Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33)

Category — De Hemelsche Leer



by Rev. Theodore Pitcairn


These who love the spiritual birth which took place in the Church with what is known as the Academy movement, will rejoice at the appearance of the small work of Dr. Acton The Crown of Revelations.

The ACADEMY and the GENERAL CHURCH are founded upon the belief that the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg are the Word of the Lord. Due to attempts to answer De HEMELSCHE LEER, there appeared to be a danger that the realization that the Writings are the Word in its fulness, holiness, and power, might be weakened in the Church, with the result that a decline would commence in the Church. Not only will Dr. Acton’s study confirm the faith which the ACADEMY and the GENERAL CHURCH have had, but it will assist many, we trust, to come to a fuller realization of the fulness, the holiness, and the power of the “Evangel of the Second Coming”, wherefore we rejoice, in spite of the fact that we regret that Dr. Acton has not entered more profoundly into these things which have been brought forth by Mr. Hyatt and by DE HEMELSCHE LEER concerning the Doctrine of the Church, from the Word.

Dr. Acton commences his study as follows: “Some day, I suppose, there will be written for the New Church a history of Doctrine. Many such histories have been written for the first Christian Church, but naturally they deal with the interpretation of the New Testament, and of the Old Testament in the light of the New; that is to say, with doctrines drawn from these Testaments; such doctrines, for instance, as the Trinity, the Atonement, Faith and Charity, Baptism and the Holy Supper, etc. The genuine doctrine of the Old and New Testaments with respect to these subjects has been set forth so clearly and unmistakably that there is no dispute concerning them among any who accept these Writings as a Divine Revelation. New Churchmen of every school of thought are wholly at one in seeing that there is one God only; that there are lot three Divine Persons but that the Trinity is, in the Lord Jesus Christ; that faith does not save without, charity; that all men are predestined to heaven, etc. etc.”

It is these very subjects which Dr. Acton says, “have been set forth so clearly and unmistakably that there is no dispute” that will be the center round which the most grievous temptations of the New Church will take place. While it is true there can be no dispute as to these truths and their opposite falsities in relation to the relatively external form that they took in the first Christian Church, as to their living application to the New Church and to every man who is truly of the New Church, they must become the center around which ever more interior and grievous temptations take place, as they come to be seen abstractly from the literal sense of the Latin Word which treats of them historically in relation to the first Christian Church. All spiritual truth with man is the result of conquering in spiritual temptation. If a man has been brought up with a love for the first Christian Church, on commencing to read the Writings of Swedеnborg, and perceiving that they are true, he is brought into a state of disturbance and temptation, and the greater has been his love for the old Church the more grievous the temptation, and the more living the truths of the New Church are apt to become in him, if he overcomes in the temptation. What a contrast is his state to one who has been brought up in the New Church, particularly if brought up in a New Church community. To such a one the falsities of the old Church are remote, scarcely touching his life, while he acquires the generals of New Church Doctrine without any effort of his own, still less with struggling and temptation. To such a one it is easier to accept than not to accept these things with which he is surrounded; and they are of such a nature that he readily fills them with the things of his proprium; for before regeneration he is in evil and falsity no matter what truths he may know. What is more delightful to the natural man than to believe that he belongs to a chosen people, what more flattering to the conceit of his own intelligence than to believe that he has a mind which, unlike other people’s, is formed by a rational Revelation. It delights a man in such a state to read in the Word about the falsities of the dead church, which he is not in; not realizing that in so far as he is not regenerating there is not a single falsity of the old church that does not take possession of him, in a more subtle, deadly, and hidden form. If a man will but acknowledge this truth, and in the light of it search for the evils and falsities in himself, in the light of the Word, he will find himself in the densest cloud, for while he can readily see how the Latin Word manifests the falsities of the old church, and may even see how it manifests the falsities that have taken possession of CONFERENCE and CONVENTION, he cannot see how he himself divides the Trinity into three persons, denies the Divine Human of the Lord, believes in the vicarious atonement, and in faith alone, and has no cognition of Baptism and the Holy Supper, etc. If a man will but acknowledge that these are the essential things of the New Church for the sake of his spiritual life, he must come to realize his utter ignorance of all living spiritual truth. And in reading the Latin Word, find himself in such a dark and impenetrable cloud that he despairs of ever finding his way; and he will be kept in this state of despair until he can acknowledge from the heart that, of himself, he can understand not a single spiritual truth, but all is of the mercy of the Lord, and when he makes this acknowledgment fully and from the heart, then, for the first time is it possible for the Lord to appear to him in the glory of the cloud with power and great glory. “These are said to see the back parts of Jehovah and not the faces, who believe and adore the Word, but only its external which is the sense of the letter, and do not penetrate more interiorly, as do these who have been enlightened, and who make for themselves Doctrine out of the Word, by which they may see its genuine sense, thus its interior sense”, A.C 10584. Good and truth can only have an abode in the mind in so far as evils and falsities have been removed. Interior evils are conjoined with interior falsities, wherefore if a man does not make for himself Doctrine from the Latin Word he can not see either interior evils or falsities in himself, and therefore remains in them.

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De Hemelsche Leer

The leading theses propounded in “De Hemelsche Leer”:

1. The Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg are the Third Testament of the Word of the Lord. The doctrine of the new jerusalem concerning the Sacred Scripture must be applied to the three Testaments alike.

2. The Latin Word without Doctrine is as a candlestick without light, and those who read the Latin Word without Doctrine, or who do not acquire for themselves a Doctrine from the Latin Word, are in darkness as to all trues (cf. S. S. 50-61).

3. The genuine Doctrine of the Church is spiritual out of a celestial origin, but not out of rational origin. The Lord is that Doctrine itself (cf. A. C. 2496, 2497, 2510, 2516, 2533, 2859; A. E. 19).

Read the first fascicle of  De Hemelsche Lerr

Read the second fascicle of  De Hemelsche Lerr

Read the third fascicle of  De Hemelsche Lerr

Read the fourth fascicle of  De Hemelsche Lerr

Read the fifth fascicle of  De Hemelsche Lerr

Read the sixth fascicle of  De Hemelsche Lerr

Read the seventh fascicle of De Hemelsche Leer




Theodore Pitcairn


The reader is cautioned that unless he or she has carefully read and reread the ARCANA COELESTIA and DE HEMELSCHE LEER, he or she may find it somewhat difficult to follow the ideas contained in this book.

This is not meant to discourage the reader, as there are important things in the book that one who has a general knowledge of the Third Testament can easily follow.

“The Word without Doctrine is like a candelabrum without light.” S.S. 50

(Candelabrum is an English word taken from the Latin. In ancient Latin manuscripts a candelabrum was a lamp or candleholder- Latin, lampas and candela.

In the Third Testament, as far as we have been able to discover, a candelabrum always stands for a lamp holder or lampstand.

Olive oil was the fuel of the lamps.)

The generals are natural and are an entrance hall to the particulars and singulars. In time, if man has an opportunity to enter into the particulars and singulars of Doctrine in the light of which he can see singulars of the Word, and does not take the opportunity to do so, the generals of the Doctrine more and more become things of the mere letter of Doctrine – dry bones.

Or one begins to fill the things of the literal sense of the Doctrine with false particulars, from which he sees nothing but falsities in the Word. This will be illustrated in what follows.
DE HEMELSCHE LEER, translated into English, is The Celestial Doctrine.

This title was chosen, for the magazine in Holland, because it was seen that the Lord was revealing Doctrine for the Lord’s New Church. It was never, however, taken to mean that everything in the magazine was the genuine Doctrine of the Church, for it is evident that not everything in the magazine is Spiritual Doctrine from a celestial origin.
The more important articles in the monthly magazine were translated into English and were published in English in seven fascicles.

There were important articles published in DE HEMELSCHE LEER in Holland after the seventh fascicle, published in English. These included the Principles of 1939 and 1949, the Principles and Plan of Order and the assembly address of Groeneveld to the 1947 assembly.

To write a fuller treatise on DE HEMELSCHE LEER would take many volumes. We will here confine ourselves to a limited number of important points.

In quoting from DE HEMELSCHE LEER, we will just use numbers. To illustrate: IV:37 2/3 signifies the Fourth Fascicle, page 37, two thirds of the way down: VI:6t signifies Sixth Fascicle, page 6, top of page; while III:4b signifies Third Fascicle, page four, bottom of page.

The first question is: What is the Doctrine and what is its nature?

We read:

“Every member of the Church will welcome with great joy the appearance of the new monthly magazine, and be moved by the thought that in the Lord’s Providence, it has been appointed that now for the Church in reality, the Heavens will be opened. After a period of preparation or of the reformation of the Church, which reached its summit in a natural rational understanding of the Third Testament, and on account of which a natural regeneration of the Church was possible, the Church has now come to a state by which a spiritual understanding of the Word and therefore spiritual regeneration of the Church is possible.

“During the state of reformation, the conjunction of the Lord with the Church is from the side of the Lord alone. By the birth of the Doctrine of the Church, the Church has prepared itself, on account of which the conjunction is from the side of the Church as well.

“Just as everything which is has an external and an internal, so the Doctrine of the Church as the Doctrine of the Divine Human of the Lord, has an internal and an external. It is internal Doctrine of the Church or the Doctrine of the Genuine True, which is the Lord Himself, by which the Church is to be built. It is the celestial Doctrine descending from God out of Heaven. This Doctrine is free from all space and time, and purely spiritual from a celestial origin. It is only by this Doctrine that Heaven does come down to earth, and that the Church does become truly Church.
“This Doctrine as a seed will be received by the Church more and more internally, and by the Church it will be made of life.

“This seed from the Third Testament, that is from the Divine Doctrine, will be opened in the rational of the male of the Church and be made life by the female of the Church. By this the Church will come into possession of internal things which never before have been given to the human race. This internal Doctrine of the Church can only be opened by the Lord if rational of the male has been prepared for it, which happens only after heavy combat. It is now by means of the external Doctrine of the Church that this combat takes place and it is the male of the Church which must fight that combat.

“A heavy combat awaits the male, for the hells with all their might will rebel to maintain their power, and even more fierce will b? their assault. They will beset the understanding that it will seem to the male as if its thoughts were taken from it.

The male will continually have to remain impressed with the fact that the Lord alone fights through it.

“After perseverance in this combat, the victory will be certain, as appears from the Lord’s words in the 33rd verse of the 16th chapter of the Gospel o? John: ‘Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.’ Then the infernal spirits will be cast down to earth and the Lord will be able through the rational of the male to give to the Church the Celestial Doctrine.

“From the side of the female great co-operation is required. It is necessary for the female to give its devotion, by the sacrifice of all love of self and all love of the world…

All its delight of conjugial love depends on the victory in this combat…and when after the combat, the celestial Doctrine will be given to the Church, the female should receive this Doctrine and bring it to life.

“Then will the Church become more and more internal, and then will the most beautiful things be given to it. Then will this new magazine be the place where the Lord will openly speak to us.” I:11 1/2, 12, 13 1/4.
In the above article it speaks of the internal of the Doctrine, which is the Lord Himself, and the external of the Doctrine, and the reception of the Doctrine, that at first, it is received as a seed from the Third Testament.

The seed referred to in the above article is the spiritual sense of the Twentieth Chapter of Genesis in the Arcana Coelestia. The reception of the seed was a spiritual perception of what the Doctrine of the Church is.

In the Twentieth Chapter of Genesis in the Arcana Coelestia Sarah as the wife of Abraham is the Doctrine spiritual from a celestial origin, that is the Divine Spiritual True from the Divine Celestial Good; that is the True which is from a love from the Lord into the Lord.

We read:

“Sarah a wife signifies the spiritual true, the Doctrine Itself of true faith is also meant by Sarah a wife, for Doctrine is from trues.” A.C. 2517

In this chapter Abraham, when called a man, is the celestial Doctrine, for we read:

“Abraham…when called a man, signifies the celestial the true which is the same as Doctrine out of a celestial origin.” A.C. 2533

Read the full work on De Hemelsche Leer by Rev. Theodore Pitcairn




“The leading thesis of DE HEMELSCHE LEER”

“The Principles of 1949″

The principles in “The Principles and Plan of Order”

“The Three Essentials” and

The Principle of its Doctrine.

(from the book on De Hemelsche Leer by Rev. Theodore Pitcairn)