The Worship and Love of God #0

By Emanuel Swedenborg
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The Worship and Love of God, by Emanuel Swedenborg

"De Cultu et Amore Dei", first published in Latin, London, 1745.

The first English translation was by R. Hindmarsh, London, 1790-1791

This translation is by Alfred H. Stroh and Frank Sewall, 1913.



Preface of the Translators, 0

Observations on the Character and Purpose of this Work, 0

Part I. The Origin of the Earth, Paradise, and the Abode of Living Creatures, 3

Also The Birth, Infancy, and Love of the First-Born Or Adam, 39

Part II. The Marriage of the First-Born or Adam; and, in Connection with It, the Soul, the Intellectual Mind, the State of Integrity the Image of God, 87

Part III. The Married Life of the First-Born Pair, 111

Appendix I, II, 131

Index [not included in this text]



[This work was to have been in three parts. Part III was not finished, though the beginning of it was published with Parts I and II, in Latin by the author in London in the year 1745.] Translations into English of these two parts have been published in 1801, 1816, 1832, 1864, and 1885, but no translation of Part III has hitherto appeared. A portion of this Part in print and the remainder in manuscript have been preserved in the Library of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences at Stockholm and made accessible to scholars through Vol. VII. of the photo-lithographed manuscripts. From this copy as carefully compared with the original writing itself Alfred H. Stroh has now transcribed this hitherto unpublished portion of the work, and translated it into English for the present edition.

The translation of Parts I. and II. by the Rev. John Clowes published in 1816, and used without change by the Rev. Thomas Murray Gorman, M.A., in his edition of 1885, has been very thoroughly revised and its omissions supplied with careful reference to the original text by Alfred H. Stroh and Frank Sewall, this work having been undertaken as a result of the interest roused in the work at the meeting of the Swedenborg Scientific Association held in Washington, D.C., in the year 1904. A simultaneous translation from the photolithographed Part III. kindly submitted for comparison by the Rev. Alfred Acton, afforded valuable assistance in the effort to find the most accurate rendering of a text in places obscure both in the writing and the meaning. With an edition of the Latin text of the entire work which is now contemplated, it will be possible for scholars to examine these passages for themselves and satisfy themselves as to their most correct rendering into English. An analytical Index has been supplied for the present edition, which will be found of value in guiding to the discussions of the great variety of subjects contained in the work, and also in comparing these with those of Swedenborg's other works.

Alfred H. Stroh, Frank Sewall.



The title of this remarkable work, - a work which is probably unique in the entire history of philosophic and psychologic writing, - enigmatic as it has seemed to the cursory reader, - will, when carefully considered in connection with a deeper knowledge of what the work contains, undoubtedly reveal better than any other solution its real meaning and purpose.

Its production marks the conclusion of the three distinct periods of the author's investigations previous to his illumination and seership, namely,

- the Scientific, embracing the early works in Geology, Physics, and Mechanics,

- the Philosophical, including the work on the Infinite and the Lesser and Larger Principia,

- the Anatomical, Physiological and Psychological, embracing the works on the Animal Kingdom, the Economy of the Animal Kingdom, and on the Soul, or Rational Psychology.

In these works we have an account of the creation out of the Infinite of the physical universe as the habitation of the soul of man, and of the nature and operations of the soul in this its physical kingdom or realm. But it is in the work now before us that the generation and formation of the soul itself are described and so is reached the completion of the author's philosophical doctrine of creation.

The work is dramatic in form, being composed in a poetic style unlike that of the author's other writings (excepting the early poems), and the first two Parts present a succession of six Scenes or Acts. The principal impersonations in the drama are the Supreme Love or the Only Begotten; the heavenly Intelligences or guardians; the First-begotten or Adam; the Mother Soul and her daughter Intelligences and Wisdoms; the Spouse of Adam; and the Prince of this World; all of which are represented as individuals participating in the development of the perfect human being.

The work was published in part by the author in 1745, two years after the opening of his spiritual vision and his introduction thereby into that higher and more real knowledge of the spiritual world and of the Divine Word, on which is based the entire series of his theological works. But it clearly embodies those conceptions which were, as he distinctly avers, the rational conclusions following the entire course of his own scientific and philosophical investigations thus far. In some of these conceptions, such as that of the Only Begotten, the Prince of this World, and the redemption of man from the power of the latter, the reader may find what seems discordant with the truths as afterward revealed. But it should be remembered that the symbolical form adopted, like that of the literal sense of the Holy Scripture, is capable of interpretation in harmony with those deeper spiritual truths into which the author was being providentially led. They were foreshadowings rather than contradictions of the sublimer truths to be revealed, and - what is of profound significance - the work, which was the last struggle of the unaided human intelligence to attain that goal constantly in view from the first - "a knowledge of the Soul," - was left unfinished. The sacred recesses of knowledge to which he had aspired were still closed; but he has reached their threshold, and here in this great crisis of his career he kneels as in an act of adoration and offers up in humble confession and supplication this, his work on The Worship and Love of God.

It is a confession of the inmost motive that has inspired all this writing hitherto, an acknowledgment of the insufficiency of human reason to survey Divine things except by Divine guidance and a supplication for this guidance into the higher knowledge. The author's mental attitude, as well as the intention of the book itself, is best described in his own language. In the posthumous work, the Adversaria or Explicatio in Verbum Historicum Veteris Testamenti, he says:

"In my treatise on The Worship and Love of God, Part the First, I have treated of the origin of the Earth, Paradise, its verdant bower and the birth of Adam, but still according to leading of the intellect or the thread of reason. Inasmuch, however, as human intelligence is in no wise to be trusted, unless it be inspired by God, it is of importance to truth that those things which have been taught in the little work just mentioned should be compared with the things revealed in the Sacred Codex and herein with the history of Creation revealed by God to Moses, and the point examined, in what way do they coincide? For what does not straightway coincide with what has been revealed must be openly declared as wholly false or as an aberration of our rational mind. With this end in view, I felt bound to premise a careful study of the first chapters of Genesis.

"Now when I had compared these things together with unremitting care I was amazed at their agreement; for the first thing treated of in our little work is the universal chaos or greatest Egg of the Universe which contained in itself the heaven and the earth according to the first verse of the first Chapter of Genesis, etc., etc."

Here is emphatically asserted the distinction between the knowledge obtained by reason and its philosophy and that obtained by revelation, and it is most plainly declared that the system here set forth has been arrived at by the philosophic process, with no claim to the authority of revelation.

Further, the relation of the philosophic and the theological knowledge is fully described in the following eloquent passage from the work on The Economy of the Animal Kingdom, Part II.; No. 266.

"For the mind which is within nature there is no path open beyond and above nature; consequently none by which philosophy can penetrate into the sanctuary of Theology.

"No human faculty or perception can possibly understand, of itself, its own essence or nature; much less the essence or nature of anything higher than itself.

"Thus no organ of the senses can understand what perception is; no organ of perception can understand what intelligence is; nor can intelligence in so far as it is merely natural, understand what wisdom is. It is the higher that must be the judge of the lower. Therefore the lower exists by favor and help of the higher."

"Wherefore, I beseech you, let us not seek to pass beyond the assigned limits, nor in the course of our reasonings rashly trespass upon things sacred. All that is allowed us to do is to touch with a kiss the threshold of things holy, that we may know there is a Deity, the sole Author and Upholder of the universe, who should be the object of our reverence, adoration, and love; and that the providence of our reason is respectively nothing whilst His providence is all in all.

"But what kind of being He is, in what manner He is to be worshipped, in what way we are to draw near to Him, this it has pleased Him (immortal glory be unto Him!) to reveal by means of His own holy Testaments and oracles. Only entreat Him earnestly for pardon, make use of the means He has given, weary Him with prayers, speak to Him from the soul, and not from a heart covetous of the world, and surer than certainty you will see laid open to your view the innermost sanctuaries of His Grace."

Finally, in the work itself, Part the First, Chapter Second, No. 30, after describing the earth as now at the "height of its creation with nothing wanting to any sense by which it might exalt its life and replenish the soul itself with joys," he continues:

"There was yet wanting that son of the earth, or that mind under a human form which from the paradise of earth might look into the paradise of heaven, and from this again into that of earth, and thus from an interior sight, could embrace and measure both together, and from the conjunction of both could be made sensible of pleasures to the full; consequently, who, from a kind of genuine fountain of gladness and of love could venerate and adore above everything the Bestower and Creator of all things. There was no object, not even the smallest, from which some resemblance of Deity did not shine forth and which, in consequence, was not desirous to offer itself to the enjoyment of such a being as could return immortal thanks to that Deity for himself and for everything!"

Is it not the purpose of this book to bring the tribute of the richest harvest of the author's scientific and philosophic labors and lay them, in the humble attitude of thankful adoration, on the threshold of those sacred recesses into which he could have access only by an act of Divine Grace, and which access was now to be granted in opening to his vision the reality and the order of the spiritual world and the wonderful depths of the Arcana or spiritual meaning of the Holy Scriptures?

As to that in the philosophic theory of creation here presented which will probably strike the scientific reader with the greatest amazement, - namely, the arboreal origin of man in place of birth from a lower animal form, - it may be permitted to suggest the co-ordination of this theory with the generally accepted theory of the evolution of the animal kingdom as a whole from the vegetable and the resultant inquiry whether the step of transition may not as reasonably have been immediate from the highest of the lower order to the highest of the higher as from the lowest to the lowest and thence upward by intermediate steps; and, further, that, as to the origin of human life, the science of the present day is by universal confession so far from having reached a finality that it can approach the theory here set forth with an open, if not an entirely unprejudiced mind. For the solution of this as of all other of the deep mysteries of being and of life every candid student will cherish with Swedenborg the inspiring trust: Tempus venit quando illustratio.

Frank Sewall, Washington, D.C., October, 1913.

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