Emanuel Swedenborg – Advance Man for Allan Kardec

By Brian Foster

Abstract

emanuel-SwedenborgMany know about Allan Kardec and his The Spirits Book, which started the Spiritist movement and laid out the doctrine of Spiritism. But, did you know the Spirit World prepared the way for Allan Kardec? Just as Socrates and John the Baptist led the way for Jesus Christ. The same process was implemented for Kardec, and his name was Emmanuel Swedenborg and what he wrote at the time caused a major scandal.

Introduction

I first heard the name of Swedenborg, when I was reading the book Workers of the Life Eternal, psychographed by Francisco C. Xavier and inspired by the spirit Andre Luiz. One of the more evolved spirits was giving a lecture concerning the communication between the spirit world and the people of earth, when he said;

“Swedenborg, the great medium, traverses a few sections of our zones of action and portrays the customs of the ‘astral dwelling’ as best he can, engraving on the narratives the strong characteristics of his personal concepts.”[1]

My first reaction was, is this person real? Whenever I chance across a historical name in any of the spiritual books that I am not familiar with, I attempt to verify their existence. Sometimes, I am successful and other times, the names are too obscure and lost in the fog of history. Therefore, I immediately looked him up on the internet and was very surprised with what I found. Before he became a medium and interested in the spirit world, he was a successful scientist. He did not begin investigating the spiritual world until he was 57. The story of his dramatic moment of revelation is intriguing; but keep in mind Swedenborg himself did not verify in writing these events, only verbally to his friends.

“In April 1745, Swedenborg was dining in a private room at a tavern in London. By the end of the meal, a darkness fell upon his eyes, and the room shifted character. Suddenly he saw a person sitting at a corner of the room, telling Swedenborg: “Do not eat too much!”. Swedenborg, scared, hurried home. Later that night, the same man appeared in his dreams. The man told Swedenborg that He was the Lord, that He had appointed Swedenborg to reveal the spiritual meaning of the Bible, and that He would guide Swedenborg in what to write. The same night, the spiritual world was opened to Swedenborg.”[2]

Reading this, I wanted to discover more about him and his ideas.

Life before his revelation

SwedenborgEmanuel Swedenborg was born in Stockholm, Sweden, on January 29, 1688. He was the second son of a pastor, in Sweden’s Lutheran state church. His father was also a university professor, where at the age of eleven Emanuel entered the university where his father taught. He graduated in 1709, at the age of 21. He came from a wealthy family; therefore he could travel after college. He went to London where he traveled in the same circles as Sir Isaac Newton and Edmund Halley.[3]

Swedenborg made a name for himself by publishing several scientific books on Metallurgy, plus a book on iron and one about copper and brass. He also wrote a book on Anatomy. The first volume addresses the heart and blood; the second, the brain, nervous system, and the soul.[4] Throughout this time he worked on Sweden’s Board of Mines, which enabled him time to pursue his scientific work.

Hence, similar to Allan Kardec, Emanuel Swedenborg was no mere peasant with vision, but a published scholar, a man of means, who lived in a circle of some of the greatest minds of the 18th century.

Life after his revelation

Two years after his revelation, in 1747, he asked to be released from his duties so he could work full-time revealing the spirit world to humanity. The first volume he wrote, Secrets of Heaven, was published in London in 1749; the eighth and final volume was published in 1756.[5]

His initial sales of the books were disappointing, but starting in 1759, a series of events occurred,emanuel-swedenborg-book which piqued the interest of society and pushed his name and books to the forefront. At a dinner party in Goteborg, Sweden, he suddenly became agitated and began describing a fire in Stockholm – more than 250 miles away – that was threatening his home. Two hours later, he reported that the fire had been extinguished three doors down from his house. Two days later all of the details were confirmed.[6] Here was proof that this learned man hadn’t suddenly gone mad or had become a religious fanatic, prone to making up the word of God.

emanuel-devine-providenceThen a second incident happened in 1760. A widow of the recently deceased French ambassador to Sweden was given an invoice for an expensive silver set her late husband bought. She knew it had been paid for, but she couldn’t find the receipt. She asked Swedenborg for help. Subsequently, she dreamed that her husband came to her and told her the exact location of the paid receipt.[7] Again, another sign for the upper classes that Swedenborg was for real, his writings were not mere ramblings, but of some consequence and that his books should be considered.

The third incident was even more dramatic and most probably caused many people to write each other, telling about what transpired and started a general swell of interest in his books. In 1761, Queen Louis Ulrika of Sweden, asked Swedenborg to relay a question to her deceased brother, Prince Augustus Wilhelm of Prussia. Three weeks later, he returned to court and whispered in her ear the answer. People heard her say that only her brother would have known what Swedenborg just told her.[8] The combination of these miraculous events promoted Swedenborg to the European world stage and prompted many learned and powerful people to read his books.

Swedenborg’s revelation

What did Swedenborg reveal? In summary, he laid out the basis of Spiritism. Although, truthfully, his books, in parts, can be hard slogging, the gems of the ideas, codified by Allan Kardec and expounded on by the books psychographed by Francisco C. Xavier are all in the eight books by Swedenborg. While, as referred to by the learned spirit who started this article, Swedenborg may have extrapolated certain processes of the spirit world incorrectly, his basic theme of the path to heaven lies by good works, faith, charity, and helping your neighbor, whatever your religion or lack of it, is the core of Spiritism today. He writes, in his book, Heaven and Hell;

“After we die, just as soon as we arrive in the world of spirits, we are carefully sorted out by the Lord. Evil people are immediately connected with the hellish community their ruling love had affiliated them with in the world, and good people are immediately connected with the heavenly community their love and thoughtfulness and faith had affiliated them with in the world.”[9]

He immediately grasped one of the central natural laws of God, that of Affiliation, where like attracts like, the law that sends our souls up or down, to be with those who we deserve to be with, according to our level of purity.

Emanuel Swedenborg made the startling claim that spirits retain their human form. At the time, the belief was divided between angels, who had wings, and demons, ugly creatures, full of bile. Emanuel wrote;

“Years and years of daily experience have witnessed to me that after separation from the body the human spirit is a person and is in a similar form. I have seen this thousands of time, I have heard such spirits, and I have talked with them even about the fact that people in the world do not believe that they are what they are, and that scholars think people who do believe are simpletons. Spirits are heartsick over the fact that this kind of ignorance is still common in the world and especially in the church.”[10]

Nothing has changed in over 260 years. Before the first sparks of the American Revolution, the eternal truths of the spirit world was laid out for human kind, then in the 1850’s backed up by Allan Kardec, and reinforced by the information in the over 400 books by Francisco C. Xavier, in the 20th century. A strikingly consistent message.

Swedenborg elaborates further; it is not just that we are in human form after death, but much more;

“As ‘spirit-people’ we enjoy every outer and inner sense we enjoyed in the world. We see the way we used to, we hear and talk the way we used to; we smell and taste and feel things when we touch them the way we used to; we want, wish, crave, think, ponder, are moved, love, and intend the way we used to. Studious types still read and write as before. In a word, when we move from one life into the other, or from the one world into the other, it is like moving from (physical) place to another; and we take with us everything we owned as persons to the point that it would be unfair to say that we have lost anything of our own after death, which is only a death of the earthly body.”[11]

Again, exactly according to the doctrine of Spiritism, we retain our minds, our memories and our lessons. Swedenborg’s ideas made an impact upon society at that time. John Wesley, the founder of Methodist church, read Swedenborg’s books and they corresponded. From the basic doctrine of Spiritism, of helping all who need assistance, regardless of their condition or religious beliefs; one can see, under the influence of Emanuel’s writings, the rightness of the foundation of the Methodist church, which was established on these beliefs;

“Methodism is characterized by its emphasis on helping the poor and the average person, it’s very systematic approach to building the person, and the “church” and its missionary spirit. These ideals are put into practice by the establishment of hospitals, universities, orphanages, soup kitchens, and schools to follow Jesus’s command to spread the Good News and serve all people.

Methodists are convinced that building loving relationships with others through social service is a means of working towards the inclusiveness of God’s love. Most Methodists teach that Christ died for all of humanity, not just for a limited group, and thus everyone is entitled to God’s grace. Theologically, this view is known as Arminianism, which denies that God has pre-ordained an elect number of people to eternal bliss while others perished eternally.”[12]

Swedenborg first wrote to John Wesley in February, 1772, saying that the spirit world told him that Wesley wanted to speak with him. Wesley replied that he was startled, since he hadn’t told anyone of his desire to talk to Swedenborg. Wesley wanted to meet with Emanuel in six months, but Swedenborg replied that it would be too late, since he would be returning to the spirit world on March 29th.[13]

emanuel-stampA host of others, well-known people, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, William Blake, Carl Jung and countless others read and were influenced by the Swedenborg’s books.[14] He wrote his books knowing that they would expose him to ridicule and the danger of being labeled a heretic. Some people, during his day, considered him to be mentally ill and delusional. But, all who came in contact with him, found him to be “’kind and warm-hearted man’, ‘amiable in his meeting with the public’, speaking ‘easily and naturally of his spiritual experiences’ with pleasant and interesting conversation.”[15]

At his death, he retained his kind demeanor and his faith;

“In Swedenborg’s final hours, his friend, Pastor Ferelius, told him some people thought he had written his theology just to make a name for himself and asked Swedenborg if he would like to recant. Raising himself up on his bed, his hand on his heart, Swedenborg earnestly replied,
‘As truly as you see me before your eyes, so true is everything that I have written; and I could have said more had it been permitted. When you enter eternity you will see everything, and then you and I shall have much to talk about’”.[16]

Swedenborg died on the date he had predicted, March 29, 1772. Four years before the start of the American Revolution, during a time of great religious and political upheavals. Momentous events, directed by the spirit world to make ready the human race for the next revelation by Allan Kardec.

Author:
Brian Foster has a BSCS degree and a MBA. He has worked in R&D for medical device corporations and in IT for large financial institutions. Brian Foster has a blog at http://www.nwspiritism.com.

Works Cited
Kardec, A. (2010). The Spirits Book. Guildford, UK: White Crow Books.
Swedenborg, E. (2011). A Swedenborg Sampler. West Chester. PA: Swedenborg Foundation Press.
Wikipedia. (2014, June 28). Methodism. Retrieved from Wikipedia – Methodism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methodism
Wikipedia. (2014, June 26). Wikipedia – Emanuel Swedenborg. Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emanuel_Swedenborg
Xavier, F. C. (2008). Workers of the Life Eternal. Brasilia (DF) – Brazil: International Spiritist Council.

[1] Xavier, F.C. Workers of the Life Eternal, EDICEI, p 24
[2] Wikipedia, “Emanuel Swedenborg”, n.d., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emanuel_Swedenborg (accessed June 26, 2014)
[3] Swedenborg, E. A Swedenborg Sampler, Swedenborg Foundation Press, p ix
[4] Swedenborg, E. A Swedenborg Sampler, Swedenborg Foundation Press, p xi
[5] Swedenborg, E. A Swedenborg Sampler, Swedenborg Foundation Press, p xii
[6] Swedenborg, E. A Swedenborg Sampler, Swedenborg Foundation Press, p xiv
[7] Swedenborg, E. A Swedenborg Sampler, Swedenborg Foundation Press, p xiv
[8] Swedenborg, E. A Swedenborg Sampler, Swedenborg Foundation Press, p xiv
[9] Swedenborg, E. A Swedenborg Sampler, Swedenborg Foundation Press, p 10
[10] Swedenborg, E. A Swedenborg Sampler, Swedenborg Foundation Press, p 27
[11] Swedenborg, E. A Swedenborg Sampler, Swedenborg Foundation Press, p 32
[12] Wikipedia, “Methodism”, n.d., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methodism (accessed June 28, 2014)
[13] Wikipedia, “Emanuel Swedenborg”, n.d., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emanuel_Swedenborg (accessed June 28, 2014)
[14] Wikipedia, “Emanuel Swedenborg”, n.d., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emanuel_Swedenborg (accessed June 28, 2014)
[15] Wikipedia, “Emanuel Swedenborg”, n.d., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emanuel_Swedenborg (accessed June 28, 2014)
[16] Wikipedia, “Emanuel Swedenborg”, n.d., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emanuel_Swedenborg (accessed June 28, 2014)

11 Comments

Below, 2 communications from the spirit of Swedenborg in the spiritist magazine (written by Kardec) of 1859.
http://www.ipeak.com.br/site/upload/midia/pdf/spiritist_magazine_1859_-_diagramada.pdf
Swedenborg´s communication 1

Evocation of Swedenborg. He responded to the evocation of Mr.
Allan Kardec as:

– Speak my old friend.

– You honor me with the title of your old friend. However, we are
far from being contemporary since I only know you from your
writings.

– It is true but I do know you since long ago.

– We wish to make several questions about many points of your doctrine,
but it is late nowand our only objectiveis to ask youif we can frame
these questions in our next session.
gazine 1859
– With pleasure. Allow me already to make a correction in my writing
that is important to me. When I wrote my doctrine I affirmed, under
the inspiration of the heavenly counselors who dictated it to me, that
each people were in a separated sphere in heavens, and that the distinct
character of each nation was preserved,not byindividuals but in large families. Experience has convinced me that that is not the case.

– Aren’t other points subject to dispute?

– Yes, many others, but this is one of the most important.

– We have here several mediums. Do you have preference to commu-
nicate with us?

– No… or better, yes. I would choose a mechanical medium, as you
call them, and fast as well. “

Swedenborg´s communication 2

Swedenborg’s communication
As promised in the session of the Society, on September 16
Society, September 23rd, 1859

Dear good friends and faithful believers. I wished to come here to encourage
You in the path that you walk with such a great endeavor with respect to the spiritist subject. Your zeal is appreciated in the spiritual world.
Move on but be aware that the obstacles will still block you for some time. Thus, as with me, you will not lack detractors. I preached Spiritism a century
ago and found enemies of all kinds. I also had keen followers that supported
my courage.

My spiritist moral and doctrine are not exempt of great mistakes,
which I do acknowledge now. Thus, the penalties are not eternal, I see
well. God is very just and good to eternally punish the creature that has
not had sufficient strength to resist to the passions. Also, what I said
about the world of the angels, preached in the temples, was not but an
illusion of my senses. In good faith I thought I had seen it, as I said, but
I was wrong. You are in the best path for you are better enlightened than
we were in my time.

Carry on, but be prudent, so that your enemies do not find strong
weapons against you. Watch over the space you gain daily! Thus, courage!
Your future is guaranteed. Your strength is your speech in the name of reason.
Doyouhavequestions to me? I will respond now.

SWEDENBORG

1. You had the first revelation in London, 1745. Did you wish for that?
Were you already involved with the theological questions?
I was already involved with that but in no way I wished for that revelation.
It came spontaneously to me.

2. Who was the spirit that appeared to you saying that he was God
Himself? Was it really God?

No. I believed in what he said because I saw a super human being and
I was flattered.

3. Why has he taken God’s name?
To be better obeyed.

4. Can God directly manifest to men?
He certainly could but no longer does that.

5. There was a time when He did manifest then?
Yes, in the first ages of Earth.

6. That spirit who made you write things that you now recognize
wrong, did he do it in ill-faith?
He did not do it in ill-faith. He was mistaken himself, for he was not
elevated enough. Today I see that the illusions of my own spirit and intelligence influenced him, despite anything. However, among some system
errors, it is easy to acknowledge great truths.
7. Your doctrine is founded on the correspondences. Do you still believe
in those relationships that you found among things of the material world
with each thing of the moral world?
No. It is a fiction.

8. What do you understand by these words: God is man himself?
God is not man: man is an image of God.

9. Please elaborate.
I say that man is an image of God because the intelligence, the genie
that he eventually receives is an emanation of the Divine Omnipotence.
He represents God on Earth by that power he exerts onto nature and by
the great virtues he has the capability of acquiring.

10. Should we consider man a part of God?
No. Man is not part of Divinity. It is only his image.

11. Could you tell us how the communications from the spirits were
received by you? Did you write what was revealed to you like the mediums
or by inspiration?
When I was in silence, worshiping, my spirit was in a kind of ecstasy,
and I clearly saw an image before me, speaking with me, dictating what I
had to write. Sometimes, my imagination mixed with all that.

12. What should we think about the fact mentioned by Knight Beylon,
with respect to the revelation you made to Queen Luisa Ulrika?
The revelation was true. Beylon denatured that.

13. What is your opinion about the Spiritist Doctrine, as is today?
I told you that you are in a safer path than I was since your lights are
generally broader. I had to fight a much greater ignorance and, in particular,
against superstition.

Regards

Jose

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Excellent share of information, as well as that of your experience in discovering Swedenborg! Thank you for this great write up Brian!

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Absolutely beautiful material. Thank you all for your sharing. As I was reading it became clear that we all have the responsibility to share our insights! The response to question #768 (Spirits Book) lays this out best: “Man must progress; he cannot do so alone, because, as he does not possess all faculties, he needs the contact of other men. In isolation he becomes brutified and etiolated”
Feeling uplifted and encouraged on this Beautiful day!

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There is a work in progress to translate the entire Spiritist Magazine by Kardec to English. I heard about it on the Spiritist Symposium in Stamford, CT. Look online for Edicei, where most of the spiritist books in english are on sale. Roberto.

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    Yes, and in fact I bought the first year translation. The title is: Spiritist Review – 1858: Journal of Psychological Studies, by Allan Kardec. I have finished reading and thought it was worthwhile for those who are interested what Allan Kardec writes.

    Like

Glad to hear that. Congratulations for this excellent article.

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