The Heavenly City, A Spiritual Guidebook #0

By Emanuel Swedenborg

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The Heavenly City, A Spiritual Guidebook

by Emanuel Swedenborg

Translated by Lee Woofenden, and published by The Swedenborg Foundation, West Chester, Pennsylvania, 1993

Originally published as 'De Nova Hierosolyma et ejus Doctrina Coelesti Ex Auditis e Coelo', or The New Jerusalem and its Philosophy from Heaven, According to What I Have Heard from Heaven

- First edition published in Latin, London 1758

- First English Translation believed to be by P. Provo, London, 1780

- Second English Translation by R. Hindmarsh and P. Provo, Manchester, England, 1785

- First American Printing of English Translation, Boston, 1794

- Third English Translation by G. Harrison, London, 1860

- Fourth English Translation by T. B. Hayward, Boston, 1867

- 250th Anniversary Edition, Revised, Published simultaneously in nineteen Languages, London, 1938

- Sixth English translation by John Chadwick, London, 1990

Emanuel Swedenborg’s Original Work, De Nova Hierosolyma Et Ejus Doctrina Coelesti: Ex Auditis e Coelo. Quibus praemittitur aliquid de Novo Coelo et nova Terra, when first translated into English carried the title "A Treatise Concerning the New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine, from what has been heard from heaven, to which is prefixed something concerning the New Heaven and the New Earth".

Subsequent translators used the titles: The Heavenly Doctrine of the New Jerusalem as Revealed from Heaven; On the New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine, as revealed from Heaven; and The New Jerusalem and its Philosophy from Heaven, according to what I have heard from Heaven, with an Introduction about the New Sky and the New Land. Counting all translations, editions and printings, English language versions of this work have been published at least 75 times under these various titles.

Copyright 1993 by Lee Woofenden. All rights reserved. No part of this electronic document may be used or reproduced for any commercial purpose without the written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

For information write:

Swedenborg Foundation

P.O. Box 549

West Chester, Pennsylvania 19381-0549

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number:92-062623

ISBN 0-87785-144-1


Translator’s Preface


We live in a time of spiritual upheaval. People are examining traditional Christian beliefs as never before. Some are leaving their churches. Others have kept denominational ties, but long for a deeper understanding of spiritual reality.

Over two hundred years ago, Emanuel Swedenborg began a similar search. For the son of a Lutheran bishop, a church vocation would have been a natural choice. Instead, he chose a career in science and engineering. He traveled from his native Sweden to the intellectual centers of Europe, learning from the prominent scientists of his day.

When he returned from his travels, he took a position on the Swedish Board of Mines. Mining was the largest industry in Sweden, and Swedenborg took his new post seriously. He again traveled to Europe, this time to learn the newest and best mining techniques and bring them back to Sweden. His new post involved diverse skills, from deliberating on mining regulations and mediating business disputes to inspecting the mines firsthand and making on-site improvements.

Meanwhile, he continued his scientific studies. He mastered nearly every branch of scientific knowledge that existed in his day, and wrote books about many of them. He made new discoveries and proposed theories to explain some of the phenomena he encountered.

His goal was not simply an increase in scientific knowledge. Swedenborg was searching for the human soul. He focused increasingly on the human body and brain, attempting to locate the soul through scientific observation. But the more painstaking his studies, the more his goal eluded his grasp. He began to realize that he could not reach the soul through study of the material world, because the soul is on an entirely different level — a spiritual level.

At this point, Swedenborg’s life went through a profound change. Through a series of dreams and visions, he felt called by God to leave his scientific work and explore the deeper mysteries of spirit and religion. Yet his scientific studies were not in vain. He realized that every material thing expresses a deeper, spiritual reality. His thorough knowledge of the physical world gave him the foundation he needed to understand the workings of the inner, spiritual world. And his habits of careful observation and analysis proved valuable.

For the next thirty years — until his death in 1772 at the age of eighty-four — Swedenborg devoted himself to spiritual studies. By his account, God had allowed him to be conscious in the spiritual and physical worlds simultaneously. He carefully laid the basis for a new Christianity appropriate to an age of intellectual freedom. The Heavenly City is Swedenborg’s brief introduction to this new Christianity. It was originally published in Latin in 1758 as De Nova Hierosolyma et ejus Doctrina Coelesti (“The New Jerusalem and its Philosophy from Heaven”). Swedenborg drew the material from his earlier eight volume work Arcana Coelestia (“Secrets from Heaven”).

My aim in this translation of The Heavenly City has been to put Swedenborg’s simple, readable Latin into an equally readable modern English. I have used the broadest, least sectarian language possible in order to convey the remarkable sweep of Swedenborg’s original vision.

In 'The Heavenly City' Swedenborg transforms many conventional religious ideas into vital new concepts. He explores the stages of spiritual growth, examines the deeper structure of the human mind, and gives new meaning to many Christian beliefs and practices. The thoughtful reader will travel beyond the apparent similarities with familiar religious ideas into a rich and rewarding world of new spiritual insights.

— Lee Woofenden, Guemes Island, Washington

Notes to the reader:

1. The grouping of the chapters into parts was added by the translator to make the contents easier to grasp.

2. Following the custom of his day, Swedenborg numbered his paragraphs. Since this has become the standard way to refer to his works, we have kept the numbers in this edition. However, we have eliminated the extensive cross-references to his earlier work, Arcana Coelestia, — which explains the missing numbers between the chapters.


Introduction: The New Sky, the New Land, and What “The New Jerusalem” Means

Preface: A Comparison of Ancient and Present-Day Religion

Part I: Our Inner Structure

1. Goodness and Truth

2. Motivation and Understanding

3. Our Inner and Outer Selves

Part II: Our Different Loves

4. Love in General

5. Selfishness and Materialism

6. Loving Other People, or Kindness

Part III: Our Spiritual Life

7. Faith

8. Religious Devotion

9. Conscience

10. Freedom

11. Taking Credit for Our Actions

Part IV: Our Spiritual Development

12. Regretting our Faults and Giving Them Up

13. Rebirth

14. Inner Struggles

Part V: Christian Observances

15. Baptism

16. The Holy Supper

Part VI: Life After Death

17. Rising from Death

18. Heaven and Hell

Part VII: Facets of Religion

19. The Christian Religion

20. The Bible: A Holy Book

21. The Lord’s Provision for Us

22. The Lord

23. Religious and Political Government

Search for God’s realm first and everything else will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)

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Many thanks to the Swedenborg Foundation for giving us permission to use this translation.