Page images
PDF
EPUB

Mr. Swedenborg divides his visions to invest them with a human figure. into three kinds, of which the first The language of spirits is an immeconsists in being liberated from the diate and unsymbolic communication body—an intermediate state between of ideas; notwithstanding which it waking and sleeping, in which he is always cloathed in the semblance saw-heard—and felt spirits. This of that language which Swedenborg kind he has experienced three or four himself speaks, and is represented as times. The second consists in being external to him. One spirit reads in carried away by spirits, whilst he con- the memory of another spirit all the tinues to walk the streets (suppose) representations, whether images or without losing his way; meantime ideas, which it contains. Thus the in spirit he is in quite other regions, spirits see in Swedenborg all the reand sees distinctly houses, men, fo- presentations which he has of this rests, &c.; and all this for some world ; and with so clear an intuition hours long, until he suddenly finds that they often deceive themselves himself again in his true place. This and fancy that they see the objects has happened to him two or three themselves immediately—which howtimes. The third or ordinary kind of ever is impossible, since no pure spi. visions. is that which he has daily rit has the slightest perception of the when wide awake; and from this material universe : nay they cannot class his narrations are chiefly taken. gain any idea of it through interAll men, according to Swedenborg, course with the souls of other living stand in an intimate connexion with men, because their inner nature is the spiritual world; only they are not opened-i. e. their inner sense not aware of it ; and the difference contains none but obscure represenbetween himself and others consists tations. Hence it arises that Mr. simply in this—that his innermost Swedenborg is the true oracle of nature is laid open, of which gift he spirits, which are not at all less cualways speaks with the most devout rious to read in him the present conspirit of gratitude (Datum mihi est dition of the world, than he is to view ex divinâ Domini misericordiâ). From in their memory, as in a mirror, the the context it is apparent that this marvels of the spiritual world. Algift consists in the consciousness of though these spirits stand in like those obscure representations which manner closely connected with all the soul receives through its con- other souls of living men, by a recitinual connexion with the spiritual procal commerce of action and pasworld. Accordingly he distinguishes sion, yet they are as little aware of in men between the external and the this as men are aware of it. Spirits internal memory. The former he en- therefore ascribe to themselves as the joys as a person who belongs to the product of their own minds what in visible world, but the latter in virtue fact results from the action of human of his intercourse with the spiritual souls upon them; just as men during world. Upon this distinction is their lives imagine that all their grounded also the distinction between thoughts, and the motions of the will the outer and inner man; and Swe- which take place within them, arise denborg's prerogative consists in this from themselves, although in fact --that he stands already in this life they oftentimes take their origin in in the society of spirits, and is recog- the spiritual world. Meantime every nized by them as possessing such a human soul, even in this life, has its prerogative. In the inner memory is place and station in this spiritual retained whatsoever has vanished world, and belongs to a certain sofrom the outer; and of all which is ciety which is always adapted to its presented to the consciousness of man inner condition of truth and goodnothing is ever lost. After death the ness,—that is, to the condition of the remembrance of all which ever en understanding and the will. But tered his soul, and even all that had the places of souls in relation to each perished to himself, constitutes the other have nothing in common with entire book of his life. The presence the material world; and therefore of spirits, it is true, strikes only upon the soul of a man in India is often in his inner sense.

Nevertheless this is respect to spiritual situation next able to excite an apparition of these neighbour to the soul of another spirits external to himself, and even man in Europe ; as on the contrary very often those, who dwell cor- other agreeably to material laws: poreally under the same roof, are but, in so far as it is supported by with respect to their spiritual rela- the spirit which lives, its limbs and tions far enough asunder. If a man their functions have a symbolic value dies, his soul does not on that ac- as expressions of those faculties in count change its place; but simply the soul from which they derive their feels itself in that place which in re- form, mode of activity, and power gard to other spirits it already held of enduring. The same law holds in this life. For the rest, although with regard to all other things in the the relation of spirits to each other visible universe : they have (as has is no true relation of space, yet has been said) one meaning as things it to them the appearance of space; which is trivial, and another as signs and their affinities or attractions for —which is far weightier. Hence by each other assume the semblance of the way arises the source of those proximities, as their repulsions do of new interpretations of Scripture distances; just as spirits themselves which Swedenborg has introduced. are not actually extended, but yet For the inner sense,- that is, the present the appearance to each other symbolic relation of all things there of a human figure. In this imaginary recorded to the spiritual world,-is, space there is an undisturbed inter- as he conceits, the kernel of its vacourse of spiritual natures. Mr. Swe- lue; all the rest being only its shell. denborg converses with departed All spirits represent themselves to souls whenever he chooses, and reads one another under the appearance of in their memory (he means to say in extended forms; and the influences their representative faculty) that very of all these spiritual beings amongst condition in which they contemplate one another raise to them at the themselves; and this he sees as same time appearances of other exclearly as with his bodily eyes. tended beings, and as it were of a Moreover the enormous distance of material world. Swedenborg therethe rational inhabitants of the world fore speaks of gardens—spacious reis to be accounted as nothing in re- gions-mansions--galleries—and arlation to the spiritual universe; and cades of spirits—as of things seen by to talk with an inhabitant of Saturn himself in the clearest light ; and he is just as easy to him as to speak assures us—that, having many times with a departed human soul. ` 'All conversed with all his friends after depends upon the relation of their their death, he had almost always inner condition in reference to their found in those who had but lately agreement in truth and goodness: died--that they could scarcely conbut those spirits, which have weak vince themselves that they had died, affinities for each other, can readily because they saw round about them come into intercourse through the in- a world similar to the one they had ter-agency of others. On this ac- quitted. He found also that spiritual count it is not necessary that a man societies, which had the same inner should actually have dwelt on all the condition, had the same apparition of other heavenly bodies in order to know space and of all things in space; and them together with all their wonders. that the change of their internal state

One presiding doctrine in Swe- was always accompanied by the apdenborg's ravings is this: corpo- pearance of a change of place. real beings have no subsistence of I have already noticed that, accordtheir own, but exist merely by and ing to our author, the various powers through the spiritual world; although and properties of the soul stand in each body not by means of one spirit sympathy with the organs of the alone, but of all taken together. body entrusted to its government, Hence the knowledge of material The outer man therefore corresponds things has two meanings; an ex- to the whole inner man; and hence, ternal meaning referring to the inter- whenever any remarkable spiritual dependencies of the matter upon it- influence from the invisible world self, and an internal meaning in so reaches one of these faculties of the far as they denote the powers of the soul, he is sensible also harmonically spiritual world which are their of the apparent presence of it in the causes. Thus the body of man has corresponding members of his outer a system of parts related to each To this head now he refers a vast variety of sensations in his body existed, or of pursuing them to which are uniformly connected with his descriptions of the state after spiritual intuition ; but the absur- death. I am checked also by other dity of them is so enormous that I considerations. For, although in shall not attempt to adduce even a forming a medical museum it is right single instance. By all this a pre- to collect specimens not only of naparation is made for the strangest tural but also of unnatural producand most fantastic of his notions in tions and abortions, yet it is neceswhich all his ravings are blended. sary to be cautious before whom you As different powers and faculties show them: and amongst my readconstitute that unity which is the ers there may happen to be some in a soul or, inner man, so also different crazy condition of nerves; and it spirits (whose leading characteristics would give me pain to think that I bear the same relation to each other had been the occasion of any mischief as the various faculties of a spirit) to them. Having warned them howconstitute one society which exhibits ever from the beginning, I am not . the appearance of one great man; responsible for any thing that may and in this shadowy image every happen; and must desire that no spirit is seen in that place and in person will lay at my door the moonthose visible members which are calves which may chance to arise agreeable to its proper function in from any teeming fancy impregnated such a spiritual body. And all spi- by Mr. Swedenborg's revelations. ritual societies taken together, and In conclusion I have to say that I the entire universe of all these in- have not interpolated my author's visible beings, appears again in the dreams with any surreptitious ones form of a hugest and ultra-enormous of my own; but have laid a faithful man mountain : a monstrous and abstract before the economic reader, gigantic fancy, which perhaps has who might not be well pleased to pay grown out of the school mode of re- seven pounds sterling for a body of presenting a whole quarter of the raving. I have indeed omitted many world under the image of a virgin circumstantial pictures of his in sitting. In this immeasurable man tuitions, because they could only is an entire and inner commerce of have served to disturb the reader's each spirit with all, and of all with slumber; and the confused sense of each; and, let the position of inen in his revelations I have now and thien reference to each other be what it cloathed in a more current diction. may, they take quite another position. But all the important features of the in this enormous man—a position sketch I have preserved in their nawhich they never change, and which tive integrity:-And thus I return is only in appearance a local position with some little shame from my foolin an immeasurable space, but in fact islı labours, from which I shall draw a determinate kind of relation and this moral: That it is often a very influence.

man.

easy thing to act prudentially ; but But I am weary of transcribing alas! too often only after we have the delirious ravings of a poor toiled to our prudence through a fovisionary, the craziest that has ever rest of delusions.

[ocr errors]

SKETCHES OF PAUL JONES. We may safely conclude that no to acts and circumstances which can one will read “ The Pilot,” without apply to none but the once celebrated feeling some interest and curiosity Paul Jones. respecting the mysterious character He was born and bred on the estate who forms the prominent feature in of Lord Selkirk, near Kircudbright; the tale; and that particulars, how- his father, by name Paul, a steady ever scanty, will be acceptable, of a methodical Scotchman, being head man who for a time kept the coasts gardener to Lord Selkirk, and young of the united kingdoms in a state of Paul acting in a subordinate capaalarm; for, although his name is cau- city in the same establishment, as aptiously withheld, there are allusious pcars from the following story oir re

In the gar

cord of father and son.

desperate crew of 150 men. In the dens were two summer houses cor- course of the winter he put to sea, responding to each other. One day and made two captures on the EuroLord Selkirk during his walks ob- pean side of the Atlantic, both of served a man locked up in one of which were sent into a French port. them, and looking out of the window In the month of April, 1778, he for --in the other summer house, looking the first time appeared in the neighout of the corresponding window ap- 'bourhood of his native place, and peared young John Paul. “ Why forthwith proceeded to execute a are those lads confined ?" said Lord well digested plan for burning the Selkirk to the gardener. “My Lord, town and shipping of Whitehaven. I caught the rascal stealing your Having made the land, he cautiouslordship's fruit." “ But there are ly kept in the offing to avoid obsertwo-what has your son done, is he vation, bu at the close of eventoo guilty.”. “Oh no, please your ing, the necessary preparations being lordship, I just put him in for sym- made, he stood in for the shore, and metry.

at midnight, having approached sufIn this service he remained for ficiently near, his boats well manned, some years; but at length being de- and armed by thirty daring fellows, tected in certain knavish tricks which in deep sience pushed off from the would have entitled him to confine- vessel. A small battery commanded ment in the summer house on stronger the bay and entrance of the harbour; grounds than symmetry, he was it was neæssary to secure this before dismissed, and following the bent of they couli venture on ulterior meaa wild and ardent disposition, be- sures; acordingly having made good took himself to a sea-faring life, for their landing, the party rushed upon which his habits, and the practical the garrison before any alarm could knowledge gained by long residence be given, and made them prisoners. near a sea port, bad fully prepared The guns were immediately spiked, him. He commenced his naval ca- and every thing seemed to favour the reer as common sailor; but his ta- final success of their enterprize. It lents soon rendering bimconspicuous, was dead low water, and the vessels he was appointed mate, and in these were laying side by side without a capacities made several voyages to chance of preservation, should the the West Indies, where he finally be- flames once get head. Little expectcame master of a vessel. Soon after ing such a visit, no watches were on the rupture between this country and the look out, and the inhabitants were America, happening to be at Piscata- buried in sleep. In full security and way, in New England, he was in- confidence the armed force dispersed duced to desert his national colours themselves, depositing matches ready and enlist under those of the revolu- primed amidst combustibles on the tionists, prompted partly by a vin- decks and rigging. Nothing more dictive spirit, and partly by the pre- was required for their destruction datory prospects offered by the ap- than the signal for lighting the trains. proaching var—at the same time At this critical moment a loud knockchanging his name from John Paul ing was heard in the main street, and to Paul Joves.

voices of alarm were heard in every For this new sphere of action his directia. It was evident that they enterprizing character and talents were dbcovered, and nothing remainwere admirably adapted ; and these, ed but to commence in haste the added to his thorough knowledge of work of destruction, for the alarm the northern coasts of England, soon had now become general, and crowds brought him into notice, and pointed were seen running towards the piers, him out as a fit actor in the maraud- attracted by the lights which the reing schemes then in agitation. Ac- tiring party were hastily throwing on cordingly, in the latter part of 1777 board the vessels; fortunately with he was actively employed as Com- out effect, one only being seriously mander, in fitting out the Ranger* scorched, the crews and townsmen privateer, mounting 18 guns, be- succeeding irextinguishing the flames sides swivels, and mamed with a before they reached the rigging.

. In some accounts she is called the Revenge.

Foiled in their attempt, the privateer's had no sooner anchored, than she was men regained their boats

, and putting observed to dispatch 'an armed boat. off, reached their ship in safety. On The crew on landing seemed to have mustering, one only of the party was no particular object in view; and missing, and to him were the people of after remaining some time, strolling Whitehaven indebted for their preser- up and down the country, took to their ration; for, influenced either by con- boat and returned on board. Before, scientious motives or self-interest, he however, the people had recovered quitted his companions when engaged from their first alarm, the boat was about the harbour, and running up again observed to push off, and in a the main street, knocked at every few minutes a strong body of armed door as he passed, roused the sleepers 'men landed on the beach without infrom their beds, and called upon terruption; not, as before did they them to rise and save their lives and stroll about, but, forming in regular property.

order, marched directly to the castle, Having failed in this enterprize, which they immediately surrounded, Jones stretched across he Solway and then, for the first time, a suspiFirth, towards the coast of Scotland, cion of the real character of such unand with the early dawn entered the expected visitors was excited. Lady river Dee, forming the barbour of Selkirk, who, with her children, were Kirkcudbright. A little above its the only members of the family then junction with the sea the river widens resideut in the castle, had just finishinto a sort of estuary, ani here on a ed breakfast, when she received a promontory, or rather island, where summons to appear before the officer the river is about a mile and a half commanding the detachment; she in width, stands St. Mary's Isle, the obeyed with considerable fear, which Castle of Lord Selkirk, and here, was not liminished upon a nearer within a short distance of a spot en- view of the visitors, whose ferocious deared to him by the strongest ties looks, and ragged dress, too plainly and earliest associations, soon after showed their

hostile intentions; and, sun-rise Jones dropped his anchor, as it was evident that plunder was with feelings, if we may judge from their object, the worst might be exthe tenor of a letter which will be pected, in case of resistance. They mentioned in the course of the follow- were armed with every variety of ing narrative of that day's proceed- weapon ; muskets, pistols, swords; ings, very different from those which and one savage looking fellow bore the public gave him credit for, prov

an American tomahawk over his inig that, with all his failings, his shoulder. Two officers had the heart was still susceptible of imprese charge of the party; one of them sions which might have raised him, coarse and rude in language and beas much as his unjustifiable leeds had haviour; the other, on the contrary, hitherto lowered him, in the estima- was not only courteous and respecttion of his countrymen. Early in the ful—but even apologized to Lady morning, the privateer had leen ob- Selkirk, regretting the unpleasant served making her way up the river, duty in which it was his unfortunate her guns and warlike appearance at- lot to appear as a principal. Their tracting much attention and curiosity, first inquiry was for Lord belkirk : on for vessels of her description were being assured that he was not in the seldom seen working up the ntricate country some disappointment was passage of the Dee. Not a sispicion manifested.

After a short pause, was entertained of her real character, the latter officer said he must then but the male part of the posulation request her Ladyship to produce all 'conjectured her to be a visitar equal- her 'plate. She replied, that the ly unwelcome—a ship of war coming quantity in the castle was very small, up for the purpose of impressment. but what there was should be immeAccordingly at an ealy hour (Lord diately given up; and accordingly the Selkirk being fortunately in London), whole was laid before them, even Lady Selkirk was innrmed of the to the silver tea-pot used at breakcircumstance, and a request was fast which had not been washed out. made by the men servants that they The officer on receiving it directed might absent themselves for the pur- his men to pack up every article, pose of concealment. C'he vessel again apologizing pr his conduct on

« PreviousContinue »