Page:A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.djvu/57

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our respirations; and Swedenborg's case is but a striking instance, raising to a very visible size a fact which, like the air, is felt and wanted, but for the most part not perceived."

The respect which so acute and accomplished a physiologist as Dr. Wilkinson testifies for this pretension of Swedenborg, encourages me to add a remark which may find ample confirmation in every one's experience; it is, that those whose habits and vocation in life involve the most active employment of what Swedenborg terms the external respiratory organs, are as a rule least disposed to the study and contemplation of spiritual forces. They were styled the Bœotians among the Greeks, and "their talk was of bullocks," among the Hebrews.

Swedenborg believed that his studies in Natural Science had been one of the important agencies by which he had been prepared for his sacred office.

"What the acts of my life involved," he wrote, "I could not distinguish at the time they happened; but by the Divine mercy of God-Messiah I was afterwards informed with regard to some, even many, particulars. From these I was at last able to see that the Divine Providence immediately governed the acts of my life from my youth, and so directed them that by means of knowledge of natural things I was enabled to reach a state of intelligence, and thus, by the Divine mercy of God-Messiah, to serve as an instrument for laying open the things which are hidden interiorly in the Word of God-Messiah. These things are therefore now made manifest, which hitherto were not manifest."[1]

When asked the question, "Why did the Lord reveal the long list of arcana which you have just enumerated to you, who are a layman, and not to one of the clergy?" he replied:

"This was in the good pleasure of the Lord, who had prepared me for this office from my earliest youth. But let me ask you a question: Why did the Lord when He was on earth, choose fishermen for His disciples, and not some of the Lawyers, Scribes, Priests or Rabbis? Con-

  1. Adversaria, Part II., No. 839.