Page:A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.djvu/62

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

knock and open the door, whether he did hold the commission and receive the instructions he professes to have received, are questions which cannot be determined by the testimony of Swedenborg; for though there was never probably a more truthful man, nor one who lived more exclusively to the honor and glory of God, he was human and therefore liable to illusions; neither can these questions be determined by other witnesses, because from the nature of the case, there were and could have been none.

They must be determined, if at all, by the character of the communications he professes to have received. If they seem to be of sufficient importance to justify their alleged divine origin; if they harmonize at all points with the record which all Christians accept as the genuine Word of God; if they make the Word plainer; if they reconcile things in the Word which before seemed inconsistent, and tend to unite those who before were divided in regard to its teachings, then it would be unreasonable to suppose that Swedenborg was the victim of illusions,and did not enjoy the intercourse with our Lord and the angels which he professed and believed he enjoyed.

From the period of his alleged illumination in 1743-5 to his death in 1772, a period of nearly thirty years, Swedenborg wrote very voluminously. Apart from one or two scientific works, then just completed, he published scarcely a line that was not written under what he regarded as direct instruction from the Lord. What he published during this period comprehends his entire system of theology and hermeneutics, and occupies some thirty volumes.[1]

The conviction of a personal calling by the Lord, and of enjoying continuous association with His angels for nearly thirty years, is an experience, so far as we know, without precedent; and the fruits of such experience, to whatever cause we may ascribe it, can never cease to be an interesting and profitable study. Some notion of the fertility of his pen, and of the subjects which occupied it during these latter years of his life, may be gathered from a glance at the titles of his various printed works, and of his unpublished manuscripts that are preserved.

  1. Now published by the American Swedenborg Printing and Publishing Society, at the Cooper Union, in nineteen volumes.