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sentiment of right comes in, it takes precedence of every thing else. For other things, I make poetry of them ; but the moral sentiment makes poetry of me.
I have sometimes thought that he would render the greatest service to modern criticism, who should draw the line of relation that subsists between Shakspeare and Swedenborg. The human mind stands ever in perplexity, demanding intellect, demanding sanctity, impatient equally of each without the other. The reconciler has not yet appeared. If we tire of the saints, Shakspeare is our city of refuge. Yet the instincts presently teach that the problem of essence must take precedence of all others ; – the questions of Whence ? What? and Whither? and the solution of these must be in a life, and not in a book. A drama or poem is a proximate or oblique reply; but Moses, Menu, Jesus, work directly on this problem. The atmosphere of moral sentiment is a region of grandeur which reduces all material magnificence to toys, yet opens to every wretch that has reason the doors of the universe. Almost with a fierce haste it lays its empire on the man. In the language of the Koran, “God said, the heaven and the earth and all that is between them, think ye that we created them in jest, and that ye shall not return to us ?” It is the kingdom of the will, and by inspiring the will, which is the seat of personal. ity, seems to convert the universe into a per. son ; —
“ The realms of being to no other bow,
Not only all are thine, but all are Thou.” All men are commanded by the saint. The Koran makes a distinct class of those who are by nature good, and whose goodness has an influence on others, and pronounces this class to be the aim of creation : the other classes are admitted to the feast of being, only as following in the train of this. And the Persian poet exclaims to a soul of this kind,
“Go boldly forth, and feast on being's banquet;
The privilege of this caste is an access to the secrets and structure of nature by some higher method than by experience. In common parlance, what one man is said to learn by experience, a man of extraordinary sagacity is said, without experience, to divine. The Arabians say, that Abul Kbain, the mystic, and Abu Ali Seeua, the philosopher, conferred together; and, on parting, the philosopher said, “ All that he sees, I know ;” and the mystic said, “ All that he knows, I see.” If one should ask the reason of this intuition, the solution would lead us into that property which
Plato denoted as Reminiscence, and which is implied by the Bramins in the tenet of Transmigrar tion. The soul having been often born, or, as the Hindoos say, “ travelling the path of existence through thousands of births," having beheld the things which are here, those which are in heaven and those which are beneath, there is nothing of which she has not gained the knowledge: no wonder that she is able to recollect, in regard to any one thing, what formerly she knew. “For, all things in nature being linked and related, and the soul having heretofore known all, nothing hinders but that any man who has recalled to mind, or according to the common phrase has learned, one thing only, should of himself recover all his ancient knowledge, and find out again all the rest, if he have but courage and faint not in the midst of his researches. For inquiry and learning is reminiscence all.” How much more, if he that inquires be a holy and godlike soul! For by being assimilated to the original soul, by whom and after whom all things subsist, the soul of man does then easily flow into all things, and all things flow into it: they mix ; and he is present and sympathetic with their structure and law.
This path is difficult, secret and beset with terror. The ancients called it ecstacy or absence, – a getting out of their bodies to think. All relig. ious history contains traces of the trance of saints, - a beatitude, but without any sign of joy; ear nest, solitry, even sad; “ the flight," Plotinus called it, of the alone to the alone;" Múnois, the closing of the eyes, — whence our word, Mystic. The trances of Socrates, Plotinus, Porphyry, Bel:men, Bnnyan, Fox, Pascal, Guyon, Swedenbors, will readily come to mind. But what as readily comes to mind is the accompaniment of disease. This beatitule comes in terror, and with shocks to the mind of the receiver.
"It o'erinforms the tenement of clay,”
and drives the man mad; or gives a certain violent bias which taints his judgment. In the chief examples of religious illumination somewhat morbid has mingled, in spite of the unquestionable increase of mental power. Must the highest good drag after it a quality which neutralizes and discredits it?
“ Indeed, it takes
The pith and marrow of our attribute." Shall we say, that the economical mother disburses so much earth and so much fire, by weight and meter, to make a man, and will not add a pennyweight though a nation is perishing for a leader ? Therefore the men of God purchased their science by folly or pain. If you will have pure carbon, carbuncle, or diamond, to make the brain transparent, the trunk and organs shall be so much the grosser: instead of porcelain they are potter's earth, clay, or mud.
In modern times no such remarkable example of this introverted inind has occurred as in Emanuel Swedenborg, born in Stockholm, in 1688. This man, who appeared to his contemporaries a visionary and elixir of moonbeams, no doubt led the most real life of any man then in the world: and now, when the royal and ducal Frederics, Christians ind Brunswicks of that day have slid into oblivion, 'le begins to spread himself into the minds of thousands. As happens in great men, he seemed, by the variety and amount of his powers, to be a composition of several persons, — like the giant fruits which are matured in gardens by the union of four or five single blossoms. His frame is on a larger scale and possesses the advantages of size. As it is easier to see the reflection of the great sphere in large globes, though defaced by some crack or blemish, than in drops of water, so men of large calibre, though with some eccentricity or madness, like Pascal or Newton, help us more than balanced mediocre minds.
His youth and training could not fail to be extraordinary. Such a boy could not whistle or