Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) was granted to describe the angelic heavens and the hells "from things seen and heard, in the hope that ignorance may thus be enlightened and unbelief dissipated." (HH le)
This book of essays seeks to give a survey of Swedenborg's testimony, and some reflections on its many facets. It can give only samplings of the extensive and profound teachings of his Writings, and does not pretend to do more than hint at the underlying philosophy, and to emphasize the reality of the spiritual world. The subject of the Last Judgment has been given special consideration with a view to arranging the many spiritual events recorded by Swedenborg into their chronological sequence and bringing out some of the laws distinctive of the spiritual realm. Wherever possible, reiteration of ideas has been avoided, but a certain amount of repetition has been inevitable for the sake of clarity and context, and to make the chapters readable as independent essays.
For help in preparing the typescript, and for proofreading and editorial assistance, the author is especially indebted to Mrs. Cora M. Smith, Mr. Lennart O. Alfelt, and Miss Beryl G. Briscoe. Two portions of the text (pages 22 to 55, 337 to 468) were previously published in new church life, 1957 and 1960, and are here slightly revised.
The text has been furnished with footnotes giving references to the Writings, for the use of readers who desire to follow out the topics in greater detail, or students who require source material.
These essays do not cover all the aspects of the spiritual world which the Writings present. For example, the doctrine concerning the heavens as a "Grand Man" is only lightly touched upon, and demands a separate treatment. And for the teachings about the relationship of spirits with men the reader is referred to the book entitled "Spirits and Men," published by the Academy Book Room, Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, in 1958 and 1960.
In this "post-Christian" era when the New Christian Church is as yet among a few, it is difficult for the impatient minds of men to detach themselves sufficiently from the concerns of this world to think spiritually and rationally about things beyond the grave or contemplate the essence of the supernatural world, Our contemporaries, while demanding more than a blind faith in the letter of Scripture, have come to doubt that God could have spoken to mankind again to reveal something new. The message of Swedenborg is as yet known to few. But future ages will see more clearly. "The time is coming when there will be enlightenment." (AC 4402)
hugo Lj. odhner
Abbreviations used for titles of Swedenborg's Writings
AC Arcana Coelestia (1749-1756)
AE Apocalypse Explained
AR Apocalypse Revealed (1766)
Ath. Athanasian Creed (posth.)
BE Brief Exposition (1769)
Can. Canons (posth.)
Char. Doctrine of Charity (posth.)
CL Conjugial Love (1768)
CLJ Continuation of The Last Judgment (1763)
Conv. Ang. Conversations with Angels (posth.)
Coro. Coronis to TCR (posth.)
De Conj. On Marriage (posth.)
De Ver. The Word from Experience (posth.)
DLW Divine Love and Wisdom (1763)
Docu. Tafel's "Documents"
DP Divine Providence (1764)
Ecc. Hist. Ecclestiastical History of the New Church (posth.)
EU Earths in the Universe (1758)
F Doctrine of Faith (1763)
5 Mem. Five Memorable Relations (posth.)
HD New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine (1758)
HH Heaven and Hell (1758)
ISB Intercourse of Soul and Body (1769)
Inv. - Invitation to the New Church (posth.)
LJ The Last Judgment (1758)
LJ post. Last Judgment and the Spiritual World (posth.)
Life Doctrine of Life (1763)
Lord Doctrine of the Lord (1763)
Love On the Divine Love (posth.)
SD The Spiritual Diary (posth.)
SD min. The Spiritual Diary Minor (posth.)
SS Doctrine of the Sacred Scripture (1763)
TCR The True Christian Religion (1771)
WE The Word Explained (Adversaria) (posth.)
WH Concerning the "White Horse" (1758)
Wis. On the Divine Wisdom (posth.)
Publication dates in parentheses.