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222 IS SWEDENBORG TO BE REGARDED AS A HERMETIC PHILOSOPHER?
adepts are taught alchemy, astrology, and other occult sciences. This statement is also an historical error. It was two of Swedenborg's disciples, Benedict Chastanier and Abbe Pernetty, not Swedenborg himself, who instituted special free-masonry societies; the former in London, while Swedenborg still lived; the latter in Avignon after his death.
As to Swedenborg, he was never an alchemist, nor a cabalist, nor a freemason, in the proper sense of these denominations, as far as historical criticism has hitherto been able to discover. But what was he, then? Let the most competent judges,—let Swedenborg himself answer this question. One of our Swedish most original thinkers, who was a disciple of Dr. Beyer, in Gotheborg, had studied Swedenborg's theological works in London, and whom even his English friends named " a high-spirited fellow," Th. Thorild, utters relative to Swedenborg—" He has certainly brought us sublime revelations, and may be considered as a prophet of a third rising covenant, or that of open truth."* The most celebrated friends and admirers of Swedenborg, from Hartley and Clowes, to Noble, Clissold, Tafel, and Le Boys des Guays, look upon him as a messenger of a heaven-directed religious dispensation,—a herald of the New Jerusalem. And Swedenborg subscribes himself " servant of the Lord Jesus Christ." These titles appear to be most adequate to express the true quality and character of Swedenborg. To be sure,—he was not only a great thinker, polyhistor, a man of science, "a believer in the Identityphilosophy, the last Father in the church, who is not likely to have a successor," as R. W. Emerson says, in his " Representative Men;"—he was somewhat more, I think,—a divinely-inspired, angel-like man, who was enabled to discern the good and true, as well as the perverse and false, in all humanly-philosophical systems, theological doctrines, and religious denominations, which his vast learning encompassed.
COMMUNICATIONS OP TRUTH MODIFIED BY THE CHANNELS THROUGH WHICH THEY PASS, A UNIVERSAL LAW. The Divine Wisdom itself is the only truth that is at once absolute and infinite; its transmission can only be into organisms suitably receptive; but besides the self-existent Divine Form itself, there can be none other than created recipients of truth. Being created, these must ever remain finite. Truth in them is measured by their finiteness, becoming limited by their forms. Their imperfections, as compared with the
• See " True Heavenly Religion Restored and Demonstrated upon Eternal Principles; with a Call to Christians of higher sense. London, 1790."
COMMUNICATIONS OF TRUTH, ETC. 223
perfection of the Infinite, stamp an analogous imperfection on all the truth dwelling in them, and transmitted through them, as channels, to other recipients still farther removed from the perfect and infinite. If the mental organism in its entirety be in the true image of God, the truth received will, as it comes to the perception, be in the image of the divine truth; still it can be no more than an image thereof, for the finite can see in itself nothing more than a reflection of the infinite. Through all the gradations of normal human organisms, from the highest angelic degree to the simplest form of an orderly unfallen natural mind, the received truth as it descends is farther and farther removed from the perfection and infinity of the Divine; the brilliant clearness becomes gradually dimmed by its approaches to the region of opacity, even where the perversions of disorder have not intervened. The multiplicities with which divine truth is replete, become less and less discernible in its descent, until what to the understanding of a high angel appears as a full system of innumerable truths, comes to the view of the simple natural thought as a mere speck of light, or as a nebulous touch of stellar lumen in the broad-spread sky. This reception and transmission of divine truth is effected in and through individualities, and therefore affected throughout by countless idiosyncrasies, that are only harmonised by social organisations. These variations of received truth are not only capable of being harmonised, they may be regarded as essential to its unity. In reference to truth's discrete degrees, we know that a truth of the celestial degree can only be one with its kindred spiritual truth by virtue of the correspondence existing between them. The distinction between any two truths on the same plane will be of another character of course; still without a relation of their difference they could not be united. A truth, so far as it is of a general kind, may appear to be received by numerous minds without its reception exhibiting any variations; but then it is only in its general aspect that it retains its uniforformity, while as to its constituent particulars, it becomes modified according to the respective peculiarities of its recipients. Would not a right understanding of this matter prevent the zeal of the receivers of truth from shewing itself so pugnaciously as it sometimes does? Bristol. T. C.
THE LOVE OF THE BODY AND OF THE WORLD AS
AN END AND AS A MEANS. He who does not suffer himself to be regenerated loves the things which are of the body for the sake of the body, but not for the sake of any other end, and also the world for the sake of the world; nor does he go higher, because the things which are higher, or interior, he in heart denies. 224 THE LOVE OF THE BODY AND OF THE WORLD, ETC.
He who is regenerated loves also the things which are of the body, in like manner the things which are of the world, but for the sake of a higher, or interior end; for he loves the things of the body for the sake of the end that there may be a sound mind in a sound body, and he loves his mind and its soundness for the sake of an end still more inward—that he may relish good and understand truth; he loves the things of the world in like manner as others, but for the sake of the end that by the world, its wealth, possessions, and honours, he may be in the means of exercising good and truth, justice and equity. * * * Hence it may be known that with the regenerate interior things have rule over exterior, whereas with the unregenerate exterior things have rule over interior. The ends which man regards are what have rule, for the ends regarded bring all things in man into subordination and subjection to themselves; man's most essential life is from no other source than the end regarded, for the end regarded is always his love. (A. G. 5159.)
REVIEWS. Marriage Ode, By John Hyde.* The enthusiastic national sympathy excited by the late happy nuptials of the Prince and Princess of Wales, has evinced itself, among other ways, in a flood of poetical effusions in welcome of the fair bride and celebration of the auspicious bridal. Among these, the beautiful welcome of the Poet Laureate is indeed facile princeps; the gentle grace and tenderness of his poetic vein lending themselves in peculiarly happy adaptation to the occasion; and we regard his "Welcome" as perhaps the most pleasing of any of the later efforts of his pen. Many other welcomes and odes have appeared, but none of such striking merit that we might have cared to draw the attention of our readers to any or all of them, but for one which has been laid before us from the pen of a New Church poet,—hitherto, however, we believe, though well known among us as a preacher, unknown, at least to the public, in the flowery fields of verse.
And considering the deep interest which the New Church feels both in marriage in general, and this Royal marriage in particular, we may congratulate our readers that one voice at least from her ranks has not been found wanting to give expression—fit and happy expression, we may add—to her share in the general rejoicing. To all, but most especially to us of the New Church, must it appear of most happy
* "Ode on the Marriage of H. R. H. Albert Edward Prince of Wales with the Princess Alexandra of Denmark. By John Hyde. Bemrose and Sons, Publishers, Derby, 1868."
augury for our country that we can point to the Throne for an example of the purest and most devoted conjugial love; and happier still the augury for the continuance of such conjugial felicity to a second generation, which the recent happy love-match of our Heir-Apparent affords. For knowing, as we do, to what still higher and holier union every marriage of true affection corresponds, what may we not hope for the country over which such spheres of love and wisdom, of affection and truth, reign in hallowed conjunction? Long, long may the Prince of Wales and his fair bride live among us in peace and joy, to embody before our eyes, as for more than one-and-twenty years it was the happy privilege of his Royal Mother and her admirable Consort to do, the beauties and the blessedness of that pure married love which lies at the heart and root of all social welfare, all true regenerate life!
The Marriage Ode by Mr. Hyde, which we desire to commend to the friendly appreciation of our readers, is divided into four portions, which he entitles Stanzas. The first of these celebrates the evening approach of the bride by sea to the shores of England; and in this we find some descriptive verses of much poetic grace and feeling:—
"The chastened radiance of the day
"To mantle, round the nuptial bed
Of sea and land, night's curtain fold,
"The sea, the land, the winds and sky,
"When heart to heart, with fond endeavour,
The second stanza embodies a very pleasing conceit. England, the favoured land, has sought and won, when outcast and rejected from other lands, the proud and peerless maiden, Freedom:—
"Outcast from man, a mourning maid,
"Till Albion stretched its sturdy arms,
"Enshrined within great Albion's heart,
At Freedom's call come, one by one, Poesy, Eloquence, Science, Art, Commerce, Agriculture, then rosy Health, all laden with their various gifts and graces, and last, but need we say, not least, comes Love:—
"And faithful Love, with ardent gaze,
"Came at the beck of Freedom's hand,
The stanza closes with loving and loyal welcome of the fair and Royal Love, whose arrival is more especially indicated. The third stanza contrasts this Royal marriage with those of olden days in happy antithesis, and contains an invocation to Love to bless the Royal pair, some verses of which are really beautiful:—
"Dear Love! melt through the clouds that rise
"And should the Storm's battalions march
"Fit them to be, on life's long stream,
The noblest pair 'mong others bright,—
"Each unto each by thee they're given,