Would you like to see the Lord in person? Periodically, I hear this from students I teach and from my son James who can’t wait to see Him in the spiritual world. And how about you? If the Lord appeared and spoke to you, would that strengthen your faith? Would it transform your life? Would it convince you to make any big changes? With New Church Day (June 19th) approaching, I am reminded of Swedenborg’s very direct testimonial where he says:
I testify in truth that the Lord manifested himself to me, His servant, and assigned me to this task; after doing so, He opened the sight of my spirit and brought me into the spiritual world; and He has allowed me to see the heavens and the hells and to have conversations with angels and spirits on a continual basis for many years now. I also testify that ever since the first day of this calling, I have accepted nothing regarding the teachings of this church from any angel; what I have received has come from the Lord alone while I was reading the Word. True Christian Religion 779.
Swedenborg clearly saw the Lord and had many years of incredible experiences in the spiritual world. I think we can be quite sure that this changed Swedenborg’s life dramatically. Everything he did after receiving his call was directed at a very specific Divine use, revealing essential truths for the salvation of the human race.
So what would be accomplished if the Lord appeared before your very eyes today? Miracles are said not to happen these days because they would be “coercive” and “would take away our free choice in spiritual matters” (True Christian Religion 501). Our inner self has a built-in resistance to compulsion and if we were given “conclusive proof,” our natural minds would actually erect even stronger forms of denial.
The spiritual experiences of Swedenborg and other revelators were not given to educate and spiritually emancipate just one person. The Lord’s purpose was to educate and emancipate all the people living on planet earth. I think it is safe to assume that Swedenborg’s faith was already well developed and sufficiently mature enough to protect his personal spiritual freedom.
While we may never have a great spiritual awakening in the natural world, we can rest assured that our spiritual eyes will one day open and see that new dimension which will be our home to eternity.
What more ought people to have at heart than their lives which last forever? If they destroy their souls during their lifetime do they not destroy it forever? Arcana Coelestia 794.