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But I am also charged by Petra with detaching passages of E. S. from their connexion, in order to countenance opinions which are undoubtedly at variance with the author's meaning. He says that I have “ culled a few scraps (and as if it increased my fault) principally from various parts of the True Christian Religion, and so arranged them as to make them appear to favor” certain views. Now what right could Petra have to make these charges ? But this question also I must leave to be determined by your readers. Suffice it to say, that I honestly endeavored to illustrate Swedenborg by himself,-a method always considered the most fair and just towards an author; that I verily believe that the passages cited bear the same meaning (as quoted by me) as in their original connexion ; that I see no reason to repent having “ culled” such a beautiful intellectual posy; that as for my quotations being “scraps," I never take the trouble to quote more of a passage from E. S. in a letter than answers my (honest) purpose: and I think your readers will thank me for pursuing that course, especially if Petra should see the advisableness of following my example.
So much, then, for the personal charges against me, and which I beg pardon of your readers for having noticed at all: my apology must be, that I could not but know, that all works are liable to be read carelessly by some persons, who are, therefore, easily led away by confident assertions, if suffered to pass without contradiction.
After thus unavoidably raising the prepossessions and prejudices of those who may not have read my paper with attention, Petra proceeds to give proof that something or other had prevented him from taking the pains to understand it himself, by saying, “ your correspondent says (!) that for members of the New Church to speak of the mind as in or within man, exhibits an indefinitiveness of idea; but to use the term body, meaning the material body, to signify the mind, or a part of the mind, manifests the possession of a comprehensive and definite idea.” The candid reader will remark my strongest denial that I said what is here erroneously imputed to me. I said no such thing as this nonsense which Petra has been pleased to put in my mouth. And I cannot help saying, that the misplacing, and thence falsifying, the words of an antagonist, in order to make nonsense of them,—and this is done more than once by Petra,—was never yet recognized as a legitimate species of argument. Doubtless he has sincerely given his materialism was naturally suggested to me by its having been recently brought by a certain admirer of Berkeley against some views of the New Church doc. trine which did not sufficiently coincide with his own « spiritualism." ,
ying, “ your of the mind as
sense of my words; but this may not be the sense put upon them by a more accurate interpreter.
Let the reader now mark my own words, and see how little they agree with this mangled version. I observed, “I find that the idea generally entertained of the meaning of the word 'mind' amongst the readers of E. S., partakes too much of the indefinitiveness of the idea entertained by those who surround them. This idea is, that the mind is in man; that it is something distinct from his person, and is within it.” I then immediately explained, that I did not mean by “ man,” or “ his person,” his material body (as stated by Petra), but “ALL” a man's organized substance,—“ALL” his organization; and any careful reader, desirous, if possible, to avoid doing me injustice, must see, that my objection was to the whole mind being thought of as being something within, and distinct from, the whole organization, the spiritual as well as the natural. Thus it is plain, that my objection was this undeniable one, that the mind (considered apart from the body, and waiving the question what the body is,) being a spiritual organization, which, after death, is a person complete, the mind cannot be that person, and, at the same time, be a distinct thing from it, and within that person; and, therefore, it is inaccurate to say, when we contemplate man as an immortal being, that the mind is separate from his person, or within it. Viewing him, indeed, as a mortal creature, it is correct to speak of the immortal mind (the spiritual body) as being within the mortal body; and it is scarcely possible that Petra could imagine that I meant to question a fact so obvious. The context shews, that I spoke of man in the largest sense, embracing in idea his whole being, both immortal and mortal, when I adverted to the inaccuracy of thinking of the mind as something within a man's whole organized being.
In endeavoring to guide to a truly philosophical idea of mind,such an idea as transcends appearances as far as possible,—I suggested that the proper idea of the mind is,—the use of the whole human organization, which was organized for that use; and that this is the proper idea of the mind, whether we include the natural and material part of man's organization with the spiritual (as I contend is done by E. S. in T. C. R. 38) or not. How could I be unmindful that the spirit of a man is his mind, and that this is clothed with his body, when I spoke of the spirit as the mind par eminence, or in its FIRST principles (a phrase very common with E. S. in respect to man's spirit), and the mind in its Last principles, as being the “ lowest investiture” of the first, and called body? (D. L. W. 233; A. E.
man is his mirit'as the mind pan E. S. in respec
66, 1112. But I would submit to the discriminating reader, whether the necessity of thus speaking of the mind as being within the body, a necessity peculiar to, and confined to man while in the body, prohibits the advertence to the more philosophical idea of the mind as being the use of the human organization, and not a thing separate from it? an idea which must be that of the angels who are in the perception, that every portion of their person is the mind's own form, or the very mind itself as formed. I would also ask the question of your readers, whether many of them have not been accustomed to think of the mind as something within, and distinct from the body of an angel ? Nothing can more completely prove the inaccuracy of so thinking than the passages of E. S. cited by Petra.
Adverting again to Petra’s caricature of my statements: either I have to apologize for not having duly guarded myself from misconstruction, or Petra is chargeable with some degree of culpable carelessness in reading, or with, what is worse, a want of candor in interpreting what he reads. I am quite willing to assume that the fault rests with myself; but, at any rate, I cannot but regret that he should occupy your pages in fighting his “ man of straw;" for really there are not much more than a dozen lines in his whole paper which are to the point, namely, the true construction of T. C. R. 38. After all, it is possible that he may take so much pleasure in his ingenious caricature as still to insist that it is a faithful likeness; in which case your more discriminating readers must constitute my court of appeal, and to them I submit my cause.
I have next to declare, that Petra’s quotations affirm nothing which I have not myself affirmed, or fairly implied, and that every thing therein affirmed is perfectly consistent with the literal construction of T. C. R. 38. I have carefully examined them, and I find that they affirm, 1. That the spirit of a man which lives after death, and which dwells in the body while he is in this world, is his mind, and all that belongs to it; and that, after death, it is the spiritual body in a complete human form. 2. That the spirit of a man is alone possessed of the power of thought by virtue of understanding, and of action by virtue of the will; and that all the rational life which appears in the body belongs to the soul or mind itself. 3. But that “the body possesses such a power" (that is, the power of thought by virtue of understanding, and of action by virtue of the will), not of itself, but by derivation from the spirit.-After N. S. NO. VII.-VOL. I.
citing from T. C. R. 156, the words which contain this affirmation, and which are these, “the body possesses no such power of itself, but [it possesses it] by derivation from the spirit,” Petra proceeds to cite another passage from H. H. 432, which says, 4. That “ the body only serves the spirit altogether as what is instrumental is subservient to a living force."*
Instead of reconciling the two passages (which is a perfectly easy task to those who exercise calm and patient discrimination, and avoid hasty general and prejudiced conclusions), Petra chooses to take the last passage, and affirm its contents; and to pass by the first, and deny its doctrine! Is it not obvious, that when E. S. says, that “ the body does not think,” and also says, that “it derives from the soul its power of thinking,” that he must mean to say in the former passage, that “ the body does not think” of itself, as asserted by the materialist ?
It is no proof of Petra's very anxious desire to take passages in their proper connexion, that he should quote T. C. R. 156, and pass by 153, 154, which so directly bear upon the point at issue, namely, whether in every point of view the body is an absolutely passive instrument, as Petra affirms; or whether, notwithstanding it is dead, it is not also a re-active and co-operative instrument by virtue of its derived mental attributes, as affirmed by Cephas, and as clearly asserted in 153, 154, and which must be understood to govern what is said in the succeeding number, 156.
Such, then, are the general propositions set forth in the long passages cited to rebuke my alleged “ semi-materialism;" while not one of them, if they are harmoniously construed, is opposed to my arguments!
Petra next makes certain statements in harmony with his passages, which possess no demerit but that of being supererogatory. After some further reasoning on Swedenborg's illustrations, which have no bearing that I can perceive on the question, he says, “But to assert from these premises that the material brain is the soul, or any part of the soul, would be a complete solecism.” Truly it would; but who asserted this ? Certainly not I; and I must decline being burdened with inferences and insinuations with which I have nothing to do.
* I prefer Clowes's Translation, as just cited. I object to Petra's introducing into the translation of "et quod corpus modo inserviat ei,” the word “mechanically,” which is neither wanted nor warranted. The description given of the body as the soul's “instrument,” in T. C R. 154 (and to which I shall refer again in a future paper, in the meantime begging your reader's attention to it), makes it an instrument which, although in itself dead, is, by its peculiar capacity of being united with the soul, an instrument sui generis; for when it has life by virtue of such union, it is re-active, and thence co-active. To such an “ instrument" as this, I consider the word " mechanically” to be inapplicable.
The critical discriminations which follow respecting the senses of the terms body and external man, &c., as used by E. S., I do not think altogether accurate; but I shall only observe, that a stranger might gather from such remarks that the writings of E. S. are a complete wilderness, in which a traveler must surely lose his way, unless he possess a map prepared for him by a college of New Church cardinals! Such, after more than thirty years reading, is not my judgement of them. I have found that a reasonable attention to the context, a little patience and experience, and, above all, an honest dealing with the author, will sufficiently show in what sense he uses his terms. The only real difficulties arise, as I think,—and I do not apply the remark personally,—from readers of E. S. thinking themselves wiser than their author; and instead of taking his words in their obvious sense, which undoubtedly with all accurate noriters is generally the true sense, exercising their ingenuity in giving them a twist, in order to make them agree with what it is presumed he ought to say. This is especially the case when they try to improve him by means of translation! I do not think the passages I quoted are liable to be misunderstood by serious readers of E. S., nor do I think their meaning at all assisted by Petra’s remarks and cautions. How far the attention and accuracy of my opponent fall below his ingenuity, will speedily appear. · In one of my citations from E. S. (No. 8), I certainly regret that I did not extract a few words more, as that would have obliged Petra to give some other turn to his remarks on what I did quote. I quoted thus," the natural mind derives its form partly from substances of the natural world;" to this I now add the continuation,—" but the spiritual mind, ONLY from substances of the spiritual world.” If, then, Petra persists in saying, that “ by the natural mind partly deriving its form from substances of the natural world, E. S. only meant principles of good and evil acquired through the instrumentality of the natural world,” he must in all consistency be prepared to say, that the next clause, namely,“ but the spiritual mind only from substances of the spiritual world,” means, “ principles of good and evil acquired through the instrumentality of the spiritual world. Every one may see that this would be nonsense; and therefore it proves that Petra's explanation is an unwarrantable gloss. But let this