The New Philosophy Vol 64 No 4, October-December 1961
It would be commonplace to say that Swedenborg was prepared under Divine auspices throughout his childhood, his youth, and his years as scientist and philosopher, for the office of revelator. He himself gives ample testimony in this regard, and all who believe his theological writings to be true accept his testimony without reserve. That preparation is the more conspicuous to those who have some knowledge of his pre-theological literary production. It is in the books themselves—where his thoughts are terminated and reflected—that we best see the gradual moulding of his mind. That mind was equipped from the start with an extraordinary capacity, and was—impelled by an indomitable zest for knowledge and understanding—infilled through the many years of probing into the boundless world of truth with riches matched in kind and number by few other thinkers, if any, and perhaps excelled by none. Later generations have marvelled, and continue to marvel, at the things contained in his books; and I think it would be true to say that the atomic age is not in advance of Swedenborg’s concept of the interior things of nature.
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.