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edifying work entitled ARCANA CELESTIA, written by the above honorable writer. This work is an exposition of the internal spiritrat sense of the Books of Genesis and Exodus, and whilst it demonstrates that in those books, as Jerome expresseth it, “Singula verba plena sunt sensibus," or, as it is otherwise expressed by Tertullian, that “Ralio divina in medullâ est, non in superficie," it supplies at the same time the fullest and most convincing proofs of the Divine inspiration, not only of the particular books of which it treats, but of all the other books of Moses, of the Prophets, and the Psalms. But though the editors are ready to make this confession, they have sufficient reason to blush that their own explication falls so far short of the honorable writer's in the above work, insomuch that they would never have been induced to undertake the present publication, had they not been led to conceive, from the representations of others, that it may have its use in serving as an introduction to the more excellent and extensive interpretation contained in that work.
A SHORT ACCOUNT OF
THE HON. EMANUEL SWEDENBORG,
As the writings of EMANUEL SWEDENBORG are confessedly of the greatest importance, and as we shall, in the Theological Department of this Magazine, have frequent recourse to the same, in order to elucidate many subjects heretofore involved in doubt and uncertainty, we think it proper to give the public a short, but authentic account of that wonderful man, and his extraordinary commission from Heaven, previous to our entering upon the doctrines which are contained in his writings, and which will cut so conspicuous a figure in the future course of this work.
But as we would not willingly misrepresent any of the memorable events of his life, either by magnifying or diminishing the real circumstances attending the same, we have thought it best to make choice of his own words, which we find in a letter written by himself to the Rev. Thomas HARTLEY, late Rector of Winwick, in Northamptonshire.
SWEDENBORG TO HARTLEY.
“I take pleasure in the friendship you express for me in your letter, and return you thanks for the same; but as to the praises therein, I consider them as belonging to the truths contained in my writings, and 8o refer them to the Lord our Saviour as his due, who is in himself the fountain of all truth. It is the concluding part of your letter that chiefly engages my attention, where you say as follows: " As after your departure from England disputes may arise on the subject of your writings, and so give occasion to defend their author against such false reports and aspersions, as they who are no friends to truth may invent, to the prejudice of his reputation, may it not be of use, in order to repel any calumnies of that kind, that you leave behind you some short account of yourself, as concerning, for example, your degrees in the university, the offices you have borne, your family and connections, the honors which I am told have been conferred upon you, and such other particulars as may serve to the vindication of your character, if attacked, that so any ill-grounded prejudices may be obviated or removed; for where the honor and interest of truth are concerned, it certainly behoves us to employ all lawful methods in its defence and support.' After reflecting on the foregoing passage, I was induced to comply with your friendly advice, by briefly communicating the following circumstances of my life.
“I was born at Stockholm in the year of our Lord 1689, January 29. My father's name was Jesper Swedberg, who was bishop of WestGothia, and of celebrated character in his time: He was also a member of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, formed on the model of that in England, and appointed President of the Swedish Churches in Pennsylvania and London, by King Charles XII. In the year 1710, I began my travels, first into England, and afterwards into Holland, France, and Germany, and returned home in 1714. In the year 1716, and afterwards, I frequently conversed with Charles XII. King of Sweden, who was pleased to bestow on me a large share of his favor, and in that year appointed me to the office of Assessor in the Metallic College, in which office I continued from that time till the year 1747,when I quitted the office, but still retain the salary annexed to it as an appointment for life. The reason of my withdrawing from the business of that employment was, that I might be more at liberty to apply myself to that new function to which the Lord had called me. About this time a place of higher dignity in the State was offered me, which I declined to accept, lest it should prove a snare to me. In 1719, I was ennobled by Queen Ulrica Eleonora, and named Swedenborg, from which time I have taken my seat with the Nobles of the Equestrian order, in the Triennial Assemblies of the States. I am a Fellow, by invitation, of the Royal Academy of Sciences at Stockholm, but have never desired to be of any other community, as I belong to the Society of Angels, in which things spiritual and Heavenly are the only subjects of discourse and entertainment; whereas in our literary societies, the attention is wholly taken up with things relating to the body and this world. In the year 1734, I published the Regnum Minerale at Leipsic, in three volumes, folio; and in 1738, I took a journey into Italy, and staid a year at Venice and Rome.
“With respect to my family connections: I had four sisters; one of them was married to Eric Benzelius, afterwards made Archbishop of Upsal; and thus I became related to the two succeeding Archbishops of that see, both named Benzelius, and younger brothers of the former. Another of my sisters was married to Lars Benzelstierna, who was promoted to a provincial government; but these are both dead: however, two Bishops who are related to me, are still living; one of them
is named Filenius, Bishop of Ostrogothia, who now officiates as President of the Ecclesiastical order in the General Assembly at Stockholm, in the room of the Archbishop who is infirm; he married the daughter of my sister: the other, who is called Benzelstierna, Bishop of Westmannia and Dalecarnia, is the son of my second sister; not to mention others of my family who are dignified. I converse freely, and am in friendship with all the Bishops of my country, who are ten in number, and also with the sixteen Senators, and the rest of the grandees, who love and honor me, as knowing that I am in fellowship with Angels. The King and Queen themselves, as also the three Princes their sons, show me all kind countenance, and I was once invited to eat with the King and Queen at their table, (an honor granted only to the Peers of the realm) and likewise, since that, with the Hereditary Prince.* All in my own country wish for my return home, so far am I from the least danger of persecution there, as you seem to apprehend, and are also so kindly solicitous to provide against; and should any thing of that kind befal me elsewhere, it will give me no concern.
“Whatever of worldly honor and advantage may appear to be in the things before-mentioned, I hold them but as matters of low estimation, when compared to the honor of that holy office to which the Lord himself hath called me, who was graciously pleased to manifest himself to me, his unworthy servant, in a personal appearance, in the year 1743, to open in me a sight of the Spiritual World, and to enable me to converse with Spirits and Angels, and this privilege hath continued with me to this day. From that time I began to print and publish various unknown Arcana, that have been either seen by me, or revealed to me, concerning Heaven and Hell, the state of men after death, the true worship of God, the spiritual sense of the Scriptures, and many other important truths tending to salvation and true wisdom: and that mankind might receive benefit from these communications, was the only motive which has induced me at different times to leave my home to visit other countries. As to this world's wealth, I have what is sufficient, and more I neither seek nor wish for.
“Your letter has drawn the mention of these things from me, in case, as you say, they may be a means to prevent or remove any false judgment or wrong prejudices with regard to my personal circumstances. Farewel; and I heartily wish you prosperity both in things spiritual and temporal, of which I make no doubt, if so be you go on to pray to our Lord, and to set him always before you.
* EMAN. SWEDENBORG. “ LONDON, 1769."
It is easy to see what different judgments will be formed by different persons concerning the above letter, particularly that part of it where he opens his spiritual commission, and declares himself the Apostle of a New Dispensation. The atheist and infidel will regard the things contained in it as impossible, and will instantly reject it under that idea; the wit and the minute philosopher will ridicule it as extravagant, and
* The recent King of Sweden.
pronounce it the mere effect of a warm and deluded imagination: even the serious and well-disposed Christian will have his doubts concerning its reality, and will suspect the fact, though he will not dispute its possibility. Supernatural events, in all ages of the world, have thus divided the sentiments of mankind, nor is it to be expected that in our own age we shall be better agreed touching the truth of a relation so marvellous and miraculous, supported only by the testimony of a single witness. Caution, likewise, on such occasions, has always been deemed expedient by the truly good and enlightened, lest giving too hastily an assent to things extraordinary, they should encourage imposture, and put it in the power of weak or ill-disposed persons to establish an authority over the minds of others, grounded only in the infirmities or depravities of their own.
But as an indiscriminate reception of every supernatural relation is dangerous, so an indiscriminate rejection is no less so, and is therefore equally to be avoided by all wise men. Candor to examine, and judginent to distinguish between truth and error, between realities and appearances, have for this reason at all times been accounted estimable virtues; whereby the upright and sincere might be preserved from the mischiefs attending a blind credulity on the one side, and a perverse incredulity on the other.
We beg leave, therefore, to suggest, with all deference to the sentiments of others, that it is the duty of every candid Christian to examine well the credibility of the above testimony, and this without partiality and without prejudice, inasmuch as the general interests of truth, which ought to be dear to every one, may be greatly affected by such an examination. And as the tenor of Baron Swedenborg's life, dated from the beforementioned event, to his death, together with his writings, and the doctrines therein contained, must needs have great and deserved weight in the determination of an impartial judgment; it appears farther to be the duty of every sincere inquirer after the truth, not to pronounce any sentence, till he has faithfully and diligently weighed the several circumstances respecting the latter period of our Author's life, as well as the nature and tendency of the books written by him during that period.
It is well known that Baron Swedenborg, after the above extarordinary call to be an instructor of mankind, dedicated himself entirely to the great work which was assigned him. The future part of his life was spent, agreeably to the high commission he had received, in studying diligently the Word of God, in opening and elucidating the great truths therein contained, and in publishing them to his fellow-creatures, together with the important information made known to him concerning another world. For this purpose be frequently left his native country to visit distant cities, particularly London and Amsterdam, where all his Theological Works were printed by him at a great expense, and with little prospect or a probability of a reimbursement. Wherever he resided on his travels, (according to the testimony of a late writer, who was personally acquainted with him) he was a mere solitary, and almost inaccessible, though in his own country of a free and open behaviour. He affected no honor, but declined it; pursued no worldly interest, but spent his time in travelling and printing, in order to communicate instruction and benefit to mankind. He had nothing of the precisian in his manner, nothing of melancholy in his temper, and nothing in the least bordering on enthusiasm in his conversation or writings. To this may be added, that he affected no singularities, neither was he elated by reason of his extraordinary gifts, so as to aim at any pre-eminence in spiritual things, or to set himself up as the head of a party. Far from the spirit of a sectarian, he loved good men wherever he found them, and approved the truth by whomsoever it was taught; nevertheless, he was bold and free to censure vice under all its forms, and amongst all its adherents; and to point out errors, however respectable the names which gave them authority. In short, his whole life, from the date of the above memorable event, appears to have been that of a man called to eminent and extraordinary services; being orderly, prudent, pure, humble, and beneficent, suitable to the Heavenly intercourse to which he was admitted.
He died at London, in the year 1772; and, after lying in state, was interred at the Swedish Church, near Ratcliff-Highway.
DOCTRINES OF THE NEW JERUSALEM. It being the avowed purpose of the Editors of this Magazine to furnish the world with a new, but rational system of divinity, it becomes them to state, in a fair and candid manner, those principles which they conceive to be founded in truth, and which, they trust, will meet the approbation of every intelligent and impartial reader.
The New Church is so called, because it is that signified by the New Jerusalem in the Revelation of John.
EMANUEL SWEDENBORG, the founder of this New Church, whose tenets are peculiarly distinct from every other system of divinity in Christendom, draws all his doctrines from the holy scriptures, which appear at the same time to be grounded in true philosophy. The author