This book, now issued in its ninth reprint edition, has become a standard introduction to the Swedenborgian concept of Bible symbolism or correspondences. Its original title was Lessons in Correspondence. Even though the text has remained essentially unchanged, subsequent editions have appeared as The Language of Parable: a Key to the Bible, a more appropriate title than the earlier one. In simple, nontechnical language, the author gives penetrating glimpses into a host of Bible passages by explaining the fundamental symbolism which characterizes the biblical narrative. The basic symbols are all here. The reader who masters the contents of this work will be well on the way toward gaining personal possession of the "key" to the inner and timeless meanings of the Sacred Scriptures.
The author, William L. Worcester, on the advice of his father (who also wrote several explanatory books on correspondence), enrolled in a science curriculum at Harvard majoring in botany under Professor Asa Gray. Specialization in science, his father John felt, was one of the best preparations for a New Church ministry.
Following his graduation in 1881, William furthered his knowledge of science and of the Bible lands through an extensive camping trip in the Nile valley and all through Palestine. He then entered the three-year course at the New Church Theological School, Cambridge, Mass., leading to ordination and his life work as a minister of the General Convention of the New Jerusalem Church (Swedenborgian).
During his ministry in Philadelphia in the late 1880's he met regularly with a class of high-school-age students to study the "language of parable," to help these young people gain insights into the Bible's spiritual message and its relevance to their lives. A direct outgrowth of this class was the first edition of this present work.