A Portrait of Emanuel Swedenborg:
Accurate Views of His Residence and Summer House;
A Fac Simile of His Hand-Writing;
and Copies of the Gold Medal Presented by the Royal Academy
Otis Clapp, and Crosby, Nichols & Co.
Copyright © 1854.
Printed by J. S. Potter & Co.
Emanuel Swedenborg. Click on image for a larger version.
Emanuel Swedenborg and His Works top
Swedenborg was born at Stockholm, Sweden, Jan. 29, 1688. His early life was very remarkable for piety and learning. In 1709, at 22, he took his degree of Doctor of Philosophy; in 1710 he began his travels through Europe, and continued them about five years; he spent one year in England, and three in France and Holland, studying Mathematics, Philosophy, Astronomy, and Mechanics. In 1716, at the age of 29, Charles the XII., King of Sweden, appointed him General Assessor over all the mines and metallic works of the nation. Up to this time, he had published his work on Seneca and Mimas, a volume of Poems, Daedalus Hyperboreus, and a small work on Numbers. In 1718, at 30, he issued two works: l. An Introduction to Algebra, or the Art of Rules; 2. Attempts to find the Longitude of Places by Lunar Observation. In 1719 he was ennobled, and took his seat; but was not a Count or Baron. This year he published four works: 1. A Proposal for a Decimal System of Money and Measures; 2. A Treatise on the Motion and Position of the Earth and Planets; 3. Proofs derived from Appearances in Sweden, of the Depths of the Sea, and the greater Force of the Tides in the Ancient World; and 4. On Docks, Sluices, and Salt Works. These ten smaller works constitute the Author's Prelude in Life, and placed him at the head of Scientific Men, with a spotless name and character.
In 1721, at 33, he travelled again, and published five works: 1. Some Specimens of Work on the Principles of Natural Philosophy, comprising New Attempts to explain the Phenomena of Chemistry and Physics by Geometry; 2. New Observations and Discoveries respecting Iron and Fire, and particularly respecting the Elemental Nature of Fire, together with a New Construction of Stoves; 3. A New Method of finding the Longitudes of Places, on Land or at Sea, by Lunar Observations; 4. A New Mechanical Plan of constructing Docks and Dikes ; 5. A Mode of Discovering the Powers of Vessels, by the Application of Mechanical Principles. M. Dumas, the great French chemist, ascribes to him the origin of Crystalography. In 1722, at 34, he published his Miscellaneous Observations connected with the Physical Sciences, in Three Parts; also, part fourth, principally on Minerals, Iron, and the Stalactites in Bauman's Cavern. Thus he began his travels into Future Ages, from Mineral Architecture into Chemistry itself, embracing the Earths, Waters, and Atmospheres of Creation. In the same year he issued a work, On the Depreciation and Rise of the Swedish Currency.
We now enter upon another era of Swedenborg's life, when his tentative youth and manhood were past, and he entered a region all his own, and inhabited his intellectual estates unquestioned, unlimited, uncontradicted, and alone. In 1733, at 44, he commenced printing his PRINCIPIA, or the First Principles of Natural Things, being New Attempts toward a Philosophical Explanation of the Elementary World. This is translated, and makes two large octavo volumes, illustrated with numerous engravings; but the two folio volumes, of 396 and 546 pages, entitled Philosophical and Mineral Works, are not yet rendered into English. This year he also published his Philosophy of the Infinite; or Outlines of a Philosophical Argument on the Infinite, and the Final Cause of Creation; and on the Intercourse between the Soul and the Body. The publication of these works gave him a European reputation, and his correspondence was eagerly sought by the learned of several nations.
In 1740–1 he published his Economy of the Animal Kingdom, which is translated into two large octavo volumes. Here the courageous Miner sunk his shaft into the deep veins of the organic sciences, "determining to penetrate," as he says, "from the very cradle to the maturity of nature.'' In 1744–5 he published his Animal Kingdom, making two large octavo volumes, in English; but the 4th and following parts are not translated. Both these works are considered Anatomically, Physically, and Philosophically, and are far in advance of the present age, as the Medical world is beginning to know and acknowledge. His Posthumous Work, on Generation, containing 327 octavo pages, has recently been translated and published, both in this country and in England. It is to be hoped that the parts on the Nervous Fibre and the Nervous Fluid, the Five Senses, and his great work of 1400 pages on the Brain, may be translated speedily. It is impossible to give here even a glimpse of the above works, beyond their titles.
In 1745 he published a work in two parts, on The Worship and Love of God: Part I. On the Origin of the Earth, on the State of Paradise in the Vegetable and Animal Kingdoms, and on the Birth, Infancy, and Love of Adam, or the First-born man; Part II. On the Marriage of the First-born; and on the Soul, the Intellectual Mind, the State of Integrity, and the Image of God. This is a centering of all he had previously elicited from his studies, and an attempt to carry them into another field; it is an end of his scientific and philosophic march, and serves as a connecting link between his Natural and Spiritual Works, between this world and the next. He began from God, as the fountain of the Sciences; the wisdom of creation was the desire and wisdom of his labors; and here he ended with his beginning, carrying God's harvest to God. Apparently, he did not know that his literary life was closed; but he stood amidst the sheaves, contemplating the tillage of future years in the old domain; although trembling, nevertheless, in the presence of an undisclosed event. As a Natural Theologian, Swedenborg, thus far, stands unrivalled. We now pass on to another man and author, the SEER and THEOLOGIAN.
In 1745, at 56 years of age, he says "he was called to a holy office by the Lord himself, who opened his sight to view the spiritual world, and granted him the privilege of conversing with spirits and angels." He now resigned his office of Assessor, and girded himself to works of his NEW COMMISSION; which was, to develop truths of which the religious world had never dreamed; and his unfoldings of God's Word, of Heaven and Hell, are as far in advance of the commonly received opinions of professed Christians, as theirs are in advance of Judaism; of which his religious works contain abundance of internal and external evidence.
From 1749 to 1756 appeared his great work, the Arcana Coelestia: the Heavenly Arcana which are contained in the Holy Scriptures, or Word of the Lord, Unfolded, beginning with the Book of Genesis: together with Wonderful Things seen in the World of Spirits, and in the Heaven of Angels. This work is printed in thirteen octavo volumes, and contains an exposition of Genesis and Exodus, and many other parts of the Bible; but no man, according to Swedenborg, is bound to receive it on his ipse dixit, or say so; but he is to examine it, and decide according to intrinsic evidence.
In 1758 he published the five following works: 1. An Account of the Last Judgment and the Destruction of Babylon; showing that all the Predictions in the Apocalypse are at this day fulfilled; being a Relation of Things heard and seen; 2. Concerning Heaven and its Wonders, and concerning Hell, being a Relation of Things heard and seen; 3. On the White Horse mentioned in the Apocalypse; 4. On the Planets in our Solar System, and on those in the Starry Heavens, with an account of their Inhabitants and of their Spirits and Angels; 5. On the New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrines, as revealed from Heaven. After this, he furnished evidence of his opened sight to many distinguished persons, which the celebrated Kant pronounced perfectly satisfactory.
In 1763 he published the six following works: 1. The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem respecting the Lord; 2. The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem respecting the Sacred Scriptures; 3. The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem respecting Faith; 4. The Doctrine of Life for the New Jerusalem; 5. Continuation respecting the Last Judgment and the Destruction of Babylon; 6. Angelic Wisdom concerning the Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom.
In 1764 he published a continuation of his work on the Divine Attributes, entitled Angelic Wisdom concerning Divine Providence. He kept a Diary, or Day-Book, from 1747 to 1764, a period of seventeen years, which is a most extraordinary work, several volumes of which are in English. His Apocalypse Explained consists of five octavo volumes, and his Apocalypse Revealed, of a very large one: both are on the Book of Revelation: the first was not published till after his death; the latter appeared in 1765–66.
His works on "The Delights of Wisdom concerning Conjugal Love, and the Pleasures of Insanity concerning Scortatory Love," appeared in 1768. This was followed with his Brief Exposition of the Doctrines of the New Church, and the Intercourse between the Soul and the Body. In 1771, in his 84th year, he published his large work, The True Christian Religion; containing the Universal Theology of the New Church, foretold by the Lord in Daniel vii. 13, 14, and in the Apocalypse xxi. 1, 2: on the title page of which he called himself "Servant of the Lord Jesus Christ." This closed his career as an Author, and he died the 29th of March, 1772, according to his own prediction.
In Science and Philosophy, Swedenborg nobly strode a century before his time; and his works evince an intuitional and decided anticipation of many of the more recent discoveries. His discoveries and teachings in Geology, Mineralogy, Botany, Natural History, Animal and Human Physiology, Psychology, Chemistry, Crystalography, Mathematics, Mechanics, Astronomy, and Natural Philosophy, show how deeply the world is indebted to the labors of this "great, humble man," in whose works on these subjects can be found the principles of all that is known of the essences, forms, powers, and uses of universal matter; and in what respects he was in advance of Bacon, Leibnitz, Newton, La Place, Kepler, Herschel, Cuvier, or any other man, as a theorist and practical author; and at the same time perfectly free from all jealousies and animosities growing out of any of them as to who should be the greatest in the kingdom of Nature. It may be said of him, most truly, that "he set one foot of the compass of truth in God, and with the other swept all creation, both animate and inanimate;" and this is particularly true, when we consider him as the Seer, Theologian, and Philosopher of Spirit.
The New Jerusalem, says Swedenborg, is formed of those who worship the Lord, and do the work of repentance by shunning evils as sins; and consequently is formed gradually throughout all Christendom, as the false doctrine of justification by faith alone is extirpated. The New Church, therefore, according to Swedenborg, is a new dispensation of all that is GOOD and TRUE, and cannot be pronounced, any more than it can be made, sectarian, without a violation of its attributes: as an institution it doubtless claims to be eminently spiritual in its operation; but as in intellectual and moral force it connects religion with every human interest. While, therefore, its particular object is to change the whole man by regeneration, and make him the child of God, its general object is to evangelize the world, and bring it into correspondence with the order of Heaven. Swedenborg has nowhere prescribed any organization of the Church.
Swedenborg's Residence and Summer-House top
Everything connected with the circumstances and habits of our illustrious Author, during his sojourn on earth, in the execution of the great and important work to which he was appointed, will always have an interest, in a greater or less degree, in the feelings of every New Churchman. To gratify this amiable feeling in one point, is the object of presenting the New Church public with the representations of the Residence of Swedenborg in Stockholm, and the Summer-House in the garden, which belonged to it; and in which he studied and meditated so much on the grand and edifying subjects of his writings.
In some of the Documents which have been published relating to the Life of Swedenborg, frequent mention is made of his residence, summer-house, and garden, as will appear from the following extracts from Hobart's Life of him:
View of the Residence of E. Swedenborg at Stockholm. Click on image for a larger version.
"Whenever he took up his residence in Stockholm, he dwelt in his own house, situated in the southern part of the city, having no other attendants than his gardener and the gardener's wife. He had an extensive garden, with flowers and shrubbery in abundance, together with a handsome green-house, in both of which he delighted much. He kept two servants, a gardener and his wife, to whom he gave the produce of the garden." (p. 61.)
In a letter from the Danish general, or as he is elsewhere called, the Dutch ambassador, at the Court of Sweden, who married the widow of M. Von Marteville, he says, "My wife felt a desire to see the famous Swedenborg, who, at that time, was her neighbor in Stockholm. Several ladies of her acquaintance partook of her curiosity to have a nearer view of so strange a person. Accordingly, the ladies went to his house, and were admitted together. Swedenborg received them in a very beautiful garden, where they found him in an elegant summer-house, having an arched roof, or ceiling." (p. 98.) The name of Von Marteville is connected with the discovery of a mislaid receipt.
"He resided at his house in the southern suburbs of Stockholm, which was in a pleasant situation, neat and convenient, with a spacious garden, and other appendages. There he received company." (p. 126.) "He," says the Rev. N. Collin, "showed me the garden. It had an agreeable building; a wing of which was a kind of temple, to which he often retired for contemplation; for which, its peculiar structure, and dim, religious light, were suitable." (p. 128.)
Carl Robsahm, director of the Bank in Sweden, in 1783, in his Memoir of Swedenborg, as given in Hobart's Life, p. 225, says,
"Adjoining Swedenborg's house was a garden, in the form of a square, about the length of a stone's throw. His own room, or study, was also small, and contained nothing elegant. It was all he wanted, but would have satisfied few other men. . . . Many persons visited his house out of curiosity, to see so remarkable a man. For their entertainment and convenience, in the year 1767, he had a handsome summer-house erected, with two wings. In one of these wings he had his valuable library placed, and in the other the gardening tools were arranged. He afterwards had two other summer-houses erected. One of these, in the middle of his garden, was built after the model of one he had seen at a nobleman's seat in England. The other was outwardly in the form of a square, but could be turned into an octagonal room by folding back the doors across the corners. To add to the amusement of his visitors and their children, he also had a labyrinth constructed in a corner of his garden, and a secret door, which, on being opened, discovered another door with a window in it. This door and window appeared to open to a beautiful garden beyond, containing a shady green arcade, with a rich cage hanging under it; but the window was a mirror, and presented to the eye only a reflection of the objects around. He took great pleasure in his garden.
View of the Summer House in the Garden to E. Swedenborg's Residence at Stockholm. Click on image for a larger version.
"In front1 of his house he had a small garden, which gave him great pleasure. It was ornamented with figures of animals and other things, cut in box, after the Dutch fashion. It cost a considerable sum annually to keep this garden in repair; but in the last years of his life he neglected it, and it went to decay. He always gave the whole income of his place to the gardener.
"From winter to spring he kept a fire constantly in his study. . . . His sleeping room was always cold, and in the depth of winter he had three or four English blankets on his bed. But I recollect one winter when he was so cold that he was obliged to have his bed moved into his study. As soon as he woke he went into his study;—he kindled his own fire, and immediately sat down to write."
A gentleman, who has recently made a tour through Denmark and Sweden, and become acquainted with many of the receivers of the doctrines in those countries, has had the opportunity of seeing some places of interest to the New Churchman, connected with the life of Swedenborg. Of the House and Summer-House, he writes:—
"I visited the house of our illustrious Author, and the summer-house in which he spent so much of his time. The former is in bad repair; small, and not equal to some of the adjoining houses, but it is different from them in standing quite back from the street, from which it is hidden by a high wooden paling, and having a character of quiet retirement and almost solitude. Two families occupy the house, one the lower floor, the other the upper. On the lower, we found a nice-looking young woman, in what was his kitchen, ironing clothes, and behind her, at an open door, was what she told us had been his bed room. The other room on the ground floor was his dining room. Then we went up stairs, where was a young woman nursing her baby. Here was the room in which he wrote in summer, when not in his summer-house. It is the room over the kitchen. There are also two or three other small rooms on this floor.
"The house stood, in his time, in a large garden, which is now divided amongst the occupants of three houses; and the summer-house is now two gardens off the house. The persons in the house knew well, from the calls of occasional visitors, who it was who had once lived there, and showed his bed room, and his dining room, small, but comfortable-looking places. Up stairs was the room in which he wrote in winter, and his servants' room.
"The house to which the summer-house and the largest part of the garden is allotted, is occupied by a gentleman who fills the office of clerk in the Royal Bank of Sweden, and he, with the most obliging readiness, showed the little summer-house where such great things were done, and where the great man spent much of his time in the summer months, meditating and writing his works. I was told that the summer-house is almost as Swedenborg left it, with the exception of the windows. It is about twelve feet square inside, with a small recess behind, where he had a bed in summer; and at one end of this recess is the very hand-organ on which he used to play, and almost in a state to discourse the same music which had so often filled his ears. In the summer-house was a poorly-executed lithographic likeness. The part of the garden occupied by this gentleman was the neatest I had seen in Sweden, and the ground of the whole was very rich and fertile, and contained, I should think, above an acre. The length of the garden fronting the street is about eighty yards. I was told that the house and ground might be purchased at a price which would pay a very good interest for the money."
The gentleman now in possession of the summer-house "promised that he would keep it in the same condition, and said that he would be glad to show it to any who took an interest in the great man."
Such are the particulars that have presented themselves for selection relating to the Steel Engravings of the Residence and Summer-House of Swedenborg now offered to the Church. The particulars are taken from authentic sources, and the Prints from Drawings taken on the spot, the correctness of which has been corroborated by the gentleman mentioned as having recently visited the place.
Fac Simile.—Medal.—Rules of Life. top
THE FAC SIMILE of Swedenborg's Hand-Writing was traced from the original Apocalypse Explained, by Dr. J. J. G. Wilkinson, of London, and presented to Z. Hyde, Esq., of Bath, Maine, by whom it was kindly furnished for the New Jerusalem Magazine, published in Boston, Mass.
SOME ACCOUNT OF THE MEDAL.—"It gives us pleasure to end these brief lines by recording publicly, that the Royal Academy of Sciences, of Stockholm, (the body of which Linnaeus and Berzelius were Alumni,) has lately paid a fitting tribute to the memory of Swedenborg. We extract the following from the official account of their recent Festival:
"'1852. The Academy has this year caused the ANNUAL MEDAL to be struck to the memory of the celebrated Swedenborg. It represents his likeness on the obverse; over it, his name; under it, Nat. 1688; Den. 1772. On the reverse, a man in a dress reaching to the feet, with eyes unbandaged, standing before the temple of Isis, at whose base the goddess is seen. Above it, TANTOQUE EXULTAT ALUMNO; beneath, MIRO NATURAE INCESTIGATORI SOCIO QUOND. AESTIMATISS. ACAD. REG. SCIENT. SVEC. MDCCCLII.'"
The Eulogium on Swedenborg was delivered by the President of the Academy, General Akrell. It is to the liberality of this same Academy, who lent us the original Manuscript, that the reader is indebted for the possession of this and many others of Swedenborg's Works."—Wilkinson's Advertisement to his Translation of Swedenborg's Treatise on Generation.
HIS RULES OF LIFE.—The following are his Rules of Life, which he prescribed for his thoughts and conduct:
- To read often, and meditate well on the WORD OF GOD.
- To be always resigned and content under the Dispensations of DIVINE PROVIDENCE.
- To observe, in everything, a Propriety of Behavior, and to preserve the Conscience clear and void of offence.
- To discharge with Fidelity the Functions of my Employment, and the Duties of my Office, and to render myself, in all things, useful to Society.
EXTRACT FROM SWEDENBORG.—"There are five classes of those who read my writings. The first reject them entirely, because they are in another persuasion, or because they are in no faith. The second receive them as scientifics, or as objects of mere curiosity. The third receive them intellectually, and are in some measure pleased with them, but whenever they require an application to regulate their lives, they remain where they were before. The fourth receive them in a persuasive manner, and are thereby led, in a certain degree, to amend their lives and perform uses. The fifth receive them with delight, and confirm them in their lives."
A Fac-simile of Swedenborg's Hand Writing, and Medal in Memory of the Celebrated Swedenborg by the Royal Academy of Sciences of Stockholm, 1852. Click on image for a larger version.
Summary of the Heavenly Doctrines top
- Jehovah God, Creator and Preserver of heaven and earth, is Love and Wisdom, or Good and Truth; He is One in Essence and Person, in Whom is a Divine Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; or, the Essential Divinity, the Divine Humanity, and the Divine Proceeding; like Soul, Body, and Operation in man: the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is this God.
- Jehovah God descended from heaven, as Divine Truth, (which is the Word,) and took upon Him human nature, to remove from man the powers of hell, and to restore to order all things in the Spiritual World, and in the Church; and all who believe in Him, with the understanding and heart, and live accordingly, will be saved.
- The Sacred Scriptures, or Word of God, is Divine Truth, containing a Spiritual Sense, and a literal sense, which are united by correspondence, as are soul and body: thus, the Word is the medium of communication with Heaven, and of conjunction with the Lord.
- The Government of the Lord's Divine Love and Wisdom, is the Divine Providence, which is universal and particular; and in all its operations, it respects what is infinite and eternal; his continual aim being to join man to Himself, and Himself to man, that He may give him the felicities of eternal life: and the laws of Permission are also laws of Divine Providence; since evil cannot be prevented, without destroying the nature of man, as an accountable agent; nor can it be removed, unless it be known and appear; thus, one evil is permitted to prevent a greater, and all is overruled by the Lord for the greatest possible good.
- Man is not life, but a recipient of life from the Lord; which life is communicated to all in heaven, earth and hell; but is received differently by every one, according to his quality or life, and consequent state of reception.
- Man, during his abode on earth, as to his spirit, is in the midst between heaven and hell; is acted upon by influences from both, and is thus kept in a state of equilibrium between good and evil: hence, he enjoys freedom of choice in all things, and possesses the capacity of turning to the Lord and His Kingdom, or turning away, and connecting himself with the kingdom of darkness: unless man had such freedom, the Word would be of no use to him, the Church a mere name, and he would possess nothing by which he could be conjoined with the Lord; and thus the cause of evil would be chargeable on God.
- Man, at this day, is born with tendencies toward all kinds of evil; therefore, in order to enter 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 co-operation; and, as all are redeemed, all are capable of being regenerated and saved, each according to his state: the regenerate man is in communion with the angels of heaven, and the unregenerate with the spirits of hell; but no one is condemned for hereditary evil, any farther than he makes it his own by actual life; whence, all who die in infancy are saved,—special means being provided in the other life for that purpose.
- Repentance is the first beginning of the Church in man, and consists in examining himself, in regard to his deeds and intentions, in knowing and acknowledging his sins, confessing them before the Lord, supplicating Him for aid, and beginning a new life; to this end, all evils of affection, thought, and 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, thoughts, and actions, must be cherished and performed, because they are of and from God; and these things must be done by man, as of himself; yet, under the belief and acknowledgment, that it is from the Lord, operating in and by him; and so far as man shuns evils as sins, they are removed, remitted, and forgiven; and so far 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; the Ten Commandments teach what evils are sins.
- 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, without Good Works, are mental and perishable things, because without use or fixedness; and nothing of either is of man, but all is of the Lord, and all the merit is His alone.
- 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, an external medium, (to those who receive it worthily,) of introduction, as to spirit, into heaven, and of conjunction with the Lord; of which it is a sign and seal.
- Immediately after death, (which is only a putting off of the material body, never to be resumed,) man rises in a spiritual body, in which he continues to eternity; in heaven, if his ruling affections, and thence his life, have been good; and in hell, if his ruling affections, and thence his life, have been evil.
- Now is the Lord's Second Advent, or Coming; not in person, but in the Power and Glory of Divine Truth: it is His New, or Second Christian Church; the first one having spiritually come to an end, or consummation, through evils of life, and errors of doctrine. [See Rev. XXI.]
1 The end of the house, as shown in the engraving, is the part that faces the street; so that the front here mentioned, is not to the street, but to the garden.