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mon reason of man. On the trackless seas of eternity he sailed alone, but returned to proffer help to those needing directive thought ; he beckons to a world of higher beauty, deeper treasures, of flowers and fruits, and wells of living waters for the famishing soul. Standing on spiritually eminent ground, and gazing from an internal platform of vision, he saw with more than the natural eye the essences of matter and the archetypes of mind-of life in first principles, and of its finited presentation in the phenomena of nature. His perceptions of the laws relating to matter and mind are faultlessly free from the perplexing darkness of a past philosophy. A true philosopher was this man ; aye, a philosopher not only of time, but of eternity! In his grand and amazing analysis of the origin and operation of life-a subject so dull and unattractive to the thoughtless mind, but so vivid with every endearing charm of colour to the instructed and cultured sense---Swedenborg transcends the philosophy of past ages, and sublimely vindicates the expressed fact of Scripture, that “God alone is life.” Swedenborg's philosophy begins where his physics end. He lays down this fundamental principle—that God alone is life in Himself, and all things live from Him ; that everything in heaven and upon earth is but the receiving and containing vessel of life, and not life itself; that the creature does not originate or possess life in himself, but derives it from God. The whole phenomenal world of time and space, of earth and nature, is a plastic form, subject to spiritual laws—infilled with spiritual life; the things tangible and material are the obedient receptacles of operant principles and volitions of an inner life. “ God alone hath life in Himself, and with what delight does He clothe the worlds and fill the universes! Wherever matter is, life is there. The principle of life is uniform and omnipresent, while its expressions and presentations are manifold and variable.” Swedenborg gives us the discriminating testimony that the quality of the life is determined by the receptive form into which it flows. As is the form, such is the quality and genius of the life. The meanest expression of what we call life is in the realm of physics or matter; the next we call physiology, or the life of the Divine in man's body and the animal kingdom ; and the highest plane we name psychology, or the life of God in the innost form of man's affections and thoughts: three different presentations of the Divine life—the life of the Infinite Divine love in and operant in them all.
Secular philosophy has denied life to minerals and metals ; but Swedenborg proves that even stones, crystals, and minerals have the property of life, which is more or less perfectly pronounced according to the capacity of the form to receive and pronounce it. Man stands the highest form receptive of life. He possesses an individual element proportionate to all the forms of life below him in the universe : hence man is the universal form. He has in his personality the universal distinctiveness of vegetable, animal, and mineral life. He is thus related to nature—the whole realm of nature—on the one hand, by what he possesses in common with such natural community; and, on the other hand, related to God, more immediately by reason of what he possesses over and above the merely natural and animal forms. Life flowing into his organs, or receptive forms, takes the embodiment of thought and affection, and attendant volition. What appears as affection and thought in the man-form, re-appears on the lower planes of existence as instinct in the animal ; sensation, vitality, and consequent growth in the vegetable; and as attractive force and gravitation in the mineral. There is in every step downward a decline in power; some energy ceases, some capacity disappears; yet the same Divine life runs through the whole. Doubtless mineral life is very base and inferior compared with the human; but still it is the same life, only more imperfectly pronounced. So the vegetable and ani. mal presentation of life is vastly inferior to its pronunciation in the human being, because of the inferiority of their forms of reception. However humiliating it may seem to connect the life of the mineral with the life of the soul, it is nevertheless the truth of philosophy, and a fact of nature, that both are one life. The Divine life plays through both according to the capacities of each plane. In nature the manifestations of life are various--one thing in the crystal, another in the mineral ; revealed now in instinct with the winged creature of the element, and now in fragrance from fields of flowers : descending into the higher forms of human existence, it variously enriches the human faculties,
producing through each form some novel manifestation. Flowing into thought-forms, it weaves the many; coloured web of thought, as it spins a web of grass
makes a tapestry of blossom upon an earthly ground The life alters as the theatre changes. The visible universe, with all its varied forms of reception and reaction, is a revelation of the constructive action of God; and man exhibits in himself a form through whom all the Divine processes can be continued and extended. Man is the sublime theatre for the creative and the recreative operations of the Infinite Intelligence. The universe is the studio of the Divine Mind ; nature is His picture ; time, space, and all existences the mere forms and modes through which He communicates His own states of subjective thought and love to the apprehension of intelligent creatures. GOD is the sun - not of nature, but of the life superior to nature; the sun of thought, the sun of feeling the vivifying source of every true and pure affection; He is the everlasting fount of life to all His creatures ; His Divine beams are perpetually inflowing into the organs of all finite intelligences upon this orb, and giving energy and beauty to all terrestrial things. “Of Him, and by Him, and from Him are all things.” Without His continual influx, thought would cease--the majestic evolution of ideas end; the sciences would droop as flowers touched by frost; the star-like knowledges that deck the firmament of the race, and make resplendent the countenance of history as night with her constellations,—they would vanish, shaken from the tree of heaven, as some tree of earth casteth her untimely fruit. Thus the floral families that stand in breathing battalions, and waving their banners of beauty, are a joy-work of the Divine Florist. And the animal tribes, as they range themselves in gay and variegated processions, are each specimens in structure, instinct, and movement, of the operation of the Infinite Lifegiver.
The recognition of this universal and momentary influx of the Divine life into every object and atom of the creation, is the key to the sublime philosophy of Swedenborg's doctrine of Influx and the Creation. As genuine truth and true philosophy know of no independent life in the universe, both support the Biblical truth that “God alone hath life in Himself.”
A most important question suggests itself here, which our previous reflections have urged upon us, the answer to which will mark an important difference between Swedenborg the philosopher, and Swedenborg the teacher of religion. As we have already observed, Swedenborg attained to the perception of an intelligent first cause of the infinite mind, of which the world, with its facts and appearances, finite things and beings, qualities, relations, and laws, is the expression. He goes upward beyond the phenomenal, objective, and relative (nor inferentially), to an immediate object of adoration and veneration, to the Infinite Divine Being Himself. Behind the phenomenal and objective, is that out of which all phenomena sprung. The events of time, and the epochs of space, and the forms of life, and all observable sequences, leave the mind unsatisfied; and the intellectual instinct still searches for the antecedent cause which transcends them all. From the created we are ever soaring aloft to find out a creator ; our spiritual natures are ever straining the cords that would confine them within the finite, and striving to enter into the realm of the ideal and the infinite. Is it then possible for the mind to realise a sense and perception of the Divine Being ? Are our restless longings, and irrepressible aspirations, and yearning thoughts, and undying hopes, but mocking voices, and echoes of our wistful cries, sent back upon the winds ? Swedenborg has proved that a science of nature is possible and practicable ; and he satisfies my mind in this, that a science of God is also possible. True philosophy proceeds upon the supposition that God may be known. Plato somewhere remarks, that no man can worthily vindicate the name of philosopher who has not a profound reverence for Deity. But suitably and intelligently to venerate and love, we must know and understand something of the nature of that which we desire to love. However much men may talk of reverencing a God of Virtue and Goodness, stiil virtue and goodness are abstractions apart from a personality. They cannot call out our affections, or induce a healthy reverence upon the mind. But God is a Person, and with this admitted truth all spiritual worship and veneration become possible. Co-existent with the truth that God is a personality, is this other truth—that we can only see God according to our capacity of vision. As it requires something of Shakespeare in us fitly to comprehend the drama, so God must be realised as the Divine Dramatist of the Universe, before the world, through its varied scenery, phenomena, and plans rising above plans, shall afford us glimpses of that real world of mind and reality, whose
very footlights are the stars. No man can have healthy conception except from sympathy and affection, and
can write above his conception. The high truths—the universal truths of nature in its cosmical fulness, and of the world of primordial and essential substances, can never be apprehended until the mind has risen in its plenary forces to a knowledge of God. To know adequately of a revelation, we must know definitely of a revelator ; and there must be ideas in the brain, and elements in the soul, in sympathy with the revelatorelements
which the revealing genius may operate. The insight which Swedenbory, had into the laws of nature and the secrets of spirit, was mainly acquired through intense sympathy in his soul with God. In this respect he is differenced intellectually from the philosophers and theologians of all ages. He venerates a presiding MIND in the universe, and has a clear, logical, and satisfactory conception of the Being he adores. Confessedly, on the nature of God the theologies of ages have taught nothing affirmative and personal, nor the philosophies of the schools anything tangible, spiritual, or inspiring. It has of late been said by distinguished thinkers, that a science and knowledge of God are impossible. Of the elaborate and recondite reasonings on which this bold negation is founded, it is of course impossible for me to dwell. But, as it is a doctrine which interests our highest being and destiny, I shall indulge for a moment or two in offering a few observations on this point. If God is the fountain of all goodness, the inspirer of true affection, the source of all intelligence, there is nothing of so great moment to the race as the conception of His existence ; and a true apprehension of His relations to man must constitute the turning point in the progress of the world. The thought of Divine unity, or an absolute cause, was familiar to antiquity ; but the unanimous verdict of history shows that it took no hold on the popular affections. Philosophers had conceived this Divine essence and unity as purest action, unmixed with substance, form, or personality ; as Fate holding the world in its invincible grasp ; as Reason going forth to the work of creation ; as the Primal Source of all the ideal archetypes according to which the world was fashioned ; as Boundless Power, careless of boundless existence; as the Infinite One, slumbering unconsciously