The Garment of Love: Charity is the Bond of Perfection

A talk by the Society's President on Swedenborg's philosophy of love

Swedenborg's theological teachings are known as a set of doctrines, such as the New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine, There is also a subset of basic philosophical doctrines, which have became world famous such as the 'Doctrine of Correspondences', the 'Doctrine of Uses', and the 'Doctrine of Series and Degrees'.

However, the most important part of Swedenborg's teachings has never been termed a doctrine: the 'Doctrine of Love', which according to Swedenborg is the foundation proper of faith and knowledge. Like the 'Commandment of Love' this principle supersedes and overrides all other rules. In effect, it is more important what you do than what you believe, and Goodness is more important than Faith because the truths of faith are closed to the uncharitable. 'Caritas' or charity is the royal road to wisdom and also has an intrinsic value, since 'facere bonum' or “doing good” and making other people happy is forever the highest joy of our lives and is its own reward.

Music programme for the evening, performed by Margaret Pearman (Soprano) & David Coussell (Piano):
GF Handel  Alcina
‘Tornami a vagheggiar’ (Morgana)
CW Gluck  Alceste
‘Divinités du Styx’ (Alceste)
WA Mozart La Clemenza di Tito
‘Non più di fiori’ (Vitellia)

About the speaker

Photograph © John Tranter

Anders Hallengren is a Swedish author and scholar, a Harvard alumnus, and a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London. He received a doctorate for a dissertation on RW Emerson’s philosophy (The Code of Concord, 1994) and is an Associate Professor and Fellow of Stockholm University. The author of many books, including Gallery of Mirrors: Reflections on Swedenborgian Thought (Swedenborg Foundation, 1998) he is also the English translator of Swedenborg’s Dream Diary and other works. He has provided the revised translation of – and an introduction to - Carl Robsham’s Memoirs of Swedenborg and Other Documents, a recent publication by the Swedenborg Society. A prolific essayist and also a poet, Hallengren was awarded a prize by the Swedish Academy in 2008. In 2009 he lectured at the Swedenborg Association of Australia, the Hurstville Society, and the Linnean Society of New South Wales. He is currently translating a series of lectures on botany delivered by Carl Linneaus in the mid-1700s, a work commissioned by The Royal Swedish Academy of Letters. (Photograph © John Tranter)

Refreshments will also be served. Admission is free but capacity is limited. Advance booking is recommended via


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