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saw an angel in the way clad in a violet-coloured garment : he joined me and walked by my side, and said, “I see that thou art returning from a school of wisdom, and that thou art delighted with what thou hast heard there; but as I perceive that thou art not a full inhabitant of this world, because thou art at the same time in the natural world, and art thence unacquainted with our olympic gymnasia, where the sophi [wise men] of old meet together, and by the information they collect from new comers, learn what changes and successions wisdom has undergone, and still undergoes, in thy world ; if it please thee I will conduct thee to a place, where several of these old sophi and their sons, that is, their disciples, dwell.” So he led me to the confines between the north and east ; and whilst I was looking from an elevated spot upon the country before me, lo! I discovered a city, and on one side of it two hills, the lower of which was nearest to the city: and he said to me, “ That city is called Athenæum, the lower hill Parnassium, and the higher Heliconæum; they are so called, because in the city and around it dwell the old sophi of Greece, as Pythagoras, Socrates, Aristippus, Xenophon, with their disciples and scholars :" and I asked him concerning Plato and Aristotle; he said, that they and their followers dwelt in another region, because their lessons were on subjects of reason, which belong to the understanding, whereas the former taught moral duties, which belong to the life. He informed me further, that it was customary at times to depute from the city of Athenæum some of the students to the literati who come from the Christian world, to learn what sentiments they entertain at this day concerning God, concerning the creation of the universe, concerning the immortality of the soul, concerning the state of man as compared with that of beasts, with other subjects of interior wisdom; and he added further, that a herald had that day proclaimed an assembly, which was a token that the deputies bad met with some

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strangers newly arrived from the earth, who had communicated to them matters of curious information. At that instant we saw many persons going from the city and its suburbs, some with laurel on their heads, some with books under their arms, and some with pens under the hair of their left temples. We mixed with the company, and as. cended the hill with them; and lo! on the top of it was an octagonal palace, which they called the Palladium, and which we entered : within it were eight hexangular recesses, in each of which was a book-case, and also a table, at which the persons crowned with laurel took their seats, whilst the rest were reclining on benches of stone, in the Palladium itself. A door then opened to the left, through which two strangers newly arrived from earth were introduced ; and after the usual salutations had passed, one of the laurelled sophi asked them, “What news FROM THE EARTH?" some forests,” they replied, “ there have lately been found men like beasts, or beasts like men, scarcely distinguishable, only that by the face and body they were known to have been born men, who had been lost or left in the forests when they were about two or three years old : they were not able to express by sound any idea of thought, nor could they learn to articulate sounds so as to form words; they did not know the food that was proper and suitable for them, as the beasts do, but put greedily into their mouths whatever production they found in the forests, whether clean or unclean; not to mention many other particulars of a similar description; from which some of the learned among us have formed several conjectures, and some several conclusions, on the state of men in relation to that of beasts.” On hearing this account, some of the old sophi asked, “What are the conjectures and conclusions formed from the circumstances you have mentioned ?" “ There are several,” the two strangers replied, “but they may all be comprised under these that follow : 1. That man by his nature, and also by birth, is more stupid, consequently more vile, than any beast, and that without instruction he would grow up 80: II. That he is capable of being instructed, in consequence of having learnt to frame articulate sounds, and thence to speak, thus by degrees to utter his thoughts, and to improve in such utterance more and more, till at length he is able to express the laws of society, several of which however are impressed on beasts by instinct from their birth : III. That beasts enjoy rationality as well as men: IV. So that supposing beasts were able to speak, they would reason on any subject as acutely as men; a proof of which is, that their thoughts are grounded in reason and prudence as well as the thoughts of men. V. That understanding is hut a modification of light from the sun, heat co-operating, by means of æther, so that it is only the activity of interior nature, which activity may be so exalted as to appear like wisdom: VI. That it is therefore a vain imagination to suppose, that man, any more than a beast, lives after death; unless perchance, for some days after his decease, in consequence of the exhalation of his bodily life, he may appear like mist under the form of a ghost, before he is dissipated into nature, much as a burnt twig, picked out of the ashes, appears

under the likeness of its peculiar form : VII. Consequently, that religion, which teaches that there is a life after death, is a mere device, contrived to keep the simple in inward bondage by its laws, as they are kept in outward bondage by the laws of the state.

To this they added, that people of mere ingenuity reasoned in the above manner, but not so the intelligent: and they were asked, " How do the intelligent reason ?” They replied, that they had not been informed, but so expressed themselves by supposition.

* Did we not meet with such extravagant notions as these, maintained and propagated every day in the writings of some of our modern philosophers, we might be inclined to suspect the truth of this relation, from an idea of the impossibility of the human mind ever suffering itself to be blinded by such groveling and ill-grounded conceits, instructed as it might be by the light of Divine Revelation. How much is it to be lamented, that such wretched sophistry should ever pass in the world under the sacred and venerable name of philosophy!

On hearing this account, all who sat at the tables exclaimed, “ Alas! what times are come upon the earth! what changes has wisdom undergone! how is she transformed into a false and infatuated ingenuity! the sun is set, and is stationed beneath the earth in direct opposition to his meridian altitude! From the case just mentioned of those who have been left and found in forests, who cannot see, that man uninstructed must necessarily be such as he was then found to be! For is it not instruction which makes him what he is ? is he not born in a state of greater ignorance than a beast? must he not learn to walk and to speak ? were he not taught to walk, would he ever stand upright on his feet ? and were he not taught to speak, would he ever be able to express any thing of thought ? is not every man moulded according to the instruction he receives? is he not insane by the reception of falses, and wise by the reception of truths ? and if insane by the reception of falses, is he not still possessed with the conceit that he is wiser than the receiver of truths ? are there not men who are so senseless and wild, that they are no more men than those who have been found in forests? is it not so with such as are devoid of memory ? From all such examples then we have drawn the conclusion, that man without instruction is neither man nor beast, but that he is a form capable of receiving in it that which constitutes a man, and so that he is not born man, but that he is made and becomes man; and that he is born such a form, that he may be an organ receptive of life from God, to the end that he may be a subject into which God may infuse all good, and by union with Himself make him eternally blessed. We have perceived by your discourse, that wisdom at this day is so far extinguished, or turned to folly, that mankind know nothing of the state of man's life in its relation to that of beasts, and hence they know nothing of his state of life after death ; when yet, they who are capable of attaining such knowledge, but are unwilling to attain it, and for that reason deny it, as many of you Christians do, may fitly be likened to such as are found in forests; not that they are rendered so stupid from the want of instruction, but because they have made themselves so by the fallacies of the senses, which are to truths what darkness is to day-light.

At that instant, a certain person standing in the middle of the Palladium, and holding in his hand a palm, cried out, “Unfold, I pray you, this arcanum; how man created a form of God, could be changed into a form of the devil. I know that the angels of heaven are forms of God, and that the angels of hell are forms of the devil, and those two forms are in opposition to each other, the latter being insanities, and the former wisdoms; tell me then how man, created a form of God, could pass from the light of day to such a midnight, as to deny a God and eternal life.” To this the several masters replied in order, first the Pythagoreans, then the Socratics, and afterwards the rest : but there was a certain Platonist amongst them, who spoke last, and his opinion prevailed; and it was to this effect : “ The men of the Saturnian or the golden age, knew and acknowledged that they were forms receptive of life from God, so that wisdom being inscribed on their souls and hearts, they saw truth by the light of truth, and by means of truths had a perception of good from the delight of its love; but as mankind in succeeding ages departed from the acknowledgment that all the truth of wisdom, and consequently all the good of love in them, entered by continual influx from God, they ceased to be the habitations of God, and at the same time ceased to have converse with God, and consociation with angels; for the interiors of their minds were bent from their former direction, which was an elevation by God upwards towards God,

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VOL. II.

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