Page:A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.djvu/55

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xlvii
INTERNAL RESPIRATION.

lessness. Fully to breathe the external atmosphere is equivalent, cæteris paribus, to living in plenary enjoyment of the senses and the muscular powers.

"On the other hand, the condition of trances or death-life is the persistence of the inner breath of thoughts, or the soul's sensation, while the breath of the body is annulled. It is only those in whom this can have place, that may still live in this world and yet be consciously associated with the persons and events in the other. Hybernation and other phenomena come in support of these remarks. Thus we have common experience on our side in asserting, that the capacities of the inward life, whether thought, meditation, contemplation or trance, depend upon those of the respiration.

"Some analogous power over the breath, a power to live and think without respiring,—for it is the bodily respiration that draws down the mind at the same time that it draws up the air, and thus causes mankind to be compound, or spiritual and material beings,—some analogous power, we say, has lain at the basis of the gifts of many other seers besides Swedenborg.

"It is quite apparent that the Hindu Yogi were capable of similiar states; and in our day, the phenomena of hypnotism have taught us much in a scientific manner of these ancient conditions and sempiternal laws. Take away or suspend that which draws you to this world, and the spirit by its own lightness floats upwards into the other. There is, however, a difference between Swedenborg's state, as he reports it, and the modern instances, inasmuch as the latter are artificial and induced by external effort, whereas Swedenborg's was natural and we may say congenital; was the combined regime of his aspirations and his respirations; did not engender sleep, but was accompanied by full waking and open eyes; and was not courted in the first instance for the trances and the visions that it brought. Other cases, moreover, are occasional, whereas Swedenborg's appears to have been uninterupted, or nearly so, for twenty-seven years." . .

"To show how intelligent Swedenborg was of these deep things, we have only to examine his anatomical works and manuscripts, which present a regular progress