Page:A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.djvu/81

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in an easy, elegant and ornamental style; in his later years it was equally clear, but less elegant after he had turned his thoughts to spiritual subjects. He was well acquainted with the Hebrew and Greek; an able and profound mathematician; a happy mechanician,—of which he gave proof in Norway, where, by an easy and simple method he transported the largest galleys over high mountains and rocks, to a gulf where the Danish fleet was stationed. He was likewise a natural philosopher, but on Cartesian principles. He detested metaphysics, as founded on fallacious ideas; because they transcend our sphere, by means of which theology has been drawn from its simplicity and become artificial and corrupted. Having for a long time been Assessor in the College of Mines, he was perfectly conversant with mineralogy; on which science, both as to theory and practice, he also published a valuable and classical work, printed in Leipsic in 1734. If he had remained in his office, his merits and talents would have entitled him to the highest dignity; but he preferred ease of mind, and sought happiness in study.

"In Holland he began to apply himself to anatomy, in which he made singular discoveries, which are preserved somewhere in the Acta Literaria. I imagine this science, and his meditations on the effects of the soul upon our curiously constructed body, did by degrees lead him from the material to the spiritual. He possessed a sound judgment upon all occasions; saw everything distinctly, and expressed himself well upon every subject. The most solid memorials, and the best penned, at the Diet of 1761, on matters of finance, were presented by him."

It is worth noting here that the memorials which received these encomiums from the Swedish Prime Minister were presented to the Diet of which Swedenborg was so conspicious and useful a member, at the time when he was in the midst of his spiritual labors. His most voluminous and probably most important theological works, the Arcana Cœlestia and the Apocalypse Explained, besides several smaller works, making together some fifteen quarto volumes, had already been written several years. Their preparation certainly had not prevented his continuing to receive, from his colleagues and contemporaries, the hom-