Copyright
B. F. (Benjamin Fiske) Barrett.

Heaven revealed : being a popular presentation of Swedenborg's disclosures about heaven ... online

. (page 1 of 26)
Online LibraryB. F. (Benjamin Fiske) BarrettHeaven revealed : being a popular presentation of Swedenborg's disclosures about heaven ... → online text (page 1 of 26)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


HEAVEN REVEALED.



BEING

A POPULAR PRESENTATION OF SWEDEN-
BORG'S DISCLOSURES ABOUT HEAVEN,

WITH THE



CONCURRENT TESTIMONY OF A FEW COMPE-
TENT AND RELIABLE WITNESSES.



BY

B. F. BARRETT,

AUTHOR OF "THE NEW VIEW OF HELL," "THE NEW DISPENSATION," "FOOT-
PRINTS OF THE NEW AGE," "THE QUESTION ANSWERED," ETC., ETC.



' If the phenomena of the Spiritual IVorld are real, in the nature of things they ought
to come into the sphere of Law." HENRY DKUMMOND.



PHILADELPHIA :
THE SWEDENBORG PUBLISHING ASSOCIATION,

GERMANTOWN, PA.

TO -<* CAU F . Los ANGELEg



COPYRIGHT.
BY SWEDENBORG PUBLISHING ASSOCIATION.

1885.



PREFACE.



IT is nearly fifty years since the author of the present
work commenced a serious and thorough examina-
tion of the theological writings of Emanuel Sweden-
borg. He was told that this illustrious seer claimed to
have enjoyed open intercourse with the denizens of the
spiritual world for many years, and to have been divinely
commissioned to write a detailed account of what he
heard and saw in that world ; and the treatise known as
" Heaven and Hell " was placed in his hands for perusal.
After reading a few pages, the book was laid aside,
the present writer saying to himself: "All this may be
true, or it may not. We have no means of knowing.
There is no adequate test whereby the truth or falsity
of such alleged disclosures can be determined. Why,
then, should I waste time over such a book ? "

It is easy for me, therefore, to pardon the incredulity
of Christians touching this astounding claim of the
great seer, and to excuse the prevailing reluctance to
give any thought or attention to his alleged disclosures
concerning the other world. For probably most of
them think as I did, that we have no means of proving

either the truth or falsity of such pretended revelations.

iii

2125922



IV PREFACE.

What is to be gained, therefore, by an examination of
something which can neither be proved nor disproved ?
Will it not be a waste of time ?

But when, after thorough and careful study of Swe-
denborg's theological system, I found myself compelled
by irresistible force of evidence to accept it for just what
it claims to be a divinely authorized revelation of new
and heavenly truth I was satisfied that he was a man
ordained and sent of God, and that his disclosures con-
cerning Heaven and Hell must also be true. Then
turning my attention to his pneumatology, I very soon
found that this, too, rests on a foundation not less solid
and secure than his theology ; and that its truth is sus-
ceptible of proof to an extent I had not suspected
susceptible of a verification, indeed, closely approximat-
ing the demonstrations of exact science.

The purpose of the present volume is, to lay before
the reader some of the evidence which carried con-
viction to the writer's own mind, that what Sweden-
borg has revealed concerning the heaven of angels is
no mere fancy sketch, but literally and unquestiona-
bly true. A number of reliable and independent wit-
nesses have been summoned in the case, such as
Scripture, reason, analogy, human experience, the
known laws of our mental and moral constitution, the
hopes and perceptions of the wisest and best men, the
revealed character of the Heavenly Father, and the



PREFACE. V

undeniably wholesome and benign tendency of the dis-
closures themselves.

Now, if we have the concurrent testimony of all these
witnesses in support of the truth of Swedenborg's dis-
closures, what is the verdict we might reasonably expect
on the subject, from an intelligent and fair-minded jury?
Had he performed miracles like those recorded in the
New Testament, and had his miraculous power and
deeds been ever so well authenticated, would this have
been half as convincing to a rational and truth-seeking
mind, as the agreeing testimony of the above named
witnesses ? Or would it have been half as well suited
to the requirements of a reasoning and reflecting age ?

Probably every Christian minister is plied with ques-
tions now and then concerning the life beyond the
grave, which he would be glad to answer, but feels his
utter inability to do so ; and most ministers would, no
doubt, greatly rejoice to have a full and strictly accurate
account of the spiritual world, its nature, inhabitants,
phenomena and laws an account as full and reliable as
an honest and intelligent traveler who had spent twenty
years or more in Japan, might be expected to give us
of that country. They would doubtless find it an im-
mense aid in their work of helping souls on the way to
heaven.

And the author believes that every minister who reads

this volume with close attention and without prejudice,
i*



VI PREFACE.

will be satisfied that such a report of the world beyond
has actually been made. And he has himself derived
so great satisfaction and spiritual help from the disclos-
ures to which he here invites attention, and is so anx-
ious that others should share what has been to him
such a rich repast, that he feels like making personally
a large discount from the price of the present volume,
to every minister and theological student in our land,
who will promise to read it with close attention and a
sincere desire to know the truth.

On several of the subjects treated in these pages,
the author is fully aware that most of the churches of
to-day have outgrown and rejected the views that were
entertained a hundred years ago ; such, for example, as
" Work in Heaven," " Sex and Marriage in Heaven,"
"Children in Heaven," "A Heaven for the non-Chris-
tian World," etc. And the fact that the views com-
monly held and taught on these subjects to-day, are in
substantial agreement with those revealed through Swe-
denborg, should be taken as presumptive evidence that
his disclosures on other subjects also are true.

And if a minister's ecclesiastical relations to-day, are
in no wise affected by his open rejection of the old dog-
mas of the damnation of some infants and of all the
Heathen, and of incessant oral prayer and psalm-sing-
ing in heaven, or by his acceptance of the new and
more rational views on these subjects, there is no rea-



PREFACE. Vll

son to believe that they would be seriously affected by
his embracing and teaching the entire pneumatology of
Swedenborg, so far, at least, as this can be shown to
be in agreement with Scripture, reason, experience, and
the known laws of the human soul.

But the strongest evidence of the truth of Sweden-
borg's revealings about Heaven, and that which, above
all else, should commend them to the thoughtful and
earnest inquirer, is their wholesome practical tendency
their unquestionably elevating and benign influence
upon the believer's life and character. The author
hopes that the reader will not lose sight of this consid-
eration, nor forget to give to it the weight which its im-
portance demands : Remembering these divine words :

"For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of
thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble-bush
gather they grapes."

And no more should we expect that wholesome and
benign influences would be shed forth upon the believ-
er's mind and heart, from false or fantastic teachings,
from the speculations of a mere theorist, the hallucina-
tions of a dreamer, or the oracular utterances of an in-
nocent but self-deluded fanatic.

B. F. B.

GERMANTOWN, June 24, 1885.



CONTENTS.



I. SWEDENBORG THE CHOSEN INSTRUMENT . . .13

II. OBJECTIONS ANSWERED 19

III. THE ORIGIN OF ANGELS 34

IV. THE ESSENTIAL NATURE OF HEAVEN . . . -54

V. CHARACTER OF THE ANGELS 64

VI. VERDICT OF REASON AND EXPERIENCE . . .72

VII. TESTIMONY OF SCRIPTURE 80

VIII. THE SURE WAY TO HEAVEN 95

IX. LIGHT AND HEAT IN HEAVEN no

X. PRACTICAL TENDENCY OF THIS DISCLOSURE . .122
XI. ENVIRONMENT IN HEAVEN, AND WHAT DETERMINES IT . 134

XII. SOCIETIES IN HEAVEN 148

XIII. THE HUMAN FORM OF HEAVEN 162

XIV. A HEAVEN FOR THE NON-CHRISTIAN WORLD . .176
XV. ARE EARTHLY RELATIONSHIPS CONTINUED IN HEAVEN? . 192
XVI. MEETING AND RECOGNITION OF FRIENDS IN THE

HEREAFTER ; 200

XVII. PERSONAL APPEARANCE OF THE ANGELS . . . 209
XVIII. REJUVENESCENCE AND GROWTH IN HEAVEN . .221

XIX. HOUSES AND HOMES IN HEAVEN 228

XX. GARMENTS IN HEAVEN 244

XXI. CHILDREN IN HEAVEN 256

XXII. SEX AND MARRIAGE IN HEAVEN 268

XXIII. THE SUBJECT CONTINUED SCRIPTURE TESTIMONY . 284

XXIV. CONJUGIAL LOVE ITS NATURE 295

XXV. PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS 306

XXVI. WORK IN HEAVEN 319

XXVII. THE THREE HEAVENS, AND How RELATED . . 346

XXVIII. ETERNAL PROGRESS IN HEAVEN 364

XXIX. CONSOCIATION OF ANGELS WITH MEN .... 377



HEAVEN REVEALED.



ABBREVIATIONS

OF THE WORKS OF SWEDENBORG QUOTED IN THE FOLLOWING
PAGES.

A. C. stand for Arcana Ccelestia.

H. H. " Heaven and Hell.

A. R. " Apocalypse Revealed.

A. E. " Apocalypse Explained.

D. P. " Divine Providence.

C. L. " Conjugial Love.
L. J. " Last Judgment.
Spl. D. " Spiritual Diary.

D. W. " Divine Wisdom.
Doc. L. " Doctrine of Life.

T. C. R. " True Christian Religion.

N. J. D. " Doctrine of the New Jerusalem.

D. L. W. " Divine Love and Wisdom.

xii



HEAVEN REVEALED.



i.

SWEDENBORG THE CHOSEN INSTRUMENT.

MANY people nowadays know something of the
claims of Emanuel Swedenborg, however deficient
the great majority may still be in any correct knowl-
edge of his teachings. It is generally known that he
claimed, among other things, to have had his spiritual
senses so opened as to enable him to see and converse
with the denizens of the spiritual world as men see and
converse with each other ; and this continually for a
period of nearly thirty years, embracing the ripest por-
tion of his earthly life. He made no secret of this
claim, extraordinary and startling as he knew it to be;
but boldly announced it on every suitable occasion, and
repeatedly in his published works. In the commence-
ment of his treatise known as " Heaven and Hell," oc-
curs the following explicit declaration :

"The arcana revealed in the following pages are
those concerning heaven, together with the life of man
after death. The man of the church at this day knows

2 13



14 HEAVEN REVEALED.

scarcely anything about heaven or hell, nor yet about
his own life after death, although these things are all
treated of in the Word. Nay, many even among those
who were born within the church deny these things,
saying in their hearts, Who has ever come thence and
told us? Lest, therefore, such a negative principle,
which rules especially among those who possess much
worldly wisdom, should also infect and corrupt the sim-
ple in heart and faith, it has been granted me to asso-
ciate with angels and to converse with them as one
man with another, and also to see the things which are
in the heavens as well as those which are in the hells,
and this for the space of thirteen years ; so that I can
now describe them from what I have myself seen and
heard, which I do, in the hope that ignorance may
thus be enlightened and incredulity dissipated."

The same claim in substance is often repeated in his
writings. And he tells us how this extraordinary privi-
lege was granted him, or in what way this alleged open
intercourse with the inhabitants of the other world was
effected. It was through the providential opening of
his spiritual senses. These senses, he says, belong alike
to every human being. They are inherent in the very
constitution of an immortal spirit are included among
its powers or capabilities, just as natural sight, hearing,
feeling, etc., are included in the capabilities of our ma-
terial organism. And although these senses (for a wise
and beneficent purpose which he has repeatedly ex-
plained) are ordinarily closed during our life on earth,
they nevertheless may be and repeatedly have been
opened in men while living in the flesh. And when
opened, the individual is for the time intromitted into



SWEDENBORG THE CHOSEN INSTRUMENT. 15

the spiritual world, and enjoys a sensible perception of
its people and objects.*

We know very well how this claim is commonly re-
garded by those who have never examined the seer's
disclosures with sufficient thoroughness to enable them
to form an intelligent opinion of his pneumatology.
They look upon his alleged open intercourse with spir-
its, as not only improbable, unreasonable and unsus-
ceptible of proof, but as evidencing a want of mental
balance as, indeed, a species of monomania. Many
who do not believe him a willful impostor, and who are
ready to admit (for popular opinion is beginning to lean
this way) that he saw truth on many subjects quite in
advance of his age, treat with contempt and derision his
claim to open intercourse with angels and spirits ; as if
such visions as he has recorded were to be reckoned
among things highly improbable if not impossible, and
the record itself to be accepted as evidence of mental
derangement.

This is the attitude of nearly every one in reference
to the great Swede's alleged intercourse with the deni-
zens of the other world, before he has given much
thought. to the subject, or has examined the evidence
by which his claim is supported. It was substantially
the writer's own attitude before he had made himself
familiar with the general character of the seer's disclos-

* The Bible furnishes evidence of the existence of spiritual senses in
man, and of their having been occasionally opened during his earthly
sojourn. See 2 Kings vi. 15-18; and other texts cited in the chapter on
" The Rationale of Spirit-seeing " in Doctrines of the New Church by the
author, pp. 208-213.



1 6 HEAVEN REVEALED.

ures, and had duly considered the facts and laws which
underlie his pneumatology, and prove it not only credi-
ble but indisputably true.

But Swedenborg's claim to a special illumination and
open vision (if allowed), we shall be told, stamps his
disclosures with the character of a divinely authorized
revelation. And not only do people nowadays find it
hard to believe in any new revelation (multitudes are
coming to disbelieve in any revelation, unless its truth
can be scientifically demonstrated), but the claim itself
seems to them ridiculous, and quite sufficient to dis-
credit him who makes it; sufficient, indeed, to prove
him a deluded fanatic or a wicked impostor. Nor are
we surprised at this, seeing how many " false Christs
and false prophets " how many pretenders to a special
divine commission have from time to time appeared,
and how many have been deceived by them. But peo-
ple do not reason thus on other subjects. On the con-
trary, they admit that a counterfeit is conclusive evidence
that there is such a thing as genuine coin.

It is quite true that Swedenborg's disclosures come to
us professedly as a new and divinely authorized revela-
tion ; a revelation, however, not contrary nor supple-
mentary to the Sacred Scripture, yet necessary to its
complete fulfillment and to the better understanding
and fuller efficacy of its teachings ; a revelation meant
and fitted for the spiritual edification of all who are
longing for instruction on the sublimest themes, and are
willing to receive it. But these disclosures, notwith-
standing they come professedly as an authorized reve-
lation, claim no authority and ask no consideration



SWEDENBORG THE CHOSEN INSTRUMENT. I/

merely on that ground. They ask to be received solely
upon the ground of their intrinsic reasonableness, or
their clearly perceived agreement with the deepest in-
tuitions of human reason and the verdict of the most
enlightened understanding. They appeal to no miracu-
lous evidence in attestation of their truth, but to evi-
dence of a higher kind. Scripture, reason, analogy, ob-
servation, history, individual experience, well-authenti-
cated facts, the principles of sound philosophy, the
known laws of our mental and moral constitution, the
wisdom and beneficence of God as revealed in his Word
and works and in the wondrous ways of his Providence
these are the witnesses which are confidently ap-
pealed to. What if these should all unite in affirming
the validity of this man's claim and the truth of his dis-
closures? Shall we reject or disregard the concurrent
testimony of such witnesses ?

Already there is a large and continually increasing
class of minds among them are persons by no means
deficient in intellectual grasp, logical acumen or judicial
candor who, after years of careful examination of the
disclosures in question, have been constrained to ac-
knowledge their truth ; and this, too, in spite of the in-
fluence of early education, preconceived opinions, popu-
lar prejudice, the sneers of the multitude, and the pity
if not the frowns of near and valued friends; When all
this is duly considered, we submit to the honest and in-
dependent seekers after truth, whether it does not enti-
tle this new revelation to, at least, a candid examination.
Certainly the acceptance of any revelation or theory
by wise and good men, is not sufficient evidence of
2* B



1 8 HEAVEN REVEALED.

its truth ; for wise and good men have sometimes
embraced error, yes, and clung to it with surprising
tenacity. But the profound conviction of many such
men, is, we think, a sufficient reason for giving their
views a candid examination before pronouncing them
erroneous. Our judgment is unintelligent, and there-
fore valueless, until we have carefully weighed the evi-
dence which carried conviction to their minds. The
Jews, when they crucified the Divine Saviour, knew not
what they did. And Christians at the present day know
as little what they do, when, without serious examina-
tion, or any weighing of the evidence, they reject and
ridicule the disclosures made through the Swedish seer.
May they not in this be imitating the example of the
Jews more closely than they imagine ?

But the very claim, we are told, which Swedenborg
sets up the claim to have enjoyed long and open in-
tercourse with the spirits of deceased men, and to have
been thereby enabled to reveal the arcana of the spirit-
ual world, is of itself sufficient to stamp him as a de-
luded fanatic. It is assumed that such intercourse is
impossible in the nature of things ; and on the ground
of this assumption, Christians proceed to justify them-
selves in their neglect to examine his disclosures. But
if this be a sufficient justification, or if Swedenborg's
claim alone be evidence of self-delusion, then what is to
be said of Isaiah and Ezekiel and Paul and John and a
host of ancient worthies? If the mere fact of his claim-
ing open intercourse with spirits, is sufficient proof of
mental aberration in his case, then why should not a
similar claim be accepted as evidence of a similar men-



OBJECTIONS ANSWERED. 19

tal condition in the case of all other seers ? Or will it
be said that what was once reckoned among the creden-
tials of heaven-illumined prophets, is now to be re-
garded as evidence of mental hallucination ?



II.

OBJECTIONS ANSWERED.

IT is quite common to hear urged against Sweden-
borg's claim, such objections as these : That, after
the closing of the sacred canon, there was never to be
any further revelation ; that his disclosures concerning
the other world, if true, would be a revelation of mys-
teries which no one has a right to pry into or know
anything about; that it would be an unveiling of the
" secret things " which belong to God, and are no con-
cern of ours.

But what reason have we to believe that God has
limited Himself to precisely that measure of revealed
truth vouchsafed to the world many centuries ago ?
Where is it written that He will never make any fur-
ther revelation concerning Himself, his kingdom, or the
grand realities of the spiritual world ? The Bible con-
tains no such declaration no warrant, indeed, for any
such belief. What reason, then, for believing that the
Heavenly Father has denied to Himself the delight of
communicating, or to men the blessed privilege of re-
ceiving, more truth concerning that world beyond the
tomb which is to be the final home of all his children ?



2O HEAVEN REVEALED.

What reason for the belief that everything was revealed
centuries ago, which ever was or ever is to be revealed ?
And if it should please God to lift the veil, and make a
disclosure of things once secret, is it presumptuous for
mortals to look upon them ? However unlawful it may
be to pry into the mysteries of the spirit- world, it surely
cannot be wrong to receive with thankfulness such dis-
closures as Infinite Wisdom has been pleased to make.
-True, it is written that " secret things belong unto the
Lord our God ; " but it is immediately added : that
" those things which are revealed, belong unto us and
to our children forever." (Deut. xxix. 29.)

And if there be a spiritual world (and the Scriptures
plainly teach that there is), is it not reasonable to be-
lieve that more will ultimately be known about it, than
was communicated to Christians 1800 years ago ? Have
we not reason to expect that the time will come when
the mysteries of that world will be unveiled and its sub-
lime realities disclosed at least to man's mental or
moral vision ? Christ told his immediate followers that
He had many things to say unto them, which they were
not able to bear (John xvi. 12); but He never intimated
that the same inability would belong to his disciples
throughout the coming ages. On the contrary, He more
than hinted, and on more than one occasion, that more
truth might some day be expected than it was expedi-
ent at that time to impart. He told them that the time
was coming when He would no longer speak in para-
bles, but would show them plainly of the Father. He
told them of a Comforter which He would send unto
them, " even the spirit of truth ; " and this Comforter, He



OBJECTIONS ANSWERED. 21

said, when He came, would teach them all things, would
show them things to come, would guide them into all
truth. (John xvi. 7-13.)

He spoke also of another coming of Himself, more
searching, more glorious, more powerful in its operation
upon the minds and hearts of men than his first appear-
ing a coming which He said would be " with power
and great glory."

Now, who can say, in limine, that, in these prophetic
intimations, no reference was had to that grand system
of religious truth which was unfolded, or came profess-
edly as a new revelation, more than a century ago ?
Who can say that the increasing light upon all subjects
which has been flooding the world for the last hundred
years, is not a veritable fulfillment of these prophecies,
and in the sense intended ? Who knows but the many in-
teresting disclosures made through Swedenborg con-
cerning the spiritual world, may be among the things
which the Saviour had to announce, but which the men
of 1850 years ago were " not able to bear " ? Christ de-
clared Himself to be " the Way," " the Truth," " the
Life," " the Light of the world," " the Light which en-
lighteneth every man." And the apostle John says :
"God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all." May
not the predicted second coming of Christ, then, be the
coming to human minds of more abundant light from
Him who is declared to be " the true Light"? of light
more interior, searching and glorious than has hitherto
dawned on our world ? the light of the spiritual sense
of the Word breaking forth through the cloud of the
letter, coupled also with the coming to human hearts



22 HEAVEN REVEALED.

of a sweeter and more Christ-like spirit? And may not
this light reveal, among other things, the nature, laws
and phenomena of that world which is to be our eternal
dwelling-place ? Who knows, we say, but spiritual light
the light of the New Jerusalem which is beginning
even now to gild and gladden with its splendors the
world's moral horizon light manifesting itself amid
clouds of still existing error, the mists of ignorance, su-
perstition and prejudice, the smoke of demoniacal pas-
sions and enmities may be precisely what the Saviour
referred to when He spoke of a second coming of the
Son of Man " in the clouds of heaven, with power and
great glory " ? Who knows ? And the way to acquire
such knowledge is not, we submit, to treat with indiffer-
ence or neglect everything that claims to be a new
revelation, but to " watch " not with the eyes of the
body, but with the eyes of the mind, that is, with our in-
tellectual and reasoning faculties.

We shall find, on careful reading and a thoughtful
consideration of the whole subject, that the language of
the New Testament clearly requires, for its complete
fulfillment, some such revelation as that claimed to have



Online LibraryB. F. (Benjamin Fiske) BarrettHeaven revealed : being a popular presentation of Swedenborg's disclosures about heaven ... → online text (page 1 of 26)