The New Philosophy Vol 64 No 4, October-December 1961
There is a special essence, a distinct focus, in the theological works themselves (commonly known to us as “the Writings of the New Church,” or simply “the Writings”). That focus is the doctrine of the Divine Human; and the essence of all the doctrines, the essence throughout the Writings, is that Divine Human itself. If therefore Swedenborg was to be prepared—in his own words— for the office of “servant of the Lord Jesus Christ” in committing to writing the doctrines of the New Church, then it cannot be otherwise than that his preparation was peculiarly directed towards the chief and summary of all those doctrines. If his thoughts as a philosopher had gone counter to the supreme doctrine in the Revelation that was to constitute the second advent of the Lord, how could it be said that his mind was being made ready ? Must we not, in fact, expect the essence of the Writings and the essence of the philosophical works to be in mutual agreement and in internal accord? Our proposition, therefore, is to demonstrate this agreement with special reference to the doctrine of the Divine Human.
What is the place of reason and rationality in religion? Can man discover spiritual truths by his own efforts? No, the Writings say. There is no such thing possible as natural theology. Is man, then, to accept the teachings of revelation blindly, without understanding them? Again the Writings say, no. Nothing is part of man’s faith, unless, to some degree at least, it be understood.
For ages man has gazed at the sky and admired the flight of the winged creatures and dreamt of the ability to move around in the air as easily as the eagle. Until recent times, however, few had taken practical steps towards realizing that dream. It is not surprising that among those few we find Swedenborg as one of the foremost. His searching and active mind had an ability not only to grasp ideas with great intuition and imagination but also to see their practical applications.