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" What is this 
'Gainst which I strive to shield the sight in vain," 
Cried I, " and which toward ns moving seems?" 

** Marvel not if the family of heaven," 
He answered, " yet with dazzling radiance dim 
Thy sense. It is a messenger who comes, 
Inviting man's ascent Sneh sights ere long, 
Not grievoos, shall impart to thee delight, 
As thy perception is hy nature wrought 
Up to their pitch." 

Carjf^s Dante. 




Wardoar Streeti Oxford Street. 












I HERE present to English readers a first attempt 
towards a connected Biography of Swedenborg, fully 
sensible of my own de^ciencies for such an under- 
taking. But my studies have seemed to require it 
of me at a period when the exchange of thought 
and learning is freer than heretofore, and when each 
man^s wares are expected in the market. My first 
end will be satisfied if it renders an author, hitherto 
unknown from his great peculiarity, and diflScult of 
access from his bulk, an object of some knowledge 
to the literary and intelligent classes. 

In fulfilling my design I have endeavored to keep 
always in view, that I am writing a life and not 
pleading a cause. Still I have written the life af- . 
firmatively, because I could not help it. The method 
has its advantages; for as our Carlyle says, "sym- 
pathy is the first essential towards insight.^^ Nothing 
however will better please me, than a fair biography 
by another, from an opposite point of view. 

For whatever I have said, I alone am responsible. 

■Vt . 


No body of persons is chargeable with my senti- 
ments in the work. While writing it, I have had 
no audience before me but the public. 

I have every where made use of the most au- 
thentic documents and sources. 

The reader who desires a further elucidation of 
Swedenborg's philosophy, necessarily brief in a po- 
pular life, wUl find more on the subject in the Intro- 
duction to my translation of the Animal Kingdom, 
and in my Introductory Remarks to Mr. CUssold's 
, version of the Economy : I would also refer him to 
Mr. Strutf s translation of Swedenborg^s Chemical 
Specimens, and to Mr. Clissold's, of the Principia, 
and to my Popular Sketch of Swedenborg's Philoso- 
phical Works. 

I have omitted no tolerably authenticated singu- 
larities of the subject of this Memoir. Such things 
are odd in the life of particular persons, because we 
do not understand the life. They either enlarge our 
apprehension, or measure our dullness. I have said 
the worst of Swedenborg that I honestly can : it 
will be a good voice that says the lawful best. I 
have not attempted it. 

Hampsteady Oct, 5, 1849. 













There is^ in the present day, a oonstantlj increasing en- 
quiry among intelligent persons^ respecting the life and 
labors of Swedenborg, whose name begins to be whispered, 
with more or less respect, and with undefined feelings, 
throughout Christendom ; and it is the intention of the 
following pages to give a short account of that author's 
career, to serve as a guide to those readers who are inter- 
ested in the subject, and to facihtate them in pursuing it 
for themselves. We shall dogmatize but little in the nar- 
rative, but chiefly state facts, and accompany them with a 
few comments. We are no followers of Swedenborg, al- 
though we accept his views of Christianity, but not because 
he discovered them» but because they were there to be dis- 
covered, and are true. The truth, we believe, is not 
arrested or contained by any man, but as soon as found, 
the mind may pass from that level, and rise from it as a 
vantage ground to new truths. It is, therefore, in the 
service of the public,, and not of Swedenborg, that we write 
these pages ; for the time has come when every enlightened 
man and woman ought, for their own sakes, to know of 
Swedenborg and his preteasious. 

For consider the case. Here was an author, flourishing 
in the last century, whose principal works were written 

' 7 B 


from 1721 to 1772, and who, enjoying at first a good repu- 
tation as a scientific and practical man, saw that reputation 
gradually expire as his own mind unfolded in his works, 
until at length he was only known as a visionary, and the 
fact of his early career was scarcely remembered by his few 
surviving contemporaries. There was every reason why 
his works died to that age. He had a firm faith, from the 
first, in the goodness of God, in the powers of the mind, 
in the wisdom and easiness of creation, and in the immove- 
able firmness of revelation ; later on, a belief too in spiritual 
existence, in a sense intelligible to all mankind. In his 
case, there was a breaking of shell after shell, — a rolling 
away of delusion after delusion, until the truth was seen to 
be itself real — to be the true creation, the world above 
and before the world, of which mortal creatures are made. 
How could so substantial a personage — a man whose spirit 
and its relations were a body and a force — ^be seen at all in 
the last century, when the public wave ran in spring-tides 
towards materialism} frivolity, and all conventionalities ? 
The savage might as easily value a telescope or a theodolite 
as Europe estimate a Swedenborg at such an era. Accord- 
ingly, in proportion as he transcended brute matter and 
dead facts, he vanished from its sight, and was only men- 
tioned with ridicule as a ghost-seer — the next thing to a 
ghost. But how stands the matter now ? The majority, 
it is true, know nothing of Swedenborg ; and it is for them 
we write. But the vast majority of those who do know — 
and the number is considerable in all parts of the civilized 
world — regard him with respect and affectionate admiration; 
many hailing him as the herald of a new church upon 
earth ; many as a gift of the same provident deity who has 
sent, as indirect messengers, the other secular leaders of 
the race, — the great poets, the great philosophers, the 
guiding intellects of the sciences ; many also still looking 
towards his works in order to gain instruction from them. 


and to settle for themselves the author's phice among the 
benefactors of his kind. We ourselves are in all these 
classes, allowing them to modify each other ; and perhaps, 
on that account, are suitable to address those who know 
less of the subject, for we have no position to maintain but 
the facts of the case. 

Now whence this change in public opinion ? It has been 
the most silent of revolutions, a matter almost of signs 
and whispers. Swedenborg^s admirers have simply kept 
his books before the public, and given them their good 
word when opportunity offered. The rest has been done 
over the heads of men, by the course of events, by the 
advance of the sciences, by our new liberties of thought, 
by whatever makes man from ignorant, enlightened, and 
from sensual, refined and spiritualized. In short, it is the 
world's progress under Providence which has brought it to 
Swedenborg's door. For where a new truth has been dis- 
covered, that truth has said a courteous word for Sweden- 
borg ; where a new science has sprung up and entered upon 
its conquests, that science has pointed with silent-speaking 
finger to something friendly to, and suggestive of, itself in 
Swedenborg ; where a new spirit has entered the world, that 
spirit has fiown to its mate in Swedenborg ; where the age 
has felt its own darkness and confessed it, the students of 
Swedenborg have been convinced that there was in him 
much of the light which all hearts were seeking. And 
so forth. The fact then is, that an unbelieving century 
could see nothing in Swedenborg ; that its successor, more 
trustful and truthful, sees more and more ; and strong in- 
dications exist that in another five-and-twenty years the 
field occupied by this author must be visited by the leaders 
of opinion en masse, and whether they will or no ; because 
it is not proselytism that will take them there, but the ex- 
pansion and culmination of the truth, and the organic course 
of events. The following pages will have their end if they 



be one pioneer of this path which the learned and the mien 
are to traverse. 

Emanuel Swedenborg was bom at Stockholm in 
Sweden^ on the 29th of January^ 1688. Descended from 
a family of credit and respectability among the miners of 
Stora Kopparberg (the great copper mountain), he was 
the third child and second son of Dr. Jesper Swedberg, 
Bishop of Skara in West Gothland^ and of Sarah Behm, 
daughter of Albrecht Behm« Assessor of the Royal Board 
of mines. His father^ a man of talent and influence, and 
a voluminous author on many subjects both sacred and secu- 
lar, held successively the appointments of Court Chaplain, 
Professor of Theology, and Provost of the Cathedral at 
Upsal, before he was made a bishop. The character of this 
prelate stood high in Sweden ; his voice was heard on great 
occasions, whether to reassure the people under the calamity 
of battle or pestilence, or to rebuke the vicious manners of 
the upper classes, or the faults of the king himself; he 
labored with constant and vigorous patriotism to rouse the 
public spirit of the country for useful and Christian objects.* 
Swedenborg' s parentage and home were, therefore, happy 
omens of his future life : he was brought up with strict but 
kindly care; was carefully educated by his father in all 
innocence and scientific learning ; and enjoyed the oppor- 
tunities afforded by the sphere and example of family vir- 
tues, accomplishments, and high station, with which he 
was surrounded. 

The only record we have of his childhood is in a letter 
which he wrote late in life to Dr. Beyer. " With regard 
to what passed in the earliest part of my life, about which 
you wish to be informed : from my fourth to my tenth 
year, my thoughts were constantly engrossed by reflecting 
on God, on salvation, and on the spiritual affections of 

* For further particulars respecting this prelate, see our Biography 
of Jesper Swedberg in the Penny Cyclopedia, 

A.D. 1688— 1700.] BIRTH, PARENTAGE, ETC. 5 

man. I often revealed things in my discourse which 
filled my parents with astonishment, and made them 
declare at times, that certainly the angels spoke through 
my mouth. 

" From my sixth to my twelfth year, it was my greatest 
delight to converse with the clergy concerning faith; to 
whom I often observed, that charity or love is the life of 
faith, and that this vivifying charity or love is no other 
than the love of one's neighbor; that Grod vouchsafes this 
faith to every one ; but that it is adopted by those only who 
practise that charity. 

*' I knew of no other faith or belief at that time, than 
that God is the creator and preserver of nature ; that he 
endues man with understanding, good inclinations, and 
other gifts derived from these. 

" I knew nothing at that time of the systematic or dog- 
matic kind of faith, that God the Father imputes the 
righteousness or merits of his Son to whomsoever, and at 
whatever times, he wills, even to the impenitent. And had 
I heard of such a faith, it would have been then, as now, 
perfectly unintelligible to me." 

This information from Swedenborg himself shews at 
how early a period he was penetrated with that theolo- 
gical reform which is all in all in his latest writings ; and 
when to this it is added, that his sayings at the time were 
so extraordinary that his parents used to declare that '' the 
angels spoke through his mouth,'' we see how deeply were 
the preparations laid for that spiritual and mental condition 
which his mature years were to present. Love as superior 
to faith, and spiritual intercourse as a way of information 
on spiritual things, were both shadowed forth in his very 
childhood ; were both carried through science in his adult 
life, furnishing the torch of so many intellectual discoveries ; 
and at length were completed in an unparalleled dogmatic 


system of theology on the one hand, in a bodily* introduc« 
tion to the spiritual world on the other. It may be an-^ 
swered that these confessions only prove the enthusiastic 
character of our author ; but let us not beg the question 
which Swedenborg's life states. 

In the sequel we shall have to point out some psycho- 
logical peculiarities that occurred at ''his morning and 
evening prayers" during his tender years, but at present 
we only note how free his father had left his mind of Lu- 
theran dogmas, and how much his future course was in- 
debted to this early respect which the Bishop paid to his 
son's independence. Reared as he was under a strict 
ecclesiastic, it is surprising that up to his twelfth year he 
knew nothing of '' the plan of salvation," whether it argues 
his own inability to learn it, or his father's disbehef in it, 
or the omission of the latter, from whatever motives, to 
teach it to his son. Dr. Swedberg, however, was a serious 
and earnest man, and under date of April, 1 729, he thus 
writes of the subject of our memoir ; — " Emanuel, my son's 
name, signifies ' God with us,' — a name which should con- 
stantly remind him of the nearness of God, and of that 
interior, holy, and mysterious connection, in which, through 
faith, we stand with our good and gracious God. And 
blessed be the Lord's name ! God has to this hour indeed 
been with him ; and may God be farther with him, until 
he is eternally united with Him in his kingdom." 

Great care was bestowed by the Bishop on Swedenborg's 
education, which he received principally at the University 
of Upsal. " A son of Bishop Swedberg," says Sandel, 
" could not fail to receive a good education . . . such as was 
suited to form his youth to virtue, industry and soUd 
knowledge, particularly in those sciences that were to con- 

* By body we do not mean the material but the spiritaal body ; 
for all spiritual things are bodily, though not material. 

A.D. 1709-10.] ACADEMICAL CAREER. 7 

stitnte his chief pursuit.'"** During his residence at Upsal 
Swedenhorg was assiduous in studying the learned lan- 
guages, mathematics, mineralogy, and natural philosophy. 

In 1709, at the age of 22, he took his degree of Doctor 
of Philosophy, and his first pubUcation was an edition of 
select Sentences of Seneca and Publius Syrus Mimus, 
with comments of his own, which he had written for the 
degree.f First the author gives parallel aphorisms and 
passages from other writers, and then remarks of his own. 
In the latter we have often to admire his precocious judg- 
ment in treating of subjects which commonly belong to more 
adult consideration. The moral tone of the commentary is 
particularly vigorous, and when he speaks of friendship, 
filial love, and the Hke, there is a genius in his words pro- 
ceeding from the fountains of the heart. The work was 
dedicated to hi^ father, in a prelude full of gratitude and 
respectful love. 

At the same date he published, in a work of his father's, 
a Latin version^ of the Twelfth Chapter of Ecdesiastes, 
which shewed great command of the Latin language and 
poetical expression of a high order. 

Having completed his university education, in 1710» ac- 
cording to the practice of the time, he commenced a course 
of travel, and first he came to London. In his brief diary 
of the voyage, he relates with much simplicity the adven- 
tures which befel him. After a severe storm, in which 
there was danger of foundering, the ship was mistaken 
for a Danish pirate by an armed English vessel, and 

* An Account qf Enumuel Swedenborg, aa contained in a Eulo- 
ghm to his Memory , by M, SandeL 

t X. AwmH Seneca et Pub. Syri Mimi forean et dliorum eelecta 
SententuB, Qtuu notie ittuetratas edidit Emanuxl Swsdbero 
[Swedenbobg]. Adfidem rariseinUB editionia principle anni 1709 
denuo publid juris fecit et fragmenta nuper reperta adjecit Dr. J, 
J*. E. Tafel. 

X Inserted in Tafers Magazin, Band. 111., 1844. 


fired into, but without damage ; and secondly, when he 
entered the port of London, some of his own countrymen 
came on board, and persuaded him to land at once, in ig- 
norance of the quarantine regulations. The plague at the 
time was raging in his own country ; and Swedenborg re- 
cords that it was with difficulty that he escaped hanging 
for his imprudence. 

He spent a twelvemonth at London and Oxford, from 
whence be passed to the continent, and Hved for more than 
three years in France, Holland, and other countries. In 
1715, he published at Greifswalde an Oration on the return 
of Charles XII. from Turkey, and a small volume of Latin 
prose fables,* professedly after the manner of Ovid, but 
shadowing forth the virtues and exploits of certain modem 
Scandinavians; as he says, "kings and great people." In 
this work there is evidence of an acute faculty of observation, 
of considerable power of fancy and humour, and especially 
of a regard to the forms of mythological lore. In the latter 
respect it suggests the JForship and Love of God, a work 
of thirty years later date, which we shall have to notice 
presently. At this time Swedenborg wrote to his brother- 
in-law, that he was " alternating mathematics with poetry 
in his studies," an instance of his early flexibility, and 
which sheds hght upon his future deeds. 

From Greifswalde he returned home in 1715, through 
Stralsuud, just as Charles XII. was about to be besieged 
in that city, and it was probably shortly after this that he 
put forth at Skara a little volume of poemsf written for the 
most part on his travels. These poems display fancy, but 

* Camena Borea, cum hercum et heroidumfaetit ludetu, nve Fa- 
BBLLJS OvidianU nmiiegt Hfc Ab Emanubl Swbdbbbg [Sweden- 
BORO]. Edidit Dr. J. F. E. Tafel. 

t Ludw Heliconiut, Hve Cdmnna 3iiieeUanea, puB vortit in 
loeig eeeinii Emamubl Swbdbbbo [Swbobnbobo]. Reoensnit Dr. 
J. F. E. Tafel. 

A.V. 1710-15.] FIRST travels: FABLES AND POEMS. 9 

t controlled imagination. If we may oonvey to the English 
reader such a notion of Latin yerses^ they remind one of 
the Pope school, in which there is generally some theme or 
moral governing the flights of the muse. Under various 
forms, they hymn the praises of patriotismy love, friendship, 
and filial regard, and they love mjrthological clothing. It 
is noteworthy that we find so methodical a philosopher as 
Swedenborg making courteous passes with the Muse, as 
though to acknowledge the truth and import of immortal 
song. Still his effusions were hardly more than a polite 
recognition of poetry, that sweeter and weaker sex of truth ; 
for to call Swedenborg himself a great poet, as Count 
Hopken has done, is blind and undiscriminating. He did 
indeed weave great poetry at last, but it was by the order 
and machinery of a stupendous intelligence, and poetry so 
produced is not proper poetry but reason, — ^is not female but 
masculine truth. 

One of his poems has been spiritedly paraphrased in 
our own day by Francis Barham, who considers it by far 
the finest in the collection, and to give the reader some 
idea of the above volume, as well as to adorn our own pages, 
we insert his version. " Swedenborg," he premises, " was 
at this time twenty-two years of age. Charles XII., the 
glorious monarch of Sweden, after having reduced the 
Danes to obedience, had attacked the Russians ; and, after 
the disastrous battle of Pultowa, was enclosed in Bender, 
the sport of Turkish intrigues. At this crisis of his fate, 
the King of Denmark determined to avenge his past dis- 
graces on the Swedes. He made a descent on Schonen, 
and took the town of Helsingburg. The Swedes, however, 
remained firm, and the disasters of their king rather in- 
flamed their loyalty and patriotism than dispirited them. 
An army, under Steinbock, partly consisting of undisci- 
plined peasants, gave the Danes a bloody defeat, and forced 
the survivors to quit the country with precipitation. 



''Such was the occasiop of Swedenboi^'s triumphal 

Ode to Steinbock on the Defeat of the Danes." 

The following is Barham's paraphrase : — 

« Lulled be the diBsonance of war — the CFAsh 
Of blood-stained arms — and let us listen now 
To sweetest songs of jubilee. From harp 
And thrilling lyre, let melodies of joy 
Ring to the stars, and eyery sphere of space 
Glow with the inspiring soul of harmony. 
Phoebus applauds, and all the Muses swell 
Our glory on their far-resounding chords. 
Well may the youthful poet be abashed, 
Who sings such mighty enterprise, — ^his theme 
So great, so insignificant his strain ! — 
Let Europe boast of Sweden — ^in the North, 
South, East, and West, victorious. — Round the Pole 
The seven Trionea dance exultingly, 
While Jove the Thunderer sanctions his decree. 
Never to let the hyperborean bear 
Sink in the all-o'erwhelming ocean stream ; 
For when in the wave he bathes his giant limbs, 
'Tis but to rise more proudly. Even now 
The fertile Scandia wreaths her brow with flowers. 
And Victory's trophies glitter over Sweden. 
The God of battles smiles upon our race. 
And the fierce Dane sues for our mercy : — Yea, 
The troops insidious Cimbria sent against us. 
Lie scattered by a warrior young in arms. 
Though Swedish Charles, our hero King's afar 
In Russian battles — ^his bright valour fills 
The heart of Steinbock — the victorious one ; — 
These names of Charles and Steinbock like a spell 
Created armaments, and hurled pale fear 
Among our foes. — Steinbock ! thy red right hand 
Hath smitten down the spoiler ; and in thee. 
Another Charles we honor, — ^and rejoice 
To hail thee, hero of thy grateful country. 
Bind the triumphal laurel round thy brow. 
Such chaplet well becomes the invincible ; 
Ascend thy chariot — ^we will fling the palms 


Before thee, while the peal of martial music 

Echoes thy high celebrity around. 

Hadst thou in olden times of fable liyed, 

I had invoked thee as a demigod. 

Behold, how glitteringlj in northern heaven 

Thy star exults : the name of Magnus fits 

Both it and thee^ inseparably linked : 

In thee, the genius of the North expands, 

And all the virtue of thy ancestry 

Illustrates thee. Chief of our gallant chiefs — 

Too gallant for a song so weak as mine — 

Oh ! could their names enshrined in monuments 

Appear, how would the eyes of Sweden kindle 

To read them. Coronets of gold for thee. 

Were all too little recompense; — thereafter, 

A crown of stars is all thine own. The foe 

Lies broken by thy force and heroism : 

Numerous as Denmark's sands they came — how few 

Returned — ^their princes and their soldiery 

Repulsed with scorn, while shuddering horror hung 

Upon their flight — Jove's thunderstorms assailed 

Their bands of treachery, daylight was eclipsed 

In thickest clouds, and the pure cause of Grod 

And patriotism triumphed. Ay, the cause 

Of Sweden's royalty, which Denmark strove — 

How vainly — ^to despoil. Our king perceived 

Their rising hatred ; poets were forbid 

To sing his praise — ^his praise beyond compare : 

For this, in sooth, the land was steeped in blood ; 

Even for this^ the fire and sword laid waste 

Our native soil. Then let each warrior bind 

The laurel chaplet, and the bard exult 

O'er slaughtered rebels. For the destiny 

Of Charles shall yet awake the Muse's hymns. 

Ah, soon return, — Oh, monarch of our love ! 

Oh ! Sun of Sweden, waste not all thy light 

To illume the crescent of the Ottomans : 

Thy absence we bewail, wandering in glooms 

Of midnight sorrow — save that these bright stars 

That lead us on to victory, still console 

Thy people's hearts, and bid them not despair." 


Oar author was now on the threshold of actWe ]i(e, and 
his Bight Reverend father gave him full liberty to choose 
the direction of his future career. The old gentleman has 
left in the Library at Skara, an autobiography of 1000 
pages, in which, as we have seen, he mentions his son 
Emanuel with praise and pride. This book must be a cu- 
riosity, and we hope will one day be published, to illustrate 
the history and manners of the time and the writer. In the 
course of other matter the Bishop says : — " I have kept 
my sons to that profession to which Grod has given them 
inclination and liking : I have not brought up one to the 
clerical office, although many parents do this inconsider- 
ately, and in a manner not justifiable, by which the Chris- 
tian church and the clerical order suffer not a little, and 
are brought into contempt." 

Swedenborg started in life with powerful family con- 
nexions : one of his sisters married Eric Benzelius, a man 
of great talents and influence, and subsequently Archbishop 
of Upsal ; another was united to Lars Benzelstiema, gov- 
ernor of a province, and whose son became a bishop. Other 
members of his family also enjoyed ecclesiastical and civil 
dignities. There can be no doubt that he had abundant 
patronage with the court, in addition to the great talents 
and moral integrity which were his personal commendation. 
The profession to which he brought these advantages, was 
such as was concerned about mining, smelting, and various 
mechanical and engineering works. His letters from abroad 
to Eric Benzelius at Upsal, brought him into connexion 
with the active and youthful minds in that University, de- 
tailing, as they did, whatever inventions, discoveries, and 
good books he met with on his travels, as well as new ideas 
and suggestions of his own. No sooner had he returned 
to Sweden in 1715, than we find him entering upon the 
active prosecution of his calling. 

" Swedenborg," says Collin, " is silent on the merits 

[a.d. 1715-16.] MINING AND MECHANICS. 13 

of his youths which were great. The author of a disser* 
tation on the Boyal Society of Sciences at Upsal, puhfished 
in 1789, mentions him as one of its first and hest members, 
thus: — 'His letters to the Society while abroad, witness 
that few can travel so usefully. An indefatigable curiosity, 
directed to various important objects,- is conspicuous in all. 
Mathematics, astronomj, and mechanics, seem to have been 
his favorite sciences, and he had already made great pro- 
gress in these. Every where he became acquainted with 
the most renowned mathematicians and astronomers, as 
Flamstead, Delahire, Varignon, &c. This pursuit of know- 
ledge was also united with a constant zeal to benefit his 
country. No sooner was he informed of some use^ dis- 
covery, than he was solicitous to render it beneficial to 
Sweden, hy sending home models. When a good book was 
published, he not only gave immediate notice of it, but 
contrived to procure it for the library of the University." 

From 1716 to 1718 he edited a periodical work, en- 
titled Dtsdalus Hyperboreua,* a record of the new fights 
of mechanical and mathematical genius in Sweden. This 
work reached six numbers. In the preface to it, the editor 
shewed how little he valued the "impossibilities" of the 
day: he had already begun to think of flying-machines, 
and to speak of them as among the desiderata of the age ; 
for he was imbued with the very spirit of our own railroad 
and electric era, and had a very hmited beUef in final im- 
possibilities. Among the contributors to this work was 
Christopher Polheim, called the Swedish Archimedes, 
whose connexion with Swedenborg was of great importance 
to the latter. Besides this, the Deedalus is said to contain 
the lucubrations and papers of a scientific society that was 
founded hy Eric Benzelius among the professors at Upsal. 
In the course of 1716, Swedenborg was invited by Pol- 

* The Dadalus has not been translated into English. 


heim to repair with him to Lund« to meet Charles XIL, 
who had just escaped from Stralsund^ when he enjoyed much 
intercourse with the king, who was pleased to praise the Da- 
dolus, and to take Swedenborg under his royal patronage. 
It was his Majesty's wish that in time he should succeed 
Polheim, the Counsellor of Commerce. He had the choice 
of three offices, and Charles had the warrant for the rank 
and duties of extraordinary Assessor of the Board of Mines 
made out for him. (The Board of Mines, it is to be ob- 
served, was a constitutional department of the Govemraent, 
having inspection over the mines and metallic works, so 
important to the prosperity of Sweden, whose foreign com- 
merce b still greatly dependent upon its mineral wealth.) 
On this occasion intrigue was busy against him, but the 
clear-sighted Charles saw the merits of Swedenborg, and 
confirmed him in hb place, obliging the other candidate, 
at the king's own table, to write out the warrant himself. 
The king also wrote a letter to the College of Mines, " or- 
dering that Swedenborg should have a seat and voice in the 
College, whenever he could be present, and especially when- 
ever any business of a meehafdcal nature was to be con- 
sidered." It was also expressly stated in the same docu- 
ment, '' that Swedenborg was appointed to cooperate with 
Polheim, and assist him in his affairs, and in the working 
of his inventions." The works of which he was thus 
immediately summoned to the joint superintendence, were 
the formation of the basin of Carlscrona, and of locks 
between Lake Wener and Gottenburg, among the rapids 
and cataracts of Trolhatta. Upon these undertakings he 
was engaged from time to time until the death of his royal 

At this period there occurred an interesting passage in 
his life. He sojourned in Polheim' s house, at once as his 
coadjutor, and as his pupil in mathematics, and fell in love 
with his second daughter, Emerentia Polheim. '* Polheim's 

[a.d. 1716-18.] ROYAL PATRONAGE, AND FIRST LOVE. 15 

eldest daughter," says he in one of his letters, " is pro- 
mised to a page of the king's named Marmenbrom. I 
wonder what people say of this in relation to myself. His 
second daughter is, in my opinion, much the handsomest." 
The lady was only in her fourteenth year, and not being 
willing to accept Swedenborg's overtures, she did not suffer 
herself to be betrothed. Her father however had a great 
affection for him, and gave him the lady in a written agree- 
ment, hoping that in future years his daughter would be 
more favorably disposed. This bond his daughter, from filial 
obedience, signed. Great was her depression of mind after 
thus binding herself to one to whom she felt no attach- 
ment ; and her brother, in compassion, abstracted the do- 
cument secretly from Swedenborg, who used to read it over 
day after day, and soon missed it. When Swedenborg 
found what anguish he had caused to the object of his af- 
fections, he freely relinquished all claims to her hand, and 
took his departure from her father's house ; and this is the 
only love affair which his biographers have to record. For 
the life of prodigious concentration that he was thenceforth 
to lead, it seemed almost necessary that the ordinary impe- 
diments to soUtary and public energy should be put aside ; 
and this early disappointment probably had its share in 
preventing him from contracting domestic ties. So at least 
the best authorities presume. We shall once again recur 
to this topic later on. 

With regard to the Da<ialu8, it appears to have been 
stopped for want of funds. In a letter from Wennesborg, 
(of which we insert the latter part also, for the light which 
it throws on Swedenborg's prospects at the time,) Sept. 14, 
1718, our author says : " I found his majesty very gracious 
to me, more so than I could expect ; which is a good omen 
for the future. Count Momir also shewed me all the favor 
I could possibly desire. Every day I laid mathematical 
subjects before his majesty, who allowed every thing to 


please him. When the eclipse took place, I had his 
majesty out to set it, and we reasoned much thereupon. 
He again spoke of mj Dtedaliu, and remarked upon mj 
not continuing the work, to which I pleaded want of 
means; this he does not like to hear of, so I hope to have 
some assistance shortly. With respect to brother Esberg, 
I shall endeavor to find him employment on the sluice 
works. I wish my little brother were grown up. I think 
I am already in a condition to begin a sluice work for my- 
self, and when I have my own command, I shall be able 
to serve both of them. My pay on the sluice works at 
present is only three silver dollars per day ; I hope soon to 
have more." 

We have some record of the sort of intercourse which 
Swedenborg enjoyed with his Sovereign, in a letter that he 
wrote to Nordberg, the biographer of Charles XII. In 
this document he enters in detail upon certain long conver* 
sations that His Majesty held with Polheim and himself 
upon the decimal mode of numeration ; and in the course 
of which the king not only proposed, but actually pro- 
duced, a specimen of « system founded upon ciphers up 
to 64, which specimen, in his own hand-writing, he gave 
to Swedenborg. He said to the latter one day, regarding 
mathematics, that " He who knew nothing of this science 
did not deserve to be considered a rational man." " A sen- 
timent," as Swedenborg adds, " truly worthy of a king." 

For the rest, in these years Swedenborg was not without 
family discrepancies, which caused him pain. Eric Ben- 
zelius appears throughout to have been his trusted friend 
and adviser, and we find him writing to his correspondent 
as follows : " Among all my relations I know of no one 
who has wished me, and still wishes me, so well as your- 
self. In this I was particularly confirmed by your letter 
to my father respecting my journey. If I can in any way 
shew my gratitude, it shall not be wanting. Brother Unge 


likes nobody ; at least he has estranged my dear father's 
and mother's affections from me now for four years. How- 
ever^ it will not benefit himself." At the same time, for 
his own part, Swedenborg was using every effort to for- 
ward the interests of his family, and especially of his bro- 
thers, through his connexion with the highest personages 
in the realm. 

In 1718, Swedenborg executed a work of importance, 
during the siege of Frederickshall. He contrived to trans- 
port over hill and dale, by rolling machines of his own 
invention, two galleys, five large boats and a sloop, from 
Stromstadt to Iderfjol, a distance of 14 miles. By this 
operation the king found himself in a situation to cany out 
his plans ; for under cover of these vessels, he transported 
on pontoons his heavy artillery, which it would have been 
impossible to have conveyed by land, under the very walls 
of Frederickshall. It was at the siege of this fort that 
Charles XII. was killed on the 30th of November. Swe- 
denborg was not present at Frederickshall. He escaped 
the vnnter campaign in Norway very narrowly, and not 
without employing some little management. 

In the same year our author published two works, 1 . 
An Introduction to Algebra, under the title of The Art of 
the Rules. This book, which we are not acquainted with 
at first hand, was reviewed at considerable length, and 
mentioned with honor, in the Literary Transactions of 
Sweden,* not only because the author was the first Swede 
who wrote on the higher branches of the subject, but for 
the excellence of the treatise, its clearness, and the exam* 
pies shevnng the application and uses of the rules. Only 
a part of the work was published ; the unpublished portion, 
according to Lagerbring, contains the first account given in 
Sweden of the differential and integral calculus. 2. At-^ 

* Acta Liieraria Sueeia, toL i., p. 126. 


tempts to find the Longitude of places by Lunar observa- 
tions. Both the above works were written in Swedish, and 
published at Upsal. 

Of this period of Swedenborg's life there are some in- 
teresting records preserved in his letters to Eric Benzelius, 
from which we have already quoted. Notwithstanding the 
king's patronage, and Swedenborg's increasing repute, the 
latter appears to have been far from satisfied with his posi- 
tion or prospects. He complains that his labors are not 
appreciated. *^ I have taken a little leisure this summer/' 
says he, " to put a few things on paper, which I think will 
be my last productions ; for speculations and inventions like 
mine find no patronage or bread in Sweden, and are looked 
down upon by a number of political blockheads as a sort of 
school-boy exercise, -which ought to stand quite back, while 
their presumptuous finesse and intrigues step forward." It 
may excite a smile to find the most voluminous author of 
the last century imagining that his labors were completed 
with what, in his case, were really but " school-boy exer- 
cises ;" at the same time it is not surprizing, that one so 
singly devoted to the arts and sciences, should conceive a 
disgust for those who were jostling and manoeuvring towards 
the world's rewards up the stair of political intrigue, and 
with whom his position brought him into contact. 

In 1719, the Swedberg family was ennobled by Queen 
Ulrica Eleonora, and from this time our author bore the 
new name of Swedenborg,* by which his nobility was sig- 
nified, and took his seat with the nobles of the equestrian 
order in the triennial assemblies of the states. We are not 
aware whether he bore any part in the deliberations of the 
Assembly during this period of his life. His new rank 
conferred no title beyond the change of name : he was not 
either a count, or a baron, as is commonly supposed. His 

* We have used, as most convenient, the name of Swedenborg 


pen, which was gradually beooming fertile, yielded four 
works in this year. 1. A proposal /or a Decimal System 
of Money and Measures. 2. A Treatise on the Motion 
and Position of the Earth and Planets. 3. Proofs derived 
from appearances in Sweden^ of the depth of the Sea, and 
the greater force of the Tides, in the ancient world. And 
4. On Docks, Sluices, and Salt Works. These little works 
were all written in Swedish. In allusion to his proposal 
for a decimal coinage, and to certain mathematical studies, 
he says in another of his letters that " it is a little dis- 
couraging to him to be advised to relinquish his views, as 
among the novelties which the country cannot bear." And 
he avows that for his part, he " desires all possible novelties, 
ay, a novelty for every day in the year," for that "in every 
age there is abundance of persons who follow the beaten 
track, and remain in the old way ; while there are not more 
than from six to ten in a century who bring forward innova- 
tions founded on argument and reason." He adds his con- 
fidence that " he has proposed nothing that can cause the 
slightest inconvenience to the country." The world around 
him was in the midnight of the past, but he saw clearly 
that in the distribution of human talent, there was no just 
proportion kept between antiquity and genius, and he 
labored and longed for the new era, for even then he Hved 
in the dim twilight of that day which is still but dawning 
upon the earth — the day of the great installation of the 
arts and sciences. 

His work on the decimal system must have been thought 
something of in his own country, for we find it reprinted 
so late as 1795. We may add however that none of his 
Swedish treatises are knowil in this country, excepting 
those which also have a Latin version. 

We have now sketched the preludium of Swedenborg's 
life — ^that portion of his career which belongs peculiarly to 
his native country, and in concluding this department of 


our narrative^ we will again borrow from the same collec- 
tion of letters^ to gain an insight into some of the motives 
which caused him to desire another sphere of operations. 
" What I have now printed," says he, " with a sheet on 
the decimal system, will be my last production, for I find, 
that Plato and Envy possess the Hyperboreans, and that a 
man will prosper better among them by acting the idiot, 
than by remaining a man of understanding." And again : 
** Should I be so fortunate as to get together the means 
which are required, and in the meantime . . . have been 
able to acquire some credit abroad, I have determined to 
go thither, to seek my fortune in my business, which is in 
all such things as concern the advancement of mining. To 
be loose and irresolute, to see one's place abroad, and yet 
to remain in the darkness and frost of Sweden, where the 
furies. Envy and Pluto have taken up their abode and dis- 
pense all rewards, and where all my pains is rewarded with 
shabbiness, would be worthy only of a fool." We give 
these solitary specimens of grumbling, revealed in private 
letters, to stand for just what they are worth. The author's 
station might be thought by those who are less fortunate, 
an enviable one ; but it is highly probable that the office of 
Assessor in the Mineral College, conferred upon him in 
1716, involved few direct duties, and but little salary; and 
that it was not till he succeeded to the place held by Pol- 
heim at the Board, according to the king's original inten- 
tion, that he derived from it a satisfactory income. Polheim 
lived to the age of 90, and died in 1751. 

Having followed Swedenborg, the Swede, through his 
youth, and come to a convenient halting place, let us take 
a brief survey of the ground we have passed over, and 
gather up his character and properties, so far. He ger- 
minated, as nearly all children do, in theology ; rose thence 
into poetry and literature, speedily alternating them with 
mathematics ; out of these proceeded mechanical and physic 


cal studies having a reference to practice. His early man- 
hood was devoted to active employment, and spent partly 
under the eye and command of the most severe of the Swed- 
ish kings. Even at this time a widely contemplative element 
glimmers from such of the foregoing works as we have pe- 
rused. His ardent pursuit of geology, then a comparatively 
new science, was already converting itself into cosmogonical 
speculations. We are not indeed aware that any great 
brilliancy was displayed in his works up to this date, but 
rather great industry, fertile plans, a behef in the penetra- 
bility of problems usually given up by the learned, a gradual 
and experimental faculty, and an absence of precocity. 
In regard of general truths, he shewed the evidence of a 
slowly-apprehending, persevering, and at last, thoroughly 
comprehending mind. If we may use the metaphor, the 
masonry of his intellect was large, slow, and abiding, but 
by no means showy ; from the parts hitherto constructed, 
we could hardly prophecy whether the superstructure would 
be a viaduct, or a temple ; a work of bare utihty, or a 
palace for sovereignty and state. 

On the moral side, we infer strong but controllable 
jMissions, not interfering with the balance of his mind, or 
the deepness of his leisure. His filial affection is brilliant, 
though we have no record of the extend of his obligations 
to his mother, whose death took place in 1720, to his 
father's ''great grief and loss." His energy and fidehty 
in his business commended him to those above him, and 
he was probably more indebted to intrinsic qualities for his 
position, than to his family connexions, or to clever cour- 
tiership on his own part. His religious beliefs at this time 
nowhere appear; but from indications in his books and 
letters, it is certain that his mind was not inactive upon 
the greatest of subjects, and that he was a plain believer 
in revelation, though not without his own conjectures about 



its meaning and import. Sach was Swedenboi^ in the 
spring and flower of his long manhood. 

In the spring of 1721 our author Tisited Holland for 
the second time» and in this year, besides being a contri- 
butor to The Literary Trajuaetunu of Sweden^* he pub- 
lished the following little works at Amsterdam : — 1. Some 
Speemens of a Work on the Prmciplea of Natural Pkilo- 
mpkyy eomprinny New Attempt* to explain the Phenomena 
of Chemutry and Phynet by Geometry. 2. New Ohser- 
vatioM and Diseoveriet retpeeting Iron and Fire, and par^ 
Oeidarly respecting the Elemental Nature qf Fire ; together 
with a New Construction of Stotres, 3. A New Method 
of finding the Longitudes of Places, on Land or at Sea, by 
Lunar Observations. 4. A New Mechanical Plan of Con- 
structing Docks and Dykes. 5. A Mode of Discovering 
the Powers of Vessds by the Application of Mechanical 

From Amsterdam Swedenborg went to Leipsic, through 
Aiz-la-Chapelle, Liege and Cologne, and examined the 
mines and smelting-works near those places; and in 1722 
he published at Leipsic, Miscellaneous Observations con- 
nected with the Physical Sciences, Parts I. — ^III. ; and at 
Hambuig, in the same year, Psut TV., principally on Mi^ 
nerals. Iron, and the StfUactites in BaumamCs Cavem.X 
Swedenborg made this tour to improve his practical know- 
ledge of mining, and at the same time to pubhsh the trea- 
tises which he had on hand. The whole expense of his 

• 1720 and 1721. 

t These works haye recently been translated by C. £. Stmtt, and 
published by the Swedenborg Association. We refer, with acknow- 
ledgment, to Mr. Stmtt's Pre&ces to this and his other translations, 
as containing materials that have been of help to ns in writing this 

X Translated by C. £. Stratt. 


journey was defrayed by Louis Rudolph, Duke of Brunswick, 
who presented him on his departure from Blankenburg, 
with a golden medallion and a weighty silver goblet ; Swe- 
denborg, on his part, making an elegant acknowledgment 
of the Duke's munificence, in dedicating the Fourth Part 
of his Miscellaneous Observations to that Sovereign. 

In the Works we have just enumerated, Swedenborg 
began his travels into future ages; he manifested the tokens 
of a light distinct from contemporary genius, and with a 
very decided intrepidity attempted to scale the proximate 
heights of nature. The fortress of mineral truth was the 
first which he approached, and with the most guarded 
preparation. His method was furnished by geometry and 
mechanics ; the laws of the pure sciences were to be the 
interpreters of the facts of chemistry and physics. ''The 
beginning of nature," says he, "is identical with the 
beginning of geometry ; the origin of natural particles is 
due to mathematical points, just as is the origin of lines, 
forms, and the whole of geometry : because everything in 
nature is geometrical, everything in geometry, natural." 
He therefore attempted to traverse chemical essence and 
combination by the fixed truths of mathematics, and to 
carry the pure sciences into those which are mixed, in- 
terpreting the latter by the former. It was the genuine 
a posteriori method, — to begin with the known, and push 
it into the unknown; to take the outermost truths of figure 
or outline, and travel by their clue into the inner mineral 
architecture, into chemistry itself. The immediate doctrine 
which our author formed, and by which he worked, was, 
that the particles of primary solids are moulded in the 
interstices between the particles of fluids, and take the 
shape of those interstices; and that the framework thus 
modelled, by undergoing fracture at its weakest parts, 
through motion caused by heat, &c., gives rise to new 
shapes that become the initial particles of new substances. 


As with Tfaales of Miletus, the oldest Grecian speculator, 
so with Swedeuborg, water was the first of planetary ex- 
istences, which in its oceanic depths, bj the world of pres- 
sure from above, broke up its own particles, forced them 
to resign the last encasement of which they were made, 
and by precipitating this into the interstices of other round 
water particles, modelled the infinite seeds of the dry land 
which was to come, in those precise and ever-working 
matrices. Water was the womb of the infinitesimal land, 
common salt, the first modelling of the future earth. The 
fracture of the saline particle, breaking off its sharp parts, 
gave rise to acids ; and the body or stoma that was left, 
constituted a peculiar earth. Of course we cannot pursue 
this theory, but must be content with remarking, that 
Swedenborg has worked his mould, the interstice of the 
water-particle, (or we should rather say, the various inter- 
stices, for round particles may be placed upon each other 
in many ways so as to produce different forms,) with an 
apparently exhaustive ingenuity. With surprizing power 
of detail he has applied the principle to the chemical facts 
known in his own day respecting diverse substances, as also 
to light and colors ; suggesting a cosmogony and celestial 
mechanics in the smallest things, similar to that which 
obtains in the system of the universe. There seems no 
reason why the intellect should not at length reach such a 
position, though how far Swedenborg has attained it, 
geniuses kindred to his own, if the old method of thought 
be permanent, can perhaps alone decide. We ought, how- 
ever, to note, that rigidly mechanical as our author's 
theory appears, it has at the core, in what he calls '' the 
subtle matter,'' that is to say fire, ether or caloric, a latent 
dynamical principle which shapes and guides the mecha- 
nical one, and upon which Swedenborg largely draws; 
although it must also be confessed, that in his theory of 
fire, he boldly pushes mechanics even into that fluid rest- 


lessness, and harnesses the very horses of the sun to the 
car of his ambitious geometry. Was he right, or was he 
not, in supposing that knowledge of nature is only co- 
extensive with mechanical ideas, and that though these do 
not give motion, or life, yet where they are absent. Being 
itself falls through into nothingness ? We apprehend that 
the history of science will tell us, upon whatever ascer- 
tained truth we ^x, that that truth has a mechanical pre- 
cision or basis, and that though it may have vital contents 
besides, yet these are only true in themselves so far 
as they also are similarly founded and embodied. The faith 
in this principle, as it is successively produced, appears in 
fact to be in the mind, the essential outline of the new 
sciences; and the man who has the faith first, enters the 
field thereby, and is the first to reap the knowledge. 

For these works M. Dumas, the French chemist, does 
not hesitate to ascribe to Swedenborg the origin of the 
modern science of Crystallography. "It is to him we are 
indebted,'* says Dumas, " for the first idea of making cubes, 
tetrahedrons, pyramids, and the different crystalline forms, 
by the grouping of spherical particles ; and it is an idea 
that has since been renewed by several distinguished men, 
WoUaston in particular." 

Before dismissing ITie Miscellaneous Observations, we 
will remark upon the pleasant mixture of practice and 
theory which prevails in the work, and upon the extraor- 
dinary activity of the author's senses. Well does Sandel 
say, that it was not only mines that he went to examine, 
but that " of all that could ^x the attention of a traveller 
there was nothing that escaped him." His observations 
are told in an easy style, which wins the reader's confidence, 
and one wishes that one had shared with his fellow-traveller. 
Dr. John Hessel, the way-side conversation of so instructive 
and amusing a pilgrimage. 

After fifteen months spent abroad, Swedenborg returned 


to Stockholm in the midsummer of 1722, where in that 
year he published anonymously a work in Swedish, On 
the Depreciation and Rise of the Swedish Curreiwy. 
What may be the nature, or merits, of this treatise, we do 
not know, but that it had material in it may be surmised 
from the fact, that it was re-published, with introductory 
remarks respecting the coinage in ancient and modem times, 
at Upsal in 1771. We shall see presently that Sweden- 
borg did not cease to devote attention to the currency, and 
that of his few senatorial acts in his later days, some had 
reference to that especial subject. 

It was now that he entered for the first time upon 
the actual duties of the Assessorship, the functions of 
which he had been unwilling to exercise until he had 
completed his knowledge of metallurgy. For the next 
eleven years he divided his time and occupations between 
the business of the Royal Board of Mines and his studies. 
The current of his life during this interval flows in a silent 
stream, but not ine£Pectual, as we shall shortly learn. We 
may picture the punctual official at his desk, and the cou- 
rageous student, observer and contemplatist in over hours : 
practice and theory in business — ^practice and theory in 

" The Consistory of the University and the Academy of 
Sciences of Upsal," as Sandel says, ''did themselves the 
honor of being the first to acknowledge the merit of their 
illustrious countryman, and to shew him marks of their 
esteem. In 1724 the Consistory had invited him to accept 
the professorship of pure mathematics, vacant by the death 
of Nils Celsius ; because, as they expressed themselves, 
his acceptance of the office would be for the advantage of 
the students and to the ornament of the University. But 
he declined the honor. The Academy of Sciences admitted 
him into the number of its members in 1729." 

Apropos of pure mathematics, he makes some amusing 


remarks in a letter to bis brother-in-law. " I wonder at 
Messieurs tbe matbematicians," says be, " baving lost all 
beart and spirit to realize tbat fine design of yours for an 
astronomical observatory. It is tbe fatality of matbema- 
ticians to remain cbiefly in tbeory. I bave often tbougbt 
it would be a capital tbing if to eacb ten matbematicians 
one good practical man were added, to lead tbe rest to 
market : be would be of more use and mark tban all tbe 
ten." One can understand wby a professorship of pure 
mathematics was not tbe chosen vocation of Swedenborg. 

During this time bis books were reviewed with commen- 
dation in The Transactions of the Learned''^ published at 
Leipsic, the great literary and scientific organ of tbe time; 
bis contributions to art and science being thankfully acknow- 
ledged, although bis theories brought tbe reviewers to a 
wmrplus^ and made them exclaim, with a postponement of 
which we also must avail ourselves — let others decide. 

We are now about to enter upon another era of Sweden- 
berg's life, when bis tentative youth and manhood were past, 
and be came into possession of a region all his own, and pre- 
sided there with an almost despotic strength of affirmation ; 
at which we must not wonder, for whether owing to the fault 
or discernment of bis contemporaries, be inhabited his 
intellectual estate unquestioned, unlimited, uncontradicted, 
and alone. No longer an issuer of pamphlets, or an ordi- 
nary petitioner of tbe arts and sciences, be bad for years 
lain fallow of small attempts, and bad accumulated tbe 
resources of bis untiring industry and observation, in a 
work with which bis great career may be said to bave com- 
menced. We allude to bis Principia, 

In tbe middle of May, 1 733, be went abroad for the third 
time, accompanied by Count Gyllenborg and other friends ; 
and after spending five months in Germany, (storing himself 

* Acta Eruditorum. 

C 2 


with eTerj object that his large cariosity could bring before 
him, whether arts, mannfactures, museamsy books, scenery, 
men, manners and customs, ecclesiastical institntions, or 
goremments,)* he commenced the printing of his Prin- 
cipitrf at Leipsic, in the month of October. This was the 
first yb/to volume of three, coUectiyely bearing the title of 
Fhiloaophieal and Mineral Works, which were completed 
and published at Dresden and Leipsic in the middle of 1734. 
His former patron, the Duke of Brunswick, at whose court 
he was again a visitor, defrayed the cost of this expensive 
publication, which was dedicated to the Duke, and enriched 
with numerous copperplates, and with an engraved likeness 
of the author. 

It is a strange general title which he chose — Philoso- 
phical and Mineral Works, but there is a meaning in this 
uncommon blending. Philosophy is nothing, just in pro- 
portion as it is not married with all things : and in the 
ascending scale of its alliances, it first solicits the hand of 
the mineral universe, before arriving at the higher degrees. 
Such at all events was Swedenborg's method, which his 
title justly conveyed ; and he afterwards rose to the union of 
the philosophical and organic, and finally to the marriage 
of the philosophical and the human. It is there alone that 
philosophy realizes its first love, and subjugating the earthly 
bond, freshens itself age after age in contact with that 
lietter nature which contains the eternal. 

We must however sunder the philosophical and the 
mineral, and look separately at each, for the author kept 
them perfectly free and distinct, though not disunited. 
And first for the treatises on mining. These were Swe- 

* Itinerarium, ex operibns Em an. Swedbnbobgii posthumis. 
Pan I. Nunc primum edidit Dr. J. F. E. Tafel. 

t The Principia ; or the First Principles qf Natural Things ; 
being New Attempts toward a Philosophical Explanation qf the 
Elementary World. 


denborg's ofiPering to bis business and position; tbe earnest 
of his desire to leave the metallurgic world better than he 
found it. The second folio volume (pp. 396) is on iron ; 
the third (pp. 546), on copper and brass. Facts speak well 
for their practical value. The chapters on the conversion 
of iron into steel were reprinted at Strasburg in 1737; and 
the treatise on iron was translated into French by Bouchu, 
and published at Paris in 1 762 in the magnificent Descrip- 
tion des Arts et Metiers. Cramer says of the work, in 
his Elements of the Art of Assaying, that Swedenborg has 
"given the best accounts, not only of the methods and 
newest improvements in metallic works in all places beyond 
seas, but also of those in England and the American colo- 
nies." Each volume has a threefold division; the first 
part on smelting, the second on assaying, the third on the 
chemical processes and experiments about the metals. Each 
volume is ushered in by a characteristic preface. In that 
on iron, the author avows his desire to collect and publish 
the mining and metallurgic secrets of different countries, 
and indignantly denounces those who keep them from the 
public for purposes of private gain. He also shews his 
partiality for metallurgy, as being a thoroughly practical 
science, ** all whose details are squared with works ;" yet 
desires that it may ** enter into friendly relations with che- 
mistry, and the two join hands, and tend unitedly^ to one 
and the same goal.'' He further states, that it had been 
his intention to give '^a theoretical treatise on the metals," 
but that an integral survey of chemistry and the elemental 
world was necessary to such an enquiry: which again shews 
the practical tendency to unity, to regard his subjects in 
their planetary dimension, which was with him a constant 
method^ and governed all particular investigations. In the 
preface on copper, we have a gorgeous description of his 
native mine at Fhalun, and a statement of the author's 
views of the causes and advantages of the deluge — not 


however the Noahtic, hut a cosmogonic delnge ; of how it 
hrought the treasures of the earth to the surface, and by 
opening the womh of the general mother, contributed to 
the multiplication of causes and occasions, and to the variety 
of telluric substances. 

*'In forming our estimate of Swedenborg's calibre at this 
time," as we have observed elsewhere, '*we cannot omit 
taking notice of his large Treatises on Iron and Copper, 
each occupying a folio volume, and busied with the practical 
details of mining in various parts of the world. That a 
mind of such potent theoretical tendency should have had 
strength to undergo the dry labor of these compilations — 
that one who breathed his native air in a profound region 
of causes, should come for so long an abiding into the 
lower places of the earth, to record facts, processes and 
machineries, as a self-imposed task in fulfilment of his 
station as Assessor of Mines — this is one remarkable feature 
of a case where so much is remarkable, and shews how 
manly was his will in whatever sphere he exerted himself. 
The books of such a man are properly works, not to be 
confounded for a moment with the many-colored idleness of 
a large class who are denominated 'thinkers.' "* 

The Principia next claims our attention, and calls forci- 
bly to mind the truth of a remark by Mr. Emerson, that 
it would require " a colony of men" to do justice to the 
works of Swedenborg. From the barest descriptions of 
iron and copper works, such as the Vulcanian workmen 
might themselves appreciate, we arrive by a step at a 
pinnacle of one of those mountains where a Newton and a 
Humboldt might be useful fellow-watchers of the most deli- 
cate laws on the one hand, of the panorama of a subjacent 
universe on the other. We pay the work no ill comphment, 
and have the authority of the translator of the Principia 

* A Popular Sketch of Swedenborg' s Philosophical Works, pp. 

A.D. 1734.] THE PRINCIPIA. 31 

with Qs, when we state our belief that it still belongs to the 
fnture. The following is a short account of the book from 
Mr. Clissold's Preface. 

" The object of the Principia is to trace out a true system 
of the world, and in so doing the author has distributed his 
subject into Three Parts. The First Part treats of the 
origin and laws of motion, and is mostly devoted to the 
consideration of its first principles ; which are investigated 
philosophically, then geometrically, their existence being 
traced from a first natural point down to the formation of a 
solar Tortex, and afterwards from the solar vortex to the 
successive constitution of the elements and of the three 
kingdoms of nature. From the first element to the last 
compound it is the author's object to shew that effort or 
conatus to motion tends to a spiral figure ; and that there 
is an actual motion of particles constituting a solar chaos, 
which is spiral and consequently vortical. 

** In the Second Part the author applies this theory of 
vortical motion to the phenomena of Magnetism, by which 
on the one hand he endeavours to test the truth of his 
principles, and on the other by application of the principles 
to explain the phenomena of Magnetism ; the motion of 
the magnetical effluvia being as in the former case con- 
sidered to be vortical. 

'< In the Third Part the author applies the same princi- 
ples of motion to Cosmogony, including the origination of 
the planetary bodies from the sun, and their vortical revo- 
lutions until they arrived at their present orbit ; Ukewise to 
the constitution and laws of the different elements, the mo- 
tions of all which are alleged to be vortical ; likewise to the 
constitution and laws of the three kingdoms of nature, the 
animal, vegetable, and mineral ; so that the entire Prin^ 
cipia aims to establish a true theory of vortices, founded 
upon a true system of corpuscular philosophy." 

In this work then the author appUes an active geometry 


to the mundane system^ carrying the conception of a spiral 
or breathing movement down the stairway of natural heing, 
and shewing the productions and evolution of the motion 
in its various spheres ; thereby accounting, on a single 
principle, for the properties of atoms, as of universes ; and 
piercing the generative process of worlds by the same law 
that beholds their actual state. The geometrical method 
is evidently one way of passing from the known to the un- 
known, that is to say, of reasoning by analogy ; although 
it may be doubted whether this method is sufficiently living 
to suggest all the analogies of the case : however, we can 
hardly question that it is the ultima ratio of other methods. 
It was, indeed, fertile in Swedenborg's hands; nay, his 
primitive idea of a spiral effort is of vegetable-organic 
power ; it evokes the mundane tree of the Scandinavian 
mythology, puts it into science, and enables it to bear 
atmospheres and auras for leaves and flowers, and sun and 
multitudinous planet as fruits, upon its all-spreading and 
all-shadowing boughs. Nevertheless it may be that an 
approach to the subject directly founded upon man and or- 
ganization as both principle and method, will lead to a 
deeper admission into world-making, and account more in- 
telligibly for the distribution of the system, bringing home 
its reasons to the doors of all ; which can never be done 
by the geometrical procedure. 

In spite of the signal piety displayed throughout the 
Principia, the work was prohibited by the Papal authority 
in 1739, because, as Mr. Clissold thinks, it was held to 
contravene the position that Grod created all things out of 
nothing ; and also because of the difficulty of reconciling 
such a process of creation as Swedenborg conceives with 
the literal interpretation of the First Chapter of Genesis. 
Respecting the first reason, Mr. Clissold keenly remarks, 
that " no definition is more common than that truth is that 
which IS ; hence in a corresponding sense, untruth, error 


or falsehood is that which is not, and consequently that 
which is the genuine nonentity — or^ nothing. Upon this 
ground, to say that Grod created all things out of nothing^ 
is to attrihute the origin of all things to error and hence 
to evil." But leaving this destructive dialectic, which 
marches a decisive moral truth through the cold intellect- 
uaUsm of nothing, and bums it down, we resume our nar- 
rative of Swedenborg's works. 

At Dresden and Leipsic, in the same year (1734) with 
the volumes we have just described, he published also 
Outlines o/ a Philosophical Argument on the Infinite,* a 
small work dedicated to his brother-in-law, then Bishop 
Eric Benzelius, who, he tells us in a dedication to that 
prelate, had been the first, by his advice and wishes, to 
direct the author's attention to that and similar subjects. 
Swedenborg had previously held some private polemics of 
an interesting nature with the friendly Bishop, in which 
the former had certainly the best of the argument, and 
he now brought the fruit of more mature study to the notice 
of his old correspondent. The work may be regarded as in 
a measure a supplement to the Principia, following a similar 
method with that Treatise ;t for the Author here also pro- 
ceeds from the common conceptions of the finite and infinite, 
and of the soul and the body, to construct a system of rela- 
tions, which he afterwards applies to the facts of Revelation, 
and thus again imbeds the abstract world of truth in the 
real. What we said of the method of the Principia applies 
equally to the Outlines. It is doubtful whether geometrical 
conceptions furnish the best beginning for a system of the 
outward universe; it is equally, or rather, much more 

* Outlines of a PhUosophieai Argument on the Infinite, and the 
Pinal Cause of Creation ; and on the Intercourse between the Soul 
and the Body. 

t The reader who desires a farther account of the Outlines will find 
a summary of the work in our Popular Sketch f pp. 19 — 24 



doubtful, whether metaphysical conceptions are the best 
commencement for an explanation of either psychology or 
Scripture. But Swedenborg was before his age in daring 
to bring any department of the mind in contact with these 
real subjects ; and with respect to the present field, it is 
one which he cultivated thenceforth, again and again, by 
method after method. So that we need not censure him, 
until we have sufficiently admired his progress. 

Sandel affirms that during the printing of the above 
works at Dresden and Leipsic, Swedenborg '' visited the 
mines of Austria and Hungary, a journey which lasted a 
year." Of this journey, however, we are doubtful, for the 
author himself makes no mention of it, but states, on the 
contrary, that he went from Leipsic to Cassel, inspecting 
the mines in that Dutchy, and then hastened homewards 
through Gotha, Brunswick and Hamburg, by Ystad to 
Stockholm, where he arrived in July, 1734, at the time 
the States Greneral were in session ; an important period, 
when a new code of laws was adopted in Sweden, and when 
probably our author took his seat in the House to which he 
belonged. He, therefore (p. 28), could not have spent a 
year as Sandel relates, and indeed there is nothing to shew 
that he had visited Austria or Hungary. On his outward 
journey, however, he had been at Prague, and spent a con- 
siderable time in examining the Bohemian mines. 

The publication of the preceding works gave him a Euro- 
pean reputation, and his correspondence was eagerly sought 
by Christian Wolff, and others of the learned. In 1 734, 
Dec. 17, the Imperial Academy of Sciences of Petersburg 
appointed him a corresponding Member. At this time he 
was a diligent student of Wolff's philosophy, in which he 
discerned considerable similarity to his own, though the 
reader observes in Swedenborg an original power of which 
there is not a glimmer in Wolff. The difference between 
them lay not so much in their first conceptions, or even in 

A.D. 1734-36.] SWEDENBORG AND WOLFF. 35 

the order and method of these, as in the facility with which 
Swedenhorg applied his mind to, and modified it by, na- 
ture, for his genius was docile ; while on the other hand, 
Wol£P remained always a spinner .of ingenuities and- con- 
ceptions ; yet even in subtlety of thought Swedenboi^ is 
immeasurably the superior : witness his theory of what he 
terms the ''actives" in nature, his explanation of elas- 
ticity, &c. ; things to which Wolff could make no approach. 
The one was a facile metaphysician after the school of Leib- 
nitz; the other was a philosophical scientific explorer, 
ready to make temporary use of any metaphysic that 
opened a gate into facts, but always deriving from those 
facts a different statement of his grounds. The works of 
the one are all " thinking;" in those of the other we come 
constantly to solid floors, and are forced to exclaim, '' That 
is nature herself, and no man made it." 

From 1734 to 1736 our author remained in Sweden. 
On the 26th of July, 1735, he lost the good Bishop, his 
father, from whom, according to Bobsahm, he inherited a 
considerable sum ; and, on the 10th of July, 1736, he again 
''went abroad for a sojourn of three or four years, to write 
and publish a certain work," as he says in his journal* of 
the tour. On this occasion, he relinquished half of his 
salary (1200 silver thalers was the whole,) to his substi- 
tutes, but re-entered upon the full income when he came 
back. The same fresh curiosity, the same ardent love of 
knowledge, the same manifold sympathy, appear in the 
note-book of these travels, as in that which we have previ- 
ously mentioned, and we can only regret that any portion of 
so entertaining a document is lost. He passed through 
Denmark, Hanover and Holland, and arrived at Rotterdam 
at the time of the fair, when he took due opportunity to 

* Itinerarium, ex operibus Eman. Swedbnbobgii posthnmis. 
Vwn II. Nunc primnm edidit Dr. J. F. £. Tafel. Stattgard, 1844. 


admire the amusements of the people, moontehanks, shews, 
and whatever was to he seen. Then immediately after- 
wards come his reflexions upon the prosperity of the Batch. 
''Here at Rotterdam/' ;says he, ''it has suggested itself 
to me to inquire, why it is that God has blessed a people 
so barbaroas and boorish as the Dutch, with such a fertile 
and luxuriant soil ; that he has rescued them, for so long 
a course of years, from all misfortunes ; that he has raised 
them up in commerce above all other nations, and made 
their provinces the mart and emporium of the wealth of 
£urope and the world. On consideration, the first and 
principal cause of these circumstances appears to be, that 
Holland is a Bepablic, which form of government is more 
pleasing to God than an absolute monarchy ; as we may 
see from the history of Rome. In a Republic, no venera- 
tion or worship is paid to any man, but the highest 
and the lowest think themselves equal to kings and em- 
perors ; as may be seen from the characteristic bearing of 
every one in Holland. The only one whom they worship 
is Gt)d. And when God alone is worshiped, and men are 
not adored instead of him, such worship is most acceptable 
to him. Then, again, in Holland there is the greatest 
liberty. None are slaves, but all are as lords and mas- 
ters under the government of the most high God; and 
the consequence is, that they do not depress their man- 
liness either by shame or fear, but always preserve a 
firm and sound mind in a sound body ; and with a firee 
spirit and an erect countenance commit themselves and 
their property to God, who alone ought to govern all 
things. It is not so in absolute monarchies, where men 
are educated to simulation and dissimulation ; where they 
learn to have one thing concealed in the breast, and to 
bring forth another upon the tongue ; where their minds, 
by inveterate custom, become so false and counterfeit, that 
in divine worship itself their words differ from their thoughts. 


and they proffer their flattery and deceit to God himself, 
which certainly must be most displeasing to him. This 
seems to be the reason why the Dutch are more prosper- 
ous in their undertakings than other nations. But their 
worshipping Mammon as a Deity, and caring for nothing 
but gold, is a thing which is not compatible with long 
prosperity. Tet perhaps there are ten in a thousand, or 
ten thousand, who avert the punishment, and cause the 
rest to participate with them in the abundance and blessings 
of this life." 

On his journey from Antwerp to Brussels by trekachuit 
(the river boats of the Netherlands), he had among his 
fellow-passengers two barefoot Franciscan friars, one of 
whom stood in one spot for four hours, praying devoutly all 
the time ; upon which Swedenborg remarks ; " This custom 
of praying is doubtless well pleasing to God, if it proceed 
^m a true and faithful veneration, and from a pure 
mind, and not from simulation and hypocrisy,, as with the 
Pharisees. Prayer avails much, as we know from the 
instance of Moses when his people was rebellious, as well 
as from other examples. Paul was also desirous that others 
should pray for him." 

Our author paid great attention throughout to the state 
and ordinances of the Roman Catholic church, and in no 
carping spirit; yet he noted with strong animadversion 
the sensuality of the priests, over and above what was 
needed to lead the minds of populations manageable only 
through the senses. *'The monks," says he, ''at Boye 
are fat and corpulent, and an army of such fellows might 
be banished without loss to the state. They fill their beUies, 
take all they can get, and give the poor nothing but fine 
words and blessings ; and yet they are willing to take from 
the poor all their substance for nothing. What is the good 
of barefoot Franciscans?" On the 4th of September he 
arrived at Paris, in which city he spent a year and a half. 


Of Paris he says, " that pleasure, or more properly speak- 
ing, sensuality, appears to he there carried to its possible 
summit." His mind at this time was directed to the ge- 
neral state of France, and his auguries were sagacious 
enough. ''It is found," he observes, ''that the tax which 
they term the ' tenths' C dixieme*) yields annually 32 mil- 
lions sterling ; and that the Parisians spend two-thirds of 
this amount over their own city. In the remote provinces 
the impost is not in general fairly paid, because the people 
make false returns. One-fifth of the whole possessions 
of the kingdom is in the hands of the ecclesiastical order. 
If this condition of things last long, the ruin of the empire 
will be speedy." We cannot but think of the most terrible 
page of modem history, when we read these quiet Unes of 

From France he went into Italy, and spent a year (1738- 
39) at Venice and Rome. On his journey from Novara to 
Milan, he was in some danger from a treacherous vetturino,* 
who several times drew a hanger upon him, which Swe- 
denborg ultimately escaped by persuading the scoundrel 
that he had no money on his person. His note-book of 
this tour shews that he was occupied with investigating the 
modem institutions, as well as the remains of antiquity, in 
the various ItaUan cities. 

He nowhere informs us what the work was that he had 
gone abroad to write and publish. In 1736, while at 
Paris, we find him meditating a treatise to prove that 
" the soul of wisdom hes in the acknowledgment and 
knowledge of the Deity ;" and on the next day a second 
treatise, setting forth that "it is now time to proceed 
from facts *to the exploration of nature." On another oc- 
casion he tells us that he is working at the outhnes of 
a book " De anni genera" unless this be a mistake of 

* The vetturino is a fdnctionary in Italian travelling, who under- 
takes at once to convey and provide for the traveller. 


the learned editor of his Itinerary,* for we can neither 
translate it, nor see it as a continuation of his labors. 
At this time he was still pondering on the subjects treated 
in the Principiay and on Oct. 4, 1736, after recording a 
visit to the Tuilleries gardens, he adds, ''My walk was 
exceedingly pleasant to-day ; I was meditating on the forms 
of the particles in the atmospheres." Again on the 9th 
of August, 1738, at Venice, he says that he "had com- 
pleted his work :" and here his own mention of his labors 
ceases in this journal. 

It is indeed recorded in one list of his works, and we 
have obtained collateral evidence of the fact, tbat he pub- 
lished Two Di98ertatwM on the Nervous Fibre and the 
Nervous Fluid, at Rome in 1740; yet it is hardly pro- 
bable that he had returned to Rome in that year, and 
accordingly his authorship of such a pubhcation is doubtful. 
Nevertheless it is easiest to account for the assertion by sup- 
posing its truth ; and certainly the title of the work bears a 
Swedenborgian aspect.f It appears to be more certain, 
that in this year on his way from Italy, he was at Leipsic, 
where he put forth a kind of sonnet in honor of the cente- 
nary of printing. But however this may be, or wherever 
he next travelled, (for his journal terminates abruptly at 
Genoa on the 17th of March, 1739,) it appears that his 
Economy of the Animal Kingdom was the work that he 

* This Itinerary was written in Swedish, hut has been elegantly 
translated into Latin by Dr. Achatins Kahl of Lund, and edited by 
Dr. J. F. E. Tafel. The original MS. is difficult to decypher. 

t Sprengely in his History qf Medicine, (the French transhition 
by Jourdan, vol. iv., p. 326,) mentions a work which he supposes 
to be Swedenborg's, viz., DUueidaiiones de Origine Aninue et Malo 
HereditariOf 8vo., Stockholm, 1740. As we have not been able to 
meet with these Thoughie on the Origin qfthe Soul and Hereditary 
Evil, we cannot say what intrinsic evidence they may present of his 
authorship. It is likely that he returned to Stockholm during this 


wrote during this tour. It will be recollected that in the 
middle of 1736 he had gone abroad for three or four years 
of literary labor; now the First Part of the Economy ap- 
peared in 1 740. A number of small MS. treatises lately pub- 
lished,* were the outlines of this work, and were probably 
written early in these travels. The end of his studies, as 
we shall soon discover, was a knowledge of the soul ; but 
for long he was doubtful how to approach it. At first he 
began from the philosophical side,t after a rather wordy 
trial of which, he came gradually round to the anatomical, 
and at length rose upwards from the bodily structure by a 
purely inductive process. It is most probable that he de- 
posited the MS. of the Economy at Amsterdam, on his 
way from Leipsic to Sweden in 1 740 ; that he lived in his 
own country from 1740 or 1741 till 1744, and in the latter 
year came again to Holland, and from thence went to Eng- 
land, where we meet him in 1745. To these conjectures 
we are helped by his pubUcations. 

We have now then to record that in 1740-1 he published 
in 4to. at Amsterdam his Economy of the Animal Kinffdom,X 
— a large work in which our courageous miner sunk a shaft 
into the deep veins of the organic sciences. 

Probably on his return to his own country, he became a 
Fellow, by invitation, of the Royal Academy of Sciences of 
Stockholm, then first incorporated by a charter from the 
Crown, though founded as a private association by Linnaeus 
and a few friends in 1 739. " He was a worthy member," 
says Sandel, " of this Royal Academy ; and though before 
his admission into it he had been engaged with subjects 
different from those which it cultivates, yet he was not 
willing to be a useless associate. He enriched our memoirs 

* Posthumous Tracts, 

t See his Prefiace to the Posthumous TVaets, 
X The Economy qfthe Animal Kingdom, considered Anatomically y 
Physically, and Philosophically. 

A.D. 1741-45.] ADVENT TO THE HUMAN BODY. 41 

with an article On inlaid work in marble for tables, and 
for ornamental purposes generally** This memoir (in 
Swedish) may be seen in the Transactions of the Academy 
for 1763, vol. xxiv., pp. 107— -113. 

We must now spend a few moments in tracing his advent 
to the animal kingdom, under which title he exclusively 
signified the human body. 

At the outset of his studies he lets us know in an early 
letter, that he had come to a ** determination to penetrate 
from the very cradle to the maturity of nature" — ^from the 
atoms of chemistry to the atoms of astronomy — from the 
smallest groups to the largest — ^from the molecular to the 
universal : and this determination, which hitherto impelled 
him along the varied line of physics, now took wings, and 
combining with a higher nature, carried him into the realms 
of oi^anization. He had touched upon this region many 
times in the course of his physical preamble, but gently 
and modestly, and as it were with pausing footsteps. In 
the Miscellaneous Observations he had admired the facile 
circulation of the blood in the capillaries. In a manuscript 
of about the same date he entered at considerable length 
into a doctrine of the membranes, and followed to a certain 
extent the same track as Hartley afterwards in his famous 
scheme of vibrations. In the Prineipia he had laid down 
the law, that the human frame is an organism respondent 
to the vibrations and powers of all the mundane elements ; 
that there is membrane and fluid within the body, beating 
time and keeping tune with airs and auras in the universe ; 
that man and nature are coordinate in the anatomical 
sphere ; that the body is one vast instinct acting according 
to the circumstances of the external world. In the Out- 
lines this correspondence is re-asserted in a masterly style, 
and moreover the human body is opened somewhat, as a 
machine whose utter wisdom harmonizes with God alone, 
and leads right minds to God : but in all these works the 


author's deductions are close to facts, comparatively timid, 
and limited to the service in each instance of the particular 
argument in hand. Tet it is easy to see from all, that he 
was laboriously wending his way from the first to the 
temple of the body, at whose altar he expected to find the 
soul, as the priest of the Most High God. 

It is evident that his studies for compassing this ob- 
ject, were of no common intensity. He made himself inti- 
mately acquainted with the works of the best anatomists of 
his own and preceding ages, and transcribed from their 
pages the descriptions suited to his purpose, forming what 
was in fact a manuscript encyclopaedia for his own use. He 
made a note-book also of the technical terms of the sciences : 
and labored to be before his age in the conveniences of a 
scholar, as he was assuredly before it in the wants of his mind. 
We do not know to what extent he was a practical anato- 
mist; he informs us that he had made use of the dissecting 
room ; and it is said that he attended the instructions of 
Boerhaave* at the same time as the elder Monro; the 
authority for which is however only traditional. Be this 
as it may, it is plain that Swedenborg derived his know- 
ledge of the body chiefly from plates and books ; though 
assuredly he was one who lost no opportunity of pursuing 
his subject in the best way. We therefore conclude that 
he gained what experience he could by dissection, but relied 
in the main on the facts supplied by the accredited authori- 
ties, as hopeless to exceed these in accuracy, also as being 
more impartial over the data supplied by others, and, more- 
over, as feeling his own vocation to he rather in the inter- 
pretation, than in the collection, of phenomena. 

From 1741 to 1744, Swedenborg appears to have de- 
voted himself entirely to the study of the human frame ; 
indeed, when we consider the quantity of works and manu- 

* Boerhaave died at Leyden in 1737. 


scripts which he has left on the subject it is difficult to sup- 
pose otherwise than that his prmcipal attention was directed 
to it from the time of the pubtication of his Philosophical 
and Mineral works, — a period of 11 years to 1744. In 
1744-5 he -pnhlishedlus Animal Kingclom* in 4to., Parts I. 
and II. at the Hague, Part III. in London, but his habits 
and sojoomings at this period there are no data to shew. 
How he managed to be absent from his Assessorship, where 
he studied, whom he conversed with, what sympathies he 
enjoyed, or whether he worked with only his great cause 
over his head, are points which we do not know. We shall, 
therefore, give a brief general account of his contributions 
to philosophical anatomy, including under our remarks the 
whole of his treatises in this department. 

The Economy of the Animal Kingdom treats of the blood 
and the organs which contain it, of the coincidence between 
the movements of the brain and lungs ; and of the human 
soul ; The Animal Kingdom, of the organs of the abdomen, 
of those t)f the chest, and of the skin. The descriptions 
of the best anatomists are admirably selected as a basis of 
fact for each chapter, and prefixed thereto, after which fol- 
lows the author's induction or theory, and next a comment 
upon it illustrated by the previous facts. The method ob- 
viously is, to state and study the facts first ; thus to elicit 
from them a vintage of first principles ; and then to keep 
and refine this wine of truths within the vessels of the facts, 
amplifying it wherever possible to the unfilled capacity of 
the latter. It is difficult to conceive a more excellent method 
for philosophical anatomy, or one which keeps the stages of 
truth-making more distinct, or more profitable to each other. 
There is one vessel which is all facts ; there is a second 
which is all principles ; there is a third in which the two 
come together, and the principles suggest new experiments, 

* The Animal Kingdom^ considered Anatomieally, Phyaicallyf 
and Philosophically, 


and the facts enlarged principles. The method is a little 
image of the grand circulation of the sciences, from facts or 
confused general truths, through universal truths, to par- 
ticular or clear general truths. There is not one of such 
truths hut becomes a fact before the method has done with it. 

In the works we are considering, as indeed in all that 
Swedenborg wrote, there is an unconcealed belief from the 
first in God and his providence, and such a belief as results, 
not from meditation only, or from sceptical second thought, 
but from the religious atmosphere of Christendom. On 
this head our author was a child to the end of his days, 
and never questioned the earliest instructions which he had 
received from his father and mother, whom he honored to 
the extent of beUeving, that thought can never begin ab 
origine, as though it had no hyman parentage. He knew 
that every truth and mental possession has its genealogy, 
which it can no more deny or question with propriety, than 
we ourselves can dispense with our natural ancestry; by 
proceeding from whom we start from the vantage ground of 
previous manhood, and may be originators in our line, in- 
stead of fruitlessly repeating the past of creation for each 
fresh individual. Especially did he know that no Christian 
man can, without sheer impuissance, begin out of Chris- 
tianity. Accordingly Swedenborg took full advantage of the 
religion of his time, and the belief in a personal Grod was 
with him the fountain of sciences, which alone allowed a 
finite man to discover in nature the wisdom that an infinite 
man had planted there. Nothing is more plain than that 
only in so far as man is the image of God, and can think 
like God, can he give the reason of anything that God has 
made. Not to admit then a personal God is to deny the 
grounds of natural knowledge, to make it what the philo- 
sophers call subjective, that is to say, true for you, but not 
God's truth or true in itself. 

It was, however, Swedenborg' s avowed aim to lead the 

A.D. 1744-45.] THE MEANING OF ORDER. 45 

sceptic to an acknowledgment of God through the wisdom 
of God in nature ; and^ for this purpose, he did not hegin 
by himself postponing and denying God, but by a plenary 
acknowledgment, as the door into the secret parts of nature 
where the divine wisdom is enthroned. This constituted 
the providence of God as the order of nature, which order 
was now to be unfolded. What are the great outlines of 
our knowledge of order ? Arrangement, distribution, hie- 
rarchy, likeness, relation, fitness, law, and other terms, 
are expressions of what we mean by order. To look, then, 
for and from order in nature, is to look from and for these 
various demarcations and conjunctions; in Swedenborg's 
words, it is to look from the principle of series, by which 
nature moves in rows, lines, or regiments, — ^from the prin- 
ciple of degrees, by which everything is in its own rank, 
and knows its place, — from the principle of association, 
whereby friendly and mutually-helpful substances and 
things are near each other, and work for each other, — from 
the principle of forms, whereby nature descends down 
the stairs of excellence and universality, from vortex to 
spire, from spire to circle, and from circle to angle, and 
reascends by supersinuations from the earth to the sun, 
and from the mineral to man, — ^from the principle of 
influx or influence, according to which not physical force 
alone is power, but every ray of purpose and intention 
is communicated from every side, and from above to 
below, and received and acted upon, — ^from the principle 
of correspondence and representation, whereby all fitness 
comes ; fitness of the body to the soul, and vice versd, as 
being both the same thing in different spheres ; fitness of 
man to nature; fitness of man to man, and of nature to 
nature, and of all good things to God ; and, as the corol- 
lary of this fitness, a conjunction of all the fellow works 
and fellow workers into one grand unity, which is reality 
and creation, the solid and universal order, the whole being 


consummated in the idea of organization or truth. Such 
was Swedenborg's analysis of our current knowledge of 
order, as the instrument of God's doings, and of man's 
discoveries and imitations which are the sciences and the 
arts. To this was added what he termed the Doctrine of 
Modi&cation, which recognizes the manner in which yital 
and other vibrations permeate the world; in which the 
Word of God and the words of man — ^in which all expres- 
sions, whether looks, voices, acts, or things — ^make their 
way through the universe, and infect with their own life 
and powers the system and its parts : speech and the modi- 
fications of the air being the ready symbol of this general 
converse and parliament of the beings and creatures, wherein 
the laws are resumed according to the interests of the whole. 

Swedenborg did not then attempt to enter the body either 
abruptly or without assistance, but only after gathering up 
all his mind, and marshalling his forces, from the first 
generalizations in which every childhood is fruitful down to 
the last which his maturity supplied. He advanced, in fact, 
under all the discipline and with all the machinery and 
strategy of his age and of his own genius, and with the 
name of the Grod of Battles and the Prince of Peace dis- 
tinctly emblazoned on his tranquil banners. There is some- 
thing really hushing and imposing in the'measured tread 
of his legions, in the formal music which drills the very air 
where his staff of general truths is in the field, and in the 
absence of passion in so firm a host advancing to such im- 
portant conquests. 

** I intend to examine," says he, "physically and phi- 
losophically, the whole anatomy of the body; of all its 
viscera, abdominal and thoracic ; of the genital members 
of both sexes ; and of the organs of the five senses. Like- 

"The anatomy of all parts of the cerebrum, cerebellum, 
medulla oblongata, and spinal marrow. 


" Afterwards, the cortical substance of the two brains, 
and their medoUary fibre; also the nervous fibre of the 
body, and the muscular fibre, and the causes of the forces 
and motion of the whole organism : Diseases, moreover, 
those of the head particularly, or which proceed by de- 
fluxion from the brain. 

" I purpose afterwards to give an introduction to Rational 
Psychology, consisting of certain new doctrines, through 
the assistance of which we may be conducted from the 
material oi^nism of the body, to a knowledge of the soul 
which is immaterial : these are, the Doctrine of Forms ; 
the Doctrine of Order and Degrees ; also, the Doctrine of 
Series and Society ; the Doctrine of Influx ; the Doctrine 
of Correspondence and Representation ; lastly, the Doctrine 
of Modification. 

'* From these doctrines I come to the rational psychology 
itself, which will comprise the subjects of action, of exter- 
nal and internal sense, of imagination and memory, also of 
the affections of the animus ; of the intellect, that is to 
say, of thought and the will ; and of the affections of the 
rational mind ; also of instinct. 

" Lastly of the soul, and of its state in the body, its 
intercourse, affection, and immortality ; and of its state 
when the body dies. The work to conclude with a Con- 
cordance of Systems. 

" From this summary or plan, the reader may see that 
the end I propose to myself in the work, is a knowledge of 
the soul ; since this knowledge will constitute the crown of 
my studies. This, then, my labors intend, and thither 
they aim. ... In order therefore to follow up the investi- 
gation, and to solve the difficulty, I have chosen to ap- 
proach by the analytic way ; and I think I am the first 
who has taken this course professedly. 

" To accomplish this grand end I enter the circus, de- 
signing to consider and examine thoroughly the whole 


world or microcosm which the soul inhabits ; for I think 
it is in vain to seek her anywhere but in her own king- 
dom. . . . 

*' When my task is accomplished, I am then admitted 
by common consent to the soul, who sitting like a queen 
in her throne of state, the body, dispenses laws, and 
governs all things by her good pleasure, but yet by 
order and by truth. This will be the crown of my toils, 
when I shall have completed my course in this most spacious 
arena. But in olden time, before any racer could merit 
the crown, he was commanded to run seven times round 
the goal, which also I have determined here to do. . . . 

" I am, therefore, resolved to allow myself no respite, 
until I have run through the whole field to the very goal, 
or until I have traversed the universal animal kingdom to 
the soul. Thus I hope, that by bending my course in- 
wards continually, I shall open all the doors that lead to 
her, and at length contemplate the soul herself: by the 
divine permission,^* 

One of his MS.* again places these designs in a clear light. 
" I have gone through this anatomy," says he, *' with the 
single end of investigating the soul. It will be a satis- 
faction to me if my labors be of any use to the anato- 
mical and medical world, but a still greater satisfaction if 
I afiPord any light towards the investigation of the soul." 
The whole course of the sciences, he observes, has aimed 
at this effect. " The learned world has striven hither with- 
out any exception ; for what else has it attempted, than the 
ability to speak from general principles, and to act syn- 
thetically on the lower sphere ; such however is angelic per- 
fection, such is heavenly science ; such also was the first 
natural science, and such ambition is therefore innate in 
ourselves ; thus we too strain towards the integrity of our 

* Published by Dr. Tafel as the Seventh Part of The Animal 


first parent, who ooacladed from principles to all effects, 
and not only saw uniyersal natore beneath him, but com- 
manded its subject spheres." AD science by this account 
is the way back to a divine magic and a spiritual seership. 
" Hence," he adds, " our mighty interest in attaining to 
principles of truth." He concludes by avowing, that " he 
knows he shall have the reader's ear, if the latter be only 
persuaded that his end is God's gloiy and the public good, 
and not his ovm gain or praise." 

His object then was, to open a new way through natural 
knowledge to religions faith, and to transfer to Christianity 
the title deeds of the sciences. 

We have said enough, however, of his preparations ; it 
is time to speak of what he accomplished. And still, in 
treating of such a genius, we must guard the reader 
against supposing that he was bound to his own stated me- 
thod, to the fettering of his powers. The extraordinary 
flexibility with which he handled his rules, constituted a 
new and inimitable regime presiding over them all, and 
which gave him the benefits of lawlessness in addition to 
the benefits of law. In his mind, formality and fireedom 
went hand in hand, and strengthened each other by a per- 
petual procreation of new rules, interpretation of old, and 
the eruption of fresh liberty at every exigency or drcum- 
stance not provided for in his code. Truth rose on his 
path as an ever broadening constitution. 

But did he, or not, arrive at the soul by the aid of the 
general doctrines we have particularized, and which seemed 
to be the ladder that the soul let down to whoso would 
climb her secret chambers? He came, instead, to the 
inner parts of the living body, but not to the soul. It was 
an achievement to dissect the body alive without injuring 
it, nay vrith its own concurrence ; to disintegrate brain, 
lungs, heart, and vitals, and to see them as individuals, 
as partial men ; so to endow them with the whole frame. 



that they could subsist to the mind as human creatures ; 
and this Swedenborg has done to a considerable extent : but 
to see the soul, or the spiritual body, was not accorded to 
him at this stage. The doctrine of correspondence might 
have shewn it ; but then before correspondence works there 
must be two experimental terms, two. visible things; the 
soul must be already seen, after which, correspondence 
will shew its fitness with the body, and illustrate each by 
each. In a word, sight or experience is the basis of know- 
ledge ; the invisible is the unknown, and no doctrines can 
realize it, or honestly bring it near to our thoughts. It rests 
upon Swedenborg' s confession, not less than upon his 
quitting the beforementioned track, that his principles so 
far did not and could not lead him to an acquaintance with 
the soul. 

But if, whilst engaged upon an impossible quest, he lost 
himself among nervous and spirituous fluids and the like 
entities, which are most real, only not the soul, still he 
shed surprizing light upon the plan and life of the human 
body. His method was eminently good for this. The doc- 
trines he worked with, the preliminaries he believed in, are 
the common sense of all plans and organizations. Who- 
ever makes or constitutes anything, does it by sponta- 
neous obedience to these very laws : whoever works suc- 
cessfully, works through the doctrine of forms, whereby 
superiority in material, design and so forth, has an inti- 
mate favor shewn it, and governs the lower parts ; through 
series and order, whereby arrangement enters; through 
degrees, whereby step over step is measured and laid; 
through association, — ^viz., of the kindred parts with each 
other ; through modification, whereby the play of circum- 
stances has channels laid down in the work contemplated, 
through which the world-power flows, and is turned to 
use :*— not to particularize Swedenborg's wheels of method 
more precisely. Now then, these ubiquitous laws are the 


life, or in the life, of our minds ; and applied to the body, 
they put thereinto the only life which we, at second hand, 
can give it — ^the life of imagination, fancy, thought, pas- 
sion ; bestowing upon it a theatric scientific vitality, beyond 
which mere science cannot go ; for science deals with cleverly 
galvanized puppets after all — ^with animated machines ; it 
subsists by a life from without, and is not itself the com- 
plete man to whom brains and pulsing heart are a divine 
right in his inside. 

In broad terms, it may be stated, that Swedenborg has 
thus animated the human body with the outermost circle 
of common sense reduced to formulas, to which he has 
added from his own unconfined experience a very large 
amount of life of a description unaccounted for by his doc- 
trines ; borrowing vitality every now and then, Prometheus- 
Uke, from a wider sphere than that of his own philosophy, 
— ^in short, from the next human body, or the social man. 
Immeasureably high as he stands in comparison with the 
anatomists, we regard his unconsciousness of the social 
world as a life-giver to the corporeal, as the great lacuna of 
his philosophical works. For if life is to be brought to the 
body a6 extra, why not take it from the vast reservoir of 
our daily experience, — ^from home, friends, country, and 
the world, and carrying it by the chalice of analogy, pour 
it through all convenient doctrines into that empty shell of 
the anatomists ? If order is the unlocking of that hide- 
bound place, why not take the order from our own growth 
and ages, — ^from that which opens us for life after life ? 
If series and degrees, why rest in mineral thoughts, and 
why not draw upon those manifest series, dispositions 
and ranks, that exist in our communities ? If life is to 
come to the body, why not go directly for it to the great 
motives which sway the world, and which are both indi- 
vidual and social ? If influx or influence, why disregard 
the influence of man upon man in the collective and general 



spheres ? In short, why not get enliyenment from life as 
we all understand and speak of it day by day ? This it is 
which glitters from all eyes about our path, and bathes and 
surrounds us ; this runs through our frames, and stirs our 
muscles doubly moved by our own and the general wiD ; 
this penetrates through our thickest skins, and warms our 
hearts with their strongest fires : in the light of this we are 
all anatomized into vitals larger than ourselves, cut from 
the texture of our extended lifetime, and our secret souls 
are placed under our eyes, and still more under the world's. 
It is indeed strange that in these doctrines of Swedenborg^ 
there was no doctrine of life, no conduit whereby the main 
essence could run into the dead carcass. And yet life is 
what we best understand, and death is what wants most ex- 
plaining. But the truth is, that to have proceeded so £u 
as this, Swedenboi^ — ^necessarily ignorant of the social 
sciences, like all in his day — must have taken his general 
doctrines from new fields, which, at that time, was impos- 

Thus, however, it is, that a living anatomy grows up. 
The first life, faint yet beautiful, comes from the first 
perceptions of life in humanity and consequently in phi- 
losophy ; from the formulas derived from our infantile ex- 
perience ; from the child's ideas of order, which are th« 
boundary of philosophy.* The second and subsequent lives 

* These philosophical formulas are, for example, the simple ab- 
stractions of end, cause, and effect ; the axioms that " substances are 
the subjects of all predicates ;'' that " the general includes the parti- 
cular;" that substance and form are inseparable ; and the like. Swe- 
deuborg carried these ideas through certain provinces of nature, and 
enriched them with reality. This is the way to one order of the phi- 
losophical sciences, but the method is not powerfully analytic, because 
the above abstractions being themselves deficient in intrinsic nature, 
your instrument of analysis is single and indivisible ; it may and does 
produce arrangement, but it is general itself, and only capable of 
arranging generals, but by no means particular and colored things. 


upon which anatomy can enter, arise from subsequent 
perceptions of life as exemplified in our social and hence 
new individual relations ; and the wisdom or last life of the 
science, lies in the transplanting of our rehgious life, or our 
relation to God, into the bodily fabric. The body already 
contains all these liyes, because it contains ourself; but 
not consciously until the sciences have put them into the 
dead body, and resuscitated it. Swedenborg has then only 
treated his subject anatomically, physically, and philoso- 
phically ; or first in its dead truth, secondly in its relations 
with the physical universe, which sways it with motion as 
the herald of vitality ; thirdly, as possessing our common 
sense in the lowest degree ; but furthermore it requires to 
be treated humanly, socially and spiritually. Be it ad- 
mitted, however, that in his triple method, Swedenborg has 
already raised to the cube the sciences of the body which 
the anatomists had left at the simple d^pree, and has thereby 
facilitated the next steps to be taken. 

His observations or facts aire as superior to the ordinary 
foundations as his method is better than the procedures 
which are still in vogue. His power of remark is more 
physiognomical than in any previous writer with whom we 
are acquainted. Other collectors of facts rushed at once 
into dissection and violence, and broke through the speak- 
ing face of things in their impatience. He on the other 
hand, proceeded cautiously and tenderly, and only cut the 
skin when he had exhausted its looks and expressions, 
conversing first with the face, then with other parts of the 
surface, and at last with the inner inexpressive parts, the 
poor dumb creatures which were the sole company of the 
anatomists. He was the most grandly superficial writer 
who had then arisen, — a rare qualification in its good 
sense, and which gives the benefit of travel to the sciences, 
enabUng them to take Uberal views of their materials ; a 
qualification, moreover, which is the preparative for depth. 


for the whole surface alone leads to the centre, and when 
complete is itself an apparent sphere, the most perfect of 
scientific forms. Accordingly when Swedenhorg goes up- 
wards or inwards he is guided to the sun, or the core, by 
myriads of rays from the translucent skin, and ubiquitous 
fingers invite and beckon him into the depths. Such is 
nature's privilege for those who beseech her permissions, 
and read the wishes of her broader lineaments. 

In illustration of these remarks we have only space to 
allude to one fact and doctrine made use of by our author 
in the foregoing works, but that one is of the utmost value 
both in his system and history ; we mean his doctrine of 
respiration. Let any reader think for a moment of what 
he experiences when he breathes, and attends to the act. 
He will find that his whole frame heaves and subsides at 
the time; face, chest, stomach, and limbs are all ac- 
tuated by his respiration. His sense is, that not only his 
lungs but his entire body breathes. Here is a large surface 
of fact ; the foundation-story of any doctrine of respiration. 
The most unlearned experience contains it as well as the 
most learned, and often much more vividly, for learning 
sometimes hinders the breath ; the plethora of science and 
philosophy confines the heaving to the chest alone, and the 
learned puff and pant. Now mark what Swedenhorg elicited 
from this fact, because he accepted it as a material for 
science. If the whole man breathes or heaves, so also do 
the organs which he contains, for they are necessarily 
drawn outwards by the rising of the surface ; therefore they 
all breathe. What do they breathe ? Two elements are 
omnipresent in them, the bloodvessels and the nerves, the 
one giving them pabulum, the other life. They draw then 
into themselves blood, and life or nervous spirit. Each 
does this according to its own form i each, therefore, has 
a free individuality like the whole man ; each takes its food, 
the blood, when it chooses ; each wills into itself the life 


according to its desires. The man is made up of manlike 
parts ; his freedom is an aggregate of a host of atomic, 
organical freedoms. The heart does not cram them with 
its blood, bat each, like the man himself, takes what it 
thinks right ; the brain and nerves do not force upon them 
a heterogeneous life, but each kindles itself with appropriate 
life, according to what it already has, and what it wants to 
have. There is character and individuality in every mole- 
cule ; and the mind is properly built upon faculties ana- 
l(^ns to its own, conferred upon material organs. It 
handles nature by the willing correspondence of nature in 
this high machine, with its own essential attributes. The 
body is a mind and soul of flesh. 

But furthermore, thought commences and corresponds 
with respiration. The reader has before attended to the 
presence of the heaving over the body ; now let him feel his 
thoughts^ and he will see that they too heave with the 
mass. When he entertains a long thought, he draws a 
loo^ breath ; when he thinks quickly, his breath vibrates 
with rapid alternations ; when the tempest of anger shakes 
his mind, his breath is tumultuous ; when his soul is deep 
and tranquil, so is his respiration ; when success inflates 
him, his lungs are as tumid as his conceits. Let him make 
trial of the contrary : let him endeavor to think in long 
stretches at the same time that he breathes in fits, and he 
will find that it is impossible ; that in this case the chop- 
ping lungs will needs mince his thoughts. Now the mind 
dwells in the brain, and it is the brain, therefore, which 
shares the varying fortunes of the breathing. It is strange 
that this correspondence between the states of the brain or 
mind and the lungs has not been admitted in science, for it 
holds in every case, at every moment. In truth it is so un- 
failing, and so near to the centre of sense, that this has 
made it difficult to regard it as an object ; for if you only 
try to think upon the breathing, in consequence of the fixa- 


tion of thought you stop the hreath that very moment, and 
only recommence it when the thought can no longer hold, 
that is to say, when the brain has need to expire. Now 
Swedenborg, with amazing observation and sagacity, has 
made a regular study of this ratio between the respiration 
and the thoughts and emotions ; he shews in detail that the 
two correspond exactly, and moreover that their correspond- 
ence is one of the long-sought Unks between the soul and 
the body, whereby every thought is represented and carried 
out momentaneously in the expanse of the human frame, 
which it penetrates by vicegerent motions or states. Thus, 
if the mind is tranquil, the body is similarly tranquil, and 
the two are at one, that is to say, united; if the mind is 
perturbed, the body is likewise so in the most exact simili- 
tude ; if the mind loves what is high, the body looks to it 
and aspires to reach it ; and while the two work for each 
other, that is to say, so long as health sufficient lasts, there 
must be connexion between them, or the all-knowing soul 
would not profit by its own tool, its very double in the world. 
It is difficult to give a more plain or excellent reason of the 
tie between the body and the soul, than that the latter finds 
the body absolutely to its mind ; while, on the other hand, 
the living body clings to the soul, because it wants a fiiendly 
superior life to infuse and direct its life. 

The power which Swedenborg possessed of watching his 
own breath, is not, as we hinted before, unconnected with 
his biography, but explains in a measure much of which 
he was the subject. For to note the respiration (we invite 
the reader to make the attempt) implies its gradual cessa- 
tion, because of the fixed thought required. This cessatioo 
of the breath, to which our author was evidently used, 
involves, where it is persisted in, one of two things ; either 
the passing into unconsciousness, where the thought cannot 
breathe without the lungs, or else, where this rare condition 
is possible, the cessation of the pulmonary movements, the 


thonght in the brain persisting the meanwhile, but without 
intercourse with the body, and taking cognizance no longer 
of the lower world, bat of the cerebral or proximately spi- 
ritual state. The latter happens only where there is a more 
inward thought which endures when the outward is sus- 
pended. The management of the respiration then with 
some persons, or its similar ordinary habit in others, is one 
way to annul for the time that intercourse of the mind with 
the body which respiration establishes, and to enfranchise 
the mind in its own sphere. There can be no doubt that 
Swedenborg was peculiarly endowed in this respect, as we 
shall abundantly illustrate when we come to speak of the 
psychology of his seership. 

But we must not forget that we are now treating of his 
contributions to science, of which we have recorded the above 
as among the most valuable, and as incalculable in its results 
both upon thought and practice. In stating, however, any 
one point as remarkable in such a genius, we are in danger 
of having it understood that his claims in this respect can 
be enumerated by any critic or biographer. On the con- 
trary, we should have to write a volume were we barely to 
devote but a few lines to each detail of his excessive fruit- 
fulness. Suffice it to say, that there is no enquirer into 
the human body, either for the purposes of medical or 
general intelligence, above all, there is no philosophical ana- 
tomist, who has done justice to himself, unless he has 
humbly read and studied — not turned over and conceitedly 
dismissed — the Economy and Animal Kingdom of Sweden- 
borg. These works of course are past as records of ana- 
tomical fact, but in general facts that are bigger than ana- 
tomy, they have not been excelled, and none but a mean 
pride of science, or an inaptitude for high reasons, would 
deter the enquirer from the light he may here acquire, in 
spite of meeting a few obsolete notions, or a few hundreds 
of incomplete experiments. 


We are indeed free to admit that Swedenborg's tools 
have been handled and improved since his own time. The 
law of series^ to which he attributed so mach, has been 
set in a new light, and made into a machine of tenfold 
power, by Charles Fourier, and analogy has been only too 
prolific in the hands of the German Oken. The latter, we 
may remark, is all analogy, with no roots. The day of 
railroads has been preceded by railroads in thought, with 
all the excesses and expenses of their material types, and 
these mental iron ways are the analogies between different 
provinces of nature, whereby sciences, incommunicable 
hitherto as Japan or China, are now running into each 
other for mere lust of travel. But however rapid our 
mental touring, there are still towns in Swedenborg that 
have not been visited ; a prudence in his transit that has 
not been sufficiently imitated; a motive in his journeys 
that will give life to their record when newer travellers suc- 
cumb. A better method than his may now be purchased, 
but it is the observation of the man himself that is enduring 
and inimitable. 

The reception of Swedenborg' s natural philosophy by the 
world furnishes a negative event of some interest in his 
biography. So long as he confined himself to the practical 
sphere, his treatises met with a fair share of approval, both 
in his own country and throughout Europe ; but the mo- 
ment his own genius appeared, it consigned him, as we said 
at the outset, to' temporary oblivion — ^a goal at which he 
arrived after passing through some preliminary opprobrium. 
The Tranaactiom of the Learned, published at Leipsic, 
was not slow to discover his uncommon qualities, or to de- 
nounce them. In February, 1722, the reviewer said of 
his Chemical Specimens, *' The author has displayed great 
abilities and equal industry ; but how far he has followed 
truth in his theories, let others decide." In 1735, in 
reviewing his Outlines on the Infinite, the same journal 


charged him with materialism. And in 1747, it gave a 
derisive notice of his Animal Kingdom, ending with the 
significant words : " So mnch for Swedenborgian dreams." 
These dreams however had not gone to their glorious limits 
then. Swedenborg kept pace with his reviewers in an opposite 
spirit. Thus he sap at the close of The Principia : " In 
writing the present work, I have had no aim at the applause 
of the learned world, nor at the acquisition of a name or 
popularity. To me it is a matter of indifference whether 
I win the favorable opinion of every one or of no one, 
whether I gain much or no commendation; such things 
are not objects of regard to one whose mind is bent on 
truth and true philosophy ; should I, therefore, gain the 
assent or approbation of others, I shall receive it only as 
a confirmation of my having pursued the truth. I have 
no wish to persuade any one to lay aside the principles of 
those illustrious and talented authors who have adorned 
the world, and in place of their principles to adopt mine : 
for this reason it is that I have not made mention so much 
as of one of them, or even hinted at his name, lest I 
should injure his feelings, or seem to impugn his senti- 
ments, or to derogate from the praise which others bestow 
upon him. If the principles I have advanced have more 
of truth in them than those which are advocated by others ; 
if they are truly philosophical and accordant with the phe- 
nomena of nature, the assent of the public will follow in 
due time of its own accord; and in this case, should I fail 
to gain the assent of those whose minds, being prepossessd 
by other principles, can no longer exercise an impartial 
judgment, still I shall have those with me who are able 
to distinguish the true from the untrue, if not in the 
present, at least in some future age. Truth is unique, 
and will speak for itself. Should any one undertake to 
impugn my sentiments, I have no wish to oppose him ; 
but in case he desire it, I shall be happy to explain 


my principles and reasons more at large. What need how- 
ever is thereof words? Let the thing speak for itself. 
If what I have said be true, why should I be eager to 
defend it 7 — surely truth can defend itself. If what I have 
said be false, it would be a degrading and silly task to de- 
fend it. Why then should I make myself an enemy to 
any one, or place myself in opposition to any one?" And 
again he observes in the Eeofiwrny : " Of what consequence 
is it to me that I should persuade any one to embrace my 
opinions ? Let his own reason persuade him. I do not 
undertake this work for the sake of honor or emolument ; 
both of which I shun rather than seek, because they dis- 
quiet the mind, and because I am content with my lot : 
but for the sake of the truth, which alone is immortal, 
and has its portion in the most perfect order of nature ; 
hence in the series of the ends of the universe from the 
first to the last, or to the glory of God ; which ends He 
promotes : thus I surely know who it is that must reward 
me.'' Of his sincerity in these declarations, the repose 
which pervades his books, and the hearty pursuit of his 
subject at all times, bear incontestable witness. 

The absence of his laurels never troubled him, he was 
not afraid of pillage or plagiarism, there was none of the 
fire of competition in him, he was never soured by neglect, 
or disheartened by want of sympathy. It is, however, 
remarkable how entirely the foregoing works were unknown 
even to those who knew him best personally. His intimate 
friend Count Hopken says, that "he made surprizing dis- 
coveries in anatomy, which are recorded somewhere in cer- 
tain hterary transactions," evidently in complete ignorance 
of the great works that he had- published, and moreover 
ill-informed upon the subject of the ' Transactions.' And 
yet Swedenborg was not mistaken in his estimate of his 
own powers, or in the belief that posterity had work and 
interest in store in writings that, at the time, were utterly 


neglected. The history of literature is eloquent upon the 
fate of those ^ho were before their age, and that fate was 
never more decisive for any man, or more cheerfully acqui- 
esced in by any, than Swedenborg. 

It is interesting to know the amount of learning possessed 
by those who have caused revolutions in thought or insti- 
tuted empires in the arts, and especially so in the case of 
Swedenborg, who professed to build upon facts suppUed 
by the past. Undoubtedly his learning was not so thorough 
as to lead to danger of mere scholarship : nay from long 
experience in editing his works, we pronounce his acquaint- 
ance with the ancients loose and inexact ; and with more 
modern writers, (we speak principally of the anatomists,) 
undoubtedly wide and general, but by no means verbatim 
et liiteratitn. Theory was his joy, and so strongly did he 
asseverate his main discoveries, that he often based them 
upon citations which will not bear their weight. His 
ignorance, however, of philosophy, and inability to learn 
or remember it, were the defences of that freedom which 
made him what he was. In this he is like other origin- 
ators, who happily did not comprehend the details of that 
which they departed from ; had they understood these in 
the way in which sympathy understands, it is probable that 
they would not have escaped in time from their systematic 
fascination. The same allegation has been made of Bacon, 
who they say would never have attacked Aristotle, had he 
appreciated him. It is very probable, and shews that a 
certain ignorance is a genial night when a new birth is to 
come. That which originates novelties is some new want, 
and no merely intellectual quarrel with the past ; hence, to 
this extent, the past cannot fairly be attended to. 

In the same year as the third part of the Animal King- 
dom, t. e., in 1745, Swedenborg published in London 
another work in two parts. On the Worship and Love of 


God,* We shall presently see that he was residing in 
London dnring this period, which hecame so important an 
era in his life. Of his sojourn and hahits at the time we 
have no particulars, and hence our biographical course 
agaiu enters upon a review of his work. 

The Worship and Love of God is a centering of all that 
he had previously elicited from his studies, and an attempt 
moreover to carry them into another field. As the title 
prepares the reader to expect, it is an end in his scientific 
march. He began from God as the fountain of the sciences ; 
the wisdom of creation was the desire and wisdom of his 
labors ; and here he ended with his beginning, carrying 
God's harvest to God. Apparently he did not know that 
his literary life was closed, but stood amid the sheaves, 
contemplating the tillage of future years in the old domain ; 
although trembling nevertheless in the presence of an undis- 
closed event. But we must not anticipate. 

In The Worship and Love of God, Swedenborg gives an 
ornate scientific narrative of the creation of our solar system, 
dropping the mathematical form of The Principia, and 
telling the story of the world in a physical and pictorial 
strain. The method runs from the general to the uni- 
versal, making use of nature as a vast tradition that speaks 
to those who understand her, of the whole past by the 
present. Thus as the sun is the material sustainer of the 
system, so this sustenance demonstrates a parental relation, 
and hence the sun was originally its material parent. Fur- 
ther as all growth and springing take place in spring times, 

* The Worship and Love of God; Part I. On the Origin of the 
Earth, on the state of Paradise in the Vegetable and Animal King- 
doms, and on the Birth, Infancy, and Love of Adam, or the first- 
bom Man. Part II. On the Marriage of the First-bom ; and on the 
Soul, the Intellectual Mind, the state of Integrity, and the Image 
of God. 


SO the vernal seasons of all things point backwards to a 
primordial universal spring, the ocean of every rill of 
geniality, the germinal warmth of the world. This pa- 
rentage with its conditions is unfolded; the conception and 
birth of the planets near the bosom of the sun, from his 
own body and substance; their incubation in the great egg 
of the universe; their exclusion therefrom, and their entry 
into space for themselves. The first kingdoms of nature 
are also described, and their difference from all others, 
for they were pregnant with all; moreover the general 
spring resulting from the nearness of the earth to the sun, 
and firom the rapidity of its revolutions, whereby all the 
seasons were blended into one as their temperate and de- 
lightful mean, night also being melted into, and mingled 
through, day, as winter through summer. And as the mi- 
neral was parturient with the vegetable, and tbe vegetable 
with the animal, so the innermost of the vegetable, the tree 
of life, bore the transcendent ovum of our race, and there 
the infinite met the finite, and the first Adam was bom. 
This concludes one department of the work. It will be seen 
that Swedenborg's is a theory of spontaneous generation, 
extending to universes with their contents, and so far, net 
dissimilar in some respects to the theories founded upon 
recent geological and astronomical views. There reigns 
throughout it, however, a constant sense of the presence 
of the Creator, who descends through all his work, (spon- 
taneous creation being His way of causation then,) and 
at last reappears beneath his work as above it, and of him- 
self attaches it to himself through his final creature, man. 
The remainder of the book is occupied with a descrip- 
tion of the education of the first man, which took place 
by spiritual ministrations ; and the second part is devoted 
to the creation of Eve, with her education, and marriage 
to Adam ; the whole being an allegory of a six days' work. 
It is noticeable that Adam, born an iafant, is instructed 


in intellectual matters^ and whatever conduces to wisdom, 
but Eve, in scientific truths, particularly those of the human 
frame, the brain and the living fibres; somewhat in the 
reverse order of the present culture of the sexes. In both 
sexes, however, the spirit-lessons are taught by delightful 
representation and scenework bom of the plastic atmos- 
pheres ; and the novitiate mankind is raised to its feet, 
and eye after eye opened to the heaven above them, by 
sportive similar children fluttering around, and by attrac- 
tive fruitage pendent over head from the motherly groves 
of Paradise. 

Nothing can be more vernal than the earlier portion of 
the work ; the reader is guided deeper and deeper into a 
delicious embowerment, and treads the carpets of a golden 
age. £very clod and leaf, grove, stream, and a multitude 
of rejoicing inhabitants, all the dews, atmospheres, and 
skyey influences, the very stars of the firmament, busily 
minister with a latent love, and each with a native tact and 
understanding, to the coming heir of the worid, the son 
of earth, the mind in a human form, who can look from 
the paradise of earth to the paradise of heaven, and vene- 
rate and adore the Creator, returning to Grod immortal 
thanks for himself and all things. At last in the cen- 
tral grove, in the most temperate region of the earth, 
where the woven boscage broke the heat of day, and so 
"induced a new spring under the general one;" and where 
the gushing streamlets veined the area, and lifted by the 
sun in kindliest vapors, hung upon the leaves, and descended 
in continual dews, — ^in this intimate temple of the general 
garden, lo, the tree of life, and the arboreal womb of the 
nascent human race. Truly a bold Genesis ; but the steps 
that lead to it, though beautiful as sylvan alleys, are also 
of logical pavement, and the appreciating reader, for the 
time at any rate, is carried well pleased along in the flow 
and series of the strong-linked narrative. 


The subsequent portion of the nvork is inferior in interest 
to the beginning; less artistical and more didactic; certain 
abstractions which are difficult to embody, wisdoms, intel- 
ligences, and the like demi-persons, are among the actors 
in the drama. It reminds one, though in an elevated ratto, 
of tales of the genii, for there is something inhuman about 
all that is more or less than human, and wisdoms and in- 
telligences come under one or the other designation. More- 
over the instructions of these ambiguous agencies are rather 
prolix, and their dogmatism is occasionally dubious. It 
is in the philosophical narrative that Swedenborg has shewn 
truly surprizing powers which we may challenge Uterature 
to surpass : so far as this extends, the work is a great and 
rushing inspiration ; for the rest, it is a poor unripeness 
of his theology, though abundant in charming details, and 
crowded with significance. 

We have now concluded a rapid survey of this part of 
the Swedenborg library, and we will say a few words on 
the author's style. We find increased life in this respect 
as we proceed with his works. The style of The Principia 
is clear, fehcitous, though somewhat repetitious, and occa- 
sionally breaks forth into a beautiful but formal elo- 
quence. The ancient mythology lends frequent figures to 
the scientific process, and the author's treatment would 
seem to imply his belief that in the generations of the gods, 
there was imbedded a hint of the origin of the world. 
Occasionally subjects of unpromising look are invested with 
sublime proportions, as when he likens the mathematical 
or natural point to a ** two-faced Janus, which looks on 
either side toward either universe, both into infinite and 
into finite immensity." The manner of the Outlinea on 
the Infinite is not dissimilar to that of The Principia, only 
less elaborate, and somewhat more round and Uberal. The 
style of The Economff, however, displays the full courtli- 
ness of a master, — free, confident, confiding; self-compla- 


cent, but always aspiring ; at home in his thoaghts, though 
voyaging through untravelled natures ; then most swift in 
motion onwards when most at rest in some great attainment ; 
not visibly subject to second thoughts, or to the devil's 
palsy of self-approbation ; flying over great sheets of reason 
with eaby stretches of power; contradicting his predecessors 
point-blank, without the possibility of offending their 
honored manes : in these and other respects the style of 
The Economy occupies new ground of excellence. The latter 
portion of the woric particularly, " On the Human Soul," 
is a sustained expression of the loftiest order, and in this 
respect won the commendations of Coleridge, who was no 
bad judge of style. The Animal Kingdom, however, is 
riper, rounder, and more free than even the last-mentioned 
work ; more intimately methodical, and at the same time 
better constructed. The treatises on the organs, them- 
selves correspondently organic, are like stately songs of 
science dying into poetry; it is surprizing how so di- 
dactic a mind carved out the freedom and beauty of these 
epic chapters. It is the same with The Worship and Love 
of God, the ornament in which is rich and flamboyant, 
but upborne on the colonnades of a living forest of doc- 
trines. We observe then, upon the whole, this peculiarity, 
that Swedenborg*s address became more intense and orna- 
mental from the beginning to the end of these works ; a 
somewhat rare phenomenon in literature, for the imagina- 
tion commonly burns out in proportion as what is termed 
sober reason advances, whereas with this author his ima- 
gination was kindled at the torch of his reason, and never 
flamed forth freely until the soberness of his maturity had 
set it on flre from the wonderful love that couches in all 

What is the import of the scientific system which he 
left? We have seen that it arose from a catholic expe- 
rience and observation, and carried the particular sciences 


which it traversed, heyond the Umits of class-cultivation. 
We have seen that the philosophic miner brought forth the 
human frame from the colleges of medicine, and conferred 
the right to know it upon all who study universal knowledge. 
We have also seen that he incorporated the formulas of the 
old philosophy, making them no longer abstractions, but 
the life or order of these sciences. We may now then state 
that Swedenborg's philosophy attains its summit in the 
marriage of the scholasticism and common sense, with the 
sciences, of his age ; in the consummation of which mar- 
riage his especial genius was exerted and exhausted. In 
him the oldest and the newest spirit, met in one; reverence 
and innovation were evenly mingled; nothing ancient was 
superseded, though pressed into the current service of the 
century. He was one of the links that connect bygone 
ages with to-day, breathing for us among the lost truths of 
the past, and perpetuating them in unnoticed forms along 
the stream of the future. He lived however thoroughly in 
his own age, and was far before his contemporaries, only 
because others did not, or could not, use the entire powers 
of its sphere. We r^ard him therefore as an honest repre- 
sentative of the eighteenth century. He in his line, gives 
us the best estimate of the all which any man could do in 
£urope at that period. But who can exceed his age, 
although not one in a generation comes up to it ? It is not 
for mortals to live, excepting in, and for, the present; the 
next year's growth of thought is as unattainable for us 
to-day, as the crops of the next summer. Still the future 
may and does exist in prophecies and shadows. These, 
among other things, are great scientific systems, the chil- 
dren of single powerful minds, the Platos, Aristotles and 
Swedenborgs ; yet which are but outlines that will one day 
have contents that their authors knew not, modifications 
that their parents could not have borne, supersessions 
that hurt no one, only because their sensitive partisans 


have given place to other judges. It is humanity alone that 
realizes what its happiest sons propose and think they carry ; 
most things require to be done for ages aflter their authors 
have done them, that so the doing may be full ; and above 
all, the race is the covert individual who writes the philoso- 
phies of the world. Add, that whatever system is safe 
always follows practice. 

It will be borne in mind that we here speak of his system, 
particularly with reference to its generative power, and 
which system, we presume, has been exceeded and sur- 
passed : with reference, however, to his physical principles, 
such as the doctrine of respiration above-mentioned, these 
are sempiternal pieces of nature, and rank not with the 
results, but among the springs of systems. The world will 
therefore taste them afresh from age to age, long after dis- 
carding the beautiful rind which enclosed them in the pages 
of their first discoverer. 

Swedenborg's scientific system, with all its detail, may 
indeed be judged from its ends ; its proposed introduction 
to the soul, which it did not bring about, and on this head 
we remark that it is entirely a subjective scheme. It mat- 
ters little whether we dive into the interiors of the mind, or 
those of the body, by the study of consciousness, or of ana- 
tomy, by mental, or bodily introspection: in either case 
we are equally subjective, we go away from expression and 
conversation, and kill or paralyze that whose life we wish to 
learn. This of course can never lead to a knowledge of the 
entire soul, though just where we cease to cut up, and 
institute gentle conversation in the subjective sphere, it 
may give us knowledge of partial souls, of the subordinate 
animation of particular organs of the body and faculties of 
the mind. But the human soul is a man, the man is a 
society, the society is human nature, and it is by coo- 
versing with the largest hves at first, that we are instructed 
by and bye in the class languages of the lesser, and in the 


dialects of the least. It is to this new end that the present 
sciences are tending. 

An era has consequently arrived when the principles of 
thought itself consist of larger atoms than heretofore, and 
moreover when thought more patiently grows from deeds, 
and philosophy from history. This is the era of the puhlic 
mind and the puhlic sciences. The unity of the world is 
beginning to be recognized as the basis of teaching ; the 
universality of phenomena as the explanatory statement 
of single facts. The sweep of the ocean currents is seen by 
the child as part of a planetary picture. The fortunes of 
each trade are found to be regulated by the whole mundane 
society. Private medicine resolves itself into the question 
of public healing. And so forth. It is clear that no 
previous philosophy could anticipate the wants of such a 
condition ; that no system can apply to it but one which 
blooms from its own summit. When such a system arrives, 
it will be as an expressive and decorous skin, both hiding 
and revealing the subjective wisdom of the past, and 
through whose transparency the common eye will see deeper 
into organization than the anatomist or metaphysician by 
groping in the vitals of his sciences. 

In thus emancipating ourselves from the plan which 
Swedenborg prescribed, we can only wonder what he would 
have accomplished had he lived in our day and drank its 
spirit. How manfully would he have handled the terrible 
problems of the time I How would he have compacted the 
social and political in the narrow breast of the physical 
thought, and in that compression and condensation of life, 
have given breath and stroke to the deadest laws ! How 
would he have exulted in that free humanity which sees 
that the truths and weal of the millions are the ground 
from which future genius must spring : that the next unity 
is not of thought with itself or nature, but of practice and 


thought with happiness ! In the meantime his scientific 
works are and will be helpM; and we regard it as a mis- 
fortune thaty through whatever cause, the ripest minds 
haYC not the same acquaintance with these books as with 
the other philosophies ; for Swedenborg belongs to our own 
age as a transition; and it will be found that, at least in 
time, he is the first available schoolmaster of the nations. 
Well did he conceive the problem of universal education, 
which lies not merely in teaching all men, but first in teach- 
ing them a new kind of knowledge, catholic and dehghtful 
enough for those who cannot learn class sciences, but only 
truths like dawn and sunset, as self evident and imme- 
morial as the ways of nature from of old. 

Let it not, however, be supposed that Swedenborg 
thought he had completed the method of the sciences, or 
even inaugurated the new day that his genius foresaw. On 
the contrary, he looked for this from the hands of his suc- 
cessors, and his humility covered the whole ground of his 
mind, although it did not discourage him from the most 
energetic labors. Fully conscious of his own limits, he 
called upon the age to supply a stronger intelligence and a 
more winning explorer. '' It now remains for us," says 
he, ''to close with nature where she lies hidden in her 
invisible and purer world, and no longer barely to celebrate 
her mystic rites, but to invite her in person to our chamber, 
to lay aside the few draperies that remain, and give all her 
beauty to our gaze. . . . She now demands of the present 
century some man of genius — ^his mind developed and cor- 
rected by experience, prepared by scientific and other cul- 
ture, and possessing in an eminent degree the faculty of 
investigating causes, of reasoning connectedly, and of con- 
cluding definitely on the principles of series ; — and when 
sueh an one comes, to him, I doubt not, she will betroth 
herself; and in favor of him will yield to the arrows of 


love, will own his alliance and partake his bed. Oh ! that 
it were mj happy lot, to fling nuts to the crowd and head 
the torch-bearers on her marriage day !" 

A word on Swedenborg thus far as a natural theologian. 
This was a character which he professed, and it is difficult 
to give too high an estimate of the manner in which he 
supported it. There is a peculiar sacredness pervading the 
treatment of his subjects, depending on the perception that 
their last wisdom is always God. He seldoms utters the 
divine name, but points to a truth and sapience in things, 
which elicit the repeated inward thought, ''this is none 
other than the house of God, and this is the gate of 
heaven." Without having stirred a step, we suddenly find 
that we are in the sanctuary ; we kneel with the kneeling 
creation, with the stones, the suns, and the oi^;ans, and the 
invisible love hears its own murmur in our heart of hearts. 
The litanies and chants of this natural piety are the in- 
trinsic order of the creatures and the upward leap of their 
motions from the mineral to the immortal man. Swe- 
denborg' s natural theology is all facts and things, which, 
won to speak by his good genius, tell their own tale, and 
acknowledge, and to the limit of their capacity, describe, 
the Author of their being. And doubtless ever3rthing is a 
divine act, the bare story of which is its maker's most 
affecting praise. 

We have said that Swedenborg did not attain to the 
human soul, to that sensible imagination thereof that he 
desired; but as this is a subject of some importance to 
what follows, we will briefly state his culminating point 
in the foregoing works. He saw clearly that the soul is 
finite; that it is part of a purer world; that it is doubly 
immortal, once by the grace of God, and once by the con- 
trivances and immunities of nature; that the deeds done in 
the body prescribe its ultimate form ; that it is different in 
different brains and men, and a most active essence; that 


it is subtle and all pervading, has an ethereal envelope, and 
is in the perfect shape of the hnman body. Patting all 
which together, we arrive at a scientific theory of the seal 
very mnch like that which apparitions would suggest. 
Indeed there is a close similarity between Swedenborg^s 
doctrine and that founded upon experience by the Seereu 
of Prevartt, and moreover we are prepared to shew that 
our author was a beHever in ghostly matters at a compa- 
ratively early period. So far then his induction doubles in 
with supernatural experience common to all nations and 
ages, and which, though thin and vapory, has yet per- 
formed we know not how important a part in keeping a 
faith in immortality alive in spite of the sceptics and the 

We now pass onwards to another man and author, to 
Swedenborg the seer and theologian. 


Throughout his life, as we have hitherto detailed it, we 
have seen in Swedenborg a continual tendency from the 
natural to the spiritual, a steady ascension from the sciences 
towards natural theology, and an acceptance throughout 
of biblical revelation. We have now to contemplate him 
after he had attained the goal of his endeavors, and when, 
on looking back to his previous life, he tells us that he saw 
its purpose, that " he had been introduced by the Lord 
first into the natural sciences, and prepared from 1710 till 
1744, when heaven was opened to him : the reason why he, 
a philosopher, had been chosen for this office, being, that 
spiritual knowledge, which is revealed at this day, might 
be reasonably learned, and naturally understood ; because 
spiritual truths answer to natural ones, which originate, 
flow from, and serve as a foundation for them." Although, 
however, as we have observed, this opening of the spiritual 
was Swedenborg' s tendency from the first, yet plainly he 
never anticipated either the manner or the extent of it. It 
would seem that he expected the kingdom of God to come 
upon him in the shape of clear principles deduced from all 
human knowledge ; a scientific religion resting upon nature 
and revelation, interpreted by analysis and synthesis, from 
the ground of a pure habit and a holy life. His expecta- 
tions were fulfilled, not simply, but marvellously. H^ was 



himself astonished at his condition, and often expressed 
as much. " I never thought/' said he, '*I should have come 
into the spiritual state in which I am, hut the Lord had 
prepared me for it in order to reveal the spiritual sense of 
the Word, which He had promised in the Prophets and 
the Reyelations." What he thenceforth claimed to have 
received and to be in possession of, was spiritual sight, 
spiritual illumination, and spiritual powers of reason. And 
certainly in turning from his foregone life to that which 
now occupies us, we seem to be treating of another person, 
—of one on whom the great change has past, who has 
tasted the blessings of death, and disburdened his spiritual 
part, of mundane cares, sciences and philosophies. The 
spring of his lofty flights in nature sleeps in the dust 
beneath his feet. The liberal charm of his rhetoric is put 
off, never to be resumed. His splendid but unfinished 
organon is never to be used again, but its wheel and essence 
are transferred for other applications. It is a clear instance 
of disembodiment— of emancipation from a worldly lifetime ; 
and we have now to contemplate Swedenborg, still a 
mortal, as he rose into the other world.* From that eleva- 
tion he as little recurred to his scientific life, though be 
had its spirit with him, as a freed soul to the body in the 
tomb: he only possessed it in a certain high memory, 
which offered its result to his new pursuits. 

Faithful to our intention at the beginning of this nar- 
rative, we shall diiefly recount the marvels which follow, in 
Swedenborg' s own words, leaving to the reader full freedom 
respecting these unwonted announcements. 

" I have been called," says he in a letter to Mr. Hartley, 
dated 1769, "to a holy office by the Lord himself, who 

* It has been reproached to Swedenborg by the first essayist of 
the day, that he represents the oniyerse in a '' magnetic sleep," which 
is true enough, because nothing else would give the tint of both life 
and deadi. 


most graciously manifested himself in person to me, his 
servant, in the year 1743 ; when He opened my sight to 
the view of the spiritual world, and granted me the privi- 
ly of conTersing with spirits and angels, which I enjoy 
to this day. . • . The only reason of my later journeys to 
foreign countries, has been the desire of being useful, by 
making known the secrets entrusted to me." 

Another account of the same event has been related by 
M. Bobsahm, who enquired of Swedenborg where and how 
his revelations began. " I was in London," said Sweden- 
borg, '* and dined late at my usual quarters, where I had 
engaged a room, in which at pleasure to prosecute my 
studies in natural philosophy. I was hungry, and ate with 
great appetite. Towards the end of the meal I remarked 
that a kind of mist spread before my eyes, and I saw the 
floor of my room covered with hideous reptiles, such as 
serpents, toads and the like. I was astonished, having 
all my wits about me, and being perfectly conscious. The 
darkness attained its height and then passed away. I now 
saw a man sitting in a comer of the chamber. As I had 
thought myself entirely alone, I was greatly frightened 
when he said to me, * Eat not so much!' My sight again 
became dim, but when I recovered it I found myself alone 
in my room. The unexpected alarm hastened my return 
home. I did not suffer my landlord to perceive that any- 
thing had haj^ened ; but thought it over attentively, and 
was not able to attribute it to chance, or any physical 
cause. I went home, but the following night the same 
man appeared to me again. I was this time not at all 
alarmed. The man said: 'I am God, the Lord, the 
Creator and Redeemer of the world. I have chosen thee 
to unfold to men the spiritual sense of the Holy Scripture. 
I will myself dictate to thee what thou shalt write.' The 
same night the world of spirits, hell and heaven, were 
convincingly opened to me, where I found many persons 

E 2 


of my acquaintance of all conditions. From that day forth 
I gave up all worldly learning, and labored only in spi- 
ritual things, according to what the Lord commanded me 
to write. Thereafter the Lord daily opened the eyes of my 
spirit, to see in perfect wakefulness what was. going on in 
the other world, and to converse, broad awake, with angels 
and spirits." 

Dr. Beyer gives a third narrative of the transaction. 
"The report," says he, "of the Lord's personally appear- 
ing before the Assessor, who saw Him sitting in purple 
and in majestic splendor near his bed, whilst He gave him 
commission what to do, I have heard from his own month, 
whilst dining with him at the house of Dr. Kosen, where 
I saw, for the first time, the venerable old man. I re- 
member to have asked him how long this appearance con- 
tinued. He replied, that it lasted about a quarter of an 
hour. I also asked him whether the vivid splendor did 
not pain his eyes ? which he denied. ... In respect to the 
extraordinary case of the Lord appearing to him, and 
opening, in a wonderful manner, the internal and spiritual 
sight of His servant, so as to enable him to see into the 
other world, I must observe that this opening did not 
occur at once, but by degrees." 

In his Diary the same event appears to be narrated : the 
paragraph is as follows : — 

" A vision in the day time : of those who are devoted to 
conviviality in eating, and indulge their appetites. 

"397. In the middle of the day at dinner an angel spoke 
to me, and told me not to eat too much at table. Whilst 
he was with me, there plainly appeared to me a kind of 
vapor steaming from the pores of the body. It was a inost 
visible watery vapor, and fell downwards to the ground 
upon the carpet, where it collected, and turned into divers 
vermin, which were gathered together under the table, and 
in a moment went off with a pop or noise. A fiery light 

A.D. 1745.] EAT NOT SO MUCH. 11 

appeared within them, and a sound was heard, pronouncing, 
that all the vermin that could possihly he generated by 
unseemly appetite, were thus cast out of my hody, and 
burnt up, and that I was now cleansed from them. Hence 
we may know what luxury and the like have for their bosom 
contents. 1745. April." Smile not, reader, at this plain 
representation of what lies under thy sumptuous table : 
perhaps thou dost not yet know, what shall be taught thee, 
that solid temperance is both more difficult, and more fruit- 
ful, than fluid; and that revelations and overloaded sto- 
machs are contrarious. We shall recur to this topic in 
Part III. of our Work. 

It would appear from a collation of the various accounts 
of the event referred to, that it took place in 1745, in the 
middle of the month of April. Nevertheless there is 
ground for concluding, that although the Lord appeared 
to Swedenborg at that time, yet his immediate preparation, 
and the opening of his spiritual sight, were operations ex- 
tended over several years: a circumstance rendered the 
more likely, because his subsequent state was plainly 
gradual and progressive, which warrants the opinion that 
it was at first brought on by degrees. 

We must here recur to Swedenborg' s doctrine of respi- 
ration, at which the reader may he surprized, but we shall 
have him with us in the sequel. The truth is, that with- 
out respiration a man can neither be born, nor die; it is 
breathing that opens the gates of this world's life, and 
cessation of the breath that marks our exit through the 
opposite portal. Now the terms of breathing being birth 
and death, the whole intermediate career, — all the actions 
that oscillate between the two, — are nothing in one sense 
but the contents or details of breathing. As we breathe, 
so we are. Inward thoughts have inward breaths, and purer 
spiritual thoughts have spiritual breaths hardly mixed with 
material. Death is breathlessness. Fully to breathe the 


external atmosphere, is equivalent eateris poMus, to Hving 
in plenary enjoyment of the senses and the mnscolar powers. 
On the other hand, the condition of trance or death-life, is 
the persistence of the inner breath of thought, or the sool's 
sensation, while the breath of the body is annulled. It 
is only those in whom this can have place, that may stiU 
live in this world, and yet be oonsdoosly associated with 
the persons and events in the other. Hybernation and 
other phenomena come in support of these remarks. Thus 
we have common experience on omr side, in asserting that 
the capacities of the inward life, whether thought, medi- 
tation, contemplation, or trance, depend upon those of 
the respiration; and the reader is now prepared for what 
Swedenborg says of himself, regarding his endowments 
in this respect. 

He tells us in his Diaty (n. 3464) that there are many 
species of respirations, producing for their subjects divers 
introductions to the spiritual and angelic persons with 
whom the lungs conspire; that according as the breath 
continues or ceases, the man dies back for the time into 
the inward life, meets its inhabitants, and explores their 
scenes. After describing various kinds of respirations, 
sensible and insensible, he goes on to say, that he was at 
first habituated to insensible breathing in his infancy, when 
he said his morning and evening prayers, and occasionally 
afterwards, when exploring the concordance between the 
heart and lungs, and particularly when writing his thought- 
ful works ; and this he observed for several years. On 
these occasions he always remarked, that his respiration 
was tacit, and hardly sensible ; a circumstance respecting 
which he not only thought but wrote: and thus for a 
number of years, beginning with childhood, he was intro- 
duced into these peculiar respirations, mainly by intense 
speculations, in which breathing stops, for otherwise in- 
tense intellectual speculation is impossible. He further 

A.D. 1745.] HIS P01IVER8 OF BREATHING. 79 

adds that when heayen was opened to him, and he spoke 
with spirits, the above was so thoroughly the case, that 
sometimes for nearly an hour together he hardly breathed 
at all, only drawing in enough breath to serve as a supply 
for his thoughts: in which way he was introduced by the 
Lord into inward breathing. The same phenomena also 
occurred when he was going to sleep, and he thinks that 
his preparation went on during repose. So multiple was 
it, by his own account, so obedient had his breathing be- 
come, and so correspondent with all spheres, that he ob- 
tained thereby the range of the higher world, and was 
enabled to be at home among spirits and angels. 

Among other passages in his Diary to the same effect, 
we also cite the following (n. 3317, 3320) on this inter- 
esting subject. *' My respiration," says he, " has been so 
formed by the Lord, as to enable me to breathe inwardly 
for a long period of time, without the aid of the external 
air, my respiration being directed within, and my outward 
senses, as well as actions, still continuing in their vigor, 
which is only possible with persons who have been so 
formed by the Lord. . . I have also been instructed, that 
my breathing was so directed, without my being aware of 
it, in order to enable me to be with spirits, and to speak 
with them." And again he says, "It has been shewn me 
that each of the bodily senses has its peculiar respiration, 
yea, its peculiar place of respiration. . . Moreover it was 
granted me to gather the same thing from much experience 
before I spoke with spirits, and to see that breathing cor- 
responds with thought ; as for instance during my infancy, 
when I tried purposely to hold my breath, also at morning 
and evening prayers, and when I attempted to make the 
rhythm of the breath correspond with the heart's pulsation, 
in which case the understanding began almost to be ob- 
literated. And furthermore afterwards, when I was writing 


aad using my imagination, at which time I could observe 
that I held my breath, which became in a manner tacit." 

Some analogous power over the breath — a power to live 
and think without respiring, for it is the bodily respiration 
that draws down the mind at the same time that it draws 
up the air, and thus causes mankind to be compound, or 
spiritual and material beings^some analogous power to the 
above, we say, has lain at the basis of the gifts of many 
other seers besides Swedenborg. It is quite apparent that 
the Hindoo Yogi were capable of a similar state, and in 
our own day the phenomena of hypnotism* have taught us 
much in a scientific manner of these ancient conditions and 
sempiternal laws. Take away or suspend that which draws 
you to this world, and the spirit, by its own lightness, 
floats upwards into the other. There is however a dif- 
ference between Swedenborg' s state, as he reports it, and 
the modern instances, inasmuch as the latter are artificial, 
and induced by external effort, whereas Swedenborg' s was 
natural also and we may say congenital, was the combined 
regime of his aspirations and respirations, did not engender 
sleep, but was accompanied by full wakmg and open eyes, 
and was not courted in the first instance for the trances or 
visions that it brought. Other cases moreover are occa- 
sional, whereas Swedenborg' s appears to have been unin- 
terrupted, or nearly so, for twenty-seven years. But of 
this we shall have to speak further presently. 

We have now therefore accounted in some measure for 
one part of Swedenborg' s preparation, and what we have 
said comports with experience, which shews that those 
amphibious conditions with which we are more familiar, 
hinge upon certain peculiarities of bodily structure or 
endowment ; and we have thereby prepared the reader to- 

* See Braid's Neurypnology^ or the Rationale qf Nervota Sleep j 
London, 1843. 


admits that if living below the air or under water, requires 
a peculiar habit or organism, so also does living above the 
air — above the natural animus (oi/e/ws) of the race, require 
answerable but peculiar endowments. The diver and the 
seer are inverse correspondences. Swedenborg himself cor- 
roborates this, where in enumeratiog the conditions requisite 
to qualify for the ecstatic life, he particularizes that a pecu- 
liar state is indispensable; mainly regarding the connexion 
of the brain with the heart, between which the lungs are 
the uniting medium : a state which may either be natural, 
or the result of artificial means applied to the existing 

To shew how intelligent Swedenborg was of these deep 
things, we have only to examine his anatomical works and 
manuscripts, which present a regular progress of ideas on 
the subject of respiration. " If we carefully attend to pro- 
found thoughts," says he, "we shall find that when we 
draw breathy a host of ideas rush from beneath as through 
an opened door into the sphere of thought; whereas when 
we hold the breath,* and slowly let it out, we deeply keep 
the while in the tenor of our thought, and communicate as 
it were with the higher faculty of the soul; as I have 
observed in my own person times out of number. Retaining 
or holding back the breath is equivalent to having inter- 
course with the soul: attracting or drawing it amounts to 
intercourse with the body." 

This indeed is a fact so common that we never think 
about it : so near to natural life, that its axioms are almost 
too substantial for knowledge. Not to go so profound as 
to the intellectual sphere, we may remark that all fineness 
of bodily work — all that in art which comes out of the 

• We again request the reader to watch his own breath, and he will 
in due time spontaneously learn many interesting truths about res- 

E 3 


infinite delicacy of manhood as contrasted with animality — 
requires a corresponding breathlessness and expiring. To 
listen attentively to the finest and least obtrusive soonds, 
as with the stethoscope to the murmurs in the breast, or 
with mouth and ear to distant music, needs a hush that 
breathing disturbs; the common ear has to die, and be 
born again, to exercise these delicate attentions. To take 
an aim at a rapid-flying or minute object, requires in like 
manner a breathless time and a steady act: the very pulse 
must receive from the stopped lungs a pressure of calm. 
To adjust the exquisite machinery of watches, or other in- 
struments, compels in the manipulator a motionless hover of 
his own central springs. Even to see and observe with an 
eye like the mind itself, necessitates a radiant pause. 
Again, for the negative proof, we see that the first actions 
and attempts of children are unsuccessful, being too quick, 
and full moreover of confusing breaths: the life has not 
fixed aerial space to play the game, but the scene itself 
flaps and flutters with alien wishes and thoughts. In short, 
the whole reverence of remark and deed depends upon the 
above conditions, and we lay it down as a general truth, 
that every man requires to educate his breath for his busi- 
ness. Bodily strength, mental strength, even wisdom, all 
lean upon our respirations; and Swedenborg*s case is but a 
striking instance raising to a very visible size a fact which 
like the air is felt and wanted, but for the most part not 

We have dwelt upon the physical part of inspiration and 
aspiration, because with the subject of this memoir, body 
was always connected with, and fundamental to, spirit; 
and therefore it is biographically true to Aim, to support his 
seership by its physical counterpart. Moreover it is im- 
portant for all men to know how much lies in calm, and to 
counsel them (whether by biography, or science, it matters 


not,) to look to the balance of their life-breath, and to let 
it sometimes incline as it ought, towards the immortal and 
expiring side. 

But if SwedenboTg was expressly oonstrocted and pre- 
pared for spirit-seeing, the end deyeloped itself in a measure 
side by side with the means, which is also a law of things. 
We have seen that in his boyhood his parents used to 
declare that angels spoke through his mouth, which again 
calls to mind the entranced breaths of prayer that he com- 
memorates at this period. Much later on, but before his 
theological mission commenced, we find him intellectually 
aware that heayen might be entered by the sons of earth, 
and, as he then thought, by the analytic method of science, 
which having arrived on some of the peaks of truth, would 
introduce us to those who are at home in that r^on, and 
enable us to revert with a kind of spiritual sight to the 
world from which we had ascended. He says on this head, 
that " knowledge unless derived from first principles is but 
a beggarly and palliative science, sensual in its nature, not 
derived from the world of causes, but animal, and without 
reason: that to explore causes, we must ascend into infi- 
nity, and then and thence we may descend to efiects, when 
we have first ascended from effects by the analytic way. 
Furthermore, that by this means we may become rational 
beings, men, angels, and may be among the latter, when 
we shall have explored truths, and when we are in them : 
that this is the way to heaven, to the primeval state o/man, 
to perfection." This is doubtless a bold interpretation of 
induction and deduction, but no one knew better than 
Swedenborg in his day, whither real methods would con- 
duct us. It only concerns us however now to show, that 
he was conscious of a possible entrance for the under- 
standing into the atmospheres of the higher world, and that 
he conceived it to lie in true ladders of doctrine firamed by 
good men out of true sciences. 


But we are moreover enabled to add that his senses also 
Were stricken by spiritual objects before his express mission 
commenced. For example, in his posthumous Adversaria 
on Genesis and Exodus, when speaking of the spiritual 
meaning of flames of fire, he observes that " flames signify 
confirmation or attestation of truth; and that this has been 
shewn to him from above." He proceeds to say that " he 
had seen flames of different sizes, and of different color and 
splendor, and this, so often, that for several months whilst 
writing a certain work,* scarcely a day passed in which 
there did not appear before him flames as vivid as those of 
a common fire, which,*' he adds, '' was a sign of approba- 
tion: and this was before the time when spirits began to 
speak with him vivd voce.'^ 

So again he says in his diary,f that " for many years 
before his mind was opened, and he was enabled to speak 
with spirits, there were not only dreams informing him 
respecting the subjects that were written;^ but also changes 
of state when he was writing, and a peculiar extraordinary 
light in the writings: afterwards many visions when his 
eyes were shut; light miraculously given; spirits influencing 
him as sensibly as if they appealed to the bodily senses; 
temptations also from evil spirits almost overwhelming him 
with horror; fiery lights; words spoken in early morning; 
and many similar events." 

To some of these particulars we have his current testi- 
mony at the very time when they were happening. Of 
this, the Fourth Part of the Animal Kingdom (a MS. writ- 
ten, for the most part, as it would appear, during 1 744) 
affords the proofs. At p. 82 of this work he has the fol- 
lowing Observandum, *' According to admonition heard, 

* Supposed by Dr. Tafel to be ihe Worship and Love qf God^ but 
it might be the Fourth Part of the Animal Kingdom, 
t N. 2951. 
% He often speaks thus impersonallj. 

A.D. 1745.] THE DAWN OF SEER8HIP. 85 

I must refer to my philosophical Principia . . . and it has 
been told me that by that means I shall be enabled to 
direct my flight whithersoever I will." Twice also in the 
same work he notifies that he is commanded to write what 
he is penning.* At p. 194 he mentions that he saw a 
representation of a certain golden key that he was to carry, 
to open the door to spiritual things. At p. 202 he remarks 
at the end of a paragraph, that " on account of what is 
there written there happened to him wonderful things on 
the night between the first and second of July;'* and he 
adds in the margin, that the matter set down was " foretold 
to him in a wonderful manner on that occasion. "f Still 
further on (p. 215) he again refers to his extraordinary 
dream of the above date. 

This brings us to the subject of his sleep, which will 
contribute its share to his psychological history. So ob- 
servant was Swedenborg of what went on within him- 
self, that he left a MS. record of several of his dreams 
from 1736 to 1740, which, however, unfortunately is not 
accessible, having been taken out of the MS. volume which 
contained it, to be kept by the Swedenborg family. 
But we have his testimony in several parts of his MSS., 
that for years before 1745 his dreams were ordered and 
instructive, and constituted one department of his prepara- 
tion. The further notice, however, of this head, we leave 
to a future time ; we can better follow it up when the whole 
of the author's posthumous works are before the public. 

Lastly, there is one doctrine that Swedenhorg held, 
and which constitutes an immediate link between intellect 
and reality, possession with which would contribute to pre- 

* *'Ju8sus sum. Ita videar jussus.'' MS., p. 202, 223. 

t '* Hac quK scripsi prsenuntiata mihi sunt mirabiliter, vide finem 
JuU 1 et 2. Scripsi Jul. 2." MS., p. 174 in margin. We give 
these references to the MS., because by some oversight the words 
appear to have been omitted from Dr. Tafel's edition. 


dispose to spiritual experience ; we mean the doctrine of 
Universal Correspondency. To this great intellectual sub- 
stance we shall have to recur in the sequel, but for the 
present it suffices to observe, that it imports that bodies 
are the generation and expression of souls ; that the frame 
of the natural world works, moves and rests obediently to 
the living spiritual world, as a man's face to the tnind or 
spirit within. Now this plainly makes all things into signs 
as well as powers ; the events of nature and the world be- 
come divine, angelic, or demoniac messages, and the smallest 
things, as well as the greatest, are omens, instructions, 
warnings, or hopes. Accordingly it was on intellectual 
reasons of solid science, that Swedenborg interpreted the 
events about him as of spiritual significance, and we are 
not surprized to find that his always recording pen noted 
down minute occurrences as pregnant to himself. We 
find one remarkable instance of this in the last MS. we 
have cited, where the author takes account of the presence 
and absence and the movements of a fly in his apartment.* 
This of course is either insanity or a high pitch of wisdom, 
in which, however, it only partakes of that double chance 
that permeates the universe. The philosophers and the 
mad doctors regard all spiritual experience of a real kind as 
delusion ; but our theory is different, and we see in it both 
good and bad, sound and insane, and judge each case on 
its own merits, not cramping the verdict by ill-advised 
general rules. In this we have Scripture, tradition, the 
present usages of society, and the balance of the twelve 
judges at Westminster, on our side, to say nothing of 
practical charity towards our fellow citizens. 

Among many more important circumstances, Sweden- 
borg's clear-seeing stands apart from most others by com- 

* Op. at., p. 164. ''Sed hsec obscnra sunt, forte nee Ten: 
vidi mtueamf ilia abiit, reeeiri. Iteratum de veritatibw, secundum 
monitiotieSf ut autumo ilia rediit me inmto, ei ego tfiam tuli,** 


prising the two worlds at once. In him the inward thought 
had learned to breathe, and the inward sight to exert itself, 
by contemplatiye respirations and abstractions, but this 
being attained, and the spiritual power developed and set 
free, it appears that his bodily activity was no hindrance to 
his spiritual. Perhaps the former could go on habitually 
while the latter was the express field of his consciousness. 
Thus, by analogy, we find that we can perform several acts 
at once, provided some have become habitual, and they 
are not all in the same sphere. For instance, we walk to 
our journey's end by sheer habit, and converse and observe 
different objects on the way, without confusing the opera- 
tions of our limbs. But a child just learning to walk, must 
bend will, eyes, mind and care upon its legs, or it will fall 
to the ground : but by and bye its mind becomes emanci- 
pated from its members, and it can run, and prattle of dif- 
ferent things, at the same time. So we can, when the eye 
is practised, see the whole of a landscape by habit, and 
yet see some special object therein by quite a different ob- 
servation. And in the same manner, raising these common 
examples to higher powers, there is no reason why two 
worlds and dramas should not appear to the same duplex 
individual, the natural side being seen by indefeasible 
habit, the spiritual by direct present attention; or vice 
versd. There is no reason why active and passive sight 
should not coexist to this extent. 

But we owe an apology to the reader for so long detaining 
him on the threshold, a course which we should not have 
taken but that the current of the age has set in strongly 
towards spiritual seerships, as witness the facts produced 
every day by mesmerism, and now placed beyond a doubt. 
The sequel of our remarks will shew that we had reason in 
these preliminaries. 

Respecting the reasons for Swedenborg's " call," we give 
them in his own words. ** I was ouce asked," says he. 


" how I, a philosopher, hecame a theologian. My reply 
was : la the same way that fishermeD hecame the disciples 
and apostles of the Lord. And I added, that 7, too, from 
early youth had been a spiritual fisherman. On this, my 
enquirer asked what I meant hy a spiritual fisherman. To 
which I answered, that a fisherman, in the spiritual sense 
of the Word, signifies one who rationally investigates and 
teaches natural truths, and afterwards spiritual truths. . . . 
My interrogator then said: Now I can understand why the 
Lord chose fishermen for disciples ; and therefore I do not 
wonder that he has also chosen you ; since, as you observed, 
you were from early youth a fisherman in a spiritual 
sense, or an investigator of natural truths ; and the reason 
that you are now an investigator of spiritual truths, is, 
because the latter are founded upon the former. ... At 
last he said: Since you have become a divine, what is your 
system of divinity ? These are its two principles, said I, 
that God is one, and that there is a conjunction 
OF charity and faith. He replied. Who denies these 
principles? I rejoined. The divinity of the present day, 
when inwardly examined." 

After having been '' called to a holy ofi^ce by the Lord 
Himself," Swedenborg at once girded himself to the work 
of his new commission. Negatively he had already one 
important qualification for it, he had read no dogmatic or 
systematic theology, and had none of its ''unfounded 
opinions and inventions" in his mind to be extirpated. 
He now, therefore, learnt the Hebrew language, and read 
over the Word of God many times, studying its spiritual 
correspondences, and was thereby enabled to receive in- 
struction from the Lord, who is the Word. At once also 
he began to commit his studies to paper, thinking out the 
extent of his immense theme in the act of writing. Of the 
Continued character of these studies, we have before us a 
stupendous record in the manuscripts which he left on the 


books of the Old Testament, and which shew an unwearied 
power, and a graduallj-brightening intelligence on the scope 
and spirit of the Bible. It was by slow degrees that he 
rose from his previous conceptions to the new development 
that we find in his next pubhcation : his eariier manuscripts 
being in some measure a continuation of the psychological 
and intellectual system that appears m the Worship and 
Love of God, His spiritual experiences also in the first 
instance partook somewhat of thatlhinness which we have 
noted as peculiar in the last-mentioned work : he still re- 
garded spirits as minds and intelligences appearing under 
human forms; he heard their spiritual voices, and saw them 
as it were in ethereal outline, not being yet opened to regard 
them as our only acquaintances, — men and women. How- 
ever his Adversaria^ from which we gather these particu- 
lars, are in truth a marvellous series of cogitations, and 
setting his own works aside, we know not with what com- 
mentaries they are comparable for unfolding the spiritual 
aspect of the Holy Scriptures, and the subjective philo- 
sophy of the human mind. 

His personal history at this date is scanty, and almost 
conjectural. He resided in London (probably with Brock- 
mer, in Fetter Lane) until the beginning of July, 1745, 
when he took ship to Sweden, arriving thither after a 
passage of more than a month, on the seventh of August. 
During the voyage his spiritual intercourse was suspended ; 
perhaps at this period, the sea was not so favorable for it 
as the land. He remained in Sweden in 1746, and in the 
earlier part of 1747 also. 

He had now entered upon a vocation which no longer 
permitted him to discharge the functions of his office as 
Assessor of the Board of Mines, and in 1747 he asked 
and. obtained permission of King Frederick to retire from 
it. His petition to his Majesty contained also two other 
requests, namely, that he might enjoy during life, as a re- 



tiring pension, one half of the salary attached to the Asses- 
soTship ; and that his retirement from the office might not 
he accompanied hy any addition to his rank or title. He 
gives his motives in the transaction in his own modest way. 
" My sole view in this resignation." says he, " was, that I 
might he more at liberty to devote myself to that new fane- 
tion to which the Lord had called me. On resigning my 
office, a higher degree of rank was offered me, but this I 
declined, lest it should be the occasion of inspiring me with 
pride." The king granted his desires, but in consideration 
of his services of 31 years, continued to him the whole 
salary of his late office : a proof of the esteem in which he 
was held in Sweden. 

We presume that he made this last voyage to Sweden for 
the purpose of obtaining his dismissal from the Assessor- 
ship, which when he had procured, he again repaired to 
London in 1747, and wrote out the first volume of the 
Arcana Celcesiia for the press, to which John Lewis was 
" eye witness." This was published about the middle of 
1749. At the beginning of 1750 he was out of England, 
probably in Sweden, for he sent the MS. of the second 
volume of the Arcana from abroad to London to be printed. 
He was certainly in his own country in 1751, when we 
meet him at the funeral of his old coadjutor, Polheim, an 
occasion on which he saw boih aides of his inend's grave. 
We quote from his Diari/ (commenced about 1747) the 
record of the burial. 

" Polheim," says he, " died on Monday, and spoke with 
me on Thursday. I was invited to the funeral. He saw 
the hearse, the attendants, and the whole procession. He 
also saw them let down the coffin into the grave, and con- 
versed with me while it was going on, asking me why they 
buried him when he was alive? And when the priest pro- 
nounced that he would rise again at the day of judgment, 
he asked why this was, when he had risen already? He 

A.D. 1747-56.] TRAVELS AND LABORS. 91 

wondered that such a belief should obtain, considering that 
he was even now alive ; he also wondered at the behef in 
the resurrection of the body, for he said that he felt he 
was in the body : with other remarks." 

From 1749 to 1756 appeared his great work, the Areana 
Ccelestia,* in eight volames 4to.9 containing, in 10,837 
paragraphs, an exposition of the spiritual sense of the 
books of Grenesis and Exodus. This work was published 
in London, volume by volume, the second being issued in 
numbers, with an English version, said to be executed by 
one Marchant. Swedenborg's pubHsher, John Lewis before 
mentioned, has left some notice of him at this time. He 
says that, though he is " positively forbid to discover the 
author's name," yet he hopes to be excused for mentiomng 
" his benign and generous quaUties." He " avers that this 
gentleman, with indefatigable pains and labor, spent one 
whole year in studying and writing the first volume of the 
Areanay was at the expense of £200 to print it, and ad- 
vanced ^200 more for the printing of the second ; and 
when he had done this, he gave express orders that all the 
money that should arise in the sale, should be given towards 
the charge of the Propagation of the Gospel. He is so far 
from desiring to make a gain of his labors, that he will not 
receive one farthing back of the £4QQ he hath expended ; 
and for that reason his works will come exceedingly cheap 
to the public." 

Let us n.ow turn to the work itself, and waste as little 
force as possible upon admiration of it in a hterary sense. 
The author indeed professed to have derived the whole of 
it from direct rational illumination by the Lord : no spirit 
and no angel had infused its supernatural knowledge, but 

* Arcana Coslettia. The Heavenly Areana which are contained 
in the Holy Scriptures^ or Word qf the Lord, Unfolded, beginning 
with the Book qf Genesis, Together with Wonderful Things seen 
in the World qf Spirits and in the Heaven of Angels. 


it proceeded directly from the Almighty himself. As, how- 
ever, it was an intellectual light by which the Most EUgh 
communicated himself to Swedenborg's understanding, and 
through that to his spiritually-opened senses, so it comes 
to be judged and apprehended by the human understanding, 
and is freely placed before the rational powers. No man, 
according to Swedenborg, is bound to receive it on his ipse 
dixit, but he is to examine it, and decide according to in- 
trinsic evidence. 

The work runs in two parallel streams ; there is on the 
one hand a series of scriptural interpretations unlocking 
the letter of the Word into truths pertaining to the Lord 
and the inner man ; there is on the other a narrative inter- 
jected between the chapters of the former, and embracing 
a description of the wonders of the other life. We must 
give to these two departments a separate consideration. 

For the first, the position of the Bible is defined as the 
Word of the Lord, and the nature of biblical evidences is 
thereby determined. If it be the book and message of the 
Infinite, its proper attestations are its intrinsic divinity; 
its wisdom and its love ; its adaptation to man as a religious 
being in all time and place, and in all states of existence : 
in a word, it must contain details, infinite in every way, 
and connecting every possible state of the soul with the 
Fountain of blessings. This profound creed respecting the 
Word, is the postulate of Swedenborg's Arcana, to be 
proved in the sequel by the shewing of the work itself. 

The method whereby the Word is unfolded is called in 
general the science of correspondences. If there be unity 
in the creation, then is the whole one coherent plan, be- 
ginning from God, and ending in God. If there be order, 
then is there a hierarchy of natures, whereof the highest 
are first produced, and nearest to their source ; the second 
creatures standing next to the first, and the third to the 
second : each being placed between those which are next 

A.D. 1749-56.] ARCANA CCBLESTIA. 93 

of kin to it above aud below. If there be life and move- 
mentj then the action mast pass in the before-mentioned 
order, and each new mean, as it is produced, will engender 
the means of representing and carrying itself out in another 
and a further sphere. These are our needful thoughts of 
every consistent work, and the perfection of the work is in 
proportion to the strictness with which the above conditions 
are realized. Let the reader apply the case to anything 
which he himself does, and he will discover that the unity 
of his result contains and depends upon these particulars. 
But nature is the work of God, and the Word is the 
speech of God, and the speech is in like manner a work. 
The Word therefore involves the above substantial laws. 
In its innermost essence it is divine ; in its next intentions 
it regards the ends that are to follow from it, in times 
beyond the present, and in realms beyond time itself; 
speaking to the ultimate races of man, and to the highest 
heavens : in its next meanings it speaks to a future less 
remote, and to a lower altitude of heaven, and so forth ; 
until at length it addresses each man and spirit in his own 
language, and in his own age. Like the world itself it 
stands for ever, but the race according to its various state, 
draws from its inexhaustible bosom new mines of treasure, 
from its surface new circumstances of life, from its atmos- 
phere new sources of power. 

What therefore is the science of correspondences? It 
is the intellectual teaching of the relations between all 
different spheres. The difficulty of illustrating it lies in 
the fact that the works of God differ from those of God's 
image, man, in one important particular. The human 
workman in this world is only conscious of operating on 
one platform at once ; if he makes a machine, it is all in 
nature ; if he writes a book, it carries, to his mind, but 
one meaning. The divine workman, however, operates at 
ouce in all altitudes and worlds : his fiat, and its produc- 


tioii8, perrade the depth and breadth of his creation: his 
creative wisdom passes by unknown paths through every 
sphere, and the same ray of divine light deposits in one 
an angelic affection, in the next a human love, in the next 
an animal faculty, and only terminates by creating some 
animal, vegetable, or mineral reality or modification, which 
breathing straightway with the divine effort, tends upwards 
again through the same series, subsisting from all, sup- 
porting all, and mnning back through all. What makes 
the difference of these productions ? Not the creative ray, 
but the place, time, state, and circumstances upon which 
it works ; for it is no other than one wisdom in a various 
exercise. The correspondence between the forms that it 
leaves in its passage, is simply this, that they are all one 
in soul, but each suited to a different use ; and hence as a 
rule, correspondence is a divine equation, whereby one 
thing is to one sphere precisely as another thing is to 
another sphere. Whenever this is the case, the two things 
are fundamentally united ; they mutually do each other's 
work in their own places, and are each others, no matter 
how unlike they appear in form ; for the form is but the 
face or body that each shews to its peculiar ^here. Now 
if we had experience of this compound operation in our 
own works, we should easily admit it of the works and 
Word of God : as it is, however, we obtain a glimpse of 
it in another way, by symbols in language, which make 
the objects of nature into bodies of thought, thei^by sug- 
gesting that all things are the naturalization of divine 
thoughts ; by the human face, which expresses the soul, 
and thus presents us with two corresponding things in two 
different spheres : also by gestures and particular acts, 
which, we know not why, are felt to be images of the 
persons who produce them, and are interpreted of them by 
this signification. Not to mention other illustrations. 
The Word of God then, on Swedenborg's shewing, con- 


taios various bodies of divine truth adequate to divers orders 
of angels and men ; to the celestial man, in whom good- 
ness is paramount, it is celestial, and teaches the truths of 
the innermost heaven: to the spiritual man, in whom 
truth is supreme, it is spiritual, and teaches the truths of 
the second heaven : to the lower heavens, and to the na- 
tural world, it is natural, and teaches truths bj symbols 
in the one case, and by a mixture of history and symbol 
in the other. It has therefore three general senses, which 
correspond to each odier, but is throughout divine in its 
origin and end. The Arcana Coeleatia is chiefly devoted to 
an exposition of the spiritual sense of one portion of it. 

This brings us to the second department of the work, 
or the spiritual experience, which comprises lengthy ac- 
counts of the other world. And here we may remark that 
some persons have greatly regretted that the author should 
have introduced these narratives into his interpretation. 
Among the rest, Swedenborg's friend. Count Hopken ''once 
represented to the venerable man, that he thought it would 
be better not to mix his beautiful writings vrith so many 
memffrahle relations, or things heard and seen in the spi- 
ritual world, ... of which ignorance makes a jest and 
derision." But Swedenborg answered, that " this did not 
depend upon him ; that he was too old to sport with spi^ 
ritual things, and too much concerned for his eternal 
happiness to give in to such foolish notions," with more 
to the same purport. And still notwithstanding the Count 
says, that ''he could have wished that Swedenborg had 
left them out, since they may prevent infidelity from ap- 
proaching bis doctrines." The truth however is that they 
are vital to his doctrines, and to omit them, would reduce 
his interpretations to a philosophical system, that like 
the rest would have no hold upon creation, and no heel 
upon infidehty, which indeed it would supply with a new 
field of operations. 


A visitant of the spiritaal worlds Swedenborg has de- 
scribed it in lively colors, and it would appear that it is 
not at all like what modem ages have deemed. According 
to some, it is a speck of abstraction, intense with grace 
and saving faith, and other things of terms. Only a few 
of the oldest poets — always excepting the Bible — have sha- 
dowed it forth with any degree of reality, as spacious for 
mankind. There Swedenborg is at one with them, only 
that he is more sublimely homely regarding our future 
dwelling-place. The spiritual world is the same old world 
of God in a higher sphere. Hill and valley, plain and 
mountain, are as apparent there as here. The evident dif- 
ference lies in the multiplicity and perfection of objects, 
but everything with which we are familiar is perpetuated 
there, and added to innumerable others. The spiritual 
world is essential nature, and spirit besides. Its inhabit- 
ants are men and women, and their circumstances are so- 
cieties, houses and lands, and whatever belongs thereto. 
The common-place foundation needs no moving, to support 
the things which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor the 
heart of man conceived. The additions and pinnacles of 
wisdom are placed upon the basis which God has laid. Thus 
nature is not only a knowledge, but a method ; our intro- 
duction to the mineral, vegetable and animal worlds, to the 
air and the sun, is a friendship that will never be dissolved : 
there is no faithlessness in our great facts if only we are 
faithful to them, but stone and bird, wood and animal, sea 
and sky, are acquaintances which we meet with in the spi- 
ritual sphere, in our latest manhood or angelhood, equally 
as in the dawn of the senses, before the grave is gained. 
Such is the spiritual world : duration and immensity resum- 
ing nature, but subject to spiritual laws. 

What do these spiritual laws introduce ? Or first, what 
is the regime of the natural laws ? The latter, we reply, 
give fixity to things. The order of the sun and planets 

A.D. 1749-56.] THE spiritual' WORLD. 97 

introduces time through measured movements, while cohe- 
sion and gravitation keep spaces permanent, and all things 
horn in this Cosmos suck time and space from the revolving 
world ; thus day and night, size and separation are written 
upon them from the beginning. Whatever changes they 
undergo are through and in time and space. These rules 
of fixation are the natural laws, which support mankind 
and the human faculties, but do not obey them. The spi- 
ritual laws on the other hand, are the laws of the mind, 
or laws like the mind's, swaying a universe of forms like 
those of nature. The spiritual world is full of quasi na- 
tural objects, but which are not fixed, but fluid to the 
spirit. Its centre is not the sun, but the divinity, and 
humanity also is its subsidiary centre. As humanity is the 
second law and force of that world, so its contents and 
changes represent those of humanity. Its spaces and 
quarters are determined by the spiritual sun, which is 
the divine love; those who reciprocate that love the most, 
are in the spiritual east; those who receive the divine 
wisdom are in the south; and the declensions of these 
qualities constitute severally the west and north of the 
spiritual quarters. The whole combines into instant and 
irresistible arrangement according to the spiritual affi- 
nities of the parts. And as humanity in the aggregate 
gravitates to its own places in the inward world, so does 
each nation, each society, and finally every individual; and 
wherever they be, the three kingdoms, in divine plenitude, 
are there also; the inhabitants still stand upon the ground, 
but it is a floor that symbolizes and depends upon their 
spiritual status; they still see the growths of the vegetable 
world, but these are the very germination of their senses; 
nor are there wanting birds and animals, new and old, to 
reflect, by exact coordination, their intelUgence and affec- 
tions. Hence the spiritual universe is the last justice and 
harmony of mere mankind, where for goodness there is 



goodness, for the beautifal soul, beauty; and in every 
particular, for the moral, a corresponding physical. The 
world, the scenery, the house, the associations, stand and 
change with the inhabitants. The whole is not only a 
mansion but an instruction; for the good a pathway of 
brightening wisdom and a countercheck to the conscience ; 
for the wicked self-punishment and self-imprisonment, sap- 
porting, compressing, and correcting. 

The same laws associate all men with their likes, all 
societies with those next them in the genus, and finally 
bind the whole of humanity into one indissoluble body, 
whose place is God. For love and liking are spiritual 
nearness, and produce conjunction according to their inten- 
sity. Those who ardently desire to see each other, straight- 
way are together, — the desire is spiritual presence. Thus 
the diversities of love sift men into their places with accu- 
rate finality, in a universe where all is Love's. 

We may now see how essential was Swedenborg's spi- 
ritual experience to his interpretation of the spiritual corre- 
spondences of the Bible. He says indeed that he received 
the latter from the Lord, but as he received it by rational 
means, this does not exclude any of the providential ways 
by which he could be instructed. And mingling with 
societies whose inward states were efiigied in the outward 
forms of the world, and who had witnessed for thousands 
of years (to measure their wisdom by our computation) the 
correspondence between the outward and the inward; who 
had tallied off thought and affection as they arose, and all 
their own human deeds and words, against the events and 
forms which surrounded them; he could not but learn in 
innumerable instances that the one set of things answered 
to the other, and thereby acquire correspondences by much 
hearsay as well as much experience. Otherwise, inasmuch 
as the events of this world do not proceed by individual 
correspondence, he could never have learnt that particular 

A.D. 1749-56.] THE SPIRITUAL WORLD. 99 

natural forms oorrespond to particular spiritual states, the 
former never being seen to be produced in myriads of 
instances concurrently ^ith the latter. He might indeed 
have sarmised the fact by a brilliant genius for analogies, 
which assuredly he possessed, but the spiritual world alone 
can furnish the proof positive, by exhibiting the generative 
act in which the outward answers to the inward. For 
example, he says that the ass corresponds to scientific 
truth; the horse, to intellectual truth. Now this he might 
have divined, and cohoborated, by tables of analogies, in 
which these animals would be shewn, by a kind of spiritual 
nUe of three, to be to nature, what those truths were, to 
spirit; but the proof would have been only mental, until, 
in the spiritual world, he saw that horses and asses were 
respectiyelj always present, and circumstanced, when, and 
according as, those inward qualities were central ; in which 
case reiterated coincidence would suggest causation, and 
have the force of fact. 

There is one important function of correspondence to which 
we have slightly adverted, and upon which we must spend a 
few moments. All correspondence means conjunction, and 
produces it, for correspondence is nothing but harmony, and 
harmony is extended love. The body corresponds to the 
soul, and so the two cohere together, and both are alive. 
Now as the natural and spiritual senses of the Word corre- 
spond, so also they are closely united as a bbdy and a soul, 
and hence Swedenborg avers that the Word is the means 
of union between the world and heaven, and that to enter 
devoutly into its body or letter is to enter heaven upon earth, 
and to have the angels present in the inner sphere, and the 
Lord above all. In all nature God is present, but the 
Word is the immediate body of the divine wisdom, and in 
the body and no other circumstance, dwells the soul. 

Among the great topics treated of in the Arcana, is that 
of the process of resurrection from the dead, which Swe- 



denborg experienced, in order to make it known.* Birth 
into the other life is better attended than births into this 
world. It is a work of celestial skill, committed to pecu- 
liar aneels. They occupy the heart of the dying man, 
and uniting with it, isolate him from all lower spirits. They 
sit at his head, and communicate their thoughts with his 
face, so that another face is induced upon him; indeed 
two faces, for there are two angels. When they find that 
their faces are received by him, they know that he is dead. 
They discourse with his soul by still vibrations of the lips. 
They bend the scents of death into fragrance ; for an aro- 
matic odor as of embalmment exhales from the corpse in 
their presence, whose perfume wards away evil spirits. They 
keep his thoughts in the pious frame usual at the point 
of death ; and converse with him by *^ cogitative speech." 
Swedenborg perceived, as they were assiduous about him, 
that they made light of all fallacies and falsities, not treat- 
ing them with ridicule, but discarding them as nothings. 
He felt 'his own pulse during their union with his heart. 
After the celestial have communicated the novitiate's first 
life, the spiritual succeed them, and unroll the films from 
his eyes, introducing him into spiritual liffht. He then 
enters upon his own faculties, and at first is happy and 
joyful, the good spirits remaining with him whilst he desires 
them ; but at length he follows his own life, and procures 
his own associates, good or evil. In cases of natural death 
resurrection takes place on the third day after decease. The 
force which causes it, is the vivid spiritual attraction of the 
Lord's mercy, which withdraws the vital substances from 
the intricacies of the body, and separates them, so that 
nothing living is left behind. Such is the mode. It is 
analogous to birth into this world, only that the growth 
of spiritual life is rapid compared with natural ; the new- 

'^ It happened to him March 1, 1748. See his Diary, 



bom man becoming adult and personal in a few days instead 
of many years. 

In the limited space of this bibgraphy, we cannot give 
even an idea of the contents of the Arcana, or of the spi- 
ritual sense, descriptiye of man's regeneration, which Swe- 
denborg evolves from the Scripture: but of the manner of 
the work we may say a few words with less injustice. Con- 
ceive then, gentle reader, twelve goodly 8vo. volumes (in 
English) written with such continued power that it seems 
as if eating, drinking and sleeping had never intervened 
between the penman and his page, so unbroken is the sub- 
ject, and so complete the sense. Add to the other health 
and harmony of this unflagging man, a memory of the 
most extraordinary grasp, which enabled him to administer 
the details of an intellect ranging through all truth on the 
one hand, and through the whole field of Scripture illus- 
tration and text upon the other. Then take into account 
the unity of the work from first to last; the constant refer- 
ence that binds all parts of it together, and shews the 
caution with which each strong affirmation is at first set 
down. Observe also the feUcity of phrase, the happiness 
of mind, the easy greatness, which shine along and dignify 
those serious pages. Remark also that the author does 
not deal in generalities, but sentence for sentence, and 
word for word, he translates his text into spiritual meaning, 
and criticises and supports himself with nearly every 
parallel text in the sacred writings. Literature, good 
reader, shews no similar case, and though the fate of it be 
left to the future, yet we may safely predict that it will 
be found impossible to refute it on its own grounds; and 
perhaps it would not be wise for thee to wait until a valid 
refutation shall come — in the production of a better inter- 
pretation, — one more worthy of God, and more serviceable 
to human weal. We say this that thou may est use what 


thou hasty bat nowise doubting that the Almighty has 
more to give, through other sons than Swedenborg. 

In 17S)6, on the 23rd of July, Swedenborg was in Stock- 
holm. This we learn incidentally from his Diary. It was 
in this year that a revolution was attempted in Sweden, and 
on the day above-mentioned, the leaders of the conspiracy, 
Count Brahe and Baron Horn, were executed in the capital. 
Swedenborg did not lose sight of Brahe when he was beyoDd 
the axe ; as the following passage reports : — 

** Of those who are resuscitated from the dead, and have 
made confession of faith in their last moments (Brahe). 

'^5099. Brahe was beheaded at 10 o'clock in the morning, 
and spoke vrith me at 10 at night ; that is to say, twelve 
hours after his execution. He was with me almost without 
interruption for several days. In two days' time he began 
to return to his former life, which consisted in loving worldly 
things, and after three days, he became as he was before 
in the world, and was carried into the evils that he had 
made his own before he died." 

This perhaps was the occasion to which Bobsahm aUndes 
in the following : " One day," says he, " as a criminal was 
led to the place of execution to be beheaded, I was by the 
side of Swedenborg, and asked him how such a person felt 
at the time of his execution. He answered, * When a man 
lays his head on the block, he loses all sensation. When 
he first comes into the spiritual world, and finds that he is 
living, he is seized with fear of his expected death, tries 
to escape, and is very much frightened. At such a moment 
no one thinks of anything but the happiness of heaven, or 
the misery of hell. Soon the good spirits come to him and 
instruct him where he is, and he is then left to follow his 
own inclinations, which soon lead him to the place where 
he remains for ever." 

In 1758, Swedenborg published in London the five fol- 

A.D. 1756-58.] COt7NT BRAHE. 103 

lowing works. 1. An account of the Last Judgment and 
the Destruction of Babylon; shewing that all the predic- 
tions in the Apocalypse are at this day fulfilled; being a 
relation of things heard and seen, 2. Concerning Heaven 
and its Wonders^ and concerning Hell, being a relation of 
things heard and seen, 3. On the White Horse mentioned 
in the Apocalypse, 4, On the Planets in our Solar System, 
and on those in the Starry Heavens; with an account of 
their inhabitants, and of their Spirits and Angels. 5. On 
the New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine, as revealed 
from Heaven, We have now to speak seriatim of these 

1 . Swedenhorg's Doctrine of the Last Judgment requires 
a short preface to understand it, hut unhke other accounts 
of the great assize, it comes into human history, and 
has a very intelligihle connexion with future progress. The 
earth, says he, is the seminary of the human race, and the 
spiritual world is their destination. Mankind are educated 
here through the senses in a natural hody, and after 
death their life continues with spiritual senses, and in a 
spiritual body. The supply of nutriment from earth to 
heaven, that is to say, of fresh human races, is perpetual, 
and will never cease; for every divine work represents infi- 
nity and eternity, and hence the generations of men in the 
natural world will continue for everlasting. The earth 
therefore will not be destroyed at the day of Judgment. 
Furthermore, all angels and spirits have once been men 
upon some planet; there is no direct creation of angels, 
bat every celestial inhabitant has risen according to his 
desert, from the ranks of mankind. Thus there is no 
finite being superior to man, and no substantial interme- 
diate between man and his Maker. Now it follows from 
this that as heaven is peopled from this world, the state of 
the spiritual world depends upon that of the natural. When 
the ages pour into it good and true persons, then the upper 


world ihiiyes, and its integrity is maintained: on the other 
hand when ages are declining, when hereditary Tices taint 
mankind, and posterity goes on from had to worse, then 
the human materials supplied to the inward world, disease, 
derange and threaten it. At such a time our foul ancestry 
collects above us and around us, and acting from behind 
upon the nature that we have inherited from them, and 
from aboTC upon our actual thoughts and lives, tends to 
environ us with a dense atmosphere of falsehood and 
iniquity. It is a common fallacy to suppose that we LVe 
by ourselves; our very inmost minds are immersed in the 
whole of humanity, they depend upon the entire past, as it 
is realized in those who have carried its spirit into the other 
life. When the spiritual world is crowded with unworthy 
ages, the light of heaven can no longer reach their descen- 
dants, for by the laws of the supernal order, the Lord's 
influence passes through the angelic heaven by distinct 
gradations into the world; and the latter being overhang 
by clouds of malignant and false natures, the beams of the 
celestial sun no longer reach it. Should this continue, the 
extinction of the human race, through vice and lawlessness, 
would at length ensue : and hence whenever mankind is 
falling, a special divine interposition alone can renew the 
broken order, restore the balance, revivify the earth, and 
present for the tottering heavens a fresh basis of establish- 
ment. Now this crisis has been imminent on this phinet 
three several times: once in the most ancient church, whose 
last judgment was typified by the flood: once when the 
Lord was in the world, and when He said, *' Now is the 
judgment of this world; now is the prince of this world 
cast out:" and again: "Be of good cheer; I have over- 
come the world." And a third time, teste Swedenborg, in 
1757> when the first Christian church was consummated; 
for it is to be observed that each judgment marks a divine 
epoch, or takes place at the end of a church, and a church 


comes to an end when it has no longer anj faith in conse- 
quence of having no charity. 

We observe that this doctrine of the last judgment is a 
kind of historical necessity^ if the other life be indeed real, 
and if this life prepare its subjects: if on the other hand 
dead men are to stand for nothing, and if either annihila- 
tion, or any other piece of philosophy, such as the soul 
lying in the body's grave, be admitted, then is history 
cut from behind us every hour, and we stand as discon- 
nected mortals in its broken chains; in which case the 
affiliation of ages to each other is mere fortuity, and gene- 
ration itself is only an ideal game. Belief in immortality 
however — belief in the enduring manhood of mankind, im- 
plies a belief in the substance and power of the dead, and 
to leave them out of the historic calculus, would be like 
omitting from the forces of the world its imponderable and 
atmospheric powers, which are the very brains and lungs 
of its movements, though, save by their effects, invisible 
and quasi spiritual. 

Now the Christian church had been declining from the 
days of the Apostles, with whom it was first founded in 
love and simple faith. It had decUned through the anger 
and hatred of the Christians ; through their violence and 
bloody wars ; through their love of dominion in a kingdom 
where all were to be servants ; through their love of the 
world in a state whose early builders had all things in com- 
mon, and in which the Lord's morrow would take care of 
itself; through their councils where the human mind 
erected itself in session upon the truths of God, and made 
them into coverings for human sins; through the popedom, 
which sat upon the vacant throne of the Messiah; through 
the reformation, which kindled fresh hostilities and pas- 
sions, and brought into clear separation the mind and heart 
of the church, writing up justification by faith on the hall 
of the concourse of evil-doers: finally through the wide 



spread Atheism which found too valid an excuse in the 
manifold abominations of the Christians. Through these 
stages had the church proceeded^ and in 1757 the measure 
was full, the race upon earth had seen the last remnant of 
the heaTenlj azure disappear, and the thick night had 
closed in. For all these deeds had been carried upwards, 
and re-transacted with fresh power and malignity in the 
spiritual world; their several ages were still extant, and 
busily at work for themselves, as well as in the souls of 
their posterity. 

The judgment required could not take place in nature, 
but where all are together, and therefore in the spiritual 
world, and not upon the earth. This article from Sweden- 
borg also depends upon an acknowledgment of the reality 
of the life after death; also that heaven and hell are from 
mankind exclusively, and that all who have been bom since 
the creation are in one or the other of them. Moreover 
no one is judged from the natural man, or therefore in the 
natural world, but from the spiritual man, and therefore 
in the spiritual world, where he is known as he really is. 
If men judge of actions by the spirit, surely God judges of 
them by the spirit much more purely; that is to say, in 
the real and collective sense, judges the race in the spi- 
ritual world. And to conclude these reasons, those who 
have died are already fully embodied, will need no resur- 
rection of their poor flesh, and will not and cannot return 
to earth to seek it. 

This judgment of which we are treating is no vindictive 
assize, such as we are unaccustomed to in this world, but 
veritably spiritual historic, like the greatest judgments 
which are written in the records of nations, like the least 
which are pronounced from the bench by the law. Nay 
history in its fluctuations represents these divine settlements 
and periods better than anything else; and moreover attests 
them, simply because it proceeds from them. When the 

A.D. 1757.] TRIAL AND JUDGMENT. 107 

vice and pomp of empires stop the world's progress, and 
new eras struggle vainly for birth against the powers that 
be, then comes in the hand of God, and restores the 
balance, by removing the high places where sin has dwelt. 
And so in the spiritual world. God and his ministers are 
there more plainly, and the largest rights and the equi- 
hbrium of universes are then decided in their proper 
assize. Such visitations have been periodical, and are not 
reserved for the end of time, but rather occur near its 
beginning, to make the course of heaven free for the eman- 
cipated generations. The time when the tares and the 
wheat are separated, is not at the end of harvests, but 
the future has the benefit of the separation, harvests innu- 
merable are gathered thereafter, and fertility only begins 
when the weeds are exterminated. So also it is that the 
diviner epochs of the world cannot open until the Day 
of Judgment is past. 

The judgment of 1757, comprised all those who had left 
the world since our Lord's coming, those who had lived pre- 
viously having been tried in the judgment which was effected 
during His advent. It took effect, however, principally 
upon only one section of that great multitude of spirits. 
For there are in the spiritual world three departments ; 
viz., heaven, where those are received who are decisively 
good ; hell, or the abode of the contrary persons ; and the 
intermediate state, called the world of spirits, where all 
are at first assembled, and where those who can keep up 
the outward semblance of order, whether they be good or 
bad, are congregated so long as their inward nature does 
not disclose itself. It was in the latter receptacle that 
the current of respectable and professing Christendom 
had disembogued its hourly myriads, and there, under the 
varnish of goodness and religion, many had built up their 
doctrinal cities, and engendered false heavens and apparent 
churches. Thence they radiated darkness upon the earth. 


and communicatiiig with heaven hj their excellent seeming, 
and with heU by their hearts, they suffocated and extin- 
guished the divine light which flowed down worldwards 
from above the heavens. The dispersion of this great 
hypocrisy was the divine object of the judgment, and con- 
sequently the preservation of the balance between heaven 
and hell, on which human freedom is founded. "The first 
heaven and the first earth" composed of the above associa- 
tions, " passed away" in the foUowing manner. 

The nations and peoples of seventeen centuries were ar- 
ranged spiritually, each according to its race and genius : 
those of the reformed churches in the middle, the Romanists 
around them, the Mahometans in a still outer ring, and 
the various Gentiles constituting a vast circumference to 
the area, while beyond all the appearance as of a sea was 
the boundary. This arrangement was determined by each 
nation's general faculty of receiving divine truths. Visita- 
tion was then made by angels, and admonition given, and 
the good were singled out and separated by the heavenly 
ministers. Then there appeared a stormy cloud above those 
seeming heavens, occasioned by the Lord's especial pre- 
sence, for guard and protection, in the lowest plane of the 
real heavens ; and as his divine influence came in contact 
with the falsity and evil of those who were to be judged, 
their inward parts were manifested, and their characters 
roused ; in consequence of which they rushed into enor- 
mities. Then were there great spiritual earthquakes, signs 
also from heaven terrible and great, and distress of nations, 
the sea and the salt water roaring. These changes of state 
were accompanied by concussions of their houses and lands, 
and gaps were made towards the hells underneath, commu- 
nication with which was opened, wherefrom there were 
seen exhalations ascending as of smoke mingled with sparks 
of fire. At this time the Lord appeared in a bright cloud 
with angels, and a sound was heard as of trumpets — a siga 

A.D. 1757.] THE DAY OF JUDGMENT. 109 

of the protection of the angels by the Lord, and of the 

gathering of the good from every quarter. Then all who 

were about to perish were seen in the likeness of a great 

dragon^ with its tail extended in a curve and raised towards 

heaven, brandishing about, as though to destroy and draw 

down heaven ; but the tail was cast down, and the dragon 

sank beneath. Afterwards the whole foundation subsided 

into the deep, and every nation, society and person was 

committed to a scene corresponding outwardly with his own 

genus, species, and variety of evil ; and in this manner 

the neVr hells — ^the prison houses of the first Christian 

epoch were formed and arranged. 

"After this there was joy in heaven and light in the world 
of spirits, such as was not before ; and the interposing 
clonds between heaven and mankind being removed, a 
similar light also then arose on men in the world, giving 
them new enlightenment." Such is Swedenborg's account 
of that new day that dawned in the last century, and which 
shines onward since to joy and freedom. 

"Then," says Swedenborg, "I saw angeUc spirits in 
great numbers rising from below, and received into heaven. 
They were the sheep, who had been kept and guarded by 
the Lord for ages back, lest they should come into the 
malignant sphere of the dragonists, and their charity be 
suffocated. These persons are understood in the Word by 
the bodies of saints which arose from their sepulchres and 
went into the holy city ; by the souls of those slain for the 
testimony of Jesus, and who were watching ; and by those 
who are of the first resurrection." 

Of these occurrences onr Author was a witness in the 
spiritual world, and for many years before they happened 
he had a presage of them, though neither he nor the angels 
knew of the period, agreeably to the declaration, that of 
that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are 
in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Yet in his 


Diary (Feb. 13th, 1748, n. 765) he records, that "57, or 
1657, has been shewn him in vision ; the numbers were 
written before his ejes, but he did not well know what 
they meant." It was a forecast of this judgment, which 
happened in the year 1757, and took many months to 
execute. The Romanists were judged first, the Protestants 
at some interval afterwards. 

Since the last judgment no one is allowed to remain in 
the world of spirits more than 30 years, whereas previously 
to that event, many had been there for centuries. There 
will be no more general judgments, because the way to the 
final state is now laid down for ever, and the outward man 
can no longer differ from the inward in the spiritual world. 

We have dwelt thus long upon Swedenborg's doctrine 
and description of the Judgment, because it illustrates the 
pretensions of his writings in an extraordinary manner, 
and is the postulate of the descent of a new dispensation 
to the earth, of which he announced himself to be the 
messenger. Moreover it explains his views of the future, 
and authorizes him in a certain sense to break with history, 
to discard the philosophical stream that has come down 
through the middle ages, and to look for new developments 
of the race in no mere perfectioning of the past. It was 
the church of the New Jerusalem which began to descend 
from God out of heaven when in 1757 the "age" of pri- 
mitive Christianity had been " consummated." 

2. The next work which we have to notice is his doctrinal 
narrative of Heaven and Hell, a book which though suffi- 
ciently remarkable, yet quells literary criticism. We would 
fain speak of its power, but are wrested irresistibly from 
that purpose, and compelled to canvass its truth. We would 
fain discuss its beauty and sublimity, but its good and 
service will have all place. We feel invited to test its reality 
by evidence, but its moral power appeals only to self-evi- 
dence. It belongs in short to a new literature, shaping and 

A.D. 1758.]- HEAVEN AND HELL. Ill 

fashioning itself from within : it is a spiritnal growth, and 
though you maj either adopt or set it aside, you can neither 
praise nor hlame it. This is one reason why Swedenborg^s 
works have obtained such little notice; they are too imper- 
sonal : you may speak roughly to them, but they do not 
answer : nothing but harmony or sympathy comprehends 
them, or elicits a response. To mere criticism they are life- 
less and uninteresting. Their region lies away from brawls. 
The most spirited impugner does not even contradict them, 
because he is not where they are. The ether can only be 
moved by the ether, or by something still more tranquil. 

The work we are considering is on the life and laws of 
heaven and hell. It comprises their universal gravitation, 
the appearances and realities of their inward cosmogony 
not less than the fates of their single inhabitants. It is at 
once human and immense ; the soul's sphere become the 
law and order of a divine creation. It is no ghostly nar- 
rative, but substantial like earthly landscapes, only that 
vices and virtues are its moving springs, and it is plastic 
before the eminent life of man. Here are the circum- 
cumstances to which the heart aspires, and the justice which 
the poets feign. Here the attributes of deity are conferred 
in the largest measure upon the creature, and every man 
lives in a world minutely and changefuUy answering to his 
mind and Hfe. 

Space and time, with all their contents, that is to say, 
the universal world, determined by love and wisdom, and 
corresponding, object for subject, with the latter — these 
constitute the spiritual world. In the heavens, therefore, 
all are near to God, because all love him, and love is near- 
ness ; moreover all are near to each other in proportion to 
mutual love ; and hence the law of love being the space- 
maker, combines all into the most exact and just societies ; 
a neighborhood is a special affection, a district is an affection 
more general, and so forth. Love is combination, decline 


of love is remoTaly hatred is opposition and contrariety of 
space. All moreover are surrounded by lovely and produc- 
tive objects by the same law^ for love is with these objects, 
and they with love. Heaven therefore clothes itself with 
all beauty. The opposite to this is the case with hell, 
whose inhabitants are indeed combined by similarity of 
passion, but discord reigns in their terrible coagulations : 
all that is deformed and foul in nature is already in the 
hells, whose loves it effigies, and whose outward kingdom 
it is. In both states all the objects are spiritual-real ; the 
sun of heaven, never setting, but always in the east, is 
the sphere of the Lord ; its heat is his goodness and its 
light his truth. In hell there is no sun, but the inhabitants 
roam in darkness corresponding to themselves, for they are 
darkness ; their light is artificial, as of coal fires, meteors, 
ignes fatui, and the lights of night; they inhabit scenery 
of which they are the souls, as bogs, fens, tangled forests, 
caverns, charred and ruined cities. Such is the grouping 
of man towards Gk)d, of man also to his fellow man, and 
of man towards the forms of creation. It is the law of 
love become all-constructive, and extending organically 
through space and time, that produces the order of heaven 
and hell. 

Heaven is supremely human, — nay more, it is one man. 
As the members of the body 'make one person, so before 
Grod, all good men make one humanity : every society of 
them is a heavenly man in a lesser form, and every angel 
in a least. The reason is, that Grod himself is an Infinite 
Man, and he shapes his heaven into his own image and 
likeness, even as he made Adam. The oneness of heaven 
comes from God's unity ; its manhood from his humanity. 
Heaven has, therefore, all the members, organs, and vis- 
cera of a man ; its* angel-inhabitants, every one, are in 
some province of the Grand Man. Indefinite myriads of us 
go to a fibre of humanity. Some are in the province of the 

A.D. 1758.] HEAVEN AND HELL. 113 

brain ; some in that of the lungs ; some in that of the 
heart ; some in those of the bell j ; some are in the legs 
and arms ; and all» wherever humanized, that is to saj, 
located in humanity, perform spiritually the offices of that 
part of the body whereto they correspond. They all work 
together, however spaced apparently, just as the parts of 
a single man. Their space is but their palpable liberty, 
and they touch the human atoms next them more closely, 
by offices which unite them in Grod, than the contiguous 
fibres of our flesh. Nothing can intervene between those 
whom Grod has joined, but the visible grandeur of all things 
at once cements and emancipates them. 

Hell, on the other hand, is one monster, compact of all 
spiritual diseases, and compressed into one hideous unity. 
It works by coercions for all those evil uses that human 
uature, evil in its ground, requires for its subsistence. It 
stands against heaven, foot to foot, member against mem- 
ber, and province against province. In its collective capa- 
city it is the devil and Satan ; the devil is the name and 
style of its evil, and Satan that of its falsehood. 

Grood and evil spirits are attendant upon every man ; he 
receives from them all his thoughts and emotions. The 
good are ever busy, pouring in tendencies to virtue, with 
intellectual power to apprehend and execute it; the evil are 
always attempting to drug us with contrary influences. In 
the balance between their agencies, our freedom lives. Our 
trials and temptations arise from these opposing powers, 
each of which struggles to possess us for itself. The Lord 
moderates the conflict, and continually preserves the equi- 
librium. This doctrine is a consequence of the oneness of 
all creatures, and of their spiritual connectedness, for how 
can beings so powerful as angels and spirits, and so imme- 
diately above and beneath us, fail to operate upon us in 
their own sphere? Man being only a recipient organ, it 
is in the nature of things that the creatures next him in 


the scale, should out of their more suhtle life oommunicate 
themselyes in vibrations to his brain and bodily organs, 
constituting his outward spiritual world, which he receiyes 
according to his own freedom. His lifelong choice of these 
influences determines his state after death, when he goes 
to his fathers, that is to say, to those yery persons of whom 
he has made himself an adopted son, by doing their work 
in this lower world. So by his deeds here, he chooses his 
company for eyer. 

The maintenance of a world like the spiritual gives a 
new idea of the divine almightiness. Where every thought 
becomes real, how consummate the order must be, to pre- 
serve the harmony. Imagine this world, if all our desires 
and thoughts took effect upon their objects! What de- 
struction would ensue! What exquisiteness of spiritual 
association then is requisite to perpetuate such a state! 
What communion of joys there must be in the heavens 1 
What instant crushing of lusts in the hells ! The same 
divine love that is softer than morning in the one, must be 
chains of adamant in the other, or the inward universe 
would go to pieces in a moment. Verily such a society 
requires an active God. 

Our limits forbid other details, but we beg the thonghtiul 
reader to notice the coherency of Swedenborg's narration, and 
on consulting the Heaven and Hell, to observe the reality 
which pervades it. Undoubtedly it portrays such a world 
as this world prepares for; yea, such as this world would 
be if it could. Our sympathies reach up into it ; our trades 
and professions are learnt for it ; our inner bodies are formed 
in and like our outer to inhabit it; our loves and friendships 
are perpetuated in it if we please ; already our worship 
traverses it to God ; our Bible in its spiritual splendor is 
there; our Saviour in his humanity is its soul; and indeed, 
such a world is the home for which our nature, and all 
nature yearns. Ah ! you will reply, it is too much founded 

A.D. 1758.] HEAVEN AND HELL. 115 

upon human love, and too congenial to onr eldest thoughts ! 
There is truth in the objection. 

After perusing such an apocalypse, what a trifler seems 
the parliament of philosophers debating the immortality of 
the soul. It is as though, at this date, we should examine 
the eTidenoe for the existence of mankind. Once for aU, 
the question is killed ; and whether Swedenborg be a true 
seer or not, he has convinced us at any rate that the Platos 
and Catos, Seneca and Cicero, were ineffectual because not 
yisionary, and that their words are henceforth waste where 
not experimental. Worlds can only be explored by travellers 
thither ; reason and guessing at a distance are futile, unless 
the feet can be plucked from the old goutiness, the mind 
quit its fixed thoughts, and the eye alight upon the facts. 
The conditions of spiritseeing are as those of nature-seeing : 
the man and the sight must come together. 

But the eternity of hell, — ^what does Swedenborg say of 
that momentous creed ? In the first place, he denies that 
any existence is fundamentally punishment, but on the 
contrary, delight. Hell consists of all the delights of evil ; 
heaven, of all those of goodness. The Lord casts no one 
into hell, but those who are there cast themselves thither, 
and keep themselves where they are. It is the last dogma 
of free will, — that of a finite being perpetuating for ever 
his own evil, standing fast to selfishness without end, ex- 
cluding Omnipotence in all its dispensations, and making 
the " will not" into an everlasting " cannot," to maintain 
itself out of heaven, and contrary to heaven. The ques- 
tion is, whether it is true of man experimentally; and 
fiirther, whether any conceivable benevolence can invent 
reform for every sinner ? Damnation is a practical question. 
If our human statesmen can abolish the prison and the 
transportation, the fine and punishment, and draw all 
men into the social bond, then doubtless the Divine Buler 
who works through our means, will accomplish more than 


this in the upper region in the fulness of his eternal days : 
but until all the wickedness of this world can be absorbed 
and conyerted^ we see little hope from practice for the ab- 
negation of the hells. They are, says Swedenborg, the 
prisons of the spiritual world, and every indulgence com- 
patible with the ends of conserving and blessing the uni- 
verse, is accorded to the prisoners. Moreover, the unhappy 
are not tormented by conscience, for they have no con- 
science, but their misery* arises from that compression 
which is necessary to keep within bounds those who are 
not in harmony with the Divine love, and the outgoings of 
whose terrible life cannot be permitted by the Lord. Lusts 
which truth and goodness cannot recognize are the worm 
that never dies, and the fire that is not quenched. The 
collision of falsehoods is the gnashing of hell's teeth. Tet 
the unhappiest are immortal, because they have an inalien- 
able capacity to love and acknowledge God, and this eapor 
eUy for union with Him, whether exerted or not, is the 
postulate of religion and the seed of immortality. 

The mistake hitherto has lain in conceiving the future 
life as too unlike the present, — as replete with divine inter- 
ventions; whereas the divinity works in both worlds 
through human means, and in the limits which He sets to 
his power, creates the freedom of his children. Within 
that freedom filled with his laws, (and freedom itself is but 
his widest law,) he allows mankind to help themselves, 
and by personal efforts, whether individual or social, to 
rise or fall, as the case may be. It is only where freedom 
works itself out and begins to die — when sin grows in- 
voluntary, and the heavenly space granted to a world 
is corrupt and perishing, that a Divine intervention takes 
place, and a new religion or reattachment to God is effected 
thereby. But Omnipotence meddles not with that pure 
power which it has previously given away. 

3. But we have now to follow our spiritual traveller through 


extremely foreign journeys — ^through the planets of our own 
universe, and into distant solar systems. Ever since as- 
tronomy taught us that the stars are estates like our own 
world, we have acquired a curiosity about them ; we desire 
to know whether any, and what sort of persons, dwell 
there ; and if we can affirm inhabitants, the faith takes a 
heart which beats with a natural throb and foretaste of 
acquaintanceship. Friendship and intercourse with the 
starry people is a want with every faithful child; Grod gives 
all an affectionate curiosity ample to enfold Orion and the 
Dogstar. Swedenborg felt this too, for he knew as much 
as the astronomers, and had moreover rooted himself in the 
belief that a means so immense as the sun-strewn firma- 
ment was not meant for the little mankind and the little 
heaven of one planet, but for human races indefinite in 
extent, variety, and function. Moreover, the Grand Man 
or heaven is so immense, as to require the inhabitants of 
myriads of earths to constitute it ; those whom our own 
earth supplies nourish but a patch in the skin of universal 
humanity ; there requires immortal food for every other 
part, and planetary seminaries in divine profusion where 
men are reared. The plurality of the angels perfects heaven, 
just as the multitude and variety of good affections perfects 
the human mind. Our traveller, therefore, knew that the 
stars were full of people, and he soon found that they were 
not inaccessible. 

One means of interooarse with other worlds is as follows. 
The spirits and angels deceased from each planet, are, by 
spiritual affinity, near that planet. Every man also is a 
spirit in his inward essence ; and if the proper eyes be 
opened, can communicate with other spirits. In the higher 
world into which he is thus admitted, space and time are 
not fixed, but are states of love and thought. Now this 
being the case, the passage through states or variations of 
the mind itself, takes the place of passage through spaces. 


Passage through states is spiritual travelling. Hence when 
Swedenborg was ten hours in one instance, and two days 
in another, in reaching certain of the planets, he implies 
that the changes of state in his mind whereby he approxi- 
mated to the native spirits of that orb, went on for such a 
time, or rather were of such a quality. So also if any 
spirit could be brought into the same state with the spirits 
of Saturn, he would then be with them, because similarity 
of state in the spiritual world is sameness of place. Now 
being thus with the spirits of any particular earth, if the 
men of that earth had communication with spirits (which 
Swedenborg avers to be the case with nearly every planet 
but our own), the traveller, through the spirits, might 
have intercourse with the inhabitants, and might see the 
surface of their earth through their eyes. It was by this 
circle that our author visited several worlds, his variations 
and approximations being directed by the Lord, all for the 
moral purpose that we might know experimentally that 
man is the end of the universe, and that where there are 
worlds there are men, and that we might be taught the 
immensity, and somewhat of the plan and constitution, of 
the inward heavens. 

'' Man," says Swedenborg, " was so created, that whilst 
living in the world among men, he should also live in hea- 
ven among the angels, and vice verad; to the end that 
heaven and the world might be united in essence and action 
in him ; and that men might know what there is in heaven, 
and angels what there is in the world ; and that when men 
die, they might pass from the Lord's kingdom on earth to 
the Lord's kingdom in the heavens, not as into another 
thing, but as into the same, wherein they also were when 
they were living in the body." 

The particulars which our author has given respecting 
other worlds are homely enough, and more remarkable on 
the spiritual than on the material side. The spirits of 



Mercury, we learn, are the royers of the inner uniyerse, a 
corioas correspondence with the style of the heathen Mer- 
cury — the messenger of the gods. They belong to a pro- 
yince of the memory in the Grand Man, and as the memory 
requires constant supplies to store it with knowledge, so the 
Mercurials, who are the memories of humanity, are em- 
powered to wander about, and acquire knowledges in eyery 
place. The people of the Moon are dwarfs, and do not 
speak from the lungs, but from a quantity of air collected 
in the abdomen, because the moon has not an atmosphere 
like that of other earths : which suggests the analogy of 
certain of the lower animals that gulp down the air, and giye 
it out again in a pecahar manner ; among others a spedes 
of frog, which ooakes thereby a thundering sound Uke that 
attributed by our traveller to the Lunarians. They corres- 
pond in the Grand Man to the ensiform cartilage at the 
bottom of the breast bone. It is remarkable as showing 
the limits of spiritual seership, that Swedenborg speaks of 
Saturn as the last planet of our system ; his privilege of 
vision not enabling him to anticipate the place of Herschel. 

The theological particulars in the book are important. 
We are told that the good in all worlds worship one God 
under a human form: that the Lord was born on this earth 
because it is the lowest and the most sensual, and hence, 
the fitting place for the Word to be made flesh. By virtue 
however of the incarnation here, the divine humanity is 
realized for the entire universe in the other life, all being 
there instructed in the realities of redemption, and their 
inward ideas thereby united to that stupendous fact. Swe- 
denborg' s work now under consideration, may be charac- 
terized as a Report on the Religion of the Universe. 

4. The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine is a trea- 
tise on spiritual ethics, delivering in a clear manner the 
practical part of the author's system. The reader of it will 
gain a high idea of the moral requirements that Swedenborg 


makes upon him. .One doctrine brought out in strong 
relief is the superiority of the affectional to the intellectual 
element, the predominance of good over truth, of charity 
over faith, and of deeds over words, before God. Prior to 
Swedenborg, the human loves or affections were little con- 
sidered, but he shews that they are our very life, that 
intelhgence is their minister, and that their condition deter- 
mines our lot in the future world. There is no point in 
his psychology more brilliantly vindicated than this main 
law of the power of love. At the end of the work we have 
his ideas on ecclesiastical and civil government, which are 
eminently those of conjoint liberty and order. The Lord's 
ministers are to claim no power over souls, and he who 
differs in opinion ftom the minister, is peaceably to enjoy 
his sentiments, provided he makes no disturbance. The 
dignity of offices is only annexed to persons, but does not 
belong to them. The sovereignty itself is not in any per- 
son, but is annexed to the person. Whatever king believes 
contrary to this, is not wise. Absolute monarchs who 
believe that their subjects are slaves, to whose goods and 
lives they have a right, are ''not kings, but tyrants." 

One cannot but regret the absence of biographical details 
from this part of Swedenborg' s history. The reason doubt- 
less is, that whilst in London, (where we presume he spent 
a good share of the time from 1747 to 1758,) he had no 
acquaintance with whom he sympathized on the subjects 
that now interested him. It was probably not until his 
theological works had been for years before the public, that 
he became acquainted with those English friends who have 
left some record of him. Previously to this, he was known 
only to those with whom he lodged, or had business. Mrs. 
Lewis, his publisher's wife, knew him ; and " thought him 
a good and sensible man, but too apt to spiritualize things." 
He was also fond of the company of his printer, Mr. Hart, 
of Poppin's Court, Fleet Street, and used often to spend 

A.D. 1758-59.] THE FIRE OF STOCKHOLM. 121 

the evening there. But these worthy people contribute no 
particulars to our biography. 

Swedenborg was probably in London during the latter 
part of 1 758 ; the year in which the works that we have 
just been speaking of, were printed. We find him return- 
ing to Grottenburg from England on the 19th of July, 1759, 
and here he gave a public proof that he had a more 
spacious eyesight than was usual in his day. Immanuel 
Kant, the transcendental philosopher, shall be our histo- 
rian of the occurrence that took place. 

" On Saturday, at 4 o'clock, p.m." says Kant, " when 
Swedenborg arrived at Gottenburg from England, Mr. 
William Castel invited him to his house, together with a 
party of fifteen persons. About 6 o'clock, Swedenborg 
went out, and after a short interval returned to the com- 
pany, quite pale and alarmed. He said that a dangerous 
fire had just broken out in Stockholm, at the Sudermalm 
(Grottenburg is 300 miles from Stockholm), and that 
it was spreading very fast. He was restless, and went out 
often. He said that the house of one of his friends, whom 
he named, was already in ashes, and that his own was in 
danger. At 8 o'clock, after he had been out again, he 
joyfully exclaimed, 'Thank God! the fire is extinguished, 
the third door from my house.' This news occasioned 
great commotion through the whole city, and particularly 
amongst the company in which he was. It was announced 
to the governor the same evening. On the Sunday morn- 
ing, Swedenborg was sent for by the governor, who 
questioned him concerning the disaster. Swedenborg de- 
scribed the fire precisely, how it had begun, in what 
manner it had ceased, and how long it had continued. On 
the same day the news was spread through the city, and, 
as the governor had thought it worthy of attention, the 
consternation was considerably increased; because many 
were in trouble on account of their friends and property, 



which might have been inyolved in the disaster. On the 
Monday evenings a messenger arrived at Gottenbaig, who 
was despatched during the time of the fire. In the letters 
brought by him, the fire was described precisely in the 
manner stated by Swedenborg. On the Tuesday morning 
the royal courier arrived at the governor's, with the melan- 
choly intelligence of the fire, of the loss which it had 
occasioned, and of the houses it had damaged and mined, 
not in the least differing from that which Swedenboi^ had 
given immediately it had ceased; for the fire was extm- 
guished at 8 o'clock. 

*' What can be brought forward against the authenticity 
of this occurrence? My friend who wrote this to me, has 
not only examined the circumstances of this extraordinary 
case at Stockholm, but also, about two months f^, at 
Gottenburg, where he is acquainted with the most respec- 
table houses, and where he could obtain the most authentic 
and complete information; as the greatest part of the inha- 
bitants, who are still alive, were witnesses to the memor- 
able occurrence." 

Kant had sifted this matter, and also that of the Queen 
of Sweden (p. 126-7 below), to the utmost, by a circle of en- 
quiries, epistolary as well as personal ; and his narrative is 
found in a letter to one Charlotte de Knobloch, a lady of 
quality, written in 1768, two years after Kant had attacked 
Swedenborg in a small work entitled, DreatM of a Ghost Seer 
illustrated by Dreams of Metaphysics, His account comes, 
therefore, as a suitable testimony. But what proof is so 
good as the reappearance of the facts ? Powers and events 
of the kind are now common enough not to excite suiprize 
from their rarity. Mesmerism produces a per centage of 
seers equal occasionally to such achievements. Nay, but 
the faculty of transcending the horizon of space and the 
instance of time, is as old as history: there have always 
been individuals who in vision of a higher altitude, saw 

A.D. 1759.] CLAIRVOYANCE. 123 

the refractions of the distant and the future painted upon 
the curtains of the present. At any rate Swedenborg was 
aware of the faculty long before he came a seer. Thus in 
his Animal Kingdom^ Fart VII., p. 237, when speaking of 
the soul's state after death, he has the following, illustrative 
of its powers. ** I need not mention," says he, ** the mani- 
fest sympathies acknowledged to exist in this lower world, 
and which are too many to be recounted: so great being 
the sympathy and magnetism of man, that communication 
often takes place between those who are miles apart. Sach 
statements are regarded by many as absurdities, yet ex- 
perience proves their truth. Nor will I mention that the 
ghosts of some have been presented visibly after death 
and burial;" &c., &c. To account for events like Sweden- 
borg's vision of the fire of Stockholm, (which also Eob- 
sahm says that he foretold,) we need not pierce the vault 
of nature; this world has perfections, mental, imponderable, 
and even physical, equivalent to supply the sense. The 
universe is telegraphically present to itself in every tittle, or 
it would be no universe. There are also slides of eyes in 
mankind as an Individual, adequate to converting into sen- 
sation all the quick correspondence that exists between things 
by magnetism and other kindred message bearers. It is 
however only fair to Swedenborg to say, that he laid no 
stress on these incidental marvels, but devoted himself to 
bearing witness to a far more peculiar mission. 

There is no doubt that the rumor of this affair soon 
travelled to Stockholm, and coupled with the strange repute 
in which SWedienborg was already held, stimulated curiosity 
about him on his return to the capital. The clergy, as 
may be imagined, were not unconcerned spectators of the 
doings of one so intimately connected with some of the 
highest dignitaries of the Lutheran church. At first he 
had spoken freely to them of his spiritual intercourse, but 
perceiving their displeasure excited, he became more cau- 



tious. A circumstance that occarred shewed that eyen at 
this time (1760) thej were longing to exercise a superin- 
tendence over him. They observed that he seldom went 
to church, or partook of the Holy Supper. This was owing 
partly to the contrariety of the Lutheran doctrine to his 
own ideas, and partly, Bobsahm says, to the disease of 
the stone which troubled him. In 1 760 two bishops, his 
relations, remonstrated with him in a friendly manner upon 
his remissness. He answered that religious observances 
were not so necessary for him as for others, as he was asso- 
ciated with angels. They then represented that his example 
would be valuable, by which he suffered himself to be per- 
suaded. A few days previously to receiving the Sacrament, 
he asked his old domestics to whom he should resort for 
the purpose, for '' he was not much acquainted with the 
preachers." The elder chaplain was mentioned. Sweden- 
borg objected that " he was a passionate man and a fiery 
zealot, and that he had heard him thundering from the 
pulpit with little satisfaction." The assistant-chaplain was 
then proposed, who was not so popular with the congrega- 
tion. Swedenborg said, "I prefer him to the other, for I 
hear that he speaks what he thinks, and by this means has 
lost the goodwill of his people, as generally happens in this 
world." Accordingly he took the Sacrament from this 

It was not however the clergy alone who felt an interest 
in watching his career, but he had become an object of 
curiosity to all classes. Supernaturalism has charms for 
every society, whether atheistic or Christian, savage or 
civilized, scientific or poetic. May we not say, that it is 
the undercharm of all other interests, and that from child- 
hood upwards the main expectation of every journey, the 
hope of every uncovering, the joy of every new man and 
bright word, is, that we may come at length somewhere 
upon that mortal gap which opens to the second life. Su- 

A.D. 1760-61.] THE LIVING AND THE DEAD. 125 

pernaturalism in all ages has had also a commercial side, 
and has been coltivated as a means to regain missing pro- 
perty, or to discover hidden treasures. The good people 
of Stockholm were perhaps spiritual chiefly in this latter 
direction. It was in 1761 that Swedenborg was consulted 
on an affair of the kind by a neighbor of his, the widow 
of Lewis Von Marteville, who had been ambassador from 
Holland to Sweden. Curiosity too was a prompting motive 
in her visit ; and she went to the seer with several ladies of 
her acquaintance, all eager to have ''a near view of so 
strange a person." Her husband had paid away 25,000 
Dutch guilders, and the widow being again appUed to for 
the money, could not produce the receipt. She asked Swe- 
denborg whether he had known her husband, to which he 
answered in the negative, but he promised her, on her 
entreaty, that if he met him in the other world, he would 
enquire about the receipt. Eight days afterwards Von 
Marteville in a dream told her where to find the receipt, as 
well as a hair-pin set with brilliants, which had been given 
up as lost. This was at 2 o'clock in the morning, and the 
widow, alarmed yet pleased, rose at once, and found the 
articles, as the dream described. She slept late in the 
morning. At 1 1 o'clock a.m. ^wedenborg was announced. 
His first remark, before the lady could open her lips, was, 
that '' during the preceding night he had seen Von Mar- 
teville, and had wished to converse with him, but the latter 
excused himself, on the ground that he must go to discover 
to his wife something of importance." Swedenborg added 
that " he then departed out of the society in which he had 
been for a year, and would ascend to one far happier :" 
owing, we presume, to his being lightened of a worldly 
care. This account, attested as it is by the lady herself, 
through the Danish General, Von E , her second hus- 
band, was noised through all Stockholm. It ought to be 


added^ that Mmdame offered to make Swedenborg a hand- 
some present for hia servioea, but this he declined. 

It was in the same year (1761) that Louisa Ulrica, a 
sister of Frederick the Great of Prussia, and married to 
Adolphtts Frederick, King of Sweden, received a letter 
from the Duchess of Brunswick, in which she mentioned 
that she had read in the Gottingen Gazette, an account of 
a man at Stockholm, who pretended to speak with the dead, 
and ahe wondered that the Queen, in her correspondence, 
had not alluded to the subject. The Queen had no doubt 
heard of the Marteville affair, and this, coupled with het 
sister's desires, made her wish to satisfy herself by an in- 
terview with SwedenlxNTg. Captain de Stahlhammer out of 
many authorities is the one whose narrative we select of 
what passed at that interview. 

" A. short time," says Stahlhammer, *' after the death of 
the Prince of Prussia, Swedenborg came to court [being sum- 
moned thither by the s^oator. Count Scheffer]. As soon as 
he was perceived by the Queen, she said to him, * Well, 
Mr. Assessor, have you seen my brother?' SwedenbcNcg 
answered. No; whereupon she relied, ' If you should see 
him, remember me to him.' In saying this, she did but 
jest, and had no thought of asking him any information 
about her brother. Eight days afterwards, and not four 
and twenty hours, nor yet at a particular audience^ Sweden- 
borg came again to court, but so early that the Queen had 
not left her apartment called the white room, where she 
was conversing with her maids of honor and other ladies of 
the court. Swedenborg did not wait for the Queen's com- 
ing out, but entered directly into her apartment, and 
whispered in her ear. The Queen, struck with astonish- 
ment, was taken ill, and did not recover herself for some 
time. After she was come to herself, she said to those 
about her, ' There is only God and my brother who can 

A.D. 1761.] THS QUEEN OF SWEDEN. 127 

know what he has ju»t told tne* She owned that he had 
spoken of her last correspondence with the prince, the 
subject of which was known to themselves alone." 

''The only weakness/' adds the Captain, " of this truly 
honest man was his behef in the apparition of spirits; but 
I knew him for many years, and I can confidently affirm, 
that he was as fully persuaded that he conversed with 
spirits, as I am that I am writing at this moment. As a 
citizen, and as a fnend, he was a man of the greatest 
integrity, abhorring imposture, and leading an exempkry 

Did space allow, we could produce a Httle volume of 
testimony to the truth of these narrations, as well as fill 
them up with several interesting particulars. But we will 
only add what the Chevalier Baylon records of kU inter- 
view with Louisa Ulrica : '' I found an opportunily," says 
he, " of speaking with the Queen herself, who is now dead, 
concerning Swedenborg, and she told me herself, the anec- 
dote respecting herself and brother, with a conriction which 
appeaiced extraordinary to me. Every one who knew this 
truly enlightened sister of the great Frederick, will give me 
credit when I say, that she was by no means enthusiastic 
or fanatical, and that her entire mental character was wholly 
free from such conceits. Nevertheless, she appeared to me 
to be so convinced of Swedenborg's supernatural intercourse 
with spirits, that I scarcely durst venture to intimate some 
doubts, and to express my suspicion of secret intrigues ; 
for when she perceived my suspicion she said with a royal 
air, ' I am not easily duped ;' and thus she put an end to 
all my attempts at refutation." 

But neither Swedenborg's spiritual intercourses, nor the 
laborious works that he was composing, were an excuse to 
him for neglecting the affairs of this world when oppor- 
tunity required, and accordingly in 1761 we find him taking 
part in the deliberations of the Diet which met in January 


of that year. Three memorials are preserved which he pre- 
sented to the Swedish parliament : one, at the opening of 
the Diet, congratulating the Hoase upon its meeting, conn- 
selling the redress of grievances which might otherwise 
enable the disaffected to impair and destroy the constitution, 
and especially deprecating that systematic calumny which 
is not less destructive to the stability of governments than 
to public and private character. In this paper the quiet 
sage expresses his preference for that mixed form of monar- 
chy which then prevailed in Sweden, and he ends as he 
began it, with a powerful appeal to the members to obviate 
change by the prosecution of useful reforms. In the next 
memorial (whether they were spoken by himself from his 
place we do not know) he insists upon some of the same 
topics, but mainly upon the preservation of the liberties 
of the people, and upon the French in preference to the 
English alliance ; the latter being incompatible, as he said, 
with the bond between England and Hanover, which had 
formerly belonged to Sweden. He forcibly expresses the 
evils of despotic governments, in which full play is given 
to the hereditary vices of the sovereign, and denounces 
absolutism as alike injurious to the ruler and the people, 
observing that as for the latter, "it is unlawful for any 
one to deliver over his life and property to the arbitrary 
power of an individual ; for of these God alone is Lord 
and Master, and we are only their administrators upon 
earth." Especially alluding to the danger in which a 
country stands that is thus subject to an individual, from 
the subtle power of the papacy, he has the following, which 
may serve as a specimen of his style in these documents : — 
" It would be tedious to enumerate all the misfortunes 
and the grievous and dreadful consequences which might 
happen .here in the north under a despotic government; 
I will mention therefore only one — ^popish darkness, — and 
will endeavor to exhibit it in its true light. 


" We know from experience how the Bahylonian whore 
(which signifies the popish religion) fascinated and bewitched 
the reigning princes of Saxony, Cassel, and Zweibriicken, 
also the king of England, shortly before the honse of Han- 
over was called to the British throne, and how it is still 
dallying with the Pretender ; how in Prussia likewise, it 
tampered with the present king, when crown-prince, through 
his own father; not to mention Kiug Sigismund and Queen 
Christina in Sweden. We are well aware, too, how this 
whore is still going her rounds through the courts of re- 
formed Christendom. If, therefore, Sweden were an abso- 
lute monarchy, and this whore, who understands so well 
how to dissemble, and to adorn herself like a goddess, were 
to intrude herself into the cabinet of a future monarch, is 
there any reason why she should not as easily delude and 
infatuate him, as she did the above-mentioned kings and 
princes of Christendom? What opposition would there 
be, what means of self-protection, especially if the army, 
which is now upon a standing footing, were at the disposal 
of the monarch ? What could bishops and priests, toge- 
ther with the peasantry, do, against force, against the 
determination of the sovereign, and against the crafty cun- 
ning of the Jesuits? Would not all heavenly light be 
dissipated ; would not a night of barbarian darkness over- 
spread the land ; and if they would not be martyrs, must 
not the people bow down the neck to Satan> and become 
worshippers of images, and idolaters ? 

" The dread of this and every other slavery, which I 
need not here describe, must hang over us for the future, 
should there take place any alteration in our excellent con- 
stitution, or any suspension of our invaluable Hberty. The 
only guarantee and counter check against such calamities 
would be oath and conscience. Certainly if there were an 
oath, and the majority were sufficiently conscientious to 
respect it, civil and religious liberty, and all that is valuable^ 



might, indeed, in ever j kingdom remain inviolate : bnt, on 
the other band, we must bear in mittd that the papal dudr 
can diSBolve all oaths, and absolve eyery oonsdeoce, by 
virtue of the kejs of St. I^ter. It is easy for a monareh 
to assert, and with every appearance of troth, that he has 
no thonght of w desire lor absolute rule ; but what eadi 
fosters hi his heart and keeps stodioiniy apart from the 
outward man, is known only to God, to himself, and to 
his private friends, throng whom, however, what is ludden 
oceasionally manifests itself. I shiilder when I reflect 
whsft may happen, and probably will happen, if private 
interests, subverting the general welfiire into a gross dark- 
ness, should here attain the ascendancy. I must observe* 
also, that I see no difference between a king in Sweden 
who possesses absolute power, and an idol ; far all turn 
themselves, heart and s^, in the same way to the one as 
to the other, obey his will, and worship what passes from 
his mouth." 

The third memorial is upon the subjeet of finance, and 
laments the depreciatiim of the Swedish paper money in 
consequence of the suspension of cash payments. The 
wary senator concludes by saying, that '* if an empire ooidd 
subsist with a representative currency without a real cur- 
rency, it would be an empire without its parallel in the 

We have no further details of Swedenborg's parliamentary 
career; only we learn from Count Hopken, (for many years 
Prime Minister of Sweden, and during that time until the 
revolution in 1772 the second person in the kingdom,) that 
'* the most solid memorials, and the best penned, at the 
diet of 1761, on matters of finance, were presented by 
Swedenborg ; in one of which he refuted a large work in 
4to. on the same subject, quoted the corresponding pas- 
sages of it, and all in less than one sheet.'' It appears 
also that he was a member of the Secret Committee of the 


Diet, an office to which only the most sage and Tirtuons 
were elected. When we consider the mountain of ohloqny 
which rested at that day on a spirit seer, who moreover 
announced in his own person a new commission from the 
Almighty, we must grant that there was a wise deportment 
in Swedenborg, an extraordinary helpfulness for the public 
service, to maintain him in such a position in the assembly 
of his nation ; nor can it fail to reflect credit upon Sweden 
herself that she so far appreciated her remarkable son as 
not to accnse him of any disqualifying madness in the ex- 
ercise of his public functions. That tolerance of the seer 
in the statesman heralds a new code of sanity, in which 
the clearest sight and the most uncommon gifts will no 
longer be held to be less sound, than dull routine of eye 
and understanding, provided the stranger accompaniments 
are backed by virtue and common sense. 

" During the sittings of the Imperial Diet," says Rob- 
sahm, ** he took great interest in hearing what was done 
in his absence in the House of Nobles, in which, as the 
head of his family, he had a right to a seat ; but when he 
perceived that hatred, envy and self-interest reigned there, 
he was seldom after seen in the House. In conversation 
he freely expressed his disapprobation of the discord that 
prevailed in the Diet, and adhered to neither of the parties 
there, but loved truth and justice in all his feeUngs and 

The discord to which Robsahm alludes as so distasteful 
to Swedenborg, was doubtless that produced by the factions 
of the Hats and Caps, the former designating the French, 
the latter the Russian intrigue in Sweden. These parties 
kept the nation in a constant ferment, and the thraldom of 
the king, Adolphus Frederic, by the nobles, was carried 
to an extent that produced a threat of abdication in 1768. 
A counter-revolution took place in the reign of his son, 
Gustavus III.» who in 1772, supported by the army and 


the body of the people, reestablished the Tektive powers 
of the varioas branches of government nearly as before 

To return from this digression, we now recite an anec- 
dote which makes it appear that Swedenborg had passed 
into Holland before July, 1762. "I was in Amsterdam," 
said an informant of Jung Stilling, " in the year 1 762, on the 
very day that Peter the Third, Emperor of Russia, died, in a 
company, in which Swedenborg was present. In the midst 
of our conversation, his countenance changed, and it was 
evident that his soul was no longer there, and that some- 
thing extraordinary was passing in him. As soon as he 
came to himself again, he was asked what had happened 
to him. He would not at first communicate it, but at 
length, after being repeatedly pressed, he said, ' This very 
hour, the Emperor Peter III., has died in his prison, 
(mentioning, at the same time, the manner of bis death.) 
Gentlemen will please to note down the day, that they may 
be able to compare it with the intelligence of his death in 
the newspapers.' The latter subsequently announced the 
Emperor's death, as having taken place on that day." 

In 1 763* our author published at Amsterdam the fol- 
lowing six works : — 1. The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 
respecting the Lord. 2. The Doctrine of the New Jeru- 
salem respecting the Sacred Scripture, 3. The Doctrine 
of the New Jerusalem respecting Faith, 4, The Doctrine 
of Life for the New Jerusalem. 5. Continuation respecting 
the Last Judgment and the Destruction of Babylon. 6. 
Angelic Wisdom concerning the Divine Love and the Divine 
Wisdom, We have now to devote a brief attention to the 
contents of these several works. 

* It was in this year that Swedenborg's article on Inlaying (above, 
p. 41) appeared in the Transactions of the Royal Academy at Stock- 
holm : probably he had communicated it to that body before he set 
out on his voyage to Holland. 

A.D. 1762-63.] THE GODHEAD OF CHRIST. 133 

1 . The Doctrine of the Lord contains our author's scrip- 
tural induction of the diyinity of Christy of the personality 
of the divine nature^ and of the fact and meaning of the 
incarnation. The theist asks the question. What is God ? 
hut Swedenhorg, the far deeper, and more childhke ques- 
tion. Who is God ? one which seems very infantine to our 
theological artificiality and old want of innocence. Now 
in this work the Godhead of our Saviour is made to rest 
upon the whole hreadth of Scripture authority ; and is pre- 
sented as the last principle and the highest theory of the 
Christian faith. The author does not proceed by the erec- 
tion of particular texts into standards, but elicits his results 
from the general face of revelation. His views of the 
Trinity are given with clearness, and their substance is, 
that there is a trinity (not of persons, but) of person, in 
the Godhead, and that Christ is the person in whom the 
trinal fulness dwells. 

In this creed, Bdty is the essential and infinite Man, 
presented to the perceptive love of the earliest races, but 
to the very senses of the latest. If (xod can be in contact 
with our highest faculties, — can create himself into the 
sphere of our hearts and minds, — ^there is no limiting his 
power to descend to our other faculties, and to become 
extant as a man among men, — as a part of the world among 
other parts.* Nay, by the rules of the soundest philosophy, 
we ought to look for' Him in this field, and hence the 
question of Who he is becomes paramount. Now when 
the first bond was broken — when the eldest religion perished 
— from that moment was another bond required, and an 
incarnation was necessary. This was seen by the ancient 

* If Gk>d can be itupirituatef sarely he can also be incarnate ; 
for spirit is more bodily than flesh. To deny the possibility of the 
Incarnation, is a denial throughout the soul of the possibility of God's 
presence, and a resolution of all the religious ideas into a Deific self- 
ishness, such as Fichte preached. 


people, and as a part of the divine logic of creation, thej 
expected the Messiah, and even loved to have posterity, 
because the stream of childhood ever pointed to the second 
Adam, who was to be bom in the Mness of time. He 
came at the end of the Jewish church, when the last link 
<ii the old covenant was broken, and He himself constituted 
a new and everlasting covenant, uniting man by his very 
senses with an object ^' divinely sensual"'— with God him- 
self manifest in the flesh. 

There had been upon this earth a succession of churches, 
each with its own bond, or its peculiar reUgiou. The 
Adamic church — ^the Adam of Genesis — was a church of 
celestial love, with wisdom radiating from the inmost heart, 
in harmony with the paradisal creation, and naming the 
creatures after its own truth. This was Eden, the only 
heaven which has yet existed upon earth. To this elevated 
church the Lord was a divinely angelic man, seen by celes- 
tial perceptions, and even represented to the senses; for 
the senses opened into heaven. This church descended 
through many periods, which are typified in the Word as 
the posterity of Adam ; and its consummation was the 
flood, when it perished, and only Noah and his sons, — a 
lower or spiritual church, survived that 8u£Pocation whereby 
the race was extinguished so far as breathing the highest 
atmosphere was concerned; the Noachists however hving in 
a new dispensation, to respire a secondary religion. Every 
such declension is a veritable drowning, in which the higher 
perceptions cease, and a certain prepared remnant of the 
universal humanity, survives to people a new dry land on 
a lower level. The celestial church had for its spring spon- 
taneous love ; the spiritual church on the other hand, con- 
science. Even the latter, however, did not stand, but its 
decay is written from Noah to Abraham, when " the angel 
of Jehovah" was no longer manifested to any faculty. The 
two realities of the church, love, and conscience as a ground 


of faith, having been destroyed in the soul, a chordi of for- 
malities was the onlj descent remaining, and this was the 
Jewish dispensation, which however was not a church, bnt 
only the representation of one. Obedience was the spring 
of this last covenant^ and so long as the people kept it, 
natural and national blessings were given them from on 
high. At length even obedience came to an end, and 
neither victories in war, nor harvests divinely given, nor 
terrors denounced by prophets, nor actual evil fortune, 
could keep the people to their bond. The basis of creation 
could no longer support the falling superstructure. The 
resources of finite humanity were exhausted, and it only 
remained for Him who was the Creator, to become the 
Redeemer — ^for him who was the Alpha to become the 
Omega of his work. He came into the world by the world's 
ways of birth, that he might absorb the world, and be under 
it sustaining as above it creating, — ^that is to say, be All in 
aU, the First and the Last. The infinite entered the real 
world by the real means — ^by the gates of generation, and 
the Lord became incarnate throu^ the Virgin Mary. All 
his progress also was real, and through mundane laws; and 
thus his sensual and maternal humanity was united with 
his divinity by the like trials — ^by the like education, — ^as 
we ourselves experience in the regeneration. Swedenborg's 
view of the Lord's life is indeed totally practical, and the 
life of every regenerating man is an image of that process 
whereby the maternal humanity became a divine humanity, 
the Son of Grod, Gk>d with us, Jesus Christ, God and Man. 
The subject cannot be thought of from metaphysical postu- 
lates, but only from a life in harmony with it, that is to 
say, from the process whereby each man subdues his own 
sensuality and evil, unites his outward with his inward 
mind, and finally becomes a spiritual person even in what- 
ever pertains to the exercise of his senses. In ihe Lord 
however all that which in us is finite, was, and is, infinite; 


and thus instead, like us, of only subduing those hellish 
minds which are immediate to ourselves, his redeeming 
victories over selfishness and worldliness, subjugated all 
that is hellish — ^in the language of Swedenborg, all the 
hells; and now holds them, for whosoever lives in, and to 
Him, in everlasting subjugation. This is redemption, and 
this was the final purpose for which the Lord assumed 
humanity, and appeared upon this earth, his operations 
upon which extend through all systems of worlds, and from 
eternity to eternity. These are the stages through which 
the Lord presented Himself according to our need, first as 
a God-angel, and lastly as a God-man. 

The trinity then is in, and from, Jesus Christ, the new 
name of our God. The Father is his divine love; the Son 
is his divine wisdom, that is to say, the divinely human 
form in which he is self-adapted to his creatures, or a per- 
sonal God; the Holy Spirit is the influence which he com- 
municates to individuals and churches. This trinity is 
imaged in the soul, body, and operation of every man. The 
father is inaccessible to us out of Christ, even as our own 
souls are not to be reached by. others but through our 
bodies. All worship therefore is to be directed to Jesus 
Christ alone; and in the heavens the wisest angels know 
no other father. Thus there is oneness and body in our 

TJie Divine Love and JFisdom, which we notice next, 
furnishes the rational counterpart to the Doctrine of the 
Lord. It is a treatise on the divine attributes, in which 
affirmation and self-evidence are the method, and the truly 
human testifies of the divine. Man, it is clear, must think 
of God as a man — must think from his own experience 
towards divine virtues — ^from his own deeds towards God's 
deeds, which are creation. The mitst in this case is a 
necessity of our being, which is the same thing as to say, 
that it is God's ordinance, and the true method. It is 

A.D. 1763.] GOD IS A MAN. 137 

therefore a verity substantial as our souls, nay consubstan- 
tial with their Maker. No idealism then here intervenes, 
but we touch the solidity of eternal truth, and in our 
minds and bodies we have an attestation and vision of the 
Creator. But if God be the infinite man, the universe 
which proceeds from him must represent man in an image, 
and all the creatures must Ukewise so represent. Mineral, 
vegetable, and animal forms, nay atmospheres, planets and 
suns, are then nothing less than so many means and ten- 
dencies to man, on different stages of the transit, and finite 
man resumes them all, proclaims visibly their end, and 
may connect them with their fountain. It is throughout a 
system of correspondences, all depending upon the activity 
of a personal God, as the substance of the latter depends 
upon the intervention of God in history, as Jesus Christ. 
Remove from the centre of the system the position that 
God is a man, and he becomes necessarily unintelligible to 
mankind; he has made them think of him otherwise than 
as he is; they communicate with him by no religion, but 
the beginning of their knowledge Is darkness, its object a 
mere notion, and their love falls into a void : there is in 
short no correspondence between the Creator and any crea- 
ture. Maintain however that master position, and huma- 
nity is the way to the Divine Humanity, the high road of 
the living truth. 

The path by which God passes through heaven into 
nature is laid down in distinct degrees^ and ** the doctrine 
of degrees" furnishes a principal instrument with Sweden- 
borg in these elucidations. Degrees are the separate steps 
of forms or substances, the measured walk of the creative 
forces; thus the will in one degree is the understanding in 
the next, and the body in the third: the animal in the 
highest is the vegetable in the second, and the mineral in 
the lowest : and all these are one, like soul and body ; and 
are united, and each uses the lower, by the handles of its 


harmony with inferior utilities ; just as a man is united 
with, and makes use of, the various instruments which 
extend the powers of his mind and arms through nature. 
The world therefore is full of interval and freedom, and in 
the movements of each creature, whereby it lays hold of 
whatever supports it, the whole becomes actively one, and 
marches forward in the realms of use, where it meets the 
Omnipotent again. 

The Doctrine of the Sacred Scripture is the doctrine of 
the Lord, and of the manhood of God, in its middle form, 
for the Word is the wisdom whereby both the world was 
made and man is regenerated. It is a law of divine order, 
that whatever is omnipresent and all prevalent, is also in 
time centred in its own form ; for no creative attribute b 
lost by diffusion, but reappears in fuller splendor when its 
orb is complete. This is the order of the incarnation. 
And so also when the Word has created all things, and 
moved through humanity, when deep has called unto deep, 
and speech has overflowed from human tongues, the same 
Word takes at last a form among its creatures, and appears 
among our words as the Book of Grod. Its form in this 
case is determined by those to whom it comes. It is given 
in the lowest speech, that it may contain all speech, and 
be adequate to the whole purpose of redeeming mankind. 
Such a Word is the Bible. Before the present Bible, 
however, there existed an ancient Word, (still extant, 
according to Swedenborg, in Great Tartary), of which the 
Book of Jashur, the Wars of Jehovah, and the Enuncia- 
tions formed part: this was the divine voice to an earlier 
humanity. The Word which we now possess is written 
in four styles. The Jirst is by pure correspondences thrown 
into a historical series; of this character are the first eleven 
chapters of Genesis narrating down to the call of Abraham. 
The second style is the historical, consisting of true his- 
torical facts, but containing a spiritual sense. The third 

A.D. 1763.] THE BIBLE AND THE WORD. 139 

style is the prophetical. The fourth style is that of the 
Psalms, between the prophetical style and common speech. 

It is the divine sense within the letter that constitutes 
the holiness of the Bible: those books that are wanting in 
this sense are not divine. The following books are the 
present Word. *' The five books of Moses, the book of 
Joshua, the book of Judges, the two books of Samuel, 
the two books of Kings, the Psalms of David, the Pro- 
phets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, the Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, 
Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahom, Ha- 
bakknk, Zephaniah, Ha^ai, Zechariah, Malachi; and in 
the New Testament, the four Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, 
Luke, John, and the Apocalypse." 

The Word exists in the heavens equally as upon the 
earth, but in its spiritual and celestial senses. Its stn- 
pendoos powers and properties are there evident, examples 
of which are given by Swed^boi^. If it is read in holy 
moods, heaven sympathizes ; the devout mind enters it as 
a Sh^inah, and is angel-haunted: when love and inno- 
cence read it i^u earth, its inward life is perused equi- 
valttitly by special angels, and the letter in correspondence 
becomes divine and holy. Especially so when little children 
read it, and its literal sense is offered obediently to the in- 
forming influx. In such moments the veil is rent, and a 
marriage of heaven and earth is consummated. The per- 
petual holiness of the Word to us, depends upon no "me- 
chanical inspiration ;" viewed as a book, the Bible is dead 
like other books, but the mind that approaches it, is influ- 
enced as it deserves, and spirit and life come down accord- 
ingly. The affinities that constitute presence in the other 
life, illustrate the character of the Word. The letter is 
truth in a fixed circumstance, answering to the Lord and 
the whole heaven, and he who reads it aright, engenders 
for himself divine and spiritual associations. Within it 


dwells the living God. The conditions of its inspiration 
are like those of the animation of our bodies. The letter 
as well as the bodj is in itself motionless and inanimate ; 
but both have souls, and when mankind addresses the literal 
Word, it hears and quickens from its divine life, as our 
frames, when objects strike them, feel and act from the life 

This assertion of the Word's divinity implies a counter 
statement regarding the writers of the Bible. The more 
the genius in any work, the less is the work its authors ; 
the more the property, the less can it be owned. No man 
ever claims his inspired moments, until afterwards, when 
he is dis-inspired. The divinity however of a work abne- 
gates its instruments, let them have been as busy as they 
will : they are mere tools, chosen only to deposit the work 
in some one place or age. The inspired penmen then are 
simply clerks, notwithstanding that their names appear 
upon the letter, fitting it to Jewish or Christian times. 
The patriarchs, prophets, psalmists and evangelists are not 
holy men ; they are not even venerable for the most part, 
but the voice of sacred history itself generally assails them. 
" Their names," says Swedenborg, " are unknown in hea- 
ven." There are no saints with earthly names, but only 
sinners, scarlet more or less. God's is all the glory, but 
Abraham, Moses, David, or John, are plain mortals like 
ourselves, entitled to no great consideration when their office 
is laid aside, and their divine insignia are put off. The 
men " after God's own heart," are only so for a time and 
a mission : every one is '' a man after God's own heart" 
for the functions that he does best. Holiness is not in- 
volved. The Jews, the chosen people of God, were chosen 
because they were the worst of people, for redemption 
begins at the bottom. In admitting therefore the divinity 
of the Word, we rid ourselves of the -Bible writers, and 

A.D. 1763.] THE EPISTLES OF PAUL. 141 

their idiosyncrasies ; and we know that as the fixed Word 
was produced through them, they necessarily occupy the 
lowest stratum of human history. 

We have not space here to mention the various modes of 
inspiration (hy voices, visions, &c.) recounted hy Sweden- 
horg from the facts of the case and the letter of the Scrip- 
ture, and which he himself also experienced for the instruc- 
tion's sake : they are indeed interesting, and comport with 
circumstances that are at this day coming to light, at the 
same time that they contrast, toto ccelo, with metaphysical 
philosophy. We can only however notify to the reader, 
that Swedenborg has given their theory from the experi- 
mental or real, and biblical side, for there is much in the 
Bible upon the subject, when it is looked for with a scien- 
tific aim. 

It may here be expedient to give Swedenborg's dictum 
on the Epistles, upon which the doctrinals of Christendom 
are so commonly founded. 

"With regard," says he, " to the writings of Paul and 
the other apostles, I have not given them a place in my 
Arcana C€el€stia, because they are dogmatic writings 
merely, and not written in the style of the Word, as are 
those of the prophets, of David, of the Evangelists, and 
of the Revelation of St. John. 

" The style of the Word consists throughout in corre- 
spondences, and thence effects an immediate communication 
with heaven; but the style of these dogmatic writings is 
quite different, having, indeed, communication with heaven, 
but only mediately or indirectly. 

" The reason why the apostles wrote in this style, was, 
that the first Christian Church was then to begin through 
them; consequently, the same style as is used in the Word 
would not have been proper for such doctrinal tenets, which 
required plain and simple language, suited to the capacities 
of all readers. 


** Nevertheless, the writings of the apostles are very 
good books for the church, inasmuch as they insist on the 
doctrine of charity, and of faith from charity, as strongly as 
the Lord Himself has done in the Gospels, and in the 
Revelation of St. John, as will appear evidently to any one 
who studies these writings with attention. 

" In the Apocalypse Revealed, No. 417, I have proved, 
that the words of Paul, in Rom. iii. 28, are quite misun- 
derstood, and that the doctrine of justification by faith 
alone, which at present constitutes the theology of the 
reformed churches, is built on an entirely false founda- 

We notice in the doctrine of Scripture, as throughout 
the author's works, a turning of the tables in the matter of 
evidence. Instead of commencing enquiries with no befiefii, 
he accepts the most universal creeds as the hypotheses of 
investigation, and puts them to the fact. To commence 
from nothing is to end in nothing, as the present biblical 
scholars illustrate. But Swedenborg takes the divinity and 
holiness of the Bible as his postulate, and then looks for 
the like in the text. His method, to say the least, has 
ended in no reductio ad absitrdum, but the interpretation 
gained has confirmed the truth of the preliminaries. No 
writer has shewn so sublime a quality in the Bible as Swe- 
denborg, none has added to the probability of its divine 
origin so practical and scientific a demonstration. If wis- 
dom and beauty shewn in nature, be Grod's evidence there, 
then by parity of reason, wisdom and goodness expounded 
in Scripture should be the witness of his Word in the latter 
sphere. The theorem of plenary inspiration, or the con- 
trary, can only be settled by this procedure, which makes 
one process for all truths; but never by what are called 
" evidences" proceeding from void hearts and unbelieving 
understandings. If nature even were investigated by the 
latter, it would never declare its author, or let its unhappy 

A.D. 1763.] PAITH AND LIFE. 143 

questioner escape from the labyrinth of its contradictions 
and interpolations. 

The Doctrine of Faith in Swedenborg's writings occupies 
a part of great simplicity. Faith, says he, is an inward 
acknowledgment of the truth, which comes to those who 
lead good lives from good motives. *' If ye will do the 
works ye shall know of the doctrine." Faith therefore is 
the eye of charity. Spiritual clear-sightedness is its emi- 
nent attribute. It is not the organon of mysteries, for 
there is no belief in what we do not understand. There 
may be suspension of the judgment, but never faith. The 
highest angels do not know what faith is, and when they 
hear of any one believing what he does not understand, 
they say, " this person is out of his senses.*' With them, 
faith is only truth. Divine and human knowledges are 
under the same class; for both there is the base of scientific 
proof: but with this caution, that each state apprehends 
only its own objects, and that practical goodness is the 
ground upon which religious truth can be properly or 
profitably received. 

The Doctrine of Life is equally simple. We are to shun, 
as sins as against Grod, whatever is forbidden in the Ten 
Commandments, and to do the duties of our callings. The 
shunning of evils as sins is the first necessity; the doing 
good is possible after that. Charity consists in this course, 
and faith follows it by divine ordination. A life of this 
kind is the only contribution that each man can make to 
the New Jerusalem. No one however can do good which 
is really such, from self, but all goodness is from God. 

For the rest, our sage is no counsellor of asceticism; he 
admits us to enjoy the good things of this life, in preparation 
for those of another; he advocates no self-immolating 
pietism, but " a renunciation of the world during a life in 
the world;" and as sense is an everlasting verity, he teaches 
the expansion of the senses, under the spiritual powers. 


Under this head we may properly cite the " Rales of 
Life" which he laid down for his own guidance, and which 
are found interspersed in yarious parts of his Manuscripts. 
They are the following. " 1 . Often to read and meditate 
on the Word of the Lord : 2 To suhmit everything to the 
will of Divine Providence: 3. To ohserve in everything a 
propriety of hehavior, and always to keep the conscience 
clear: 4. To discharge with fidelity the functions of his 
employment and the duties of his office, and to render 
himself in all things useful to society." 

In 1764 Swedenborg published at Amsterdam a con- 
tinuation of his work on the divine attributes, under the 
title. Angelic Wisdom concerning the Divine Providence^ in 
which he identifies Providence with the Lord's government 
of mankind. He states the ends which the Divine Provi- 
dence has in view, whereof the first and last is the forma- 
tion of an angelic heaven out of the human race. He then 
propounds various laws of the Divine Providence which are 
unknown in the world, and occupies a considerable part of 
this very beautiful Treatise, with setting us right upon 
points on which infidelity founds objections, and in short, 
with vindicating the ways of God to man. He insists on 
the universality of Providence, and on its presence with all 
men alike, the wicked as well as the good, but the former 
will not receive its blessings, and their freedom of choice is 
respected. Hell is the false creation which they make, the 
Lord sets their places there, and ordains them for their 
greatest good. Upon the subject of predestination, Swe- 
denborg maintains that all are predestined to heaven, and 
it is their own doing if they do not arrive thither. Momen- 
taneous salvation from immediate mercy is impossible, and 
the belief in it, is " the fiery flying serpent of the church," 
which raises sensual evils to a new deadliness of sting, 
and moreover imputes damnation to the Lord. 

We now turn aside for a moment from Swedenborg's 

A.D. 1764.] RULES OF LIFE. 145 

published works^ to his posthumous Diary y the last date 
in which is the drd of December^ 1764. -This daybook he 
had began in 1747, perhaps after finishiog the Adversaria 
on Genesis and Exodus, the last date in which is February 
, 9th in the latter year. We must attempt to convey to the 
reader some notion of this extraordinary Manuscript, which 
extends over a period of seventeen years. We have termed 
it> a Day-book, and such it veritably was in the intention of 
the book maker, being written on those English *' oblong 
folios" which are so common in our counting houses. In 
these business-like volumes thought and vision are duly 
"entered" with the greatest regularity; in the earlier part 
of the work the date is generally subjoined to the para- 
graphs, and here and there parts are crossed out, having 
been faithfully "posted," and "delivered" into the author's 
published books. The whole is in more than six thousand 
paragraphs, of which the first hundred and forty-eight are 
missing: it makes six closely printed octavos, and consi- 
dering the difficulties of the original, to which we can bear 
witness, it is but fair to mention the name of Tafel, its 
editor. Professor of Philosophy and Librarian of Tubingen, 
as an honorable specimen of even a German scholar. 

Almost every reader would smile doubtfully if he perused 
a page or two of this Diary, He would meet with conver- 
sations with Moses and Abraham, Aristotle, Cicero and 
Ceesar Augustus, Charles the Xllth of Sweden and 
Frederic of Prussia, the author of the whole Duty ofMan^ 
and other of the deceased, and as the belief practically runs, 
the annihilated worthies and notables of history. He would 
find them treated as living men and real forces. He would 
learn of strange punishments and new criminalities; of 
fathomless pools of evil ; of goodness detected in those that 
history condemns, and of the mask of excellence quite 
fallen away from some of her brightest exemplars ; of Paul 
and David among the lost, and Mahomet a Christian con- 



vert. But let him read on, and the laugh dies before the 
supematuralness X)f the unbending context. Moreover amid 
the narrative, he meets with thoughts of the newest import; 
with lovely sentiments fragrant towards God and man; and 
with lessons pointing life and the world towards plain goals 
of blessedness. It will be no doubtful contest with him 
between the sanitj and the insanity of the author; strange- 
ness will recede by degrees, over-mastered by the moral 
element that explains the appearances into truths; and 
whatever the verdict be, it will be granted that a profound 
meaning lurks in even the oddest forms of this spiritual 
common-place book. 

A great part of it dwells upon unhappy themes, and 
indeed no book more deranges one's habits of thought than 
this unreserved Diary. Our crotchet of the abstract 
nobleness of spirits, receives there a rude shock. Our 
father's souls are no better than ourselves; no less mean 
and no less bodily; and their occupations are often more 
unworthy than our own. A large part of their doings 
reads like police reports. Even the angels are but good 
men in a favoring sphere: we may not worship them, for 
they do not deserve it; at best, they are of our brethren, 
the prophets. It is very matter-of-fact. Death is no change 
in substantials. The same problems recur after it, and 
man is left to solve them. Nothing but goodness and 
truth are thriving. There is no rest beyond the tomb, but 
in the peace of God which was rest before it. This is the 
last extension of ethics, and while it deprives the grave of 
every vulgar terror, it lends it the terrors of this wicked 
world, which itself is the reign and empire of the dead. 
Moreover while the Diary abolishes our spiritual presump- 
tions, it justifies to nearly the whole extent the low senti- 
mental credence on ghostly subjects, as well as the tradi- 
tions and the fears of simple mankind. The earthly soul 
cleaves to the ground and gravitate earthwards, dragging 


the chain of the impure affections contracted in the world ; 
spirits haunt their old rememhered places^ attached hy 
undying ideas: hatred, revenge, pride and lust persist in 
their cancerous spreading, and wear away the incurable 
heart strings: infidelity denies God most in spirit and the 
spiritual world; nay, staked on death it ignores eternity in 
the eternal state with gnashing teeth and hideous clenches: 
and the proof of spirit and immortal Ufe is farther off than 
ever. The regime of the workhouse, the hospital, and the 
madhouse is erected into a remorseless universe, self-fitted 
with steel fingers and awful chirurgery; and no hope lies 
either in sorrow or poverty, but only in one divine religion, 
which hell excludes with all its might. Human nature 
quaib before such tremendous moralities : freedom tries to 
abjure the life that it is, and calls upon the mountains and 
rocks to cover and to crush it. A new phase appears in the 
final state ; the memory of the skies is lost ; baseness ac- 
cepts its lot, and falsehood becomes self-evident : wasting 
ensues to compressed limb and faculty, and the evil spirit 
descends to his mineral estate, a living atom of the second 
death. Impossibihty is the stone of his heart, and crooked- 
ness the partner of his understanding. He is still associated 
with his like in male and female company, and he and his, 
in the charry light of hell, which is the very falsity of evil, 
are not unhandsome to themselves. Such is the illusive 
varnish which in mercy drapes the bareness of the ugly 
skeletons of devils and satans. 

We cannot dismiss the Diary without observing how true 
Swedenborg is to himself in a record whose publication he 
did not contemplate. His public words are at one with his 
secret thoughts ; he is as grave in heart as in deportment. 
To one who has perused the work, the question of sincerity 
never more occurs: he would as soon moot the sincerity of 
a tree. And indeed the enquiry after sincerity, in the 

H 2 


ordinary sense, goes but a little way in the determination 
of such a case. 

Besides the Diary, Swedenborg for several years had 
been engaged upon an extensive work on the Apocalypse, 
which is published among his posthuma, but which he did 
not complete. The original edition of the Apocalypse Ex- 
plained occupies four large 4to. volumes. That he intended 
to produce it is evident from the clearly written manuscript 
with occasional directions to the printer, and from the first 
volume of the copy being marked in the title-page with 
London, 1759; which renders it moreover probable that 
he had begun the work after finishing the Arcana in 1756. 
However this may be, we learn that on one occasion he 
" heard a voice from heaven, saying, * Enter into your bed- 
chamber, and shut the door, and apply to the work begun 
on the Apocalypse, and finish it within two years.' " The 
Apocalypse Explained is one of the finest of his works, 
interpreting that book of the Testament down to the tenth 
verse of the nineteenth chapter, and pregnant, if we may 
use the expression, with a number of distinct treatises on 
important subjects ; but it has been supposed that he thought 
it too voluminous and elaborate. Certain it is that he aban- 
doned the work, and set himself to produce an exposition 
in a smaller compass, which he published under the title of 
Apocalypse Revealed.* 

It does not appear whether Swedenborg revisited Sweden 
from 1762 to 1764: he may have resided in Amsterdam 
during the whole period, or he may have paid a visit to 
England ; but it is probable that he returned home during 
the latter year, for in the first half of the next year he was 
again in Sweden. Soon, however, he set forth upon new 
travels, and in 1 765 came from Stockholm to Gottenburg, 

* The Apocalypse Revealed; in tahich are disclosed the AreoM 
therein foretold^ and which have hitherto remained concealed. 

A.D. 1764-66.] DR. BEYER. 149 

where, during a week's stay, while waiting for a vessel to 
England, he accidentally met Dr. Beyer, Professor of Greek 
and Member of the Consistory of Gottenhurg, who haying 
heard that he was mad, was surprized to find that he spoke 
sensibly, without discovering any marks of his alleged 
infirmity. He invited Swedenborg to dine with him the 
day following, in company with Dr. Rosen. After dinner 
Dr. Beyer expressed a desire to hear from him a full account 
of his doctrines; upon which Swedenhorg, animated by the 
request, '* spoke out so clearly and wonderfully," that both 
the doctors were astonished. They did not interrupt him, 
but when he had finished, Beyer requested him to meet 
him the next day at M. Wenngren's, and to bring with him 
a paper containing the substance of his discourse, in order 
that he might consider it more attentively. Swedenborg 
oompUed, kept the engagement, and taking the paper out 
of his pocket in the presence of Beyer and Wenngren, he 
trembled and appeared much affected, the tears flowing 
down his cheeks; and presenting the paper to Dr. Beyer, 
he said, *' Sir, from this time the Lord has introduced you 
into the society of angels, and you are now surrounded by 
them." They were all affected. He then took his leave, 
and the next day embarked for England. From that time 
Dr. Beyer became a student of his doctrines, and in spite 
of persecution, he remained stedfast to them throughout 
his life, and busied himself upon an elaborate Index* to 
Swedenborg* s theological writings, which was published 
thirteen years after, just as Dr. Beyer died. 

Swedenborg did not make a long stay in England, but 
after a few weeks or months proceeded to Holland, spend- 
ing the winter of 1765-66 at Amsterdam, where he pub- 
lished the Apocalypse Revealed in the spring of the latter 
year. This work, as was his wont, he gave away liberally 

* Index initialis in Opera Swedenborgii Theologica, 4to. Am- 
stelodami, 1779. 


to the Universities and superior clergy, and to many emi- 
nent persons, in England, Holland, Germany, France and 

The Apocalypse Revealed is an interpretation of the hook 
of Revelation, on principles similar to those made use of in 
the Areana Caleatia, and which we have already mentioned. 
The spiritual sense alone furnishes the key to this often ex- 
pounded scripture, and those who were ignorant of that 
sense, could not unfold its true meaning. It does not fore- 
shadow outward events either in the church or the world, 
nor the progress of the Christian church from its begin- 
ning ; but it records in spiritual symbols the end of that 
church, and the establishment of its successor ; both in the 
spiritual world. It is the book of the Last Judgment, which 
we have described above. It commences as ** the Revelation 
of Jesus Christ," signifying that those who acknowledge 
his divinity by good lives from charity and faith, are the 
witnesses and partakers of this Apocalypse. It appeals to 
all in the Christian church, under the sevenfold designation 
of the churches of Asia, whose variety describes the entire 
circuit of the life and faith of Christendom in the two 
worlds. It then describes their exploration, by the influx 
of divine light from the ancient heavens : first, the explo- 
ration of the reformed church, and lastly that of the 
catholic: the doctrine of justification by faith being typified 
by the dragon ; the dominion of the Romanist church, by 
the great harlot sitting upon many waters. It proceeds to 
narrate the divine judgment on these churches : also in the 
nineteenth chapter, the glorification that ensued in heaven 
when the catholic religion was removed ; and in the twen- 
tieth, the damnation of the dragon. Then proceeds, chap, 
xxi., xxii., the descent from heaven of the New Jerusalem, 
with a description of its spiritual glories. 

A volume, unless it were a reprint, would not give an 
analysis of this book on the Apocalypse. When we say 


that the commentary takes the text word hy word, and 
translates it into spirit, we still conyej hut a slender idea 
of what is done. Our own first impressions on reading the 
work will not soon be forgotten. Following the writer 
through the long breaths and flights of this vast empyrean, 
we were momently in anxious fear that to sustain a context 
of such was impossible. Each fresh chapter seemed like a 
space that mortal wing must not attempt ; and yet the fear 
was groundless, for our guide sailed onward with a tranquil 
motion as if he knew the stars. History and common sense, 
panting and gasping science, philosophy in its better part, 
above all, the confidence in a divine support and a supernal 
mission, appeared to be covertly and unexpectedly present, 
to annihilate difficulties, and pave the skyey way of this 
humble voyager. And when we had again alighted from 
that perusal which strained every faculty to the utmost, it 
was as though we had been there before, so entire was the 
impression of self-evidence that was left upon the mind. 
Genesis and the Revelation were closely at one in this mar- 
vellous Apocalypse, thenceforth the most open of the Bible 
pages : the two ends of the Scripture called to each other ; 
an arch of divine light spanned the river of the Word, and 
the original Eden blossomed anew in the midst of the street 
of the holy city. The author the while disclaimed the au- 
thorship, for " what man," says he, " can draw such things 
fipoDfl himself." 

In 1766, simultaneously with the Apocalypse Revealed, 
Swedenborg republished his youthful work on a New Method 
of Finding the Longitudes. This method, as he informed 
the Swedish Archbishop, Menander, *' of calculating the 
ephemerides by pairs of stars, several persons in foreign 
countries were then employing, who had experienced great 
advantage by the observations made according to it for a 
series of years." His faculty of remark, it appears, was 
still awake to whatever he thought might be useful in the 



mundane sense. It is not improbable that he was solicited 
to this reprint. 

After the 15th of April he again visited England for two 
or three months, watching the disposition of our bishops, 
and any favouring events in the theological world. 

Mr. Springer, the Swedish Consul in London, is the 
only person who mentions any particulars of this visit. He 
and Swedenborg had been good friends in Sweden, but 
Springer was surprized at our author's oontbued intimacy 
with him, *'as he was not a man of letters." This, how- 
ever, was perhaps one ground of the friendship. Swedenborg 
desired Springer to procure him a vessel for Sweden and a 
good captain, which he did. An agreement was made with 
one Dixon. Swedenboi^*s effects were carried on board, 
and as his lodgings were at a distance from the port (pro- 
bably in Cold Bath Fields), he and Springer took for that 
night (Sept. 1, 1766) a bed at Mr. Bergstrom's Hotel, the 
King's Arms, in Wellclose Square. Swedenborg went to 
bed. Springer and Bergstrom from an adjoining room heard 
a remarkable noise, and could not imagine its cause. They 
peeped through a door vnth a little window in it, that looked 
into the room where he lay, and they saw him with his 
hands raised as towards heaven, and his body appearing to 
tremble. He spoke much for half an hour, but they could 
not understand what he said, except only when he let his 
hands fall down, they heard him ejaculate. My Grod. He 
then remained quietly in bed. They went into the room, 
and asked him if he was ill. He said, ^' No, but he had 
had a long discourse with some of the heavenly friends, 
and was in a great perspiration." He got up and changed 
his shirt, and then went to bed again, and slept till morning. 
This anecdote, trivial as it may appear, portrays in a mea- 
sure his physical state during one of his trances. His 
natural voice, it seems, was stirred during a spiritual con- 
versation. This occasionally occurs in sleep, where a lively 

A.D. 1766.] VOYAGE TO SWEDEN. 153 

dream will call forth soands and movements from the sleeper. 
The trembling of the body is note-worthy^ and is often wit- 
nessed in the first phases of ecstase and catalepsy. As to 
the noise that was heard, it might have been merely Swe- 
denborg's voice muffled by distance, or rendered imperfect 
by his state ; or it might have proceeded from the spirits 
who were vnth him ; for spirits, according to the Seeress 
o/Prevorst, and homeUer authorities, can make themselves 
audible more readily than visible, particularly if they are 
of a heavy and worldly cast ; in which case they can even 
move heavy bodies. These, however, that Swedenborg 
was talking with, were heavenly spirits. 

In the morning Captain Dixon came for Swedenborg, 
and Springer took leave of him, and wished him a happy 
voyage. Bergstrom asked him how much coffee he should 
pack for him, as he took a certain portion of it daily. Swe- 
denborg said that no great quantity would be needed, as 
by God's aid they would enter the port of Stockholm at 2 
o'clock on that day week. It happened exactly as he fore- 
told, as Dixon upon his return informed Springer. A vio- 
lent gale accelerated the voyage, and the wind was favorable 
to every turn of the vessel. Dixon told Ferelius that he 
had never in all his life had so prosperous a transit. 

Swedenborg arrived at home on the 8th of September, 
and for some time resided in the Sudermalm, the southern 
suburb of Stockholm. His house was pleasantly situated, 
neat and convenient, with a spacious garden, and other 
appendages. His own room or study was small, and con- 
tained nothing elegant. It was all that he wanted, but 
would have satisfied few other men. He kept two servants, 
a gardener and his wife, to whom he gave the produce of 
his garden. In 1767, for the convenience of his numerous 
visitors, he had a handsome summer house erected, with 
two wings, one of which contained his library. He after- 
wards built two other summer houses, one of them after 



the model of a structure that he had admired at a noble- 
man's seat in England. The other was square, but could 
be turned into an octagon by folding back the doors across 
the comers. To add to the amusement of his friends and 
their children, he had a labyrinth constructed in a comer 
of his garden, and a secret door, which, on being opened, 
discovered another door with a window in it. This appeared 
to open into a garden beyond, containing a shady green 
arcade with a bird cage hanging under it ; but the window 
was a mirror, and presented only a reflexion of the objects 
around. He took great pleasure in his garden ; it was oroa- 
mented after the Dutch fashion, and cost him a considerable 
sum annually to keep it up, but in his latter years he suf- 
fered it to go into disorder. 

Notwithstanding that he was yery accessible, he took 
precautions to stand on a fair footing with his visitors. 
During interviews he always had one of his domestics pre- 
sent in the room, and insisted upon the conversation being 
carried on in Swedish. Widows went to him to enquire 
about the state of their husbands in the other world ; and 
others, who looked upon him as a soothsayer, besought him 
with questions about property lost or stolen. When people 
went to him for such purposes, he often refused to gratify 
them, and earnestly advised them to abandon their quest. 
He had perhaps learnt prudence from experience, especially 
of the fair sex ; for he used to say in justification of his 
caution : "Women are artful; they might pretend that I 
have sought a near acquaintance with them ; and besides, 
it is well known that persons turn and distort what they do 
not understand." 

The following anecdote from his female domestic at once 
illustrates what we have been relating, and shews the candor 
of the man. Bishop Hallenius, the successor of Sweden- 
borg's father, paying a visit to Swedenborg, the discourse 
began on the nature of common sermons. Swedenborg 


said to the bishop, among other things: 'You insert things 
that are false in yours;' on this, the bishop told the gar- 
dene% who was present, to retire, but Swedenborg com- 
manded him to stay. The conversation went on, and both 
turned over the Hebrew and Greek Bibles, to shew the 
texts that were agreeable to their assertions : at length the 
conversation finished, by some observations intended as re- 
proaches to the bishop on his avarice, and various unjust 
actions ; * You have already prepared yourself a place in 
hell,' said Swedenborg ; ' but,' added he, ' I predict that 
you will some months hence be attacked with a grievous 
illness, during which time the Lord will seek to convert 
you. If you then open your heart to his holy inspira- 
tions, your conversion will take place. When this happens, 
write to me for my theological works, and I will send them 
to you.' In short, after some months had passed, an officer 
of the province and bishoprick of Skara came to pay a visit 
to Swedenborg. On being asked how the Bishop Hallenius 
was, 'He has been very ill,' rephed the officer, 'but at 
present he is well recovered, and has become altogether 
another person, being now a practiser of what is good, fall 
of probity, and returns sometimes three or four fold of 
property, for what he had before unjustly taken into his 
possession.' From that time the bishop became an open 
supporter of Swedenborg' s doctrine. 

The most harmless men are not on that account without 
enemies, particularly if they add to prudence plain and 
honest speaking, as was the case with Swedenborg; for 
nothing excites some persons to violence more than the 
spectacle of that self-coUectedness and self-respect which 
they do not feel in themselves. Swedenborg underwent 
this penalty of his character. On one occasion a young 
man went to his house with the intention of assassinating 
him. The gardener's wife, observing something extraor- 
dinary in his manner, told him that Swedenborg was out. 


bat he would not believe it, and rushed past her towards 
the garden. Happily a naQ in the lock of the door caught 
his cloak, and in his attempt to disengage himself his 
naked sword fell from under the cloak out of his hands, 
and thus detected, he became embarrassed, and escaped 
with all speed. He was afterwards, the story says, killed 
in a duel. No doubt, however, this was an isolated in- 
stance, the result of some frenzy or madness acting upon an 
excitable brain, for we do not find that this person knew 
anything of Swedenborg. 

In the autumn of this same year he was visited by the 
Rev. Nicholas Collin, a Swedish clergyman, who has left 
a pleasing account of his interview with Swedenborg, who 
" at that time," he says, " was a great object of public at- 
tention in the capital, and his extraordinary character was 
a frequent topic of discussion." The old man received the 
youthful student very kindly (Collin was then but twenty 
years of age), and in the course of a three hours' conver- 
sation, reiterated the fact of his spiritual intercourse, as 
declared in his works. Collin requested of him as a great 
favor, to procure him an interview with his brother, de- 
ceased a few months previously. Swedenborg answered, 
that God, for wise and good purposes, had separated the 
world of spirits from ours, and that communication was 
not granted except for cogent reasons ; whereupon Collin 
confessed that he had no motives beyond gratifying bro- 
therly a£Pection, and an ardent wish to explore scenes so 
sublime and interesting. Swedenborg told him, that '* his 
motives were good, but not sufficient; that if any important 
spiritual or temporal concern had been involved, he would 
have solicited permission from those angels who regulate 
such matters." We cite the latter sentence to shew what 
noble offices are assigned to finite beings. Indeed an in- 
structive chapter might be written from Swedenborg*s life 
and works, upon the new functions connected more or less 

A.D. 1766-67.] Collin's visit. 157 

with this world, — as of attending the birth of the newly 
dead into the spiritual state, of educating departed infants 
and simple spirits, of governing sleep and infusing dreams, 
and indefinite other things besides, — which constitute a 
department of the duties of the human race translated into 
the sphere of spiritual industry. For heaven is the grand 
workman ; the moments of the eternal sabbath are strokes 
of deeds : and the more of these can be given to be done 
by men and angels, the more is the creation real, because 
cooperating with Grod. 

In 1767'*' our author was still in Stockholm, observing 
with care the effect produced by his writings. At this time 
he noted that his countrymen began to think more of cha- 
rity than heretofore, and *' to be persuaded that faith and 
charity cannot be separated.*' And in reply to a question, 
" How soon the New Church is to be expected ?" he wrote, 
that '* the Lord is preparing at this time a new heaven of 
such as believe in Him, and acknowledge Him to be the 
true Grod of heaven and earth, and also look to Him in 
their lives, by shunning evil and doing good." " The uni- 
versities of Christendom," says he, " are now being in- 
structed for the first time, and from them will come minis- 
ters : but the new heaven has no power over the old dergy^ 
who are too well skilled in the doctrine of justification by 
faith alone." For as he observes in another letter, *' all 
confirmations in matters pertaining to theology, are as it 
were glued fast into the brains, and can with difficulty be 
removed; and while they remain, genuine truths can find 
no place." 

* *' In his joarnal for 1767 there is a note in his own handwriting, 
in which he relates that he has spoken with the celebrated musician, 
M. Roman, on the day of the celebration of his funeral." We copy 
this extract from the New Jerusalem Magazine, 1790, p. 54. What 
journal it can be that is referred to, we do not know. Jean Helmich 
Roman was the father of Swedish music, and certainly died in 1767. 


It was in this year that Kant's attention was first called 
to the narrations which were rife about Swedenborg (see 
above, p. 12J, 122). The philosopher describes his pre- 
vious state of mind with regard to supernatural occurrences. 
He had made himself acquainted with a great number of 
the most probable stories, but considered it wisest to incline 
to the negative side, " not that he imagined such things 
to be impossible,'^ but because the instances are in general 
not well proved. This not unreasonable scepticism he 
brought to Swedenborg's cases. He had received the ac- 
count of them from a Danish officer, his former pupil, 
who at the table of the Austrian Ambassador, Dietrichstein, 
at Copenhagen, with several other guests, read a letter 
just received by the host from Baron de Lutzow, the Meck- 
lenburg Ambassador at Stockholm, in which he said that 
he, in company with the Dutch Ambassador, was present 
in the Queen's palace when Swedenborg gave her the mes- 
sage from her dead brother. This authentication surprized 
Kant, and as he prettily says : " Now in order not to reject 
blindfold the prejudice against apparitions and visions by a 
new prejudice, I found it desirable to inform myself of the 
particulars of the transaction." How few of the matter- 
of-fact people *'find it desirable to inform themselves!" 
But to continue, Kant instituted searching enquiries, which 
ended in corroborating the affair ; and Professor Schlegel 
also added his voice, that it could by no means be doubted. 
Kant's Danish friend, being about to leave Copenhagen, 
advised Kant to open a correspondence with Swedenborg 
himself. This he did, and his letter was delivered by an 
English merchant at Stockholm. Swedenborg received it 
politely, and promised to reply. As no answer came, Kant 
commissioned an English gentleman then at K6nigsberg, 
and who was going to Stockholm, to make particular en- 
quiries respecting Swedenborg's alleged '^ miraculous gift." 
This friend stated in his first letter to Kant; that the most 


respectable people in Stockholm attested the account of the 
transaction alluded to. He himself, however, he confessed, 
was still in suspense. His succeeding letters were of a 
different purport. He had not only spoken with Sweden- 
borg, but had visited him at his house, and was in aston- 
ishment at his case. Swedenborg, he said, was a reason- 
able, polite and open-hearted man. He told him unre- 
servedly that God had accorded to him the gift of conversing 
with departed souls at pleasure. He was reminded of 
Kant's letter : he said that he was aware he had received 
it, and would already have answered it, but that he should 
proceed to London in the month of May this year (1768), 
where he would publish a book in which the answer, as to 
every point, might be met with. There is somewhat of 
uncommon candour in ELant's deportment throughout this 
enquiry, the more so as the transcendental system that he 
ei^cogitated excludes reahty with triple bars from every 
sphere, and so aggravates what the philosophers term the 
" subjective" portion of man's nature, as to make all ob- 
jects unattainable in their true selves. But Kant had genius 
sufficient to let him out occasionally from the prison of his 
intellectual reveries. The anecdote is due to Kant himself, 
even more than to Swedenborg. 

It is perhaps in this period of his life that we may place 
an interview with him recorded by Atterbom, the poet, in 
his Swedish Seers and Bards,* "A single anecdote," says 

* Svenaka Siare och Skalder tecknade qf P, B. A, Atterbom, 
Forsta Delen, Upsala, 1841. In this work, which from what we 
hear, ought to be known to the English pablic, Atterbom considers 
Swedenborg chiefly from an aesthetic point of view, as a thinker on 
the beautiful. ** Swedenborg's visions or Memorable Relations," 
says he, *'not unfrequently vie in beauty with their biblical prototypes, 
and many of them, if they had been found in the works of Dante, 
or Milton, would long since have been trumpeted forth over Europe 
with rapturous plaudits/' The parts of the work which we have seen 
are on Swedenborg, Ehrensvard, and Thorild. 


Atterbom, '*m relation to his spiritual intercourse^ we 
cannot refrain from introducing, especially as none of those 
hitherto known so artlessly delineates his peculiar and un- 
restrained mode of living, at the same time, both in the 
natural and spiritual world. The occurrence took place 
with a distinguished and learned Finlander (Porthan),* 
who, during the whole of his life, believed rather too little 
than too much. This learned man, when a young graduate 
from the university, was on his travels, and came to Stock- 
holm where Swedenborg was living. Far from being a 
Swedenborgian, he on the contrary regarded the renowned 
visionary as an arch-enthusiast ; still he thought it his duty 
to visit this wonderful old man, not merely out of curiosity 
to see him, but also from a cordial esteem for one who in 
every other respect was a light of the North, and a pattern 
of moral excellence. On his arrival at the house in which 
Swedenborg resided, he was introduced into a parlor by a 
good-humored old domestic, who went into an inner apart- 
ment to announce the stranger, and immediately returned 
with an apology from his master, as being at that moment 
hindered by another visit, but which would probably not 
be of long duration ; on which account the young graduate 
was requested to be seated for a few minutes — ^and was left 
in the parlor alone. As he happened to have taken his seat 
near the door of the inner apartment, he could not avoid 
hearing that a very lively conversation was carried on, and 
this, during a passing up and down the room : in consequence 
of which he alternately perceived the sound of the conver- 

* ** Gabriel Henry Porthan became afterwards Professor in Abo, 
and has left a great name in Swedish literature, as a celebrated anti- 
quary and humanist.'* He died March 16, 1804, aged 65. Bishop 

, Porthan's disciple, and Atterbom's friend, and still alive in 

February, 1844, is the authority for the narration, as Professor Atter- 
bom has himself informed us. 

A.D. 1767-68.] yirgil'8 visit. 161 

sation at a distance^ and then again immediately near him- 
self; and plainly, so that every word might he heard. He 
observed that the conversation was conducted in Latin, and 
that it was respecting the antiquities of Rome : a discovery, 
after which, being himself a great Latinist, and very con- 
versant on the subject of those antiquities, he could not 
possibly avoid listening with the most intense attention. 
But he was somewhat puzzled when he heard throughout 
only one voice speaking, between pauses of longer or shorter 
duration ; after which the voice appeared to have obtained 
an answer, and to have found in the answer a motive for 
fresh questions. That the hearer of the persons conversing 
was Swedenborg himself, he took for granted, and the old 
man was observed to be highly pleased with his guest. But 
who the latter was, he could not discover; but only that 
the conversation was concerning the state of persons and 
things in Borne during the time of the emperor Augustus : 
and particulars on these points were elicited, which he with 
unavoidable and increasing interest endeavored to lay hold 
of, since they were altogether new to him. But as he be- 
came more and more absorbed in the subject itself, and was 
endeavoring to forget the marveUous in the treatment of it, 
the door was opened; and Swedenborg, who was recogniz- 
able from portraits and descriptions of him, came out into 
the parlor with a countenance beaming with joy. He greeted 
the stranger, who had risen from his seat, with a friendly 
nod, but merely in passing by him: for his chief attention 
was fixed upon the person who was invisible to the stranger, 
and whom he conducted with bows through the apartment 
and out at the opposite door : repeating at the same time, 
and in the most beautiful and fluent Latin, various obliga- 
tions, and begging an early repetition of the visit. Imme- 
diately afterwards, on entering again, he went straight up 
to his later guest, and addressed him with a cordial squeeze 
of the hand : ' Well, heartily welcome, learned Sir ! excuse 


me for making you wait ! I had, as you observed, a visitor.' 
The traveller, amazed and embarrassed : 'Yes, I observed 
it.' Swedenborg: 'And can you guess whom?' 'Impos- 
sible.' • Only think, my dear Sir : Virgil I And do you 
know : he is a fine and pleasant fellow. I have always had 
a good opinion of the man, and he deserves it. He is as 
modest as he is witty, and most agreeably entertaining.' 
' I also have always imagined him to be so.' * Right ! and 
he is always like himself. It may, perhaps, not be un- 
known to you, that in my first youth I occupied myself 
much with Roman literature, and even wrote a multitude 
of Carmina, which I had printed at Skara V * I know it, 
and all judges highly esteem them.' * I am glad of it ; it 
matters little that the contents were respecting my first 
love. Many years, many other studies, occupations and 
thoughts, lie between that period and the present. But 
the so-unexpected visit of Virgil awaked up a crowd of 
youthful recollections ; and when I found him so pleasant, 
so communicative, I resolved to avail myself of the occasion, 
to ask him of things concerning which no one could better 
give information. He has also promised me to come again 
before long. . . . But let us now talk of something else ! 
It is so long since I have met with any one from Finland ; 
and besides a young Academician ! Come in, and sit down 
with me I With what can I serve you? But first give me 
an account of everything you can, both old and new.' And 
afterwards, — thus continues the witness and deponent of 
this scene to one of his intimate friends, from whose lips 
we received the account, — afterwards, during the whole 
period of my intercourse with this singular old man, whom 
I subsequently visited several times, I did not perceive the 
least that was extraordinary, excepting only his amazing 
learning in all the branches of human science and investi- 
gation. He never afterwards touched upon anything super- 
natural or visionary. So insane as he appeared to me at 


first, I nevertheless separated from him with the greatest 
gratitade, both for his highly learned conversation, and 
his constant and exceeding kindness both in word and deed 
— and above all, with the greatest admiration, although 
mingled with r^et, that, on a certain point, a screw in the 
venerable man was loose or altogether fallen away." 

Here is a royal gate into history, for the futnre to open. 
If we want the biography of Virgil, let Virgil tell it ; no 
one else can satisfy either biographer or reader. Virgil and 
his memory are alive ; for Grod is not the God of the dead, 
but the Grod of the living. There are no dead in the vulgar 
sense, and there is no oblivion. There is want of spiritual 
sjrmpathy in us, which kills the living, and obliterates their 
memory. The ancient men are secret, for we are estranged 
from their love line. Antiquarianism cannot dig them up, 
because they are not underground. But likeness of mind 
is an exorcism that they cannot refuse, and which properly 
applied, will refresh their oldest memories, and make them 
confidential. The highest who has left the earth, has its 
dear images with him, albeit quiescent for the most part, 
but may be led down, when the Lord pleases, by the stairs 
of the unforgettable past, and visit our abodes. It is only 
to open his mind world-wards, and straight he can com- 
mune with an earthly seer — ^if he can find one. The love 
we bear to human story, the insatiable curiosity towards 
early times, the very madness of antiquarianism, demand 
this authentication, which, it is plain, would be simply 
satisfying and nothing more. It is then extraordinary that 
it is not common. 

The exact month of Swedenborg's next foreign travel 
is uncertain, but just before he undertook it, his friend 
Robsahm met him in his carriage riding out of Stockholm, 
and asked him how he could venture upon so long a journey, 
being eighty years old? and whether they would ever meet 
again ? Have no anxiety on that subject, said he, for if 


you lire we shall meet again here, as I have yet another 
journey like this before me. We also have it recorded that 
his repeated voyages to and fro had become a matter of 
notoriety at Elsinore, where he frequently visited the 
Swedish consul, M. Rahling ; and it was during the transit 
we are referring to that he made the acquaintance of Greneral 
Tuzen at the Consul's table. The General questioned him 
upon the report of the Queen of Sweden's affair, and re- 
ceived an account of it from his own lips. He also asked 
him how a man might be certain whether he was on the 
road to salvation, or not. Swedenborg told him that this 
was easy ; that he need only examine himself by the ten 
commandments ; as for instance, whether he loves and fears 
Grod ; whether he is rejoiced at the welfare of others, and 
does not envy them; whether he puts aside anger and 
revenge for injuries, because vengeance belongs to God : 
and so on. If he can answer this examination in the af- 
firmative, he is on the road to heaven ; if his heart is the 
other way, then he is on the road to hell. This led Tuxen 
to think of himself, as well as others, and he asked Swe- 
denborg whether he had seen King FrederickV . of Denmark, 
deceased in 1766, adding that though some human frailty 
attached to him, yet he had certain hopes that he was 
happy. Swedenborg said, " Yes, I have seen him, and he 
is well off, and not only he, but all the kings of the house 
of Oldenburg, who are all associated together. This is not 
the happy case with our Swedish kings." Swedenborg 
then told him that he had seen no one so splendidly minis- 
tered to in the world of spirits as the Empress Elizabeth of 
Russia, who died in 1 762. As Tuxen expressed astonish- 
ment at this, Swedenborg continued : "I can also tell you 
the reason, which few would surmise. With all her faults 
she had a good heart, and a certain consideration in her 
negligence. This induced her to put off signing many 
papers that were from time to time presented to her, and 

A.D. 1767-68.] GENERAL TUXEN. 165 

which at last so accumulated, that she conld not examine 
them, but was obliged to sign as many as possible upon 
the representation of her ministers : after which she would 
retire to her closet, fall on her knees, and beg God's for- 
giveness, if she, against her will, had signed anything that 
was wrong." When this conversation was ended, Sweden- 
borg went on board his vessel, leaving a firm friend and 
future disciple in General Tuxen. 

It is probable that Swedenborg went from Stockholm to 
London in the middle of the year, according to what he 
signified to Kant's friend. However on November 8, 1 768, 
we again meet him at Amsterdam, whither he had gone to 
print another important work. The BelighU of Wisdom 
concerning Conjugal Love, and the Pleasures of Insanity 
concerning Scortatory Love, This book he published with 
his name, as written by Emanuel Swedenborg, a Swede. 

In every new view of mankind, and in each fresh system 
of doctrines which professes to apply itself to the wants of 
an age, the subject of marriage can hardly fail to have an 
important place ; in many systems indeed, it furnishes the 
experimentum cruets, and at once decides their pretensions. 
It now devolves upon us to say a few words upon this topic, 
in its connexion with Swedenborg's doctrines. 

The author affirms, upon a union of experimental with 
rational evidence, that sex is a permanent fact in human 
nature, — that men are men, and women, women, in the 
highest heaven as here upon earth : that it is the soul which 
is male or female, and that sex is thence derived into the 
mortal body and the natural world ; therefore that the dif- 
ference of sexes is brighter and more exquisite in proportion 
as the person is high, and the sphere is pure. The dis- 
tinction not only reaches to the individual, but it is atomi- 
cally minute besides ; every thought, affection and sense of 
a male is male, and of a female is feminine. The smallest 
drop of intellect or will is inconvertible between the sexes ; 


if man's, it can neyer become woman's ; or vice versd. The 
sexual distinction is founded upon the two radical attributes 
of God, — ^upon his divine love, and his divine wisdom ; 
whereof the former is feminine, and the latter masculine. 
The union of these in Him is the divine marriage ; and 
the creation proceeds distinctly from them, and images, or 
aspires to, a marriage in every part. The lightning fiats 
twine and kiss ere ever they separate. The world would be, 
and the church is, an everlasting wedlock. Therefore there 
are marriages in heaven, and heaven itself is a marriage. 
The text that " in heaven they neither many, nor are given 
in marriage," is to be understood in a spiritual sense. It 
signifies that the marriage of the soul with its Lord, or 
what is the same thing, the entrance of man into the 
church, which is the bride of the Lamb, must be efiected 
in this world, or it cannot have place afterwards. It also 
signifies, that angels, whether men or women, already 
have the marriage principle in them as a ground of their 
angelship, or they could not acquire it after death : hence 
they are virtually married, and do not marry, nor are given 
in marriage. It is as though it had been said, that no one 
goes to heaven, but those who already are in heaven ; or 
have heaven in them, and are heaven. But this Scripture 
by no means excludes the blessed from that conjugal union 
which is their summary bliss, and which is the foregone 
conclusion of their admission to eternal life. The text, 
however, does exclude sensual and natural views of mar- 
riage, and so is suitable in its form to the Jewish mind 
and the corporeal nature, which otherwise would have con- 
ceived only carnally of a celestial bond. 

We must guard, however, against supposing that the 
spiritual is not real and bodily ; for everything inward has 
its last resort in substantive organization. The bodies of 
angels are as out's in every part, but more expressive, 
plastic, and perfect. Their conjugal union, which is true 


chastity and playful innocence, is bodily like onr own ; nay, 
far more intimate : its delights, immeasurably more blessed 
and perceptible that on earth, commence in the spirit, and 
are of the spirit even in the body : its powers, springing 
from a divine fountain, are marred by no languor, but spire 
in an unconsuming flame of perennial virility. This world, 
however, and not the other, is the theatre of prolification ; 
the fixed soil of nature alone produces new beings; whence 
angelic marriages do not engender natural but spiritual 
births, ^hich are the various endowments of love and 
wisdom; wherefore, by this offspring or t»-spring, the 
partners breed in themselves human fulness, which consists 
in desiring to grow wise on the man's part, and in loving 
whatever belongs to wisdom on the wife's. Thus conjugal 
love is a meaps of their eternal progression, by which 
they become younger and younger, more and more deeply 
the sons and daughters of the Almighty, and are bom again 
from state to state as happier children in the cycle of 
wedded satisfactions. 

To conjugal love our author assigns the highest position 
in the soul : in its descent it is the gate by which the 
human race enters into existence : in its ascent and upper 
faculty it is the door through which the Lord enters into 
the mind. It is the appointed source of all creatures, from 
which beneath springs generation, and regeneration comes 
through it from above. The purity of the source deter- 
mines the world's condition at any given period, influencing 
posterities organically, and the mind and will in their finest 
springs. Nay, upon this.depends the spiritual world itself; 
for earthly marriage is the seminary of heaven, as adultery 
is the seminary of hell. Children bom of parents imbued 
with truly conjugal love, derive from those parents the 
conjugal principle of goodness and truth, which gives them 
an inclination and faculty, if sons, to perceive whatever 


appertains to wisdom, and if daughters, to love the things 
that wisdom teaches. 

It is plain that of an affection so exalted there are few 
patterns to he found on earth, and that even where it 
dwells, it may not be manifest ; and for this reason our 
author was obliged to describe it from experience in heaven, 
where it reigns in open day as a fundamental love. Fact 
alone supplies description, and the facts of conjugal union 
were not given on this globe in that age ; it was then needful 
to explore the heavens, in which that ancient love is stored. 
For this purpose, as the ages are differenced by this very 
affection, he prayed to the Lord to be allowed to visit them, 
and travelled in spirit with an angel guide to the golden, 
silver, copper, iron, and still later periods ; that is to say, 
to the men and women who are still in those states. And 
everywhere he learnt from the best and the eldest the tale 
of their faithful loves ; or, as in the lower ages, observed 
that the decadence of their state was in proportion to their 
want of fealty to the primeval bond. He learnt that the 
marriage of one man with one wife is the law of heavenly 
union, corresponding to the unity of God, to the single- 
heartedness of man, to the marriage of the good with the 
true, and of the Lord with the church. Polygamy, how- 
ever, and varying unions, were the sign and the cause of 
a broken religion, and the avenues of sensuality towards 
hell. He brought back to this earth the documents of the 
other life on this point, the Reports of the great epochs, 
and these are given in his memorable relations, a series of 
narratives between the ethical chapters, which complete 
by experience the field which is given through doctrine 
in the latter. 

Never was monogamy so rescued from the baser justifica- 
tions of worldly prudence, and placed so merely on the 
pedestal of rehgion and divine necessity, as in Swedenborg's 


system : with him it is the ideal of union, and eyeiything 
m the sexual commerce is tried and judged by its ten- 
dency or approximation to indissoluble marriage. Well 
may the state be guarded, which is to be eternal: well 
may the force be subject to heavenly rules, whose effects 
extend through all generations in the lines of time, and 
upward through the hierarchies of that past, which is but 
the depth and height of the present. 

Such, at least, is the consequence of the creed, that 
sexual distinctions are eternal, and monogamy their divine 
end: it evidently confers the heart of spirituality upon 
the marriage-tie, and tends to maintain it for both divine 
and human reasons. Nor are the celestial reports devoid 
of interest in the matter ; for were it not for them, the 
sanctity of marriage would fail of present experience, and 
come in time into the hands of the philosophers, who keep 
no account of their receipts. 

In the latter part of the work the author treats of the 
misfortunes and abuses of the sexual relation ; of its pre- 
sent state in the world ; of its substitutes in cases where 
marriage cannot be contracted ; and of other kindred sub- 
jects. He also depicts the nature of adultery from his 
experience of hell. With regard to most of these topics, 
we must refer the reader to the book itself, but we may 
observe that it is said that fornication is hght *in propor- 
tion as marriage is contemplated, and that "pellicacy," 
or the keeping to one mistress, is preferable to vague 
amours; that it is allowable in certain circumstances to 
certain temperaments ; always provided that the mind in- 
tends marriage when events allow. With regard to divorce, 
it is not allowable save only for adultery ; but as to separa- 
tion a mensa et toro, there are many "legitimate, just 
and conscientious causes" of it, all of which are also per- 
missions of concubinage, practised under rules, and en- 
tirely separated both as to time and place from the conjugal 


relation; but such provisional intercourse must on no 
account coexist with marriage connexions. 

How far the latter permissions, recognized as rules of 
conduct, are compatible with our social state and present 
manners, we leave to others to determine ; as also whether 
such practices, already common, would be shorn of their 
defilement, and converted into ways to marriage, by the 
application of conscientious rules. The question is engaging 
attention enough in many countries. Swedenborg has only 
discussed it on the spiritual side ; he has not shewn it to 
be feasible in the State ; and as to further questions in- 
volved, such as the rights of illegitimate offspring, the 
degrees of legitimacy, &c., &c., he has left them out, and 
indeed, as we apprehend, they must be treated from a 
different ground, before the permissions above given can 
safely come into the laws. Until then, an unhappy con- 
science from lese Society must attend them, even thongh 
they be dictated by the spiritual man. 

Our course as a faithful biographer has enjoined upon 
us this subject, never a pleasing one to the reader ; but 
facts so broadly written in the title page of an important 
work, cannot be omitted from an account of it ; and no 
estimate of Swedenborg as a moralist would be even toler- 
ably complete, if his views on such a point were not in- 
cluded. Moreover the age demands the discussion of the 

We cannot quit the Canjuffol Love without noticing to 
the reader the author's penetration upon a subject where 
a studious old bachelor might be expected to have no expe- 
rience. It is an instance of the sympathy of genius, which 
can place itself in the position of its object, and look out- 
ward from the hearts of alien things. Thus it was that 
Swedenborg analysed the male and the female soul, and 
their faculties of conjunctivity ; thus that he dived into the 
recesses of wedded life, and laid down a science and a series 


of its agreements and disagreements ; that he examined 
its love, its friendship, and its fsTor, at the different periods 
of life ; that he desoibed to the life, but in formal pro- 
positions, the jealonsies of the state, ''its burning fire 
against those that infest wedded love, and its horrid fear 
for the loss of that lore;" and finally thns that he depicted 
the love of children, the spiritoal offspring of conjugal 
loTC, in its suooessiTe derivations ; and childless himself, 
appreciated the circolation of innocence and peace, that 
the hearts of the yonng establish in the home. Much, 
however, that he has said belongs to his peculiar seership : 
much of the psychology is of more than earthly fineness ; 
the distinctions are those of spiritual light, and the delicacy 
of the affections is that of spiritual heat; which is not sur- 
prizing, for the wives of heaven had been communicative 
to our author. 

We shall here give a ''memorable relation" from the 
work, which will at once serve as a specimen of these nar- 
ratives, and illustrate and conclude the subject of which 
we have been speaking. 

" While I was in meditation," says Swedenborg, " con- 
cerning the secrets of conjugal love stored up with wives, 
there^ again appeared the golden shower described above; 
and I recollect that it fell over a hall in the east where 
there lived three conjugal loves, that is, three married 
pairs, who loved each other tenderly. On seeing it, as if 
invited by the sweetness of meditation on that love, I 
hastened towards it, and as I approached, the shower from 
golden became purple, afterwards scarlet, and when I came 
near, it was sparkling like dew. I knocked at the door, 
and when it was opened, I said to the attendant, ' Tell 

* In this relation Swedenborg refers to others that bad gone before, 
and which the reader may consult. We advise \am particularly to 
peruse the beautiful spiritual narratives which are interspersed through 
this work. They distance the ^oebt/ceiH pamu. 



the husbands, that the person who before came with an 
angel, is come again, and begs the favor of being admitted 
into their oompanj.' Presently the attendant returned 
with a message of assent from the husbands, and I en- 
tered. The three husbands with their wives were together 
in an open gallery, and as I paid my respects to them 
they returned the compliment. I then asked the wives, 
Whether the white dove in the window afterwards appeared? 
They said, 'Yes; and to-day also, and it likewise ex- 
panded its wings ; from which we concluded that you were 
near at hand, and were desirous of having one other 
secret discovered to you concerning conjugal love.' I 
inquired, 'Why do you say one secret, when I am 
oome hither to learn several V They replied, * They are 
secrets, and some of them transcend your wisdom to such 
a degree, that the understanding of your thought cannot 
comprehend them. You glory over us on account of your 
wisdom ; but we do not glory over you on account of ours ; 
and yet ours is eminently distinguished above yours, be- 
cause it enters your inclinations and affections, and sees, 
perceives, and is sensible of them. You know nothing at 
all of the inclinations and affections of your own love ; and 
yet these are the principles from and according to which, 
your understanding thinks, consequently from and according 
to which, you are wise; and yet wives are so well ac- 
quainted with those principles in their husbands, that they 
see them in their faces, and hear them from the tone of 
their voices in discourse, yea, they feel them on their 
breasts, their arms, and their cheeks : but we, from the 
zeal of our love for your happiness, and at the same time 
for our own, pretend not to know them, and yet we govern 
them so prudently, that wherever the fancy, good pleasure 
and will of our husbands leads, we follow by permitting 
and suffering ; only bending the direction thereof when it 
is possible, but in no case forcing it.' I asked, ' Whence 

A.D. 1768.] THE WIVES OF HEAVEN. 173 

have joa this wisdom?' They replied, 'It is implanted 
in as from creation, and consequently from birth. Oar 
husbands compare it to instinct ; bat we say that it is of 
the divine providence, in order that the men may be ren- 
dered happy by their wives. We have heard from oar 
hasbands, that the Lord wills that the male man shoold 
act from a free principle according to reason; and that 
on this account the Lord himself governs from within 
his free principle, so far as respects the incUnations and 
affections, and governs it from without by means of his 
wife; and that thus he forms a man with his wife into 
an angel of heaven ; and moreover love changes its essence, 
and does not become conjugal love, if it be compelled. 
But we will be more explicit on this subject ; we are moved 
thereto, that is, to prudence in governing the inclinations 
and affections of our husbands, so that they may seem to 
themselves to act from a free principle according to their 
reason, from this motive, because we are delighted with 
the love of them; and we love nothing more than that 
they should be delighted with our delights, which, in case 
of their being lightly esteemed by our hasbands, become 
insipid also to us.' Having spoken these words, one of 
the wives entered her bed-chamber, and on her return said, 
' My dove still flutters its wings, which is a sign that we 
may commnnicate further secrets:' and they said, 'We 
have observed various changes of the inclinations and 
affections of the men ; as that they grow cold towards 
their wives, while the hasbands entertain vain thoughts 
against the Lord and the church; that they grow cold 
while they are conceited of their own inteUigence; that 
they grow cold while they look at the wives of others from 
a principle of concupiscence ; that they grow cold while 
their love is adverted to by their wives ; not to mention 
other occasions ; and that the degrees of their coldness are 
various : this we discover from a drawing back of the jBense 


from their eyes, ears, and bodies, on the presence of our 
senses. From these few observations you may see, that 
we know better than the men, whether it be well or ill 
with them ; if they are cold towards their wives, it is ill 
with them, bnt if they are warm towards their wives, it 
is well with them; wherefore the wives are continually 
devising means whereby the men may become warm and 
not cold towards them ; and these means they devise with 
a sagacity inscrutable to the men/ As they said this, the 
dove was heard to make a sort of moaning; and imme- 
diately the wives said, 'Thi» is a token to us, that we 
have a wish to communicate greater secrets, but that it is 
not allowable : probably you will reveal to the men what 
yon have heard/ I replied, * I intend to do so : what harm 
can come of it?' Hereupon the wives discoursed among 
themselves on the subject, and then said, ' Reveal it if you 
please. We are well aware of the power of persuasion 
which wives possess. They will say to their husbands, 
The man is not in earnest ; he tells idle tales ; he is bnt 
joking from appearances, and from strange fancies usual 
with men. Do not believe him, but believe us : we know 
that ye are loves, and that we are obediences. Therefore 
reveal it if you please ; but still the husbands will place 
no dependence on what comes from your lips, but on what 
comes from the lips of their wives which they kiss.' " 

Swedenborg remained in Amsterdam during the winter 
of 1768-69, and early in the spring of the latter year pub- 
lished his Brie/ Exposition of the Doctrine of the New 
Church, '< in which work," as he says, ''are fully shewn 
the errors of the existing doctrines of justification by faith 
alone, and of the imputation of the righteousness or merits 
of Jesus Christ," which doctrines, he expected, might 
probably be extirpated by this book. He circulated it 
freely throughout Holland and Grermany ; but, on second 
thoughts, sent only one copy to Sweden, to Dr. Beyer, re- 

A.D. 1768-69.] KKEBOm's ATTACK. 175 

questing him to keep it to himself. For '* true diyinity in 
Sweden was in a wintry state ; and in general^ towards the 
North Pole there is a greater length of spiritual night than 
in the southern parts ; and those who stand in that dark- 
ness may he supposed to kick and stumble more than 
others against everything in the New Church which is the 
produce of an unprejudiced reason and understanding; 
yet we are to admit some exceptions to this observation in 
the ecclesiastical order.'^ 

Swedenboi^'s anticipations with regard to his native 
country were not falsified by the event, for already on the 
22nd of March, 1769, Dr. Ekebom, dean of the theological 
faculty of Grottenburg, had delivered to the Consistory there 
a deposition of objections against Swedenborg's theological 
writings, laden with untruth, and full of personal reproaches. 
The dean branded his doctrine '* as in the highest degree 
heretical, and on pointa the most tender to every Christian, 
Socinian;'' yet stated further, that he did ^'not know As- 
sessor Swedenborg's religious system, and should take no 
pains to come at the knowledge of it." As for Swedenborg's 
chief works, he ** did not possess them, and had neither 
read nor seen them." *' Is not this," says Swedenborg in 
reply, " to be blind in the forehead, and to have eyes be- 
hind, and even those covered with a film ? To see and 
decide upon writings in such a manner, can any secular or 
ecclesiastical judge regard otherwise than as criminal?" 
For the rest our author's reply consisted in a citation of 
some of the leading doctrines in his works, those particu- 
larly on the divine trinity, the holisess of Scripture, the 
unity of charity and faith, and the direction of faith to- 
wards one person, namely, our Saviour Jesus Christ ; and 
he denied that his doctrine was heretical according to judg- 
m&kt% pronounced by the chief ecclesiastical bodies in 
Sweden. The tenor of Scripture, the Apostolic Creed, 
and whatever was not self-contradictory in the orthodoxy 


of the churches, he claimed to have upon his own side. 
He requested of Dr. Beyer that his reply might be com- 
municated to the bishop and the Consistory, and intended 
afterwards to publish both sides, and possibly to found an 
action at law upon the proceedings, unless the dean should 
retract his scandal. 

At the end of May or the beginning of June, Swedenborg 
left Amsterdam en route for Paris, " with a design," as he 
said, '' which beforehand must not be made public." It 
appears from this that he anticipated some difficulty with 
regard to the object of his mission. This was no other 
than the publication of another little work, viz., the Inter- 
course between the Soul and the Body, which he designed 
to give to the world in the French capital. He had spoken 
well in his theological works of " the noble French nation," 
had taken care to communicate his works to* public bodies 
and select individuals in France, where also they had been 
in considerable request, and now he desired to issue some- 
thing from the French press. It is probable that had his 
present plan succeeded, he intended also to publish in Paris 
that great summary of his doctrines which he was then 
about to write, and which was his last performance. 

Arrived in Paris he submitted his tract to M . Chevreuil, 
Censor Royal and Doctor of the Sorbonne, who aftier having 
read it, informed him that a tacit permission to publish 
would be granted him, on condition, " as was customary 
in such cases," that the title should say, ''printed at 
London," or ''at Amsterdam." Swedenborg would not 
consent to this, and the work therefore was not printed at 
Paris. Hereupon a calumnious letter was circulated in 
Gottenburg, which alleged that he had been ordered to 
quit Paris, which he denied as " a direct falsehood," and 
appealed for the truth of the case to M . Creutz, the Swedish 
ambassador to France. 

Rumor has been busy with him upon this journey. The 

A.D. 1769.] PARIS AND LONDON. 177 

French Biographie Univeraelle connects him with an artist 
Darned Elie, who it is alleged supplied him with money, 
and furthered his presumed designs. Indeed he has heen 
accused of a league with the iUuminSg, and with a certain 
politico-theological freemasonry, centuries old hut always 
invisible, which was to overturn society, and foster revolu- 
tions all over the world. We can only say, that our re- 
searches have not elicited these particulars, and that every 
authentic document shews that Swedenborg stood always 
upon his own basis, accepted money from no one, and was 
just what he appeared — a theological missionary, and no- 
thing more. Still as there is generally a grain of truth in 
even the most preposterous hes, we shall be glad to look 
out in this direction for biographical materials. Whatever 
else they be, they shall at least be welcome. 

In the autumn of this year (1769), Swedenborg had left 
Paris, and was in London, where he published his little 
brochure on The Intercourse between the Soul and the Body, 
It was daring this sojourn of two or three months that the 
most intimate of his English friends. Dr. Hartley, Rector 
of Winwick, in Northamptonshire, drew from him a short 
account of himself, as a means of refuting any calumnies 
that might be promulgated after his departure. Dr. Hartley 
had thought that Swedenborg was hardly safe in his own 
country, and that possibly he was pressed for money. In 
the course of this mild and modest document, Swedenborg 
set him right on these topics. "I live," says he, "on 
terms of familiarity and friendship with all the bishops of 
my country, who are ten in number ; as also with the six- 
teen senators, and the rest of the nobility ; for they know 
that I am in fellowship with angels. The king and queen 
also, and the three princes their sons, shew me much favor : 
I was once invited by the king and queen to dine at their 
table — an honor which is in general granted only to the 
nobility of the highest rank ; and likewise, since, with the 



hereditaiy prince. Thej all Srish for my retam home : 
90 &r am I firom being in any danger of persecation in mj 
own conntrj, as yoa seem to apprehend, and so kindly 
wish to proTide against ; and should anything of the kind 
be&I me elsewhere, it eannot hnrt me. ... I am a Fellow, 
by invitation, of the Royal Academy of Sciences of Stock- 
holm, but I never soaght admission into any other literary 
society, as I belong to an angelic society, wherein things 
rdating to heaven and the sonl are the only subjects of 
diaooorse and entertainment, wh ere as the things that occupy 
the attention of onr literary sodeties are such as relate to 
the world and the body. ... As to this world's wealth, I 
have what is sufficient, and more I neither seek nor wish 

We presume that Swedenborg lodged with Shearsmith 
in Gold Bath Fidds during this short sfljoum in London. 

On his departure firom England, he had requested his 
firiend. Dr. Messiter, to transmit certain of his works to 
the Divinity Professors of the Universities of Edinburgh, 
Glasgow, and Aberdeen, and the letters which passed upon 
this occasion furnish a testimony to his personal character 
firom one who knew him well. Dr. Hartley, Dr. Messiter 
(M.D.), and Dr. Hamp^ who was preceptor to Greorge I., 
were his chief English firiends. 

In September he quitted London, and returned to Stock- 
holm, arriving in the latter capital at the beginnii^ of 
October. On his arrival he was kindly received by all 
dasses of people, and at once invited by their royal high- 
nesses the hereditary prince and his sister, with both of 
whom he conversed. He also dined with several of the 
senators, and talked with the first members of the Diet, 
and with the bishops there present, who all behaved very 
kindly to him, excepting his nephew. Bishop Filenius. 
A storm, however, had been brewing during his absence, 
and he now had to meet it. Dr. Hartley's fears were jus- 


tified by the facts, though not by the ultimate event. But 
befwe we turn to this new page of his life, we must give 
some account of the works that he had just published 

The Brief Evpontion is the forerunner of the Trw 
Christian ReUgton^ to be noticed presently. It is a criti- 
cism on the doctrines of the CathoUc and Protestant 
churches, from the point of view of the New Church. 
The author premises a statement of the doctrinal views of 
tbe three churches, for the sake of comparison between 
them. The Catholic doctrinals are excerpted from the re- 
cords of the Council of Trent; the Protestant, from the 
Formula ConcorduB composed by persons attached to the 
Augsburg Confession. These churches indeed dissent upon 
various points, but are agreed as to the fundamentals, of a 
trinity of persons, of original sin, of the imputation of 
Christ's merits, and of justification by faith alone. Be- 
speoting the latter tenet, however, the Catholics conjoin 
the faith with charity or good works, while the leading 
Reformers, in order to effect a full severance from the Romish 
communion as to the very essentials of the church which 
are faith and charity, separated between the two. Never- 
theless the Reformers adjoin good works, and even conjoin 
them, to their faith, but in man as a passive subject, 
whereas the Roman Catholics conjoin them in man as an 
active subject. The whole system of theology in Christen- 
dom is founded upon an idea of three Gods, arising from 
the doctrine of a trinity of persons, and falls when that 
doctrine is rejected, after which saving faith is possible. 
The faith of the present day has separated religion from 
the church, since religion consists in the acknowledgment 
of one God, and in the worship of Him from faith grounded 
in charity. The doctrine of the present church is inter- 
woven with paradoxes, to be embraced by faith ; hence its 
tenets gain admission into the memory only, and into no 


part of the understanding above the memory, but merelj 
into confirmations below it. They cannot be learnt, or 
retained, without difficulty, nor be preached or taught 
withdut using great care to conceal their nakedness, because 
sound reason neither discerns nor perceives them. They 
ascribe to God human properties in the worst sense of the 
term. The heresies of all ages have sprung from the doc- 
trine founded on the idea of three Gods. This has deso- 
lated the church, and brought it to its consummation. 
The Catholic laity, however, have for the most part ceased 
to know anything of the essential doctrinals of their church, 
these being lost for them in the numerous formalities of 
that religion, and hence, if they recede in part from their 
outward forms, and approach God the Saviour immediately, 
taking the Sacrament in both kinds, they may be brought 
into the New Church more easily than the Reformed com- 

These are a few of the propositions of this little treatise, 
which for its destructive logic, is unequalled among Swe- 
denborg's works. If rational assault could have carried 
the outworks of the existing creeds, this work would have 
had the effect ; and Swedenborg would have been justified 
in his hope, that the errors of the churches might be '' ex- 
tirpated" by a book. But an error whose first condition 
lies in the prostration of the understanding, is good, so 
far, against rational attacks. Dialectics make no impression 
on whoever believes that man is a spiritual fool, doomed 
by his constitution to believe in nonsense and absurdity ; 
that is to say, in what would be such if he dared to judge 
it by his reason. This fortress, viz., the denial of the 
mind itself by both churches, is therefore yet unstormed 
by our author's artillery ; and it is evident that more real 
and terrible means must gather to battle around it, before 
it will capitulate. At the same time, the longer it holds 
out, the more is the laity separated from the clergy ; the 


more the sciences and positiye knowledge claim the earth 
to its very walls ; the more the clerical garrison is starved 
in the sight of the abniidance of natural truth ; and in the 
end, the more likely it is that some convulsion, either 
mental or worldly, will sweep away the strong offence, 
and substitute a people's church upon its desert site. 

Swedenborg describes experimentally the future lot of 
those who maintain ''the faith of the dragon," which 
is '' signified by the pit of the abyss, because," as he says, 
" a description from ocular demonstration may be relied 
on." We insert his graphic account. 

" ' That pit, which is like the mouth of a fiimace, ap- 
pears in the southern quarter ; and the abyss beneath it is 
of great extent towards the east ; they have light even 
there, but if hght from heaven be let in, there is immediate 
darkness ; wherefore the pit is closed at the top. There 
appear in the abyss huts constructed of brick, which are 
divided into distinct cells, in each of which is a table, 
whereon lie papers, with some books. There sits at his 
own table, every one who in this world had confirmed justi- 
fication and salvation by faith alone, making charity a 
merely natural and moral act, and the works thereof only 
works of civil life whereby men may reap advantage in the 
world, but if done for the sake of salvation, they condemn 
them, and some even rigorously, because human reason 
and vrill are in them. All who are in this abyss, have been 
scholars and learned men in the world ; and among them 
are some metaphysicians and scholastic divines, who are 
there esteemed above the rest. But their lot is as follows : 
when first they come thither, they take their seats in the 
first cells, but as they confirm faith by excluding the works 
of charity, they leave the first seats, and enter into cells 
nearer the east, and thus successively till they come to- 
wards the end, where those are who confirm these tenets 
from the Word ; and because they then cannot but falsify 


the Word^ their huts vanish, and they find themselvefi in 
a desert. There is also an abyss beneath that abyss, where 
those are who in like manner haye confirmed justification 
and salvation by faith alone, but who in their spirits have 
denied the existence of a God, and in their hearts have 
made a jest of the hdy things of the church ; there they 
do nothing but quarrel, tear their garments, get upon the 
tables, stamp with their feet, and assail each other with 
reproaches ; and because it is not permitted them to hart 
any one, they use threatening words and shake their fists 
at each other.' 

"That I might also be assured and convinced, that 
they who have confirmed themselves in the present justi- 
fying faith, are meant by the dragon, it was given me to 
see many thousands of them assembled together, and they 
then appeared at a distance like a dragon vrith a long tail, 
which seemed beset vfith spikes like thorns, which signified 

The Intercourse between the Soul and the Body is a work 
in which the author brings his spiritual sight to bear upon 
the solution of that old problem. In this world, the soul 
is unseen, excepting through the body ; and though con- 
sciousness affirms its existence, yet philosophy gives it no 
qualities that warrant us to say what it is. In short, phi- 
losophy crushes the question, and insists that there is no 
what in the case. The consequence is, that we too often 
regard the soul as a floating and indeterminate entity of no 
weight to counterbalance the world and the senses. This 
gives rise to the doctrine of Physical In/lux, which means 
in brief the omnipotence of outward objects and of sense, 
in controlling and filling the inward faculties, and even 
according to many in creating them. The contrary view is 
that of spiritual irifiux, in which the soul, whatever it be, 
is seated upon the throne of the human powers, takes from 
the senses whatever it wills, and acts according to circum- 

A.D. 1769.] CRBBD-M AKIMG IN THK PIT. 183 

stances from its own wisdom. There is a third system, 
that of Lieibnitz, named preMablMed harmony, wherein 
neither soal nor body acts npon the other, bat each concurs 
with the other, snd does what the other does ; muth as 
two men might move their arms or legs to time under some 
ordering common to both. The theory of spiritual influx 
is that whidi Swedenborg adopts ; and which he fills with 
his experience. 

The problem of this link had dwelt with his understand- 
ing from his earlier days, and he had given a keen refuta- 
tion of Ijeibnitz when writing his anatomical works ; for 
he saw that that great genius was not solving the question 
by his hypothesis, but only rendering it insuperable, by 
propounding as a solution a statement still more knotty ; 
since his preSstablisfaed harmony required in point of fact 
a second soul to move two bodies instead of one. For the 
drill effecting the harmony of course proceeded from some 
word of command ; in short, from a more inscrutable soul. 
Preestablished harmony was therefore to Swedenborg but 
another name for methodical darkness, which terminated 
the thought that it professed to extend. 

Now here we see the value of spiritual sight on a difficult 
point. While the soul was unknown, its manner of com- 
munication with the body was necessarily occult, but when 
it was actually seen as the man himself, with all his looks, 
members and garments about him, then the matter took a 
practical form, and he, the soul, was united to the body, 
because he wanted it to supply his sensations from, and do 
his work in, the world. The error lay in thinking of the 
soul as not a body, and not a man ; the power of the truth 
in looking from humanity as the way of answering the 
question. The soul, in this new view, is the complete 
man ; the body is his fit natural garment. The latter he 
puts on, by a divine necessity, to dothe the spiritual es- 
sence from the rudeness of this world, and to enable him 


to work amid its inclemencies, and to gather its fruits of 
wisdom, for a convenient season. In this case there are 
all the common motives for the union of the soul-man with 
the hodj-man, that there are for our union with our clothes^ 
with our houses, and with every circumstance that we draw 
around us to extend our lives and build up our state. This 
once seen, analogy points out a thousand links between 
the spiritual and the natural man, every one of which is 
practical, and of daily force. 

We may illustrate this by man and his ostensible con- 
nexions with this world. Now man we see, and the manner 
in which he lays hold upon his objects, which is chiefly 
typified by his actual handling of certain things. But 
suppose for a moment that we were some other being, and 
that man was invisible to us, and that still the objects were 
moved from place to place with an apparent design. In 
this case we should have the type of what the motions and 
actions of the body are to an abstract philosopher. It 
would be a kind of ghostly and fearful galvanism, and the 
existence of something to be called man, though what 
could never be known, would be the last induction of philo- 
sophy, from the strange events which were taking place 
around. Place the seer there, however, — ^the person who 
can see the powerful and actual man who is creating them, 
and sight itself, without a strained faculty, wiU account 
for the whole connexion of events. We see them produced, 
and we see the agent. Such is the native and substantial 
function of eyes, whether those of the spirit or the body, 
exerted in their proper sphere. The man who can see the 
soul, has done with its philosophy. 

The spiritual world is united to the natural by answerable 
links to the above. So long as the spiritual is kept by the 
philosophers, and consists of intuition and mathematical 
point, we may well wonder if it is united with nature ; for 
what love can consist between the starry firmament on the 

A.D. 1769.] MAN AND HIS BODY HOUSE. 185 

one hand and blank being on the other ? there is freezing 
indifference on either side, and of course no union. The 
addition of an abstract idea to the world, is the world un- 
altered, though a little blurred ; the sinking of the world 
in the idea, is on the other hand ideahsm or destruction of 
thought. There is every reason for ** civil war between the 
soul and the body," and discord between the two worlds, 
under circumstances in which one party to the agreement 
is essentially unknown. But, thanks be to God, spiritual 
siffht has again saved us here. 

As the soul is the essential human body, so is the spi- 
ritual world the essential outward world. It is a living 
world, because it is a continuation of life ; it consists in 
its extense of the inferior members of a vast humanity 
which is alive. This makes it living. But there is all in 
it that exists in nature, and in the same forms ; only all 
moves instead of stands. The spiritual sun, which is pure 
love, is at one with the natural sun, which is pure fire, 
because fire is dead love, and does love's same work in the 
dead world. There must be passive as well as active, or 
action would be dissipated. There must be a world of 
passives as well as a world of actives, or spirit would be 
uncontained. That which is a law in one sphere, is itself 
a sphere in some purer plan. 

This existence of chains of mutual creations, each cor- 
responding with each, because each in its own place m 
each, is the condition by which the Word pervades the 
world which it first created. It is no impulse that carries 
the divine unity through the worlds, but the still small 
voice of God above and between all things. Each superior 
thing is a revelation and a man to the inferior ; the lower 
hearkens to the higher, and assumes the image and like- 
ness of its state. Reception and obedience are the passive 
gifts of God to all the kingdoms, and the informing Word 
directs their changes from age to age. Speech or command, 


as we said before (p. 45), is an archetype of communica- 
tion ; it is audible correspondence ; and worlds are but an 
assembly swayed hither and thither by its ancient songs 
and prophet voices. # 

The intercourse of soul with body, and of spirit with 
nature, lies then in the similarity of each with each : it 
depends upon a scale of divine wants, by which spirit must 
come down into nature, and soul into body, for the purpose 
of carrying life throughout the possible forms of the crea- 
tion. It is the easiest of things as well as doctrines ; be- 
cause for its existence in those unopposing depths where 
union Uves, only harmony is wanted, and for its explanur 
tion, the demonstration of the harmony. 

While speaking of influx, we may mention the doctrine 
of spheres, which are those effluences or radiations that 
created subjects put forth upon other things about them. 
Nothing in the worlds is naked, or shorn to its outline, but 
it has a peculiar space around it, an estate which it culti- 
vates, and in which it oscillates and exists. This space is 
filled with its emanations, which are always in the image 
and likeness of the being that inhabits and sheds them. 
The planet has its sphere in the air, the clouds, the aromas 
of the vegetable world, the breaths and transpirations of 
the animal, and a thousand subtle influences from the 
mineral. If our senses were grosser than they are, we 
should miss out all these, and the earth would be sphere- 
less. We do omit them all from the lesser cases, and hence 
man, the most ubiquitous of presences, is shut up, as we 
suppose, within the cordon of his skin. The truth, how- 
ever, is otherwise ; for creation is throughout dynamical. 
An appropriate Word goes forth incessantly from all things 
to all things. Each creature has its sphere, because each 
reflects the Creator, whose immediate sphere is the spiritual 
sun, and his ultimate sphere the universe itself in its roundest 
wisdom. Especially is man ensphered, and uses his rays 


for influence and communicationy printing off editions of 
himself upon the volume of the world. This is palpable 
to every sense in the spiritual kingdoms. Swedenborg, 
9s a scientific man, had already seen the law of spheres 
afar off in the doctrine of modifications (p. 45 above). 
But when he visited the inner world, the matter came under 
conditions suited to experimental science. He now touched 
the reality of spheres. The scents, colors and forces en- 
vironing humanity struck his opened senses, and he was 
amazed at their tidal power. As every spirit belongs to 
some province of the Grand Man, his presence excites 
correspondently that part of the human body to which he 
answers. When a liver spirit approached to Swedenborg, 
he felt the influx, sometimes before the spirit came in view, 
in his own hepatic region, and he knew the quality of the 
spirit from his operant sphere. 'When one of the eye men 
or of the heart men came near him, his own eyes or heart, 
sympathetically affected, told him at once whither the new 
comer belonged. When evil spirits sought him, the mala- 
dies or pains to which they answered were excited for the 
time in his system ; he knew therefore that spiritually these 
messengers were even such diseases. Hypocrites gave him 
a pain in the teeth, because hypocrisy is spiritual toothache. 
Moreover each spirit appeared in the plane of the part 
whereto he corresponded ; for the cosmogony of the spi- 
ritual world is human, and hence the human body is the 
pivot round which it plays. Nay, the body has its human 
form from the circumpressure of the human spiritual world, 
which, so to speak, deposits and maintains it, much as each 
cell of the material body is laid and preserved by the plan 
and pressure of the whole. 

We have mentioned already that in this year (1769) 
Swedenborg had found, on his return to Sweden, that his 
peaceful life was to be interrupted by misrepresentation 
and persecution. It is surprizing that he had proceeded 


SO long in promulgating doctrines condemnatory of the 
Lutheran creed, without drawing down upon himself the 
vengeance of the clergy. His works, however, were written 
in Latin, and but little known in Sweden, which made it, 
for a time, not worth while to notice them. But when 
eminent persons, like Drs. Beyer and Rosen, as well as 
others enjoying still higher dignity in the church, became 
avowed disciples and propagators of their sentiments, the 
matter became serious ; and the clergy, ever sensitive of 
innovation, determined to crush the new doctrine in the 
bud. Dean Ekebom at Gottenburg was the originator of 
the movement. The clerical deputies from that town were 
instructed to complain of Swedenborg and Dr. Beyer in the 
Diet. The tactics of his adversaries were sufficiently can- 
ning ; he was to be put upon his trial, and examined ; and as, 
when questioned, there was no doubt that he would assert 
openly his divine commission and spiritual privileges, it 
would then be easy to declare him insane, and consign him 
to a madhouse. One of the senators, (it is said Comit 
Hopken,) disclosed to him by letter this plot, and advised 
him to quit the country. On receiving the information, 
he was greatly affected, and retiring to his garden, fell 
upon his knees, and prayed that the Lord would direct 
him what to do. A response was immediately received 
from an angel, that " he might rest securely upon his arm tn 
the night, whereby is meant that night in which the world 
is sunk in matters pertaining to the church." Assured by 
this comforting message, Swedenborg, who was not allowed 
to be present at the debates on his cause, and knew no- 
thing of the details of what happened, enjoyed the calm in 
his chamber, and let the storm rage without as much as it 
pleased. Clamor, indeed, he knew that there was among 
a great part of the clerical body ; but " clamor," as he 
wrote to Dr. Beyer, '' does no harm, being like the ferment 
in new wine, which precedes its purification; for unless 

A.D. 1769.] BISHOP FILENIU8. 189 

what is wrong be winnowed, and rejected, the right cannot 
be discerned or received." For this reason (Dec. 29, 1769) 
he " did not stir one step to defend his cause, knowing 
that the Lord Himself, our Saviour, defends his church." 
It was finally concluded at the Diet and in the Council, 
not to touch his person ; a resolution owing in great part 
to the rank and character of the accused, and to his rela- 
tionship to many noble families, both in and out of the 

Bat we must return to the beginning of this afiPair, to 
give the details. The party in Gottenburg, headed by 
Dean Ekebom, found a ready instrument at Stockholm in 
Bishop Filenius, then president of the House of Clergy, 
for carrying their complaint directly before the Diet. The 
first obnoxious measure taken was the stoppage of a number 
of copies of Swedenborg*s work on Conjugal Love at Nork- 
joping, whither he had sent them from England, in an- 
ticipation of his own arrival, intending, when he came to 
Sweden, to make presents of them, as was his wont. They 
were however detained for examination, according to a law 
prohibiting the introduction of books reputed contrary to 
the Lutheran faith. Swedenborg naturally turned to his 
nephew. Bishop Filenins, requiring an explanation of the 
a£Pair, and requested the Bishop's friendly offices to have 
the box cleared. Filenius embraced and kissed him, and 
cordially promised his assistance ; notwithstanding which 
he did everything in his power to ensure the confiscation 
of the books. When this became apparent, Swedenborg 
expostulated with him, and he now insisted on the work 
being revised, before it was given up. It was urged by 
the author, that as bis treatise was " not theological, but 
chiefly moral," its revisal by clerical order was unnecessary, 
and would be absurd ; and that the exercise of such a cen- 
sorship would pave the way for a dark age in Sweden. 
Filenius was inflexible, and his intentions manifest. Swe- 


denborg, deeply aggrieved bj the dnplicitj of the Bishop 
his relation, likened him to Judas Iscariot, and said 
pointedly, in allusion to the foregoing circumstances, that 
" he who spoke lies, lied also in his life." In the mean- 
time he took good care to distribute the work to those he 
intended to receive it, bishops, senators, and members of 
the royal family, from a number of copies that he had 
himself brought home. 

He was now determined to clear the matter up, and 
made enquiries among others of the bishops, as to how 
the case stood with his writings. They all told him that 
they supposed the books had merely been taken care of 
until his return ; that they knew nothing of any other de- 
tention; that if such there were, Filenins had acted on 
his own authority. He had indeed made a representation 
on the subject in the Diet, but the clerical house had not 
received his motion, had not even registered it among their 
proceedings, and above all, had sanctioned no confiscation. 

The proceedings in the Diet, as he afterwards learnt, 
had been somewhat as follows. The Bishop Filenius, who 
attacked Swedenborg *' in the first instance from a secret 
dislike, but afterwards out of inveteracy," had gained over 
some members of the clerical order to his own views. He 
procured the appointment of a committee of the House 
of Clergy on the Swedenborgian cause. Its deliberations 
were kept secret. But though it consisted of bishops and 
professors, this committee, after hearing evidence, ignored 
the charges of Filenius, and terminated with a report in 
Swedenborg' s favor ; in the course of which they took 
occasion to speak of him ** very handsomely and reason- 
ably." Filenius, however, gained one point ; viz., that a 
memorial should be presented to the King in Council, re- 
questing the attention of the Chancellor of Justice to the 
troubles at Grottenburg. This was intended to procure a 
censure upon Drs. Beyer and Bosen, and indirectly upon 


Swedenborg also. In consequeDce, a letter was addressed 
bj the Chancellor to the Consistory, to desire its opinion 
upon the affair ; which occasioned the subject to be again 
agitated for two days m the Council, where the king pre- 

When matters came to this pass, Swedenborg at once. 
May 10, 1770, addressed his majesty in a bold and cha- 
racteristic memorial. He complained that he had met 
with usage the like of which had been ofiPered to none since 
the establishment of Christianity in Sweden, and much 
less since there had existed Uberty of conscience. He 
recapitulated his grievances. He said that he had been 
attacked, calumniated and menaced, without the oppor- 
tunity of defending himself; though truth itself had an- 
swered for him. He reminded his majesty of an interview 
that had passed between them. " I have already informed 
your majesty," says he, " and beseech you to recall it to 
mind, that the Lord our Saviour manifested himself to me 
in a sensible personal appearance ; that he has commanded 
me to write what has been already done, and what I have 
still to do ; that he was afterwards graciously pleased to 
endow me with the privilege of conversing with angels and 
spirits, and of being in fellowship with them. I have already 
declared this more than once to your majesty in the pre- 
sence of all the royal family, when they were graciously 
pleased to invite me to their table with five senators, and 
several other persons ; this was the only subject discoursed 
of during the repast. Of this I also spoke afterwards to 
several other senators ; and more openly to their excellen- 
cies Count de Tessin, Count Bonde, and Count HopkeUj 
who are still alive, and were satisfied with the truth of it. 
I have declared the same in England, HoUand« Germany, 
Denmark, and at Paris, to kings, princes, and other par- 
ticular persons, as well as to those in this kingdom. If the 
common report is to be believed, the chancellor has declared. 


that what I have heen reciting are untruths, although the 
Terj truth. To say that they cannot believe and give 
credit to such things, therein will I excuse them, for it is 
not in my power to place others in the same state in which 
Grod has placed me, so as to be able to convince them, by 
their own eyes and ears, of the truth of those deeds and 
things I publicly have made known. I have no ability to 
capacitate them to converse with angels and spirits, neither 
to work miracles to dispose or force their understandings 
to comprehend what I say. When my writings are read 
with attention and cool reflection (in which many things 
are to be met with heretofore unknown), it is easy enough 
to conclude, that I could not come to such knowledge but 
by a real vision, and by conversing with those who are in 
the spiritual world. . . . This knowledge is given to me 
from our Saviour, not for any private merit of mine, 
but for the great concern of all Christians' salvation and 
happiness ; and as such, how can any one venture to assert 
that it is false? That these things may appear such as 
many have had no conception of, and of consequence, that 
they cannot easily credit, has nothing remarkable in it, for 
scarcely anything is known respecting them." 

He concluded by throwing himself upon the king's pro- 
tection, and by requesting the monarch to command for him- 
self the opinion of the reverend clergy on his case ; also 
the production of the various documents that had passed 
at Gottenburg and elsewhere ; in order that he, and those 
maligned along with him, might be heard in their defence, 
this being their right and privilege. The only advice, he 
protested, that he had given to Drs. Beyer and Rosen, 
was to address themselves to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus 
Christ, as a means to heavenly good and blessedness, 
for he only has all power in heaven and on earth, (Matt, 
xxviii., 18.) 

The latter point was in truth the core of the controversy 

A.D. 1770.] LETTER TO THE KING. 193 

that was raging about him, and was one which his writings 
are calculated to provoke wherever they are disseminated. 
Is prayer to be addressed to the Father, or to the Re- 
deemer? to the invisible Being, or to God with us? to the 
revealed Divine Face and Body, or to the unrevealed Divine 
Soul? Have worship and prayer a definite object or not? 
Swedenborg ably cited on his own side the text of scrip- 
ture, the Augsburg Confession, the Formula Concordise, 
and the Liturgies of his own Communion; and shewed 
that wherever the church had departed from vagueness and 
mystery, its practices were accordant with his views. To 
the Son of God, born in time, every son of time must 
address himself, in order to find salvation. Were this 
doctrine taken away, he averred that he would rather live 
in Tartary than in Christendom. Did the persecution 
against hioa succeed, it might amount to a prohibition from 
the clergy against their flocks addressing prayer to the 
personal Saviour: a dangerous issue which probably his 
opponents foresaw, and were not prepared to accept. It 
does not appear that throughout the dispute, his visions 
were brought upon the carpet, otherwise than as fiirnishing 
the general charge of unsoundness of mind, which, as we 
have seen, certain members of the House of Clergy medi- 
tated, but did not venture to bring forward. 

King Adolphus Frederick had in the meantime already 
commanded the members of the Consistory of Gottenburg 
to send in an unequivocal representation of the light in 
which the assessor's principles were regarded by the Con- 
sistory. On the 2nd of January, 1770, Dr. Beyer, as 
one of the members, volunteered a declaration on the sub- 
ject, in which he gave a manly testimony in favor of Swe- 
denborg and his doctrines, citing his own experience about 
them, and his views of their moral and spiritual tendency. 
" Convinced by experience," says he, " I must in the first 
place observe, that no man is competent to give a just and 


suitable judgment of those writings, who has not read 
them, or who has read them only superficially, or with a 
determination in his heart to reject them, after having 
perused, without examination, some detached parts only : 
neither is he competent who rejects them as soon as he 
finds anything that militates against those doctrines which 
he has long cherished and acknowledged as true, and of 
which perhaps he is but too blindly enamored : nor is he 
competent, who is an ardent, yet undiscriminating bibUcal 
scholar, that, in explaining the meaning of the Scriptures, 
confines his ideas to the literal expression or signification 
only : and, lastly, neither is he competent, who has alto- 
gether devoted himself to sensual indulgences, and the 
love of the world." He concluded his memorial as follows : 
" In obedience, therefore, to your majesty's most gracious 
command, that I should deliver a full and positive ' decla- 
ration' respecting the writings of Swedenborg, I do ac- 
knowledge it to be my duty to declare, in all humble con- 
fidence, that as far as I have proceeded in the study of 
them, and agreeably to the gift granted to me for investi- 
gation and judgment, I have found in them nothing hat 
what closely coincides with the words of the Lord Himself, 
and that they shine with a light truly divine." 

The Consistory, as a body, came to no report upon 
Swedenborg' s writings; and a short time before he left 
Sweden on his last voyage, being in the king's company, 
the latter said to him : " The Consistory has been silent 
on my letters and your works," and putting his hand on 
Swedenborg' s shoulder, he added: "We may conclude 
that they have found nothing reprehensible in them, and 
that you have written in conformity to the truth." 

Throughout this affair, his adversaries attempted in vain 
to ruffle his calmness, by personal invective. He answered 
them with honest vigor, but always from the facts of the 
case. Against " the indecent barkings of the Dean," he 

A.D. 1770.] FAVORABLE ISSUE. 195 

told Dr. Beyer, in a private letter, " they must not throw 
stones to drive them away." And he wrote to Mr. Wenn- 
gren, a magistrate of Gottenhurg, that as for certain 
" merciless slanderers" in the clerical party, their expres- 
sions *^had fallen on the ground like fire-halls from the 
clouds, and had there gone out." In the meantime Swe- 
denborg persevered in his own course, with an efficacious 
industry which neither this turmoil, nor his advanced 
years, abated for a moment. 

Here our narrative of the affair ceases. Swedenborg, 
before his last departure from Sweden, addressed a letter 
to the Universities of Upsal, Lund and Abo, asserting that 
each of the estates of the kingdom ought to have its con- 
sistory, and ought not to acknowledge the exclusive autho- 
rity of that at Gottenburg. He declared (in another place) 
that religious matters belong to others also besides the 
priestly order. It appears that, notwithstanding the ter- 
mination of the controversy in his favor, his adversaries 
had succeeded in enforcing a strict prohibition against the 
importation of his writings into Sweden, as he found out 
the next year (1771). In consequence of this it was his 
intention to send in a formal complaint to the States-General 
against the Counsellor of State, the presumed instrument 
of the prohibition ; but whether he fulfilled this purpose, 
we do not know.* 

At this period of his life Swedenborg made a last offering 
to his old associates of the Boyal Academy of Sciences of 
Stockholm. This was couched in a letter, in which, after 
explaining some of the correspondences of the Scripture, 
he ended as follows : *' Inasmuch as the science of corre- 
spondences was the science of sciences and the wisdom of 
the ancients, it is important that some member of your 

* The reader of Swedish will find additional particulars respecting 
this affair in a History of the New Church in Sweden published at 
Lund in 1847. (Nya Kirian, fonia htiftetj 



Academy should direct his attention to that science. He 
may begin, if he pleases, with the correspondences disco- 
vered in the Apocalypae Revealed, and proved from the 
Word. If it be desired, I am willing to unfold and publish 
the Egyptian hieroglyphics, which are nothing else than 
correspondences ; a task that no other person can accom- 
plish." How fixedly Swedenborg must have dwelt in the 
inward, to imagine that the Royal Academy would under- 
take such an enquiry, or that a purely spiritual explanation 
of the hieroglyphics would satisfy the men of that age ! 
So far as hieroglyphical interpretation has ^ne, the sense 
elicited is anything but spiritual; and the less spiritual, the 
more acceptable to the scientific man. Nevertheless the 
existing interpretations do not exclude a deeper significance 
lying at the roots of the symbols; an interpretation of them 
not as parts of language, but as cyphers of nature. But 
the time has not yet arrived for such an enquiry. One 
cannot help recalling what Swedenborg said to Hartley, 
that he sought admission into no literary society, because 
he belonged to an angeUc society, wherein things relating 
to heaven and the soul were the only subjects of entertain- 
ment. The Royal Academy of Stockholm was not an 
angelic society. Whether this communication was pre- 
sented to the Academy, and if so, how it was received, 
we are not aware: Swedenborg also sent it to Dr. Hartley, 
with a request that his circle of friends would investigate 
the subject. It has since been published as an appendix 
to the White Horse. 

From the beginning of October, 1769, until August, 
1 770, he resided at his house in the environs of Stockholm. 
On the 23rd of July, in the latter year, on the eve of de- 
parting for Amsterdam, he took his leave by letter of Dr. 
Beyer, "hoping that our Saviour would support him in 
good health, keep him from further violence, and bless his 
thoughts." On the day that he quitted Stockholm, he 


called upon M. Robsahm in the Bank of Sweden, of which 
that gentleman was a director, and lodged in his hands a 
protest against any judicial examination of his writings 
during his absence. M. Robsahm asked him, as before 
the other joumej, whether thej would ever meet again ? 
He answered in a gentle and affectionate manner, "Whether 
I shall return, I do not know, but of this jou may be 
certain, for the Lord has informed me of it, that I shall 
not die until the book that I have just finished is printed. 
Should we not see each other again in this world, we shall 
meet in the presence of the Lord if we have kept his com- 
mandments." "He then," says Robsahm, "took leave 
of me in as lively and cheerful a way as if he had been a 
man of middle age." And so he passed from his father- 

On the voyage to Amsterdam, the ship that carried him 
was detained for several days by contrary winds off Elsinore, 
and General Tuxen, hearing that Swedenborg was in the 
offing, determined to improve their acquaintance, and taking 
a boat, went off to see him. He was introduced by the 
Captain, who opened the cabin door, and shuttiog it after 
him, left him alone with Swedenborg. The Assessor was 
seated in an undress, his elbows on the table, and his hands 
supporting his face, which was turned towards the door ; 
his eyes open, and much elevated. The Greneral at once 
addressed him. At this he recovered himself, (for he had 
been in a trance or ecstacy, as his posture shewed,) rose 
with some confusion, advanced a few steps from the table 
in visible uncertainty, and bid him welcome, asking from 
whence he came. Tuxen replied that he had come with 
an invitation from his wife and himself, to request him to 
favor them with his company at their hoase ; to which he 
immediately consented, and dressed himself alertly. The 
General's wife, who was indisposed, received him in the 
house, and requested his excuse if in any respect she should 


fall short of her wishes to entertain him ; adding that for 
30 years she had been afflicted with a painful disease. He 
politely kissed her hand^ and answered, ''Oh! dear, of 
this we will not speak ; only acquiesce in the will of Grod, 
it will pass away, and you will return to the same health 
and beauty as when you were fifteen years old." The lady 
made some reply, to which he rejoined, '* Yes, in a few 
weeks." From which they concluded him to mean, that 
diseases which have their foundation in the mind, and are 
supported by the infirmities of the body, do not disappear 
immediately after death. 

We have hitherto had little opportunity of being intro- 
duced to Swedenborg in private life ; we have seen him at 
the mines, at his office, at his desk, and in the Diet ; let 
us now spend a portion of an evening with him at General 
Tuxen's. Even if it illustrates no doctrine, yet it is always 
coveted to enjoy the familiar presence of extraordinary per- 
sons, and to find that their habiliments and corporeal mould 
are like our own.* The brotherliness of mankind is gratified 
by these near occasions, even as more sublime but not 
dearer emotions, by the aspect of genius on its public days. 

<< Being then together," says General Tuxen, '* in com- 
pany with my wife, my now deceased daughter, and three 
or four young ladies, my relations, he entertained them 
very politely and with much attention on indifiPerent sub- 
jects, on favorite dogs and cats that were in the room, 
which caressed him and jumped on his knee, shewing their 
little tricks. During these trifling discourses, mixed with 
singular questions, to all of which he obligingly answered, 
whether they concerned this or the other world, I took occa- 
sion to say, that I was sorry I had no better company 
to amuse him than a sickly wife and her young girls: 
he replied, ' And is not this very good company? I was 
always very partial to the ladies' society.' . . . After some 
little pause he cast his eyes on a harpsichord, and asked 


whether we were lovers of music, and who played upon it. 
I told him> we were all lovers of it, and that my wife in 
her youth had practised, as she had a fine voice, perhaps 
better than any in Denmark, as several persons of distinc- 
tion, who had heard the best singers in France, England, 
and Italy, had assured her ; and that my daughter also 
played with pretty good taste. On this Swedenborg desired 
her to play. She then performed a difficult and celebrated 
sonata, to which he beat the measure with his foot on the 
sofa on which he sat ; and when finished, he said, ' bravo ! 
very fine.' She then played another by Ruttini; and when 
she had played a few minutes, he said, ' this is by an Italian, 
but the first was not.' This finished, he said, 'bravo! you 
play very well. Do you not also sing?' She answered, *I 
sing, but have not a very good voice, though fond of singing, 
and would sing if my mother would accompany me.' He 
requested my wife to join, to which she assented, and they 
sang a few Italian duettos, and some French airs, each in 
their respective taste, to which he beat time, and afterwards 
paid many compliments to my wife, on account of her taste 
and fine voice, which she had preserved notwithstanding 
so long an illness. I took the liberty of saying to him, 
that since in his writings he always declared, that at all 
times there were good and evil spirits of the other world 
present with every man ; might I then make bold to ask, 
whether now, while my wife and daughter were singing, 
there had been any from the other world present with us ? 
To this he answered, * Yes, certainly ;' and on my enquiring 
who they were, and whether I had known them, he said, 
that it was the Danish royal family, and he mentioned 
Christian VI., Sophia Magdalena, and Frederick V., who 
through his eyes and ears had seen and heard it. I do not 
positively recollect whether he also mentioned the late be- 
loved Queen Louisa among them. After this he retired.^' 
During this visit to General Tuxen, in the course of other 


conversation, Tuxen produced the autobiographical letter 
that Swedenborg had written to Hartley (above, p. 1 77), 
and which begins, ''I was bom . . in the year 1689." 
Swedenborg told him that he was not bom in that year, as 
mentioned, but in the preceding. Tiixen asked him whether 
this was an error of the press, but he said. No ; and added. 
You may remember in reading my writings to have seen it 
stated in many parts, that every cypher or number has in 
the spiritual sense a certain correspondence or signification. 
" Now," said he, " when I put the true year in that letter, 
an angel present told me to write the year 1769, as much 
more suitable to myself than the other; ' and you observe,' 
answered the angel, 'that with us time and space are 
nothing.' " 

We have here a reason for that modification of events ac- 
cording to a context, of which the Gospel histories, so often 
discrepant from each other, furnish numerous instances. 
Thus ^vt baskets full in the one evangelist are twelve in 
another ; not to mention other cases about which unsuc- 
cessful harmonists of the letter have written at large. 
Manifestly it is the plan of the context which regards the 
events from its own point of view, and paints the narrative 
in its own colors. It is what all historians do in a lesser 
way, bending the history to ideas, or shaping it with an 
artistic force. Taking a certain larger block of time as a 
period of birth, it is hieroglyphically trathful to play down 
upon aAy date contained in the block, according to the sub- 
ject and the signification. There are many kinds of truth 
besides black and white ; and generally, figurative tmths 
require latitude of phrase. At the same time it must be 
confessed, that one would like to know when the writing 
is pure history, and when it is a base of history made iise 
of for symbolical purposes, and touched in part by spirit. 
Literal people are apt to be offended otherwise, and we 
sympathize with them. 


Swedenborg arrived at Amsterdam probably about tbe 
banning of September, canyiDg witb bim tbe manuscript 
of bis last worl^ tbe True Christian Religion. Jung Stil* 
ling supplies us with an anecdote of bim at tbis period. 
An intimate Mend of Stilling's, a mercbant of Elberfeld, 
bad occasion to take a journey to Amsterdam, and baring 
heard much of ''this strange indiridual*' (Swedenborg), 
desured to become acquamted with bim. He called upon 
him, and found a venerable friendly old man, who desired 
him to be seated. Tbe Elberfeld merchant. Stilling says, 
was " a strict mystic in the purest sense. He spoke little, 
but what he said was like golden fruit on a salver of silver. 
He would not have dared for all tbe world to tell an un- 
truth." He explained to Swedenborg that be was ac- 
quainted with bis writings, and bad heard the relations of 
tbe fire of Stockholm, and the affair of the Queen of 
Sweden's brother, but that he wished for a proof of a 
similar kind for himself. Swedenborg was wilHng to gratify 
bim. The merchant then said, " ' I had formerly a friend 
who studied dirinity at Duisburg, where he fell into a con- 
sumption, of which he died. I visited this Mend a short 
time before his decease ; we conversed together on an im- 
portant topic: could you learn from him what was the 
subject of our discourse?' *We will see. What was the 
name of your friend?' The merchant told him his name. 
'Ho>v long do you remain here?' 'About eight or ten 
days.' ' Call upon me again in a few days. I will see 
if I can find your Mend.' Tbe merchant took his leave 
and despatched his business. Some days after, he went 
again to Swedenborg, in anxious expectation. The old gen- 
tleman met him with a smile, and said, ' I have spoken 
with your Mend ; the subject of your discourse was, the 
restitution of all things* He then related to the merchant, 
with the greatest precision, what he, and what his deceased 
friend, had maintained. My friend turned pale ; for this 



proof was powerfal and invincible. He enquired fnrther, 
' How fares it with mj j&iend? Is he in a state pf blessed- 
ness?' Swedenborg answered, ' No, he is not yet in heaven; 
he is still in Hades, and torments himself continually with 
the idea of the restitution of all things.' This answer 
caused my friend the greatest astonishment. He ejaculated, 
* My God! what, in the other world?' Swedenborg re- 
phed, ' Certainly; a man takes with him his favorite incli- 
nations and opinions ; and it is very difficult to be divested 
of them. We ought, therefore, to lay them aside here.* 
My friend took his leave of this remarkable man, perfectly 
convinced, and returned back to Elberfeld." 

In June, 1771, Swedenborg published at Amsterdam the 
True Christian Religion ; containing the Universal Theology 
of the New Church.* He had been employed upon this 
large work for at least two years, and when he arrived at 
Amsterdam, he commenced the printing of it, always exhi- 
biting an assiduity which surprized those with whom he 
came into contact. It will be remembered that he was now 
in his 84th year. We have a few particulars of his life 
during this residence in Holland, from David Paulus ab 
Indagine, "a respectable and learned individual," who cul- 
tivated his acquaintance, first by letter, and afterwards per- 
sonally. Ab Indagine, "in his open manner, could not 
conceal his astonishment that Swedenborg had put himself 
upon the title-page as ' Servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.' " 
But Swedenborg rephed, " I have asked, and have not only 
received permission, but have been ordered to do so." (It 
appears that it was owing to Dr. Hartley's remonstrance 
with him that he was in the first instance induced to depart 
from his course of pubhshing anonymously, and to prefix 

* The TYue Christian Religion ; containing the Universal Theology 
(if the New Churchy foretold by the Lord in Daniel vii., 13, 14, and 
in the Apocalypse zxi., 1, 2. By Emanuel Swedenborg, Servant of 
the Lord Jesus Christ. 

A.D. 1770-71.] THE FAMILIAR SPIRIT. 203 

his name to any of his works.) Ab Indagine continues, 
in a letter to a correspondent (Jan 26, 1771): ^'It is won- 
derful with what confidence the old gentleman speaks of 
the spiritual world, of the angels, and of Grod himself. . . . 
I know not what to make of him ; he is a problem that I 
cannot solye. I sincerely wish that the upright men whom 
Grod has placed as watchmen upon Zion's walls, had some 
time since occupied themselves with this man." In another 
letter (March 5, 1771) he furnishes more anecdotes. ^'I 
cannot forbear," says he, " to tell you something new about 
Swedenborg. Last Thursday I paid him a visit, and found 
him, as usual, writing. He told me, * that he had been 
in conversation that same morning, for three hours, with 
the deceased king of Sweden. He had seen him already 
on the Wednesday ; but, as he observed that he was deeply 
engaged in conversation with the queen, who is still livings 
he would not disturb him.' I allowed him to continue, 
but at length asked him, how it was possible for a person 
who is still in the land of the living, to be met with in the 
world of spirits ? He replied, ^ that it was not the queen 
herself, but her 9piritu8 /amiUaris, or her familiar spirit.' 
I asked him what that might be? for I had neither heard 
from him anything respecting appearances of that kind, 
nor had I read anything about them. He then informed 
me, ' that every man has either his good or bad spirit, 
who is not constantly with him, but sometimes a Httle 
removed from him, and appears in the world of spirits. 
But of this the man still living knows nothing ; the spirit, 
however, knows everything. T\ds familiar spirit has every- 
thing in accordance with his companion upon earth; he 
has, in the world of spirits, the same figure, the same 
countenance, and the same tone of voice, and wears also 
similar garments ; in a word, this familiar spirit of the 
queen,' says Swedenborg, ' appeared exactly as he had so 
often seen the queen herself at Stockholm, and had heard 


her speak.' In order to allay my astonishment, he added, 
*that Dr. Emesti, of Leipsic, had appeared to him in a 
similar manner in the world of spirits, and that he had 
held a long disputation with him.' ... I have often won- 
dered at myself, how I could refrain from laughing, when 
I was hearing such extraordinary things from him. And 
what is more, I have often heard him relate the same things 
in a numerous company of ladies and gentlemen, when I 
well knew that there were mockers amongst them ; hut, to 
my great astonishment, not a single person even thought 
of laughing. Whilst he is speaking, it is as though every 
person who hears him were charmed, and compelled to be- 
Heve him. He is by no means reserved and recluse, but 
open hearted, and accessible to all. Whoever invites him 
as his guest, may expect to see him. A certain young 
gentleman invited him last week to be his guest, and al- 
though he was not acquainted with him, he appeared at 
his table, where he met Jewish and Portuguese gentlemen, 
with whom he freely conversed, without distinction. Who- 
ever is curious to see him has no difficulty; it is only neces- 
sary to go to his house, and he allows anybody to approach 
him. It may easily be conceived, however, that the nu- 
merous visits to which he is liable, deprive him of much 

At this time the Landgrave of Hesse Darmstadt wrote a 
letter to Swedenborg, desiring information on important 
points. Swedenborg at first did not answer it, being doubt- 
ful of its genuineness ; but his misgivings were set aside 
by a visit from M. Venator, the minister of that prince. 
In his reply to the Landgrave, he says : " The Lord our 
Saviour had foretold that He would come again into the 
world, and that He would establish there a New Church. 
He has given this prediction in the Apocalypse xxi. and 
xxii., and also in several places in the Evangelists. But 
as he cannot come again into the world in person, it was 


necessary that He should do it by means of a man, who 
should not only receive the doctrine of this New Church 
in his understanding, but also publish it by printing ; and 
as the Lord had prepared me for this office from my infancy. 
He has manifested Himself in person before me, His ser- 
vant, and sent me to fill it." 

The Landgrave again wrote to Swedenborg, enquiring 
about the "miracle" of his intercourse with the Queen of 
Sweden's brother, and Swedenborg answered (July 15, 
1771), that the story was true, but ''not a miracle." He 
also wrote to M. Venator, that such matters ought by no 
means to be considered miracles : they are " only testimo- 
nies," says he, '' that I have been introduced by the Lord 
into the spiritual world, and that I have been in associa- 
tion with angels and spirits, in order that the church, which 
until now had remained in ignorance concerning that world, 
may know that heaven and hell exist in reality, and that 
man lives after death, a man, as before ; and that thus there 
may be no more doubt as to his immortality. Deign, I 
pray you, to satisfy his highness, that these are not mira- 
cles, but only testimonies that I converse with angels and 
spirits. You may see in the True Christian Religion that 
there are no more miracles, at this time ; and the reason 
why. It is, that they who do not believe because they see 
no miracles, might easily, by them, be led into fanaticism." 
Respecting this subject of miracles Swedenborg observes 
in one of his works: "Instead of miracles there has taken 
place at the present day an open manifestation of the Lord 
himself, an intromission into the spiritual world, and with 
it, illumination by immediate light from the Lord in what- 
ever relates to the interior things of the church, but prin- 
cipally an opening of the spiritual sense of the Word, in 
which the Lord is present in his own divine light. These 
revelations are not miracles, because every man as to his 
spirit is in the spiritual world, without separation from his 


body in the natural world. As to myself, indeed, my pre- 
sence in the spiritual world is attended ^ith a certain sepa- 
ration, but only as to the intellectual part of my mind, not 
as to the will part. This manifestation of the Lord, and 
intromission into the spiritual world, is more excellent than 
all miracles ; but it has not been granted to any one since 
the creation of the world as it has been to me. The men 
of the golden age indeed conversed with angels ; but it was 
not granted to them to be in any other light than what is 
natural. To me, however, it has been granted to be in 
both spiritual and natural light at the same time; and 
hereby I have been privileged to see the wonderful things 
of heaven, to be in company with angels, just as I am 
with men, and at the same time to pursue truths in the 
light of truth, and thus to perceive and be gifted with them, 
consequently to be led by the Lord." 

The True Christian Religion, (making 815 close pages 
in the eighth English edition,) contains the author's 
" body of divinity." The whole of his theological works, 
hermeneutical, visional, philosophical, dogmatic, and moral, 
are summed up and represented in this deUberate system. 
There is none of his treatises so plain, or so well brought 
home to apprehension ; none in which the yield of doc- 
trine is so turned into daily bread, the food of practical 
rehgion. Viewed as a digest, it shows a presence of mind, 
an administration of materials, and a faculty of handling, 
of an extraordinary kind. There is old age in it in the 
sense of ripeness. If the intellectualist misses there some- 
what of the range of discourse, it is compensated by a 
certain triteness of wisdom. As a polemic, not only against 
the errors of the churches, but against the evil lives and 
self-excusings of Christians, the work is unrivalled. The 
criticisms of doctrine with which it abounds, are mas- 
terly in the extreme; and were it compared with any 
similar body of theology, we feel no doubt that the palm 


of coherency, yigor, and oomprehensiyeness would easily 
fall to Swedenborg, upon the verdict of judgea of whatever 

It will not be necessary to enter at large upon its con- 
tents, as we have dwelt upon them already in reviewing the 
author's previous writings. The following summary, how- 
ever, of the chapters will shew the scope of the work. 
I. God the Creator. II. The Lord the Redeemer. III. 
The Holy Spirit and the divine operation. lY. The Holy 
Scripture or the Word of the Lord. V. ^The Ten Com- 
mandments in their external and internal senses. VI. 
Faith. YII. Charity, or love towards our neighbor and 
good works. YIII. Free-determination. IX. Repentance. 
X. Reformation and Regeneration. XI. Imputation. XIL 
Baptism. XIII. The Holy Supper. XIY. The Consum- 
mation of the Age, the Coming of the Lord, and the 
New Heaven and the New Church. Besides these subjects, 
the work contains no less than 76 Memorable Relations 
from the spiritual world, interspersed between and among 
the chapters : for Swedenborg always addresses the reader 
as already a member of two worlds. 

Some time before his last publication Dr. Emesti attacked 
him in his Bibliotheca Theologica (p. 784), and before he 
left Holland, Swedenborg issued a single leaf in reply to 
his opponent. It is a short deprecation of controversy 
characteristic of the peaceful and busy old man. " I have 
read," says he, '' what Dr. Emesti has written about me. 
It consists of mere personalities. I do not observe in it a 
grain of reason against anything in my writings. As it is 
against the laws of honesty to assail any one with such 
poisoned weapons, I think it beneath me to bandy words 
with that illustrious man. I will not cast back calumnies 
by calumnies. To do this, I should be even with the dogs, 
which bark and bite, or with the lowest drabs, which throw 
street mud in each other's faces in their brawls. Read if 


you will . . . what I have written in mj books> and after- 
wards conclude, bat from reason, respecting mj revelation." 
Severe words these, if not controversial ! 

Our enumeration of Swedenborg's theological publications 
is now ended. Unapparent as his person is throughout them, 
we feel that it is almost profane to dwell upon his genius. 
In reading them we rather think of a gifted pen than of a 
great man. Originality and competitive questions are far 
in the background. The words mine and thine have not 
laid their paws iipon these estates. Still the genius reverts 
the mightier for its unselfishness. The method of thought 
is the same in his theology as in his philosophy ; his theo- 
logy is his latest philosophy explaining his walks and expe- 
riences in the spiritual world. The active mental power is 
greater in his latter than in his former Hfe ; and would be 
more manifestly so, had he not always practically disclaimed 
his own gifts in favor of the Giver; a course that offends 
'* the pride of self-derived intelligence," which misses the 
brilliancy of its earthly fire in his low speech and self-absent 
periods. But assuredly his knowledge of man is more ex- 
ceeding than his knowledge of nature; his plainness is more 
picturesque than his imagination ; and his spiritual cosmo- 
gony and humanity will survive the ingenuity of his Prtn- 
ct^td, and the natural beauty of his Physiology. 

In Part I. of this biography, we have devoted a few 
words to the author's philosophical style ; we shall now 
say somewhat on his theological. In the former case, we 
noted with surprize that the dress of his books became 
more and more imaginative, as his mind matured. The 
ornament, it is true, was a part of the subject, as a flower 
is a part of a plant. In his theological works, he dis- 
carded this vesture, and began not from the flower, but 
from the seeds of his philosophy. The difference between 
The Worship and Love of Qod and the Arcana Coeleatia, 
is immense in point of style ; the rhetoric of the former 

A.D. 1771.] HIS GKHIUS AND STTLB. 209 

is shorn into levd speedi in the latter. Bat it is a seeond 
time to he obser?ed, that his mind took the coarse from 
plainness to loxorianc^ and that in his later theology, 
copious iDostration gare frnitiness to his style. Orna- 
mental it csnnot he cslled, hot foil and ahounding. In- 
stead of the heanties of color, he proffers gratifications 
for many senses, in solid paragraphs of analogies. K his 
old age is specially discemihle in his True Christian Re- 
Ugion, it is in the wealth of the comparisons, which sacoeed 
each other with childlike volahiKty, thoagh it most he 
confessed also with felicity. The chfld learns hy com- 
parison ; the adolt, more alive to intellectoal beaafy, decks 
his mind in colored garments, and sets forth his theory as 
a caiptivation ; the elder teaches, as the child learns, by 
comparisons again. There is nothing like them for power ; 
they cleave to the mind in its youngest and still joyoas 
parts ; and are to abstractions what gold coin is to donbtfol 
promises in air or npon paper. By them the good old men 
prattle to the yonng, who are the seed of the state, and 
the inheritore of the fdtare. It was Swedenborg's last 
and most loving mode of speech, to fiimiliarize difficult 
things by telling us what their case is most like in the 
world about us : a method which he followed particularly 
in the True Christian Religion. 

*' There are five kinds of reception," says Swedenboi^ 
(Diary, n. 2955,) speaking of the reception of his own 
writings by the world. " First, there are those who reject 
them utterly, either because they are in a different persua- 
sion, or are enemies of the faith : they cannot be received 
by these, whose minds are impenetrable. The second genus 
receives them as sdentifics, and in this point of view, and 
as curiosities, they are delighted with them. The third 
genus receives them intellectually, and with readiness, but 
their lives remain unaltered by them. The fourth receives 
them persuasively, allowing them to penetrate to amend- 


ment of life; to this class they occur in certain states, and 
do good service. The fifth genns consists of those who re- 
ceive them with joy, and are huilt up in them." 

In August 1771, Swedenhorg came from Amsterdam to 
London, and took up his abode for the second time with 
one Shearsmithy peruke maker, at 26, Great Bath Street, 
Coldbath Fields. Notwithstanding his advanced age, he 
still continued indefatigable with his pen, and, after fin- 
ishing his True Christian Religion, he proceeded to the 
execution of another work, a supplement to the former, 
treating in detail of the various churches which have ex- 
isted upon the earth. This treatise he either did not com- 
plete, or the end of it is missing. He now renewed his 
intercourse with his friends in London, who have handed 
down some interesting accounts of the closing scenes of his 

Towards the end of the year. Dr. Hartley and Mr. 
Cookworthy visited him at his lodgings in Clerkenwell. 
The details of the interview are not given, only that it was 
impossible to avoid noticing his innocence and simplicity, 
and how, on inviting him to dine with them, he politely 
excused himself, adding that his dinner was already pre- 
pared, which proved to be a meal of bread and milk. 

On Christmas eve a stroke of apoplexy deprived him of 
his speech, and he lay afterwards in a lethargic state for 
more than three weeks, taking no sustenance beyond a little 
tea without milk, and cold water occasionally, and once a 
little currant jelly. At the end of that time he recovered 
his speech and health somewhat, and ate and drank as 
usual. It does not appear that he had any medical advice 
in his sickness. Dr. Hartley now again visited him, in 
company with Dr. Messiter, and asked him if he was com- 
forted with the society of angels as before, and he answered 
that he was. Furthermore, they besought him to declare 
whether all that he had written was strictly true, or whether 

A.D. 1771-72.] APOPLEXY. 211 

any part, or parts, were to be excepted. " I have written," 
answered Swedenborg, with a degree of warmth, " nothing 
but the truth, as you will have more and more confirmed 
to yoQ all the days of your life, provided you keep close 
to the Lord, and faithfully serve Him alone, by shunning 
evils of all kinds as sins against him, and diligently search- 
ing his Word, which from beginning to end bears incon- 
testible witness to the truth of the doctrines I have de- 
livered to the world." Dr. H. after this returned home, 
about a day's journey from London, (to East Mailing, in 
Kent,) and heard soon after that Swedenborg was near his 
departure, and expressed a desire to see him ; " but some 
hindrances to the visit," says he, " happening at the time, 
I did not embrace the opportunity as I should have done ; 
for those hindrances might have been surmounted. My 
neglect on this occasion appears to me without excuse, and 
lies very heavy on my mind to this day." 

From the time of his seizure till his death he was visited 
by but few friends, and always appeared unwilling to see 
company. Nevertheless we meet with him once again in 
a semi-public character. Towards the end of February, 
1772, the Rev. John Wesley is in conclave with some of 
his preachers, who are taking instructions, and assisting 
him in preparations for a circuit he is shortly to make,* 
when a Latin note is put into his hand, which causes him 
evident astonishment. The substance is as follows : — 

" Great Bath Street, Coldbath Fields, 
"February, 1772. 
" Sir, — I have been informed in the world of spirits that 
you have a strong desire to converse with me. I shall be 
happy to see you, if you will favor me with a Visit. 

"I am, Sir, your humble servant, 

" Emanuel Swedenborg." 

Wesley frankly acknowledged to the company that he 


had been strongly impressed with a desire to see and eon- 
verse with Swedenborg^ and said that he had not men- 
tioned the desire to any one. He wrote for answer that he 
was then occupied in preparing for a six month's journey, 
but would wait upon Swedenborg on his return to London. 
Swedenborg wrote in reply, that the proposed visit would 
be too late, as he, Swedenborg, should go into the world 
of spirits on the 29th day of the next month, never more 
to return. The result was, that these two celebrated per- 
sons did not meet.* 

Two or three weeks before his decease he was visited by 
his old friend, Mr. Springer, the Swedish Consul in London. 
Mr. S. asked him when he believed that the New Jerusalem 
would be manifested, and if the manifestation would take 
place in the four quarters of the world. His answer was, 
that " no mortal could tell the time, no nor even the highest 
angels, but Grod only. Bead," said he, " the Revelations 

* It is certain that Wesley was at this time attracted to Swedenborg. 
Besides other proofs, we have one in a letter written to Wesley by 
the Rev. Francis Okely, a Moravian minister. This gentleman yisited 
Swedenborg, probably between August and December, 1771, and 
wrote to Wesley upon the interview. His letter, (ArmtuanMagazinei 
vol. viii., p. 553: 1785,) dated Upton, Dec. 10, 1772, is somewhat 

'* Swedenborg is to me a riddle, — certainly, as you [Wesley] say, 
he speaks many great and important truths ; and as certainly seems 
to me to contradict Scripture in other places. But, as he told me, I 
could not understand his True Ckrittian Religion without divine iUa- 
mination ; and I am obliged to confess, that I have not yet a sufficiency 
of it for that purpose. I am thankful my present course does not 
seem absolutely to require it. We conversed iu the high Dutch, and 
notwithstanding the impediment in his speech, I understood him well. 
He spoke with all the coolness and deliberation you might expect from 
any, the most sober and rational man. Yet what he said was out of 
my sphere of intelligence, when he related his sight of, and daily con- 
versation in, the world of spirits, with which he declared himself 
better acquainted than with this. 

A.D. 1772.] JOHN WESLEY. 213 

(xxi., 2) and Zechariah (xiv., 9), and yon will find past 
doubt that the New Jerusalem of the Apocalypse, which 

" I heartily wish, that all the real designs which an omnipotent 
and omniscient God of Love might have, either by him, or by any 
other of his sincere servants, of whatsoever sort or kind, may be 
tmly obtained. ... I thought proper to express thus much in answer 
to your*8f [the italics are our own,] without desiring you to adopt 
any of my sentiments." 

It is amusing to read what Okdy says of his difficulty about Swe- 
denborg's sight and conversation in the spiritual world. What arti- 
ficial stupidity ! A rustic would have taken it at once. We here 
recal a little narrative in Swedenborg's Diary (n. 5997). He had 
been, writing upon the Apocalypse, and had treated of the threefold 
man, celestial, spiritual, and natural, and of goods and truths in their 
series, and coming to an inn with his mind on the subject, he opened 
it to the good wife who was the landlady* Tisula Bodama her name. 
** She was a person of simple-hearted faith. She understood clearly 
all I said ; but there was a learned man present who did not understand 
it, nay, could not understand it. And so the case is with many other 
things." The Lord has hidden them fi*om the wise and prudent, and 
revealed them unto babes. 

While speaking of Okely, who was the author of a Life o/Behmenf 
we take the opportunity of stating, that too close a parallel is often 
made between Behmen and Swedenborg. There are indeed truths 
common to both, and no man who values an extraordinary brother 
would say a word in disparagement of deep-thoughted Jacob Behmen. 
But his want of education and utterance ; his identification of the spi- 
ritual with the subjective for man upon earth ; his failure of seership, 
and consequently of real experience ; and above all, his inapprehen- 
sion of the sole divinity of Christ, which scattered through his theology 
the darkness inevitable upon an attempted approach to the thus unap- 
proachable Father — a darkness the more virulent as the genius is more 
intense ; — these great vacancies, and a host of other things, such as 
his doctrine of the bi-sexual Adam, establish between him and Swe- 
denborg a gulf not to be overpassed. Swedenborg had indeed never 
read his works, as he told Dr. Beyer in answer to a question upon 
the subject, and it is impossible to affiliate his own works in any sense 
upon Behmen's. The admirers of Behmen are aware of this, and 
Mr. Law has shewn it by violent stamping against Swedenborg. 


denotes a new and purer state of the Christian churchy will 
manifest itself to all the earth." About this time Mr. 
Springer relates, what Swedenborg himself told him, that 
his spiritual sight was withdrawn, after he had been favored 
with it for so long a course of years. This, of which the 
world knows nothing, and for which it cares nothing, it 
was the greatest tribulation to him to lose. He could not 
endure the blindness, but cried out repeatedly, '' Oh ! my 
God, hast thou then forsaken thy servant at last ?" He 
continued for several days in this deplorable condition ; it 
was the last of his trials : but at length he recovered that 
precious sight, which made him completely happy. 

Mr. Bergs trom, the landlord of the King's Arms tavern 
in Welldose Square, at whose house he had once lodged 
for ten weeks, called to see him during his last days. Swe- 
denborg told him, that since it had pleased God to take 
away the use of his arm by a palsy, his body was good for 
nothing but to be put into the ground. Mr. B. asked him 
whether he would take the Sacrament? Somebody present 
at the time proposed sending for the Rev. Mr. Mathesius, 
the officiating minister of the Swedish church. Swedenborg 
declined taking the Sacrament from this gentleman, who 
had previously set abroad a report that he was out of his 
senses : and he sent for the Rev. Arvid FereHus, another 
Swedish clergyman with whom he was on the best terms, 
and who had visited him frequently in his illness. Ferelius 
soon returned with Bergstrom to Swedenborg's bedside. On 
every previous visit FereUus had asked him whether or no 
he was about to die, to which he always answered in the 
affirmative. On this occasion the priest observed to him, 
" that as many persons thought that he had endeavored 
only to make himself a name by his new theological system 
(which object he had indeed attained), he would do well 
now to publish the truth to the world, and to recant either 
the whole or a part of what he had advanced, since he had 

A.D. 1772.] THE SACRAMENT. 215 

now nothing more to expect from the world, which he was 
so soon about to leave for ever." Upon hearing these words, 
Swedenborg raised himself half upright in bed, and placing 
his sound hand upon his breast, said with great zeal and 
emphasis : " As true as you see me before you, so true is 
everything that I have written. I could have said more 
had I been permitted. When you come into eternity, you 
will see all things as I have stated and described them, and 
we shall have much to discourse about them with each 
other." Ferelius then asked whether he would take the 
Lord's Holy Supper? He replied with thankfulness, that 
the offer was well meant ; but that being a member of the 
other world, he did not need it. He would, however, gladly 
take it, in order to shew the connexion and union between 
the church in heaven and the church on earth. He then 
asked the priest if he had read his views on the Sacrament ? 
He also told him to consecrate the elements, and leave the 
rest of the form to him, as he well knew what it was and 
meant. Before administering the Sacrament, Ferelius en- 
quired of him whether he confessed himself to be a sinner ? 
•* Certainly," said he, " so long as I carry about with me 
this sinful body." With deep and affecting devotion, with 
folded hands and with head uncovered, he confessed his 
own unworthiness, and received the Holy Supper. After 
which, he said that all had been properly done, and pre- 
sented the minister in gratitude with one of the few re- 
maining copies of his great work, the Arcana Caeleatia, 
He was quite clear in his mind throughout the ceremony. 
This was two or three weeks before his death. 

He had told the people of the house what day he should 
die, and as Shearsraith's servant-maid reported : f He was 
as pleased ! And she made a comparison that the pleasure 
was such as if she herself were going to have a hoHday, to 
go to some merrymaking." In Sandel's more accomplished 
'but not deeper language: ^' He was satisfied with his sojourn 


upon earth, and delighted with the prospect of his heavenly 

His faculties were clear to the last. On Sunday, the 
29th. day of March, 1772, hearing the clock strike, he 
asked his landlady and her maid, who were both sitting 
at his bedside, what it was o'clock, and upon being an- 
swered it was five o'clock, he said, *^It is well; I thank 
you ; God bless you ;" and then, in a little moment after, 
he gently gave up the ghost. 

After his decease, his body was carried to the house of 
Mr. Burkhardt, an undertaker, and former clerk to the 
Swedish church in London, where he was laid in state, 
and buried from thence on the 5 th day of April, in three 
coffins, in the vault of the above church, in Prince's Square, 
Badcliffe Highway, with all the ceremonies of the Lutheran 
religion ; the service being performed on the occasion by 
the Rev. Arvid Ferelius — the last service which he per- 
formed in England. In 1785, Swedenborg's coffin was side 
by side with Dr. Solander's. To this day not a stone or an 
inscription commemorates the dust of the wonderful Norse- 

During the later career of Swedenborg, his country had 
looked on not without interest, directed both to his cha- 
racter, his pretensions, and his labors. No sooner was he 
dead, than the House of Clergy, through their President, 
requested Ferelius to give such an account of him in writing 
as his experience would warrant, which he did« but the 
document is unfortunately missing. On October 7, 1772, 
M. Sandel, Counsellor of the Board of Mines, pronounced 
his eulogium in the Hall of the House of Nobles, in the 
name of the Royal Academy of Sciences of Stockholm. 
Sandel was no follower of his, but his discourse, take it 
for all and all, is the finest resumption that we have of the 
name and character of Swedenborg. We give the opening 
of the document to shew what a scientific man in such an 



Assembly dared say of Swedenborg, notwithstanding his 

"Permit me," says he, "to entertain you this day 
upon a subject, which is not of an abstracted or remote 
nature, but is intended to revive the agreeable remembrance 
of a man celebrated for his virtues and his knowledge, one 
of the oldest members of this Academy, and one whom we 
all knew and loved. 

" The sentiments of esteem and friendship with which 
we all regarded the late M. Emanuel Swedenborg, assure 
me of the pleasure with which you will listen to me while 
he is the subject of my discourse: happy should I be could 
I answer your expectations, and draw his eulogium in the 
manner it deserves ! But if there are some countenances 
of which, as the painters assure us, it is extremely difficult 
to give an exact likeness, how difficult then must it be 
to delineate that of a vast and sublime genius, who never 
knew either repose or fatigue ; who occupied with sciences 
the most profound, was long engaged with researches into 
the secrets of nature, and who, in his latter years, applied 
all his efforts to unveil the greatest mysteries ; who to 
arrive at certain branches of knowledge, opened for himself 
a way of his own, without ever straying from sound morals 
and true piety ; who being endowed with a strength of 
faculties truly extraordinary, in the decline of his age, 
boldly elevated his thoughts still further, and soared to 
the greatest heights to which the intellectual faculty can 
rise ; and who, finally, has given occasion to form respecting 
him a multitude of opinions, differing as much from each 
other as do the minds of the different men by whom they 
are formed !" 

When a life is past, we speak with right of the health 
and happiness of the departed. On these points a few 
words express what is known of Swedenborg-. " He always," 
says Sandel, " enjoyed most excellent health, baying scarcely 


ever experienced the slightest indisposition." " He was 
never ill," says Robsahm, " except when in states of temp- 
tation." Once he had a grievous toothache for many days. 
Robsahm recommended him some common remedy. But 
he refused it, and said : " My pain proceeds not from the 
nerve of the tooth, but from the influx of hypocritical 
spirits that beset me, and by correspondence cause this 
plague, which will soon leave me." Like other studious 
sedentary persons, his stomach was weak, particularly 
during the last fourteen years of his Ufe, which caused 
him to be somewhat singular in his diet. Not less, how- 
ever, from the concurrent testimony of those who knew 
him best, than from the works that he executed, we know 
that he enjoyed a fine constitution. Health is the ground 
which great persons cultivate, whereby they exchange the 
light flying hours into golden usage. To them it is industry 
represented in its power ; the human riches of time. The 
minute glass runs willingly sand of centuries when great 
ideas are in the healthful moments. So it was with Swe- 
denborg. The powers of his mind were matched with an 
extraordinary strength of body, which pain and passion 
seem scarcely to have touched, and hence the crowd of 
his works, and his broad apparent leisure. The day of such 
a man is full of commerce and transactions; the reciproca- 
tion is unwearied from health to genius ; the able-bodied 
hours cultivate his life to uncommon productiveness, and 
stretch out the points and patches of his time towards the 
largeness of their eternal source. 

Health in its whole sense is happiness. Here again 
Sandel says of Swedenborg : " Content within himself and 
with his situation, his life was in all respects one of the 
happiest that ever fell to the lot of man, until the very 
moment of its close." '' His inward serenity and compla- 
cency of mind," says Hartley, "were manifest in the 
sweetness of his looks and his outward demeanor." His 

A.D. 1688-1772.] HEALTH AND HAPPINESS. 219 

own testimony corroborates that of Sandel. In a passage 
in his Diary (n. 3623), where he treats of the proposition, 
that ** the enjoyments and pleasures of life are never denied 
to us," he says : " To this I can bear witness, that they 
have never been denied to me, but granted, and not only 
the pleasures of the body and the senses as to others of 
the living, but I have had joys and happiness such as no 
others I suppose have felt in the universal world, and these, 
both more and more exquisite that any mortal can imagine 
or believe." 

Swedenborg's works furnish one continued proof of these 
assertions. Who does not know that peace and power are 
one; that tranquillity is the main circumstance of the best 
life times? No matter to this whether the sky be calm, 
or the soul unassaulted; it is the preservation of the balance, 
and the firm-footedness of the man, under whatever trials, 
that constitute the repose of which we speak. Sweden- 
borg^s works, we repeat, from beginning to end, are on a 
high level of peace; their even flow is as of a sea inclining 
only to the constellations. No cursory moon regulates its 
tides from nearer attractions, but they move to the vault, 
and though they change, it is not by months, but with 



Haying followed Swedenborg through his life and labors, 
it remains to gather up any personal particulars that remain 
unappropriated, and also to place before the reader what 
testimonies exist, lo the public and private character of 
Swedenborg. We begin with the latter first. If the record 
savor of eulogy, it is from no partiality of ours, but because 
history chooses. 

Sandel says : " If his love of knowledge went too far, 
it at least evinced in him an ardent desire to obtain infor- 
mation himself, and convey it to others ; for you never find 
in him any mark of pride or conceit, of rashness, or of 
intention to deceive. If he is not to be numbered among 
the doctors of the church, he at least holds an honorable 
rank among sublime moralists, and deserves to be instanced 
as a pattern of virtue and of respect for his Creator. He 
never allowed himself to have recourse to dissimulation. . . . 
A sincere friend of mankind, in his examination of the cha- 
racter of others, he was particularly desirous to discover in 
them this virtue, which he regarded as an infallible proof 
of the presence of many more. He was cheerful and agree- 
able in society. By way of relaxation from his important 
labors, he sought and frequented the company of persons 
of information, by whom he was always well received. He 
knew how to check opportunely, and with great address, 
that species of wit which would indulge itself at the expense 
of serious things. As a public functionary, he was upright 


and jast : while he discharged his duties with great exact- 
ness, he neglected nothing but his own advancement. . . . 
In the Diet his conduct was such as to secure him both 
from the reproaches of his own conscience and from those 
of others. He lived under the reigns of many of our 
sovereigns, and enjoyed the particular favor and kindness 
of them all. ... It may truly be said that he was solitary, 
but never sad." 

Count Hopken remarks : ^' I have not only known him 
these two and forty years, but also some time since daily 
frequented his company. . . I do not recollect to have known 
any man of more uniformly virtuous character; always con- 
tented, never fretful or morose ; he was a true philosopher, 
and lived like one. He labored diligently, and lived fru- 
gally, without sordidness. . . . He possessed a sound judg- 
ment upon all occasions, saw everything clearly, and ex- 
pressed himself well on every subject. ... He detested me- 
taphysics.* . . . He was certainly a pattern of sincerity, 
virtue and piety, and at the same time, in my opinion, 
the most learned man in this kingdom. "f 

* Count Hopken is borne out in this by Swedenborg's writings. 
We might cite hundreds of passages to demonstrate his repugnance to 
verbal metaphysics, but in truth the tenor of his works is one bold 
counter-trial to all such philosophy. He is the head of the positive or 
scientific school, but unlike others of that school, takes in spiritual 
and divine /acts as well as natural. For facts are the only possible 
things, and God and the spiritual man are the chiefest among them. 
To justify Hopken we quote one instance, which may serve as a 
specimen of his mode of speech on this subject. It occurs in his 
Adversaria on Isaiah. "The more any one," says he, ''is imbued 
with philosophy, the greater his blindness and darkness ; the blindness 
increases in quantity with the philosophy; as might be proved by 
many things." The Latin is so shorty that we give it also : 

« Quo magis aliquis philosophia imbuitur, eo magis coecitas et umbra, 
augetnr secundum copiam, quod multis demonstrari potest." 

t Count Hopken says in a letter to a friend; ** I have sometimes 
told the king, that if ever a new colony were to be formed, no re- 


Bobsahm says: "How he was looked upon in foreign 
lands I do not know, but in Stockholm even those who 
could not read his writings were always pleased to meet 
him in company, and paid respectful attention to whatever 
he said." 

''He affects no honor/' says Hartley, "but declines 
it; pursues no worldly interest; . . and is so far from the 
ambition of heading a sect, that wherever he resides on his 
travels, he is a mere solitary." And after Swedenborg's 
death, Hartley again writes: " The great Swedenborg was 
a man of uncommon humility. He was of a catholic spirit, 
and loved all good men of every church, making at the 
same time candid allowance for the innocence of involun- 
tary error. However self-denying in his own person as to 
gratifications and indulgences, even within the bounds of 
moderation, yet nothing severe, nothing of the precisian 
appeared in him." 

And lastly Ferelius remarks: "Many may suppose that 
Assessor Swedenborg was a singular and eccentric person ; 
this was not the case. On the contrary, he was very agree- 
able and complaisant in company ; he entered into conver- 
sation on every topic, and accommodated himself to the 
ideas of the party; and he never mentioned his own writings 
and doctrines but when he was asked some question about 
them, when he always spoke as freely as he had written. 

ligion could be better, as the prerailiiig and established one, than 
that developed by Swedenborg from the Sacred Scriptures, and this 
on the two following accounts : 1st. This religion, in preference to, 
and in a higher degree than, any other, must produce the most honest 
and industrious subjects ; for this religion places properly the worthip 
qf God in uses, 2dly. It causes the least fear qf death, as this re- 
ligion regards death merely as a transition from one state into another, 
from a worse to a better situation ; nay, upon his principles, I look 
upon death as being of hardly any greater moment than drinking a 
glass of water.'' 


If, however, he observed that any persons asked imper- 
tinent questions, or attempted to ridicule him, he gave 
them answers that quickly silenced them, without making 
them any the wiser." 

The persons in whose houses he lodged, bear concurrent 
testimony. Mr. Brockmer (who lived in Fetter Lane) says, 
that " if he believed Swedenborg's conversation with angels 
and spirits to be true, he should not wonder at anything 
he said or did; but should rather wonder that surprize and 
astonishment did not betray him into more unguarded ex- 
pressions than were ever known to escape him : for he did 
and said nothing but what he (Brockmer) could easily ac- 
count for in his own mind, if he really believed what Swe- 
denborg declares in his writings to be true. ... He was of 
a most placid and serene disposition." Brockmer however 
avers that " Swedenborg once called himself the Messiah,"* 
which we do not profess to understand, as it is unlike 
any other passage in his life or writings; but as we find it, 
so we leave it, having no right to use one part of Brockmer* s 
evidence and not the rest. 

Bergstrom says : " He once lived ten weeks with me in 
my house, during which time I observed nothing in him 
but what was very reasonable, and bespoke the gentleman. 
For my part I think he was a reasonable, sensible and good 
man : he was very kind to all, and generous to me. As 
for his peculiar sentiments, I do not meddle with them." 

Mr. Shearsmith declared, " That from the first day of 
his coming to reside at his house, to the last day of his life, 
he always conducted himself in the most rational, prudent, 
pious and Christian-like manner." And Shearsmith's maid- 
servant commemorated that " he was a good-natured man, 
a blessing to the house ; and while he stayed there, they 
had harmony and good business. She said that before he 

* Magazine of Knowledge ^ vol. ii., p. 93. 


came to their house he was offered another lodging in the 
neighbourhood ; but he told the mistress there wanted har- 
mony in the house^ which she acknowledged ; and recom- 
mended him to Shearsmith's." 

Mrs. Hart, his printer's wife, said that '' he was of such 
a nature that he could impose on no one ; that he always 
spoke the truth on every little matter, and would not have 
made an evasion though his life had been at stake." 

The homeliness of some of these testimonies does not 
exclude them from our pages, because, diving as they do 
into Swedenborg's privacy, they are just what we want, to 
fortify our knowledge of one whose interior life was so dif- 
ferent from other men's. Swedenborg's biography is a 
court in which such witnesses are precisely those whose 
depositions will first be taken by the mass of the public. 
If the testimony is trivial in so great a case, it is the cross 
questioning of this age which elicits it. 

His friends and domestics had occasional opportunities 
of observing his deportment when in his trances. Some of 
these we have already narrated, but the following also merit 
a place. 

On one occasion Ferelius visited him during his sickness, 
and as the former was going up stairs, he heard Sweden- 
borg speaking with energy, as though addressing a com- 
pany. Beaching the antechamber where his female atten- 
dant was sitting, he asked her who was with the Assessor? 
She said, ''Nobody, and that he had been speaking in 
that manner for three days and nights." As the reverend 
gentleman entered the chamber, Swedenborg greeted him 
tranquilly, and asked him to take a seat. He told him 
that he had been tempted and plagued for ten days by evil 
spirits, and that he had never before been tempted by such 
wicked ones : but that he now again enjoyed the company 
of good spirits. 

One day, while he was in health, Ferelius visited him 


in company with a Danish clergyman. They foand him 
sitting in the middle of the room at a round table, writing. 
The Hebrew Bible, which appeared to constitute his whole 
Hbrary, lay before him. After he had greeted them, he 
pointed to the opposite side of the table, and said : " Just 
now the apostle Peter was here, and stood there ; and it 
is not long since all the apostles were with me: indeed they 
often visit me." " In this manner," says Ferelius, " he 
spoke without reserve ; but he never sought to make pro- 
selytes." They asked him why nobody but himself enjoyed 
such spiritual privileges ? He said, that '* every man might 
at the present day have them, as well as in the times of 
the Old Testament ; but that the true hindrance now is, 
the sensual state into which mankind has fallen." Robsahm 
also once questioned him, whether it would be possible for 
others to enjoy the same spiritual light as himself. He 
answered, " Take good heed upon that point : a man lays 
himself open to grievous errors who tries by barely natural 
powers to explore spiritual things." He further said, that 
to guard against this the Lord had taught us to pray, lead 
us not into temptation : meaning that we are not allowed, 
in the pride of our natural understandings, to doubt of the 
divine truths of revelation. "You know," said he, "how 
often students, especially theologians, who have gone far 
in useless knowledge, have become insane." 

The reason of the danger of man, as at present consti- 
tuted, speaking with spirits, is, that we are all in associa- 
tion with our likes, and being full of evil, these similar 
spirits, could we face them, would but confirm us in our 
own state and views, and lend an authority from whose 
persuasiveness we could hardly escape, to our actual evils 
and falsities. Hence, for freedom's sake, the strict parti- 
tion between the worlds. The case "was otherwise before 
hell was necessary to man's life. 

Shearsmith used to be frightened when he first had Swe- 



denborg for a lodger, by reason of his talking at all hours, 
the night as well as the day/ He would sometimes be 
writing, says this informant, and then stand talking in the 
door-stead of his room, as if holding a conversation with 
several persons ; but as he spoke in a langui^e that Shear- 
smith did not understand, he could make nothing of it. 

His faithful domestics, the old gardener and his wife, 
who kept his house near Stockholm, told Robsahm with 
much tenderness, that they had frequently overheard his 
strong agony of mind vented in ejaculatory prayer during 
his temptations. He often prayed to God that the temp- 
tations might leave him, crying out with tears, ''Lord God, 
help me ; my God, forsake me not." When the temptation 
was over, and they enquired of him the cause of his distress, 
he answered, " God be praised, it is all removed. Be not 
uneasy on my account ; all that happens to me, happens 
with God's permission, and he will sufifer nothing that he 
sees I am unable to bear." After one of his trials he went 
to bed, and remained there many days and nights without 
rising. His servants expected that he had died of fright. 
They debated whether they should not summon his rela- 
tives, and force open the door. At length the gardener 
climbed up to a window, and looking in, to his great joy 
saw his master turn in bed. The following day he rang 
the bell. The vnfe went to his room, and told him how 
anxious they had been about him ; to which he replied, 
with a benignant look, that he was well, and had wanted 
for nothing. One day after dinner the same domestic went 
into his room, and saw his eyes shining with an appearance 
as of clear fire. She started back, and exclaimed : " For 
God's sake what is the matter ? You look fearfully 1" 
'/How then do I look?" said he. She told him what she 
saw. " Well, well," said he, " fear not ! The Lord has 
opened my bodily eyes, so that spirits see through them 
into the world. I shall soon be out of this state, which 


will not hurt me." In about half an hour the shining ap- 
pearance left his eyes. His old servant professed to know 
when he had conversed with heavenly spirits, from the 
pleasure and calm satisfaction in his countenance, whereas 
when he had been infested by wicked spirits, he had a 
sorrowful face. 

What is here related of his eyes has reason to support 
it. Animation plays upon the eye, and shews that there 
are fire channels laid down in the tissues of that organ, or 
how could the brilliance permeate it ? There is a fnnd of 
optics in common life that science has not observed, for the 
eye, prior to the hand, is the power that commands the 
world. The eye is of Protean possibilities : the soul shoots 
through it, and the look is either snaky, or angelic. Each 
passion has its proper rays. This, of the individual eye. 
But if one soul can make an eye lustrous, two or more 
looking through the same eye will project a larger flame. 
We notice a peculiar appearance in Swedenborg's portrait, 
what our friend Dr. EUiotson deems that of an " amiable 
lunatic :" certainly the common objects appear to claim 
but little of its attention, but if there is a vacancy, it is 
only a space for spirits, and when it was filled by them, 
Swedenborg would no doubt shine from the borrowed souls 
to those who saw him. 

We have already spoken (p. 153) of one of his voyages to 
Sweden: we will complete this set of anecdotes, with the 
stories told of Swedenborg by two other English ship cap- 
tains. He sailed from Sweden on a certain occasion with 
one Captain Harrison. During almost the whole voyage 
he kept his berth, but was often heard speaking, as if in 
conversation. The steward and cabin-boy came to the 
captain, and told him that Swedenborg seemed out of his 
head. "Out of his head or not," said the captain, "so 
long as he is quiet I have no power over him. He is 
always reasonable with me, and I have the best of weather 


when he is on board." Harrison told Robsahm laughingly, 
that Swedenborg might sail with him gratis whenever he 
pleased; for never since he was a mariner had he saeh 
voyages as with him. 

The same luck went with Captain BroweU, who carried 
him from London to Dalaron in eight days, during the 
most of which, as in the former instances, he lay in his 
berth and talked. Captain Hodson also, another of his car- 
riers, was but seven days on the voyage, and found Sweden- 
berg's company so agreeable, that he was much delighted 
and taken with him : as he confessed to Bergstrom. 

In this context we introduce what Springer says of Swe- 
denborg' s clear seeing as regarded himself. '* All that he 
has related to me respecting my deceased acquaintances, 
both friends and enemies, and the secrets that were between 
us, almost surpasses belief. He explained to me in what 
manner the peace was concluded between Sweden and the 
king of Prussia; and he praised my conduct on that occa- 
sion: he even told me who were the three great personages 
of whom I made use in that afiPair; which, nevertheless, 
was an entire secret between them and me. I asked him 
how he could be informed of such particulars, and who had 
discovered them to him. He rejoined, 'Who informed 
me of your affair with Count Ekeblad? You cannot deny 
the troth of what I have told you. Continue,' he added, 
'to deserve his reproaches: turn not aside, either for 
riches or honors, from the path of rectitude, but on the 
contrary, keep steadily in it, as you have done; and you 
will prosper.' " In the affair alluded to, Count Ekeblad, 
in a political altercation, had provoked Springer to draw 
his sword upon him ; but they had afterwards composed 
the quarrel, and promised never to mention it while both 
parties were alive. On another occasion the Count had 
attempted to bribe Springer with a purse of 10,000 rix 
dollars, which sum and circumstances Swedenborg particu- 


larly mentioned to the latter, saying that he had them 
from the Count, just then deceased. 

In his Diary Swedenhorg has spoken at great length of 
the fates in the other life of many celehrated persons with 
whom he had been acquainted in the world; nor has his 
pen been withheld from similar particulars about his own 
relations. On this account, the work could not have been 
printed in his own day, without giving offence to the sur- 
vivors of those whom he has thus described. Sometimes 
his unreserve led him to announcements which must have 
been grating to his auditors. An instance of this kind 
occurred on his voyage from Gottenburg to London in 
] 747. The vessel in which he was a passenger stopped at 
Oresound, and M. Kryger, the Swedish Consul, invited the 
officers of the custom-house, together with several of the 
first people of the town, all anxious to see and know Swe- 
denhorg, to dine with him at his house. Being all seated 
at table, and none of them taking the liberty of addressing 
Swedenhorg, who was likewise silent, the Swedish consul 
thought it incumbent on him to break silence, for which pur- 
pose he took occasion from the death of the Danish king 
Christian VI., which happened the preceding year, (1 746,) to 
enquire of Swedenhorg, as he could see and speak with the 
dead, whether he had also seen Christian VI. after his 
decease. To this Swedenhorg replied in the affirmative, 
adding, that when he saw him the first time, he was accom- 
panied by a bishop, or other prelate, who humbly begged the 
king's pardon for the many errors into which he had led 
him by his counsels. A son of the said deceased prelate 
happened to be present at the table : the consul M. Kryger 
therefore fearing that Swedenhorg might say something 
further to the disadvantage of the father, interrupted him, 
saying. Sir, this is his son ! Swedenhorg replied, it may 
be, but what I am saying is true. 

As to those in the other life with whom he could con- 


Terse, the privilege had its limitatious. When the Queen 
of Sweden asked whether his spiritual intercourse was a 
science or art that could be communicated to others, he 
said No, that it was a gift of the Lord. " Can you then," 
said she, " speak with every one deceased, or only with 
certain persons? He answered, I cannot oonverse with all, 
but with such as I have known in this world, with all 
royal and princely persons, with all renowned heroes, or 
great and learned men, whom I have known, either per- 
sonally, or from their actions or writings; consequently, 
with all, of whom I could form an idea; for it may be sup- 
posed that a person whom I never knew, and of whom I 
could form no idea, I neither could nor would wish to 
speak with." In further proof of this, we may cite an 
anecdote related by Ferelius. " With other news," says 
he, " which on one occasion I received from Sweden through 
the post, was the announcement of the death of Sweden- 
borg's sister, the widow Sundstedt. I communicated this 
information to a Swedish gentleman whose name was 
Meier, who was travelling in England at that time, and 
who happened to be at my house when the news came. 
This person went immediately to Swedenborg, and con- 
veyed the intelligence of the death of his sister. When he 
returned he said, that he thought Swedenborg' s declara- 
tion respecting his intercourse with the dead could not be 
true, since he knew nothing of the death of his sister. The 
next time I saw the old man I mentioned this to him, 
when he said, * that of such cases he had no knowledge, 
since he did not desire to know them.' " 

On one occasion he was applied to under the following 
circumstances. A certain Minister of State flattered himself 
that he could, through Swedenborg, obtain some particulars 
of what had become of a prince of Saxe-Goburg-Saalfeldt, 
named John William, who disappeared in the year 1 745, 
without any one knowing what had become of him. No- 


thing was said either of his age, or his person. Swedenborg 
made an answer which is preserved in the hbrary of his 
Excellency Lars von Engerstrom. He said among other 
things that the prince, after being twenty-seven years in 
the spiritual world, was in a society, into which he (Swe- 
denborg) could not readily gain admission: that the angels 
had no knowledge of his state, and that the matter was 
not important enough to warrant his asking the Lord 
himself about it. 

We here introduce an anecdote which has not before ap- 
peared in Enghsh, to illustrate the genius of Klopstock. 
" Swedenborg," says the poet of the Messiah, "was once 
at Copenhagen. Our ladies would not let me alone till I 
visited him. I did not care to see him. He was no object 
of curiosity to me. History is full of cases of those led 
astray by pride, Uke Swedenborg. I fell into disgrace with 
him at once, because I had no taste for buying his dear 
quartos. I came directly to the point, and begged him to 
talk with one of my deceased friends. He said with a tone 
still more drawUng than usual : ' If his Royal Majesty the 
reigning King of Denmark, Frederic the Vth.' — I am not 
adding a syllable — 'had most graciously ordered me to 
speak with his deceased wife, her Majesty Queen Louisa.' — 
Here I interrupted him. * It appears then,' said I, ' that a 
man who is not a prince, and whose friends may neverthe- 
less be in the other world, is not worthy to be spoken for 
by Mons*". Swedenborg.' I went away, and he said while 
I was going : ' when you are gone, I shall be again directly 
in the company of the spirits.' ' I was wrong,' I answered, 
' not to have hurried away sooner, for you ought not to lose 
a single moment on my account, of the time that you pass 
in such good company.' " 

Was errand ever so idle ? a man requiring to be certified 
of the spiritual world, but prompted by " no curiosity." 
The ladies, always the sensible half of us, should have 


gone themselves^ sooner than have despatched such a mes- 
senger. Swedenborg naturally sent him to his writings, 
bat Klopstock would not know them. He ''came to the 
point at once." If the spiritual world had been a chest 
of drawers, no one would have opened it for him on 
such a shewing. There was not live motive enough to 
command the opening of a peepshow. He never waited 
for the completion of Swedenborg' s sentence, but has left 
us to guess what it might have been. He had made up his 
mind previously, and long before the visit, was running 
over with acrid unbelief. The interview reminds us of our 
own times. We might imagine, mutatis mutandis, that 
Klopstock versus Swedenborg was an allegory of Mr. 
Wakley sentencing the Okeys, or of the Athenaum with 
its thumb- screw upon Miss Martineau. And then proh 
pudor! the man was a poet! "Where there is no vision," 
saith the Scripture, " the people perish." At such a time 
the poets are the first to gasp and die of the missing ether. 
He should have known his craft better. 

In the early part of this biography (p. 15) we narrated 
the only love affair in which our author was engaged. 
Sandel says on the general subject: "Swedenborg was 
never married. This was not owing to any indififeren(»e to- 
wards the sex ; for he esteemed the company of a fine and 
intelligent woman as one of the most agreeable of pleasures ; 
but his profound studies rendered expedient for him the 
quiet of a single life." General Tuxen also relates that, 
" He once jocosely asked him, whether he had ever been 
married, or desirous of marrying ? Swedenborg answered, 
' That he had not been married ; but that once in his youth 
he had been on the road to matrimony. King Charles the 
Xllth having recommended the famous Polheim to give 
him his daughter.' On asking what obstacle had prevented 
it, he said, * She would not have me.' . . The General 
craved his pardon if he had been too inquisitive : he re- 


ptied^ ' Ask whatever question you please, I shall answer 
it in truth.' Tuxen then enquired whether in his youth 
he could keep free from temptations with regard to the 
sex ? Swedenhorg replied, ' not altogether ; in my youth 
I had a mistress in Italy.' " We doubt whether Italy 
should stand here, for he was 52 years of age when in that 
country. Robsahm''^ mentions the same thing, but with- 
out any such specification. With regard to Emerentia 
Polheim, Swedenhorg in his old age, as Tiibeck relates, 
assured the daughters and sons-in-law of the former object 
of his affection, as they visited him in his garden, that 
" he could converse with their departed mother whenever 
he pleased." It was told us by the late Mr. Charles 
Augustus Tulk, but we have no document for it, that our 
author used to say that he had seen his allotted wife in 
the spiritual world, who was waiting for him, and under 
her mortal name had been a Countess Gyllenborg. If it 
be true, it is a corroboration of Dante and Beatrice. 

We have already dwelt at length upon the signs which 
for some years preceded the opening of Swedenhorg' s spi- 
ritual sight. These indeed were of such a nature, that he 
afterwards wondered that he had not previously arrived at 
the persuasion that the Lord governs the universe by spi- 
ritual agency. Nevertheless he was in a position to make 
every allowance for the scepticism of others, for he admits 
that on one occasion, many months after he had spoken 
with spirits, he perceived that if he were remitted into his 
former state, he might still fall back into the opinion that 
all he had seen was phantasy. 

In the former part of this work, we have had occasion 
to notice some peculiarities that Swedenhorg mentions of 
himself, as predisposing him to spirit seeing. Did we 
know more of his history, it is probable that these might 

* TafeFs Sammlung von Urkunden betreffend das Leben und den 
Character Eman, Sfaedenborg*9. Abtheilung iii., p. 20. 


be greatly extended, for whatever may be thonght of Sis 
mission, it is certain that his case stands alone for the 
completeness of his peculiar gift, and its uninterrupted 
exercise. And as Deity operates by his own regular laws, 
we are sure that in such a person, every natural provision 
existed that the circumstances required. Hence Sweden- 
borg's ease may be studied like any other object of science. 
If it could, however, be shewn that his peculiarities, were 
physical, hereditary, or acquired, this would not settle 
either way the question of his pretensions. Nay were it 
sure that he was stark mad, it would not dispossess us of 
one truth or vision in his writings : these would survive the 
grave of his personal reputation, and bring us back to the 
ancient faith, that madness too has a divine side, and in 
its natural heedlessness sparkles with wisdom and prophecy, 
or even sometimes is interpolated with the directer oracles 
of God.* 

But we deem that his state was in part hereditary, phy- 
sical and acquired. His father and mother were as ready 
to believe in the angelic inspirations of his childhood, as he 
himself to indulge in and asseverate similar intercourse in 
after life. " Several of Bishop Swedberg^s works," says 
Sandel, " seem to shew a tendency to behold in certain 
events a species of prophetic indications." The bishop 
was particularly pleased to inform himself of supernatural 
appearances, one of which he recorded in his works, and 
also wrote an account of itf to the Bishop of Bristol in 
1710, wherein he said, that "its truth was certain," and 

* Coleridge says of Swedenborg: ''O! nos terqne qnaterque felices, 
si modo hujus saeculi doctis et docentibus datum fuerit eandem insaniam 
insanire, dementiam scilicet coelestem et de mente diving effluentem !" 
(S. T. C, Sept. 22nd, 1821, Highgate.) Seethe Monthly Magazine, 
Vol. v., p. 614, 1841. 

t See the British Magazine, Sept. 1746, p. 252, 253 : also Swe- 
denborg's Animal Kingdom^ Vol. II., p. 428 in the notes. 


had been confirmed by tbe personal enquiries of Field Mar- 
shal Count Steinbock. He ended his letter to the bishop 
thus : '' I am not inclined myself^ and would be far from 
persuading any one, to credulity and superstition. But 
may not the all-wise God, in all ages, think it necessary, 
by extraordinary instances, to &l upon the minds of man- 
kind some signaf impressions of his over-ruling power, and 
of the truth of his holy Grospel?" More may come out 
on this head, when Bishop Swedberg's Autobiography is 
published. In the meantime we further obserre, on the 
authority of Dr. Tafel, that spirit-seeing has recently ap- 
peared in a youthful descendent of the Swedenborg family 
now living in Sweden. And for the rest, Scandinavia itself 
is a charmed magnetic land, native also in the narrow depths 
of science, and peculiarly fitted for contributing to Europe 
a mathematical seer, strong enough to overrun both mys- 
tery and science from the tertium quid of his own profound 
individuality. This is just what Swedenborg, with his first 
adult lips, professed to do. 

His coolness and tranquillity, and unselfish character, 
were also circumstances essential to his higher gifts. We 
know how vital they are to the prosecution of the sciences. 
" The Lord," he said, " had given him a love of spiritual 
truth, that is to say, not with a view to honor or profit, 
but merely for the sake of the truth itself." No man of 
that age was so uninterrupted in his mind, or so nakedly 
devout to his objects as Swedenborg. ^'The elements 
themselves," said Sandel, '^ would have striven in vain 
to turn him from his course." The competency also of 
his fortune excluded one species of cares, which he seemed 
only to taste occasionally, for the experiment of their 
spiritual results. There is a passage in his Diary which 
illustrates this. " I have now," says he, " been for thirty- 
three months in a state in which my mind is withdrawn 
from bodily affairs ; and hence can be present in the so- 


cieties of the spiritual and the celestial. . . Yet whenever 
I am intent upon worldly matters, or have cares and desires 
about money, (such as caused me to write a letter to-day,) 
I lapse into a bodily state ; and the spirits, as they inform 
me, cannot speak with me, but say that they are in a manner 
absent. . . . This shews me that spirits cannot speak with 
a man who dwells upon worldly and bodily cares ; for the 
things of the body draw down his ideas, and drown them 
in the body. March 4, 1748." It was however seldom 
that Swedenborg experienced such distractions, and as for 
his fame in the world, and the success of his books, these 
were things that did not trouble him. When General Tuxen 
asked him how many he thought there were in the world 
who favored his doctrine, he replied, that " there might 
perhaps be fifty, and in proportion the same number in the 
world of spirits." But said he to Springer, " God knows 
the time when his church ought to commence." 

His diet was a constant harmony and preparation of his 
seership. "Eat not so much" (above, p. 75, 76) was 
written over its portal, and the instruction was obeyed 
throughout the curricuhim of his experiences. The vermin 
of gluttony are all those bodily lives that exceed the domi- 
nion of spiritual ; and these he cast out and kept out, fining 
down the body to the shapely strictness of the soul. We 
read of one excess that he committed of so peculiar a nature, 
that we tell it in his own words. It occurs in his Diary, 
with the strong heading, "The stink of intemperance." 
" One evening," says he, "I took a great meal of milk 
and bread, more than the spirits considered good for me. 
On this occasion they dwelt upon intemperance, and accused 
me of it." He then proceeds to say, that they made him 
sensibly perceive the foulness which their ideas attributed 
to him. If so infantine a debauch was thus reproved, we 
may imagine how sensitive a thermometer of appetite his 
daily spiritual relations furnished; how the spirits that 

HIS DIET. 237 

came to him opened a correspondence with the " animal 
spirits" that were embodied by his diet. Seership, as a 
general rule^ is coincident with abstemiousness, which is 
the directest means of patting down the body, and by the 
law of the balance, of lifting up the soul ; and where seer- 
ship is thus produced, it will of itself lead to new demands 
from the soul, or new exigences of temperance. We might 
instance the Hindoo seers as examples of these remarks, 
or we might support them by numerous cases occurring in 
£urope, and even at the present time ; not to mention that 
the germs of the experience are within every man's know- 

As the man depends so much upon the dinner, and the 
dinner upon the appetite and the self-control, it is interesting 
to know what was the diet of a man so industrious, peace- 
ful and deep-eyed as Swedenborg. For some time after his 
spiritual intercourse commenced, his mode of living appears 
to have been not unusual, excepting that the quantity was 
moderate : he occasionally drank one or two glasses of wine 
after dinner, but never more ; and he took no supper. In 
company, throughout his life, he followed the habit of the 
table, and took wine, "but always very moderately." During 
the last fifteen years of bis life he almost abandoned the 
use of animal food, yet at times would eat a little fish, eels 
particularly. His main stays were bread and butter, milk 
and coffee, almonds and raisins, vegetables, biscuits, cakes 
and gingerbread, which he used frequently to bring home 
with him, and share with the children. He was a water- 
drinker, but his chief beverage was coffee made very sweet, 
and without milk. Collin, is correct when he says that 
pensive men generally are fond of coffee. At his house in 
Stockholm he had a fire from winter to spring almost con- 
stantly in his study, at which he made his own coffee, and 
drank it often both in the day and the night. He took snuff 
largely. It appears that he abstained from animal food 


from dietetic considerations. At the same time there dwelt 
in his mind a vegetarian tendency, pointed towards the 
future, or at least, what is the same thing, crying out from 
the past. He writes on the subject in his Arcana as follows: 
" Considered apart, eating the flesh of animals is somewhat 
profane. The most ancient people never on any account 
eat the flesh of either beast or fowl, but lived entirely upon 
grain, especially on wheaten bread, on fruit, vegetables 
and herbs, various kinds of milk, butter, &c. It was 
unlawful for them to kill animals, or to eat their flesh. 
They looked upon it as bestial, and were content with the 
uses and services that animals afforded them. But in pro- 
cess of time, when men became as cruel as wild beasts, 
yea, much more cruel, they began to slay animals, and eat 
their flesh ; and in consideration of this nature in man, 
the killing and eating of animals was permitted, and con- 
tinues to be so." 

Some of Swedenborg's pursuers have alleged the whole 
of his experiences to his coffee-drinking ; for coflFee, acting 
upon a pure temperament, will, they say, produce excita- 
bility, sleeplessness, abnormal activity of mind and imagi- 
nation, and fantastic visions ; also loquacity. "We credit 
these effects of coffee. But he is a medical pedant who 
would try to pour the Arcana or the Diarium out of a coffee 
pot. Nevertheless there is a truth in the allegation, for if 
Swedenborg's was a life providential for a certain end, then 
the coffee might be a part of the providence, and lend its 
import to the seer. We forget that if God makes the world, 
he also makes everything in it, and a new world of things 
through other things. If coffee will dispose to clear-seeing, 
surely the means do not injure the end. No doubt seers 
are as regular fabrics as crystals, and not a drug or beny 
is omitted from their build, when it is wanted. Apart firom 
metaphysics, the time has gone by when anything is made 
out of nothing. The question then is, not only how Swe- 

COFFEE. 239 

denborg came to be a visionary, but also what are his Tisions 
worth ? Let the revelations criticize the coffee, as well as 
vice versd. The prophets of old, unless we are mistaken, 
had their diet enjoined; but the diet which supported, would 
be the last thing to contradict the prophecy. The truth is, 
we do not yet know what diet ensures, or that it is the 
stuff in the potter's hands that makes us either porcelain 
or common pot, either satin or cotton. 

Swedenborg was peculiar in the matter of sleep ; in his 
latter years he paid little attention to times and seasons ; 
often labored through the whole night, and had no stated 
periods of repose. " When I am sleepy," said he, " I go 
to bed." He kept also little account of the days of the 
week. As we have seen already, he sometimes continued 
in bed for several days together, when enjoying his spiritual 
trances. He desired Shearsmith never to disturb him at 
such times; an injunction which was necessary, for the 
look of his face was so peculiar on these occasions that 
Shearsmith sometimes feared he was dead. A.t other times, 
as soon as he awoke he went into his study (when in Stock- 
holm), kindled the embers of his fire from a ready supply of 
dry wood and birch bark, and immediately sat down to write. 
He was not fluent in conversation; indeed he had 
an impediment in his speech, which perhaps predisposed 
him to the loss of it that he suffered from his apoplectic 
seizure. It does not appear that he had a remarkable faci- 
lity for acquiring languages, for we find that although he 
resided so long in London, he could not hold a running 
conversation in English. He was, however, sufficiently 
acquainted with the modern languages, as well as with 
Hebrew, Greek and Latin. All the authorities agree that 
his speech, though not facile, was impressive. He spoke 
with deliberation, and when his voice was heard, it was a 
signal for silence in others, while the slowness of his deli- 
very increased the curiosity of the listeners. He entered 


into no disputes on matters of religion, but when obliged 
to defend himself, he did it mildly and briefly; and if any 
one insisted upon argument, and became warm against him, 
he retired, with a recommendation to them '* to read his 
writings.*' One day, when Mr. Cookworthy was with him 
in Coldbath Fields, a person present objected to something 
that he said, and argued the point in his own way ; but 
Swedenborg only replied, "I receive information from 
angels upon such things :" a response of a forcible nature, 
supposing it true, for how many problems introduction into 
the spiritual world would answer : what a smiting criticism 
for instance Polheim made, or rather was^ upon the burial 
sendee, just because he stood beyond the grave (p. 90) . Mr. 
Burckhardt relates, that on one occasion he was present 
when Swedenborg dined in London with some of the Swedish 
clergy; and a polemic arising between him and one of them 
concerning the Lord, and the nature of our duty to Him, 
Swedenborg "overthrew the tenets of his opponent, who 
appeared but a child to him in knowledge." We can believe 
that there was a formidable power in his slow utterances. 

Were this the place we might say much upon the almost 
invariable partition that takes place between the gifts of 
speaking and of thoughtful writing ; so seldom united in 
one person. The difference between the endowments lies 
somewhat in mental velocities, the writer deploying his 
forces with a slowness measured to the pen strokes ; the 
orator rushing forth with his at voice-speed. The light and 
heavy dragoons of intelligence fulfil different tactics in the 
battles of the Word. Where impediment of speech takes 
place, it is a sign of lacking communication between the 
mind and the organs— of meanings in discourse coming 
down flashwise; and in Swedenborg* s instance, it might 
argue some predisposition for that separation and absence 
of soul from body for which his life was otherwise remark- 
able : if this be not too medical an opinion. 


When in London he went occasionally to the Swedish 
church, and afterwards dined with Ferelius or some other 
of his countrymen ; but he told them that " he had no 
peace in the church on account of spirits, who contradicted 
what the preacher said, especially when he spoke of three 
persons in the Godhead, which amounted in reality to 
three gods." 

During his latter years he became less and less attentive 
to the concerns of this world : even when walking abroad 
he seemed to be engaged in spiritual communion, and took 
little notice of things and people in the streets. When he 
went out in Stockholm without the observation of his do- 
mestics, some singularity in his dress perchance would 
betoken his abstraction. Once when he dined with Rob- 
sahm's father, he appeared with one shoe buckle of plain 
silver, and the other set with precious stones ; greatly to 
the amusement of the young ladies of the party. But a 
man of 80 and upwards, a seer and an old bachelor besides, 
might be pardoned for some inattentions. 

In person, says Shearsmith, he was about 5 feet 9 inches 
high, rather thin, and of a brown complexion. His eyes 
were of a brownish gray, nearly hazel, and rather small. 
He had always a cheerful smile upon his countenance. 
Mr. Servants remembered him as an old gentleman of a 
dignified and venerable appearance, whose thoughtful yet 
mildly expressive countenance, added to something very 
unusual in his air, attracted his attention forcibly. When 
Collin visited him he was thin and pale, but still retained 
traces of beauty, and had something very pleasing in his 
physiognomy, and a dignity in his erect stature. Ab 
Indagine relates that his eyes were always smiling ; and 
Bobsahm, that his countenance was always illuminated 
by the light of his uncommon genius. When he lodged 
with Bergstrom he usually walked out after breakfast, 
dressed neatly in velvet, and made a good appearance. 



His suit, according to Shearsmith, was made after an old 
fashion, and he wore a full-bottomed wig, a pair of long 
raffles, and a curious hilted sword, and carried a gold-headed 
cane. In Sweden his dress was simple, but neat and con- 
venient : during the winter he was clad in a garment of 
reindeer skins, and in summer, in a study gown, ^^ both 
well worn," — so Bobsahm says, — "as became a philo- 
sopher." Ferelius has an odd anecdote about him : " that 
he never washed his face or his hands, and never brushed 
his clothes, but said that no dust or dirt would stick to 
him." Tafel considers this to be a calumny, which perhaps 
it is, but Ferelius does not say so. We may remark that 
at the time of which the reverend gentleman speaks, Sweden- 
borg was in his 84th year. Noiae of his other biographers 
allude to this peculiarity. He would not tolerate Hnen 
sheets on his bed, but lay between woollen blankets. 
Wherever he lived, his habits were plain to the last degree ; 
in Stockholm he Required no services of his old gardener's 
wife, but to make his bed, and bring a large pitcher of water 
daily to his study : for the rest, he waited upon himself. 
His journeys were made with no parade, and few of the 
conveniences of travelling. He took no servant with him, 
and rode in an open waggon from Stockholm to Grottenburg, 
where he embarked for £ngland or Holland, to have his 
manuscripts printed. 

In money matters Swedenborg was at once saving and 
liberal. Those with whom he had affairs, spoke always of 
his generosity. Provided with sufficient means, he admi- 
nistered them strictly for public services. Whatever his 
motives might be, it is certain that he would receive back 
no proceeds from the sale of certain of his works, but 
dedicated the whole to religious subscriptions.* Possibly 

* It is probable, however, that he derired some valaable retams 
from his scientific books, and particularly from his Philosophical and 
Mineral works. See Robsahm. 


he deemed that as he was hut an amanuensis of spiritual 
powers, he had no right to keep a commercial account of 
the results. Moreover, he sold his works at unremunerative 
prices, and indeed gave a great portion of them away. 
When Dr. Hartley offered to lend him money, he returned 
for answer that *' as to this world's wealth he had what was 
sufficient, and more he neither sought nor wished for." 
Count Hopken says that " he lived frugally without sordid- 
ness, and that his travels cost him no more than when he 
remained at home." He was not remarkahly in the hahit 
of almsgiving, for he used to say that '' most of those who 
solicit alms are either lazy or vicious, and if from compas- 
sion you give them money without examination, it is rather 
an injury than a henefit." He did not lend money, for 
that, he said, is the way to lose it; and hesides, he added, 
" I want my money to pay the expenses of travelUng and 
printing." When Shearsmith, his landlord, presented his 
bills, Swedenborg used to send him to his drawer to pay 
himself; a careless-lookiog mode, but clairvoyant people 
know of course with whom they have to deal. 

His manners were those of a nobleman and gentleman 
of the last century. He was somewhat reserved, but com- 
plaisant ; accessible to all, and had something very loving 
and taking in his demeanor. Personally he left good im* 
pressions behind him wherever he appeared. 

His labors during the sixty-three years of his authorship, 
were of a surprizing magnitude: we may estimate that his 
volumes would make about sixty octavos of 500 pages each 
in English. About forty of these are already translated, 
and many of them have gone through numerous editions in 
England and America. When it is remembered that his 
works consist almost entirely of the deepest analysis, or 
treat upon the highest subjects, the quantity which issued 
from his pen becomes still more astonishing. There is 
indeed a vast amount of repetition in his books, for as be- 

M 2 


seemed a teacher, he professed repetition, and was careless 
of artistic effect. But with all deductions, his quantity 
does not greatly exceed his quality. 

He made use of no amanuensis for his hooks, hut was 
self-helping as well as self-contained throughout. From 
the beginning of his theological mission, he framed indexes 
or rather digests of what he wrote, whereby he was enabled 
to refer from part to part of his extensive manuscripts. 
These indexes are models of compression and arrangement, 
and, are themselves large and readable volumes. They 
shew at a glance what a crowd of ''capital aphorisms'"*^ 
there is in his works, and how impossible it is to give an 
exhaustive statement of them in a short compass. In his 
latter years, the Bible in various languages, was his whole 

Our narrative has shewn that Swedenborg resided in 
London many times, and there published many of his 
works. It may not be unpleasing to the English reader to 
know what he says of our nation in the spiritual world. 
His Diarj/ in particular abounds with passages about us, 
but we can cite only one from the Continuation of the Last 
Judgment : ** The more excellent of the English nation," 
says he, '' are in the centre of all Christians, and the rea- 
son why they are in the centre is, because they have 
interior intellectual light. This is not apparent to any one 
in the natural world, yet it is conspicuously so in the spi- 
ritual world. This light, they derive from the liberty they 
enjoy of thinking, and thence of speaking and of writing. 
Among the people of other nations, who have not such 
liberty, intellectual light is buried, because it has no out- 
let. This light, however, of itself, is not active, but is 
rendered active by others, especially by men of reputation 

* «<No person,'' says Bacon, " is equal to the forming of apho- 
risms, or would ever think of them, if he did not find himself 
copiously and solidly instructed for writing upon a subject." 


and authority among them. As soon as anything is said 
by these men, or as soon as anything they approve, is 
read, that light shines forth ; but seldom sooner. On this 
account the English have governors placed over them in 
the spiritual world, and priests of great name for learning 
and powerful ability are given them, whose commands and 
advice, from this their natural disposition, they cheer- 
folly obeyed. 

" They rarely go out of their own society, because they 
love it, even as in the world they love their country. 
Moreover, there is a similarity of disposition among them, 
in consequence of which, they contract intimacy with 
friends of their own country, and seldom with others ; and 
they mutually minister to each others wants, and love sin- 
cerity." May the best among us long stand as high in 
both the worlds ! 

The upper parts of Swedenborg's character rose from the 
groundwork of excellent citizenship and social quaUties. 
Naturally inoffensive and conservative, he was at one with 
the general polity, and never dreamt of innovations that 
should interfere with the moral basis of the state. Even 
his theology was referable, in his view, to an existing 
authority in the Bible, and in harmony with the earHest 
creeds of the church, so far as they went. He lent himself 
freely to his family ties, but never allowed them to inter- 
rupt his justice. As a friend he was staunch and equally 
independent. The sentiment of duty ruled him without 
appeal in his public as in his private affairs : he had no 
acquaintances but society and his country when their inte- 
rests were involved. In disseminating his religious ideas, 
he was open and above board ; placed his books within the 
reach of the Christian world, and there left them, to Pro- 
vidence and the readers. By no trick did he ever seek to 
force attention, and intrigue had no part in his character. 
Notwithstanding his attachment to his first admirers, he 


kept his own space around him^ and was not impeded by 
any foUowers. Tender and amicable in his nature, he was 
always distant enough to have that large arm's-length that 
so peculiar a workman required. Ambition he must have 
had in some sense, but so transpierced and smitten with 
zeal for his fellows, that we can only call it, public love. 
The power of order and combination, is a main feature in 
his capacious intellect ; those who open him as a visionary, 
are struck with the masculine connexion which he every 
where displays. His sensual nature was evidently an obe- 
dient though a powerful vehicle to his mind. He was per- 
fectly courageous in that kind that his mission needed ; 
firm, but unobtrusive, in all courts and companies, and 
ever bending whither his conscience prescribed. Religion 
was the mild element that governed the rest, converting 
them past their own natures by its lively flames, and he 
walked with the constant sentiment of Grod between him 
and his fellows, giving and receiving dignity among Grod's 
children. His life indeed is not heroic in the old fashion, 
but take his own account of it, and he has travelled far 
and perilled much: he has seen and been what would 
bleach the lips of heroes. Whether you receive his account 
or not, you must own that his structure was heroic, for 
how otherwise could he have outlived those tremendous 
'^ fancies" of heaven and hell. But let that pass, and we 
still claim him as a hero in the new campaign of peace. 
The first Epic of the Study is the song that will celebrate 
him. There are many simple problems, but how few dare 
face them : it is more difficult to be courageous there than 
before batteries of cannon : it is more impossible to the 
most to lead the forlorn hopes of thought, discouraged 
since history began, to victory, than to mount the scaling 
ladder in the imminent deadly breach. To do the one re- 
quires only command of body ; to perform the other needs 
courage over the brain itself; fighting against organism and 


Stupidity older and more terrifying than armies. Select 
your problem^ and ask the world round who will besiege 
it until it cedes the truths and you soon find that of all 
the soldiers there is none who does not straightway shew 
fatigue and sob impossible, which are cowardice under its 
literary name. In these ages there has been no man who 
stood up so manfully to his problems as Swedenborg, who 
wielded his own brains so like a spirit, or knew so experi- 
mentally that labor rises over death. Therefore we name 
him Leader of the world's free thought and free press; 
the Captain of the heroes of the writing desk. 


It is extraordinary how well Swedenborg has answered the 
children's questions; those enquiries of little tongues that 
the parents divert, but do not satisfy. If we wished to 
give his theology an experiment, we should select for its 
recipients children of from five to ten years of age, and 
teach them nothing of it except in answer to their own en- 
quiries. The whole scheme would be elicited presently by 
the moving curiosity of almost infantine querists. As a 
satisfaction to such Uke, including those simple adults 
whose faculties are as those of children, there is a com- 
pleteness in his revelations ; the first circle of intellectual 
wants is gratified with parental forethought; the proffered 
education, drawn forth by the pupil himself, is exact and 
suitable; and the youthful mind runs no danger of subse- 
quent complexity in the learning with which his easy 
teacher provides him. The personal Maker of the world, 
his name and abode; His quality as the best of men; the 
purpose of all things for our use; the immortality not 
of the soul but of the man, or rather not his immortality 
but his straight continuance; the way in which people die 
and rise again; the great pleasantness of heaven for the 
good, and the pain of hell for the naughty; the men and 
women living in each of the bright stars, and one day 
to be our friends — ^these are things to satisfy babes of all 
conditions and ages. We would back Swedenborg for com- 
forting little ones weeping over a lost brother or sister» 

children's questions answered. 249 

against all the clergy that ever preached. We would back 
him at a marriage for throwing upon the wedding ring a 
brighter shine of the skies. We should have confidence in 
him for the real events and unguarded moments that hap- 
pen to men through life. However this may be, he is the 
first theologian with a voice that penetrates into the nursery, 
and becomes part of the mother's tale, or the governesses 
explanations. Indeed he has answered none but children's 
questions, which are the first pure wants of knowledge. 
Until these were met, no questions had been answered; 
and so he began at the beginning. He is preeminently the 
Gamaliel for the youngest faculties. 

His own infantine acceptance of the Christian religion 
enables him to converse with children's wants. No learned 
man is so free from dogmatic learning as Swedenborg. He 
came to his Bible as though seventeen centuries of con- 
troversy had been rescinded in his favor, with a fresh eye 
and an unconscious understanding. He left off mending 
his nets, and became a fisher of men. It shewed much 
faculty of communication, that he should be spiritually 
with the old fishermen, in spite of the impediment of learn« 
ing, and of the intervention of ages. The brain must have 
been permeable, from his own adult organism, to the un- 
abolished infancy within it. The most of men forget their 
babyhood; if they were introduced to themselves long back, 
they would blush, and " not have the pleasure" of knowing 
themselves; the first-laid candid fibres of their souls have 
been cowled over with rude red flesh, and are seldom 
known to be extant within it. But so it was not with Swe- 
denborg, who communicated from end to end of his expe- 
rience in pleasant transits of clear-seeing and easy moving. 
It was this that empowered him to go to the realms where 
little children are. Once there, there is no difference of 
ranks or ages, spirits or men. Christians or Turks; no dis- 
tance between the sun and the eye ; impossibility is un- 

M 3 


knowiiy and death unsuspected. A man who can without 
knot or break receive the flashes of his childhood, is from 
his rarity a marvellous character, and good may be expected 
of him. 

The truths of the connexion of things are those espe- 
cially that he may declare. Coherent himself from first to 
last, he will see coherency where others miss it, and es- 
tablish it where it is wanting. He will in short be a link, 
affectionate, doctrinal, or real. Swedenboi^ was such a 
link, and he and his writings may be looked on, in one 
point of view, as entirely an organ of communications. Let 
us regard them in this light with respect to some cardinal 

Truths, like the world itself ^ich is one among them, 
consist of two things, places and roads. The intellectual 
globe lies round and colored as the material, consisting of 
continents, countries and counties, or genera, classes and 
species, and these are the places of the mind. Then be- 
tween them, linking them in one, there are the truths of 
connexion, or the analogies that run from subject to subject; 
these are the roads of the mind. It is in knowledge so re- 
garded that we now trace the presence of Swedenborg's 

This view distributes away much of the difficulty that 
hangs about him, and enables us to treat him in his three- 
fold character of philosopher, seer, and subject of revela- 
tions, without the one element impugning or annulling the 
other two. The man who is open, is ipso facto an envoy 
and ambassador living for amenities and reconciliations 
which are not dreamt of until he appears. 

A new religion is almost necessarily followed by new 
communications established by mankind with various de- 
partments of knowledge and existence; and Swedenborg 
was the apostle of a new religion. His position of the 
divine humanity as the sole, and only possible, object of 

OPEN MEN. 251 

worship, and his identifying of Jesas Christ with that ob- 
ject, amounts to a fresh hnk between Grod and man, in 
other words, to a new religion. The quantity of truth — of 
way and intercourse that is inyolved in that tenet, can 
hardly be estimated. In the highest case it unites the 
senses with the soul, spirituality with history, divinity with 
humanity, the private heart and the humblest knowledge 
and confidence with universal love and the sovereign justice 
of the Lord. It compounds or realizes the highest truth, 
and brings it into the world. It is the central at-one-ment, 
and already puts sight upon faith, and faith into sight, 
and abolishes miracle, by constituting it afresh as the order 
of nature. This is the greatest contribution of Swedenborg^s 
books to human weal — the seizure of the fact, and the de- 
monstration of the necessity, of the incarnation, because 
this makes God approachable through Him who is the Way, 
and approachable for all alike, children or men, learned or 
unlearned, sensual or subtle. This we term a new religion, 
because it leads us to a new Grod, and through a way new 
in its fulness, namely, all our human faculties together. 

After this, in which Grod himself is known to the senses, 
all other cases of communication and correspondence, being 
of a lesser nature, are easy and intelligible. Mankind is 
most estranged from the Most High; if this distance by 
his mercy be shortened and abolished, the smaller gap that 
separates man from any created thing, cannot be an essen- 
tifd bar to his brotherhood with it. If the space between 
the Holy One that inhabiteth eternity, and the sensual 
nature of mankind, be actually annulled, there is no space 
left in the way of hindrance, but only as an organ of com- 
munications. The world of truth in this wise is Hke the 
great ocean covered with ships, it is all roads and highways, 
one sublime plain, giving passage to every love, and fair 
winds to all desirable knowledge. 

There is no religion, if it be lively, but tends to open the 


other life, because every religion prepares us for the future, 
keeps the spiritual as an end in view, and by consequence 
realizes it before the mind so far as it is able. Perhaps 
with the exception of Protestantism, there is not a faith 
recorded in the world's history but has leant upon super- 
natural revelations; and these the more bright and frequent, 
in proportion as we approach towards more primitive ages. 
A religion that has not the key of the spiritual world, is to 
this extent a failure, and enjoins its votaries to shoot at a 
mark that is not put up. Swedenborg's eyes, opened upon 
the other life, are then nothing extraordinary; they are 
eyes exercising that function that belongs to every justly 
religious man, and which is but a minor department of his 
prerogatives, included in his knowledge of God. It is the 
order of creation that the ends of actions should be seen, in 
order to the shaping of beginnings, and seen not by intui- 
tion or philosophy, but by fair straightforward sight. The 
current vision of the end guides and steers the means to- 
wards their local fitness in the work. The first communi- 
cation then which we signalize in Swedenborg, is that 
between the natural and spiritual worlds, which after being 
shamefully lost, is logically restored in this plain religions 

Concurrently with this he is the medium of proclaiming 
the spirit of the Word, and reconciling it with the letter. 
This is but part of the former case; or rather it is the 
whole, because the Word is the divine truth in heaven as 
upon earth. The spiritual world of the Word is the uni- 
versal heaven: heavenly truth, heavenly space and heavenly 
objects are one and the same thing in that sphere. The 
unfolding of the inward or spiritual sense is then coincident 
with the entrance of a prepared man into the spiritual 
world. The science of correspondences arises under these 
circumstances. The comparison between two harmonious 
worlds necessarily gives birth to it. Apart from this com- 


parison^ troth must be simple and superficial; the spiritual 
deficient in weight, the natural devoid of fire : but let the 
two worlds be seen concurrently, and along the harmonies 
that subsist between them, the one will pass into the other, 
and a complemental marriage ensue. The truths of har- 
mony or connexion, the doctrine of correspondences, are 
the legitimate fruits of that union. 

Swedenborg's function is therefore important because of 
his experience : he had seen both soul and body, and knew 
their harmony or agreement, which no one could know un- 
less he saw Jboth. Some of his allegations founded upon 
his compound experience may provoke incredulity. He 
often says that he taught the angels of heaven many troths. 
Philosophical shoulders shrug at the assertion. But why 
so ? A man who Hved in two worlds at once, would, by 
his doubleness, learo and teach somethmg that no single- 
world denizen could suspect. The angels did not know, 
until Swedenborg's visit, what matter was, or that it was 
distinct from spirit ; they had lost their experience of it in 
gaining that of spirit ; and it was only when a man came, 
who embraced at once matter and spirit and the difference 
between them, that an experience was given which taught 
what the difference is. For positive experience is as need- 
ful for angels and archangels, as for chemists, philoso- 
phers, and mechanics. In fact, in all wisdom there is 
no substance but fact, and nothing so divine as experience. 
He that has it, no matter whether he be high lived or low 
lived, upon his own subject, is a proper schoolmaster for 

Swedenborg, then, as the correspondent between the 
worlds, and between the soul and body of the Word, in 
the exercise of his duplex sight and thought necessarily 
learns, in his own measure, the science of correspondences. 
This science is the spirit of his communications, regarded 
in their altitude. 


An open mind is at one with itself, and feels itself as a 
barmony ; whatever it thinks, is a thought enriched ; what- 
ever it does, is a marriage deed. It is a soul and a body 
in all cogitation and operation. Its truths are worlds, and 
its worlds are truths. It is a bundle of centres where the 
plumb lines of spirit tie love knots with the superficial rays 
of nature, and lay in colored, living mosaic the ground 
floor of a solid man. Thenceforth, his doctrines, embodied 
and illuminated, are sights and voices — ^things seen and 
heard. His intelligence is clairvoyance; what he thinks, that 
he sees, and vice versd. Most of us are fragments and di- 
vorces, — ^the products of some former violence or convulsion, 
but such is not he, but rather a fair planet on which Eden 
continues. Things to us the most irreconcileable, are his 
sweet harmonies. He is most wilful when he is doing 
God's will. His human reason is most independent when 
he is recipient of a divine revelation ; his truth and God's 
truth belong all the more severely to each because they are 
the other's. The efforts of his genius are his obedience to 
a divine commission. He does not turn the tables upon 
his Maker, and discourse of "subject and object," and 
other illegitimate offspring of divorced soul and body ; but 
he knows that he is something because God is something, 
and that any preponderance given to himself will make him 
shadowy and eccentric. Such a man, in his measure, was 
Swedenborg, and, therefore, at a certain stage of his de- 
velopment, that is to say, of his Divine preparation, his 
mind became a spiritual eye ; his thoughts, experimental 
travelling ; his doctrines, spiritual cities and scenery ; and 
the deep movements of his sympathy, intercourse with de- 
parted men and women belonging to all ages and to several 
universes. The whole was fenced around by the solem- 
nization of the union between religion and good works, 
whose early divorce had so long precluded the Book of Life. 

This is the middle of harmony, the region of self-com- 


munications, where hearty and life, and doctrine, and sense, 
advantage each other and are each other. This is the 
flavor of humanity, when it is ripe in the hands of Grod : 
the fruit hangs upon the tree, and yet is dead to the tree, 
for the sun is now the tree on which its ripeness grows. 

We see that in a harmonic man there is nothing ahnor- 
mal, hut all that is natural, in supernatural pretensions. 
Man is at once a natural and a preternatural heing. It is 
his own fault if he flings away his better half. Divine 
commissions are intended to be common whenever men can 
receive them. Worthy men and women departed are angels, 
that is to say, God's ministers. There is no hereditary 
nobility in the skies, but the poorest goodness takes its 
own place. Many of the last are first, and of the first are 
last. We are not then oflended with Swedenborg for claim- 
ing a privilege which he asserts is the common privilege of 
mankind. Every heart is meant to be a vessel of divine 
sympathies ; every intellect, an instrument of divine com- 
munications ; all senses are given that God and heaven may 
he seen. The strangeness of this man's life is only a criti- 
cism upon his age. Had he lived before that flood which 
drowned the calmest perceptions of the race, he might have 
passed for a common-place man, too much addicted to 
worldly sciences, and impeded by mortality. Now he is 
bright and remarkable from the murkiness of our civilized 

We have not yet done with that opening or road-making 
which radiates from his works as a centre. There is no 
large space of thought that has not become more accessible, 
and we will add, more loveable, in consequence of what he 
wrote. Observe the broad access laid down in his works 
between his own theology and other religions. The science 
of correspondences, the link between the worlds, comes 
easily into lower relations, and proclaims the original unity 
of religious systems. The Hindoo and Grecian mythologies 


are translated into a Chriatianity as old as tbe world, 
throogb the restoration of that oniyersal language whose 
sjmhols are son and moon, and the objects of creation. 
The first manifested Word of Grod was the world itself; 
the meaning that lay in the world was what the first readers 
understood. They wrote their mythologies, not in vowels 
and consonants, but in hieroglyphical things. Those my- 
thologies, at length, were ill and perversely written, and at 
last the symbols overpowered the sense and occupied its 
place. But still, whatever truth they have is to be attained 
by hieroglyphic interpretation. What a field is here opened 
for missionary enterprizes. The heathen may be led back 
from the entanglement of their religions, to their own an- 
cestral truths ; and then, by a readier passage, towards the 
Christian centre. The church is the heart and lungs of 
the world, and by such a missionary enterprize, its pulses 
and attractions begin to permeate the Asiatic and Maho- 
metan remoteness, to discuss and eliminate the accretions of 
time, and to raise the whole race, as a man, into warm- 
blooded life. No evidences, or even examples, plastered 
upon heathenism, will convert the barbarian, but heathenism 
itself is the unwilling witness to the Christian faith. 

There is something well fitted to the Asiatic in Sweden- 
borg's genius. His conception of the Grand Man, although 
we believe icientificaUy original, is in singular harmony 
with the large and spheral thought of the oriental religions. 
Indeed, his scientific views are so similar to the Chinese 
cosmogonies, that were it necessary to seek for the parentage 
of the works of genius (which it never is), we might easily 
build up the former out of the latter. There is, however, 
an element in him which the East has not, a more than 
European, perhaps a peculiarly Scandinavian activity, which 
demands a material world as the stern proof-place of 
thoughts and contemplations. There is also, by conse- 
quence, a reliance on personal man, which tramples out 


Pantheism, and will be satisfied with no perfection less 
spirit-shaped than a personal Grod ; and this is a side of 
life that the East has squandered and forgotten. 

The Mahometan creed is not unnoticed by Swedenborg, 
and he regards it differentij from the Protestant divines. 
With him it is a permitted, provisional religion, midway 
between Christianity and the ancient East, which availed 
to extirpate the idolatries of many nations, and to declare 
some important truths, — such as the unity of Grod, which 
may in time be united to the Christian facts. Moreover, 
Mahometanism — ^the old-world Protestantism — opened in 
its way the spiritual world ; and Swedenborg has gone far 
to shew that the visions of Mahomet, whether fantastic or 
not, may have been actual representatives in the spiritual 
atmospheres ; and he does not imitate Grotius and his suc- 
cessors, in branding the Arabian prophet as an impostor. 
Indeed he has given a due to the legendary and fairy lore 
of all nations, so that we hope in time to make it service- 
able for the combined purposes of a spiritual and natural 

As to the world's superstitious sciences, they are so im- 
portant a field, that we regret to have little space to devote 
to them in their connexion with Swedenborg^s principles. 
There is a truth lies in them all. They are founded seve- 
rally upon certain large insights and thaumaturgic powers, 
which are never alien to nature when harmonious man ap- 
pears. Magic itself is but the evil appUcation of the science 
of correspondences ; the prevalence of magic was a reason 
why that science was taken away from the earth. In our 
own day, simultaneously with the appearance of Sweden- 
borg, these lost arts and sciences are coming back, especi- 
ally through mesmerism and its kindred progeny of truths. 
We can only indicate that the student of these subjects will 
find them amply treated from the spiritual side in Sweden- 
borg's writings, and above all, in his Diary, where it is 


shewn that they are matters most accredited in the spiritual 
world. The wonders of that world are palpable enough. 
Perhaps, however, until our own day, no one was suffi- 
ciently aware of how wonderful nature herself is going to be, 
when the ages are riper, or of how certainly the height of 
the spiritual is the prophecy of the future of the natural. 
To our Saviour, this world was as plastic as any world need 
be ; and to his true disciples, he promised the like powers, 
and the like obedience from the world. In short, he in- 
augurated the miraculous as the order of nature, and the 
realization of this we look upon as the outward measure 
and standard of the human regeneration. In the meantime, 
the despised and obscure truths, by which nature already 
emulates the spiritual, may group themselves, where their 
aims are good, round Swedenborg's principles and corres- 
pondences, as round a fortress sufficiently able to consolidate 
and protect them. But as they value self-preservation, let 
them resign their baser worldliness, and cease to lean upon 
the corrupt impotence of materialism. 

Nothing is more evident to-day, than that the men of 
facts are afraid of a large number of important facts. All 
the spiritual facts, of which there are plenty in every age, 
are denounced as superstition. The best attested spirit 
stories are not well received by that scientific courtesy, 
which takes off its grave hat to a new beetle or a fresh 
vegetable alkaloid. Large wigged science behaves worse to 
our ancestors than to our vermin. Evidence on spiritual 
subjects is regarded as an impertinence by the learned ; so 
timorous are they, and so morbidly fearful of ghosts. If 
they were not afraid, they would investigate ; but nature is 
to them a churchyard, in which they must whistle their 
dry tunes to keep up their courage. They should come to 
Swedenborg, who has made ghosts themselves into a science. 
As the matter stands, we are bold to say, that there is no 
class that so Httle follows its own rules of uncaring experi- 


ment and indaction, or has so little respect for facts^ as 
the hard headed scientific men. They are attentive enough 
to a class of facts that nobody valnes, — ^to beetles, spiders, 
and fossils, — ^bnt as to those dear facts that common men 
and women, in all time and place, have found full of inter- 
est, wonder, or importance, they shew them a deaf ear, 
and a callous heart. Science, in this, neglects its mission, 
which is to give us in knowledge a transcript of the world, 
and primarily of that in the world which is nearest and 
dearest to the soul. 

Swedenborg has also conducted a railroad from the 1 9th 
century to Eden; a sympathy from the historical to the 
unhistorical ages. Of all histories there is none so desirable, 
or so unattainable, as the narrative of that happy state 
before history began. The day of no annals is the only 
portion of human experience which deserves to be recorded. 
The tables of goodness and happiness give the kings and 
priests of the immemorial epoch. Paradise was its name. 
The re-discovery of that time and country is due to Swe- 
denborg' s Arcana^ elicited from the simple record in Genesis, 
All is written there, but till Swedenborg came, no man 
could read it. The science of correspondences in union with 
spiritual experience, has opened the path to those ancient 
realms. What wings for the poor gravitating antiquary in 
such disclosures as these! what a conversion of research 
into a key to the lost and future happiness of the race. No 
matter if at first the discoveries are of the spiritual kind; 
they will lead without fail to the mundane account of the 
earliest people, and unite with the archaeological sciences 
when reason holds them with a firmer hand. The strata of 
the earth have been explored; Swedenborg has explored 
also the strata of the heavens : geology and ouranology 
are natural counterparts; and the science that lies between 
them and unites them, will give the physical story and the 
metaphysical education, of our progenitors. Thereafter 


we shall never travel by that road which lands civilization 
back to savagery for its origin, or carries the savage to his 
fint Adam in the monkey, but we shall see in the primitive 
man a creature and a power worthy to issue from the imme- 
diate Grod, though committed to nature and progress for 
his destined perfections. 

Another synthesis efiPected by Swedenborg is that of 
poetry with reason and science. Never were things more 
separate than these for the last thousand years. It has 
been a disastrous quarrel for both parties, but especially 
for science. Poetry has that in it which can stand by itself; 
of native right, it takes the milk and honey of every land, 
and solidly appropriates the pictures and fruits of never- 
failing nature. Tet apart from knowledge, it is a savage 
maiden, beautiful only as the landscape, whereas its pro- 
per loveliness is of the stars and the skies. Moreover vol 
the wild state it feeds upon terrors as well as delights, 
upon good and evil alike, upon the monstrous equally with 
the divine, until its food governs its inspirations, and the 
bard becomes a charmer instead of a prophet. The science 
of correspondences puts the truth of nature and revelation 
into it, and sends an adequate criticism abroad with it in 
its wildest flights. The poet may be doubly rapt when the 
muse is sailing with creation. He is never so safe or so 
wildly joyous as when in the convoy of the heavens. Ima- 
gination is never so tasked as when it has to follow its 
Maker. Subtlety, novelty, freedom, frenzy are all too little 
nimble to keep pace with that infinite wisdom whose sport 
and play is the world. Poetry by gaining a science of the 
real, enters upon the only space where there is no limit, 
but where imagination may tire its nervous wing, yet sleep 
for refreshment when it will upon the humblest truths. 
The science which emancipates poetry, is none other than 
that of harmony, which we call, after Swedenborg, the 
science of correspondences. 


Science too has erery thing to gain from its union through 
the same medium with poetry. Hitherto the literary class, 
representing the beauty of knowledge, have been unac- 
quainted with 'the scientific, contending for its severer 
truth. Science has suffered from the exclusion. Poetry 
has its admitted aristocracy — names for all climates, ages 
and sexes : Homers, Shakespeares, and the like. Science 
has no names to match them. The art of understanding 
the world has enlisted none of the genius that has eagerly 
run towards adorning life with song and beauty. The 
structure of Iliads and Hamlets is more divine than any 
structure of the universe that has been shewn by Newton 
or Laplace. This is because poetry has not become the 
soul of science, which in truth it should be. Whatever 
grasp has been yet attained by scientific principles, has 
issued from the imagination as a force; from some leak of 
poetry that has run into science: we ought then to open a 
ship canal between the two through this great middle 
science of harmonies. Never till then can there be a science 
of fire and beauty, and so long as this is wanting, science 
is deprived of one clear half of its dominions. Nay, until 
then she is not in possession of one single complete fact, 
because everything in creation has its own peculiar beauty. 

The works of Swedenborg proclaim this marriage of the 
rational with the imaginative powers. His works are the 
first fruits of it. He shews by a series of wonderful ex- 
amples that the highest imaginations are the merest scien- 
tific truths. We could expect no other. It seems eminently 
reasonable that the human powers at their full stretch and 
in their lustiest life, should touch the facts that the living 
Grod has made, more nearly and really then crawling and 
commonplace sensualism can. If you want to understand 
a beetle, look at it with all imagination through the glass 
of the universe; translate it into a mineral, into a vege- 
table, and into a man; run it along its own line of genera 


and species^ and let it catch illumination from them all ; 
and when you have enlarged it from this associated em- 
pire, its atomic theory will he palpable and distinct ; and 
every habit, limb and entrail will be a self-evident proposi- 
tion. At any rate the whole world will stand up for it. 
Creation itself, in this science of correspondences, is the 
method of study. The order of things gives the terms 
of the mighty syllogism. The four seasons are laws of 
thought that apply to everything; spring, summer, autumn 
and winter are one formula that dissects it for you. A 
stone or a man put fairly through their logic buds, blossoms, 
fruits and winters. The mineral, the vegetable and the 
animal are another of these formulas. Using them so, they 
unlock another cabinet of truths in everything, for every- 
thing contains them. The bones, for example, are the 
mineral man; the organs are the vegetable; the nerves and 
the muscles are the animal; the lungs the atmospheric; 
and the brains are the solar ; and so forth. These it is 
true are analogies, and not correspondences, but analogies 
are the direct offspring of correspondences. The scientific 
world knows that truths of this kind have already made 
natural history into a more living science; and we advertise 
them that more potential harmonies still lie in that science 
of correspondences which Swedenborg supplied; and whose 
leading function it is, to extend analogies from the natural 
to the spiritual, and to bring the light of a personal deity 
working through all nature to a personal spirit in man, to 
bear upon every form which variegates and constitutes the 

Swedenborg's inseparable life and doctrine are then a 
new conjugal force introduced into experience, recalling 
to mind his own prediction, that marriage will be the re- 
storer of the ages, and will lead down to the earth a still 
youngest child of God, or a new celestial church. We 
have seen that already a grand reconciliation is prepared. 


Through death an arrow of light is shot« and it quits the 
tomb, and stands as the open gate between two worlds of 
life. The letter of the Word has audibly communed with 
the spirit, and man, in the twain voices^ hears the har- 
monies of Grod. The Bible has done what no book could do 
for it, namely, proved its own divinity. The marriage of 
the soul and the body has been solemnized in the conscious 
spirit; human reason has become the mean of a super- 
natural revelation; the senses and the soul have been at 
one in a soul with spiritual senses; and a mortal has en- 
tered the spiritual world, — ^has seen it by doctrine, and 
understood it by sight. There is no apparent contrariety 
so great but may henceforth be overcome. Orthodoxy and 
oddity, reason and mystery, have met without confusion, 
and have kissed each other in the streets. The eldest reli- 
gions have been placed at the feet of the youngest. Science 
and superstition, philosophy and reality, the golden age and 
the iron, and many other natures seemingly as distant, 
have been shewn the way of peace by the mission of Swe- 
denborg; and more is yet to hope. It remains, after this 
recapitulation, to shew, in a few words, that each existing 
sphere already contained within itself a longing and an 
earnest of the atonement which is thus individually begun, 
and which the human race must carry forward. 

But first we will set before the reader one topic of im- 
portance in regard to Swedenboi^, we mean, his often 
alleged mysticism. Now he is called a mystic by some, 
because he speaks of things of the other world, which 
would be a reason, were it valid, for calling the angels 
mystics. The phrase is occasionally founded also upon his 
interpretation of the Scripture according to another sense 
than that discoverable from the letter. But here again, if 
the letter speaks to one set of faculties, and the spirit to 
another, and if both discourses are distinct and divine, and 
mutually harmonic, there is no mysticism, but mere reality. 


Swedenborg is the only theologian who is not mystical, the 
only one who craves plain experience for every sphere, the 
only one who insists that words shall answer to outward 
facts, whether in this world or the next. There is nothing 
more mystical in the sight of an angel, or of God himself, 
than in the sight of any object of nature; nor are the in- 
ductions founded upon either sight to be called mystical, if 
those based upon the other are scientific. It would be 
mystical if the sight were not sight, but some philosophical 
intuition, but if good eyes are the seers, it is no matter 
whether their optic nerves are of spiritual flesh-glass, or of 
natural, — ^there is no mystery in the case. This is a view 
which must commend Swedenborg to the countrymen of 
Bacon and Locke, for so practically does he assent to the 
inductive plan, as to extend its sphere to the highest of 
beings; regarding God himself as unknowable unless be 
shews himself in experience and history; for our Saviour's 
life upon earth is the base of theology, because it is the 
natural history of God. Without this base of divine facts, 
Deity might have been the God of the soul, but never the 
God of the sciences, which are the new kingdom that will 
absorb the earth. And so also without experiment of the 
spiritual world, the sciences must have been closed at the 
top, whereas that experiment carries them up through a 
tangible heaven to the same God who appeared in history, 
and who is the Alpha and Omega of knowledge. It puts 
us out of patience to hear the enterprising traveller to a far 
country, termed a mystic, for giving a plain account of 
things heard and seen, while Grub-street philosophers, who 
never stir from their tripod stools, and make heavens out of 
their own heads, claim the whole of daylight for themselves, 
and even talk of their spiritual experiences, meaning only 
their sedentary straining to find out facts without the trou- 
ble of going to them. 
We therefore now study the science of God, because 


Jesus Christ has Hved upon the earth, and Jesus Christ is 
God; we study the spiritual world, because one of us has 
been there, and reported it; and we study the natural 
world, because it is given to us, and our senses are given 
to it, in short, because we did not make it, but it is a 
divine fact. Whatever we have made ourselves, we do not 
study, which is a sufficient demolition of subjective know- 
ledge. Thus from the spheres a blackness is departing. 
Mystery, the mother of the abominations and harlots of 
the earth, is unrolling from theology, philosophy and 
science; and soon the practical, the only sublime, will be 
all in all. For time will not wait long, after marrying the 
mind to experience, before the importance of daily life will 
not only suggest but allow or disallow every theory, upon 
whatever subject put forth. 

And to revert to the fact that the old world contains a 
promise of the opening Swedenborg commenced, a slight 
survey proves it. The lowest experience of all time is rife 
in spiritual intercourse fdready ; man believes it in his fears 
and hopes, even where his education is against it ; almost 
every family has its legends, and nothing but the wanting 
courage to divulge them keeps back this supernaturalism 
from forming a library of itself. Yea, and every mourner 
by a freshly-opened grave, shoots with untameable love 
towards departed friends, and bespeaks them, while the 
genius of grief is on him, as persons of real and presentable 
stufp. At such a clever time, burial services are but the 
background on which the heart delineates its native skies. 
This is the sense of universal mankind. 

Science, too, is infected with these vulgar apprehensions ; 
it cannot shake them off, though it cannot adopt them. 
What would it not give to be rid of mesmerism, or even of 
magic and astrology, which it has never known how to 
exterminate? This is hopeless now. These griffins of 
knowledge have bitten into its substance, and must either 



become sciences, or science dies of them. The positive 
school is precisely that which can least resist the invasion 
of supematuralism. Manj materialists already have fallen 
before it, and sunk, as might be expected, into a peculiar 
unreasoning superstition. Nothing can save them but 
attention to spiritual experiences. Add to which, that the 
scientific men, with their deep breaths and fixed objecto, 
are taking the path to seership in their own bodies ; they 
are running after Swedenborg, and will ere long breathe in 
the same place as he ; for science itself is the appointed 
Seer of the Future. 

" Old experience doth attain 
To something of prophetic strain.'' 

Again, if we turn to the arts, electric telegraphs make 
spiritual presence between distant places : London and £din- 
burg commune in spaceless conversations. Another medium, 
glowing hotter with world-friendships, will give mutual 
sight to the ends of the earth. Only sink into the air-mine 
of community, and India and England shall be permanent 
natural apparitions to each other. The mirage is a true 
sign-post of this consummation. Distance is dying, and 
will be only represented in the altitude of the human per- 
ceptions. Magnetism itself, in its instant rounds^ derides 
and despises it ; the very stones appear to each other by 
its spiritual commimications ; and shall men, who are one 
in a nobler magnetism, be reproved by the friendships of 
the ground ? 

As for reason, and philosophy, its representative, it is 
an ambidextrous power, and shifts either way at the bid- 
ding of experience. Sound reason is affirmative already^ 
being the kindest of the sciences; but metaphysical reason 
also turns to the rising sun, and will give supematuralism 
an exaggerated truth, when it comes as current coin from 
the sciences. If there is little to hope from this philo- 


sopby, tliere is nothing to fear, for it is always the wind 
of a more real power, the slave of sterner faculties than its 

Tarn we again to poetry, where indeed the ground is 
ready, and samples of the tillage are native to the soil. 
Nothing but the greatest misfortune has kept the poets 
from Swedenborg and the normal spiritual world. This 
man is the luminous pier of all the bards that have arched 
the ages with their rainbows. From blind Mseonides through 
blind Milton, the last span of double-sighted poesy reposes 
upon Swedenborg. Not one of the great ones but has 
longed to see his day ; not one, but has visited the spirit 
world, as the theme of themes and the song of songs for 
the progeny of Adam. This was the end of the earliest 
voyages, and the last heroism of the ancient heroes. For 
this Ulysses, emancipated from Circe, after so many mortal 
wanderings, visited the shadowland of those dim times, 
where yet immortal justice reigned, and gathered the per- 
petuation of human passions in the stem gait of Ajajc, and 
from sorrowful words from the great Achilles. For this he 
brought back the hierogl3rphics of the spirit, in the waters of 
Tantalus, the wheel of Ixion, and the sieve of the Danaidse. 
For this .^neas, Sybil-instructed, descended to Avemus, 
and through the land beyond sleep and death, still found 
imperishable mankind, and present with his ancestral spirits 
in their tide of prophecy, beheld the line of Roman glories 
issuing from th« closed race of Troy. Oh! depth and 
breadth and length unending of the life of our forefathers! 
From Yirgil to Dante the. arch of light again sits upon 
the spiritual world ; earth has no top but the poet-seer on 
which the eternal curve will lean. The Christian Hades 
vaults back to the heathen through the stem Italian song ; 
Dante and Yirgil are fellow-travellers, all but through hea- 
ven where Christ alone can reign. From Dante to Shakes- 
pear and to Milton is the next gird of the baser flood. 


In Macbeth and Hamlet, the poet of civilization links the 
worlds afresh, by the introduction of an infernal band of 
ambition in the one case, by a reappearance of the dead in 
the other; if nothing more, he gives his mighty vote for 
the supernatural life. The Paradise Lost is all seership ; 
imagination shews again that there is no play room for the 
highest efforts but the spiritual world. The personages, 
professedly superhuman, are human after all. Milton, who 
stamped the traditions of his church with the goldmark of 
his own genius, and who proves how much can be at- 
tempted, and how little can be done with the Protestant 
imagination, at all events completed a poetic cycle of affir- 
mations of the spiritual world. Not one high tunefiil 
voice is absent from our list ; the *' morning stars of song" 
are strictly choral there. The lower world, well pleased, 
sees them all attempt what Swedenborg accomplished. 
Yet while he mounts above them, it is not by a greater 
genius, but by finer harmony of character and circum- 
stance with God, leading to an appreciation by the humblest 
of realms unascended by song, and to a conjunction of this 
world's business with similar but sublimer industry in the 
spiritual heavens. 

For politics and morals are penetrated by the same spirit. 
The associative temper of the epoch runs molten from that 
other world where the union of the race is closer knit than 
on this disunited earth. The spirit of work lifting the arm 
with strokes incessant as the steam-engine's, lives from a 
faith in work as the last comfort of mankind ; it longs for a 
heart of work in Swedenborg' s revelations ; it desires to be 
certified that industry is divine and immortal ; that the week 
days preponderate in heaven; that beyond the grave the 
useless classes are vile ; that the angels, like good artisans, 
eat because they labor. Luxurious ease, bodiless cherubs, 
sky floatings, everlasting prayers or anthems, are an offence 
to the great God of the six days work, and Swedenborg, a 


working man, has brought us the tidings. The homy hand 
of the day springs opening to the messenger. 

There is however a Sabbath in both the worlds — a day 
with a sacred number — ^a workday of the religions. And 
does not religion coalesce with Swedenborg's informations ? 
I marvel how any Christian man can deride revelations in 
the abstract ; how he can deem that the day of wonders is 
past, unless God be past ; how he dares use phrases against 
Swedenborg, which applied more widely would shatter his 
Bible from his hands. Let infidelity be consistent in tear- 
ing away all revelations, let it number and compaginate 
the graveyards of nature, and assiduously bind up the 
book of death ; but let Christianity be equally true to itself, 
and look for Christianity everywhere, for life and revela- 
tions everywhere. Even heathenism glitters with a star- 
light of immortality. But immortality and the spirit land 
lie in golden lakes in the Word of God : they wait to be 
explored by human adventure and experience. The Pro- 
phets and the Apocalypse are proof and counterproof to 
Swedenborg's narrations: the visions of John walk the 
waters with his ; the nineteenth century begins in him to 
reap the harvest of supernatural intercourse of which Christ 
Himself sowed the seeds in the first. All religion in its 
spiritual day, in its own archives, and in its first founders, 
stretches out the free right hand of fellowship to this last 
seer. And here we conclude our examination of witnesses 
to the character of Swedenborg's revelations. 

Are they final, or do we look for another ? A rational 
revelation, we reply, is the first step to a more rational: a 
religion given up to the human mind is a progressive reli- 
gion. A seer whose intellect is in his eyes, will be suc- 
ceeded by other seers with better optics because greater 
intellects. Sights more improbable ever await to be uncur- 
tained. It is God's truth that eye hath not seen, nor ear 
heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to con- 


ceive those things which Gk)d hath prepared for them that 
love him. This truth is always ascending to God who 
gave it. The hetter heaven is known, the more it recedes 
into that uncomprehended love. The seeing eje disturbs 
not the unseen: the hearing ear lists not the song of songs; 
the heart's conceptions are beggared bj simple truth; and 
man, athwart all revelations, must wait upon his God. 


Walton and Mitchell, Printers, Wardonr Street, London. 


SwBDENBOBG left extensivo mannscriptB, both scientific and theolo- 
gical. These were delivered on behalf of his heirs by E. Wenneborg 
and C. Benzelstiemai to the Royal Academy of Sciences of Sweden, 
** for the purpose of being preserved in their library with that solicitnde 
which it is expected will be considered due to the contents of these 
documents, as well as to the reputation of tlie deceased, and the honor 
of his family, both now and hereafter." Through the generous per- 
mission of the Academy, and mainly through the influence of the 
illustrious Berzelius, and the kind services of the Librarian, Dr. P. 
E. Svedbom, many of these manuscripts have been entrusted to other 
hands, and lately printed in Germany and England. We do not 
recount them, because it would occupy much room, and afford for 
the most part only a transcript of catalogues to be had gratuitously 
from our Publisher. 

We would, however, call attention to the translation of Swedenborg's 
Diary by Mr. Smithson and Professor Bush ; and to Swedenborg's 
work on Human Generation, just about to issue from Dr. Tafel's 
press. The latter is, we believe, the largest treatise extant on the 
subject, and probably the only theory yet attempted. Though left 
in MS., it is a finished work. 





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