“The New Jerusalem” by Emanuel Swedenborg

Starts as a promising attempt to work out a spiritual life from first principles. Swedenborg’s (admittedly naive) mutually-derived binary oppositions (so Good and Truth give respectively Will and Intellect, which, again respectively, give Charity and Faith; so, Good leads to Charity via Will, and Truth to Faith via Intellect) take this sympathetic reader some way. His discussions of who is our Neighbour are also interesting, moving in a hierarchy from the neighbourliness of one’s own body to the Lord. When in later chapters, however, he falls back to more traditional Christian doctrine such as Heaven and Hell, he loses me. Like Descartes, he tries to use more modern methods to justify the same old stuff: an interesting transitional phase of the Enlightenment.

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