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Invitation to the New Church, by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1771], tr. by John Whitehead [1914] at

Invitation to the New Church


That it is allowable to confirm the truths of the church by reason or by the understanding, as much as it pleases, and also by various things in nature; and in proportion as truths are so confirmed, they become rooted and shine. It is also allowable to confirm truths by the Word, wherever it pleases, and also to apply for this purpose many things from the Word; and then the Word is not falsified thereby. Those expressions of Scripture through which truths are confirmed, ascend into heaven; they are like the fumes of frankincense; but on the other hand if falsities are confirmed from the Word, they do not ascend into heaven, but are rejected; and they are dispersed on the way with a loud report. This I have heard thousands of times.


The manifestation of the Lord, and intromission into the spiritual world, surpass all miracles. This has not been granted to anyone since the creation, as it has been to me. The men of the golden age, indeed, conversed with the angels; but it was not granted to them to be in any other than natural light; but to me it is granted to be in both spiritual and natural light at the same time. By this means it has been granted to me to see the wonderful things of heaven, to be together with the angels like one of them, and at the same time to draw forth truths in light, and thus to perceive and teach them; consequently to be led by the Lord. But as concerns miracles, they would have been nothing else than snares for seducing men; as the Lord says (Matt. 24:24); and as is related of the magician Simon, that: He bewitched the nations in Samaria, who believed that these things were done from the great power of God (Acts 8:9 seq.). What else are the miracles among the Papists, than snares and deceptions? What else do they teach, than that they themselves should be worshipped as deities, and that they should recede from the worship of the Lord? Have wonder-working images any other effect? Have the idols or corpses of saints throughout the papal dominion any other purpose? Those of Anthony of Padua, of the three wise men at Cologne, and of all the rest, whose miracles fill the monasteries? What have these miracles taught concerning Christ? What concerning heaven and life eternal? Not a syllable.


That it is impossible for any church, and for any system of religion to exist, unless it is believed that God is one. When, therefore, the Divine Trinity is believed to be divided into three Persons, how can the metaphysical term essence make one out of three? So long as the properties of each person are diverse, yea, so diverse that they are said not to be communicable? And so long as the equal and particular persons subsist by themselves, and one person has no part and no quality in the other person, or of the other person? But when it is believed that the one God is not only the Creator, but also the Redeemer and Operator, then we have one God; and then for the first time the church exists and subsists, and religion lives. And thus union of three cannot be given otherwise, than it is in every man, as soul, body, and proceeding. These three make one man: why not God, who is Himself the Man from firsts to ultimates? These things concerning God Man have been explained in Divine Love and Wisdom, and may be consulted. It is also shown that [the soul] is neither ether, nor air, nor wind; that the soul of every man is the man himself, follows thence. As we have now one God in the church, who is God Man and Man God, this church is called the crown of all the churches.


That in Christ man is God is to be shown from three places in the Formula Concordiae (from Paul, Rom. 14:11; Col. 2:9; from John's first Epistle 5:20-21), and from the Lord's words that: 1. God was the Word, and the Word was made flesh. 2. All things of the Father are His. 3. All of the Father come to Him. 4. As the Father hath life in Himself, so has the Son (Life in Himself is God). 5. The Father and He are one. 6. He is in the Father, and the Father in Him. 7. He who seeth Him, seeth the Father. 8. He is the God of heaven and earth. 9. He governs the universe. (From the Creed.) 10. He is called "Jehovah, the Redeemer." 11. He is called "Jehovah, our Righteousness." 12. It is said that "Jehovah would come into the world." 13. In the Apocalypse (Chap. 1) it is said, that He is "the first and the Last." 14. In a word, He is God the Father who is invisible, in the Human which is visible before minds. Because there is thus One God in the church, the church is the church, etc., etc. From the Athanasian Creed it is said: As the soul and body is one man: so God and Man in Christ is one Person; then that the Human Nature was taken into God.


CONCERNING MIRACLES. (From the sons of Israel.) (From the Lord's words concerning Dives and Lazarus.) (From the Lord's words, Matt. 24:24.) The Papal miracles (which are to be enumerated). That they only seduce, and do not teach anything; their sole purpose is that they may be invoked as deities; and indeed to this end that gold and silver may be brought to the monasteries; that is, that they may scrape together the treasures of the whole world. The miracles of many of them, as of Anthony at Padua; those by the three wise men at Cologne; those of the wonder-working images, at which treasures are collected, everywhere in the monasteries, where the walls are covered with pictures of the miracles wrought by their saints, and their idols; the books concerning the miracles of Paris and others. What other purpose have they, than that they may be invoked, to the end that gifts may be scraped together? But who among them has thus far taught the way to heaven, and the truths of the church out of the Word? For this reason it has pleased the Lord to prepare me from my earliest youth to perceive the Word, and He has introduced me into the spiritual world, and has enlightened me with the light of His Word more proximately. From this it is manifest that this surpasses all miracles. Beelzebub did more miracles than other Gentile gods, as is evident from the Old Testament; and also the magician Simon.


That the Lord made the Natural Man in Himself Divine, in order that He might be the First and the Last; and that He might thus enter with men even into their natural man, and might teach and lead it from the Word. For He rose with His whole natural or external man, and did not leave anything of it in the sepulcher; on which account He said that He had bones and flesh, which spirits have not; and [hence it is] that He ate and drank with His disciples of natural food, and in their sight. That He was Divine, He showed by passing through doors, and by becoming invisible, which never could have been done, unless His Natural Man itself also had been made Divine with Him.


That all those things which the orthodox at the present day say concerning the sending of the Holy Spirit fall to the ground, as soon as it is known that the Lord is constantly present with every man, and causes the man to live; and that He resides with man in order that he may go and meet the Lord; and that even if he does not go and meet the Lord, he still has rationality, which would be impossible without the Lord's presence. If the Lord were absent from man, the man would not be a beast, but like some corpse which would be dissipated. This is meant in Genesis by: God breathed into him a living soul (Gen. 2:7).


It shall here be shown from the Word, that the Lord is the "Kingdom of God"; thus, that He is heaven and the church.


It shall be shown that the greatest power is in correspondences; because in them heaven and the world, or the spiritual and the natural, are together. That for this reason the Word was written by mere correspondences; wherefore, through it there is the conjunction of man with heaven, and thus with the Lord. The Lord also by this means is in firsts and at the same time in ultimates. On this account the sacraments have been instituted through correspondences, and therefore there is the Divine power in them.