Emanuel Swedenborg

Swedenborg's "calling"

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Swedenborg had gone as far as he could go in attempting to explain the great questions of human existence solely through the faith into which he was born and which was reinforced by his own reasoning powers. The results of his search left him dissatisfied, but a new phase of his life opened and the remaining years of his career must be viewed in a different perspective.

During 1744 and 1745 he had a number of dreams and visions which moved him profoundly. He sometimes feared and sometimes felt exhilarated by what he experienced. These were years of disquiet which he could not explain satisfactorily and, typically, he kept silent about them to others, although his Journal of Dreams and Journal of Travel written during this period recorded his experiences and emotions. He renewed his study of the Bible and began to write a book entitled Worship and Love of God.

Then in April of 1745 he underwent a penetrating experience. In London, while dining alone at an inn where he often went, Swedenborg noted that the room seemed to grow dark. He then saw a vision, and an apparition spoke to him. When the room cleared again Swedenborg went home to his apartment, considerably stirred by his experience. During that night he again saw the vision. A spirit reappeared and spoke with him regarding the need for a human person to serve as the means by which God would further reveal himself to men in somewhat the manner of the biblical visions of the Old Testament."

Swedenborg came to believe that God had called him to bring a new revelation to the world, and from 1745 until his death twenty-seven years later he spent the bulk of his time adding theological works to his already lengthy scientific and philosophical writings. Few transcendent experiences recorded in human history encompass such a sweeping claim.

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