X Emanuel Swedenborg, The Philosopher
INQUIRER.—I hear that your people recently celebrated the bi-centenary of the birth of Swedenborg.
MISSIONARY.—Yes; festivals were held by many of our Societies, in memory of that event, on the evening of January 29th, 1888.
I.—My knowledge of the character of "the illustrious Swede," as I have heard him called, is but limited. In fact, I ought to know more about the man who is regarded as one of the most remarkable individuals that ever lived.
M.—There is no lack of means available to enable you to increase your fund of information on the subject, if you are disposed to do so. And it is a matter well worthy of your investigation. Every man ought to possess some knowledge respecting Swedenborg and his Writings. For his claims are great, and their acceptance is becoming more general. But we ask only that they should be brought to the test of Scripture and reason.
I.—Not long ago I saw something that aroused in my mind a desire to know more about him; and I resolved to make use of my first opportunity. As you are familiar with the subject, you may perhaps be disposed to give me an outline of some of his leading teachings.
M.—Well, this is to accord to me a very pleasant task. Allow me to suggest, then, that the best thing to do, in order to start aright, in your investigation of these things, is, to take one of Swedenborg's theological works,—the True Christian Religion, for example,— and give it a careful perusal. But, remember, you will find it to be a profound work. All his Writings are profound. You will accomplish little by reading rapidly. You must proceed slowly and deliberately, and do much close thinking. And as you are fond of things intellectual, you will in this way acquire many genuine knowledges, which are more enduring, precious, and comforting, a thousand times, than silver and gold or any earthly treasure. And thus, if you make some progress,—as doubtless you will,—in the understanding of spiritual principles, your mind will gradually be prepared to appreciate Swedenborg's philosophy; or, more properly speaking, the philosophy contained in Swedenborg's works, scientific as well as theological.
I.—It is quite a bright picture you have presented to my mental vision. And I ought to feel encouraged to enter, with a good deal of confidence, into the shining pathway which, as you evidently are certain, leads to the attainment of true knowledge. But it was my impression that if I were to read Swedenborg, I should like to begin with one of his scientific works.
M.—You can do so if you prefer, but it seems to me better for you to begin with one of the theological books.
I.—What is your reason for thinking so?
M.—My reason for thinking so is this: It is of great importance for us to receive rational knowledges, concerning the character and attributes of the Divine Being. From rational knowledge there comes a humble acknowledgment of God. And without an acknowledgment of God, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, the Fountain of intelligence and wisdom, no man can make any real progress in the investigation of things, either natural or spiritual.
I.—It is evident that when we receive the wisdom
that is from above, we shall acquire rational ideas and enlightened views of things.
M.—All genuine wisdom is from above, because it is of a spiritual and heavenly quality, and is derived by means of Divine Revelation. So long as a man's intelligence is self-derived it is not genuine. A man cannot be truly wise from himself; for he is only a recipient of life and of all really human attributes and qualities.
I.—The expression, "man is a recipient of life," seems to be peculiar to the New Church theology; for I have not met with it in my reading.
M.—It is a grand truth taught in Swedenborg's theological works, which are the Writings of the New Church, given by the lord through the instrumentality of the man, Swedenborg. You asked me to give you a start in the direction of the investigation of the System of Truth contained in these Writings; and I will here repeat that in my opinion it is desirable for you to begin with one of the theological works.
I.—Very good; I am willing to follow your directions, and give the matter a fair trial, and see how I shall get along in my explorations of these new realms of thought.
M.—Lest I should make an erroneous impression upon your mind at the outset, permit me to say here, that Swedenborg, in all his scientific and philosophical works, acknowledges God, the Infinite, the Divine, as the Creator of the universe. He teaches, moreover, the most comprehensive idea, that the entire glorious fabric of Creation is momentaneously upheld by the Divine Omnipotence.
I.—I remember seeing a statement to the effect that Swedenborg was a devout Christian Philosopher, a man similar, in this respect, to Sir Isaac Newton.
M.—Yes; a spirit of humility, and of the utmost reverence for the Divine Being, pervades all of
Swedenborg's philosophical works. For example, in the Economy of the Animal Kingdom he says: "God is the Fountain of Life, the Sun of Wisdom, the Spiritual Light, the very Esse and I Am, in whom we live and move and have our being; from whom and for the sake of whom are all things; who is the First and the Last" (vol. ii. No. 238).
I.—It is a grand sentiment; and to my mind very impressive. I have never been satisfied with the philosophy which describes creation to take place by evolution, independently of a personal Creator. The very fact of the existence of human beings, is sufficient to convince me of the revealed truth that there is a Divine Being.
M.—Let me give you another quotation from the Economy, and then we shall discuss the point you have suggested; for it is an interesting one. The characteristics of Swedenborg, as a humble-minded Christian Philosopher, are shown by such passages—and there are many of them—as the following: "To be lost in silent astonishment, at the display of the Divine Wisdom, is more becoming our nature, than to overburden ourselves with proofs of its existence. In all the heavens there is nothing, throughout the whole universe there is nothing, but that exhibits, in most palpable signs, the presence of a superintending Deity; so that he who sees nothing in all these evidences, is blinder than a mole and viler than a brute" (vol. ii. No. 267).
I.—We do not find such sentiments in the writings of the scientists of the present day. The theological element seems to be pretty thoroughly eliminated from the philosophy of the day. But when one begins to think about it, it certainly does seem a strange philosophy, to represent creation without a Creator, and to imagine the universe to be without a God. I know there is a something occult which the scientists may call God; but I am speaking of a personal God, the Supreme Being, all of whose attributes are Divine and Infinite, according to what is revealed to us in the Scriptures.
M.—In his Principia, Swedenborg says: "True philosophy, and contempt of Deity, are two opposites." In another place he observes: "He who is possessed of scientific knowledges, and is merely skilled in experiment, has taken only the first step to wisdom." Again, in the same work: "Man's highest wisdom consists in a proper knowledge of his relation to the Infinite." And again he admonishes his reader in these words: "In all thy contemplations, remember, that if thou wouldest be great, thy greatness must consist in this,—to worship and adore Him who is Himself the Greatest and Infinite."
I.—These are certainly grand statements of most sublime truths. And I must confess that they arouse in my mind a strong desire to read and study the books which contain such profound and beautiful sentiments.
M.—They that thirst for rational knowledge may drink at the Fountain of Truth, and be satisfied. Swedenborg's scientific writings are a Fountain of natural truth, from which men shall drink for ages and ages to come. But I have suggested to you to first get a good taste of the waters of spiritual truth by reading one of the theological works.
I.—And if I do this, perhaps it wall prepare my mind to appreciate the other all the better afterwards. But tell me, how comes it that the learned world, as it is called, is so oblivious, as it seems to be, of Swedenborg's scientific works? Why do not our modern scientists study them? Surely they could learn much from them.
M.—One reason, I apprehend is, because the minds of modern scientists are, for the most part, occupied with principles which are averse to the fundamental truths expounded in Swedenborg's philosophical works. Their science is a refined materialism; but Swedenborg's philosophy is of a higher quality, because he always acknowledges the Infinite and the Divine as its Source. Swedenborg teaches that all things of the finite universe are derived from the Infinite. The scientists believe in Evolution, and ascribe creation to Nature; and therefore Swedenborg's philosophy is not congenial to their minds.
I.—Are there any other reasons?
M.—Another reason why Swedenborg's philosophical works do not command more attention in the learned world, doubtless is, because of the popular superstitious notion, that about the time that he began to write on spiritual subjects, Swedenborg became insane, and that his powerful imagination grew extremely fanciful, and that in this peculiar state he had visions and saw spirits, and imagined all that he wrote in his theological works.
I.—Is it not a strange perversity that caused men to circulate so gross a falsehood as the charge of Swedenborg's insanity! It seems to me, from the very little that I know of him, that he must have been one of the most enlightened men that the world has ever seen.
M.—Those who read his Writings with an unprejudiced mind learn very soon that the spirit that has called Swedenborg a madman is the same as that manifested by those who said of the lord jesus.-christ: "He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye Him?" (John x. 20). And this was even a more evil spirit than that which caused the Roman Governor to say to the Apostle with a loud voice: "Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad" (Acts xxvi. 24).
I.—In the case of Christ, unprejudiced persons retorted: "These are not the words of Him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?" And Paul replied to the Roman Governor: "I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness."
M. —And in the case of Swedenborg, it may be said: The language he employs is not that of a madman. Could a madman write such Books as he has written? The tree is known by its fruits; but we must taste of it, in order to be able to judge of its quality. Only. they that have earnestly, sincerely, and prayerfully studied Swedenborg's Writings are qualified to pronounce a rational judgment as to their character. And all who have thoroughly investigated these Writings have found, by actual experience, that they are of such a nature as to open the eyes of the blind; that is, to enlighten the understandings of those who are in a state of mental and spiritual darkness.
I.—When was Swedenborg born, and how long ago did he publish his scientific works?
M.—Swedenborg was born in Stockholm, Sweden, on January 29th, 1688, and in 1709, when twenty-one years of age, began his literary career, which extended through a period of sixty-three years. He died in London, March 29th, 1772, at the age of eighty-four years. And on October 7th of the same year, in the Royal Academy of Sciences of Stockholm, Chevalier Sandels, Superintendent of the Mines of Sweden, and Knight of the Order of the Polar Star, delivered an Oration or Eulogy upon the illustrious member deceased, at a meeting of the Academy, held in the Great Hall of the House of Nobles. And every word of that memorable Address is in the highest degree favourable to the personal and literary character of Swedenborg.
I.—This being authentic, it certainly establishes the greatness of the man.
M.—His greatness was of the genuine kind. It consisted in his perfect humility. Through his profound studies in science and philosophy, he as a finite being, had attained a proper knowledge of his relation to the Infinite Being. And thus he affirmed that there is "a Deity, the sole Author and Builder of the universe, and of all things in the universe, who is to be revered, to be adored, to be loved, and that the providence of our reason is respectively nothing, while the Providence of his Wisdom is all in all" (Econ. An. King., vol. ii. No. 266).
I.—A little while ago you quoted some passages from the Principia. It must also be a grand work. Please tell me something about it.
M.—The Principia is a wonderful book. It is the work of a Philosopher, the study of which is calculated to do much in helping to make Philosophers; and, indeed, Philosophers of such a sort as the world stands in need of to-day. The Principia will interest, and instruct, and delight the men of even the far distant ages of the future. In it are laid down solid foundation-stones of natural truth. There is elaborated a most comprehensive theory of the creation of the Solar System. He describes the formation of the sun, and then, by means of the sun, the planets and their satellites. The work is not merely speculative, but it is also demonstrative. The author proceeds in a profoundly philosophical manner. He evidently does not expect his reader to believe what he says because he says it, but because he is teaching the truth on the subject. Accordingly, he gives numerous experiments, by which his theory can be verified and his principles demonstrated.
I.—How does Swedenborg's theory differ from the nebular hypothesis of creation?
M.—The difference is this: According to the nebular hypothesis, creation proceeded from the circumference towards the centre; but according to the Principia, creation proceeds from the centre towards the circumference. Thus the two systems are opposes. The former starts with the assumption that the substances of which all the bodies of the solar system are composed, originally existed in the condition of gases, diffused throughout the immensity of space. But the latter begins by teaching that the universal substances of nature are produced by creation from God; that all finite things are evolved out of the inexhaustible fullness of the Infinite Creator, who is the Maker of the heavens and the earths.
M.—I see there is a great difference between the two systems; and it is interesting to have it pointed out. From what you say it appears that Swedenborg gives us a conception of the origin of matter, while the nebular hypothesis leaves us in the dark on that point. It does not tell us how the inconceivable volume of original gases came into existence. It assumes, and asks us to take for granted, things that it does not and cannot demonstrate.
M.—When you come to read the True Christian Religion, you will find that where he treats of the creation of the universe, Swedenborg says: That the universe, which includes both the spiritual and natural worlds, was created out of the Divine Love by the Divine Wisdom, is clearly shown by all its parts. . . . It is to be observed, however, that Love and Wisdom, which are one in God, are not love and wisdom in an abstract sense, but are in God as a substance; for God is the very, the only, and consequently the first substance and essence, which is and subsists of itself (T.C.R. 76).
I.—This is very different from the idea of the creation of the universe out of nothing, as some of the creeds have asserted.
M.—It is both illogical and irrational to imagine that something can be created out of nothing; that entities can be formed out of nonentities; that stupendous suns and ponderous planets, which are substantial bodies, can be produced from anything non-substantial.
I.—I should say so.
M.—But Swedenborg's teaching is agreeable to enlightened reason. God the Creator is a Spirit; but spirit is even more real than matter. Love and Wisdom are in God as a Divine substance. They proceed from Him as heat and light, and form the Sun of Heaven, and create all things of the spiritual universe. And then, out of the Divine Love by the Divine Wisdom, the natural universe was also created. All material substance is derived from spiritual and Divine substance. It could not be formed out of nothing. The sun is the medium-through which the planets were originally formed, and by which they have been kept in existence every moment ever since.
I.—The ancient Philosophers said: Ex nihilo nihil fit—Out of nothing nothing is made. They were evidently possessed of far greater wisdom than many in modern times. But please go on with your remarks.
M.—The sun is an orb of fire or heat, and is clothed, as it were, in the garments of light; and is of inconceivable magnitude. The finite mind can no more comprehend the size of the sun than fathom the very infinity of God. The sun is the most perfect representative of the lord, who is the Sun of Heaven. We read: "The lord our God is a Sun and shield" (Ps. 1xxxiv. 11). Our sun is to the natural universe what the lord as a Sun is to the spiritual universe; but the natural sun, of course, is created and kept in existence every moment by influx from the Divine Sun. It.could not create itself, or exist of itself.
I.—My friend, these are grand ideas. It seems to be a fundamental principle, in Swedenborg's philosophy, that nothing exists of itself but the Divine and the Infinite; and to my mind this is perfectly philosophical.
M.—In the True Christian Religion, No. 472, you will find this remarkable statement: "The sun of nature consists of created substances, the activity of which produces fire."
I.—And this reminds me of the scientific axiom, that heat is a mode of motion. But Swedenborg accounts for the cause of motion as he accounts for the origin of matter. You said, a moment ago, that the natural sun was kept in existence by influx from the Divine Sun. By influx I presume you mean the operation of the Divine, in the act of creating and sustaining the universe? This is my understanding of it.
M.—Your definition is correct. In the beginning of the Principia, Swedenborg lays down fundamental principles, from which, and according to which, he elaborates his theory of the creation. He begins with what he calls the simple, or first natural point, and then traces the origin and development of things by a gradual and orderly progression. He employs such terms as finites, actives, passives, elementaries, and proceeds, logically and philosophically, all the way from beginning to end. And finally he gives us a beautiful picture of the planet as an earth adorned with innumerable forms of beauty and of use, occupied by the great variety of animals, and inhabited by the crowning handiwork of the Creator, man, who is endowed with the immortal faculties of mind, and exclaims: "O man, how happy, thrice happy thy destiny, to be born to the joys both of earth and of heaven."
I.—And I suppose he defines his terms in such a way that they are quite intelligible?
M.—I will give you his own definition of the first natural point. He says: "It is produced by motion from the Infinite; and is the medium between the Infinite and the finite." He also says: "It is the same as the mathematical point, or the first ens of geometry; and is the origin of every finite body." The natural point from which the creation of the universe began is further defined as consisting of pure motion. And the most perfect figure of motion is the perpetual-circular, or spiral. It cannot be demonstrated by geometry; but it contains the potency of all production. The whole cosmos is a pure system of mechanism, and is incipient in the natural point.
I.—These definitions are rather abstruse to suit my comprehension; but they must be interesting when a person once learns to understand them.
M.—To the student of these things they become intelligible, and exceedingly interesting. Our Philosopher gives his ardent reader the most sublime conceptions, showing how, from the natural point, the solar vortex was produced; how motion resulted in the composition of the first finite; how finites became actives, and actives evolved elementaries; thus, how the sun was created, how by a gradual process the enormous volume of matter originated, of which our planetary system is composed. It is illustrated by comprehensive diagrams, showing how the original volume of matter, in a fluid condition, became disrupted, forming larger and smaller globes, which moved away from the parent sun, found their respective orbits, passed through marvellous and innumerable changes, and finally became habitable earths.
I.—And you think that, in his Principia, Swedenborg has actually given to the world a true theory of creation?
M.—I can see no reason for doubting it. In fact, the more one studies the work, and the more one comes to understand it, the grander and more convincing it becomes. But I had no intention of taking up so much of your time with the consideration of these matters. We have naturally drifted into this subject.
I.—And I am very glad of it, because it is to me one of the most interesting subjects you could dwell upon.
M.—Such discussions are useful, because they are a wholesome exercise of the mind, and tend to expand our thoughts, and to give us more elevated ideas respecting the lord our Creator.
M.—You have presented some wonderful ideas concerning the sun. The astronomers to-day believe that the sun is an orb of fire. But formerly they held a very different theory, viz. that the sun was an opaque body. So it goes. The theories of one generation of scientists have been exploded by the discoveries of the succeeding generation.
M.—Your mention of the point with regard to the sun is opportune; because it brings to our notice the remarkable fact, of how Swedenborg's theory has recently been corroborated. He published his Principia in the year 1734,—more than one hundred and fifty years ago,—in which he teaches, and philosophically demonstrates, that the sun is pure fire. In his theological works he frequently states that the sun is fire. And now we find that the advance of science has brought men to the same standpoint, as that occupied by Swedenborg a century and a quarter before they found out this natural truth.
I.—It is certainly a striking fact; and it seems that Swedenborg's science and theology are in harmony with each other. And this is to me an interesting point. It gives one greater confidence to enter into an investigation of his Writings.
M.—In his scientific writings Swedenborg teaches genuine natural truths. By the help and guidance of the Divine Providence, he was enabled to go through the whole circle of the sciences. He wrote on all subjects involving the laws and forces, the operations and phenomena, the progress and development, of the material universe. In his scientific works alone, Swedenborg accomplished an amazing task. And we always find him reasonable, consistent, profound, and truly philosophical. Thus was the Philosopher prepared to become also a Theologian: thus was he fitted for that higher mission to which he was afterwards called, of being a Revelator of spiritual and Divine Truth.
I.—Has the advance of science also verified Swedenborg in other particulars?
M.—Yes; he wrote much upon the subject of Anatomy,—sufficient to make about a dozen large volumes. And the Rev. Dr. R.L. Tafel, of London, the learned translator of Swedenborg's work on the Brain, which is now being published, gives us (if I rightly remember) a list of eighteen discoveries in Anatomy alone, all of which have been accredited to more recent writers. Another instance just occurs to me. The discovery of the theory of what is termed the translatory motion of the stars, is generally ascribed to Sir William Herschel. But Swedenborg treats of the subject in his Principia, describing that grand law in most sublime language. And Swedenborg's work was published in the year 1734, while Herschel was not born until 1738.
I.—Is it possible? According to these facts Swedenborg has not received the credit which is due to him, as an original investigator and discoverer of the laws, operations, and facts of nature.
M.—I will give you, in his own words, Swedenborg's conception of the translatory motion of the stars. He says: "The whole sidereal heaven is one large sphere, constituted of innumerable solar systems or vortices, moving in harmonious order, in accordance with their axes" (Principia, vol. ii. p. 231). This is the theory in a nut-shell; and he explains it in most eloquent terms, his thoughts soaring to the highest flights, and his mental vision sweeping through the boundless immensity of space, and beholding the movements of the countless suns and systems of worlds, which compose the glorious and stupendous universe.
I.—What a mighty intellect, and what a marvellous intuition, and clear-sighted mental vision, the man must have possessed! Surely he must have been all that his greatest admirers have claimed for him, namely, that he was pre-eminently the Philosopher, the greatest genius that has ever appeared upon the face of the earth.
M.—Men who never even accepted Swedenborg's teachings as a Theologian, have been profoundly impressed with his writings as a Philosopher. Emerson says: "His writings would be a sufficient library for a lonely and athletic student. Not every man can read them, but they will reward him who can. The grandeur of the topics, makes the grandeur of the style. One of the missourians and mastodons of literature, he is not to be measured by whole colleges of ordinary scholars."
I.—A handsome tribute, from one who is regarded by many as an eminent authority.
M.—In speaking of the Economy of the Animal Kingdom—Nos. 208 and 214—Coleridge remarks: "I remember nothing in Lord Bacon superior, few passages equal, either in depth of thought, or in richness, dignity, or felicity of diction, or in the weightiness of the truths contained in these articles. I can venture to assert that as a moralist Swedenborg is above all praise; and that as a naturalist, psychologist, and theologian, he has strong and varied claims, on the gratitude and admiration of the professional and philosophical faculties."
I.—From this it would appear that Coleridge was a decided believer in Swedenborg.
M.—It does seem so; and the fact is, that no sincere seeker and lover of the truth can study Swedenborg's works without being profoundly impressed by them. There are no other books like them extant.
I.—I believe many eminent men have expressed themselves in favour of Swedenborg in plain terms.
M.—Many of those who were great men, in the highest sense of the word, have been believers in his Writings; and have been grateful to the lord for His goodness and mercy in raising up such a man, and in doing what He has done through his instrumentality. I could give you many quotations from the writings of eminent men in which this is shown. The pious Fletcher, for example, said: "Swedenborg arose at a time when some manifestation of God was needed by the world—an age of corrupt morals and stagnant faith—an age when the life had exhaled from the Churches. . . . He was of all men I have met with the calmest, wisest, deepest. He was a profound scholar, a true Christian, a loyal subject, a magnificent poet, an unrivalled philosopher, and a little child."
I.—An extraordinary combination of qualities, such as are not generally found in the same individual.
M.—The Rev. Paxton Hood, among many most emphatic statements in favour of Swedenborg, declared that "his learning was boundless, and that in science his knowledge was imperial on almost every subject." And Thorild, a celebrated Swedish poet and metaphysician, says: "What are we to think of this truly extraordinary man? That he was a fool, say those little men, whose good opinion never did good to any man. That he was an arch-heretic, bawls Orthodoxy, with loud and ferocious voice. What the philosopher sees in him is a man of vast and consummate learning, an honour and glory to his nation, who preserved the veneration for his genius by the truly apostolical simplicity and purity of his morals."
I.—It seems an easy matter for you to bring evidence to establish the good character of the man in every particular.
M.—There is not the least difficulty in doing this. But this sort of evidence, which is of an external nature, is not really necessary. Because those who read the Writings from pure motives find out soon enough that the internal evidence of the truths they unfold is quite sufficient to satisfy them. The reception of genuine truth always produces a rational conviction in the human mind. You do not doubt the fact that three times four are twelve. Why should you doubt it, and stop to reason, in order to decide whether it is true? You do not doubt as to the form of the earth after you have learned to understand that it is a sphere. You are positive that the earth is round and not flat, notwithstanding the appearance of the contrary to the senses.
I.—These things illustrate to me the idea of a rational conviction in the natural mind. And do you think that it is possible for a person to be in like manner rationally convinced, as to the truth of a thing, in the spiritual mind?
M.—I certainly do think so. You said, near the beginning of our talk, that the very fact of the existence of human beings was sufficient to convince you of the revealed truth that there is a Divine Being. This is a conviction in your spiritual mind. Perhaps it is produced in this way: You believe the revealed truth that there is a God, the Infinite, the Creator. Then you look at a finite creature—a man. He exists, and is endowed with distinctively human faculties. He did not bring himself into existence, nor did his parents create him. The forces of nature—electricity, magnetism, heat, and light—did not form him, develop his body and mind, and bestow upon him reason and volition, thought and affection. The man could not be produced by evolution, any more than a watch or sewing-machine or locomotive. You conclude, accordingly, that God created him, and endowed him with the faculties and attributes which characterise him as a human being. Thus it is a rational conviction with you, that, as Swedenborg says, the Divine Being is "the sole Author and Builder of the universe, and of all things in the universe, who is to be revered, to be adored, and to be loved."
I.—I never before followed a line of argument of this kind; but it seems to me the correct method of reaching a rational conclusion about the matter. I do not doubt the existence of God, any more than I doubt my own existence; and it is to me an unspeakable satisfaction, to be able to realize this conviction. There are a thousand things to convince one that there is an Infinite Creator of the universe, and of all things and all beings in the universe. Surely it is not according to sound reason, to affirm that any material forces and substances could, of themselves, produce such a marvellous being as man is, when fully considered as to his physical and mental constitution.
M.—The Evolution Theories of our modern scientists are very apt to lead men to reject the grand truth of the existence of a Personal Creator, revealed to us in the Scriptures. And the consequence is, that they drift into all sorts of fallacious reasonings, such as ascribing creation to Nature, and the endless string of imaginary nonsense which is naturally spun out from that idea. There is, indeed, a true doctrine of Evolution. And according to the true doctrine, which is a rational philosophy, Evolution is God's method of creating and perfecting His universe.—But the time has come for us to bring our present discussion to a close.
I.—Then, I hope we shall have an opportunity to continue it at no distant day. But I should like one more question answered concerning Swedenborg— Did he believe in the Scriptures as a Divine Revelation, while he was a natural Philosopher?
M.—It gives me great pleasure to be able to answer this question in the affirmative. On page 37 of the first volume of the Principia, he says: "True philosophy detracts nothing from the credibility of miracles." And on page 49 of the same volume he says: "Whatever receives confirmation from Scripture, must necessarily be true." He evidently means that this is the case according to a reasonable interpretation of Scripture. And in the Economy of the Animal Kingdom he also says: That we are forbidden by Holy Scripture to doubt that God is the Fountain of Life, the I Am, the First and the Last, from whom are all things. There is, therefore, no doubt but that Swedenborg, while a Philosopher, had a profound veneration for the Scriptures, the spiritual sense of which he was employed to reveal after he became a Theologian.