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than he who takes a city; and to be honest as this world goes, is to be one man picked out of ten thousand.
"Only the actions of the just
Smell sweet and blossom in the dust."
In the intellect, Swedenborg was also great. He was an intellectual man in the best sense of the word. Blessed by heaven with an intelligence of the most remarkable keenness and power, he devoted it through life to the attainment of truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. We can mention few minds more catholic, universal, and syncretic than Swedenborg's. He felt himself a man, and all human things were interesting to him. His spirit was indeed a microcosm, which mirrors the macrocosm in all its phases and revolutions. The image of the universe was vitalized in the man. He is made one with nature; and in all her music his voice is heard. His history and public writings evince the fact that Swedenborg's spirit pervaded all science and literature. He was equally at home in the theology of churches, the theosophy of lodges; the philosophy of schools, law, policy, medicine and the physical dynamics, poetry and the fine arts. He was considered, and justly, the most absolute and accomplished savant that Sweden ever produced. His intellect braced itself to the hardest encounters in metaphysical and mathematic discovery; matched itself with the ripest scholars of his age, and won laurels from the sternest conflicts of genius. In the open arena of science in which he won his fame victory was only to be obtained by the sweat of the very soul, the athletic agonies of strained and tortured talent; writhing, like Prometheus, beneath pangs of its own creation. This is the sort of struggle which proves a man's metal, and declares it sterling or counterfeit. No spuriosity, no charlatanry can stand this fiery alembic of hard-wrought and exquisite calculation, in which one mathematic point or unit misplaced destroys the whole chain of reasoning, and proves the candidate a blunderer. No Pythian or Isthmian games in the days of Greece and her heroes were so vehemently tentative of merit as the precise analysis which modern science elaborates.
Such were a few of the general characteristics which entitled Swedenborg to the name of great. He formed his views by a long consequential process of reasoning, and confirmed them by ripe experience. No one doubts his sincerity, no one questions his integrity or his consistency. He rose by degrees from the natural to the supernatural, and looked through nature up to nature's God.
As to the exact amount of his inspiration and visionary power, that is simply a matter of evidence. He steadfastly professed the fact of his having attained to supernatural communication with the world of spirits, and adduced such proofs of it as many superior men have deemed satisfactory, and many have not.
Swedenborg's mind was too liberal and catholic to become sectarian; nor did he apparently wish to form a sect. He however continued for years to propound his theological doctrines to the world, as those most applicable and serviceable to that New Jerusalem Church of pure Divinity which he desired to establish in the hearts of men. He conceived that this New Jerusalem, spiritual, or millennial church, had been developed in various manifestations, at different periods of society, and he did what he could to hasten its triumph over those secular and formal systems of ecclesiastical policy which keeps the hearts of men bound to materialism.
As I stated before, I do not think Swedenborg's theology by any means the highest that has been revealed to men. I believe that an absolute Alism, a divinity of divinities, is yet destined to supersede Swedenborgianism, and most subsisting dogmas. But I do not feel the less veneration or gratitude towards Swedenborg, for I conceive he anticipated and in fact revealed the advent of such a theology, as far as it could be apprehended under the particular circumstances. He seemed often to realize much of the true Allah or God, as the All in All, manifest in the flesh, and symbolized in the entire nature of things by infinite correspondences.
Such as it was, Swedenborg's theology gained many adherents, and these were generally derived from the most intelligent classes of society, and consisted of learned, thoughtful, and good men, who aspired after a more scientific divinity than that usually propagated, and found a closer approximation thereto in Swedenborg's writings than they could elsewhere discover. So sincere and devoted were Swedenborg's followers that they formed an extensive church and society, translated his works into most European languages, and gradually diffused his sentiments through churches, lodges, and schools. Several clergymen of the Established Church and other denominations joined them. Their service and liturgy is in the whole similar to that of the Church of England. In their congregations we find many men distinguished for learning and literature; in fact, the Swedenborgians are the most scientific and philosophical religionists that afford me hope of a great theologic reformation in Germany, France, Britain and America.
The first declaration of Swedenborg's theologic opinions was, if I remember rightly, in his celebrated book "De Cultu et Amore Dei," or "The Worship and Love of God." As this is altogether the most brilliant and interesting of Swedenborg's works; I shall be pardoned if I indulge myself in some critical remarks on it. He wrote it about the 57th year of his age, 1745, at a period when his mind was in a state of transition from terrestrial to celestial conditions, soaring in the open firmament of theologic science, and catching glimpses of that gorgeous dayspring from on high which burst upon his entranced soul in the visions of his after life.
This book is a remarkable compound of theology, philosophy, and poetry. These elements are wrought up into a kind of religious romance that in metaphysical character reminds me considerably of Apuleius's fable of Psyche, and some of the mystical allegories of the Platonic divines. Altogether it is a work of genius, true in essence, but wild and eccentric in style and manner. So much was Coleridge delighted with it, that he at one time resolved to translate it, and I regret that his intention was not fulfilled. An accurate and faithful version has however been accomplished by the learned Mr. Clowes, who has adorned the work by a valuable introduction.
In this book Swedenborg explains more clearly than I have observed elsewhere, his idea of Deity, considered as a monad or absolute point of infinite expansiveness. He seems to agree with the statement of the most ancient Indian Brahmins, that God is the smallest and the greatest Being, that is, that a Divine Monad, an absolute intelligible central point, has spread itself through all extent, forming the all in all by successive theophanies, or personalities, or hypostases. Hence Swedenborg deals in monads and expansive and contractive forces as freely as Leibnitz himself. He supposes that from these monadic points or eggs all metaphysical and physical natures emerge by expansive energies. He supposes that these monads or eggs contain in themselves the potentialities of all nature; the intensity of the energy or elasticity in such embryos being in proportion to the degree of compression. Each monad at certain periods of development gives rise to another monad, which in turn obeys the same law. Hence the end of one period of creation is the beginning of another, and hence the irresoluble circle of eternity and its successive æons and spheres, which Philo, Dionysius, or Origen have been so eloquently revealed.
Swedenborg proceeds to apply this doctrine to the creation of spiritual and physical natures. He supposes that angels, in all their orders, were created from monadic embryos of spiritual essence, and
that angels were developed, soul within soul, just as stars are, sphere within sphere. The way in which he speaks of these matters reminds me of the doctrines of the Cabbalists and Valentians, and of the Rosicrucian writers. Much of it may be found in Alcindus, Agrippa, Philo, and Böhmen.
Swedenborg then enters on the cosmogony or creation of the world, and gives us a bold and poetic commentary on the Genesis of Moses; a commentary perhaps more true than many written in a graver style. He supposes that certain cosmogonical monads were created by the Divine Spirit. These formed the foci of infinite space, embryotic nebulæ, which by spiritual superintendence gradually developed into solar orbs. These in the course of their expansion gave rise to the planets, and these to the satellities, in a manner not unlike the Cartesian schools. It is remarkable that Herschel, Nichols, Sommerville, and other recent astronomers, have largely confirmed Swedenborg's theory on this topic.
But perhaps the most remarkable doctrine of cosmogony which Swedenborg propounds is, the monadic metamorphosis of being. He supposes that each monad may develop and subtend other monads that preserve one and the same essence in an infinite succession of forms. Thus he supposes mineral monads extravasate vegetable ones, and those vegetable ones animal ones, etc.,-a doctrine singularly interesting to the readers of Ovid's Metamorphoses, the most esoteric of all Latin poems. Milton certainly received the same doctrine, as is evident from that famous passage in "Paradise Lost," beginning thus
"O Adam, one Almighty is," etc.
In accordance with this theory, Swedenborg states it as his opinion that the vegetable creation produced the monads or eggs of the animal creation; that these primarily assumed a vermiform appearance, and from the condition of worms spread up to the more exalted animal, and finally to man himself. Whether Swedenborg is right or wrong in this doctrine respecting the seminality and infancy of animals and men at the creation, it is not for me to determine. The statement of Moses seems, however, in some degree to countenance the Swedenborgian dogma; for his genesis is evidently ascensive, and rises from the smallest to the greatest. He tells us, expressly, that Adam was created out of the dust-the smallest particle of earth: and another sacred writer informs us that Adam was a worm, fashioned from seminal principles in the lower parts of the earth. The analogy of nature, such as we experience it, seems likewise to countenance the same
presumption, and, sometimes, the present is the best interpreter of the past.
As this is a very curious and interesting subject, it may be worth while to quote a few mythologic passages from biblical and classical writers that seem to confirm Swedenborg's speculation. [Quote Parker, Dutens, Hermaphroditus.] But time and space forbid me for the present to illustrate any further the peculiar characteristics and opinions of this most extraordinary man.
In reading Swedenborg on the subject of hell torments no one thing presents itself to the mind so forcibly as the fact that the ruling love determines the character. What this love is, varied as is its complexional nature, is not in all cases so readily discovered; it can only be rightly ascertained from the governing motives which mark the acts of everyday life. These acts are controlled either by higher or lower principles-the purity, or otherwise, of the motive ascends as it bears the light of truth, or descends as it touches the darkness of error, and should it sink to that stage, as virtually to say, "Evil be thou my good," the inevitable issue must be banishment from the Eternal Source of Good. Now, this banishment implies what we mean by hell, and as a necessary adjunct the lost spirit comes into the lust of his life, which lust impels to the perpetration of all crime, the only restraining effect to its commission being the fear of punishment, and awful as is this punishment the tendency to the commission of evil still remains. From what our Author says, the extreme of punishment is necessary to be inflicted as a deterrent to the animus of the will, and when punished there are always angels to moderate the punishment and to abate the pains of the sufferer as much as may be (A. C. n. 967). On one occasion Swedenborg speaks of his being a witness to the torments of those who are in hell, and also of the vastation of those who are in the inferior earth; and he heard miserable lamentations, and amongst the rest this cry, "O God! O God! be merciful to us, be merciful to us!" and this for a long continuance (A. C. n. 699). Possessing this knowledge of the future state of the wicked, it is incumbent on all to look well to the nature of his or her love and its delights-these latter will reveal what the former is. Nothing can portray in more fearful characters the state of those who pass from the present to the future, who