formula of words. The Lord instructed Swedenborg by inspiration; and inspiration was possible, because Swedenborg's mind had been prepared by truths, by the love of use, by humility, and by the worship of God. And now, with the study of the Word and the accumulation of spiritual experiences, Swedenborg was enabled to receive the Lord more nearly, and so could be inspired to behold all that was presented before him, with an understanding eye, and a mind inspired to perceive. It was in this way that Swedenborg, while he wrote the results of his profound study of the Word and of his clear judgment concerning what he had seen and heard in the spiritual world, as if of himself, yet wrote not from himself but from the j Lord alone by whom he was inspired.[15]

1. Specifically, the test or comparison was confined to Part I of The Worship and Love of God, but, as we have already pointed out, this work Is the concentration of all that he had taught In his preceding works, from the Principia onwards.

2. Hist. of Creation, 10.

3. In W. B. n. 4.8, there is a reference to Part 2 of The Worship and Love of God, but the work is not mentioned by name.

4. Invit. 55.

5. Cod. 40, 41 and 5.

6. Cod. 4, in 2 md. Bib. Phot. 272; 4 Ind. Bib. s.v. Nuntius at Isa. 37:14. See also W. E. 5004, 5012, 5658 (3 Lat 2287, 2308, 3906); Sacred Scrip. 64.

7. S. D. 115.

8. Supplem. Ind. Bib. (Lond, 1873) p. iii; cf. W. E. 4810 fin. (3 Lat. 1724). See also W. E. 4743 (3 Lat. 1502) where Swedenborg says he will learn the correspondence of the number 5, by consulting further passages; cf. 5035, 5952 (3 ib. 2372, 4571).

9. Letter to Dr. Beyer; see p. 119:4; see also T. C. R. 779.

10. 2 E. A. K. 254 seq.

11. See S. D. 1551. Swedenborg frequently states that he learned correspondences, etc., "by much experience."

12. A. C. 2998, 9632.

13. A. C. 1114,-C. L. 79, S. D. 200.

14. S. D. 1647, De Verbo 13 ad. fin.

15. Divine revelation is made either by angels through whom the Lord speaks, or by perception. The former is external revelation such as was given through the Prophets, the latter is an internal revelation which "affects the intellectual principle spiritually, and perceptibly leads it to think of a subject as It really is, with an internal assent, one knows not whence. One thinks that It is within him, and flows from the connection of things, but it is a dictate from the Lord, flowing through heaven into the interiors of the thought" (A. C. 5121). Swedenborg experienced something of this kind of revelation when he was writing his scientific-philosophical works; for there he speaks of enjoying "a mysterious radiation-I know not whence it springs" which gave him a sort of "rational instinct" (E. A. K. 19 quoted above, p. 30). This "revelation" however was necessarily limited and thus mediate. But when Swedenborg's spiritual eyes were opened, and when by the study of the Word, his mind was fully prepared, then revelation by perception-that is to say, by inspiration or dictation-was an Immediate revelation. Hence Swedenborg says that the internal sense of the Word was "dictated to me from heaven" (A. C. 6597). This dictation is referred to in W. E. 5587 (3 Lat. 3764) where Swedenborg says that what he wrote "appeared to have been divinely inspired; for the very words, though not dictated, were yet sensibly inspired." This is further explained in W. E. 7006 (4 Lat. 7167): This; signification [of the text under consideration] was revealed to me in a wonderful way. It was wonderfully dictated In thought; and the thought was guided in the individual words, and was held,-the idea being fixedly detained, as It were, by a heavenly force. Thus this revelation was effected sensibly.

Swedenborg frequently speaks of being instructed also by means of an angel speaking from the Lord; but here again, the real instruction was from the Inspiration of Swedenborg's mind, enabling him to perceive and know, from an Internal dictate, as It were, the truths that were thus revealed to him.




It is not our purpose, nor would it be our desire explicitly to declare what standard of authority shall or shall not be attached to The Word Explained, the Indices, the Bible Notes, and the spiritual experiences or Memorabilia written during this period of Swedenborg's life. After all, the only convincing authority is the Divine Truth itself, and where this is seen it is its own witness. But that these intermediate works-if I may so style them-are a part of Swedenborg's final preparation to become the Revelator, is so manifest that it cannot with justice be questioned. It is also manifest that when he was writing them, Swedenborg was being prepared by the Lord in a more immediate way than when he was writing the philosophical works. Like the latter, they are preparatory; but, like the theological writings which followed them, they are written under the guidance of the Lord, now clearly manifest. They are, therefore, of an intermediate character, approaching the philosophical works on the one side and the later theological on the other. This also is reflected in their style. On the one hand they show the presence and influence of the philosophical doctrines by which Swedenborg's mind had been molded,-though with new applications and developments resulting from his study of the Word and from his spiritual experiences. On the other hand, they make it clear beyond dispute, that Swedenborg now felt himself to be immediately led by the Lord in every word that he wrote.[1]

Here we have the reason why, in The Word Explained, Swedenborg, though sometimes confessing doubt and ignorance, yet proclaims again and again and in unmistakable terms, that all that he writes, he writes from the Lord and not from himself. In the preceding period of his life, he had not perceived the Lord's guidance of his studies; but now, this guidance is manifest to him. "I could see at last (he says [2]), that the tenor of the Divine Providence has ruled the acts of my life from my very youth that I might at last come to this end; that so, by means of the knowledges of natural things I might be able to understand the things which lie deeply concealed in the Word of God, and thus to serve as an instrument for laying them bare." He is now so sure of the Lord's guidance, and the guidance itself is so manifest to him, that he feels compelled to bear witness to it again and again. And yet he is sometimes in obscurity and knows not what is the truth of this matter or of that.

There is no contradiction between these two attitudes. Sweden- borg is sure of the Divine guidance; he is also sure that in the work for which he is being prepared he must labor to prepare himself, and that he will be given light when the time is ripe.

To say that Swedenborg was at times in obscurity, is not, however, to say that he was then in falses, or that in the work which he then wrote he teaches what is not true and what later must be corrected. For years his studies and writings had been directed by the Lord, and shall we say that now, when the Lord is more immediately guiding him, his writings can be anything but statements of truths more interior than those developed in his earlier life? that the mind which writes now, has lost anything of the sublime rationality and philosophic penetration which it displayed then? that the more immediate presence of the Lord involves theological falses which later must be unlearned? Swedenborg was most certainly in doubt and obscurity at times, but the reason seems obvious, namely, that he was still in the period of his preparation and that this preparation, while guided by the Lord, depended also on his own study and labor. There were many things not clear to him, and he had yet much to learn by study and experience before he could be the medium whereby "truths continuous from the Lord"[3] could be revealed, uninterrupted by clouds and obscurities. It is not that anything was to be unlearned, but that more was to be learned; and to be learned by Swedenborg, as of himself.

Hence, in the writings of this period we meet with occasional expressions of uncertainty as to what the internal sense of a given passage is, or what the meaning of a given representation seen in the other world. Such expressions of uncertainty, and sometimes of entire obscurity brought about by the presence of certain spirits, are found in The Word Explained, and also in the Memorabilia included therein, and which were written contemporaneously therewith.[4] In the Indices and in that part of The Spiritual Diary which is contemporaneous with them,[5] we also find, though more rarely, some note of uncertainty, or a statement that Swedenborg is learning a certain thing for the first time;[6] and the same applies also, though again in a lesser degree-since Swedenborg is becoming more thoroughly conversant with the spiritual world-to the Diary entries[7] made when Swedenborg was indexing that work in preparation for the Arcana Coelestia.[8] But no such thing can be said of the works that were written after the period of preparation was completed.

1. See for instance W. E. 3323, 5587, 6884 (2 Lat. 1654, 3 ib. 3764, 6965).

2. W. E. 2532 (2 Lat. 839).

3. T. C. R. 508 fin.

4. See W. E. 2755, 4108, 6657 (2 Lat. 1063, 8; ibid., 138, 6317).

5. That is, S. D. 1-about 2500.

6. See S. D. 1042, 1558, 1611, 2419.

7. That is S. D. from about 2500 to about 4100.

8. See S. D. 3790, 3812, 4024.




We have presented Swedenborg in this intermediate period of his life, as a man being prepared by the Lord for the office of Revelator, and yet preparing himself, as it were, by arduous study and by a growing wealth of spiritual experience. This conception should not be surprising, for on reflection it will be found that a rational revelation could be given in no other way. The Revelation given in the Old Testament was a Revelation in representative forms taken from the minds of Jewish writers prepared for the purpose;[1] sometimes, and especially in the Psalms and parts of the Prophets, the Divine Truth here shines out with some clearness, because the writers had more suitable ultimates in their mind and memory; but on the whole it is heavily veiled. In the New Testament, the Divine Truth could inspire the Evangelists only by means of those general truths by which they had been prepared, and especially by the Lord's own teachings; and Divine inspiration thus given appears in the form of spiritual-natural truths in which sometimes interior spiritual truth shines forth. But in the Writings of the New Church, we have the most perfect of all revelations. Swedenborg was prepared by the study of philosophy to think rationally; by a life of Christianity to think wisely; and by genuine humility to submit his will to the Word of God. And when the spiritual world was opened to him, it was because his mind had been thus prepared that the Lord could lead him to understand the Word, and to comprehend the meanings of the things which he heard and saw. And when at last the vessels of his mind were so fully ordered and prepared, that, whether in the Word, in the spiritual world, or in the world around him, he perceived everywhere the presence of the Lord in His glorified Human,[2] then the Lord inspired him and "filled him with His spirit to teach the doctrines of the New Church from Him by means of the Word."[3] Thus was opened that glorious Temple, over whose gates were emblazoned the words: "Now it is allowed to enter intellectually into the mysteries of faith," and within whose walls were preached doctrines which are "truths continuous from the Lord."[4]

Those who have cherished the idea that the Lord inspired Swedenborg in some miraculous way, as the word is ordinarily understood, or that He instructed him in some such way as men instruct men, may object that the view which we have here presented makes it possible for every man to be inspired like Swedenborg. We answer that it is possible for every man to be inspired by the Lord, but not in the same way as Swedenborg. The Lord who is Omnipresent, is more nearly present, that is to say, is more nearly received, as man's mind is formed and organized by the Divine Truth; and where the Lord is received, there surely is inspiration and perception. But this is not saying that any man can receive Divine inspiration in the way in which Swedenborg received it, or for the same end. Swedenborg was prepared to become a Revelator, and his preparation, like his office, was unique. He was prepared by the Lord and inspired, that he might publish to mankind a Revelation such as never before had been possible; but all other men are to receive inspiration by means of this Revelation. Swedenborg was prepared that by him the Lord might reveal Himself before men; and now it is the Lord thus revealed who will prepare men and inspire them that they may see Him in the Word and in the world, and may worship and love Him.

1. W. E. 6884 (4 Lat. 6965).

2. W. E. 5266, 5783 (3 Lat. 3051, 4210).

3. T. C. R. 779.

4. T. C. R. 508.




We have presented the view that Swedenborg was prepared for his office of' Revelator by means of truths; and that his progress consisted not in the giving up of his former principles but in a deeper understanding of them. But in The History of Creation and in The Word Explained, especially in its early part, there are certain expressions that may seem to oppose this view.[1] Indeed, these expressions have, been taken by some as indicating that prior to his full illumination Swedenborg believed in the theology of the church of his day; and that the first step in his preparation after his spiritual eyes were opened consisted in his gradually learning the falsity of that theology. Superficially considered, such a position may seem to furnish a satisfactory explanation of certain expressions used in the works which we are considering; but very little reflection is needed to show that it is not tenable.

Swedenborg many times declares that he was prepared for his office from childhood and youth, and it is impossible to reconcile this declaration with the conception of a man of fifty-seven years of age having a mind imbued with the falsities of that very theology which he was destined to expose. More reasonable is it to believe, as Swedenborg himself expressly states, that he was withheld from reading books of theology;[2] and that, to use his own words: "I knew nothing of that learned faith" which teaches the doctrine of the Atonement, and "had I heard of such a faith it would have been then as it is now, above my comprehension."[3]

Moreover, and the point, is a weighty one, it would be easy to refute the dogmatic theology of the day, from Swedenborg's philosophical works alone; that is to say, what Swedenborg is supposed to believe in his writings between 1744 and 1747, could be easily refuted from the whole body of his previous works as well as of the works that followed. To assume that from 1744 to 1747 he held the false ideas of the theology of his day, would be to assume that he, who in the course of his preparation had developed a profound philosophy which in all respects makes one with true theology, on the very eve of his work as Revelator and when his spiritual eyes were opened, had suddenly changed his belief and adopted dogmas opposed alike to his philosophy of the past and to his theology of the future.

Swedenborg was a scientist not a pietist, and like the average Christian knew little or nothing of the inner meaning of orthodox theology. He had no interest in the discussion of purely theological matters. Even when his spiritual eyes were being opened, his ambitions and hopes were confined to philosophy.[4] In The Journal of Dreams, he does indeed use creedal expressions, but only because they were familiar to his ears as the language of religion. Terms on the lips do not change ideas in the mind. The same is true when, in The Worship and Love of God and at the very end of his philosophical career, he expresses his philosophy in the language of orthodoxy, supposing no other than that thus philosophy and theology were in agreement.

But let us now consider some of the statements that have been taken as indications of Swedenborg's belief in a false theology. These will be found in The History of Creation and in the early part of The Word Explained, as well as in the Journal of Dreams and The Worship and Love of God; in short, in the works written by Swedenborg between the end of 1744 and the beginning of 1746. For our purpose, it will be sufficient to quote mainly from The History of Creation.

1. The same is also true of The Worship and Love of God, and, in a lesser degree, of The Journal of Dreams.

2. 2 Doc. 260; Jour. 180. Swedenborg's writings show that his interests lay in science and philosophy and that he had little or no interest in theology. As shown in his Philosopher's Note Book, this is true even when he began to meditate on the Soul, Immortality, etc. It was solely as a philosopher that he read Augustine, Leibnitz, Malebranche and Grotius. He used the terms of theology only when they agreed or might seem to agree with his philosophical conclusions.

3. 2 Doc. 280.

4. Jour. 134.




In explaining the words in the second chapter of Genesis, that God rested from the work of creation, Swedenborg says: "What God rested from, was the production of effects from nothing."[1]

It is assumed that in these words he gives approval to the dogma of creation ex nihilo. Swedenborg probably did not give any thought to the theological doctrine of creation, or if he accepted it, it could not have meant to him what it seems to say. To have believed in creation from nothing would have done violence to the whole frame and fabric of his mind. Such a belief is specifically opposed to the doctrine of his Principia, that creation was effected by motion in the Infinite producing the First Natural Point.[2] Therefore Swedenborg's statement that creation was "from nothing" must be understood as being made according to the appearance. So far as appearance goes, creation is creation from nothing-since to the finite the Infinite is invisible; and when we do not see the cause and the means, the effect necessarily seems to proceed from nothing. The case is finely presented by Swedenborg in his work On the Infinite, where he discusses the conclusion that might be drawn from his previous argument, that relatively to the Infinite the finite is nothing, or vice versa; he continues, "I would not wish you, therefore, to conceive of the Infinite as nothing, on the ground that when it is represented to you in least things it is as nothing relatively to the finite; for you might say the same thing of your finite relatively to the Infinite when the latter is represented in greatest things. Hence you can conclude, but never in a finite way, that there is an Infinite; and moreover, since the Infinite is the cause of the finite, that it cannot be the cause unless itself have being. Nothing can proceed from a cause unless in the cause there is the power of producing as a cause; and that the Infinite has produced the primitive and consequently the world, has already been stated. Actual NOTHING cannot furnish us with any cause; ex nihilo nihil fit. Thus we can conclude that in the Infinite are infinite things, the nature of which cannot be conceived of by the finite."[3]

1. H. C. 12.

2. Cf. the words: "God finited His infinity by means of substances emitted from Himself." (T. C. R. 33.)

3. Infinite I, viii, 3; cf. D. L. W. 17.




What Swedenborg writes about the prince of the world, called also the devil,[1] presents the appearance that he believed in a personal devil, who had been created an angel of light but, having rebelled and being cast out of heaven, had become the prince of the world. Yet, though Swedenborg speaks in the language of orthodox theology, it is clear from his own words that his ideas were far removed from those of the theologian. In his work On the Soul, he gives cogent reasons for concluding that neither a personal devil nor even angels could have been created immediately by God. He is discussing the question as to whether God might have created a heavenly society of souls without an earth, and he intimates that this would be against the Divine Will since a perfect society cannot exist without variety, and variety requires the mixture of the pure and the impure, this being essential for the existence of human rationality. He then continues: "Granting this, it follows that God being Perfection itself, can never have immediately created a devil or any soul in which was evil or guilt, nor consequently a man together with his faults; but that the rise of evil must take its origin or cause, not immediately from God, but from the created subject itself in whom is nature."[2]

It is clear also from many passages in The Worship and Love of God and in The Word Explained, that by the prince of the world Swedenborg very distinctly means the appearance which is given to man that he lives from himself. This appearance, which is called human prudence, and, in a perverted sense, human cunning, is given to man by the Lord in order to rule his outer world or mind, and this to the end that he may be in freedom to bring that world to the service of God. This prudence or cunning, says Swedenborg, is properly the devil or satan.[3] The same is also clear from all that Swedenborg predicates of the prince of the world. Thus, he says that this prince was given authority and dominion over the outer things of man; his two great nobles or vicegerents are the love of self and the love of the world; the kingdom over which he governs is divided into five great provinces, which are the five senses; and his crew is composed of the fires and lusts of the animus, whence spring the diseases of the body; his seat or court is the animus or natural mind; and from there, his crew and its leaders, being excited to rebellion against the Prince of heaven, strive to rush into the higher or spiritual mind that they may render the man wholly corporeal; and those men over whom the devil thus obtains the dominion he makes abject slaves to himself.[4] "Nothing can be truly called ours (says Swedenborg) but the internal mind and its will. From this are we called men and distinguished from the brute. This mind should draw its knowledges and forms of reason from heaven and its light, and should rule the animus. For if it be governed by slaves set at liberty [that is, by the passions of the animus], it is all over with the human principle."[5] Therefore, the prince of the world is constantly bound and restrained by the Prince of heaven, for were he free to do his will unchecked, the human race could not possibly exist in freedom.

Do we not have here a picture of society at large, in which evil men inspired by self-love would reduce all to subjection to themselves, but are restrained by law? and a picture also of that heavenly society or heavenly man in whom the love of self is wholly bound in subjection to the truths received from heaven by the rational mind?

The appearance that man lives from himself, is not in itself an evil thing. Without it, man indeed could not be man. It is this appearance, and so the loves of self and the world, that inspires the delights of the senses; that is the cause of appetite, desire, curiosity, the love of acquiring and of learning; that is the means by which alone man can be led to labor as from himself in gathering the treasures of the world into his memory and imagination for the formation of a rational mind.[6]

This appearance, or this prince of the world with his loves, was indeed created as Lucifer, an angel of light, to give light to the natural mind, and so to prepare it to become the faithful servant of the spiritual mind. Thus he was created that he might serve as a bond between the animal man and the spiritual.[7] But this prince, this appearance that man lives from himself, while so noble a ruler when subjected to the Prince of heaven, has the power of rebellion, the power of exciting man to take the appearance for the truth, the subordinate governor for the Supreme King,-to think that his life is his own because it so appears, and to use that life for himself alone, and not for service in the kingdom of uses. When the prince of the world thus excites man, he is a rebel; Lucifer fallen from heaven.

The whole teaching is set forth at some length in The Worship and Love of God,[8] as follows: "In order that all things in the lowest and outmost spheres of the universe might go and return to its supreme and inmost spheres, God raised up in the very nature of the world a fountain, which was likewise a fountain of life with its in- finite streams. For, without such a spiritual fountain in the world itself, most perfect order could not have been induced. This was the cause of the creation of the many spirits and genii, that is to say, of the many essences that live here [i.e., in the animus], and of the prince or leader of them all. This prince was made the God of the world, and his palace was like the heavenly palace. He also has his chiefs and governors to whom he assigns provinces, and whom he calls intelligences and wisdoms; yea, he has an infinitude of ministries according as the extension of the kingdom requires. He holds a great empire coextensive with that universe which lies before our naked eyes. But he became elated with his greatness, and so insolent, that he wished to possess heaven also, and to arrogate to himself the power of our Love. Therefore, by rebellious motions against the Only-begotten, he wholly departed from the Supreme; and hence the empires or universes became discordant."

In these words, we have the same teaching that is given in the Writings; but here it is clothed in the language of orthodox theology and also of the Letter of the Word.[9] In The True Christian Religion, we read that God created in man three universal loves, the Love of Heaven, the Love of the World and the Love of Self; and that "these three loves, when rightly subordinated, perfect man, and when not rightly subordinated pervert and invert him."[10]

In calling the prince of the world the devil who was created an angel of light, Swedenborg speaks according to the appearance, just as the Sacred Scriptures speak when they tell us of Lucifer "fallen from heaven." This he afterwards explained to certain spirits, and the explanation can refer only to the works of which we are now speaking. "It was granted me (he says [11]) to speak of certain writings indicted and put forth by me, concerning the devil, to the effect that he was created before the creation of the world that he might be a bond between heavenly things and corporeal, which statements were confirmed-being confirmed also from the fact that they could have been put in no other way, because the whole Christian world believes no other than that the devil was created a good angel, but afterwards fell and was cast down from heaven." In a word the philosophical truth which Swedenborg presented concerning men's two natures could not then have been presented theologically without speaking of the Devil.

1. H. C. 19, 24; W. E. 37.

2. Soul, 555.

3. W. E. 37, 38.

4. W. L. G. 69; 77; 74, 77, W. E. 61; W. L. G. 79; 72.

5. W. L. G. 72.

6. W. L. G. 83-84.

7. W. E. 44.

8. W. L. G. 69 seq.

9. See Isa. 14:12-16, Zech. 3:1-2, Luke 10:18, Rev. 12:7, 8.

10. T. C. R. 394 and 403.

11. S. D. 3217.




In more than one place in The History of Creation, and in the early part of The Word Explained, Swedenborg speaks of three Persons of the Divinity, and also of the Son of God becoming an expiatory victim for the sins of the world.[1] The two doctrines go together, the one being the logical offspring of the other. We shall confine our comment to showing that Swedenborg did not then, or at any time, believe in three Persons; and from this it will naturally follow that he could not have believed in the monstrous doctrine of the blood atonement. In regard to the latter doctrine, however, we may remark that a close study of The Word Explained shows that in speaking of the Son of God becoming an expiatory sacrifice, Swedenborg's meaning is, that when man acted against the laws of spiritual order, those laws necessarily condemned him; but that, in spite of this, the one only Love of the Father, willing man's salvation, came upon the earth and received into Himself the assaults of evil men and evil spirits that He might subdue them and so might be present before man in ultimates and teach and save him. That this is Swedenborg's true meaning, follows, as we have said, from the fact that he had no notion of three Persons. Indeed, reason cannot conceive of the possibility of a natural philosopher-as Swedenborg justly describes himself[2]-a man of reason," "an investigator of natural truths," and a man moreover, who, throughout his philosophical career had taught the idea of one God-reason, we say, cannot conceive of such a man, changing his whole thought, and adopting a belief in three distinct Persons in the Godhead; and doing this, moreover, when he is nearly sixty years of age and after his spiritual eyes have been opened! And here reason is supported by Swedenborg's own evidence, who declares:[3] "From my infancy I could not admit into my mind any other idea than that of one God." This testimony is conclusive, and it remains only to enquire into Swedenborg's real meaning in speaking of "three Persons"; it is neither useful nor necessary, to condemn the mere words. Swedenborg himself declares this, and, indeed, in respect to the very subject we are discussing. After relating a conversation with angels concerning the Divine Esse, he continues:[4] When they heard these things, the angels perceived in my thought the common ideas of the Christian Church in regard to God, concerning a Trinity of Persons in Unity, and their Unity in Trinity; and also concerning the birth of a Son of God from eternity. And then they said, Of what are you thinking? Are you not thinking these things from natural light with which our spiritual light does not concord? Unless, therefore, you remove the ideas of that thought, we will shut heaven to you and go away. But then I said to them, Enter, I pray you, more deeply into my thought, and perhaps you will see concordance. And they did so, and saw that by three Persons I understood[5] the three proceeding Divine Attributes, which are Creation, Redemption and Regeneration, and that these are attributes of the One God.

These angels were apparently of a somewhat simple disposition; yet they had no difficulty in seeing Swedenborg's real thought once they learned what he meant by the ideas of his natural thought. But perhaps the most striking thing in this passage is the statement that the idea of three Persons was in Swedenborg's thought at all. Certainly nowhere in the Writings do we find Swedenborg speaking in such a way that one might, by any possibility, infer that he entertained the idea of three Persons. This reflection leads us to the conclusion that the angels perceived in his thoughts the things he had written many years previously, in The Worship and Love of God, The History of Creation, and The Word Explained; and that it was in respect to these writings that he requested them to enter more deeply into his thought. In fact, no other conclusion is possible, for there is nothing else to which Swedenborg could have referred.

This leads us to the question of the time when this conversation occurred. It could hardly have taken place in 1765, when Swedenborg was writing The Apocalypse Revealed, the work in which the conversation is first related. In 1765, Swedenborg's whole thought had long been expressed in the language of the Heavenly Doctrine; and we can hardly suppose that angels would go back twenty years to find something in his memory with which to reproach him; such not being the way of angelic spirits. Far more probable is it, that the conversation recorded in The Apocalypse Revealed occurred within a short time of Swedenborg's having written The Word Explained,-a time when the expressions there used would still be fresh in his thought. And this probability becomes almost a certainty when we consider certain phrases that occur in the beginning of the Memorable Relation of which this conversation is a part.

Swedenborg there states that he heard angels in heaven talking things ineffable, and he then continues: "But since I had been in company with angels in heaven itself several times, and was then in similar speech because in a similar state, therefore I could now understand them." The words we have italicized indicate that at the time referred to Swedenborg was as yet only in the beginning of his intercourse with the heavens; and it is easy to imagine that at that time angels or spirits might readily perceive, clinging to his memory, something of the expressions used in The Word Explained. Add now to this the fact that in The Memorabilia there is a passage, dated February 21, 1749, which describes a similar incident of accusation by angels, and a request for deeper examination by Swedenborg, and we can hardly be deemed rash if we suppose that this passage and the passage in The Apocalypse Revealed describe one and the same incident. The passage in The Memorabilia reads: When angelic spirits spoke on the subject, that it was not the true internal sense that had been written in those days or in that day, it was granted them to inspect whether this was the truth. They then made scrutiny and this deeply and profoundly with .a manifest sensation [on my part] that [the scrutiny was going on] there with penetrating thoughts, in a certain place in the left of the head where truths and falses are, just as cupidities are in the right part of the head. It was a certain place in the left part of the head, and it was told them that they should make scrutiny, there-which was done.[6]

The reference to "the internal sense that had been written in those days" is manifestly to The Word Explained, and whether this passage does or does not describe the occasion spoken of in The Apocalypse Revealed, it at any rate affords us information as to the manner in which angels inspect the thoughts of another, and see whether or not they are in agreement with the truth.

Aside, however, from the question as to the date of the conversation related in The Apocalypse Revealed, it is quite clear that when the angels did inspect Swedenborg's thought they found that by three Persons he understood the three proceeding Divine Attributes of the One God. This also we shall find if we inspect his writings.

Throughout his philosophical works, Swedenborg uniformly teaches the Unity of God. The very soul of The Principia is the One and Only Infinite God; and in the physiological writings, we find the positive teaching that the One God is the I AM and the I CAN, the First and the Last, who is Love itself and Wisdom itself, the Sun of Life and the Fount of all intelligence.[7]

In the work On the Infinite, Swedenborg recognizes that the Infinite, though far above all finite comprehension, yet created the finite, and revealed itself to finite minds. Therefore, he concludes, between the Infinite and the finite there must be a nexus, whereby the former is present in the latter. "The fact that all contingencies in things finite (he says) have conspired so marvellously to a single end, can arise from no other source than a cause in which is an infinitely Intelligens; whence it follows, that in the cause there is an eminent Ens, and in the Ens an infinitely Intelligens. It is clear also that there is a nexus between the primitive [i.e., the first of finite creation] and the cause; because whatever is most perfect in the primitive is infinite in the cause; the nexus, however, is infinite."[8]

In developing this theme, Swedenborg devoutly and reverently identifies this infinite nexus with the only begotten Son of God, revealed in the Scriptures; and it is in what he states in this connection that we find the keynote to the expressions used in The History of Creation and The Word Explained. "But let us now see (he says) whether God Himself, or the Infinite, has not been pleased to reveal to us this very thing. For He tells us that from eternity He begat a Son or the Only-begotten; that this only begotten Son is Infinite and is God; that the nexus between the finite and the Infinite is by means of the only begotten Infinite and God; that the Father and Son are one God, both being Infinite and both being the Creator of the finite universe; that both concurred in the work of creation; yet that they are so distinct, that the one is Father, the other Son, the one the first Person, the other the second; and thus, that in respect to the name Father and Son, and in respect to the name Person, etc., they are two, but in respect to infinity and divinity they are one and the same. Thus we have here the same as what reason dictated, to wit, that there is a nexus between the finite and the Infinite; that the final cause belongs to the Infinite; but only by this nexus, that is, by the Son, and by nothing else, is there a connection of the Infinite with the finite. Thus then, we have tire concordance of revelation with reasoning."[9]

We have italicized certain parts of this quotation, in order to indicate the emphasis to be laid upon them. Swedenborg found an agreement between revelation or the Word, and reasoning or philosophy; that is to say, and the reasoning set forth in his work On the Infinite. This reasoning is, that the Infinite is One and Indivisible, but that for the existence of a nexus between the Infinite and the finite, there must be some intermediate which, while infinite, yet looks to the finite. - This nexus he calls Conatus, and it is clearly identified with the First Natural Point of The Principia, and, in the Writings, with the Divine Proceeding from the Divine Esse, or the finiting motion of Divine Love whereby God finited His infinity,[10] and so whereby creation was effected and is continually sustained.

It is worthy of note in this connection, that Swedenborg follows the work On the Infinite with an essay On the Intercourse Between the Soul and Body; that is to say, after considering the Infinite and the Finite in the Macrocosm, together with the Nexus or the Son of God, he takes up the corresponding theme in the microcosm or man, and considers the Soul and Body. And here, applying his doctrine of the Nexus, he shows that as there is a nexus between the Infinite and Finite so there must be a nexus between soul and body; but no one would assert that he therefore believed that in man there were two souls or two or three persons.

Here we have the keynote to Swedenborg's thought respecting the Son of God. In respect to Infinity and Divinity the Son and the Father are one and the same God; but the Son is the proceeding, or the speech, whereby creation was affected. So likewise with the soul considered in itself, and the soul flowing into the body. Thus Revelation and Reason lead to the same conclusion.

This is clearly set forth in The Word Explained, where we read:

That the Creator or Parent of all things, His Only-begotten or Son, and the Holy Spirit proceeding from both, are ONE, and taken together are GOD, is most clearly evident from Genesis 1:26, where are these words, And God said, Let us make man in our image, etc.,-for it was One who said, Let us make; and also from almost every verse of the same chapter, with the distinction of offices, which are expressed by Creation, Diction, and the Production of the cause.[11]

Again Swedenborg says: That Jehovah God is one in Essence, but trine in Persons; that is to say, the Parent of all, of whom is predicated creation; His Only-begotten or Son, of whom is predicated salvation; and the Holy Spirit proceeding from both, of whom is predicated sanctification; is here declared by God Himself by mouth and by Scripture; for, from Himself as from One, and at the same time from many, He speaks in these words: Jehovah God said, Behold, man is as one of us.[12]

But it is in The History of Creation that Swedenborg explains most clearly his true meaning in the use of the term Three Persons. There we read: The Divine decrees and mandates become actual by means of His only begotten Son, to whom Speech is attributed, and of the Holy Spirit. But to understand what Speech is, and what is meant by all things being created by Speech-this, indeed, is a deep arcanum. And yet it is perceived to some little extent, and thus obscurely, by means of the representations of the ends of our own mind. For in our mind the representations of all ends are what first exist; afterwards come decrees or mandates, which are the same as the Word or Speech, wherein they are suitably dictated; and then follow the uses which are determined into acts.[13]

Here it will be observed that Swedenborg defines the Trinity as the Representation of Ends-the Father; Decrees or Mandates-the Son or Word; and Uses-the Holy Spirit. And, as though to remove all obscurity, he points to man as an image of this Trinity. His meaning is still further elucidated in The Worship and Love of God, where he says: Our minds first represent to themselves ends, which are their first and last goals; then they are intent on means or causes in order that uses may exist; for which reason also, there are formed, as it were, eggs, which, being animated by the mind and conceived by the love of the end, produce vital offspring conformable to the preconceived idea. In these processes it appears that in their first origin ends and uses are altogether different from causes and means; and are present in the mind howsoever the mediations or series of causes may succeed each other-mediations which themselves existed in the same mind simultaneously and in one complex, even before their birth. And if this is the case in minds that are obscure and finite, what must it be in the Divine and Infinite Mind![14]

These quotations, and many others which might be adduced, are conclusive confirmations and explanations of Swedenborg's own assertion, that "by three persons" he "used to understand the three Divine Proceeding Attributes of the One God."

It is clear beyond doubt, that in all this thought and writing Swedenborg had no idea of three persons as in any sense implying three Gods; and that whatever may be thought as to the propriety of the expression "three persons," in that expression he himself embodied the idea of One God as revealed in the Scriptures. To this expression, as used by him, might well apply what is said in the Writings: In the Christian heaven are admitted those who have worshipped one God under three Persons, and have not at the same time had an idea of three Gods.[15]

Still the question remains, Why did Swedenborg use the term Persons? This question is answered by Swedenborg himself in his reply to the angels, from which we have already quoted in part. After asking these angels to enter more deeply into his thought, he continued: And then I told them that I had my natural thought concerning a Trinity and Unity of Persons from the doctrine of the Faith of the Church which takes its name from Athanasius; and that this doctrine is just and right if only for a Trinity of Persons there is understood a Trinity of Person which is given solely in the Lord Jesus Christ.[16]

It has `been thought by some that this passage implies that Swedenborg had an idea of three Persons in his external thought, but not in his internal. If by this is meant that there was with him a conflict and contrariety of thought, such a conclusion cannot be justified; for Swedenborg's only idea" from infancy" and throughout his philosophical writings, was the idea of One God; moreover, he was a learned philosopher, and a profound thinker. But if by "external thought" is meant the appearance in the memory wherewith the real thought clothes itself, then the conclusion is warranted. It is as if a man should consciously know and believe that the earth revolves around the sun, and yet should say that the sun rises and sets. Here -his external thought is derived from the appearances which have entered through the senses, and it is with these that the internal thought clothes itself. Such a man would at once snake clear his thought, if accused of believing in the appearance. So with Swedenborg. In fact, we have his definite statement that as understood by him the Athanasian Creed from which he derived his appearances was "just and right," for, he said, "by three Persons I used to understand the three Divine Proceeding Attributes of the one God."

But his language was derived, not only from the Athanasian Creed, but also, though indirectly, from the Word itself. We read: That it was permitted to say three Persons, is because, in the beginning there could be no thought except concerning Jehovah God the Father, the Creator of the universe. The thought that He was the Lord could hardly exist. Wherefore, it was useful. That the Creator of the universe had descended and become man appeared to them as something that could not be received; the mere idea of Jehovah as infilling the whole heaven and the whole world with His presence and providence, was an impediment to it. Therefore, for this reason, in the sense of the Letter of the Word, three are named, as three Persons, into whose names they should baptize.[17]

Swedenborg, in saying Three Persons, was using the appearances of the Letter, but clothed in the language of the Athanasian Creed. And here we have the clue to what he meant by his external thought; namely, the appearances of the Letter of that Word which he regarded as the Revelation of God.

1. H. C. 6; W. E. 197; W. L. G. 78, 82.

2. Inter, of Soul and Body. 20.

3. T. C. R. 16.

4. A. R. 961 = Brief Ex. 119 = T. C. R. 26.

5. The tense of the Latin verb Is the imperfect, meaning "I was understanding, I used to understand."

6. S. D. 4149. The passage continues: "Hence it may be evident that certain truths and falsities are found in certain places in the left head-at which I wondered-and nowhere else. Thus, truths and falses have their own places In the head. Where there Is falsity, the head In that place Is hardened and painful when Inspected or explored by angelic spirits, and Is tormented; but when truths are there, it is soft and without pain, and so can be inspected by angelic spirits. 1749, February 21, Tuesday." The above translation is made from the phototyped manuscript, and differs materially from the published translation, which Is based on a faulty Latin text.

7. E. A. K. II, 252, 267; Soul, 460-61.

8. Inf. I, viii, 2.

9. 1 Inf. I, x.

10. T. C. R. 33. The reader need feel no alarm at this Identification of the First Natural Point with the Divine Proceeding. By the Point Swedenborg means "pure and total motion In the Infinite" that is to say, the creative motion of Divine Love,-a motion which is the omnipresent life of the universe, and the nexus between the Infinite and the Finite,-the Creating Word. Whether. or not this may with propriety be called the First Natural Point, does not affect the subject we are now discussing.

11. W. E. 26.

12 W. E. 80.

13. H. C. 8.

14. W. L. G. 28, note. See the same Idea expressed In 2 E. A. K. 365..

15. A. R. Preface.

16. A. R. 961.

17. Ath. Creed, 166.




We have followed the literary life of Swedenborg from The Principia to the Arcana. We have seen the gradual opening of his spiritual eyes, and his introduction into that unique state which distinguished him. We have traced the leading of the Divine Providence in preparing him from infancy for the office of Revelator, and have seen that under this leading each stage of his work was the means to advance him one step further towards the final goal. We have seen the three great periods of his life. THE FIRST, when he investigated nature entirely by his own efforts, as it were, but guided by the doctrines which his studies and meditations had led him to formulate, and which later were confirmed by signs, dreams, and open visions. THE SECOND, when he labored, still as if of himself, but aided now by an open knowledge of the world of spiritual causes. And THE THIRD, when his mind was so formed by the truths of nature, of the Word, and of the spiritual world that he wrote by direct inspiration, filled with the Spirit of God, so that what he wrote was truly the Word of God.

But though the works written during these periods are thus distinct and not to be confounded, yet through them all we see the golden thread of the Divine leading. The Principia with its doctrine of the atmospheres as the active forces of the universe, was the forerunner and herald of the anatomical works, where the human body was studied as the recipient of these forces and their transmuter into sensations, imaginations, ideas, loves. And the anatomical works in their turn led on to that great treatise on The Five Senses, where Swedenborg traces the commerce between soul and body, the harmony of ideas and sensations, of the inner world and the outer. Then came The Worship and Love of God, in which all the fruits of the former works were gathered together to present the Lord in Human form, as the Soul of the universe and the only Object of our worship.

In the second period, came the study of the Word, to which study were brought all the fruits of former studies. From the great doctrines by which his mind had been molded, Swedenborg was now able to look upon the marvels of the spiritual world, to reflect upon them in rational light, and to judge as to the truth or falsity of what came before him; and so was still further prepared for the third period,-the period of Divine, revelation which was commenced with the writing of the Arcana Coelestia.

All these works, from The Principia on, form together one inseparable whole. What is so dimly foreshadowed in the philosophical works, becomes clearer in the intermediate writings, and is set forth in full light in the Heavenly Doctrines; and what the latter but briefly allude to in respect to science and philosophy, forms an essential part of the intermediate works and is explained in illuminating detail in the philosophical; and therefore, any essential deprecation of the writings of the one period cannot but deeply affect the validity of the writings of the others.

It is true that the Heavenly Doctrines contain in themselves the whole of a true science and philosophy, but where we are able to develop this, we shall find that it will make one with the teachings of the earlier works; and so we shall find that the teachings of these earlier works are the means ready to our hand whereby `we can see a philosophy and science in the Heavenly Writings which otherwise might entirely escape our gaze.

The New Church is to be the crown of the churches. Unlike the former churches, its doctrines are to enlighten not only the spiritual mind but also the natural. It is to give to the world not only a new theology but a new philosophy and a new science; and this that the Lord may be revealed not only as the God of heaven but as the God of earth; not only as the God of the theologian, but as the God of the philosopher and the scientist; the Divine Man, whose presence and operation and law is to be seen and loved and worshipped in every plane of human life; in whose land "shall be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria; and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians; and Israel shall be a blessing in the midst of the Land."[1]

Is it then to be wondered at, that in addition to the Writings of the New Church, the Lord, in preparing Swedenborg for his mission as Revelator, has also provided for the use of mankind a science and philosophy which makes one with Divine Revelation and which shall serve for the enlightenment of men that they may read that Revelation with clearer sight and see its truths in clearer light?

To those who desire clear-cut lines of demarcation, we can readily admit that the Writings of the New Church commence with the Arcana Coelestia; for only then was Swedenborg's preparation completed. We can agree also with those who, desiring a broader view, hold that the Revelation of the spiritual world and of the internal sense of the Word is also given, though in a lesser degree, in The History of Creation, The Word Explained with its Memorabilia, the Indices to the Bible, and The Marginal Notes. But surely, viewing the matter with a more universal gaze, it cannot be denied that the truths provided for the enlightenment and growth of the New Church are contained in all Swedenborg's works, the philosophical as well as the theological. It matters not the means by which they were provided for our use, whether by the invisible Divine Guidance of a God-fearing philosopher, by the opening of his spiritual eyes, or by immediate inspiration of a man who was in both worlds at the same time. The truths contained in these writings are provided for our use. Let our part be to study them, to ponder over them, that so we may gather them together into one grand system which shall be inspired and made living by the Heavenly Doctrine now revealed to the world.

1. Isaiah 19:23-4.