Page:A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.djvu/86

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A careful perusal of Bishop Martensen's masterly work justifies the belief that he was no stranger to, but a diligent student rather, of Swedenborg's writings; but like many others occupying high station in the Church, he may have doubted whether his recognition of Swedenborg as one of his guides would not have impaired his authority with the class of readers he was addressing. Coleridge had the courage to say that "as a moralist, Swedenborg is above all praise. And it is safe to predict that any book which shall fairly embody the ethical teachings of Swedenborg, would soon displace every treatise on Ethical Science that has yet been printed.

The principles by which Swedenborg governed his conduct in life,—as is abundantly confirmed by the whole course of his singularly disinterested career,—it is interesting to find expressed in a few simple rules, that were found among his MSS. They show that he tried at least to exemplify in his life the lessons of which he was the incomparable teacher. They are as follows:—

1. Often to read and meditate on the Word of God.

2. To submit everything to the will of the Divine Providence.

3. To observe in everything a propriety of deportment, and to keep the conscience clear.

4. To discharge with fidelity the functions of my employments, and the duties of my office, and to make myself in all things useful to society.[1]

  1. Bacon's view of an ideal life is expressed in fewer words, and it is interesting to note its points of resemblance to and difference from that of Swedenborg. "Certainly," says Bacon, "it is heaven upon earth to have a man's mind move in charity, rest in Providence and turn upon the poles of truth." He omits only Swedenborg's fourth point, "to make myself in all things useful to society;" but what an omission, as understood and taught by Swedenborg!