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SWEDENBORG; OR, THE MYSTIC.
MONG eminent persons, those who are most dear to
men are not of the class which the economist calls producers : they have nothing in their hands; they have not cultivated corn, nor made bread; they have not led out a colony, nor invented a loom. A higher class, in the estimation and love of this city-building, market-going race of mankind, are the poets who, from the intellectual kingdom, feed the thought and imagination with ideas and pictures which raise men out of the world of corn and money, and console them for the short-comings of the day, and the meanness of labor and traffic. Then, also, the philosopher has his value, who flatters the intellect of this laborer, by engaging him with subtleties which instruct him in new faculties. Others may build cities ; he is to understand them, and keep them in awe. But there is a class who lead us into another region, the world of morals, or of will. What is singular about this region of thought, is its claim. Wherever the sentiment of right comes in, it takes precedence of everything else. For other things, I make poetry of them ; but the moral -sentiment makes poetry
I have sometimes thought that he would render the greatest service to modern criticism, who shall draw the line of relation. that subsists between Shakespeare and Swedenborg. The human mind stands ever in perplexity, demanding intellect, demanding sanctity, impatient equally of each without the other. The reconciler has not yet appeared. If we tire of the saints, Shakespeare is our city of refuge. Yet the instincts presently teach, that the problem of essence must take precedence of all others, the questions of Whence ? What? and Whither ? and the solution of these must be in a life, and not in a book. A drama or poem is a proximate or oblique reply ; but Moses, Menu, Jesus, work directly on this problem. The atmosphere of moral sentiment is a region of grandeur which reduces all material magnificence to toys, yet opens to every wretch that has reason the doors of the universe. Almost with a fierce haste it lays its empire on the man. In the language of the Koran, “God said, the heaven and the earth, and all that is between them, think ye that we created them in jest, and that ye shall not return to us ?" It is the kingdom of the will, and by inspiring the will, which is the seat of personality, seems to convert the universe into a person;
6. The realms of being to no other bow,
Not only all are thine, but all are Thou." All men are commanded by the saint. The Koran makes a distinct class of those who are by nature good, and whose goodness has an influence on others, and pronounces this class to be the aim of creation : the other classes are admitted to the feast of being, only as following in the train of this. And the Persian poet exclaims to a soul of this kind :
“Go boldly forth, and feast on being's banquet;
Thou art the called, the rest admitted with thee."
The privilege of this class is an access to the secrets and structure of nature, by some higher method than by experi
In common parlance, what one man is said to learn by experience, a man of extraordinary sagacity is said, without experience, to divine. The Arabians say that Abul Khain, the mystic, and Abu Ali Seena, the philosopher, conferred together; and, on parting, the philosopher said, “ All that he sees, I know”; and the mystic said, “ All that he knows, I see.” If one should ask the reason of this intuition, the solution would lead us into that property which Plato denoted as Reminiscence, and which is implied by the Bramins in the tenet of Transmigration. The soul having been often born, or, as the Hindoos say, “ travelling the path of existence through thousands of births,” having beheld the things which are here, those which are in heaven, and those which are beneath, there is nothing of which she has not gained the knowledge: no wonder that she is able to recollect, in regard to any one thing, what formerly she knew. “For, all things in nature being linked and related, and the soul having heretofore known all, nothing hinders but that any man who has recalled to mind, or, according to the common phrase, has learned one thing only, should of himself recover all his ancient knowledge, and find out again all the rest, if he have but courage, and faint not in the midst of his researches. For inquiry and learning is reminiscence all.” How much more, if he that inquires be a holy and godlike soul! For, by being assimilated to the original soul, by whom, and after whom, all things subsist, the soul of man does then easily flow into all things, and all things flow into it: they mix ; and he is present and sympathetic with their structure and law.
This path is difficult, secret, and beset with terror. The ancients called it ecstasy or absence, a getting out of their bodies to think. All religious history contains traces of the trance of saints, - a beatitude, but without any sign of joy, earnest, solitary, even sad ; “the flight," Plotinus called it, " of the alone to the alone”; Mueous, the closing of the eyes,
whence our word, Mystic. The trances of Socrates, Plotinus, Porphyry, Behmen, Bunyan, Fox, Pascal, Guion, Swedenborg, will readily come to mind. But what as readily comes to mind, is, the accompaniment of disease. This beatitude comes in terror, and with shocks to the mind of the receiver. “It o'er-informs the tenement of clay," and drives the man mad; or, gives a certain violent bias, which taints his judgment. In the chief examples of religious illumination, somewhat morbid has mingled, in spite of the unquestionable increase of mental power. Must the highest good drag after it a quality which neutralizes and discredits it?
“Indeed, it takes
The pith and marrow of our attribute." Shall we say, that the economical mother disburses so much earth and so much fire, by weight and metre, to make a man, and will not add a pennyweight, though a nation is perishing for a leader ? Therefore, the men of God purchased their science by folly or pain. If you will have pure carbon, carbuncle, or diamond, to make the brain transparent, the trunk and organs shall be so much the grosser : instead of porcelain, they are potter's earth, clay, or mud.
In modern times, no such remarkable example of this introverted mind has occurred, as in Emanuel Swedenborg, born in Stockholm, in 1688. This man, who appeared to his contemporaries a visionary, and elixir of moonbeams, no doubt led the most real life of any man then in the world : and now, when the royal and ducal Frederics, Cristierns, and Brunswicks, of that day, have slid into oblivion, he begins to spread