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Knowledge of Higher Worlds and its Attainment

Rudolf Steiner


The Pictorial Key to the Tarot

Arthur Edward Waite


Tao Te Ching

Lao Tzu, James Legge (trans.)


The Haunted Bookshop

Christopher Morely


Documents concerning the life and character of Emanuel Swedenborg :

by R. L. Tafel

Excerpt:

The friendship which you manifest in your letter greatly pleases me; and I thank you sincerely for both, but especially for your friendship. The praises with which you overwhelm me, I receive simply as expressions of your love for the truths contained in my writings; and I refer them, as their source, to the Lord, our Saviour, from whom is everything true, because He is the Truth Itself, John, xiv, 6. I have considered chiefly the remarks you make at the close of your letter, where you express yourself as follows: "If, perchance, after your departure from England, your writings should be the subject of discussion, and occasion should arise for defending you, their author, against some malignant slanderer, who may wish to injure your reputation by a web of falsehoods — as those are in the habit of doing who hate the truth — would it not be well for you, in order to repel such slanders, to leave with me some particulars respecting yourself, your

* The Latin original of this letter was printed separately by Dr. Hartley in 1769, under the title: Besponsum ad Epistolam ab amico ad me scriptarn, and was reprinted in the Aurora, Vol. ii, p. 224, in 1800. The first English translation of this letter was published by Mr. Hartley himself, in his English translation ot Swedenborg's work on the "Intercourse" &c., which he published under the following title: "A Theosophical Lucubration on the Nature of Influx, as it respects the Communication and Operations of the Soul and Body. By the Honourable and Learned Em. Swedenborg. Now first translated from the original Latin. London. 1770," 4to.

degrees in the University, the public offices you filled, your friends and relations, the honours which, I am told, have been conferred upon you, and anything else that might be useful in establishing your good character, so that ill-conceived prejudices may be removed; for it is our duty to use all lawful means, lest the cause of truth should suffer injury." After reflecting on this, I have been led to yield to your friendly advice, and will now communicate to you some particulars of my life, which are briefly as follows.

I was born at Stockholm, on the 29th of January in the year 1689. My father's name was Jesper Swedberg;* who was Bishop of West-Gothland, and a man of celebrity in his time. He was also elected and enrolled as a member of the English Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts; for he had been appointed by King Charles XII3 Bishop over the Swedish churches in Pennsylvania, and also over the church in London. In the year 1710 I went abroad. I proceeded first to England, and afterwards to Holland, France, and Germany, and returned home in the year 1714. In the year 1716, and also afterwards, I had many conversations with Charles XII,3 King of Sweden, who greatly favoured me, and the same year offered me an assessorship in the College of Mines, which office I filled until the year 1747, when I resigned it, retaining, however, the official salary during my life. My sole object in tendering my resignation was, that I might have more leisure to devote to the new office to which the Lord had called me. A higher post of honour was then offered me, which I positively declined, lest my heart should be inspired with pride. In the year 1719,I was ennobled by Queen Ulrica Eleonora,4 and named Swedenborg; and from that time I have taken my seat among the nobles of the rank of knighthood, in the triennial Diet of the Realm. I am a Fellow and Member, by invitation, of the Royal Academy of Sciences in Stockholm; but I have never sought admission into any literary society in any other place, because I am in an angelic society, where such things as relate to heaven and the soul are the only

* A more detailed account of Bishop Jesper Swedberg will be found in Documents 9A and 10.

subjects of discourse; while in literary societies the world and the body form the only subjects of discussion. In the year 1734, I published, at Leipsic, the Regnum Minerale, in three volumes, folio; and in 1738 I took a journey to Italy, and staid a year at Venice and Rome.

"With respect to my family connections, I had four sisters.6 One of them was married to Ericus Benzelius,6 who subsequently became the Archbishop of Upsal, and through him I became related to the two succeeding archbishops,7 who both belonged to the family of Benzelius, and were younger brothers of his. My second sister was married to Lars Benzelstierna8 who became a provincial governor; but these two are dead. Two bishops, however, who are related to me, are still living; one of them, whose name is Filenius,9 and who is Bishop of East-Gothland, officiates now as President of the House of the Clergy in the Diet at Stockholm, in place of the Archbishop, who is an invalid; he married my sister's daughter: the other, named Benzelstierna,10 is Bishop of Westmanland and Dalecarlia; he is the son of my second sister. Not to mention others of my relations who occupy stations of honour. Moreover, all the bishops of my native country, who are ten in number, and also the sixteen senators, and the rest of those highest in office, entertain feelings of affection for me; from their affection they honour me, and I live with them on terms of familiarity, as a friend among friends; the reason of which is, that they know I am in company with angels. Even the King and the Queen,11 and the three princes, their sons, show me great favour: I was also invited once by the King and Queen to dine with them at their own table, which honour is generally accorded only to those who are highest in office; subsequently the Crown Prince12 granted me the same favour. They all desire me to return home; wherefore, I am far from apprehending, in my own country, that persecution, which you fear, and against which in your letter you desire in so friendly a manner to provide; and if they choose to persecute me elsewhere, it can do me no harm.


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