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Spiritual Topics - General

Follow the links below to read books on general spiritual topics involving Swedenborg and the Swedenborgian Church.

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The Secret of Swedenborg

View material.

This is a general introduction to Swedenborg's teachings, focusing especially on the Lord and his relationship to humankind, written by the elder Henry James.

Boston: Fields, Osgood, & Co., 1869

The text of the book is presented in a series of Microsoft Word documents.

Abbreviated Contents

  • Introduction: Creation the fundamental problem of philosophy
    1. Swedenborg's private history and intellectual character
    2. Creation, according to Swedenborg, is a composite, not a simple, movement, being bound to provide the creature with subjective or conscious existence no less than objective or unconscious being
    3. It is; therefore, idle to conceive of the new or living church as a new ecclesiasticism, in antagonism with those already existing
    4. The same subject continued and illustrated
    5. A closer exposition of Swedenborg's doctrine of creation
    6. Swedenborg not properly chargeable with pantheistic or idealist tendencies
    7. The nature of selfhood or proprium
    8. Creator and creature subjectively opposed, the one possessing all fullness in him, the other being destitute of everything
    9. Why the creative love wears of necessity an aspect of crucifixion to our regard
    10. History resolves itself into the existence of the church on earth, which means a divine purgation of human nature
    11. Heaven and Hell, as contrasted issues of human destiny, totally unintelligible if nature is regarded as the sphere of being or substance, and not exclusively as that of appearance or shadow
    12. Method of the divine revelation very gradual, beginning with the family, and ending with the social, unity of man; a temporary or provisional form of it being supplied by the conventional society called the church
    13. The purely negative office of the church in history illustrated and argued, from reason and scripture
    14. Nature and history of no account in themselves, or on independent grounds, but only as furnishing a theatre for God's revelation of himself in humanity
    15. Philosophy of the religious instinct
    16. Transition from the ritual to the real church. How effected. Elements of the problem. Swedenborg's solution of it
    17. Bearing of Swedenborg's disclosures upon our existing controversies
    18. No miracle possible on Swedenborg's principles, provided miracle involves a violation of the laws of nature
    19. Fundamental discrepancy between Messrs. Mansel and Mill, for example, on the one hand, and Swedenborg on the other
    20. Further exposition of Swedenborg's doctrine of nature
    21. The homo and the vir
    22. The logical situation out of which the preceding question proceeds
    23. Further exposition of conscience. It masks the actual divine presence itself in human nature
    24. The author's intellectual experience before and after his acquaintance with Swedenborg
    25. Superiority of the objective to the subjective element in existence
    26. The sole philosophic function of nature to furnish a logical background or basis to the mind in its approaches towards God
  • Appendix
  • Notes A to H
  • Postscript

By: Henry James, Sr.