Swedenborgians, Or, the New Jerusalem Church.
Emanuel Swedenborg, the father of this sect, was the son of a bishop of West Gothnia, in the kingdom of Sweden, whose name was Swedberg, a man of considerable learning and celebrity in his time. The son was born at Stockholm, January 29, 1688, and died in London, 1772. He enjoyed early the advantages of a liberal education, and, being naturally endowed with uncommon talents for the acquirement of learning, his progress in the sciences was rapid and extensive, and he soon distinguished himself by several publications in the Latin language, which gave proof of equal genius and erudition. It may reasonably be supposed that, under the care of his pious and reverend father, our author's religious instruction was not neglected. This, indeed, appears plain from the general tenor of his life and writings, which are marked with strong and lively characters of a mind deeply impressed with a sense of the divine Being, and of all the relative duties thence resulting. He was ennobled in the year 1719, by Queen Ulrica Eleonora, and named Swedenborg, from which time he took his seat with the nobles of the equestrian order, in the triennial assembly of the states.

Baron Swedenborg had many eccentricities; but perhaps the most remarkable circumstance respecting him was his asserting that, during the uninterrupted period of twenty-seven years, he enjoyed open intercourse with the world of departed spirits, and during that time was instructed in the internal sense of the sacred Scriptures, hitherto undiscovered.

Articles of Faith, Of the New Church, signified by the New Jerusalem in the Revelation.

"1. That JEHOVAH GOD, the Creator and Preserver of heaven and earth, is Love Itself and Wisdom Itself, or Good Itself and Truth Itself: That he is One both in Essence and in Person, in whom, nevertheless, is the Divine Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, which are the Essential Divinity, the Divine Humanity, and the Divine Proceeding, answering to the soul, the body, and the operative energy, in man: And that the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is that GOD.

"2. That JEHOVAH GOD himself descended from heaven, as Divine Truth, which is the Word, and took upon him Human Nature for the purpose of removing from man the powers of hell, and restoring to order all things in the spiritual world, and all things in the church: That he removed from man the powers of hell, by combats against and victories over them; in which consisted the great work of Redemption: That by the same acts, which were his temptations, the last of which was the passion of the cross, he united, in his Humanity, Divine Truth to Divine Good, or Divine Wisdom to Divine Love, and so returned into his Divinity in which he was from eternity, together with, and in, his Glorified Humanity; whence he forever keeps the infernal powers in subjection to himself: And that all who believe in him, with the understanding, from the heart, and live accordingly, will be saved.

"3. That the Sacred Scripture, or Word of GOD, is Divine Truth itself; containing a Spiritual Sense heretofore unknown, whence it is divinely inspired, and holy in every syllable; as well as a Literal Sense, which is the basis of its Spiritual Sense, and in which Divine Truth is in its fulness, its sanctity, and its power; thus that it is accommodated to the apprehension both of angels and men: That the spiritual and natural senses are united, by correspondences, like soul and body, every natural expression and image answering to, and including, a spiritual and divine idea: And thus that the Word is the medium of communication with heaven, and of conjunction with the Lord.

"4. That the government of the Lord's Divine Love and Wisdom is the Divine Providence; which is universal, exercised according to certain fixed laws of Order, and extending to the minutest particulars of the life of all men, both of the good and of the evil: That in all its operations it has respect to what is infinite and eternal, and makes no account of things transitory, but as they are subservient to eternal ends; thus that it mainly consists, with man, in the connection of things temporal with things eternal; for that the continual aim of the Lord, by his Divine Providence, is to join man to himself and himself to man, that he may be able to give him the felicities of eternal life: And that the laws of permission are also laws of the Divine Providence; since evil cannot be prevented without destroying the nature of man as an accountable agent; and because, also, it cannot be removed unless it be known, and cannot be known unless it appear. Thus that no evil is permitted but to prevent a greater; and all is overruled, by the Lord's Divine Providence, for the greatest possible good.

"5. That man is not life, but is only a recipient of life from the Lord, who, as he is Love Itself and Wisdom Itself, is also Life Itself; which life is communicated by influx to all in the spiritual world, whether belonging to heaven or to hell, and to all in the natural world; but is received differently by every one, according to his quality and consequent state of reception.

"6. That man, during his abode in the world, is, as to his spirit, in the midst between heaven and hell, acted upon by influences from both, and thus is kept in a state of spiritual equilibrium between good and evil; in consequence of which he enjoys free will, or freedom of choice, in spiritual things as well as in natural, and possesses the capacity of either turning himself to the Lord and his kingdom, or turning himself away from the Lord, and connecting himself with the kingdom of darkness: And that, unless man had such freedom of choice, the Word would be of no use, the church would be a mere name, man would possess nothing by virtue of which he could be conjoined to the Lord, and the cause of evil would be chargeable on GOD himself.

"7. That man at this day is born into evil of all kinds, or with tendencies towards it: That, therefore, in order to his entering the kingdom of heaven, he must be regenerated, or created anew; which great work is effected in a progressive manner, by the Lord alone, by charity and faith as mediums, during man's cooeperation: That, as all men are redeemed, all are capable of being regenerated, and, consequently saved, every one according to his state: And that the regenerate man is in communion with the angels of heaven, and the unregenerate with the spirits of hell: But that no one is condemned for hereditary evil, any further than as he makes it his own by actual life; whence all who die in infancy are saved, special means being provided by the Lord in the other life for that purpose.

"8. That Repentance is the first beginning of the Church in man; and that it consists in a man's examining himself, both in regard to his deeds and his intentions, in knowing and acknowledging his sins, confessing them before the Lord, supplicating him for aid, and beginning a new life: That, to this end, all evils, whether of affection, of thought, or of life, are to be abhorred and shunned as sins against GOD, and because they proceed from infernal spirits, who in the aggregate are called the Devil and Satan; and that good affections, good thoughts, and good actions, are to be cherished and performed, because they are of GOD and from GOD: That these things are to be done by man as of himself; nevertheless, under the acknowledgment and belief, that it is from the Lord, operating in him and by him: That so far as man shuns evils as sins, so far they are removed, remitted, or forgiven; so far also he does good, not from himself, but from the Lord; and in the same degree he loves truth, has faith, and is a spiritual man: And that the Decalogue teaches what evils are sins.

"9. That Charity, Faith, and Good Works, are unitedly necessary to man's salvation; since charity, without faith, is not spiritual, but natural; and faith, without charity, is not living, but dead; and both charity and faith, without good works, are merely mental and perishable things, because without use or fixedness: And that nothing of faith, of charity, or of good works, is of man; but that all is of the Lord, and all the merit is his alone.

"10. That Baptism and the Holy Supper are sacraments of divine institution, and are to be permanently observed; Baptism being an external medium of introduction into the Church, and a sign representative of man's purification and regeneration; and the Holy Supper being an external medium to those who receive it worthily, of introduction, as to spirit, into heaven, and of conjunction with the Lord; of which also it is a sign and seal.

"11. That, immediately after death, which is only a putting off of the material body, never to be resumed, man rises again in a spiritual or substantial body, in which he continues to live to eternity; in heaven, if his ruling affections, and hence his life, have been good; and in hell, if his ruling affections, and thence his life, have been evil.

"12. That Now is the time of the Second Advent of the Lord which is a Coming, not in Person, but in the power and glory of his Holy Word: That it is attended, like his first Coming, with the restoration to order of all things in the spiritual world, where the wonderful divine operation, commonly expected under the name of the Last Judgment, has in consequence been performed; and with the preparing of the way for a New Church on the earth, -- the first Christian Church having spiritually come to its end or consummation, through evils of life and errors of doctrine, as foretold by the Lord in the Gospels: And that this New or Second Christian Church, which will be the Crown of all Churches, and will stand forever, is what was representatively seen by John, when he beheld the holy city, New Jerusalem, descending from GOD out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband."

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The leading theological works of Swedenborg are, the Heavenly Arcana, in twelve octavo volumes, giving an explanation of the books of Genesis and Exodus, being a key to what he calls the internal or spiritual sense of the sacred Scriptures. The next in importance is the Apocalypse Explained, in six octavo volumes, containing a full explanation of that book.

From his last work, The True Christian Religion, we make the following extracts, to show some of his peculiar views and style of writing: --

"Concerning the Spiritual World.

"The spiritual world has been treated of in a particular work concerning HEAVEN AND HELL, in which many things of that world are described; and, because every man, after death, comes into that world, the state of men there is also described. Who does not know, or may not know, that man lives after death? both because he is born a man, created an image of God, and because the Lord teaches it in his word. But what life he is to live, has been hitherto unknown. It has been believed that then he would be a soul, of which they entertained no other idea than as of ether, or air; thus that it is breath, or spirit, such as man breathes out of his mouth when he dies, in which, nevertheless, his vitality resides; but that it is without sight, such as is of the eye, without hearing, such as is of the ear, and without speech, such as is of the mouth; when yet, man, after death, is equally a man, and such a man, that he does not know but that he is still in the former world. He walks, runs, and sits, as in the former world; he lies down, sleeps, and wakes up, as in the former world; he eats and drinks, as in the former world; he enjoys conjugial delight, as in the former world; in a word, he is a man as to all and every particular; whence it is manifest, that death is not an extinction, but a continuation, of life, and that it is only a transition.

"That man is equally a man after death, although he does not then appear to the eyes of the material body, may be evident from the angels seen by Abraham, Hagar, Gideon, Daniel, and some of the prophets, -- from the angels seen in the Lord's sepulchre, and afterwards, many times, by John, concerning whom in the Revelation, -- and especially from the Lord himself, who showed that he was a man by the touch and by eating, and yet he became invisible to their eyes. Who can be so delirious, as not to acknowledge that, although he was invisible, he was still equally a man? The reason why they saw him was, because then the eyes of their spirit were opened; and, when these are opened, the things which are in the spiritual world appear as clearly as those which are in the natural world. The difference between a man in the natural world and a man in the spiritual world is, that the latter is clothed with a substantial body, but the former with a material body, in which, inwardly, is his substantial body; and a substantial man sees a substantial man as clearly as a material man sees a material man; but a substantial man cannot see a material man, nor a material man a substantial man, on account of the difference between material and substantial, which is such as may be described, but not in a few words.

"From the things seen for so many years, I can relate the following: That there are lands in the spiritual world, as well as in the natural world, and that there are also plains, and valleys, and mountains, and hills, and likewise fountains and rivers; that there are paradises, gardens, groves, and woods; that there are cities, and in them palaces and houses; and also that there are writings and books; that there are employments and tradings; and that there are gold, silver, and precious stones; in a word, that there are all things whatsoever that are in the natural world; but those in heaven are immensely more perfect. But the difference is, that all things that are seen in the spiritual world are created in a moment by the Lord, as houses, paradises, food, and other things; and that they are created for correspondence with the interiors of the angels and spirits, which are their affections and thoughts thence; but that all things that are seen in the natural world exist and grow from seed.

"Since it is so, and I have daily spoken there with the nations and people of this world, -- thus not only with those who are in Europe, but also with those who are in Asia and in Africa, thus with those who are of various religions, -- I shall add, as a conclusion to this work, a short description of the state of some of them. It is to be observed, that the state of every nation and people in general, as well as of each individual in particular, in the spiritual world, is according to the acknowledgment of God, and the worship of him; and that all who in heart acknowledge a God, and, after this time, those who acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ to be God, the Redeemer and Savior, are in heaven; and that those who do not acknowledge him are under heaven, and are there instructed; and that those who receive are raised up into heaven, and that those who do not receive are cast down into hell."

Swedenborg says, "The Dutch are easily distinguished from others in the spiritual world, because they appear in garments like those which they wore in the natural world; with the distinction, that those appear in finer ones, who have received faith and spiritual life. The reason why they are clothed in the like garments is, because they remain constantly in the principles of their religion; and all in the spiritual world are clothed according to them; wherefore, those there who are in divine truths, have white garments, and of fine linen.

"The cities in which the Dutch live are guarded in a singular manner: all the streets in them are covered with roofs, and there are gates in the streets, so that they may not be seen from the rocks and hills round about: this is done on account of their inherent prudence in concealing their designs, and not divulging their intentions; for such things, in the spiritual world, are drawn forth by inspection. When any one comes for the purpose of exploring their state, and is about to go out, he is led to the gates of the streets, which are shut, and thus is led back, and led to others, and this even to the highest degree of vexation, and then he is let out; this is done that he may not return. Wives, who affect dominion over their husbands, live at one side of the city, and do not meet their husbands, except when they are invited, which is done in a civil manner; and then they also lead them to houses, where consorts live without exercising dominion over each other, and show them how clean and elegant their houses are, and what enjoyment of life they have, and that they have these things from mutual and conjugal love. Those wives who attend to these things, and are affected by them, cease to exercise dominion, and live together with their husbands; and then they have a habitation assigned to them nearer to the middle, and are called angels: the reason is, because truly conjugal love is heavenly love, which is without dominion.

"With respect to the English nation, the best of them are in the centre of all Christians, because they have interior intellectual light. This does not appear to any one in the natural world, but it appears conspicuously in the spiritual world. This light they derive from the liberty of speaking and writing, and thereby of thinking. With others, who are not in such liberty, that light, not having any outlet, is obstructed. That light, indeed, is not active of itself, but it is made active by others, especially by men of reputation and authority. As soon as any thing is said by them, that light shines forth.

"For this reason, they have moderators appointed over them in the spiritual world; and priests are given to them, of high reputation and eminent talents, in whose opinions, from this their natural disposition, they acquiesce.

"There are two great cities, like London, into which most of the English come after death: it has been given me to see the former city, and also to walk over it. The middle of that city is where the merchants meet in London, which is called the Exchange: there the moderators dwell. Above that middle is the east, below it is the west, on the right side is the south, on the left side is the north. In the eastern quarter, those dwell who have preeminently led a life of charity: there are magnificent palaces. In the southern quarter the wise dwell, with whom there are many splendid things. In the northern quarter, those dwell who have preeminently loved the liberty of speaking and writing. In the western quarter, those dwell who boast of justification by faith atone. On the right there, in this quarter, is the entrance into this city, and also a way out of it: those who live ill are sent out there. The ministers who are in the west, and teach that faith alone, dare not enter the city through the great streets, but through narrow alleys; since no other inhabitants are tolerated in the city itself, than those who are in the faith of charity. I have heard them complaining of the preachers from the west, that they compose their sermons with such art and eloquence, and introduce into them the strange doctrine of justification by faith, that they do not know whether good ought to be done or not. They preach faith as intrinsic good, and separate this from the good of charity, which they call meritorious, and thus not acceptable to God. But, when those who dwell in the eastern and southern quarters of the city hear such sermons, they go out of the temples; and the preachers afterwards are deprived of the priestly office."

"Concerning the Popish Saints in the Spiritual World.

"It is known that man has innate or hereditary evil from parents; but it is known to few in what that dwells, in its fulness: it dwells in the love of possessing the goods of all others, and in the love of ruling; for this latter love is such, that, as far as the reins are given to it, so far it bursts forth, until it burns with the desire of ruling over all, and, at length, wishes to be invoked and worshipped as a god. This love is the serpent, which deceived Eve and Adam; for it said to the woman, God doth know, in the day that ye eat of the fruit of that tree, your eyes will be opened, AND THEN YE WILL BE AS GOD. (Gen. iii.4, 5.) As far, therefore, as man, without restraint, rushes into this love, so far he averts himself from God, and turns to himself, and becomes a worshipper of himself; and then he can invoke God with a warm mouth from the love of self, but with a cold heart from contempt of God. And then, also, the divine things of the church may serve for means; but, because the end is dominion, the means are regarded no more than as they are subservient to it. Such a person, if he is exalted to the highest honors, is, in his own imagination, like Atlas bearing the terraqueous globe upon his shoulders, and like Phoebus, with his horses, carrying the sun around the world.

"Since man hereditarily is such, therefore all who, by papal bulls, have been made saints, in the spiritual world are removed from the eyes of others, and concealed, and all intercourse with their worshippers is taken away from them; the reason is, lest that most pernicious root of evil should be excited in them, and they should be brought into such fantastic deliriums as there are with demons. Into such deliriums those come, who, while they live in the world, zealously aspire to be made saints after death, that they may be invoked.

"Many of the Roman Catholic persuasion, especially the monks, when they come into the spiritual world, inquire for the saints, particularly the saint of their order; but they do not find them, at which they wonder; but afterwards they are instructed that they are mixed together, either with those who are in heaven, or with those who are in the earth below; and that, in either case, they know nothing of the worship and invocation of themselves, and that those who do know, and wish to be invoked, fall into deliriums, and talk foolishly. The worship of saints is such an abomination in heaven, that, if they only hear it, they are filled with horror; since, as far as worship is ascribed to any man, so far it is withheld from the Lord; for thus, he alone is not worshipped; and, if the Lord alone is not worshipped, a discrimination is made, which destroys communion, and the happiness of life flowing from it. That I might know what the Roman Catholic saints are, in order that I might make it known, as many as a hundred were brought forth from the earth below, who knew of their canonization. They ascended behind my back, and only a few before my face; and I spoke with one of them, who, they said, was Xavier. He, while he talked with me, was like a fool; yet he could tell, that, in his place, where he was shut up with others, he was not a fool, but that he becomes a fool as often as he thinks that he is a saint, and wishes to be invoked. A like murmur I heard from those who were behind my back. It is otherwise with the saints, so called, in heaven: these know nothing at all of what is done on earth; nor is it given them to speak with any of the Roman Catholic persuasion, who are in that superstition, lest any idea of that thing should enter into them.

"From this their state, every one may conclude that invocations of them are only mockeries; and, moreover, I can assert, that they do not hear their invocations on earth, any more than their images do at the sides of the streets, nor any more than the walls of the temple, nor any more than the birds that build their nests in towers. It is said by their servants on earth, that the saints reign in heaven, together with the Lord Jesus Christ; but this is a figment and a falsehood; for they no more reign with the Lord, than a hostler with a king, a porter with a grandee, or a footman with a primate; for John the Baptist said, concerning the Lord, that he was not worthy to unloose the latchet of his shoe, (Mark 1:7. John 1:27.) What, then, are those who are such?

"There appears, sometimes, to the people of Paris, who are in the spiritual world, in a society, a certain woman of a common stature, in shining raiment, and of a face, as it were, holy; and she says that she is GENEVIEVE; but, when any begin to adore her, then her face is immediately changed, and also her raiment, and she becomes like an ordinary woman, and reproves them for wishing to adore a woman, who, among her companions, is in no higher estimation than as a maid-servant, wondering that the men of the world should be captivated by such trifles.

"To the above, I shall add this, which is most worthy of attention. Once, MARY, THE MOTHER OF THE LORD, passed by, and was seen overhead in white raiment; and then, stopping a while, she said that she was the mother of the Lord, and that he was indeed born of her; but that he, being made God, put off all the human from her, and that, therefore, she now adores him as her God; and that she is unwilling that any one should acknowledge him for her son, since in him all is divine."

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