Swedenborg and the History of Psychology:

College Students Speak Out

Leon James

Department of Psychology, University of Hawaii, 1983

Discovering Swedenborg
Should Swedenborg be included in the history of scientific psychology?
The Swedenborg Reports
The Negative Bias in Science
Outline of Swedenborg's Spiritual Psychology
Swedenborg's Background
Life After Death: Heaven and Hell
The Vertical Community
Negative and Positive Bias in Science
No Function Without Substance
The Swedenborg Reports as Science
Swedenborg's Scientific Psychology

Discovering Swedenborg

In 1981, while browsing in our university library in search of Bible commentaries, I came across a set of the works of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772). I was greatly impressed by the authoritativeness and rationality with which the writer treated the major spiritual issues with which I had been concerned. Is there life after death? What is it like? How can I be sure of it? Is there Heaven and Hell? How do I prepare for Heaven? What is the role of the Bible and is it related to the field of psychology which I was teaching at this state university? Is spirituality compatible with science? Is there life on other planets? In the writings of Swedenborg I was suddenly confronted with empirical answers to these questions. The author speaks as an eyewitness reporter, a meticulous scientific observer of his inner experiences which formed actual events in a real spiritual world.

To me this was a unique claim. For decades I had been relentlessly searching for methods and theories of inner growth. For my Ph.D. degree in experimental and social psychology I was trained to think with objective behavioral concepts tied into a logical, self-contained, and limited system. I was never satisfied with any of the theories and speculations which abounded within and outside traditional systems of thought in the vast literature of historical and contemporary psychology. They were all interpretive and speculative constructions -- about the mind, about the spiritual world -- and I could never bring myself to accept anything merely because it was being asserted as a possibility. I was stuck with a sense of diffidence, perhaps even discouragement, if not cynicism, when the bombshell of the Swedenborg reports exploded into my attention. Here was something totally different, entirely new. A reputable scientist bringing back data from the afterlife, not just from a single experience, or a few, but thousands, from decades of daily observations lasting for hours at a time.

I longed to share my great discovery with my colleagues and students. I started mentioning Swedenborg in my lectures whenever the topic was related to our discussions. As my research and understanding of the extensive Swedenborg reports grew, I gradually evolved a standard set of arguments and facts which form the outline of an integrated theory of human behavior. This psychological theory takes a positive, rather than a negative, bias towards the hypothesis that the spiritual world exists.

Since I teach an undergraduate course on the History of Psychology I frequently have the opportunity in my lectures to present information from the Swedenborg reports. Almost all textbooks in this area focus on the mind/body issue viewed through a chronological exposition of writers, beginning with Ancient Greece and leading up to the twentieth century. Since the mind/body issue comes up in every chapter I am able to bring in some aspect of the Swedenborg reports throughout the semester. I believe that this extended approach can have a greater effect on the student than a single lecture devoted entirely to Swedenborg.

The last time I taught this course in the spring of 1991, at the end of the fifteen-week semester, I asked students to hand in a brief anonymous answer to the following question:

Should Swedenborg be included in the history of scientific psychology?

None of the existing textbooks in this area mention Swedenborg, and I wanted to know what would be their conclusions on this issue.[1] Of the 23 students in the class, 13 said Yes and 10 said No. It is interesting to see the justifications they gave. Their verbatim answers follow:

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1. Swedenborg tried to bring spirituality into science. He contributes to the psychology of the mind. Revelation as a phenomenon has not been disproven. Others who were wrong, were included (like Freud), so why not Swedenborg? He gives a new paradigm.

2. Swedenborg's revelations should be examined, not automatically rejected. A decision should be made whether to include it in psychology or not. We must be careful with claims about revelations since this can come from God or Satan!

3. Science deals with proving something as a fact. Since Swedenborg is the only one who experienced this revelation, it should be automatically excluded from science. Swedenborg's writings belong to religion. Therefore they must contain things that are dogmatic. Science should be free of this and only accept ideas that have a concrete basis.

4. The fact that his ideas are based on his own experiences and no one else's, makes it difficult for science to accept them. Where do we draw the line? Will we have to accept anyone's experiences? Swedenborg should be mentioned as a theory maybe, but not necessarily as fact.

5. To accept Swedenborg would be to accept the belief of God and the Spiritual World thus forcing everyone to one person's view of God. This is dogma. Science does not allow things in without proof (repeatable, observable evidence). Science rejects dogma. As far as being mentioned in the history of psychology, I think Swedenborg should be mentioned since other theorists are reviewed who were proven wrong, had no evidence, yet gave valuable avenues of thought (e.g., Freud).

6. The spiritual view of man should receive serious consideration in psychology textbooks. Since there is a God, to exclude revelation is foolish, and gives a seriously distorted view of the total human psyche. The Christian viewpoint should be included in psychology. There is no evidence that Swedenborg was mentally ill or insane, so he should be considered. Swedenborg presents a paradigm that should not be excluded.

7. Would you believe it today if someone claimed to have seen the other world? The definition of science excludes "faith" concepts. Still, as long as Swedenborg's claims are remotely possible, and have not been disproven, we shouldn't dismiss his theories, but instead, look upon them as one more paradigm. Personally, I don't think his theories would survive very long.

8. I don't have to accept Swedenborg's views but they, along with other Christian views, should be accepted into psychology, else psychology is reduced to a small area of human behavior.

9. Why include him since Swedenborg's observations are not repeatable by others, and since he requires God, which is never provable and repeatable.

10. Why exclude Swedenborg since not everything in science is provable and since God and spirituality should be part of science. Swedenborg might provide a new important paradigm for psychology.

11. Swedenborg cannot be included in the science of psychology since he has no scientific basis (repeatability, measurement, proof), and is purely personal. Similarly, Plato, Aristotle, Freud are not science.

12. In my opinion, revelation is possible so one should not totally exclude it. To exclude Swedenborg from psychology would exclude anything spiritual from it. I'm not arguing whether Swedenborg was right or wrong, but he may give us some valuable information just as Freud's theories did, although some of his work has been proven wrong.

13. Swedenborg's work is based on his experiences alone and is personal. We have no means of measuring it. How would we ever find out that what he said was true? Swedenborg has no scientific basis so he cannot be included in psychology as science. Spirit, mind, etc. are not concepts included in the definition of science (maybe philosophy, religion?). How can we explain his concepts without hard core evidence?

14. Science is based on empirical facts. Therefore, revelation should not be included in psychology unless it can be measured empirically. Swedenborg's revelations are more like a religion, a belief. On the other hand, if you can't prove that revelations don't exist, it may be true. Therefore, psychology should not rule it out.

15. I do think that Swedenborg and his revelations should be included in psychology because they can help people grow mentally. Since the history of psychology already includes the mind/body issue, why not include Swedenborg? No one has settled the debate yet.

16. In terms of scientific theory and psychology's adherence to scientific methods in the study and measurement of mental processes and behavior, revelation has not and will not be proven to be possible. Because revelation is not "real" Swedenborg's reports are not real. Therefore his reports have no scientific substance and are possibly imagined.

17. Revelation has been reported and experienced by many notables, including Swedenborg. His reports provide insight into and enlightenment of real life occurrences, as well allows one to better understand the functions of and interactions between the body, mind, and spirit. These three are central to the study of human psychology. Whether real or made up, Swedenborg's reports provide increased understanding of human psychological functions and behavior.

18. Swedenborg's reports must and should be respected as well as accepted by the science of psychology. Swedenborg's viewpoint provides another paradigmatic perspective to better understand the human psyche and gain access into learning of ultimate human functioning.

19. Swedenborg is contributing an understanding of the mind/body issue. Revelation has not been disproven, hence his ideas ought not to be excluded. The parts of Swedenborg that are psychology can be used while the religious parts can be omitted.

20. We have not proven whether revelation is real or not so how can we ignore Swedenborg's reports? That would be cutting off a possible avenue of obtaining information. I believe that revelation is possible being that there is a spiritual and a material world. Swedenborg's ideas cannot be excluded from the history of psychology on the basis of being "wrong" or else everyone else's ideas from the past have to be excluded.

21. Some of Swedenborg's ideas deal with religion, I agree, but others deal with psychology and those should be included in psychology. The definition of science makes it difficult to include Swedenborg but his ideas are too important to be ignored. They should at least be presented so that others can use them to expand on. By not including them, it means they're being rejected.

22. Swedenborg should not be include in the science of psychology. Science can be measured - how can his reports be measured? Just because he wrote so many volumes of his accounts - who is to say they weren't just imagination? I think Swedenborg should rather be included in religion because the belief is based on faith (faith in Swedenborg, that he is real).

23. Swedenborg's reports cannot be proven. His accounts can't be repeatable. True, yet taking into account previous psychologists who have not been proven right, yet they are accepted. Why can't that also be for Swedenborg? He should be included as a way to view things from a different perspective. After all shouldn't psychology be open to everything and anything in order to allow for a greater understanding of the mind?

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To summarize these comments, there were 13 students (out of 23) who indicated their support for the inclusion of Swedenborg in the science of psychology, and there were 10 who were against it. The reasons for saying Yes fall into two categories. First, spirituality and revelation are real psychological phenomena of the mind (see student comments numbered 1,2,6,12,15,17,18,19,20,21,23). Second, God and religion should be part of psychology (see comments 8,10). Those who voted No also gave two main reasons. First, Science and religion should be kept separate and Swedenborg belongs to religion (see comments 3,9,16). Second, Swedenborg's experiences are not provable, repeatable, or measurable (see comments 4,5,7,13,14,22). I am delighted by these results. They show that the positive bias can become a new and viable paradigm for the science of psychology. In just a few weeks of listening to my sporadic references to Swedenborg, 11 of 23 senior college students were able to articulate for themselves the idea that spirituality and revelation are real psychological phenomena of the mind and should be part of the science of psychology, for which they were being professionally prepared. I am now left wondering what it would take to achieve such a success ratio with my colleagues and fellow scientists.

The Swedenborg Reports

Never in the history of science has such a report surfaced. How can we build a scientific theory or understanding of our major human concerns if we have no access to data that might verify even the slightest of our hypotheses? For example, the hypothesis that there is life after death cannot be convincingly verified from any of the available data such as the testimony of ancient scriptures or the recent interest in near death experiences.[2] NDEs are insufficient by themselves as scientific proof of life after death because of their extreme limitation in scope. They are mostly composed of the vision of lights and, occasionally, the appearance of ghostly personalities or voices. Psychic phenomena are also insufficient, even when reproducible - and mostly they are not, because they are reported in trance or hypnotic states rather than in the ordinary state of scientific or legal reporting. Thus questions about any claimed psychic phenomenon cannot be discussed with the medium, who afterwards cannot offer the simplest of accounts about the identity of the "spirits" they spoke to or their life condition and environment.

By contrast I found a tremendous watershed of data about the spiritual world in the Swedenborg reports. Over a period of 29 years, Swedenborg had observed thousands of people go through the process of dying and entering the spiritual world. He was able to interview many whom he knew in the world as well as many celebrities he had known through their books and from history. He witnessed their daily life activities in cities and houses, and he participated in their festivals, public debates, and games. In the language of an intelligent and observant traveller, he describes their customs, language, occupations, and form of government.

Besides the wealth of unique information in the Swedenborg reports, what makes them even more impressive to me is Swedenborg's unbroken consistency in tying all of the data together into a scientifically acceptable account[3]. He presents a spiritual geography whose coordinates coincide with the anatomy and physiology of the body. A map of the spiritual world would consist of a giant Grand Human, a composite of male and female anatomy. The psychological and moral character of individuals in the life after death projects an outer environment that corresponds to the character and content of their mind. Healthy and generous spirits coalesce in a telepathic community that manifests itself in an agreeable and benign external environment. There are cities "in the region of the hand", or in the region of the right eye, or the bladder, and so on. The character or genius of each society in the spiritual world reflects the physiological or anatomical function of the body part of the Grand Human which marks their location. Antisocial and pathological minds congregate in degraded societies whose character corresponds to specific physiological malfunctions or anatomical distortions. They coalesce into a map that pictures a Grand Monster. This spiritual geography is a remarkable aspect of the Swedenborgian scientific system. It describes an empirical approach to the study of the mind and the afterlife since knowledge about the functions and characteristics of the body allows confirmation of hypotheses about the properties of the mind and about phenomena in the spiritual world.[4]

The Negative Bias in Science

The relationship between science and the Bible is also clarified by Swedenborg. To me the necessity of this connection had become central in the fourth decade of my life. I became less and less inclined to continue in the traditional mode of Christian men of science. This attitude required a separation of my mind into two non-communicating regions. One is 'my scientific hat' while the other is 'my spiritual hat.' According to this attitude, science is made of hard nosed facts about the real world we live in right now; religion is of mystery and abstract theology. I revolted against this irrational tyranny. I fervently desired to maintain consistency in my understanding of life. I felt constrained by an attitude that pointed to rocks and electric circuits as the real basis of reality, and which viewed the inner world of thoughts and feelings as less real, and perhaps even, unreal. Respectable and respected psychologists made it acceptable to refer to human consciousness as a "pseudophenomenon" or an "epiphenomenon," words that imply false reality and byproducts. I needed a theory and a method that looked upon the mind and the spirit benignly and with favor, not with antipathy and skepticism. This I found in the Swedenborg reports.

If I were to summarize my understanding of the Swedenborg reports in a standard lecture, I would include the following items.

Outline of Swedenborg's Spiritual Psychology

(1) Swedenborg's Background

A biographical sketch would include dates and titles of many of his books, his dual life in both worlds after age 56, his discoveries of inhabited earths in the universe from conversations with those in the spiritual world who had come from those planets, and two well known clairvoyant events -- the fire in Stockholm which Swedenborg described to those present five hundred miles away and, the information Swedenborg relayed to the widow about the lost payment receipt from her husband in the spiritual world).[5]

(2) Life After Death: Heaven

Here I would present a few details about Swedenborg's eyewitness reports of life in the heavenly cities, including married life, conjugial bliss and sexuality, jeweled palaces, instant food and clothing, and the education of children there.

(3) Life After Death: Hell

This would mention the sordid psychological life of those in the hellish cities, including their horrible external appearance to those in heavenly light, their obsessiveness and unwillingness to comprehend rational things, and their frantic desire to return to the natural world and possess the inhabitants there.

(4) The Vertical Community

I use this expression to designate Swedenborg's extension of our understanding of community to include an external horizontal community (ethnicity, culture, society) and an internal vertical community of spiritual consociations (spirit societies in the spiritual world). Psychologically speaking, our behavior and character are determined by our affective choices, or 'loves,' since our emotional attractions and cognitive interpretations can only occur with communication from these spiritual societies.

(5) Negative and Positive Bias in Science

Here I would review the implications of the Swedenborg reports for the science of psychology as seen through a negative bias versus a positive bias in science. The negative bias scientist says, "I am a monist or materialist. If you claim there is a spiritual world, you're going to have to prove it before it can be accepted into science." The positive bias scientist says, "I am a dualist, and I support the idea that there are two worlds, one for the mind, the other for the body. Now let me investigate whether these Swedenborg reports and claims have scientific validity."

(6) No Function Without Substance.

This is where I present Swedenborg's scientific principle that there cannot be a function without a substance. In the historical debate on the mind/body issue, the materialistic scientist in the negative bias mode is forced by logic to deny the reality of the mind since thoughts and feelings have no mass or extension. The negative bias psychologist cannot account for such important human phenomena as awareness, imagination, attachment to symbols, uniqueness of the self, the centrality of religious feelings, the determining role of Divine Providence in the occurrences of history and accident, and prophetic revelation. Swedenborg, as a representative of the positive bias psychologist, has provided us with empirical facts and rational explanations for all these phenomena.

(7) The Swedenborg Reports as Science

Swedenborg's eyewitness reports pass stringent scientific criteria. The explanations are rational and hold together as a system. His reputation was impeccable and his spiritual observations were carried out for three decades and repeated thousands of times with quasi-experimental variations. Meanwhile, his life in this world continued in the public eye -- as a celebrity and frequent guest of the royal family, as active member of Sweden's legislative body, as a government mining consultant, as a writer and inventor of significant engineering and navigational tools, and as a European traveller received by renowned scientists and scholars. His rational system is useful in many areas of psychology, including psychotherapy, education, humanistic and transpersonal psychology, and psychobiology.

(8) Swedenborg's Scientific Psychology

Here I take the stand that death and afterlife are topics that belong to biology and psychology, not to religion alone. The Swedenborg reports are of interest to psychology as a science. They empirically define the following concepts:

* the spiritual world and spiritual associations through choice and inheritance

* heavenly and infernal eternity

* obsessive spiritual influences

* personal growth through a life of self-examination and reformation

* revelation and sacred writings

* spiritual correspondences in thought, language, art

* the interconnection of all things in the universe to the mind (I coined the phrase

"spiritual geography" for this methodology)

* the impossibility of a vacuum (Swedenborg's conversations with Newton in the spiritual world)

* the inheritance of parental affections and their modification through reformation of one's character

* degrees of the mind and the levels of its operation (corporeal, sensuous, rational, spiritual, celestial)

* the analysis of all human behavior into affective, cognitive, and sensorimotor domains (love, thought, act)[6]

These concepts, together with many others found in the Swedenborg reports, constitute a new paradigm in psychology, which we can call spiritual psychology. This psychology is rational, dualistic, integrated, empirical, experiential, behavioristic, functionalist, developmental, psychobiological, and revelatory [7]

Note that my standard lecture would omit the historically important development of the New Church and its contemporary status. I do this in order to strengthen the central theme that psychologists can look upon the Swedenborg reports as science. The fact that Swedenborg's writings also serve as the basis for a new Christian religion is independent of the fact that the Swedenborg reports are viewed here as biology and psychology in their own right. I believe that in this way I avoid running up against the usual argument that religion and science should be separated. This also means that I do not make the division, often made by others, between Swedenborg's philosophical period (up to 1743), and his theological (or revelatory) period.

As a psychologist and scientist, I view Swedenborg's admission into the spiritual world and subsequent dual life as an event that makes his position fully empirical and scientific. His accounts of the soul and of correspondences turn from mere theory and natural observations, prior to his admission into the spiritual world, to objective eyewitness reporting of the spiritual world. Swedenborg's admission into the spiritual world, and consequent dual life, advances his writings from philosophy to empirical and behavioral science. From this perspective, what are called his Theological Writings (starting with Arcana Coelestia) are the beginning of his behavioristic science. His Philosophical Writings (or Pre-Theological Works) do make use of knowledge in the natural sciences, anatomy, and psychology, but his theories about mind/body interaction and the brain as a spiritual receiving organ, remain interesting but speculative works (cf. Swedenborg's The Economy of the Animal Kingdom and Rational Psychology). However, starting with Arcana Coelestia and all subsequent works, Swedenborg's reports and accounts are no longer speculative or theoretical, but empirical and experiential. His scientific period, from the perspective of biology and psychology, starts with that work and ends with True Christian Religion (published in 1771, just before his death), whose content is based on objective facts about the spiritual world, its inhabitants, and their relation to us on earth.

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Dr. Leon James, is Professor of Psychology at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. He teaches courses in Personality, Social Psychology, Statistics, and History of Psychology. He was admitted as full member of the American Psychological Association in 1962 and is currently on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Psycholinguistic Research. His books and articles are on language learning, semantics, and information literacy.   See also related topics in the Swedenborg Glossary by Leon James

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From Swedenborg's work called Conjugial Love.

CL 532. To this I will append the following narrative account:

I was once in my spirit taken up to the angelic heaven and into one of its societies; and some of the wise there then came to me and said, "What news do you have from earth?"

"This is new," I said, "that the Lord has revealed secrets which surpass in excellence all the secrets previously revealed from the inception of the Church."

"What are they?" they asked.

I said that they were the following:

(1) That in the Word and in each and every particular of it, there is a spiritual meaning corresponding to the natural meaning; that through that spiritual meaning people of the church are conjoined with the Lord and affiliated with angels; and that in it lies the holiness of the Word.

[2] (2) That the corresponding elements of which the spiritual meaning of the Word consists have been disclosed.

The angels asked whether the inhabitants of the earth knew anything about correspondences before. I said that they knew nothing at all of them. They have lain hidden now for several thousand years, I said, namely from the time of Job. Among peoples who lived at that time and before, a study of correspondences was the study of studies, from which they had their wisdom, because they gained from it a concept of spiritual things having to do with heaven and so with the church. But because that study was turned into an idolatrous one, it was of the Lord's Divine providence so blotted out and lost that no one has seen any trace of it. However, knowledge of it has nevertheless now been disclosed by the Lord, I said, in order that people of the church may be conjoined with Him and affiliated with angels. This conjunction and affiliation are effected through the Word, in which each and every particular is a correspondent form.

The angels greatly rejoiced that it had pleased the Lord to reveal this great secret, which for several thousand years had lain so deeply hidden. And they said it was done in order that the Christian Church, founded as it is on the Word and being now at its end, might be revived and again draw its spirit through heaven from the Lord.

They inquired as well whether in consequence of that knowledge it had at this time been disclosed what baptism and Holy Supper symbolize, sacraments about which people have hitherto had such various thoughts. And I replied that it had been disclosed.

[3] I said further, (3) that the Lord has now revealed the circumstances of people's life after death.

The angels said, "What about life after death? Who does not know that a person lives after death?"

"They know it and do not know it," I replied. "They say that what lives after death is not the person but his soul, and that this lives on as a spirit, of which they harbor an idea as of its being like the wind or ether, saying that it does not live as a real person until after the day of the Last Judgment. At that time, they say, the elements of the body which were left in the world, even though eaten by worms, mice and fish, will be gathered together again and constituted once more into a body, and that it is thus that people will rise again."

"What is this you are saying?" the angels said. "Who does not know that a person lives as a person after death, the only difference being that he then lives as a spiritual person? And who does not know that a spiritual person sees a spiritual person as a material person does a material one, without their being aware of a single distinction, except that they are living in a more perfect state?"

[4] The angels then inquired, "What do people know of our world, and of heaven and hell?"

I said that they have known nothing, but (4) that the Lord has now disclosed the nature of the world in which angels and spirits live, thus the nature of heaven and the nature of hell; as also that angels and spirits live in affiliation with men; in addition to many other wonders connected with them.

The angels were gladdened that it had pleased the Lord to disclose such things, so that people would no longer suffer such ignorance as to be in a state of uncertainty regarding their immortality.

[5] Going on, I said, (5) "The Lord has now revealed that there is in your world a different sun from the one in our world; that the sun of your world is pure love, while the sun of our world is nothing but fire; that because your sun is pure love, everything that emanates from it brings with it something of life, while because our sun is nothing but fire, everything that emanates from it brings with it nothing of life; also that this is the origin of the difference between what is spiritual and what is natural, a difference hitherto unknown which has also been disclosed."

It has been made known in consequence of this, I said, from what source the light comes which enlightens the human intellect with wisdom, and from what source the warmth comes which kindles the human will with love.

[6] In addition, it has been disclosed (6) that there are three degrees of life, and consequently three heavens; that the human mind is divided into these degrees, and that the human being thus corresponds to the three heavens.

"Did people not know this before?" said the angels.

I replied that they knew about greater and lesser degrees in a range, but nothing about prior and subsequent degrees.

[7] The angels asked whether in addition to these disclosures anything else had been revealed. I said that a number of other things had been, namely, (7) concerning the Last Judgment; concerning the Lord, that He is God of heaven and earth, that God is one both in person and in essence, in whom is the Divine trinity, and that He is the Lord; also concerning the New Church about to be established by Him, and the doctrine of that church; concerning the sacredness of the Holy Scripture; as also that the Apocalypse has been revealed, nothing of which could have been revealed, not even in one little verse, except by the Lord.

Included also is a revelation concerning inhabitants of other planets and concerning other earths in the universe, I said; as well as many accounts and wonders from the spiritual world, by which much else having to do with wisdom has been disclosed from heaven.

CL 533. The angels rejoiced greatly at hearing these reports; but when they perceived in me a sadness and began to inquire what reason I had to be sad, I said that although these secrets revealed at the present time by the Lord surpass in excellence and importance any concepts hitherto imparted, still on earth they are regarded as worthless.

The angels were surprised at this, and they petitioned the Lord to permit them to look down into the world; and on looking down, behold, they saw only darkness there.

They were then told to write these secrets on a piece of paper, and to let the paper descend to the earth, at which time they would see a portent. So they did so. And lo, the piece of paper with these secrets written upon it was let go from heaven, and as it descended, while still in the spiritual world, it shone like a star. But as it floated down into the natural world, the light disappeared, and the further it fell, the darker it became.

Then, when the angels directed it into gatherings of people containing certain educated and learned representatives from the clergy and laity, a murmur arose from many of them, in which were heard the following words: "What is this? Is it of any consequence? What does it matter if we know these things or not? Are they not creations of the brain?"

Moreover, some of them appeared as though to take the piece of paper and to fold it, roll it up, and unroll it with their fingers, in order to obliterate the writing; while others appeared as though to tear it up, and some to try to trample it with their feet. But they were kept by the Lord from such a wickedness, and the angels were commanded to withdraw the paper and protect it.

After that, because the angels were saddened and thought to themselves how long this would be the case, they were told, "For a time and times and half a time." (Revelation 12:14)

CL 534. I afterwards spoke again with the angels, saying that something else had been revealed in the world by the Lord. When they asked what it was, I said, "Respecting truly conjugial love and its heavenly delights."

"Who does not know," the angels said, "that the delights of conjugial love surpass the delights of all other loves? And who cannot see that into some love have been gathered all the blessings, felicities and delights that could ever be conferred by the Lord, and that their receptacle is truly conjugial love, which is able to receive and perceive them to a full sensation of them?"

I replied that they did not know this, because they did not go to the Lord and live according to His commandments, refraining from evils as sins and doing good. For truly conjugial love with its delights comes solely from the Lord and is given to those who live according to His commandments. Thus it is given to those who are received into the Lord's New Church, I said, the church that is meant in the book of Revelation by the New Jerusalem.

To this I added that I was uncertain whether people in the world today would be willing to believe that this love in itself is a spiritual love and thus stems from religion, because they harbor only a fleshly idea of it.

At that the angels said to me, "Write about it and pursue the revelation; and afterwards we will take the book you have written on the subject and let it descend from heaven. Then we shall see whether the points it contains are received, including at the same time whether people are willing to acknowledge that the character of this love is in accordance with the religion in a person, spiritual in the spiritual, natural in the natural, and merely carnal in adulterers."

CL 535. After that I heard a hostile murmur from people below, and at the same time this cry, "Do miracles and we will believe!"

In response I asked whether these revelations were not miracles, and received the reply, "They are not."

So I asked what miracles they meant, then, and was told, "Show us and reveal to us things to come and we will believe."

But I replied, "Such knowledge is not granted from heaven, since to the degree that a person knows things to come, his reason and understanding fall with his prudence and wisdom into a state of passivity, become inactive, and are overthrown."

Again therefore I asked, "What other miracles shall I do?"

Whereupon I then heard the cry, "Do miracles like the ones Moses did in Egypt!"

To that I replied, "Perhaps you will harden your hearts to them as Pharaoh and the Egyptians did."

And they answered that they would not.

Again I said, however, "Swear to me that you will not dance around a golden calf and worship it like the posterity of Jacob,* which they did within the space of a month after they saw the whole of Mount Sinai ablaze and heard Jehovah Himself speaking from out of the fire,** thus which they did following a miracle which was the greatest of all. A golden calf in the spiritual sense is the pleasure of the flesh."

And the people replied from below, "We will not be like the posterity of Jacob."

But at that I then heard this declaration to them from heaven, "If you do not believe Moses and the prophets, which is to say, the Word of the Lord, you will not believe as a result of miracles any more than the children of Jacob did in the wilderness; neither any more than those others believed when they saw with their own eyes the miracles the Lord Himself performed when He was in the world."***

* Exodus 32.

** Exodus 19:16-20:18.

*** Cf. Luke 16:31.

INDEX OF NARRATIVE ACCOUNTS

Conjugial love seen in its embodiment in a married couple conveyed down from heaven (nos. 42, 43).

Three newcomers from the world instructed about marriages in heaven (no. 44).

Concerning a chaste love for the opposite sex (no. 55).

The Temple of Wisdom, where wise men discussed the reasons for the beauty in the female sex (no. 56).

Conjugial love among people who lived in the golden age (no. 75).

Among people who lived in the silver age (no. 76).

Among people who lived in the copper age (no. 77).

Among people who lived in the iron age (no. 78).

Among peoples who lived after those ages (nos. 79, 80).

A glorification of the Lord by angels in the heavens on account of His advent, and celebrating then conjugial love (no. 81).

The precepts of the New Church (no. 82).

The origin of conjugial love and its vigor or potency, discussed by wise men assembled from the European world (nos. 103-114).

A piece of paper sent down from heaven to the earth, on which was written, "The marriage between good and truth" (no. 115).

What the image and likeness of God are, and what the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil are (nos. 132-136).

Two angels from the third heaven on conjugial love there (no. 137).

Some men of olden times in Greece, who inquired of newcomers what news they had from earth and learned of people found in a forest there (nos. 151 [repeated]-154 [repeated]).

Golden rain, and a hall where some wives made various comments on the subject of conjugial love (no. 155 [repeated]).

Some sages of olden times in Greece on people's life after death (no. 182).

A wedding garden called Adramandoni, where a conversation took place on the influx of conjugial love (no. 183).

Some sages of olden times in Greece on occupations in heaven (no. 207).

The golden rain and hall, where some wives spoke again on the subject of conjugial love (no. 208).

The judges swayed by partiality, who were the subject of the cry, "Oh, how just!" (no. 231).

The reasoners who were the subject of the cry, "Oh, how learned!" (no. 232).

The confirmers who were the subject of the cry, "Oh, how wise!" (no. 233).

On people who are motivated by a love of governing from love of self (nos. 261-266).

On people who are motivated by a love of possessing all the goods of the world (nos. 267, 268).

"Lucifer" (no. 269).

On coldness in marriage (no. 270).

Seven wives sitting in a rose garden, who made various comments on the subject of conjugial love (no. 293).

The same wives on the prudence of women (no. 294).

A discussion of what the soul is and the nature of it (no. 315).

A garden where a discourse occurred on the subject of Divine providence in relation to marriages (no. 316).

The difference between the spiritual and the natural (nos. 326-329).

Discussions as to whether a woman loves her husband if she loves herself on account of her beauty, and whether a man loves his wife if he loves himself on account of his intelligence (nos. 330, 331).

On one's own prudence (nos. 353, 354).

On the continual ability to make love to one's wife in heaven (nos. 355, 356).

A discussion as to whether nature is a product of life, or life a product of nature, and how this applies to the center and expanse of life and nature (no. 380).

Some lecturers speaking on the origin of the beauty of the feminine sex (nos. 381-384).

On the point that everything that arises or occurs in the natural world comes from the Lord through the spiritual world (nos. 415-422).

Some angels who did not know what licentiousness was (no. 444).

On delight, that it is the universal characteristic of heaven and hell (no. 461).

An adulterer taken up into heaven, where he saw contrary sights (no. 477).

Three priests whom adulterers denounced (no. 500).

On purposeful and deliberate adulterers, that they do not acknowledge anything having to do with heaven and the church (nos. 521, 522).

The new things revealed by the Lord (nos. 532-535).

THEOLOGICAL BOOKS PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED BY ME

Arcana Coelestia (The Secrets of Heaven), which contain an exegesis of Genesis and Exodus. 8 volumes. London, 1747-1758.

Heaven and Hell. The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine. The Last Judgment. The White Horse. The Earths in the Universe. London, 1758.

The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem Regarding the Lord. The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem Regarding the Sacred Scripture. The Doctrine of Life for the New Jerusalem. [The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem Regarding Faith.] A Continuation Concerning the Last Judgment and the Spiritual World. Amsterdam, 1763.

Angelic Wisdom Regarding Divine Providence. Also, Regarding Divine Love and Wisdom. Amsterdam, 1763-1764.*

The Apocalypse Revealed. Amsterdam, 1766.

These books are still being sold in London, at the establishment of Mr. John Hart, Printer, in Poppings Court, Fleet Street, and at the establishment of Mr. John Lewis, in Paternoster Row, near Cheapside.

In two years you will see the doctrine of the New Church, the church foretold by the Lord in the book of Revelation, chapters 21 and 22, presented in fullness.**

* Angelic Wisdom Regarding Divine Love and Wisdom was in fact published before the work on Divine providence, toward the end of 1763, and Angelic Wisdom Regarding Divine Providence in 1764.

** A reference to True Christian Religion, Containing the Universal Theology of the New Church, which was published in Amsterdam in 1771.

List of Swedenborg's Works and Full Text Access to Them Here


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