Page:A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.djvu/49

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under the supervision and control of the people, or their representatives. So successful were he and his colleagues in curtailing the royal authority, that when, in 1756, the king refused his signature to measures resolved upon by the Privy Executive Council, he was one of the members of the Diet who empowered the Council to put the royal signature to the bill with a Stamp.

Pausing at Rotterdam in 1736, while on one of his continental excursions, he made a record of his admiration of the republican institutions of Holland, in which he discovered "the surest guarantee of civil and religious liberty, and a form of government more pleasing in the sight of God than that of absolute empire." "In a Republic," he adds, "no undue veneration and homage is paid to any man, but the highest and the lowest deems himself the equal of kings or emperors. . . The only being whom they venerate is God. And where He alone is worshipped, and men are not, is the country most acceptable to Him. . . They do not abase themselves under the influence of shame or fear, but may always preserve a firm, sound mind; and with a free spirit and erect air may commit themselves and their concerns to God, who alone claims to govern all things. Far otherwise," he continues, "is the case under absolute governments, where men are trained to simulation and deceit; where they learn to have one thing in their thoughts and another on their tongue; and where, by long habit, they become inured to what is fictitious and counterfeit, that even in divine worship they speak one thing and think another, and try to palm off upon God their falsity and adulation." This was strong language to use at a time when all Europe, save the small states of Holland and Switzerland, were under the rule, practically, of absolute monarchs.

At a period, too, when every country was trying to pay its debts with a cheaper money than that by which they were incurred, Swedenborg was an impassioned champion of specie payments, a sound currency, and an honest maintenance of all public engagements. The Count A. J. Von Höpken, for many years prime minister of Sweden while Swedenborg sat in the House of Peers, in a letter to a friend, said of Swedenborg: