Emanuel Swedenborg

Crowning Work

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Completion of the crowning work of his theological period engrossed him. Although 82 years of age, he undertook his final, eleventh, foreign journey to promote this effort. Apparently he felt he would not return to Sweden for he made farewell calls on the members of the Board of Mines, supporters, and close friends. He arranged a pension for his faithful housekeeper, made lists of his possessions for estate distribution, and told his long-time friend and neighbor, Carl Robsahm, "Whether I shall return again, I do not know, but . . . this I can assure you, for the Lord has promised it to me, . . . I shall not die until I have received from the press this work . . . now ready to be printed." He referred to the manuscript to be published in 1771 in Holland under the title True Christian Religion.

A skeptical but generally friendly observer visited Swedenborg in Amsterdam during the printing of True Christian Religion and reported that the seer, in spite of his advanced age, worked "indefatigably' and even "in an astonishing and superhuman way," reading proofs and returning them to the publisher. He found Swedenborg convinced that he served, as the title page stated, in the capacity of "Servant of the Lord Jesus Christ."

When the book was printed Swedenborg left Amsterdam and crossed the Channel to England. He arrived in London in early September of 1771 and again rented quarters with a family named Shearsmith in Great Bath Street. Although his health declined he continued to work at his books. But in December, he suffered a stroke which destroyed his ability to speak and rendered him unconscious for most of three weeks. During January and February he gradually recovered and again talked with visitors.

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