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tricks. During these trifling discourses,-mixed with singular questions, all of which he obligingly answered, whether they concerned this or the other world, -I took occasion 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 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 distinction, 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 Rutini; 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 her 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 man; might I then be 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 inquiring who they were, and whether I had known them, he said it was the Danish royal family, and he mentioned Christian VI., Sophia Magdalena, and Frederick V., who, through his eyes, had seen and heard it. I do not positively recollect whether he also mentioned the late beloved Queen Louisa among them. After this he retired.”
During this visit to General Tuxen, in the course of other conversation, Tuxen produced an autobiographical letter Swedenborg had written to Hartley, and which began, “I was born in the year 1689." Swedenborg told him that he was not born in that year, as mentioned, but in the preceding. Tuxen asked him if this was an error of the press; and he said “No;” and added, "you may remember in reading my writings to have seen it stated in many parts, that every cipher 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 1689, as much more
suitable to myself than the other; and you observe,' added the angel, 'that with us time and space are nothing.'
We give these anecdotes as we find Tuxen relate them. Everyone, however, will know from his private experience how little absolute dependence is to be placed upon narrations of conversations, or actions, by even the most truthful. Sir Walter Raleigh, while writing his History of the World, was led to think of the errors into which he might be led, by observing that an affray beneath his prison wall was variously described by several eye-witnesses. If the occurrences of the present are so liable to misstatement, what sort of faith can we place in the history of the past ! Wilkinson, commenting on this anecdote of the date of Swedenborg's birth, remarks, in his usual keen style, “We have here a reason for that modification of events according to a context, of which the Gospel histories, so often discrepant from each other, furnish numerous instances. 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 colours. It is what all his. toriaus 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 truthful to play down upon any date contained in the block, according to the subject and the signification. There are many kinds of truth besides black and white; and generally, figurative truths require latitude of phrase. At the same time it must be confessed that one would like to know when the writing is pure bistory, and when it is a base of history made use 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 some time in September, 1770, and straightway set about the printing of his manuscript of the “True Christian Religion.” From two letters of a gentleman, pamed D. Paulus ab Indagine, who seems to have been on familiar terms with Swedenborg, we select the following passages illustrative of this period of his life. He writes :- you asked me what this venerable old man, Swedenborg, is now doing. This I can tell you ; he eats and drinks very moderately, but keeps his chamber rather long, and thirteen hours appear to be not too much for him.(3) When I informed him that his work “On the Earths in the Universe " had been translated and published, he was much delighted; and his eyes, which are always smiling, became still more brilliant. He is now indefatigably at work; yea, I must say that he labours in a most astonishing and superhuman manner at his new work. Only think ! for every printed sheet, 4to, he has to prepare four sheets of manuscript; he now prints two sheets every week, and corrects them himself, and consequently he has to write eight sheets every week; and what appears to me utterly inconceivable, he has not a single line beforehand in store.(4) His work is to consist, as he himself states, of about eighty sheets in print. The title of this work is the following :— True Christian Religion, containing the Universal Theology of the New Church, predicted by the Lord in Daniel, 8. 13, 14, and in the Apocalypse, 22. 1, 2; By Emanuel Swedenborg, Servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.' I could not, in my open manner, conceal my astonishment that he should put himself upon the title-page as the Servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. But he replied, 'I have asked, and have not only received permission, but have been ordered to do so. It is astonishing with what confidence the old gentleman speaks of the spiritual world, of the angels, and of God himself. If I were only to give you the substance of our last conversation, it would fill many pages. He spoke of naturalists, those who ascribe all things to nature, whom he had seen shortly after death, and amongst whom were even many theologians, or such, at least, as had made theology their profession in this life. He told me things which made me shudder, but which, however, I pass by, in order not to be over hasty in my judgment respecting him. I will willingly admit that I know not what to make of him; he is a problem that I cannot solve. I sincerely wish that upright men, whom God has placed as watchmen upon the walls of Zion, had some time since occupied themselves with this man.”
3. It is not to be supposed that this time was wasted in sleep. In his meditations and spiritual intercourse, he, no doubt, loved the seclusion of his quiet chamber.
“ I cannot forbear 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 Wednesday; but as he observed that he was deeply engaged in conversation with the Queen, who is still living, 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 spiritus familiaris, 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 only constantly with him, but sometimes a little removed from him, and appears in the world of spirits. But of this, the man still living knows nothing ; the spirit, however, knows everything. This familiar spirit has everything in accordance with his companion on 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, said 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 Ernesti, 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. What will the learned Professor say, when he comes to hear of it? Probably he will say that the old man is in his second childhood; he will only laugh at it, and who can be surprised ? I have often wondered 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 there were mockers amongst them; but to my great astonishment, not a single person thought of laughing. Whilst he is speaking, it is as though every person who hears him were charmed, and compelled to believe 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 although he was not acquainted with him, he appeared at his table, where he met Jewish and Portugese gentlemen, with whom he freely conversed, without distinction. Whoever is curious to see him, has no difficulty ; it is only necessary to go to his house, and he allows anybody to approach him. It can easily be conceived, however, that the numerous visits to which he is liable, deprive him of much time.”
4. This is quite a mistake. His work he had in contemplation for some years. It is probable the revisal, alterations, and additions in the MS, and in the proofs, led Paulus into this misconception.
About this time, Dr Ernesti attacked Swedenborg in his Bibliotheca Theologica, and, in reply, Swedenborg published a single leaf, which, in its decisive sharpness, is truly effective. It is as follows :
“I have read what Dr Ernesti has written about me. It consists of mere personalities. I do not in it observe a grain of reason against anything in my writings. As it is against the laws of honesty to assail anyone 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 my books, and afterwards conclude, but from reason, respecting my revelation.”
The Landgrave of Hesse Darmstadt now wrote to Swedenborg, requesting information on several subjects. Swedenborg having doubt as to the genuineness of the epistle, did not at first reply to it, until his misgivings were set aside by M. Venator, the minister of that prince. In his reply to the Landgrave, he says, "The Lord onr Saviour had foretold that he would come again into the world, and that he would establish there a New Church. 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 servant, and sent me to fill it.”
The Landgrave again wrote to Swedenborg, inquiring about the “miracle” of his intercourse with the Queen of Sweden's brother, and Swedenborg answered 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 testimonies that I have been introduced by the Lord into the spiritual world, and that I have been in association 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 miracles, 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."
Writing of miracles, Swedenborg remarks in another place, “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 whatever relates to the interior things of the Church, but principally an opening of the spiritual sease 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 presence in the spiritual world is attended with a certain separation, 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 anyone 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 was 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.”