The New Student's Reference Work/Swedenborg, Emanuel

Swe′denborg, Eman′uel, was born at Stockholm, Sweden, Jan. 29, 1688, the son of a bishop and of noble family. He graduated at the University of Upsala, and, after four years travel, was given a position in the College of Mines by Carl XII, who became his friend. For some years he busied himself in writing a host of scientific works, mainly practical, on bridges, air-guns, docks, blood-circulation, copper-manufacturing, etc. Suddenly his scientific work stopped, and in 1749-56 appeared a Latin work which he called Heavenly Secrets. He announced that the Lord had appeared to him and sent him to be the herald of a new church and that his office was to interpret the word of God according to its true meaning. The New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine and many other theological works followed. Swedenborg made no effort to found a church, but confined himself to the work of announcing the new doctrines which were to be its basis. As a man he was modest and retiring, genial and happy, and lived a most simple and quiet life. He died at London, March 20, 1772. Since his death, religious societies have been founded on Swedenborg's teachings, and are banded together in America as the general convention, in England as the general conference, of the New Church. Consult Wilkinson's Life and compare Emerson's essay in Representative Men.