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gold, is a thing which is not compatible with long prosperity.” The silent and uninfluential place which Holland now fills in Europe, places the seal of truth on these quiet lines.
The Roman Catholic Church seems to have attracted much of his attention in his travels, and the grossness and sensuality of its priesthood were strongly remarked upon. “The monks,” says he, “at Roye, are fat and corpulent, and an army of such fellows might be banished without loss to the State. They fill their bellies, 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 bare-footed Franciscans ? " In Paris, he spent a year and a half. There also he was amazed at the clerical riot and corruption. “It is found,” he observes, “that the tax which they term the dixièmes, yields annually thirty-two millions sterling ; and that the Parisians spend two-thirds of this amount over their own city. One-fifth of the whole possessions of the kingdom is in the hands of the clerical order. If this condition of things lasts long, the ruin of the empire will be speedy.” He little dreamed of the fearful verification which these words would receive.
His journal in Paris reveals the fact of his hearty enjoyment of sight-seeing and amusements. Visits to churches, monasteries, palaces, gardens, museums, and theatres, evidence with what zest he drank the cup of life, and with what interest he looked upon men and their affairs. In this respect we do well to compare Swedenborg with many whom the world in its ignorance associates with him. period of his life was he a cold self-righteous ascetic; looking abroad upon man with a bitter and accusing scowl. At no time did he insult his Maker with upbraidings that his fate was to live in an evil world, and with a wicked generation. He received life with thankfulness, partook temperately of all its lawful pleasures, did his duty, and took care while living with the world to keep himself unspotted from its evil. This social discipline was one of the Divine means by which he was fitted for the full performance of his future mission.
We are not informed of the nature of the work which he at this time went abroad to write and publish. From his manuscripts, however, it appears that he was preparing materials and disciplining his mind for his great work on the “ Animal Kingdom,” by writing short papers on various physiological subjects. Many of these papers have been translated and published under the title of “Posthumous Tracts.”
Leaving Paris in March, 1738, Swedenborg directed his steps towards Italy, and after visiting its principal cities, arrived at Rome on the 25th September. E. Rich, in his “Biography of Swedenborg, remarks,—“This visit should be a memorable one, for it brought the
church of the past and the future into a singular communion with each other ;-— Rome in the still atmosphere, and fading light, of antumn, with all its trophies of Pagap art, and its hoary traditions; and Swedenborg, the predestined seer of the last ages, whose eye was just kindling with the light of inspiration. We should lose all faith in the instinctive prescience of the human spirit when great events are at hand, if we might not believe that a presentiment of something in the shadowy distance, connecting his future with the strange mystery of the city, did not cross, for a moment, the mind of Swedenborg, when he entered the once holy and revered metropolis of the faith.”
After a sojourn of five months, Swedenborg left Rome on 15th Feb., 1739, varying his homeward route. His journal from 17th March, 1739, when he was at Genoa, is a blank, and his after wanderings we can only conjecture. “It is most probable,” says Wilkinson, “ that he deposited the manuscript of the “ Economy of the Animal Kingdom," at Amsterdam, on his way from Leipsic to Sweden, in 1740; that he lived in his own country from 1740 or 1741 till 1744, and in the latter year went again to Holland, and from thence came to England, where we meet him in 1745.”
In 1740-41, Swedenborg published at Amsterdam his “Economy of the Animal Kingdom ;” and in 1744-45, the “ Animal Kingdom, Parts I and II at the Hague, and Part III in London.
The “ Economy of the Animal Kingdom, and the “ Animal
Kingdom." In the “ Animal Kingdom,” Swedenborg referred solely to the human body, it being the microcosm, or representative of all inferior systems. In the “ Economy of the Animal Kingdom,” he treats of the blood, and the organs which contain it; the coincidence of the motion of the brain with the respiration of the lungs; and of the human soul. The method pursued in this work is admirable. A careful series of extracts, containing facts from the best anatomists, is prefixed to each chapter, and thence is deduced the author's theory. It would be very difficult indeed to present, in an abstract, the substance of these quotations, and without this, (which would be inconsistent with our limits,) the theories could not be fairly understood or appreciated. His demonstration of the coincidence of the motion of the brain with the respiration of the lungs, is well worthy of notice. Wilkinson, speaking of this in his “ Biography of Swedenborg,” says :-—“ let any reader think for a moment of what he expe
riences 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 actuated by his respiration. His sense is, that not only his lungs but his entire body breathes. Now mark what Swe. denborg elicited from this fact. 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; 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, but each, like the man himself, takes what it thinks right.”
“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 long 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 endeavour 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 chopping 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 into sciend for it holds in every case, at every moment. In truth it is so unfailing, 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 fixation of thought, you stop the breath 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 shows in detail that the two correspond exactly, and moreover that their correspondence is one of the long-sought links between the soul and the body, whereby every thought is represented and carried out momentaneously in the expanse of the human frame, 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 friendly superior life to infuse and direct its life.”
The “Animal Kingdom,” written after the same plan as the “ Econ. omy,” treats of the organs of the abdomen, of those of the chest, and of the skin. Swedenborg, in setting forth his plan of operation, in which he announces his intention to examine, physically and philosophically, the whole anatomy of the body, and lastly of the soul, and of its state iu the body, says, “ 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
This, then, my labours intend, and thither they aim. To accomplish this grand end, I enter the circus, designing to consider and examine thoroughly the whole world of microcosm which the soul inhabits; for I think it vain to seek her anywhere but in her own kingdom. 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 inwards 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 manuscripts repeats this design in these words :-“I have gone through anatomy with the single end of investigating the soul. It will be a satisfaction to me if my labours be of any use to the anatomical and medical world, but a still greater satisfaction if I afford any light towards the investigation of the soul.”
In striving to compass such high spiritual knowledge, by merely natural meaus,
he necessarily failed. In one of his books, written several years after, when a brighter light had dawned upon his mind,
:-“Many in the learned world have laboured in investigating the soul, but as they knew nothing of the spiritual world, and of the state of man after death, they could not do otherwise than construct hypotheses, not respecting the soul's nature, or its operation on the body. Of the soul's nature, they could have no other idea than as of something most pure in ether, and of its continent as of ether. Now having such a conception of the soul, and yet knowing that the soul acts on the body, and produces everything in it that has relation to sense and motion, therefore they laboured, as we before observed, to investigate the soul's operation on the body, wbich some said was effected by influx, and some by harmony. But these means discov. ered nothing in which the mind desirous of seeing the ground of things, can acquiesce." We have in these sentences the cause of the fruitlessness of his own labours at this period, in their highest aims. They formed, however, a part of that providential discipline which was fitting him for his future office.
Fruitless though these works necessarily were, in their highest aim, yet in lower ends they are treasure-houses of thought and suggestion. Taking for his basis the dry facts of the anatomists, he proceeds to clothe them with life and comeliness. He shows how part is bound to part in the human system, and fills the cold details of science with a warm and human interest. Emerson well says,—“The Animal Kingdom ’is a book of wonderful merits. It was written with the
ighest end, to put science and soul, so long estranged from each other, at one again. It was the anatomist's account of the human body in the highest style of poetry, and nothing can exceed the bold and brilliant treatment of a subject usually so dry and repulsive.”
It was hardly possible for books to be ushered into the world to die more quietly than did these physiological treatises. Slightly noticed in a few catalogues and reviews of that day, they were laid on the shelf, and reposed in dust and forgetfulness for a full century. Called to other thoughts and higher labours, their author was arrested midway in his plans, and ceasing to exist behind his books, and by his life, conversation, and activity, to keep up the public interest, the world soon forgot their existence. But their worth has been their preservative, and now we behold their resurrection, and slow, but certain, growth into acceptance and fame. Translated by Wilkinson, and enriched by him with prefaces which Emerson describes as " throwing all the contemporary philosophy of England into the shade,” they are now placed before the world, and, in their excellence serve to manifest the profound understanding and genius of their author.
In 1745, Swedenborg terminated his long series of scientific works, by the publication, in London, of “The Worship and Love of God.” This book is an embodiment, in a story, of its author's scientific doctrines. In a connected narrative, it treats of the origin of the earth, the birth, infancy, and love, of Adam ; and of the soul in its state of integrity, in the image of God. It is a book of which little need be said, as it was probably written as much for an exercise of fancy, as with any serious intent. Cast into shade, as it is, by the brighter light of his after knowledge, it remains to mark the point of intellectual development at which Swedenborg had at this time arrived, and in this respect it will always have a strong interest to those who de. light in tracing the growth and education of his mind.