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June 19

Rev. Christopher V. A. Hasler

Published by the
New-Church Sunday School Union
to commemorate
The New-Church World Assembly
1970 London
Distributed by
The New-Church Press Ltd.
20, Bloomsbury Way, London W.C.1,
and New-Church House,
34, John Dalton Street, Manchester M2 6LE.
Only one man

Every year, on June 19th, the people of the New Church


meet together to celebrate an event which did not take
place on the earth!

Therefore, had vou lived 200 years ago, in the year 1770,
Vou would not have noticed anything unusual. No king
or prince, no politician or admiraI, no ordinary man or
woman knew that they were living at a time which would
become one of the most important days in history:
JUNE 19th, 1770.

Only one man on earth understood that something most


wonderful happened on that day, and it happened in that
world where ail people go when they die. We cali it
The spiritual world.

On that day, 200 years ago, a very wise and humble man
could see that there was great excitement in the spiritual
world, and that the Lord Jesus Christ had called together
the twelve disciples who had followed Him on earth, and
He told them that He had new work for them.

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ElTIanuel
Swedenborg 1688 -1772
C.f( ~~i

The man who told us this was Emanuel Swedenborg.


HëWas born-in SWëden on January 2 ~ a s
the son of a Bishop and he became one of the most out·
standing men that ever Iived. He was always finding out
how things worked; how they could be improved; how
they could be made more cheaply so that everyone cou Id
buy them. He was concerned for sailors on the high seas,
and he worked out a method so that, by means of the
moon, they could find out in which longitude they were.
He was always practical and never stopped learning, even
when he became known in ail the countries of Europe as
one of the great scientists of his day. He wrote books
on mathematics, chemistry, physics, mining, geology,
steel-making, and many other subjects. They were sold
in many countries.

But his search had not ended. He wanted to know how


Iife began: where it comes from; and how it dwells in
the body. He studied the human body, and wrote many
volumes about the different organs, but he could not
discover the living soul within the body, although he
always believed that God gives to every man a soul which
can never die.

When he was 56 years old, something most wonderful


happened to him. This is how he wrote about it:
cD "1 tell you the truth. The Lord Himself appeared before
me. He opened the eyes of my spirit, and so introduced
-rel?,
me into the spiritual world. 1was able to see the heavens
:;-19
1 and the hells. and also to talk with angels and spirits."

Ali this happened to him because he was given a special


task to do by the Lord. The real reason was that the
Church on earth had lost the simple faith in the Lord Jesus
Christ as the only God of heaven and earth.

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One God
of Heaven & Earth
Because you have been brought up in the New Church,
you have a very clear idea about the Lord you worship.
Vou know only Jesus, and you say your prayers to Him,
since you know that there is no other God. When you
read His Word, it is God Himself who is speaking to you
and teaching you.

Vou know this, but if the Lord had not revealed it to


Swedenborg, you would have a very different idea of God.

Perhaps you would believe that Jesus was only a man,


a great Teacher with amazing powers, but not God.

Vou might believe that Jesus was the Son of God, and
that besides Him there were two other persons: God the
Father, and God the Holy Ghost. Vou would be taught
not to say prayers to Jesus (as vou would wish to) but
to the Father who is the Almighty, though you could not
imagine Him at ail.

But most likely, vou would not believe anything any


more; but in any case, vou would not have a very c1ear
idea of the Lord God, and no one could really begin to
explain it to vou. When people do not know whether to
believe in one God or in three, they will usually end up
believing nothing, and will come to think that there is no
God.

This is what has already happened to many people, and


if you say that vou believe in God, they will laugh at your
simplicity and ask, "What, you still believe in those
stories ?"

But there is a God, and He could not allow such ignorance


to continue and spread without revealing the truth that
has been lost.

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'1 W"as ln the spirit'
Can we really trust Swedenborg, that Swedish scientist?
Can we believe him when he calmly tells us that not only
did the Lord Himself appear to him, but that He also
opened his spiritual eyes, so that he could be in heaven
and in hell while he still Iived on the earth? Are such
things possible?

There is really nothing new in this, because the Lord


appeared to His disciples and others after His resurrec­
tion, and also opened their spiritual senses: eyes and ears
and touch, so that they could see, hear and fee!. Many
Old Testament prophets were also able to see wonderful
things in the spiritual world, and to describe them in great
detai!.

When the disciple John was an old man living on the isle
of Patmos: the Lord appeared to him and instructed him
to write ail the things that he saw in the spiritual world.
You can read about this in the first chapter of the book
of Revelation. You will then see the Iikeness between the
command given to John and the command given to
Swedenborg.

Now suppose you believed the Lord had ca lied you to do


some important work for Him! You would put aside ail
other things and concentrate on that. This is what
Swedenborg did. He gave up ail other employments and
scientific research and started a very careful study of the
Lord's Word, reading it in Hebrew and in Greek. Then
he wrote and published many books about the things
which the Lord revealed to him.

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Heavenly Mysteries

The first theological work which Swedenborg wrote is


also the longest, and we still cali it by its Latin title:
ARCANA CAELESTIA. In English this means, Heavenly
Mysteries. In the English translation the work runs into
12 volumes, and with the Index that makes 13 books.

What are these wonderful mysteries which Swedenborg


was commanded to publish? He explains:

(j) "People who read the Word of the Old Testament think
that it is only a history of the Jewish people, because
AC.1 this is what it looks like. Vet the Word contains hidden
mysteries which describe the lord, heaven and the
Church."

The Word was specially written and dictated by the Lord


Himself so as to contain a deeper and heavenly meaning.
Swedenborg explains the real meaning of the first two
books in our Bible, GENESIS and EXODUS. The Book of
Genesis opens with the stories which describe the
creation of the world in six days; Adam and Eve; the
Flood; the Tower of Babel.

Are these stories really true? At one time everyone


believed them, but today this is not so. Many people say,
'These are just old stories, but science tells us very
different things. The world took millions and millions of
years to evolve, not just six days '"

People could have saved themselves ail these arguments,


if only they had read Arcana Caelestia: for these early
stories are true, but in a most special way. They are not
real histories, but "made-up histories" which contain a
very important message about man's spiritual Iife. The
Bible is not out of date. On the contrary, we have hardly
started to use it, since up to now it has not been properly

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understood. It has been like a closed book. But now we
can know that the Lord speaks to us in His Word to give
us power to fight against evils, and to let us see Him
more c1early.

ARCANA CAELESTIA is a very learned work which con­


tains deep wisdom. But it makes things c1ear to us, and
in it there are passages of great simplicity. At the begin­
ning of the work, Swedenborg wrote: A. c.. ( Fr
cJ) .. By the Lord, in the following pages, is meant only JESUS
1-\ c. J'-r CHRIST, the Saviour of the world, who is called the Lord,
without other names. Everywhere in heaven He is acknow­
ledged and adored as the Lord, because He has ail power
in heaven and on earth. He also commanded, saying:
'You cali me Lord; and you are right, for so 1 am'
(John 13: 13). And after His resurrection His disciples
calied Him Lord. In the universal heaven they know no
other Father than the Lord, because He is the one, as He
Himself said: '1 am the way, and the truth, and the life' ..
(John 14: 6).

Can anything be more simple? To have such a c1ear and


beautiful idea of the Lord Jesus Christ as our heavenly
Father is something which we have because we belong
to the New Church. This was the main truth that Sweden­
borg was appointed to proclaim and publish.

From things
heard and seen
\
Because ARCANA CAELESTIA is so long, it is not the
first work which people buy and read when they want to
find out about the New Church. The book which people
mostly read is one which Swedenborg called: HEAVEN
AN 0 HELL, or, to give it its full title: Heaven and its
Wonders, and Hell. From things heard and seen.

The Lord Jesus Christ spoke about heaven and hell many
times, but when ideas about spiritual truths became con­
fused, no one really knew how to understand His words.
People came to know less and less about Iife after death.

Today many people do not know what to believe, and


many even do not think we shall live after death; so they
contradict the teaching of the Lord in the Gospel. Sweden­
borg said as much in the introduction to the book:
"Church people today hardly know a thing about heaven
and hell, or about life after death, although these things
J.!-# 1 are ail described in the Word. In fact, many people born
in the Church deny them, saying in their hearts, 'Who has
come from that world and told us?'
"In order that people should not take this negative line­
which is especially common among those who know a lot
about worldly things, and so mislead and corrupt those
who are simple in heart and simple in faith-I have been
allowed to live with angels and to talk with them as one
man talks to another. 1 have also been permitted to see
the things in the heavens as weil as in the hells. From
what 1 have heard and seen, 1 can now describe these
things in the hope that ignorance and unbelief may be
enlightened and dispelled. Such revelatiorLl~..now made,
~ - - _. ---
because this is what is meantby'the cOmlng ofthe Lord."
-

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A book which tells us about heaven arild hell, the world
where ail human lives continue, is bound to be a great
adventure book, full of exciting ideas. But Swedenborg
was a very serious and practical scientist. He was not
interested in writing a sensational book, but in describing
with great care and in great detail ail that we need to
know about the world which we must one day enter. It
is more like a text-book. But what wonderful secrets are
unfolded in its pages! Quietly and patiently (and this is
also how you must read it) the author describes what
heaven is like; what happens to us just after we die; how
we gradually awake and are made welcome by angels and
friends we knew on earth; how little children who die are
educated in heaven and become angels. We learn that
the happiness of heaven is so great because everyone
there has something useful to do, and ail wish to share
what they have with others.

The Lord does not wish anyone to go to hell and He tries


to prevent this happening, but people who love badness
just cannot be stopped from wanting to joïn companions
\ who are like themselves and with whom they can have
their fights and lies and cruelty. They really feel at home
with those who are like themselves. It is a picture of a
wasted life; but people always freely choose to go either
) to heaven or to hell, because they would not wish to live
anywhere else.

One day you must read this book .because it tells us in


great detail about the "heavenly mansions" which the
Lord promised to prepare for us. Everyone should have
a copy of this book: for when people die, their families
and friends are sad because they do not know what has
happened to them. They are in great doubts and fear,
and so feel very unhappy. Yet the Lord has revealed so
many truths which would make people full of new hope.

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The crowning work


ln 1770 Swedenborg was an old gentleman of 82, nearly
at the end of his long and useful life, but still very hearty
and busy. He knew that he would not live very much
longer on this earth, and looked forward to the day when
he would enter the spiritual world for the last time and
stay there for ever. But he still had something very
important to do. He knew that he had to complete the
crowning work of his WRITINGS-for this is what we
usually cali ail his religious books. He had to publish in
one volume ail the doctrines of the New Church. He
wrote to his friend:

"1 can tell you this, for the Lord has promised it to me:
1 shall not die before 1 havë recëlvedfrom-the pressthis
~ork whicfi-isnow - ready-tobeprJïïted:-THE'TRUE
CHRISTIAN RELIGION.
"The principal object of this work is to show that the
Divine Trinity is united in the Lord."

You see how faithful Swedenborg remained to his mission,


always showing that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only
God. As he completed the pages of the work, The True
Christian Religion, he had a wonderful experience, and
added a short note before he made a new clean copy
for the printer:
MEMORANDUM ic..fl, ~ (
(]) "After this work was finished, the Lord calied together
'Ris MélVe disciples, who followed Him in the world; and
the next day He sent them out into the whole spiritual
world to preach the Gospel that the Lord Jesus Christ
reigns, whose kingdom shall be for ever and ever, accord­
ing to the predicition of Daniel 7: 13-14; and Revelation
11: 15; and also that
'They are blessed who come unto the marriage supper
of the Lamb" (Revelation 19: 9) .

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-rct<. =rq,
~
This took place on J!;!.ne 19th, 1770y>This is meant by
these words of the Lord:
He shan send His angels and they shall gather together
His elect from one end of the heavens to the other
(Matthew 24:31).

What an amazing statement!

The Lord once said: "God is not the God of the dead
but of the living." We think of people in history as being
frozen in books, statues, or paintings, and having no more
to do than give us a difficult time when we are sitting jor
exams and have to remember their dates and deeds. But,
in fact, no one is dead! Certainly not the disciples-Peter,
James and John, as weil as ail the rest. They are breath­
ing now, and they are busy. They, too, went into the
spiritual world as soon as they died and, because of their
love for the Lord, they wou Id try to continue the work
they had done on earth in their simple and forthright way.

But as more people arrived from the earth, they saw that
the Church on earth was divided and falling into greater
confusion. You would have to st~9>" the history of the
Church to know what difficulties arose, how people argued
ancreven fought together, ail in the name of Christianity.
Somehow, e~erything was turning against the simple and
direct message which the discipleshad tried to teach.
But 'Përhaps they were upheld in hope by the words which
Jesus spoke to them while He was with them on the
earth. He had foretold that the Church would become
darkened by taise ideas, and that He would have to come
again when the time became right an-dwhËm the peQpie
coUld understand the truth more fully: --.--_._-- - -­
"When the --Son otman comes, will He find faith on the
earth?" (Luke 18: 8).

"1 have still many things to say to you, but you cannot
bear them now" (John 16: 12).

But the time was ripe on J~~ 9!h, 1770.

The Lord announced again, but this time with greater


power, because the people today can bear a greater light

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of truth, that He alone is the God of heaven and earth.
And because this is so, the truth had to be announced
both in the spiritual world and on the earth.

How gladly the disciples must have obeyed the commandl


Now they knew fully that the Lord whom they had always
loved so dearly was the only God and heavenly Father
of ail men, their Creator as weil as their Saviour. This
idea would be too big to take in while they Iived with
the Lord, or even as He appeared to them after the resur­
rection. But now it was different. They could bear this
great and wonderful tr.uth, and they ~ould want to go
and share it with everyone in the spiritual world, and say:
'The Lord Jesus Christ reigns, and of His kingdom there
shall be no end!"

This is what happened in the spiritual world.

On earth the same wonderful message was given by


Swedenborg in his Writings. Ali the works he wrote tell
the same truth that the Lord Jesus Christ is God alone.
We know this revelation as
THE SECOND COMING OF THE LORD.

This is why Swedenborg wrote:

® "Since the Lord cannat show Himself in persan, and yet


-r He has foretold that He will come and establish a New
~1- Church, which is the New Jerusalem, He must do this by
means of a man who is able ta receive the doctrines of
this Church with his understanding, and ta publish them
by the press. 1 swear that the Lord has appeared ta me
His servant, and sent me on this duty,"
No wonder we think that June 19th is a very special day
for ail New Church people!

Without that announcem~nt of truth not one of us could


have that simple and clear idea that God is one, and that
He is the Lord Jesus Christ.

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And so we say with the angels, for heaven and the Church
on earth now speak with the same voice:

TO JESUS CHRIST BE GLORY AND DOMINION

FOR EVER AND EVER.

HE IS THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA,

THE BEGINNING AND THE END,

THE FIRST AND THE LAST;

WHO IS, AND WHO WAS,

AND WHO IS TO COME;

THE ALMIGHTY.

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Quotations in the text were taken from the following
books by Emanuel Swedenborg:

The True Christian Religion 779


o Arcana Caelestia 1
ΠArcana Caelestia 14-15
G) Heaven and Hell 1
C§.. The True Christian Religion 791
,-6 The True Christian Religion 779
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