SWEDBERG, svad'bErg, afterward SWE DENBORG, swe'dn-borg, Swed. sveden-bOrg, Emanuel, Swedish theologian: b. Stockholm, 29 Jan. 1688; d. London, 29 March 1772. His father, Jesper Swedberg, was a chaplain and court-preacher to the king, Charles XI. Swed berg's paternal ancestors had been opulent miners in the province of Dalecarlia, and it is also claimed that the heroic blood of Engel brecht, who liberated Sweden from Denmark in 1434, flowed in his veins. On the side of his mother, Sarah Behm, he descended from Gus tavus Wasa, king of Sweden from 1523 to 1560. The name “Swedberg.* as well as Swedenborg, which was given to the family later when they were ennobled, was derived from (iSveden, by which name the homestead was called, and which means a clearing in the forest made by fire.
About all that is known of Swedenborg's childhood and early youth is contained in his autobiographical statements made in two let ters, one to Dr. G. A. Beyer, a celebrated clergyman of Sweden, the other to Rev. Thomas Hartley, of the Established Church in England. In the former he writes: °From my fourth to my 10th year I was constantly engaged in thought upon God, Salvation and the spiritual ills of mankind; and several times I revealed things at which my father and mother wondered; saying, that angels must be speaking through me. From my sixth to my 12th year I used to delight in conversing with clergymen about faith, saying that the life of faith is love, and that the love which imparts life is love to the neighbor; also that God gives faith to every one, but that those only receive it who practise that love. I knew of no other faith at that time, than that God is the Creator and Preserver of Na ture, that he imparts understanding and a good disposition to men, and several other things that follow thence. I knew nothing at that time of that learned faith which teaches that God the Father imputes the righteousness of his Son to whomsoever, and at such times, as he chooses, even to those who have not re pented and have not reformed their lives. And had I heard of such a faith, it would have been then, as it is now (1769), above my compre hension.* In the second letter he says: In the year 1710 I went abroad. I proceeded first to Eng land, and afterward to Holland, France and Germany, and returned home in the year 1714.
In the year 1716, and also afterward, I had many conversations with Charles XII, king of Sweden, who greatly favored me, and the same year offered me an assessorship in the College of Mines, which office I filled until the year 1747, when I resigned it, retaining, however, the official salary during my life. My sole
object in tendering my resignation was that I might have more leisure to devote to the new office to which the Lord had called me. A higher post of honor was then offered me, which I positively declined, lest my heart should be inspired with pride. In the year 1719, I was ennobled by Queen Ulrica Eleanora, and named Swedenborg; and from that time I have taken my seat among the nobles of the rank of knight in the triennial Diet of the Realm. I am a Fellow and Member, by invitation, of the Royal Academy of Sciences in Stockholm; but I have never sought admission into any literary society in any other place, because I am in an angelic society, where such things as relate to Heaven and the soul are the only subjects of discourse; while in literary societies the world and the body form the only subjects of discus sion)* In the same letter he speaks of his special mission as follows: aI have been called to a holy office by the Lord Himself, who most mercifully appeared before me, His servant, in the year 1743; when He opened my sight into the spiritual world, and enabled me to converse with spirits and angels, in which state I have continued up to the present day (1769). From that time I began to print and publish the various arcana that were seen by me or revealed to me, concerning Heaven and Hell, the state of man after death, the true worship of God, the spiritual sense of the Word, besides many other most important matters conducive to sal vation and wisdom. The only reason of my jour neys abroad has been the desire of making myself useful, and of making known the arcana that were entrusted to me. Moreover I have as much of this world's goods as I need, and I neither seek nor wish for more.' In the year 1709 Swedberg finished his studies at the University of Upsala. In Sep tember 1710 he went to London, where for two years he studied astronomy, chemistry, physics, mathematics and other sciences. Then he jour neyed through Holland to Paris and after a full year of studies and researches there proceeded to Germany in pursuit of knowledge at the universities, returning to Sweden in 1715.