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exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity


Surrender & Acceptance

Swedenborg speaks



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Channeled testimony from Swedenborg, as he references “the second birth,” the awakening of the soul. This communication was facilitated by Mrs. Elizabeth Sweet, 1853, as reported in "The Future Life."


The human soul, when first awakened from the slumber of its material nature to a consciousness of its spiritual being, presents a strange medley of conflicts and changes in its transition state. Where the material consciousness of the individual has so long retained the ascendency, it has become vested with a strong authority, as it were, and a mighty struggle oftentimes ensues between the two opposites; and when the spiritual germ of our nature first begins to develop itself, it is so mingled and interwoven with our material being, that we are at a loss to distinguish the difference between the principles which sway us, and often stand trembling almost (feeling so uncertain, as though we stood upon the edge of a precipice), not knowing into what depths of insecurity our plunge may lead. But gradually, in some, and more rapid in others, the spiritual nature assumes its empire, and we then see things as we never saw them before.

There is a new and strong principle takes root and grows up within the soul, constantly strengthening and sustaining the feeble and fluttering efforts which the spirit is making to burst from out the bondage in which it has been held for so great a length of time. And when the soul becomes able to rise so far beyond its accustomed position as to look abroad upon the wonders everywhere held out to its view, it becomes filled with strong and beautiful emotions; and the vastness and wisdom of the Creator's works are so impressed upon that soul at times, in all their magnificence and glory, that it fain would shrink within its own insignificance, that it would shrink back again to its former position. For, to the freed soul, its upward flights are grand and glorious, in comparison with the narrow and time-trodden road in which it before had wandered. No wonder if a fluttering and trembling should seize upon it while learning its first lessons of joyous freedom.

The soul that has entered upon this path, has indeed undergone a mighty change — a change for the future which has not to be repeated in the future, for this change is a passing from death unto life, it is the birth of the spirit while yet in its earthly temple; and as it expands in strength and wisdom, it has indeed passed through the bitterness of death, which is not to be experienced ever again in the form.

Editor’s note: The soul can be individualized only once. We discussed this on the page devoted to “reincarnation”, which doctrine falsely asserts that this might occur an indefinite number of times. Swedenborg is on record to have adamantly denied the veracity of reincarnation.

Oh, the spirit after undergoing this first change from dark to light, is enabled to look beyond with a bright and peaceful hope in the blest exchange which awaits him. He but looks forward to the slumber in which he will experience a forgetfulness of the ills attendant on the body, and will awaken to behold the glorious reality of all his former dreamings and imaginings.

Man's soul, after having become thus quickened, feels a consciousness within himself of his hold upon eternal life. He feels his spirit going out into the vast regions of infinite space, and endeavors to grasp an atom of knowledge wherever he may find it. He is no longer willing to grovel on earth, and taste of earthly pleasures and earthly hopes, and to be led by the teachings of those whose inspirations have become dim in the awakening glory of this new era. But his soul pants for something more — something higher — something better — more heartfelt — more tangible than he has yet become acquainted with, and he is now ever yearning— ever soaring upward, for there has been established an affinity between the soul of that individual and the principle from which he emanated.

The connection between the life-giving principle and the germ has become more apparent; and now he is ever drawn upward in his aspirations after truth and purity; and as that soul becomes identified with its spirit-affinities, the material loses much of its authority to act upon its spirit-being. He now regards it as a covering for material use, to be thrown aside when no longer needed to contain his spirit when on its earthly mission; and truth, virtue, and love become a daily inspiration of his soul.

This spirit becomes so saturated and bathed in the light of wisdom, that he indeed feels the immortal part of his nature has become so quickened and vitalized, that he needs but to look within to find an answer to his innermost cravings after the knowledge which places him upon a firm and imperishable basis, as regards his eternal and ultimate destiny.

The external elements may be in confusion and dissension, and the surface of all other circumstances may become ruffled and chaotic in their dark dismay; but the soul that has thus been able to take hold upon his high prerogatives and claim his inheritance, by building it up and beautifying it while here for his future residence, may indeed look away and beyond the scenes of earth, and feel that while he has lived upon its surface as an obedient servant to his better intuitions, inasmuch as he could plainly perceive them, is like the bird on wing, who, when the first note of welcome from his mate salutes his ear, is ever ready to soar away and meet with joy his waiting companion; for there is a beautiful reunion which takes place between the freed spirit of man and his affinities who have long guided his footsteps on earth, and whom he now may behold face to face, and with them travel onward to behold the eternal mysteries of the glorious unfolding of the wisdom of God.


Editor's last word:

See the sense of progressive detachment from gross matter that is this planet. The awakened soul has zero fear of death and, indeed, pines for the home-world; so many of the old earthly pastimes and distractions seem too insipid now to take seriously; constantly, the inner person is drawn "upward" to the real world; but never more insistently than when the image of one’s beloved infuses the vision of future transition.