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cline the rest : we may delight in his theory of forms or of cor. respondences, may be aided in tracing the hidden meanings of symbols, or animated by the poetic energy of his vision, without being bound down to things that seem to us unimportant. We can converse with him without acquiescing in the declaration that all angels have, at some time, been men, or the like, which seem to us groundless and arbitrary. It is not so with his followers; they are like the majority of disciples; if you do not know the master before knowing them, his true face will be hidden from you forever. Their minds being smaller, they lay the chief stress on what is least important in his instructions, and do not know how to express the best even of what they have received ; being too mighty for them to embrace they cannot reproduce it, though it acts upon their lives.
So it is with all the books at the head of this notice. Noble's Appeal has been, we understand, a famous book among the followers of Swedenborg. We did not find it sufficiently interesting to give it a thorough reading. It is addressed to those who object to Swedenborg from a low platform. It arrays arguments and evidences with skill, and in a good spirit, and contains particulars, as to matters of fact, that will interest those who have not previously met with them. It quotes Swedenborg's letter to Mr. Hartley, written with such a beautiful dignity, and giving so distinct an idea of the personal presence of the writer, also the letter of Kant with regard to one of Swedenborg's revelations as to a matter of fact, (the fire at Stockholm.) The letter has been quoted a hundred times before, but it always remains interesting to see the genuine candour with which a great mind can treat one so opposite to its own, and pleasant see how far such an one is above the necessity felt by lesser minds of denying what they cannot explain.
We have often been asked what we thought of these preten. sions in Swedenborg. We think, in the first place, none can
doubt his sincerity, and in few cases could we have so little rea. son to doubt the correctness of perception in the seer. Sweden borg must be seen by any one acquainted with his mind to be in an extraordinary degree above the chance of self-delusion. As to the facts, the evidence which satisfied Kant might satisfy most people, one would suppose. As to the power of holding intercourse with spirits enfranchised from our present sphere, we see no reason why it should not exist, and do see much reason why it should rarely be developed, but none why it should not sometimes. Those spirits are, we all believe, existent somewhere, somehow, and there seems to be no good reason why a person in spiritual nearness to them, whom such intercourse cannot agitate, or engross so that he cannot walk steadily in his present path, should not enjoy it, when of use to him. But it seems to us that the stress laid upon such a fact, for or against, argues a want of faith in the immortality of souls. Why should those who believe in this care so very much whether one can rise from the dead to converse with his friend ! We see that Swedenborg esteemed it merely as a condition of a certain state of mind, a great privilege as enlarging his means of attaining knowledge and holiness. For ourselves, it is not as a seer of ghosts, but as a seer of truths that Swedenborg interests us.
But to return to the books. They show the gradual extension of the influence of Swedenborg, and the nature of its effects. In Mr. Parsons's case they are good. His mind seems to have been expanded and strengthened by it. Parts of his book we have read with pleasure, and think it should be a popular one among the more thoughtful portion of the great reading public. As to Mr. Barrett's discourse, the basis of Swedenborgianism had seemed to us broader than such a corner stone would lead us to suppose. Generally, we would say, read Swedenborg himself before you touch his interpreters. In him you will find a great life, far sight, and a celestial spirit. You will be led to think, and great and tender sympathies be gratified in you. Then, if you wish to prop yourself by doctrines taken from his works, and hasten to practical conclusions, you can do so for yourself, and from Swedenborg himself learn how to be a Swedenborgian ; but we hope he may teach you rather to become an earnest student of truth as he was, for it is so, and not by crying, “ Lord, Lord,” that you can know hiin or any other
excelling mind. But, whatever the result be, read him first, and then you may profit by comparison of your own observations with those of other scholars; but, if you begin with them, it is, even more than usual, in such cases, the blind leading the blind. Confucius had among the host one perfect disciple; others have been, in some degree, thus favoured, but Swedenborg had none such, and he is not far enough off yet for the common sense of mankind to have marked out what is of lead. ing importance in his thoughts. Therefore, search for your. selves; it is a mighty maze, but not without a plan, and the report of all guide-books, thus far, is partial.
METHODISM AT THE FOUNTAIN.
THE LIFE OF CHARLES WESLEY. Comprising a Review of his Poetry
and Sketches of the Rise and Progress of Methodism, with Notices of Contemporary Events and Characters. By Thomas JACKSON. New-York, 1844.
This is a reprint of a London work, although it does not so appear on the title-page. We have lately read it in connection with another very interesting book, Clarke's “ Memoirs of the Wesley Family,” and have been led to far deeper interest in this great stream of religious thought and feeling by a nearer approach to its fountain-lead.
The world at large takes its impression of the Wesleys from Southey. A humbler historian has scarce a chance to be heard beside one so rich in learning and talent. Yet the Methodists themselves are not satisfied with this account of their revered shepherds, which, though fair in the intention, and tolerably fair in the arrangement of facts, fails to convey the true spiritual sense, and does not, to the flock, present a picture of the fields where they were first satisfied with the food of immortals.
A better likeness, if not so ably painted, may indeed be found in chronicles written by the disciples of these great and excellent men, who, as characters full of affection no less than intellect, need also to be affectionately, no less than intellectually, discerned, in order to a true representation of their deeds and their influ.
The books we have named, and others which relate to the Wesleys, are extremely interesting, apart from a consideration of the men and what their lives were leading to, from the various and important documents they furnish, illustrative of the symptoms and obscurer meanings of their times.
In the account of the family life of the rectory of Epworth, where John and Charles Wesley passed their boyish years, we find a great deal that is valuable condensed. And we look
upon the picture of home and its government with tenfold interest, because the founders of the Methodist church inherited, in a straight line, the gifts of the Spirit through their parentage, rather than were taught by angels that visited them now and then unawares, or received the mantle from some prophet who was passing by, as we more commonly find to have been the case in the histories of distinguished men. This is delightful; for we long to see parent and child linked to one another by natural piety-kindred in mind no less than by blood.
The father of the Wesleys was worthy so to be in this, that he was a fervent lover of the right, though often narrow and hasty in his conceptions of it. He was scarce less, however, by nature a lover of having his own will. The same strong will was tempered in the larger and deeper character of his son John, to that energy and steadfastness of purpose which enabled him to carry out a plan of operations so extensive and exhausting through so long a series of years and into extreme old age.
This wilfulness, and the disposition to tyranny which attends it, the senior Mr. Wesley showed on the famous occasion when he abandoned his wife because her conscience forbade her to assent to his prayers for the then reigning monarch, and was only saved from the consequences of his rash resolve by the accident of King William happening to die shortly after. Still more cruel, and this time fatal, was the conduct it induced in marrying one of his daughters, against her will and judgment, to a man whoin she did not love, and who proved to be entirely unworthy of her. The sacrifice of this daughter, the fairest and brightest of his family,