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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Individuality Eternal
By Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772)
 
From ‘The Soul’

THE END of creation, or the end on account of which the world was created, could be no other than the first and the last, or the most universal of all ends, and that which is perpetually reigning in the created universe, which is the complex of means conspiring to that end. No other end of creation can be given than that there may exist a universal society of souls, or a heaven,—that is, the kingdom of God. That this was the end of creation may be proved by innumerable arguments: for it would be absurd to say that the world was created on account of the earth and terrestrial societies, and this miserable and perishable life; since all things on earth are for the sake of man, and all things in man for the sake of his soul, and the soul cannot be for no end. If then it exists for any end, it must be for a society in which God is present; for his providence regards souls, which are spiritual, and his works are adapted to men and their consociation.  1
  In order that a celestial society, or society of souls, may exist, it is necessary that there be a most perfect form of government,—namely, souls distinct among themselves, and every possible variety, which may be called harmonies between the souls; and so from such harmony there will arise a consensus and accord which shall produce that entire effect and end which is always foreseen and provided.  2
  That this end may be obtained, it is necessary that man shall be allowed a free will. The cause of variety of subjects arises solely from free exercise and liberty of the will. Without this there would be no intellect, no morality, no vice, no crime, no guilt, no affection of the mind or change of state. This is the reason why God has wished to preserve the free human will strong and inviolate, even for the doing of evil deeds; so that we would seem to be almost willing to deny a Divine providence for the same reason that we would affirm it. But the liberty allowed to human minds is not absolute but limited.  3
 
 
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