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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences



The Swedenborg Foundation has done handsomely by its eponymous visionary with this first volume in a new 25 part set of translations for his of his work. They have begun with a fine new translation of Emmanuel Swedenborg's most famous work, a description of the many heavens and hells that make up the great 18th-century thinker's cosmology, at once perfectly logical and perfectly eccentric. Swedenborg's afterworld is a kind of reflection and amplification of our own, and his vision of moving and active collective of heavens, occupied by the very real blessed dead, has been a tremendous influence on Goethe, Emerson, and Jorge Luis Borges, among many others. Dole's translation has the clarity and simplicity of Swedenborg's Latin, and the notes and supplementary material are wonderfully balanced and informative.

Divine Love and Wisdom by Emanuel Swedenborg, translated by George F. Dole (Swedenborg Foundation) Divine Providence by Emanuel Swedenborg, translated by George F. Dole (Swedenborg Foundation) Heaven and Hell by Emanuel Swedenborg, translated by George F. Dole (Swedenborg Foundation), published in 1758, best-known of Swedenborg's works; describes the nature of life after death and of the internal state, or "ruling love," of the individual that determines his or her situation in the afterlife. Divine Love and Wisdom and Divine Providence are arguably Swedenborg’s two most popular works, after Heaven and Hell. In Divine Love and Wisdom, Swedenborg reaches out to the secular mind with a vision of order and beauty pregnant with meaning and direction and appeals to human experience and reflection (rather than scriptural interpretation) in making the case for the presence of God’s love and God’s wisdom. It is not just that there is a purpose underlying creation; it is that we share in that purpose and are essential to its fulfillment. From God’s infinite love and wisdom to our own individual desires and perceptions, there is an underlying unity on which we can rely.In Divine Providence, the sequel to Divine Love and Wisdom, the focus is directed toward earth, at a world so troubled that the loving hand of God is often hidden from our sight and brought into question. How can we believe in the goodness and power of God when we constantly see injustice and war? The answers that are offered turn us toward a deeper understanding of our own human nature and process. Only divine love and wisdom can provide us with the accountability that gives meaning to our lives.

Emanuel Swedenborg was born in Stockholm on 29th Jan. 1688. He was the second son of Jesper Swedberg, bishop of Skara and previously professor in the University of Upsala The family was in Upsala. Ennobled by Queen Ulrica Eleonora in 1719, when the patronymic of Swedberg was changed into the name of Swedenborg. Little is known of Swedenborg’s childhood. Swedenborg gives the year 1743 as the date of the opening of his spiritual sight, but it was in April 1745, according to his own statement, that he was fully admitted to intercourse with angels and spirits, not by any process analogous to what is usually termed today conscious channeling, but by speaking with the spirits directly, while remaining normally conscious of everything about him on earth. He was quite aware of the skepticism with which such a mental state would be received, when made known to the world, and he anticipated it in his first theological work in these words: ‘I am well aware that many persons will insist that it is impossible for any one to converse with spirits and angels during his lifetime in the body; many All say that such intercourse must be mere fancy ; some, that I have invented such relations in order to gain credit; while others will make other objections. For all these, however, I care not, since I have seen, heard and felt.’

In 1747 Swedenborg resigned his position on the Royal Board of Mines and devoted himself to the new work to which he believed himself to have been divinely called. His vast work, the Arcana Coelestia was completed in 8 vols. in 1756. Then followed, among others, The Earths in the Universe (1758), The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine (1758), Heaven and Hell (1758), perhaps the best known of all his books; Divine Love and Wisdom (1763), Divine Providence (1764), The Apocalypse Revealed, vol. 1 & 2 (1766), Conjugal Love (1768), the first theological work to which Swedenborg’s name is attached, and lastly The True Christian Religion (1771). (All kept in print by the Swedenborg Foundation.)

Many American Swedenborg scholars and divines recognize that the standard translations need to be brought up to date and retranslated from the mostly original Latin. At this time any such projects are in very preliminary stages. It will be important to the community to create easier to read texts as well as lively commentaries of an advanced and intermediate level.

Emanuel Swedenborg: Visionary Savant in the Age of Reason by Ernst Benz, Introduction  and trans;ation by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke (Swedenborg Foundation) This translation is long overdue. The great German scholar Ernst Benz documents the rich and fascinating life of Emanuel Swedenborg, who has exceptional place in history as both scientist and mystic visionary. An active statesman, Swedenborg accomplished major engineering feats, contributed numerous groundbreaking studies in a variety of scientific fields, and played a prominent role in Swedish public institutions concerned with mining, finance, and politics. Traveling widely throughout the continent and living in London during certain periods of his life, he consorted and corresponded with many of the leading intellectual figures of the day such as Newton, Leibnitz, and Flamsteed.

In 1744 he underwent a spiritual experience that changed the direction of his life toward religious issues and theology, biblical exegesis, and the fulfillment of what he understood to be his divine commission to document and communicate what he was being shown in his visions and travels in the nonmaterials realms of the afterlife and to prepare the way for the advent of a spiritual community, which was to supersede the all too worldly and erroneous human churches of Catholicism and the Protestant Reformation. Through the grandeur of his intelligence and the integrity of his commitment to this mission, he left an enduring legacy of written works that have appealed to artistic, literary and spiritual giants such as Dostoevsky, Strindberg, Blake, Yeats, Emerson, D.T. Suzuki and Helen Keller.

Kant und Swedenborg: Zugänge zu einem umstrittenen Verhältnis by Friedemann Herausgeber v. Stengel (Max Niemeyer Verlag) Kant as the leading representative of the philosophical enlightenment and the seer Swedenborg, regarded as the father of modern esotericism, would appear at first sight to be two diametrically`opposed 18th century figures. At the same time, Swedenborg was one of the few authors to whom Kant dedicated a work of his own – the Dreams of a Spirit-Seer. Since then, controversy has surrounded Swedenborg’s significance for Kant’s philosophical biography and the history of his works. In the present volume, philosophers, religious scholars, theologians and literary scholars from six countries present their – far from consensual – interpretations of the relationship between Kant’s critical philosophy and Swedenborg’s “visionary realism”.

HEALING OUR WORLDVIEW: The Unity of Science and Religion by John Hitchcock ($19.95, paperback, 238 pages, Chrysalis Books, ISBN: 0-87785-382-7) is one such recent text that shows how Swendenborg's theological insights are open to an on-going dialog with science. Most religions now attempt a deeper reconciliation with science as a quest for knowledge and human good. For Hitchcock science and religion may seem contradictory worldviews but are essentially complementary in that they form a whole. In HEALING OUR WORLDVIEW, he offers some outlines to the tasks necessary to adjust our worldview so that we see our place in the universe within the light of this whole. Hitchcock applies his thought as a physicist, Jungian therapist, and phenomenologist of science and religion in a compelling exploration of how to dynamically conceive and perceive the reality of both spirit and matter, basically as a movement to a higher order of consciousness, a more resilient logic.

To understand the nature of what is "outside" of us, we must learn the depths of who we are "within." Paradoxically, we can't understand who we are without understanding the world we inhabit. As we examine either science or spirituality, we find that the distinction between the two does not ultimately hold. Aware of this paradox, we must hold the two opposites, balancing the inner and outer worlds. Such a balance requires nothing less than a re-conception of reality, a re-conception that enables us to move from alienation to involvement, from anger to forgiveness, from apathy to caring, and from confusion to awareness. Our healed worldview will, in short, make us more alive and whole.

from Chapter Eight:
Forgiving the universe is accepting our finitude and partialness and our own personal shadowy darkness, but it is also seeing ourselves as part of the whole, as one of many needed parts. Every human is in the same boat. Our help comes from others who have problems in the same way that we do ourselves. And, for some reason, that is the way it was, and will continue to be intended to work. The universe sets problems for us that only love can solve.

HEALING OUR WORLDVIEW is proposes "a cultural evolution--a change in the emotional underpinnings of our intellectual life," to heal the fragmentation in our worldview that developed when science and religion diverged several centuries ago.

To see the wholeness of reality, we must embrace science and spirituality as complementary ways of knowing. Scientific justification for a new way of seeing reality is not enough, Hitchcock asserts: for any understanding of unity to be assimilated into our lives, our knowledge of ourselves must align with our knowledge of the universe.

Caring is as vital as choosing in the process of healing our worldview. Hitchcock's new paradigm of science, religion, and living--his integrative picture of a cosmos in progress---offers active, grateful, and forgiving participation in universal wholeness.

John Hitchcock, Ph.D., holds graduate degrees in clinical mental health counseling, phenomenology of science and religion, and astronomy. He has taught college mythology, astronomy, and physics, and has led seminars in mythology and in science as a source of numinous symbols for personal growth. He is the author of Atoms, Snowflakes, and God (op, Quest, 1986) and The Web of the Universe: Jung, the New Physics, and Human Spirituality (Paulist Press, 1991).

HEAVEN AND HELL, Divine Love & Wisdom, Divine Providence by Emanuel Swedenborg, translated by John C. Ager and William Wunsch ($39.95, paperback, 3 volumes, Boxed edition Swedenborg Foundation; ISBN: 0877852820) is a set of three of Swedenborg's most popular theological works is a handy readable format.

HEAVEN AND HELL by Emanuel Swedenborg, translated by George F. Dole ($15.00, paperback, Swedenborg Foundation; ISBN: 0877851530) HARDCOVER

It is interesting, and in a sense very significant, to find that, while Swedenborg was fully occupied with the publication of so many theological works, he yet found time and freedom of mind to attend to mundane affairs. In 1763 he wrote several papers on scientific subjects in the Transactions of the Royal Academy of Sciences of Stockholm, and in 1766 he republished at Amsterdam his New Method of finding the Longitude of Places on Land and Sea. Count Hopken has stated that ‘the most solid and best written memoirs at the Diet of 1761 an matters of finance were presented by Swedenborg.’

The last political document bearing his signature is an address to the Diet entitled ‘Frank Views concerning the Maintenance of the Country and the Preservation of its Freedom,’ in which he utters a warning against the revival of an absolute monarchy

On Christmas Eve, 1771, while in London, he had a stroke of apoplexy and was visited by the minister of the Swedish Church, E. Ferelius. He never completely recovered, and he died on 29th March 1772 in the eighty-fifth year of his age at his residence in Great Bath Street, Coldbath Fields, London. He was buried in the Swedish Church. In 1908 the Swedish Government, having made arrangements for the transfer of Swedenborg’s remains to his native country, sent the frigate Fulgia to England to bring them home, and in due thus they were deposited in the Cathedral of Upsala, close to the resting place of Linnaeus.

Basic ideas: The philosophical and theological doctrines proposed by Swedenborg may be conveniently considered under three heads: the Divine, the world, and humanity.

Divinity. Swedenborg has nowhere given any formal arguments to prove the existence of God. He starts at once from the conviction that all the principles of human reason unite and, converge upon the principle, that there is one God, the Creator of the Universe. This Principle constitutes the essence of God as love and wisdom. God’s infinity comprehends both immensity and eternity, God’s having relation to space and God’s eternity to time. But God with respect to the created world is ‘in space without space, and in time without time.’ God is life, and all life is from the divine. Life itself is uncreatable, but it can be communicated, lent, as it were, to finite beings. God is one absolutely in essence and in person. The Lord Jesus Christ is God, indeed, but Jesus is not another divine person. He is Yahweh manifested in the finite garment of humanity. Yet in Jesus Christ is a divine Trinity of love, wisdom, and power; the three essentials of Christ’s divine nature. Thus the Lord alone ought to be loved supremely and worshipped as our Heavenly Father. To see Christ is to see the Father (John 12:149).

In a sense Swedenborg admits that God, as divine essence, is unknowable, but Swedenborg believes that there is a form of anthropomorphism which is not only permissible in speaking of God, but necessary, because it conveys a profound truth about the divinity. Swedenborg asserts that our thinking in human symbols would be baseless and misleading if God God’s self were not divinely human. Hence Swedenborg’s startling postulate, ‘God is human.’ Of course, Swedenborg does not mean that God is human in a physical sense. His real meaning is simply that, if we think at all about God, we must do so by means of symbols derived from our highest human experience. But, if these symbols do not correspond, in an infinite Reality, to what they represent, as finite symbolic, to its, then all these conceptions are not merely imperfect and inadequate, but actually false. We are then obliged to conclude that there is a fundamental antinomy in the constitution of the human mind, so that the Power from whom it proceeds has so constructed it that it must think about that Power, and think about it falsely. Surely, Swedenborg considers, what the human mind must think should be, at least, an approximate symbol or representation of a fact. If we doubt this, the grounds upon which we believe any philosophical, ethical, or spiritual truth are undermined. Swedenborg’s careful attention to Correspondence underlies this assumption.

Thus, to think of God as a divine human would simply mean, for Swedenborg, to think of God as being infinite love and wisdom, as the divine is apprehended by us by means of symbols derived from the highest of human faculties, the intellect and the will; those faculties by which we are made in the image of God. But Swedenborg seems also to have discerned some profound connection between this conception of God as a divine human in the divine essence and the rational interpretation of a possible incarnation in time, for reading Swedenborg it must always be remembered that there is an idealism united within the basis of his philosophical views and consequently of his theology. It enables one to understand much that lies hidden behind his realistic language when he deals with spiritual matters for which our human vocabularies have only weak and inadequate expressions.

The world. This should be particularly remembered in Swedenborg’s treatment of the creation of the world. Swedenborg has attempted to correlate two apparently irreconcilable ideas, the idea of a personal God distinct from the universe, and the idea of an immanent Creator. He has done it by means of his doctrine of ‘discrete degrees.’ Swedenborg holds that there are substances of many orders composing the universe. The primary, self existent substance is the infinite God from whom all finite substances originate. But those substances are related to each other in an order constituted by degrees named ‘discrete degrees’ in distinction from ‘continuous degrees,’ because they are plans of existence entirely separate from each other and incapable of being resolved one into another. A continuous degree is merely a variation of being or quality on its own plane, as from heavier to lighter, or from denser to rarer. It is only a question of more or less. Discrete degrees, on the other hand, are never of the same forms or qualities of being, and, moreover, they involve the relation of cause and effect. Hence Swedenborg says, ‘Nothing, so far as I am aware, has hitherto been known of discrete degrees but only of continuous degrees; yet without a knowledge of both kinds of degrees nothing of cause can be truly known,’ for ‘seeing from effects alone is seeing from fallacies." He means that fallacies arise, not front a failure to distinguish between cause and effect, as, for example, between matter and spirit, but from the fact of regarding them as differing by continuous degrees only and not by discrete degrees. For thus cause is never lifted above the plane of effect, nor spirit above the plane of matter.

It is maintained therefore that in everything of which anything can be predicated there are what are called end, cause, and effect, and these three are to each other according to discrete degrees. This version of emanations is resembles of progressions in the Kabbala. In creation the natural or material world is the effect, of which the spiritual world is the cause, and God is the end. The first act of creation, not a time but in order, is the putting forth by the divine of a finite emanation of love and wisdom from divine self. This is conceived as a spiritual sun of incomparable splendor, a manifestation so profound that the finite mind could not bear its ardor, were it not tempered by intermediate stage of successive discrete degrees, separated not by space but in the quality of their spiritual constitution, producing the higher and the lower heavens as other discrete degrees subsist in the angelic forms according to their receptivity of love and wisdom.

Similarly, the affections and thoughts which constitute the life of humanity are not, as it seems to us, self generated, but pass into their minds out of the spiritual world, in a clearer or more obscure manner, always according to discrete degrees and in the order of cause and effect. In the world of matter a different law operates. Matter is derived not directly from spirit but front the natural suit, which, according to Swedenborg, is not only the center and support of our solar system, but also the proximate cause of its existence. From the activity of this primal sun are ultimately produced, by discrete degrees, the atmospheres and matter itself out of which the physical world is formed. The material substances, conceived as inert in themselves are never the less capable of being acted upon by spiritual forces. But there is nothing of God in them as the ultimate of creation, since their life has ended in no life, and love and wisdom have ended in forms of motion. Of course, this does not mean that God is not present in this end of creation.

This doctrine is intended to exclude the incomprehensible idea. of a creation ex nihilo, while it is meant also to provide against a pantheistic interpretation of the universe. It inevitably presents the difficulties which are inseparable from any theory of emanation.

Humanity. The theology of Swedenborg, as it deals with humanity, our nature, and our destiny, cannot be understood apart front his view (or, as he would insist, apart from the doctrine that he was divinely commissioned to make known to the modern worldi of the real meaning of God’s Word as we have it in the letter of Holy Scripture. More than 150 years ago Swedenborg had foreseen the difficulties and objections which criticism might bring forward as an argument against a belief in a divine revelation as received in scripture. ‘It is in the month of all,’ he says, ‘that the Word is from God, is divinely inspired and therefore holy. But yet it has been unknown hitherto where within it its Divinity resides. The person who worships Nature instead of God may easily fall into error concerning the Word, and say within oneself when one is reading it: "What is this? Is this divine? Can God who has infinite wisdom speak thus ?"’ Yet Swedenborg never lost his faith in a divine revelation, and one of the principal objects of his theology is to show that the difficulties which create so serious a stumbling block in many minds are due to the fact that they are looking in the bible for what its letter does not and cannot explicitly manifest. Swedenborg affirms that the Word contains throughout a spiritual meaning which alone gives the true and full sense of God’s revelation us.

Philo, Origen, Clement of Alexandria, and others have attempted to discover a spiritual sense in the bible, but Swedenborg’s conception proceeds on entirely different lines. For him the Lord is the divine truth itself as it exists in God. It is the very form of God, and the medium of communication and conjunction with the divine for the angels in the heaven. and for us upon earth. But truth in this divine form is utterly incomprehensible to any finite mind. To render it at least partly intelligible, it must descend through the discrete degrees already described, and assume successively lower and lower forms of expression adapted to the comprehension of the various grades of finite intelligence. On earth it presents itself to us as the letter of our Bible, or rather as the original texts from which that letter has come to us.

How then are those texts written? They are written in pure correspondences, that is in natural symbols. Every natural object is conceived to be the effect, and therefore the expression, of spiritual causes. Those effects correspond to those causes; hence their capacity, when properly understood, to reveal the spiritual meaning contained in them.

The first result of this principle is that we are enabled to know the true canon of the sacred scriptures. Those books which are so written as to present a correspondence spiritual meaning are really the Word, The other books possess devotional and even doctrinal value, but they are not ‘ divine Word.’ Guided by this fact, Swedenborg declares that the only books of the Word in the Bible are, in the OT, the Pentateuch, Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, the Psalms, and the Prophets from Isaiah to Malachi; in the NT, the four Gospels and Revelation. The Epistles form therefore no part of what Swedenborg strictly calls the Word but he values them highly and frequently quotes them.

In the letter, as we have it, Swedenborg recognizes a human element manifested in the language and feelings of the writers of the various books of the Bible; it is only the spiritual sense that is entirely and solely divine. Hence many of the difficulties raised by the higher criticism would be no difficulties for him; for instance, instead of a creation in six days in the book of Genesis, he reads there the earliest condition of humanity and the gradual development of our psychological constitution ; our growth in a knowledge of good and truth, of love and faith, and of divine things; and finally our introduction to a celestial perception of divine truth itself. It is a conception of the human regeneration, called to reach our spiritual destiny through knowledge, trial, faith, and love, and Swedenborg sees that such a conception has a sublime meaning for us which it could not have had for the people who lived when the letter was written. It would have been an unintelligible revelation for most of them. Therefore the full meaning of the letter as contained in the spiritual sense was not given to them. There is, according to Swedenborg, ‘a grave spiritual danger in the premature disclosure to any mind of divine Truth.’

But what is human? We are, says Swedenborg, made to be at the same time in the spiritual world and in the natural world. the human is not alive, but a recipient of life from God. And God grants people a sense that the life which we feel within ourselves belongs primarily to God alone. It is loaned to us in order that life may live in us as divine presence. In every person’s soul there is an inmost or supreme degree into which the divinity of the Lord proximately flows; hence it is that we can receive intelligence and wisdom and speak from reason, and from this also comes the fact that our soul is endowed consciousness, conscience, and in spirit with immortality.

The will rather than the understanding constitutes the center of the human. Swedenborg rejects the idea of angels having been created as such to people the heavens. All spirits, he believes, whether in heaven or in hell, are from the human race. Swedenborg holds that there is no personal Devil or Satan, but that that name signifies the whole society of evil spirits.

The human life cannot be changed after death, for the human spirit is such as each love is, and infernal love cannot be changed into heavenly love, ‘because they are opposite.’

The problem of evil, as presented by Swedenborg, is explained by the freedom with which God has endowed humanity, and it is because God ‘who changeth not’ will not withdraw that gift that human love remains what it was even after death. If one has deliberately made evil one’s good and good one’s evil, then one is one’s own hell, and does not desire heaven. Such a one could find no ease there, and would long for habitual and congenial surroundings and associates. Each is not sent to hell; each goes there of their own actions and dispositions oneself, and each would be happy there, if an evil soul could find permanent happiness anywhere. But one inevitably meets with sufferings and punishments inflicted not by God or divine agency, but chiefly by the evil spirits one’s associates. What happens under our eyes here upon earth continues in hell. For evil breeds evil always and everywhere. This conception is sad, but certainly drawn from life.

Are then those sufferings eternal? It is difficult to interpret definitely the teaching of Swedenborg on this point. How far those sufferings may be mitigated we are not told, but a careful study of all that Swedenborg has said on the subject suggests that they may be so greatly modified as to cease to be acutely felt. It is remarkable that, according to Swedenborg, there is no absolute destruction of evil even in heaven, for nothing which has formed part of the human spiritual nature can ever be annihilated. Spirits therefore--yea, angelic spirits--carry with them into heaven the perverted organic forms in which their evils resided. They are even permitted to experience from time to time a sense of their evils, but not uselessly, for by those alternations of state spirits are kept in continual spiritual progress. Thus the human regeneration begun on earth does continue into eternity.

Of heaven we are told that God God’s self is heaven, and that divine presence to each human spirit brings heaven into each, but always in a degree which depends on a certain faculty of reception acquired on earth by our conscientious endeavor to make what we truly believe the rule of our life and behavior.

The fulfillment of God’s purpose in creating the world is a fundamental doctrine in Swedenborg’s theology. That purpose, we are told, was, by making humanity in the divine image and endowing us with the faculties of freedom and rationality, to prepare us for that conjunction with God which constitutes the angelic heaven. In this sense, the creation means infinite love seeking by love to cause love to arise freely between the Creator and divinely rational creatures. But the misuse of rationality and freedom has led to evil being chosen and loved instead of good; hence sin, whose effect is the weakening of true freedom, and the obscuring of that interior light within us which is rationality. Then it is that the love which had created humanity has also come to save us. By divine incarnation the Lord did not come to reconcile Christ Father to man, for God in Christ, as Swedenborg says, is the one only God who is love itself and does not need to be reconciled to God’s creature. It is humanity who needs to be reconciled to God. The Lord came and, as to the divine human nature, was born, lived, suffered, and died ‘ for us,’ not ‘instead of us.’ God came to enable humanity to do that which, through sin, we had almost lost all power of doing, namely, to shun evil and to do the Lord’s will in a life of righteousness and true holiness. Moreover, God ‘became flesh,’ not only to effect this work of redemption, but also that He might visibly manifest His infinite love for us, and thereby give to us for ever a definite object of intelligent faith, worship, and love. Humanity is said to be saved by the blood of Christ, in this sense, that Christ’s blood is the symbol of divine truth, and the shedding of this blood is the symbol of the imparting of divine spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit. The Atonement, for Swedenborg, is thus really an at-one-ment, the reconciliation of Divine to God by the love and power of God. It was accomplished by the Lord taking upon God’s self human nature, enslaved by sin, from the Blessed Virgin Mary, sustaining in His own person the assaults and temptations of the powers of darkness, and gradually subduing them. For this work the Lord laid down Christ’s life, that is, the life in divinity of all that was not in perfect agreement with the infinite perfections of divine indwelling divinity. When this was done, ‘consummated’ the Lord Jesus Christ was no longer, even as to this human nature, the Son of Mary. Christ was the ‘only begotten Son of God,’ the perfect manifestation of the infinite, invisible Father. This process, called glorification, was completed after Christ’s resurrection, when the Lord put off from the infirm human nature all its hereditary tendencies to evil and sin, and ‘put on‘ from the Father the divine humanity subsisting in the essential divinity within the Christ spirit. This is the supreme type of human regeneration by which, having put off hereditary tendencies to evil and actual sins, one puts on from the Lord, in the degree that be has thus put off evil, a new regenerated and spiritual humanity, a spiritual mind. No real regeneration can be attained except in accordance with the principle that a ‘saving faith’ is a faith which marketeth by love.’ Salvation by ‘faith alone’ is rejected and condemned by Swedenborg in innumerable passages in his works.

It is important in connection with this subject to understand his idea of ‘the Church.’ The essential Church for him is constituted by a genuine love of goodness and truth and by the spiritual relation established with the Lord in the human minds. The true Church is therefore invisible, but, so far as it is a true Church, it can never pass away. This, however, does not exclude the possibility of the disclosure by the Lord of further truths called for by new conditions in the world of human thought and experience, and needed to establish a higher level of spiritual life. Nor does it exclude the possibility of the loss or the corruption of truths previously held, rendering necessary the institution of a specific ‘New Church’ in order to restore what has been lost, and to incorporate new truths which the Church in tile past was not ready to receive. The assertion, therefore, made by the disciples of Swedenborg that a ‘New Church’ has been instituted, involves, as they would insist, no disparagement of the former Christian Church so far as it is really the Lord’s.’ The members of the ‘ New Church’ at the present time consider it an entire misconception to imagine that Swedenborg is the founder of a ‘New Church.’ He himself always repudiated any such pretension. He considered himself a mere instrument through whom new truths needed in the Church were communicated to the world. Swedenborg’s chief point always is, however, that ‘the Church is one thing and religion is another.’ The Church is called a Church from doctrine; religion is called religion from a life according to ideals. Hence his well known saying: ‘All religion is related to life, and the life of religion to God.’


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