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tial agency.

cases it was claimed that foreign languages were spoken by persons possessing no normal knowledge of them, and this was reckoned to be proof of diabolic or celes

But the evidence does not prove that any recognised foreign language was spoken to an unaccountable extent, and it is probable that all these are cases of genuine automatism-a dreaming aloud, with the resources of subliminal memory available, and producing results sufficient to astonish a credulous public. Moreover, many of these “foreign languages” were probably not languages at all, but merely an assemblage of sounds, as in many trance mediums of a later date. As to the Irvingite “tongues,” Robert Baxter first believed in their celestial origin, but finally thought them demoniac. He apparently overshot the truth in both directions; also, in assuming the necessity of any superhuman agency at all.

Similarly again with Dr. Dee's crystal-gazing experiments with Kelly in the sixteenth century. Kelly was probably a fraud, for he was certainly a doubtful character; but in any case there seems to have been no claim that the spirits were those of human beings. They were said to be Gabriel, Uriel, and other angels, and they mostly made predictions, which did not always contie true.

But it is unnecessary to labour the point by quoting further cases, which could be found in abundance in the “Lives of the Saints” and other literature, for it will, no doubt, be admitted that the belief in survival of the human spirit, and even of communication therewith, particularly in dreams, is as old as the belief that there are human spirits at all.” Naturally the evidential quality of such records as we possess is far below what we now require, and they cannot be held to prove the truth of the belief. But the fact of the belief existing, and the nature of the records, have a certain supporting value for our modern instances and theories.

*There is a large collection of data in Howitt's "History of the Supernatural.”

CHAPTER II

SWEDENBORG

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UPERNORMAL experiences, then, had probably

been common enough all along, but the times were not ripe for the systematic study of them. Occasionally a person of outstanding ability of one sort or another had had them-as Socrates with his guiding or restraining voice, and Joan of Arc—but the fact had only a soto-speak local significance. The experiences did not fit into any scheme; they represented the incursion of another order, and were affairs of religion. Science did not exist. Then came Tasso, a great man, who held animated conversations with spirits, “with an earnestness and power which left no doubt of his own belief in the reality of his impressions”; but Tasso was a poet, and, therefore, might safely be considered more or less mad. Also the time was still a little early. It was required that a learned and scientific man should have such experiences, in an age becoming scientific. In due time the man came.

Emanuel Swedenborg was born in Stockholm on January 29th, 1688, was educated at Upsala, and travelled for four years in England, Holland, France, and Germany. During this period he made many inventions, notably "a sort of ship in which a man can go below the surface of the sea, and do great damage to

the fleet of an enemy.

"1 After his return he was appointed Assessor in the Swedish College of Mines. He wrote books on algebra, giving the first account in Swedish of the differential and integral calculus; on a mode of finding the longitude at sea by the moon; on decimal money and measures; on the motion and position of the earth and planets; on the depth of the sea, and greater

, force of the tides in the ancient world; on dock, sluices, and salt works; and on chemistry as atomic geometry. He was offered, in 1724, a professorship of mathematics, but declined from a dislike of non-practical science. For many years he then devoted himself to his work, and to the study of mining and smelting metallic ores, visiting Liége in order to study the rolling methods employed there, and endeavouring to put the iron-mining of Sweden on a better basis. After some philosophical writing, dissatisfied with his results, he studied anatomy and physiology, and wrote books thereon. At the age of fifty-four, Swedenborg was probably one of the most learned men alive; taking "learning” as meaning acquaintance with the universe as then known. One small indication of this is the fact that the then President of our Royal Society (Sir Hans Sloane) invited him to become a corresponding member.

Then a curious thing happened. In 1743 he had a spiritual illumination, with tremblings, voices, lights, etc., and began to have access to the spiritual world, or to think he had. During the years 1749-56 he pub

William White's “Life of Swedenborg," P. 29. He also invented a new stove, a magazine air-gun, methods of salt manufacture, and a sort of pianola; and drew plans for a flying-machine and the construction of docks (“Transactions of the International Swedenborg Congress, 1910," p. 5).

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lished in London his "Arcana Cælestia,” in four volumes quarto, and, later, other works containing the exposition of his doctrines, which were mainly concerned with a spiritual interpretation of the Scriptures, and particularly of Genesis and Exodus. Much of this seems fanciful, but the thought is always systematic, and no one can reasonably say that Swedenborg was insane. Moreover, he was shrewd in worldly affairs, affable in society, and discussed politics and finance in the Swedish Diet like a man of the world for a score of years after he began to write and publish his theological works, which number about forty volumes.

But this exposition of the Scripture, received as he thought direct from the Lord and considered by him to be the important part of his work, is less interesting to us than his spiritual experiences, which are mostly described in his “Spiritual Diary,” whence he copied extracts occasionally into his theological works. These experiences were admittedly of such a character that in an ordinary man they would have sufficed to qualify him for an asylum. Swedenborg talked, or thought he talked, with Luther, Calvin, St. Augustine, St. Paul -arguing theological questions with them, and disagreeing violently with the last-named—and many others, including “one who, it was given me to understand, was Cicero." All this, though not provably hallucinatory, is at least perilous stuff, and the Swedenborgians have done wisely not to base much on it." But there are a few incidents on record which are "evidential,” and these may reasonably give us pause be

He also wrote automatically, heard clairaudiently, and "saw writings and the very words of the writing,” even with eyes shut.

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