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the happiest condition of which lost spirits have rendered them. selves capable, than in the idea of punishment ab extra :

“Spirits, who come from the world into the other life, desire nothing more earnestly than to be admitted into heaven. Almost all request admittance, because they suppose that heaven consists only in being introduced and received ; and in consequence of this supposition and strong desire, they are conveyed to some society of the lowest heaven : but when they who are in the love of self and world approach the threshold of that heaven, they begin to be so distressed and interiorly tormented, that they feel hell in themselves rather than heaven; and therefore they cast themselves down headlong thence, and find rest only when they come into hell among their like. It has also very frequently happened that such spirits desired to know the nature of heavenly joy ; and when they heard that it is in the interiors of the angels, they have wished to have it communicated to themselves; and this also has been done,—for whatever a spirit desires, who is not yet in heaven or hell, is granted to him, if it conduce to any good purpose ; but when the communication was made, they began to be tormented so intensely, that they did not know in what postures to place their bodies through the violence of the pain. They thrust their heads down to their feet, cast themselves to the earth, and writhed themselves into folds in the manner of a serpent. Such was the effect which heavenly delight produced in those who were in the delights derived from the loves of self and the world ; because those loves are entirely opposed to heavenly loves, and when one opposite acts upon another such pain is produced.”

The defect, and at the same time the merit, of every thing that Swedenborg informs us of the other life is, that it provokes the thought, “No need of a ghost to tell us that !” But the defect is only of the manner, the merit of the matter. No writer has ever before presented us with such a natural history of the spirit as is to be found in the Heaven and Hell. The following is one of innumerable poctic parables in which the specific results of particular dispositions and habits are suggested with an imaginative veracity worthy of the greatest poets :

“It has been granted me to converse with many of the learned after their departure from the world, including some of the most distinguished reputation, who are celebrated for their writings throughout the whole literary world ; and with others who are not so celebrated, but who nevertheless possessed hidden wisdom. The former, who in heart denied a divine Being, how much soever they confessed him with their lips, were become so stupid, that they could scarcely comprehend any civil truth, much less any spiritual truth. I perceived and sew also that the interiors of their minds were so closed as to become black,-such things appear visible in the spiritual world, and thus that they could not endure any heavenly light ; they could not therefore admit any influx from heaven. Such men in the other life receive every false principle with delight, and imbibe them as a sponge does water ; but they repel every truth as a bony elastic surface repels what falls upon it. I have also been told that the interiors of those who confirmed themselves against the Divine, and in favour of nature, are ossified; their heads also appear callous, as though they were made of ebony ; and this appearance reaches even to the nose,a sign that they have no longer any perception. Spirits of this character are immersed in whirlpools, which appear like bogs, where they are terrified by the fantasies into which their falses are turned. The infernal fire which torments them is their lust of glory and a name, by which they are excited to speak bitterly one against another, and to torment with infernal ardour those who do not worship them as deities. They torture each other in this manner by turns. Such is the change which all worldly learning undergoes when it has not received light from heaven by the acknowledgment of a Divine.”

We must remark, that the oddities of phraseology in the above passages, and in the translations of Swedenborg's works generally, are the faults of the translators, who have rendered the Latin with improper literality.

The influence which Swedenborg has exercised, and is exercising, upon modern thought is much more extensive than his reputation. The sect of Swedenborgians is a narrow one in England, but somewhat numerous in America. It is not among these, however, that his more permanently important influence is to be traced, nor scarcely among those who, like Mr. Grindon, accept Swedenborg's system in the lump, but rather as a philosophy than a religion. Upon the former of these classes Swedenborg seems to have exerted any thing but an influence of unmixed good. Those who have been most truly benefited by Swedenborg's writings are those who have approached them in the spirit of a recent critic, who says, “He is the Humboldt of spiritual phenomena, but as much greater than Humboldt as true psychologists are more rare than true naturalists. We may well smile at the assertion of supernatural origin for a series of spiritual facts which demanded for their discovery nothing but a hitherto unparalleled degree of patience and childlike simplicity of observation. If the derivation of these facts was indeed supernatural, -and the character of a true philosopher is to believe nothing impossible,' —we can only say, so much the worse for their authority. The reasonable apprehension and instinct of humanity must ever remain the last and highest authority for us in matters which are the proper subjects of such instinct and apprehension.” ART. V.-THE OLD ENGLISH NOBILITY. The Historic Peerage of England; exhibiting, under alphabetical

arrangement, the Origin, Descent, and Present State of every Title of Peerage which has existed in this Country since the Conquest : being a new edition of the “Synopsis of the Peerage of England" by the late Sir Harris Nicolas, G.C.M.G.; revised, corrected, and continued to the present time, &c. by William Courthope, Esq., Somer

set Herald, of the Middle Temple, Barrister-at-law. Murray, 1857. A History of England under the Norman Kings, or from the Battle

of Hastings to the Accession of the House of Plantagenet; to which is prefixed an Epitome of the early History of Normandy. Translated from the German of Dr. J. M. Lappenberg, For. F.S.A., Keeper of the Archives of the City of Hamburg, by Benjamin Thorpe; with considerable additions and corrections by the Trans

lator. Oxford, 1857. English Historical Society's Publications. 29 vols. Lond. 1838-56. General Introduction to Domesday Book ; accompanied by Indexes

of the Tenants-in-Chief and Under-Tenants at the time of the Surrey, as well as of the Holders of Lands mentioned in Domesday anterior to the formation of that Record, &c. By Sir Henry

Ellis. 2 vols. 1833. Hazlitt, in one of his essays, speaks of “Mayfair" as "the beauideal of civilised life,—a society composed entirely of lords and footmen.” How far the lapse of a quarter of a century may have modified this curious topographical feature, we will not now stop to inquire : it seems, however, as if the spirit of the remark still holds good with respect to a certain class of literature,—that devoted to recording the pedigrees and family biography of the British aristocracy. We have no wish to raise an indiscriminate and useless outcry against the compilers and editors of our modern “ Peerages.” They themselves are not so much to blame as others for the result which has assigned to their productions, as their most useful position, a place by the side of the visiting-book in the entrance-halls of our great WestEnd houses, instead of on the library-tables of historical students. They themselves are to blame in a very secondary degree for the peculiarities and deficiencies which have rendered their works a more congenial and instructive study for fashionable footmen and hall-porters, whose acquaintance with peers lies within the compass of the gossip of the last few town seasons, than for those who have been accustomed to look at the representatives of our great families with reference to the past national history in which the origin of their dignities is recorded. It is not so much their fault that their matter has seldom risen above the appreciation of such an audience, as it is the fault of those who have allowed a mere court-directory to supersede a concise abstract of the relations of our noble families to the great events of which they were the contemporary spectators, and in so many cases the moving agents. We have heard a great deal in recent years of histories of the "people” being essential to a due comprehension of the events of the past centuries ; but, without denying a certain justice in the claim thus put forward, a similar one may be urged with far greater force on behalf of the ancient nobility of England. “Popular” influence in national affairs, in the sense in which the term is employed by those who identify themselves peculiarly with that cause, is of very modern growth. The old history of England, from the Conquest to the accession of the House of Tudor, is unequivocally the history of the baronial families, just as the Tudor and Stuart periods are chiefly the property of the court and middle classes. The "Barons of Runnymead” is a commonplace expression among constitutional orators; but how many of the audience, leaving the speaker himself out of the question, are acquainted with the bare names of those to whom they are so fond of acknowledging themselves as thus deeply indebted ? Our great kings have all had more or less justice or injustice done to their actions, and every one with the commonest smattering of education has some general notion of their character and fate. Our middle-class Hampdens and Cromwells have found their enthusiastic biographers and their sturdy detractors in the literature of the nineteenth century; but the personal history of our old noble families, intertwined at every step with the history of their country, is left buried in the comparative obscurity of monkish chronicles, without any attempt being made to bring together these scattered notices, and to group them around the central points of English history, so that an allusion to each of the great eras of our national progress may suggest at once to the mind the name, character, and career of some one or more of the old

of England. This has been done, though disconnectedly, for the remarkable men of the centuries subsequent to the accession of Henry VII. But who is there among general readers that recalls in all the preceding period more baronial names of eminence than some three or four, such as Simon de Montfort, the guilty Mortimer, and the king-making Warwick ? How many noble soldiers and statesmen, who have played almost, if not quite, as important a part in the events of those days, have failed to secure even so simple a tribute to their fame as the bare recollection of their names by those who have enjoyed the fruits of their labours? There may be some vague conviction that the De Clares and De Veres did something remarkable in former ages to render their names

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peculiarly grateful to the ear above other names, and the cherished property” of writers of romantic fictions; but how many are there who attach any personal ideas to a particular De Clare or De Vere, or even can tell when those families arose and when they became extinct? The volumes of the English Historical Society, and the new series now in course of publication under the authority of the Master of the Rolls, will leave no excuse to more serious students for the continued neglect of this field of illustration ; and as the enterprise of Mr. Bohn has already given the public the opportunity of becoming acquainted with some of the authorities for our earlier history in a popular form, it is surely not too much to hope that the information thus rendered generally accessible, and the tastes thus created and fostered, may ere long lead to the production, and secure a market for a remunerative sale of an English peerage-book worthy of taking its place on our shelves by the side of our Hallams and Macaulays. As it is, the taint of servile complaisance to the pretensions and self-delusions of the fashionable powers that be is so connected in the public mind with the idea of a peerage-book,—there is so general an anticipation of dextrous generalities cloaking inconvenient facts,—of decent suppressions of not a few “blots on the 'scutcheon,”-of tender handling of indisputable delinquencies,—of judicious oblivion of obscure progenitors, and confident assertion of doubtful and apocryphal pedigrees,—that it really requires some courage in any one who does not wish to be set down as a tuft-hunter to avow a predilection for the history of our noble families. And yet, when approached in a proper spirit, this is no uncongenial subject of study for the most independent and the highest minds. A distinguished man in modern times is said to have replied to the question (sometimes asked), who were his ancestors, I myself am an ancestor!" To such men, who have themselves made a name and created a family, the history of the great men who were the founders and glory of older families cannot fail to possess an especial interest. They can far better understand and appreciate this ancestral greatness who are themselves conscious of having played a similar part, and attained a similar position. They will easily discern the additions and concealments due to the false pride of descendants; and by reference to their own experience, will quickly strike the key-note to the forgotten story. And so, in their various degrees, all the true “working men” of the present age might be expected to find themselves drawn by the tie of congeniality towards those who were the architects of their own fame and fortunes in former times in a much greater degree than those lineal descendants of the latter, to whom the inertia of assured

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