At the Edge of a New Threshold:
Swedenborg, Revelation and the New Church
May 11, 2000
Final Paper by Rebecca Kline
for Harvard Divinity School class 2460
Crossing the Threshold of Divine Revelation
Professor William J. Abraham
[webmaster's note: we have been so fortunate to have had Rebecca Kline doing fieldwork at the chapel during her studies at the neighboring Harvard Divinity school. She led both the adult evening reading group and the children's Sunday school with such spark and insight, and she did her family name proud (the Klines are well-noted Swedenborgians for our cousin denomination headquartered in Bryn Athyn, PA). We will miss Rebecca dearly and wish her all the best in her upcoming year of continuing studies in Israel.]
Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the Mountain of God. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, but the bush was not consumed. Then Moses said, "I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn." So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here I am." Then He said, "Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground."
The 18th century Swedish scientist, theologian and mystic, Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1771) interprets the above passage in an esoteric fashion. In his work The Arcana Coelestia, he writes that while on one level it is the story of Moses' calling to follow God, on a more "inward" or spiritual level this passage explains the revelatory nature of the Bible itself. Using his "science of correspondences" Swedenborg details for his readers the exact internal correlation to every external word. The bush corresponds to the letter of the Word, or its literal meaning, while the fire that burned within it represents the divine within the letter of the Word which is its spiritual meaning. The simple fact that the bush was not consumed by the fire signifies the fact that the letter of the Word and its spiritual meaning exist in unity; one is not dissipated by the other as both are essential for the process of divine revelation - God's communication with humanity. A person is like Moses when he or she reads the Word and unexpectedly perceives some divine and ultimate truth within the specific story being addressed. For Swedenborg, the "holy ground" that Moses encountered is the field of divine revelation that every human being is standing upon, ready to receive this truth. The burning bush that God provides is the Word; through it God calls out to us, and through it we are connected to the heavens, connected to the truth, connected to God.1
This is just one example of the hermeneutic of spiritual correspondences that Swedenborg and his followers bring to the Biblical text. For Swedenborg, the Bible differs from other texts because of its internal meaning, which consists of a unique form of Revelation from God. Shakespeare's work does not have a spiritual meaning, and it is therefore not revealed in this sense. The words of the Bible however, are from God, and they thereby contain layers of divine truth, which are perceived to differing degrees by different minds.
It is crucial to recognize, therefore, that for Swedenborg the literal meaning of the Bible is not an end in itself. It is rather a means, or a vessel containing the higher spiritual sense which is the essence of the Revelation. Swedenborg compares the letter of the word to the skeleton of a body: it does not live without the organs and tissues, which correspond to spiritual things.2 Revelation is mediated in and through the stories of the Word. For this reason, the stories are not preserved as a mere record of historical events, but as a Divine Text, whose very sentences and punctuation marks are arranged for the sake of a deeper meaning.
This brief explanation of Swedenborg's Biblical interpretation is intended to serve as an introduction to the general understanding of revelation within the Swedenborgian church, also known as the New Church, which is based to a large degree on such interpretations. And while Swedenborg radicalizes the concept of revelation as text, his overall view of revelation includes much more than the written Word alone. In this paper I will examine this multifaceted concept in a general overview of the Swedenborgian doctrines and debates on the subject. Rather than a specific examination of a single book, passage or idea, this paper will draw from several sources, by Swedenborg and Swedenborgian theologians and scholars, to expose the main doctrinal points relevant to the topic of Divine Revelation.
The concept of revelation is so central to the Swedenborgian worldview that it pervades almost every theological, liturgical and practical element of the religion. I will be focussing my discussion in three general areas of doctrinal concern. I will first examine Swedenborg's concept of "influx" or personal revelation. Secondly I will look at prophecy and written revelation to examine how these forms differ from influx. And finally I will briefly explore the controversial debate among Swedenborgians about whether or not Swedenborg himself received a revelation from God, and whether his writings can be read as divinely inspired. It will thereby be demonstrated that a new threshold has been set before the followers of Swedenborg, a threshold that separates the testimony of personal revelation and the written Word of God from the prophets, at the edge of which Emanuel Swedenborg himself ambiguously rests.
Influx: The Human Mind and the Tabernacle of Israel
The "Writings" (as Swedenborg's works are referred to by his followers), offer a spiritual correspondence of the Tabernacle of Israel, claiming that the sacred tent represents in all its details the inner workings of the human mind. The Court, the Holy Place, the Holy of Holies and the instruments, materials and furnishings within them all signify the various faculties of the mind (the table is the will, the lampstand is the understanding, the altar of incense is internal worship, and so on in every detail.)3 As the Holy of Holies, the inner most part of the Tabernacle, was the dwelling place of God with the Israelites, so too in the inner reaches of every human mind God exists. This area of the Tabernacle was so sacred to the Israelites that it was hidden from all except the High Priest, and similarly the Holy of Holies of the mind is deep within, and virtually hidden from one's consciousness. It is a place in the mind that is protected in such a manor that one remains almost unaware that it exists at all, except for the occasional recognition or remembrance of a heavenly affection. And yet it is here that God is received. It is not from above or outside that one takes in personal revelation, but it is from within.
According to Swedenborgian theology, revelation originates from within and then proceeds outward, to the more external reaches of one's mind. It is born out of the Mercy Seat, which is the soul, and moves through the layers of curtains and veils that mark the Holy place, which is the realm of spiritual understanding, and the Court yard which is the realm of temporal concerns. "Interior things flow into external things, even into the extreme or outmost in successive order, and there they spring forth and have permanent existence."4 These interior things manifest themselves in the actions and experiences of the one who receives them. Revelation therefore pervades every area of one's inner being and outward life, and to such a degree, writes Swedenborg, that without it a person would completely cease to exist.5
Swedenborg calls this personal revelation "influx." Every human being is predestined to receive influx, and it is only by turning one's self away from God that one lessens one's access to it. Swedenborg writes: "The interior mind, which is heaven with man, is opened so far as man acknowledges the Divine of the Lord, and man so far acknowledges this as he is in the good of love and charity and in the truths of doctrine and faith. But this interior mind, which is heaven with man, is unopened so far as man does not acknowledge the Divine of the Lord, and does not live the life of love and faith; and that mind is shut so far as man is in evils and in falsities therefrom."6 Therefore, the level of divine influx correlates with a person's spiritual state of mind, and can vary from person to person, or from one stage in a person's life to the next.
This variation of influx is represented in the Word by rain and draught. Swedenborg writes that when rain is spoken of in the Word, what is meant in the internal sense is influx. Rain corresponds to influx as in Deuteronomy 32:2: "Let my teaching drop as the rain, My speech distill as the dew. . ." Likewise, famine or lack of rain corresponds to cutting one's self off from influx, as in Isaiah 5:6: "I will lay waste My vineyard; it shall not be pruned nor hoed, that the briar and the bramble may come up; and I will command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it."7 When one is in a state to receive influx they are prepared to take in the Lord's Divine truth like water from within. When they deny the Lord's presence they become dry like a desert.
Other images and symbols are used for influx as well. Perhaps the most consistent correspondence dealing with influx in the Writings is in the image of the sun. This is a particularly useful symbol because the sun never changes; rather it is our reception of the sun that differs from one person to the next, or from one moment to the next. Therefore, while Swedenborg writes that all humans receive through influx some level of knowledge that there is one God, many people still "think that the Divinity of God is divided into several possessing the same essence; and the reason of this is that when the influx descends it falls into forms not correspondent, and influx is varied by the form that receives it."8 Likewise, "There is the same influx from the sun into every kind of tree, but the influx differs in accordance with the form of each . . ."9 The image of the sun is further important to Swedenborgians for the reason that heat and the light from the sun correspond to the central theological concepts of love and wisdom respectively.10 God's love and goodness warm the spirit and His wisdom and truth illuminate the understanding.
Through all of these concepts and symbols therefore, Swedenborg's view of personal revelation is enumerated. Revelation is divine love and wisdom in-flowing. It is received in the Holy of Holies, the innermost part of the mind, and from there it shines forth onto every aspect of one's life so that without it one would cease to exist.
However, according to the Swedenborgian worldview, influx is not the only means of receiving God's revelation. There is yet another form of revelation, that of prophecy, which in effect produces an infallible message from God in human language. While influx is ethereal, emotional and experiential, prophecy is fixed and consistent. The difference between the two is of such importance that I here borrow the image of the threshold to separate them into distinct domains. What is understood by prophecy, according to Swedenborg, will now be examined.
Prophecy and Written Revelation: the Mediate Word of God
Swedenborg writes that influx, while purely esoteric in essence, can be manifested in the external realm: "When this internal thing falls into what is historic, in which there are nothing but external things, it falls either into a command, or a call, or an address, or into other like terms."11 These things form religious testimonies. However, it is of central importance for Swedenborg that religious testimony be distinguished from prophecy. The biblical prophets were not simply presenting in words their own experience of the divine. The prophetic experience is an entirely unique process, experienced by a very small number of people, for the sake of a different kind of revelation. The following passage, taken from the work Heaven and Hell explains, rather amazingly, the prophetic experience.
I have been told how the Lord spoke with the prophets through whom the Word was given. He did not speak with them . . . by an influx into their interiors, but through spirits who were sent to them, whom the Lord filled with His aspect, and thus inspired the words which they dictated to the prophets. So it was not influx but dictation. As the words came forth immediately from the Lord, therefore, each one of them was filled with the Divine and contains within it an internal sense, while men do so in a natural sense. Thus has the Lord conjoined heaven and the world by means of the Word. How spirits are filled with the Divine from the Lord by aspect has also been shown. A spirit filled with the Divine from the Lord does not know otherwise than that he is the Lord, and that it is the Divine that is speaking; and this continues until he has finished speaking. Afterwards he perceives and acknowledges that he is a spirit, and that he spoke from the Lord and not from himself.12
The most striking thing about this passage is its description of the blurring of boundaries between God and the spirits (also called angels).13 The Lord mediates His Word and His presence through another being. Elsewhere Swedenborg calls this the "ministry of angels" describing the process whereby the angels "lull" the things of their own identity and take on the Lord's presence in order to communicate divine revelation.14 The reason for this level of mediation is again described in terms of the internal things flowing outward. God's Word, the most inward form of truth, must be manifested into human language, the most outward form of truth. This requires the use of intercessory levels of mediation, so as to preserve the divine essence. Therefore, when God spoke to Moses from the midst of the burning bush, it was in fact the presence and the words of God, but represented through the body and mouth of an angel.15
Regardless of these intermediaries, writes Swedenborg, the spoken truth that the prophet receives is nonetheless from God. It exists on the other side of the threshold. Where influx is clouded and confused by human language, the Word is contained and preserved within language. The Word is truth directly from God, not from spirits or from the human agent or from a kind of influx. It is distinguished from these things by its signature � levels of internal meaning. Accordingly, Writes Swedenborg, the Word consists of three levels of meaning: a natural sense, which is the letter of the Word; a spiritual sense, which pertains to spiritual things; and a celestial sense, which is truth about the essence of God. These levels exist regardless of whether the prophets, or even the intermediary spirits, are aware of what they are. They are presented and preserved in the literal words, which have been spoken and recorded for all generations. One can know the spiritual and celestial senses through opening one's heart and mind to God's influence, and also through a knowledge of correspondences.
One example of these three levels of meaning can be found in the Ten Commandments. Take for example the commandment: "you shall not kill." In the natural level this refers to the physical act of murder. And while this is an essential command to follow, the spiritual and celestial commands contained here are much more severe. In the spiritual sense it refers to the act of spiritual murder: manipulating, insulting or seeking to dominate and control another person in a manor that effectively murders their spirit. In the celestial sense this command refers to murder of things pertaining to God. If one defiles the name of God, the Word of God or the experience of God, one is committing the gravest form of murder.162 According to Swedenborg, these three levels can be found in every sentence contained within the Bible.
It should be noted that Swedenborg makes claims as to which of the books in the common canon actually contain an internal sense. He writes that while all of the books published as the Bible are valuable, there are a few that have been included that are not divinely inspired. Examples include the Chronicles, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the letters of Paul. 17
The thirty-four books that are inspired, and do contain a spiritual and a celestial sense serve as a link between heaven and earth. Furthermore, writes Swedenborg, the angels in heaven receive this truth and also read the Word, but read it in its spiritual and celestial senses.18 Thus the form of written revelation exists not just in this world, but in the spiritual world as well.
Swedenborgian theologian George Dole illuminates the distinctive quality of written revelation in his article "On the Nature and Use of Revelation" (1977). Dole distinguishes between organic revelation, which is manifested in the world of nature and natural order, behavioral revelation, in which God works through human intermediaries to perform miraculous acts, and the written revelation of the Word. Organic revelation is consistent (it does not change) and cyclical. Behavioral revelation is not consistent and it is linear (it happens at particular points in history). Both reveal God's nature, but neither provide the simultaneous consistency and historical relevance that the human mind needs. This need is therefore served through written revelation. "Written revelation, then, is available because of its consistency and applicable because it is linear."19 Written revelation is a "selection" of organic revelation and behavioral revelation, and cannot be taken as the only form of God's revelatory action, though certainly its a significant one for human comprehension of the Divine.
In the second part of this article Dole examines the continuum of forms of written revelation. He says that in the divine-human interaction that occurs in an act of revelation, the human can have more or less agency. He cites several examples to demonstrate the variance of this continuum. The most direct example, in which there is very little human agency, is in Exodus 31:18: "And when He had made an end of speaking with him on Mount Sinai, He gave Moses two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God." Next in the continuum he places Exodus 24:4, in which Moses writes the words of the Lord that he hears spoken to him. Human influence is more present still in Revelation 1:19 when John is instructed to write what he sees. Next Dole cites Swedenborg "who testifies to divine guidance, but obviously went through all the throes of human authorship � research, note-taking, outlines, drafts, indices, and even proofreading."20 (The question of whether or not Swedenborg is to be understood as a prophet will be addressed below). And finally, Dole explains, the example with the most amount of human agency is found in the work of Luke who writes: "It seems good to me also, having had a perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you . . ." (Luke 1:3).
And yet this spectrum of directness seems to be in discord with Swedenborg's view that God guides the very words received and recorded by the prophets in order to preserve the spiritual sense. The concept of a spiritual meaning to a revelation given in human language seems to level the playing field; wouldn't all texts that had a spiritual sense be equal in divinity?
Dole addresses this discrepancy with a quote from Swedenborg's Soul-Body Interaction "God alone acts; the human being lets himself be impelled and [the human being] reacts, to all intents, with apparent independence [as from himself], though this too, more inwardly, is from God."21 Thus, while the level of autonomy that a person feels they have varies, God is guiding the words and actions of all of these intermediaries and a work's "status as revelation" is independent of their awareness of inspiration.22
All this brings us to the question so urgent for many of Swedenborg's followers: Did Swedenborg receive a divine revelation? Unfortunately this is a topic with more history and complexity than can be addressed within the limits of this paper. Therefore the following will serve as a simplified summary of the issue only.
Emanuel Swedenborg: the Edge of the Threshold
In her book My Religion, Helen Keller describes Swedenborg as a "divinely inspired interpreter." She writes: "He was a prophet sent by God. His own message proclaims it more convincingly than and saying of his followers could. There is no escaping his virile personality. As we read his message we are filled with recognition and delight. He did not make a new Bible, but he made the Bible all new! One who receives him receives great spiritual possession."23
The ambiguity of this statement is exemplary of the debate that exists, even today, within the followers of Swedenborg. "He did not make a new Bible" therefore his work cannot be compared to the work of the Biblical writers, but he is a "divinely inspired interpreter." What authority, therefore, should be given to the Writings? I will begin my discussion of this issue by looking at Swedenborg's own self-image in this respect, and then examine how his followers have interpreted his writings.
At no time does Swedenborg claim equality with the Biblical prophets. Nor does he ever even infer that there is an internal meaning to his books, which as we have seen is the signature of prophecy. However, the very nature of his experiences, as well as the manner in which he writes does imply quite explicitly some level of divine inspiration. The following passage written by Swedenborg depicts one of his first experiences encountering the Divine.
I went home; during the night, the same man revealed himself to me again, but I was not frightened now. He then said that he was the Lord God, the Creator of the world, and the Redeemer, and that He had chosen me to explain to men the spiritual sense of Scripture, and that He Himself would explain to me what I should write on this subject; that same night also were opened to me, so that I became thoroughly convinced of their reality, the worlds of spirits, heaven and hell, and I recognized there many acquaintances of every condition of life. From that day I gave up the study of all worldly science, and labored in spiritual things, according as the Lord had commanded me to write. Afterwards the Lord daily opened my soul's eyes, so that in the middle of the day I could see into the other world, and in a state of perfect wakefulness converse with angels and spirits.24
This passage is interesting in light of Swedenborg's later understanding that the Lord appears to people through the actions of intercessory angels. This certainly begs the question: who was it really that appeared to him? And if it was God, or even God through the presence of an angel, can the words he heard be compared to the words heard by Moses at Horeb?
This passage is an important introduction to Swedenborg's experiences; it is indicative of the tone of his writing throughout his spiritual career. Swedenborg saw himself as a "servant of the Lord" who was to be witness to events in the spiritual world and recorder of the internal sense of the Word. He believed that he was experiencing these things because a new Christian Church was being founded by the Lord at that time, in the spiritual world and on earth, and that he was chosen to reveal the spiritual sense of the Word for that church. In the opening section of his work titled Marital Love he writes:
"I anticipate that many who read the following descriptions and the accounts at the ends of the succeeding chapters will believe they are figments of my imagination. I swear in truth, however, that they are not inventions, but actual occurrences to which I was witness . . . For it has pleased the Lord to manifest Himself to me and send me to teach the doctrines that will be doctrines of the New Church, the church meant by the New Jerusalem in the book of Revelation. To this end He has opened the inner faculties of my mind and spirit."25
In another source, Swedenborg refers ambiguously to the way in which his books were written. In the original Latin he says that the books were written: "a Domino per me" which can be translated either "by the Lord through me" or "from the Lord by me." How one translates this "compact Latin phrasing," as its called, will greatly influence one's views on the authority of Swedenborg's Writings. And as there are a great many opinions about this question of authority within the New Church, it is a crucial translation, though one that has not yet been resolved.
There is no single doctrinal issue that has caused more dissent within the New Church than the issue of Swedenborg's authority. In 1890, the American body of the New Church, then known as the General Convention, split. A schism had been growing for several decades between more conservative Swedenborgians (represented primarily by the Philadelphia Society) and the more liberal ones (represented primarily by the Boston Society). The two sides disagreed on several issues, including religious education for children and the role of the priesthood. However the primary disagreement between the two factions, and the one issue that finally split Convention, was the issue of divine revelation in the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg. One leader of the Boston group, Samuel Worcester wrote: "We read them for instruction, and not for authority�His mission should be inferred from perceiving that he wrote the truth, and not vice versa."26 This statement was a response to the leaders of the conservative faction, who had become quite radical in their insistence of the infallibility of the Writings. This "orthodox" group was headed by Rev. William Benade and his predecessor Rev. Richard DeCharms. In the 1860s this group began what became known as "the Academy Movement" through the institution of a theological school in Philadelphia that adhered to this interpretation of Swedenborg's work as infallible. The movement eventually resulted in the formation of a new church body independent of Convention. This splinter group is known today as the General Church of the New Jerusalem, and is headquartered in the religious community of Bryn Athyn Pennsylvania (where I grew up), though it has grown to include congregations from around the world. One former Bishop of the General Church summarized the organization's position in the following words: "The Lord has made His Second Coming in the Writings of the New Church, revealing Himself therein, in His own Divine Human, as the only God of heaven and earth. In those Writings, therefore, is contained the very essential Word, which is the Lord. From them the Lord speaks to His Church, and the Church acknowledges no other Law."27 This statement accurately represents the official stance of the General Church today, though perhaps this viewpoint is better summed up in the worldly advice of my Grandmother: "All you need for guidance in life is the Writings. If you live your life according to what the Writings teach, you will be living God's will."
Certainly members of the General Church use similar language in referring to the Bible and to the Writings. Passages are read from both to begin worship services, (whereas in Convention the Bible alone is read) and during a sermon a passage from either can be referred to as a teaching "from the Lord." The General Church has even gone so far as to publish a Bible that contains a few pages from Swedenborg's True Christian Religion placed between the Old and New Testaments. I have, on several occasions, heard the Writings referred to as "the Third Testament" � a concept that is considered heretical by members of Convention and is rejected.
Swedenborgians on both sides of the spectrum have occasionally toyed with the idea of a spiritual sense to the Writings, though this has never been seriously pursued by members of Convention. The General Church addresses the issue by claiming that there is a spiritual sense to the Writings, but that it is not hidden as it is in the Bible. The spiritual sense is not distinct from the literal meaning of what Swedenborg wrote. One interesting group that splintered off of the General Church, known as the "Hemelshe Leer," attempted to apply Swedenborg's science of correspondences to the Writings themselves. This practice has been officially denounced by the General Church.28
One fact, worthy of note, especially in light of the issues discussed in our class this semester, is that the General Church, with its radical application of the status of Divine Revelation to Swedenborg's Writings, is growing and prospering while Convention is rapidly decreasing in membership. The General Church supports Swedenborgian schools across the nation; young people are being educated with these ideals at the elementary school, high school, college and master's levels. Sadly, in Convention the youth are looking elsewhere.
As someone who was raised in the General Church schooling system, and with a General Church pastor as a father, I have witnessed first hand the power that exists on the other side of the threshold. The success of the General Church, it could be argued, is due to the fact that belief in written revelation does indeed provide the consistency and relevance to life that George Dole highlights as so important to human religious needs. This does not solve the problem of how to view Swedenborg's work, but it does provide interesting insight into these needs and how religious communities seek to fulfill them.
In this paper I have summarized three topics within the concept of Divine Revelation that are fundamental to New Church people. Revelation is made real on the personal level with the concept of influx; it is an in-flowing of the divine presence that permeates every faculty of one's being. Furthermore, revelation is made consistent and linear in the written Word, which is dictated by God and communicated by spirits and angels and contains multiple levels of meaning. And finally the New Church as a whole attributes these truths to the otherworldly experiences and insights of Emanuel Swedenborg, thought the revelatory nature of his work is hotly debated.
An examination of these topics has left us with the following question: If personal revelation, manifested in religious testimony is to be distinguished from prophetic revelation which manifests the Word of God what is the nature of Swedenborg's personal experiences? Are his Writings a mere testimony or are they the Word? It seems the answer will remain forever ambiguous, a matter of faith, as it were. Passages can be found in the Writings to back both positions. Further, as Swedenborg himself would likely respond, what is more important is one's reading and interpretation of the Bible. Many Swedenborgians who are frustrated with the amount of attention this debate has received are claiming, therefore, that the church should move on and focus on the one thing all New Church people can agree on � the Divinity of the Bible.
However, for those for whom this has become a threshold issue there is no looking back; it has become a matter of authority, a matter of trust in God and God's revealed Word. It has become a way of life.
Set within the context of our class this semester, the case of Swedenborg and the New Church provides some interesting questions for Professor Abraham's threshold model. I would like to end with a few questions of my own in order to suggest where this type of inquiry could lead. First: How do the dynamics of the threshold model change when extra-Biblical material is taken as revelation? If, as we discussed in class, the other side of the threshold presents a new world and new lenses through which to look, how different does this world look then when crossing a different threshold? Don't we then not only have the different worlds of before and after the threshold, but different "threshold worlds." What then if we consider the Muslim threshold world, of life with the Qur'an as divine revelation? Or the Mormon threshold world of life with the book of Mormon as divine revelation? Don't we in fact have countless threshold worlds? My final question then is this: can we discern a common language used by the members of all these threshold worlds? Do theological concepts such as influx and prophecy translate? Does a commonality of belief in divine revelation in any way trump the boundaries between worlds and between religions?
1 Emanuel Swedenborg, Arcana Coelestia, trans. John Falkner Potts (New York: Swedenborg Foundation, 1951-1954), n. 6832.
2 Emanuel Swedenborg, "The Doctrine Concerning the Sacred Scripture," in The Four Doctrines, trans. John Falkner Potts (New York: Swedenborg Foundation, 1984), n. 33.
3 For all of these correspondences consult Emanuel Swedenborg, Arcana Coelestia, vol. 11.
4 Emanuel Swedenborg, Heaven and Hell, trans. John C. Ager (West Chester, Pa.: Swedenborg Foundation, 1995), n. 304.
5 Ibid., n. 203 and n. 228.
6 Emanuel Swedenborg, Apocalypse Explained, trans. John Whitehead (New York: Swedenborg Foundation, 1954-1959), n. 644.
8 Emanuel Swedenborg, True Christian Religion, trans. John Chadwick (London: The Swedenborg Society, 1988), n. 8.
10 The duality of goodness and truth is a central point in Swedenborgian theology, whereby every thing that is whole must have a conjunction of good and truth. This corresponds to the joining of woman and man, heart and lungs, bread and wine, love and wisdom, charity and faith, etc.
11 Emanuel Swedenborg, Arcana Coelestia, n. 6840.
12 Emanuel Swedenborg, Heaven and Hell, 254.
13 Note: in Swedenborgian cosmology angels are from the human race, and lived at some point in the world, thus it is through human spirits that this revelation is mediated.
14 Emanuel Swedenborg, Arcana Coelestia, 1925.
16 Ibid., n. 8902.
17 Swedenborg lists the Books that have an internal sense in Arcana Coelestia, n. 10325.
18 Emanuel Swedenborg, "The Doctrine of the Sacred Scripture," n. 70.
19 George F. Dole, "On the Nature and Use of Revelation," Studia Swedenborgiana (1997) vol. 2, 13-14.
20 Ibid., 15
21 Emanuel Swedenborg, Soul-Body Interaction, n. 14 as quoted in Dole, 16.
22 George F. Dole, 17.
23 Helen Keller, My Religion (New York: Swedenborg Foundation, 1960), 85.
24 Emanuel Swedenborg, Documents Concerning the Life and Character of Emanuel Swedenborg, from "Robsahm's Memoirs of Swedenborg," compiled by R.L. Tafel. vol. 1, doc. 5, (London: Swedenborg Society, 1875-1890) 35-36.
25 Emanuel Swedenborg, Marital Love, trans. William Fredrick Wunsch (New York: Swedenborg Publishing Association, 1938) n. 1.
26 As quoted in: Maguerite Block, The New Church in the New World (New York: Swedenborg Publishing Association, 1960), 191.
27 Maguerite Block, 233.
28 Ibid., 266-268.
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Dole, George F. "On the Nature and Use of Revelation." Studia Swedenborgiana 2 (June
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Copyright 2000 by Rebecca Kline