15th Aug. 1796.
THE passports shall contain all the notes you recommend, my dear brother; I hope, also, to have good recommendations from people in authority, to our ambassador.... but all requires time. And, since I wrote last, I have promised to visit some friends I have not seen for four years, particularly that respectable prisoner of Marseilles (Duchess of Bourbon), who, after having been deposited at Moulins, after her imprisonment, is at length near Paris, not on her own estate, but with some old friends with whom she is happy and contented, and where it will be impossible for me not to stay a short time; which makes me fear I shall not be able to reach your country before October, perhaps later. . . . Besides, I am assured this will not be a good time for travelling, and I am advised to put it off till spring, when, also, I shall have a little more pecuniary means for my tour, and I can then begin with Strasbourg, where I have an intimate friend; thence, to see you, and to France again through Lyons, where I should have friends to see before returning to Paris; finally, home. . . . You may still write me here till further advice. My letters will be forwarded.
. . . . I shall be glad if Divonne translates Law's extract of Bohme; this rather relaxes my zeal for the translations I had undertaken, because I think that will be more than enough for the public; besides, I find I have so many other occupations that that of translator really weighed upon me in many respects.
My 'Nouvel Homme,' which you have got, will not give you much; it is a mere trifle in comparison with the other riches you possess. Read my first letters again, and you will see what I then said about it.
I know nothing in Bohme which states positively the communication you allude to ('Nouvel Homme.' p. 6). I do not, however, on this account, think he would have condemned it; but his great idea of the way of regeneration, and our new birth in the second principle, often kept him above the secondary truths which are more allied to the common condition of men. Besides, if the Divinity seeks but to rest His head in us, and is grieved that He cannot find the rest He seeks (which is, I believe, the true meaning of the Gospel), it would not be surprising if spirits were in the same case; the only difference being that the One seeks to bring His light into us, and the others come to seek it from us; but there is suffering and desire on both sides, for all that. In short, Bohme tells us that the universe exists only to manifest the wonders of God, who, without it, would not have been known to the angels; he says, moreover, that man ought to be the opener of these wonders; it appears to me this is speaking as plainly as we do ourselves, since the angels must wait for man to open.
The word Virtues may signify substance also, if you like; but it will be only, as you say, relatively to the properties and manifestations of these substances, a mere mode of expression: the word Virtue says all, and in every class.
What you say on the 'Three Principles' and the 'Six Points' suits me well, and I thank you.
I had already heard of the opinion of your German astronomer in respect to Uranus. I believe our astronomers find some objection, but I know nothing certain about it. For the rest, non hic opus.
. . . . Adieu, my dear brother, . . . hoping for the pleasure of seeing you this year or next.
Morat, 27th Aug. 1796.
ALTHOUGH my time here below is short and uncertain, and I hoped, my dear brother, to have seen you this autumn, I will not be so egotistical as to wish to interfere with your plans. . . . What consoles me a little is, that my pleasure will be enhanced in the spring.
You will be able, on your projected journey, to get a view of the progress of the building, in the different countries you visit. Without stirring from home, I, from time to time, discover a new workman. Besides my friend at Munich, there is a professor at Marbourg, who possesses the art of making himself read by the public, and who, by his ingenious fictions, manages to give his readers a good shaking. There is a rush for his works. His name is Jung, and he writes under the name of Stilling. He has just .finished a piquant allegory, a story, in four volumes, under the title of 'Heimweh' — home-sickness — which is well adapted for exciting in us the true heimweh. Besides which, I have met with under-workmen who advise me that inward works are translated in Italian and Spanish even at Rome, and I believe I have already told you of a secret society for the propagation of Christianity at Bale.
I am delighted to hear that you are likely to see your illustrious friend. You know how much I was interested in her four years ago, and her misfortunes since then have increased this interest; so that I not only wish for, but pray ardently for her development; and, if I were not afraid of its appearing strange to you, I would add that a powerful movement binds me to her soul.
. . . . Your 'Nouvel Homme,' as well as the writings you composed after your first school, will serve to confirm me in many things. The comparison of our favourite authors, especially our General, with the text of B., affords me daily openings. Besides these advantages, I have just made an important discovery: it is nothing less than a treatise of our friend B., which is not in the edition of 1682; for Gichtel received some manuscripts subsequently to 1682, which enabled him to compile a more complete edition, which was published after his death, in 1715. This new treatise is a second very interesting book on baptism.
When you write to your friend at Strasbourg, tell him that there is an excellent introduction to the works of Pordage at the head of his Metaphysics, and that this introduction is theosophical and very clear, and fills a whole volume, and is written by Count de Metternich, a pupil of Madame G... and spiritual father of Marsais, whose treatise you possess. In the collection of Madame G.'s letters, in five volumes, there are several addressed to M. de Metternich, who was minister and envoy of the King of Prussia on the question of the sovereignty of the county of Neufchatel. . . .
. . . . I hope, my dear brother, that whenever circumstances cause delays in your ordinary supplies of necessary funds, you will kindly let me know. I really trust you will do this. All that is in my power is at your service.
Before I close, allow me to ask you to explain your meaning in the 'Tableau Naturel' (vol. ii. p. 230), "The earth is the crucible for souls as well as for bodies."
You are wiser than I, my dear brother, thus to remain in your place-the marvels all come to you. The Heimweh is a beautiful subject; I have long felt that home-sickness, and if I were not something of a Frenchman, I should keep in my little comer, and work profitably at my task. But, as I only wish to see some good souls with whom I may talk of the progress of truth, I shall just allow myself this little flight, and then return and concentrate myself in my own country, with a few friends. It is a sweet anticipation, that of giving a few rays of spiritual life to the land of my temporal birth.
It was not for my friend (Duchess of Bourbon — Tr.) that I wanted the translation which I urged you to undertake, but for the public. I will confess to you also that Bohme is rather too strong a diet for her. Moral virtues and piety are her sort. As for teachings, she has taken of every shade, but without a regulator to put them in action; and I think it would be rather late now to try her with Bohme, who requires, so to speak, people formed otherwise than she has been, with her education at court and her spiritual schools. She is not the less the best creature in the world, and I am not surprised at the sympathetic relation between your heart and hers.
. . . . When we meet, I shall get acquainted with all your riches. Meanwhile, I try to enrich myself in and by my root, and I never cease to think that this is the only means which is really right and profitable for ever.
. . . . I again thank you for your kind offers. I am not at all likely to make use of them, as I have everything philosophically necessary.
The passage you quote, "The earth is the crucible for souls as well as for bodies," means that, as the earth is our theatre of expiation, it is in our passage through it that our souls are purged, and we recover our glorious bodies if we follow the laws of wisdom, which ought to be our guide and compass, in our journey through this lower world.
. . . . Address me as usual, till further advice have lately read the answer to the first of the 'Forty Questions,' and have seen how one must be of the trade, to be able to profit by all the wonders it contains. As for me, who have been walking herein these thirty years, I need all my faculties to be able to follow our friend in the depths of his work; and I confess I am sometimes left to drag myself along, far behind him.
Morat, 8th Oct. 1796.
SETTING aside all personal considerations, my dear brother, your projected journey is a thing to be commended in itself; for, the good you may do by your conversation, or your presence, may reach beyond the little space of time in which we vegetate: a single word of conversation may sometimes have incalculable results; therefore mind you do not alter your resolution, and call me wise because I remain in my place; if I were in yours, I should do like you.
Besides the happiness of labouring in the Master's vineyard, you would, very likely, have many opportunities of seeing for yourself, the progress of the work of the Temple, in different countries, since I, who do not stir from home, can see it, though it is mostly only by hearsay, except in a few instances which are under my eye. You, on the contrary, can look at the building on a wider horizon, and may help to prepare some of its pillars, &c.
Everywhere, my dear brother, whether in your own country or elsewhere, it will be dear to your heart, I am sure, to throw some rays of light into souls disposed to receive them. I agree that all soils are not equally adapted for the culture of this precious seed; but wherever these sublime truths can take root — wherever they have already germinated, but are in danger of being dried up or trampled under foot by the enemy — it is proper, nay, even urgently necessary, that we should sow, water, and cherish them; we should even try to leave good and laborious husbandmen after us.
I have got Law's work, thanks to the kindness of our friend D. (Divonne). It is not properly an extract from Bohme, but an excellent pious treatise, written in B.'s spirit, and with a great knowledge of him. My plan would be different: I should make a summary of the whole doctrine of B.; I should wish to place this doctrine within reach of a greater number of readers. When one has not passed through a school like that of your first master, an uncommon perseverance is requisite to arrive at only a mediocre knowledge of our friend's writings; moreover, he himself wished all his treatises to be made into one.
My aim, then, would be to give such a form to my work, as might induce those to read who do not ordinarily occupy themselves with such abstruse studies.
Our friend B. contains truths so essential, and which, in our day, would seem so new, that it would be very unfortunate if one could not succeed in getting them read. My design is to give them a historical outside, parabolical even. What 'Telemachus' is for morals and policy, I would have my book to be, for the spiritual life: even though it should be inferior to its pattern, it would not matter, if it sufficed to awaken and sustain the reader's curiosity. I will endeavor to let him see, at the end of the book, that he has been reading an epitome of B., for there are thousands of people who know nothing of our friend, even by name. I will make an outline of all this, and take your opinion, both as to the substance and as to the form, when I have the pleasure of talking with you at ease.
Our friend Divonne has returned to his companion's country (England — Tr.). I received your verses, which you enclosed in your letter, before be left, and I gave them to him. He was delighted with them, and wrote me on the subject from Berne, as follows: "I thank you for sending me M. de Saint-Martin's verses. Please tell him that, when I read these verses, I experienced something so marked and peculiar in my soul that I will just explain it to him. It seemed to me that my love for him was awakened most vividly, and that, at the same time, I felt something that came between him and me, or rather snatched him from me, so as to cause me a most painful impression." He concludes with these enigmatical words: "O truth! O Light! O Life! death only has heard the sound of your fame!"
. . . . I am well pleased with the volume of Law which he has left me. To give you a sample of this author's way of thinking, I here insert a passage from his book, which he has called 'Spirit of Prayer,' and is written in the form of a dialogue. After enumerating the ordinary faults and vices of men, he says: "This is the fallen human nature, and this the old man, which is alive in every one, though in various manners, till he is born again from above. To think therefore of anything in religion, or to pretend to real Holiness, without totally dying to this old man, is building castles in the air, and can bring forth nothing but Satan in the form of an Angel of Light. Would you know whence it is that so many false spirits have appeared in the world, who have deceived themselves and others with false fire and false light, laying claims to inspirations, illuminations, and openings of the divine life, pretending to do wonders, and to extraordinary calls from God? It is this: they have turned to God, without turning from themselves; they would believe in God, before they were dead to their own nature, a thing as impossible in itself, as for a grain of wheat to be alive before it dies."
The literary wealth I possess is the gift of Providence; He it was who inspired me with the thought of writing to you; a word from you gave me the desire to be acquainted with Bohme; and B. made me acquainted with Gichtel and all our other friends. These riches, in truth, are altogether useless materials, which will be charged against us, if we do not employ them; still they are favours of Providence, who is sometimes pleased to teach men directly, sometimes indirectly. See the last line, first page, of the preface to the 'Forty Questions! The first chapter of these questions is indeed very profound, and it is not for a little apprentice like me to speak of it: it is bound up with the author's whole system. As we get nearer to him, I find this system offers us treasures, relations, analogies, reasons, and mutual supports which are most admirable. The more we walk in Bohme's path, the more simple it becomes. A very delicate distinction, and, at the same time, very important, is that which our author makes between will and desire. A new truth which he teaches us, is, that, throughout the whole domains of Spirit, without any exception whatever, desire makes substance, Wesenheit (essence). Another very important truth is, that all intelligent beings desire to unite themselves to some natural substance, to make a dwelling of and nourishment for themselves. Our friend applies all his first fruits (his premises) to the work in a remarkable manner; as soon as we turn our will and desire towards the Repairer, we have faith, and if we resist the old earthly will, we receive the Regenerator's spirit. But as all Spirits attract or produce a natural substance analogous to themselves, the Regenerator's spirit attracts and covers itself with the glorious body, made of the pure element concealed in the other elements, and which, animated by the spirit of Jesus Christ, becomes the sacred body and blood which is so necessary, so indispensable for our nourishment. When the soul tastes this heavenly food, it breaks the darkness of death, and kindles the fire of eternity in itself. Out of this fire shines the light of charity, gentleness, and resignation; this gentleness then attracts the fire of the soul, absorbs, consumes, mortifies it; but out of this death rises life, the glorious spirit, the image of the Holy Trinity. The grand object consists, it appears to me, in that the human soul nourish and clothe itself with the pure element, and avoid being clothed with the impure spiritual body, produced by earthly desires and imperfections, for desires are substances analogous to their nature; the doctrine of the pure element appears to me a comer stone in our friend's teaching. In all this, we cannot too much admire the way B. develops the great truth that mediums are requisite, to pass from one state to another; another part of Bohme also strikes me with admiration, that is, his analogies. Nobody, I think, has better proved than he, that what is below is similar to what is above.
I have sometimes thought that if we were to compare B. with other writers, we should find none who had sufficient courage or genius to treat, at the same time, in the same words, and so profoundly, the great divine and the great physical Works, as our friend has done in his 'Signatura Rerum.' The more I familiarize myself with his writings, the more my astonishment at the innumerable riches I find increases, with the full conviction, however, that I am yet only at the door of some ante-chamber.
. . . . Many thanks for your explanation of the passage in the 'Tableau Naturel.' . . . Not having had the advantage of passing through the preliminary school that you did, my dear brother, I now and then meet with expressions in it which to me are rather obscure: for instance, p. 171, vol. ii. are the following words: "and if they wanted to be happy, they need only parler."
There are many meanings that may be given to this word 'speak; but I should like to have yours. . . . . Meanwhile I will apply it to the injunction of one of the early elect: "Pray without ceasing." . . . . Adieu, my dear brother. . . .
I LIKE your project, in imitation of 'Telemachus,' my dear brother, and I am persuaded it will do good. I also like much that passage from Law: "They have turned to God without turning from themselves"; that work must be a real treasure. Your remarks on different passages in Bohme are also very correct. That great man was an universal light, it is not surprising that he should lighten every region which he traverses.
As for the passage in my 'Tableau Naturel,' "they need only speak," I confess, it is a play of words which is perhaps hardly worthy of the grave matter in question. That word speak (parler) means only verber, to make use of the Verbe, the Word, which seeks only to unite with us, and fill us with Himself, to remove all obstacles from our path. That mode of expressing myself may have been a veil to those truths which all ears cannot hear, and yet are ever ready to profane. But it may also have been an offering I paid to the gaiety, not to say levity, of my nation, who play on every subject. The former motive, however, I remember, influenced me more than the latter. . . .
I am much struck with those few words of friend D. I therein see the state of the dead world which hears truths reverberating all round in vain; but I also see, in them, my state as a sinner, which prevents the same truths entering in me as deeply as I ought to make them enter, and here I stop — to, watch more carefully over myself than heretofore. I thank friend D. for this warning, and commend myself to his prayers. You will be kind enough to forward the enclosed letter to him, when you write, and send me his answer. You will be our message-bearer, for I am tenderly attached to him.
I expect to leave for Paris in two days. . . . You may address me at "Maison Corberon, Rue Barbette, No. 473, au Marais, a Paris." . . . .
Adieu, my dear brother. I more and more commend myself to your love and your prayers. Your remarks encourage me about my plans of travel; yet my age, and the openings, with which Providence favours me daily, teach me that I should not be altogether insane if I stayed at home. Thus, when this trip is over, it is probable I shall return to my abode, never to leave it again.
Morat, 16th Nov. 1796.
WITH the greatest pleasure, my dear brother, shall I be commissionaire between you and our friend Divonne, knowing beforehand that I shall therein be doing him a still greater pleasure. He promised to give me his address immediately on his arrival; I will then send him your letter without delay. I hope, when peace is made, he will come to my country; when I am sure he will pass a good part of his time with me.
I am quite determined to undertake the work in question. I must, however, assure you that I have not the presumption to match myself against the author of 'Telemachus'; I look upon that book as a chef-d'oeuvre, independently of its moral. . . . Mine will not have the historical charm, the richness of image, and beauties which this poem of Fenelon's possesses in such high degree. It will, in this respect, rather resemble the 'Voyage of Young Anacharsis,' more didactic, but, as for usefulness, and importance, and elevation of subject, it will surpass both.
Law's work is now affording me high gratification, and, that you may participate in my pleasure, I will copy for you another passage which immediately follows the one I sent you in my last.
"You may now see, Academicus, with what great reason I have called on you at your first setting out, to this great point, the total dying to self, as the only foundation of solid Piety. All the fine things you hear or read, of an inward and spiritual life in God, all your expectations of the light and holy Spirit of God, will become a false food to your soul, till you only seek for them through death to self.
"Observe, Sir, the difference which clothes make in those who have it in their power to dress as they please: some are all for show, colours, and glitter; others are quite fantastical and affected in their dress; some have a grave and solemn habit; others are quite simple and plain in the whole matter. Now all this difference of dress is only an outward difference that covers the same poor carcase, and leaves it full of its own infirmities. Now all the truths of the Gospel, when only embraced and possessed by the old man, make only such superficial difference, as is made by clothes. Some put on a solemn, formal, prudent, outside carriage; others appear in all the glitter and show of religious colouring, and spiritual attainments; but under all this outside difference, there lies the poor fallen soul, imprisoned, unhelped, in its own fallen state. And thus it must be, it cannot possibly be otherwise, till the spiritual life begins at the true root, grows out of Death, and is born in a broken heart, a heart broken off and from its own natural life.
"Then self-hatred, self-contempt, and self-denial, is as suitable to this new-born spirit, as self-love, self-esteem, and self-seeking is to the unregenerate man. Let me therefore conjure you, not to look forward or cast about for spiritual advancement, till you have rightly taken this first step in the spiritual life. AU your future progress depends upon it: For this depth of religion goes no deeper than the depth of your malady; for sin has its root in the bottom of your soul; it comes to life with your flesh and blood, and breathes in the breath of your natural life; and therefore, till you die to nature, you live to sin; and while this sort of sin is alive in you, all the virtues you put on are only like fine painted fruit hung upon a dead tree.
"Acad. — Indeed, Theophilus, you have made the difference between true and false religion as plain to me as the difference between light and darkness. But all you have said, at the same time, is as new to me as if I had lived in a land where religion had never been named. But, pray, Sir, tell me how I am to make this first step, which you so much insist upon.
"Theoph. -- You are to turn wholly from yourself, and to give up yourself wholly unto God, in this, or the like forms of words and thoughts:
"'O my God, with all the strength of my soul, assisted by thy grace, I desire and resolve to resist and deny all my own will, earthly tempers, selfish views, and inclinations; everything that the spirit of this world, and the vanity of fallen nature, prompt me to. I give myself up wholly and solely to Thee, to be all thine, to have, and do, and be, inwardly and outwardly, according to thy good pleasure. I desire to live for no other end, with no other design, but to accomplish the work which Thou equirest of me, an humble, obedient, faithful, thankful instrument in thy hands, to be used as Thou pleasest.'
"You are not to content yourself, my friend, with now and then, or even many times, making this oblation of yourself to God. It must be the daily, true, and only exercise of your mind, till it is wrought into your very nature, and becomes an essential state and habit of your mind, till you feel yourself to be habitually turned from all your own will, selfish ends, and earthly desires, as you are from stealing and murder; till the whole turn and bent of your spirit points as constantly to God as the needle touched with the loadstone does to the north. This, Sir, is your first and necessary step in the spiritual life; this is the key to an the treasures of heaven; this unlocks the sealed book of your soul, and makes room for the light and spirit of God to arise up in it. Without this, the spiritual life is but spiritual talk, and only assists nature to be pleased with a holiness that it has not." — Spirit of Prayer, Part II., p. 20 et seq.
You may judge, my dear brother, from this sample, what Law teaches as to practice. He is not less interesting on theory: he teaches, for instance, just as Bohme does, that there must have been a primitive intermediate element between the creative power and things temporal. You saw this great truth, dear brother, long before you had read the works of B., if I may judge from a beautiful passage in 1st vol. 'Tableau Naturel,' p. 60. But you will be particularly pleased with the way Law explains, after our friend B., all the difficulties of the subject of man's first crime, treated of in the first paragraphs of ch. 6 'Tableau.' After Law's beautiful and luminous explanation, our idea of the unfailing goodness of God, in regard to this event, remains in all its integrity. . . . It was no arbitrary punishment which followed the transgression of the law; that law was a paternal warning, and the punishment a foretold inevitable consequence; but the divine goodness at once poured healing oil into the sore: by the seed of the woman. All the measures of this astonishing redemption, the only one that was possible, were instantly taken to draw man out of this fall, on which redemption no language has expressions strong enough to express its greatness.
In this same 'Tableau Naturel,' p. 94, there is a remarkable passage, in which the identity of the laws of elementary and intellectual light is spoken of. The opening is clear, but what follows is not so much so, viz.: "There is reason enough that elementary light should rank amongst the most admirable phenomena of material nature, since it cannot be complete in its action and effects, without exercising and putting in play the four cardinal points of universal creation." Now, please tell me what you understand by ,exercising and putting in play the four cardinal points of universal creation.'
. . . . I hope you will not give up your plan of travel for next spring . . . on account of the season. . . . I, who am older than you, would go to see you, if I were as free as you. . . . Adieu, dear brother: help me with your prayers to finish my course. . . .
1st Nov. 1796.
. . . . The passage you send me from Law penetrates me with its correctness and truth. I find several like it in Melle Bourignon. I go every day to our national Library to read some portions of her works. I can find them nowhere else in all Paris: I have given a commission for them in Holland, and have in vain written for them to Lyons and Strasbourg. If they are to be found more easily in your cantons, I hope you will help me to get them.
As our friend B. appears to me to be useful to us for light, so Bourignon appears useful for our salvation. When lately rummaging here on one of the quays, I found an imperfect volume of her works, containing half of her 'Light out of Darkness! The volume cost me one sou: I did not let it slip; and, certainly, imperfect as it is, the dealer did not take me in; and if he was pleased, so am I. I am not so much so with my stay in Paris. I cannot describe the suffocation my spirit experienced when I arrived, and, since I have been here, I find morality so much debased, that I fancy I see the accomplishment of the 13th chap. of Isaiah on Babylon. The men whom I see passing in the streets, and filling the city, look to me like so many dragons, birds of the night, and wild beasts. Notwithstanding my wish to go to see you, and your pressing invitations, I must tell you that there seem to be reasons drawn from deeper reflections than my wishes, to suspend, or at least delay my plan. . . . I hope you may carry out your thought of retiring from public affairs, which will give you the necessary freedom to come to see me. . . . The pleasure to me would be very great. I should probably not be in Paris then: it is too painful to me; the very air seems to me infected, in comparison with the sweet banks of my Loire: so when I have finished what brought me here, I shall hasten back to my native country . . . where, though I have hardly a resting-place for myself, my wish to receive you worthily, will make me strive that you should want nothing. . . . What you ask me on the subject of the light which comes only by the concurrence of the four cardinal points, that belongs to the active development of the great quaternary which is the pivot of all things. See friend B.'s principle, the fourth form, which is the explosion of fire, and you will see that we have both said exactly the same thing, except that he carries his idea to the radical region itself, whilst I described only the physical order; but it is very clear that there is but one law for all regions; and as this light is in, an alternate balance with darkness, it shows you the systole and diastole of nature, which is but the image of the indissoluble alliance. Each of these ideas affords an inexhaustible mine, and I leave it to your mind to dig deeper into them.
. . . . Adieu, dear brother. . . .
17th Dec. 1796.
THE day after I wrote you last, dear brother, I received a letter from our friend D. . . . It is full of what Law calls the Spirit of Love. . . . The true meaning of his expression, "O truth! O Light! O Life!" &c., he explains by the 28th chapter of Job, verse 22. See explanation by Madame G. . . . which you can easily find in Paris. I answered him immediately, enclosing your letter, which he must have received by this time.
I am glad you have found Miss Bourignon: this excellent young lady gives us admirable advice. . . . I have given the necessary orders to procure her writings for you, and I hope to succeed.
What you say of the present state of your capital is entirely in conformity with my idea of it: that city is descending with fearful rapidity towards its full measure of maturity. You will find this picture of Paris in Miss B., as well as in friend B., but not so much in detail.
I hope your plans of travel are deferred only, not given up; for I dare not entertain the hope of seeing you chez vous. . . . However, I have no fear of Providence not finding the means to bring us together, if He sees fit to grant me that pleasure, which I so much desire.
. . . . I am, every day, more and more pleased with Law's work. I remember our friend D. said to me before he left Morat, "If you desire God, you have Him." This is the way Law develops this maxim:
"The spiritual life is as truly a vegetation as that of plants, and nothing but its own hunger can help it to the true food of life. If this hunger of the soul ceaseth, it withers and dies, though in the midst of divine plenty. Our Lord, to show us that the new birth is really a state of spiritual vegetation, compares it to a small grain of mustard-seed, from whence a great plant arises. Now, every seed has life in itself, or else it could not grow. What is this life? It is nothing else but a hunger after God and heaven, which no sooner stirs, or is suffered to stir, but it is embraced and quickened by the light and spirit of God and heaven, as a new plant from a seed is in the earth" (p. 146).
Try, dear brother, to get this book; its title is 'The Spirit of Prayer.' . . .
Paris, 8th Jan. 1797.
. . . . IF you write to our good friend D., you may tell him that, since my last, I have seen his second friend, Countess Julie, who still loves him well, and to whom I gave much pleasure in telling her news of him.
I willingly accept his explanation of the words in question, by the 28th chapter of Job, verse 22; but I do not much like Madame G.'s explanation of this passage of Job. It seems to me strained, and to jump over some steps which come between the letter of this passage and the depths which Madame G. attributes to it. On the whole, I incline more to Mademoiselle Bourignon than to the other: she may not be quite so meek, but she is more distinct, and her meaning suits me. I thank you beforehand for your endeavours to get me her works.
. . . . The extracts you send me from Law strike me more and more for their truth and importance, and although friend B. gives us these great truths en masse, and I have had sensible experience of them personally, it is always very profitable to meet with them in others, in other colours, and a fresh character. I wish, indeed, I were in the way of procuring this excellent work; but I see that I shall again be obliged to recur to you for it. I think we must commission friend D. to get it: he is on the spot, and will make every effort to oblige me. I wish also he would procure for me the works of Bohme, (in English), not comprised in Law's translation, but which have been translated by others, particularly his Letters. . . . I shall be obliged to him if he will add them to the 'Spirit of Prayer' and send them all to you; I will take care to cover the expenses immediately, in the way you may direct. I have forgotten to tell you that, in some of the different walks which crowd upon my observation, I find signs of those destructive societies which you spoke of in your former letters. Not that these exhibit the same projects, still less the same malice; but, with their fanaticism, they seem to me to attain the same end; and I keep apart from those austere Christians who learn nothing but fury in a school which teaches only indulgence and love. I should never end if I were to tell you of all the announcements, prophecies, and revelations I am inundated with from all sides. I listen to all, but keep to my text, which is, that we are close upon some great epoch, but must beware of all the declamations we hear about the manner and time of its execution: as for the epoch, it is announced too generally not to believe it; in respect to its form and hour, these are announced too variously to trust therein. . . .
. . . . Some ideas have come to me on the nucleus (noyau) of human societies, new enough to induce me to put them in writing: my friends have urged me to print them, and I have allowed myself to be persuaded. This writing is now in the press; it will be about the same size 'Lettre a un Ami Sur la Revolution Francaise,' but as my a does not embrace so many objects as that letter, which embraced, perhaps, too many. It will, perhaps, be open to another objection, that of not being sufficiently striking to vulgar eyes. However, I have done this work to acquit my conscience, which feels bound to propagate, as well as it can, the kingdom and rule of God; and, whatever the opinion of men may be, or the fruits which may come of my feeble attempts, I shall have performed my task, which, I firmly trust, will be acceptable to our Lord and Master. This suffices to encourage me, and give me patience under whatever may befall me. Adieu. . . .
Berne, 22nd Jan. 1797.
I HASTEN, dear brother, to enclose you a letter from our friend Divonne, which I have just received. . . . . I see he has made some good acquaintances in London; amongst others, that of a man who knows Law fundamentally, and from whom he has sent me some admirable extracts. Our friend is collecting all he can of Law, and I will give him your commission.
Nobody can deny that the present epoch bears a distinctive character of its own, which cannot be mistaken. I find, by my own observation, that the good seek each other, and that the wicked do the same. Again, it is so easy for zeal to run into anger, especially with so lively a people as yours; but this is far from the spirit of Christianity: "The spirit of love is the only bond of union betwixt God and the creature. All beside this, or that is not this, call it by what name you will, is only so much error, fiction, impurity, and corruption," says our friend Law.
Since you have received so many pictures and prognostications of the present epoch, I must add to their number by an extract of a letter I have just received from my friend at Munich: — 'The coming year 1797 will prove remarkable. Many meetings, coalitions, and conspiracies will occur; the wicked will run together, and the good will seek the good. All that has been divided will strive to coalesce. In the southern parts, especially, will extraordinary things occur. Men will build, and hurricanes will cast the buildings down: foundations will be laid, only to be overthrown; for the earth beneath will tremble. Great reformations will be attempted, and while Babylon is building without, the Spirit of the Lord, from within, will finish his great work.
.. .. 2 .. .. .. 4
10 .. .. 6
.. .. 1 .. .. .. 8
.. .. .. .. 9
"Such is the Horoscopic Picture of the year 1797.
"These figures are remarkable."
I hope you will let me have a copy of your new work on human associations. . . . Adieu, my dear brother, &c. . . .
26th Feb. 1797.
. . . . THANK you, dear brother, for D.'s letter. . . . It is, indeed, dictated by the spirit of love. . . . Thank you also for the extract you send me. It cannot be doubted that it contains great truths, for the year has hardly commenced when several confirmations occur: we may judge from this of the future.
I might, strictly speaking, find a meaning to each of the nine conjugated numbers which he sends you; but I might not find their true meaning: so I stop. Nevertheless, what I do see appears to agree with the principles, and tally with my own ideas; but you know my reserve in this kind of speculations, and this is why I do not speak of them more fully.
. . . . You will see nothing very important in the 'Association. humaine,' a copy of which I send you through Colonel Oser, since you are acquainted with the basis on which it is grounded. It was not for those who are well, that I wrote it, but for those who are ill; their number is great, and the hospital large. I see this more and more in the Babylon wherein I dwell; there is much work to be done here, and, in spite of all my projects of return to my own country, my duty may detain me here longer than I contemplated. As it comes to me naturally, and my human will does not seek it, I believe it is my duty to be guided by circumstances, especially when they come so as to give me employment in my particular line, and for the good of my neighbour. In this point of view, I have lately had some rays to direct me, and am strongly inclined to give myself to their guidance. Thus you may still address me here, . . . and, notwithstanding all my wish for so great a treat, I cannot yet see how, or when, or if at all, I shall be able to visit you. En attendant, I commend myself to your prayers.
Berne, 13th April, 1797.
I SHOULD, long since, have acknowledged your letter of 26th February, but that I have been overwhelmed with business of all kinds, especially with a multitude of public matters on which I had to prepare reports for our Grand Council. Although I have made my way through three committees, there are still four left. . . . Meanwhile, I have received from Mr. Oser your 'Eclair sur l'Association humaine.' I thank you much, my dear brother, for the handsome present of this excellent work, which you have made not to me only, but to my friends, all men.
I congratulate you on the form you have succeeded in giving to this work; I consider it a chef-d'oeuvre.
You have made the most abstract things clear; it is embellished by a crowd of images and brilliant language; you have kept within the strictest logic, and the limits of a pamphlet; walking in the steps of Rousseau, you have surpassed him; but what struck me above all, is, that you say some new things quite opposed to the vulgar way of thinking; you have risen to the source of the best government and the sublimest religion, without wounding any prejudices.
This, dear brother, is the way to write, to awaken and strike the world. But let us look at the ground of your work.
You rightly say what no writer has ever said: that a man who possessed nothing could never, according to the ordinary systems, become a member of any society.
You then raise the veil that covered the knot of the social contract; you point out the real defect of the ordinary systems, which is that they seek to derive moral order from the region of animal sensations only.
You expose the absurdity of the principles from which all writers have started, viz., that man had to make for himself the laws by which he was to live.
You have restored a principal idea to which I heartily subscribe, one which every government should never lose sight of: that is, that there is no true government but a theocracy. This is, indeed, a great truth; do not, my dear brother, stop on the way, go on to show men how they can see through the ruins which surround and enthral them; in the name of what is most holy, show them how to rend the veil which conceals the light that would guide them in the abyss they are in.
You show (p. 38) that our friend Bohme, who never read any author, knew more than they of the principles which ought to serve for bases to the theory of human associations. But, I repeat, go on, dear brother, and with your writings dissipate and destroy the obstructions which prevent men from seeing that shining light, which may and ought to be their guide.
You will say, I have done it already. That is true, but the book 'des Erreurs,' which contains some admirable truths, is an enigmatical book, within the scope of but a small number of readers; an impostor has given the key to it, which a rogue has published as a sequel.
The 'Tableau Naturel,' much plainer, and my favourite work, rests on allegorical and hidden bases; and the time is come, no longer to make use of allegories, but to preach on the house-tops, and reveal all secrets, when they would contribute to the restoration of mankind.
The 'Nouvel Homme' is a book; but the present epoch wants only a pamphlet written with that flashing eloquence which strikes like the lightning. You will say, we must not cast pearls before swine. That is true; but the profane will not read you, whether you are clear or obscure, open or reserved. None but seekers will read you, and profit by your light: give it to them as pure and unveiled as possible; the novelty of this light will spread a charm over your writings which will carry the wavering with an irresistible power.
Show us, at every page, how we may approach that universal and divine thought which ought to be the Spiritman's nourishment, and direct us through all the tortuous paths of life.
Your 'Eclair' has appeared quite a propos — just when the new elections may help to put an end to or arrest the torrent of blood which is inundating Europe. You tell us clearly in what the sovereignty of the people consists; for it assuredly does not reside in the chimera of the general will; this is why we republicans never admired it.
You reveal (p. 84) a sublime idea which will lead men to judge who has ever been the wise lawgiver, and the best administrator on the earth. That is a fine passage also where you say you hear, over lakes of blood, voices of nations, crying, "Victory! Glory! Liberty!" without giving the ear time to discern the sense of all this imposture.
This last work of yours is a grand daybreaking — a flash that may strike well-intentioned men, and enable them to see the midnight darkness they are in; but to this daybreak, add a light shining in the darkness, which shall not go out like a flash, but be their guide to lead them to their destination; teach them how they may put their whole being in action to arrive at the fulness of their measure, and become altogether Spirit-men; tell them, especially, that, to come near to God, they must go out of themselves; show them what true self-denial is, and that this self-denial in no wise prevents their fulfilling, earnestly, every duty of the social order; that, on the contrary, it will give them the necessary strength, even to defend their own rights with suitable dignity; tell them what that reason is about which man makes so much to do; show them how useful it is when rightly directed, and how blind, miserable, and deceitful it is, if destitute of the radical light; then, although you may not live in the memory of men, which is precarious and blind, you will live in the memory of the Truth, from whom nothing escapes, and who glorifies nothing but what ought to be glorified.
I will conclude my epistle with a word about yours.
I am very glad, for our Munich friend's sake, that his numerical table is found to agree with the principles. He is certainly an extraordinary man, this friend of ours; he may be an instrument in the hands of Providence, in the present epoch; I abstain from passing judgment on his works, because I have no call to judge them.
You will remember that, last year, I spoke to you of Professor Jung, author of an interesting work, which he called 'Heimweh.' As we are in correspondence, I told him I had a friend in France who had studied German to read Bohme in the original, and that he it was who had introduced me to that admirable author. Mr. Jung was delighted with this news, and could not sufficiently express his admiration that any one could study B. in the midst of the storm which raged in France. He has a strong desire to know your name, and has requested me to tell you what feelings this earnestness of yours, to read B., has inspired him with towards you. I purpose sending Mm your 'Eclair.' But then I must beg you to let me have another copy for myself.
If you have a moment's leisure, tell me what are now your favourite studies. . . . I do not yet give up the hope of seeing you in Switzerland. . . . . I have not heard further from Divorme. . . . Adieu, my dear brother, . . . &c.
30th April, 1797.
YOU do more honour to my work, my dear brother, you alone, than it will receive in my whole country. Here we are too light-minded about this sort of truth. Nothing is now read amongst us but such productions as will promote the interests of one party against those of another; they succeed each other rapidly, and are old at the end of a week. As for the great fundamental principles on which I rest, it is no longer the custom to care for them, since we have put aside the Principle of Principles. So my work meets with no luck, except with a few good souls like yours; all the others would blush to look at it. There are, however, some journals which have spoken well of it; this, however, is a poor commendation; moreover, I expected this beforehand; I wrote this work for my inner account, not my outward, and I am very unconcerned about the pay. I have sent you three copies; one for you, one for Divonne, and the other for whom you will, because you may possibly fall in with some one for whom it may be suitable. . . .
You recommend me to go on, my dear brother; but I believe I have done all in my power, in this line, in pointing to the end which ought to be as the beginning. The medium which should connect the two belongs to the code of regeneration, and forms part consequently of all that has been written on this head in every theosophical work; it would be everything to lead men to this fountain, and make them drink; and we have little beyond our desires and our prayers that we can make use of for this. Our good Master himself said: No one cometh to me except my Father call him. . . . Pray to the master to send labourers into the harvest, &c. However, I refuse nothing that may be likely to be useful, how little soever it may be; and if, in this part of the social band, I were asked to treat any question within my competence, I would do it willingly. But to get men not to separate morals from politics, I repeat, is the philosopher's stone; and this must be given to them from on high.
Meanwhile, since you ask what I am engaged in, I will acknowledge that, partly of my own accord, and partly on the solicitation of some friends, I have undertaken a work with the title of 'Revelations Naturelles,' in which I am collecting, either from my notes, or in anything new that may come to me, several points of view which appear likely to be useful to the hearts and minds of my fellow-creatures. According to some who have seen it, it already presents some wholesome waters at which the burning thirst may be quenched. I shall go on with it, if God favour me; and when it is done, if it is judged to be worth printing, and our pecuniary means permit, I shall publish it. I beg you not to mention what I here confide to you.
Your friend Jung is very good to think so kindly of me simply on account of my reading his compatriot B. I am amply rewarded by the profit derived. As to his surprise that I should have been able to employ myself in this way through the frightful storms which have rent my country these eight years, it would cease if he had seen things more closely, as I have — if he knew that some cantons of France have scarcely felt the storm, and my native country is one of them. I cannot, however, deny the special watching over me of Providence during this disastrous time; for, in the first place, there were many reasons for suspicion and arrest for one in my situation, civil, pecuniary, literary, social, &c., and yet I have been quits with an order once given to arrest me, which did not reach me till a month after the fall of Robespierre, who issued it, and which was cancelled before it could be executed. Moreover, I have three times passed through every crisis; I lived a whole year on the borders of La Vendee, and you will be not a little surprised when I tell you that, during these infernal agitations, when I went everywhere just like anybody else, things have been so ordered on high, that, since the Revolution, I have literally not heard the report of a cannon, except those which were lately fired here to announce peace with the Emperor (of Austria). You can tell this, if you like, to Mr. Jung, with my kind compliments. Do not let him take this for miracles; I am not worthy that any should be enacted for me: it was simply the care of Divine goodness, for which I am very grateful.
Adieu, dear brother. Pray for me, and forward the enclosed to friend D. . . .
Berne, 30th April, 1797.
You know, no doubt, dear brother, that the preliminaries of peace between France and the Emperor were signed on 17th instant, by General Bonaparte, Gallo, and Marsfeld. . .
Now, then, I hope you will take advantage of the fine season to carry out your journey to Switzerland. Our life is short and uncertain, and I flatter myself I shall, this year, have the pleasure of embracing you in my country. You know the value I set upon this pleasure, and I think you will certainly afford it to me, if it depends upon yourself. I hope this journey will be beneficial to your health. No considerations of economy ought to prevent you; for I still hope from your friendship that you will allow me to bear the expense of this trip. Get your passports renewed as before. Meanwhile still help me with your prayers. . . .
10th May, 1797.
IT WAS not the war, my dear brother, which restrained me in my project of going to talk with you on the subject which occupies us both; it is the persuasion I have that since we have been in correspondence, and especially with the riches you acquire in your daily researches, your prayers, and your studies, my help becomes of trifling consequence, not to say altogether superfluous; since, being aware of man's sin, its results, and the immeasurable assistance which the heart of God has brought you, you really have all that is required for your work. There is, moreover, a certain delicacy which for some time past restrains me in disposing of my person; and the more I advance, the less I find I ought to act on my own inclination and my will alone; and for this project of going to your climate, I have nothing but my desire — very lawful, no doubt — to unite myself still nearer to a friend like you, in whom I am interested in so many ways; but, however strong this desire may be, until I have more light than at present I must wait. These, my dear brother, are the real motives which guide me at present: I hope the desired opening may show itself some day, when I may satisfy myself completely, and go to pass some happy hours with you. Our temporal life, indeed, is short and uncertain; but our spiritual life is eternal, and we may begin it, in this world, by replenishing ourselves with divine light and the virtues of our principle, by daily drawing from the unfailing spring which was opened at the instant of the crime, and which has never since ceased to flow, in all abundance, in our souls and spirits.
. . . . Adieu, my dear brother; still remember me in your prayers. The parcel of pamphlets has left. I expect, in your next, you will have something to say to me from your estimable friend Mr. Jung.
Morat, 23rd May, 1797.
THE last time I wrote you, my dear brother, I had but a minute, and I had not time to say all I had to say about the facilities which the peace afforded for our interview. . . . In your letter of 10th inst. you look upon this project from a point of view to which I cannot object, namely, the want of a clear direction.
But allow me to remark on a reflection which precedes this motive. You say that, seeing my daily progress, your aid becomes of small consequence, not to say superfluous! But do you, my dear brother, believe that the knowledge of certain truths, which, from the beginning of time, has always existed amongst some men, has been transmitted from one to another by writing? I know not whether the thing is possible: you may know it better than I. Another question: Would you leave your work incomplete? — that is to say, would you lose the fruit of six years' correspondence, or, what amounts to the same thing, would you not enjoy the satisfaction of seeing the grain you have sown arrive at its full maturity? You know how much more I have to acquire than what I possess. Your objection, of help from above, is plausible, but it has some exceptions; for you know that what may be done by man is done by man; consequently, what may be done by a friend is done by a friend.
I beg you to weigh all this in your wisdom; and if present circumstances do not allow you actually to make the journey, to compensate me, in part at least, by some preparatory instructions which will make me more worthy and more fit to enjoy your conversation.
I entreat you also, for the happiness of men, my brothers, to do away entirely, in your projected work, with all that bears the impress of mystery. Conceal the author, if you think it prudent so to do; but, I entreat, do not conceal the truth! — do not envelop it in those dark clouds which spoil so many fine works — do not imitate your frigid countryman Fontenelle, who said to J. J. Rousseau: "If I had the truth in the palm of my hand, I would not open my fist to show it to men." Recollect, dear brother, that an author who speaks to the public to instruct it, is a doctor entering an hospital, who can cure his patients only by very clearly prescribing the remedies they must take, and the regimen they must follow. If you fear profanation, give a religious form or label to your work, and all who wear the livery of the world will let it alone. Insert in your revelation, if you can, a very useful and interesting piece at the beginning of Secs. 17, 18, 19, of the 'Tableau Naturel.'
Above all, teach men how they ought to employ all their rights and all the activity of their being to verify, as far as possible, the mediums which are between them and the true sun, so that the opposition being, as it were, null, the passage may be free, and the rays of light reach them without refraction. Tell them, on every page of your work, I conjure you, how man's will may most readily, surely, and strongly unite with God's will.
I have just said how useful an explanation from you would be; I believe it would be of the highest importance and value. I am persuaded even that you would thereby bring a great number of your brethren to the true well of living water which would quench their thirst.
A proof that there are several passages in the three sections of the 'Tableau Naturel' which might be explained with advantage is, that they still seem obscure to me, notwithstanding my long practice in reading that work. I will point them out to you, and you will greatly oblige me by giving me the necessary light to explain them to myself.
1st. Admitting, with you, the sensibility of our globe, pp. 103 and 104, I do not see how the earth is the basis of all sensible phenomena, and still less, how it can be the point on which all the virtues are manifested which have to be manifested in time.
2nd. You say, p. 105, "We live habitually in the laws of this second class, since we daily receive thoughts which can only come from those who compose it and inhabit it."
This, no doubt, is quite clear. "But," you continue, "as we are almost always passive in these communications, and all worship implies activity, we must presume that this second class presents to our study objects more physical, more urgent, more positive, and that it therefore requires more vigilance and a better directed care than those objects which occupy most men." But you nowhere say, my dear brother, in what this worship, this carefulness, consist — how far it is legitimate, &c.
As your aim assuredly was to instruct your readers, you will allow me to ask what you mean by this care and this worship, and in what they both consist?
3rd. At foot of p. 126 there is a fine passage, in which you say, 'They taught that there was not a single creature in the universe which was not an image of the divine virtues; that wisdom had multiplied her images around man, to the intent that, when he presented them to her, she might, on seeing them, give out a fresh unction from herself, and thus transmit to man all the help he needed; and, the original uniting herself to the copy, man might possess both."
A word or two of explanation would make this passage still more beautiful, and especially more instructive. What must man do, that, at the sight of the copy, Wisdom should give forth a new unction, and, the original uniting with the copy, man may possess both? For instance, what must man do, on seeing the material light and flame, to obtain and possess the virtues which were their originals?
You say, at the bottom of p. 167, "Without the vitiation or feebleness of our will, we should be separated only in appearance from all those beings, those good agents, whose beneficence has been consecrated in the traditions of people; and we should be near them in reality"! To judge from this passage, it is not only a corrupt will, but especially a feeble and coward will, which prevents us from enjoying the manifestations of the virtues which emanate from the great Principle, and deprives us of the advantage of intercourse with them.
If you can, my dear brother, tell me what besides pure intentions must be the acts of will which you think necessary to dissipate the veil which hides from us the beneficent beings who are ordained by the great Principle to co-operate in the restoration of man? I know the importance of this question; and it is only after so many proofs of your love and confidence that I ask it.
In my next letter I will give you some details about Mr. Jung (Stilling), a most interesting man. I have just heard from him; he knows and values your works. . . . He had not yet received the 'Eclair.' . . . I have also heard from Divonne; be thanks you for the news of his friends in Paris. . . . He begs you to read attentively the 14th chapter of Isaiah, and let him know what you think of the 29th verse.
Adieu, &c. &c.
19th June, 1797.
THE friendship which unites us, dear brother, would be a powerful motive to take me to you, if the guiding light saw fit to sanction the journey; the philosophical reasons you desire me to consider cannot now be so peremptory as they might have been in times past. The knowledge which formerly might be transmitted in writing depended on instructions which sometimes rested on certain mysterious practices and ceremonies, the value of which was more a matter of opinion and habit than of reality, and sometimes rested, in fact, on occult practices and spiritual operations, the details of which it would have been dangerous to transmit to the vulgar, or to ignorant and ill-intentioned men. The subject which engages us, not resting on such bases, is not exposed to similar dangers. The only initiation which I preach and seek with all the ardour of my soul, is that by which we may enter into the heart of God, and make God's heart enter into us, there to form an indissoluble marriage, which will make us the friend, brother, and spouse of our divine Redeemer. There is no other mystery, to arrive at this holy initiation, than to go more and more down into the depths of our being, and not let go till we can bring forth the living vivifying root, because then all the fruit which we ought to bear, according to our kind, will be produced within us and without us, naturally; as we see is the case with our earthly trees, because they are adherent to their own roots, and incessantly draw in their sap. This is the language I have held to you in all my letters; and certainly, whenever I may be present with you, I shall never be able to communicate to you any mystery more vast than this, and more suited to promote your advancement. And such is the advantage of this precious truth, that we may make it run from one end of the world to the other, and cause it to sound in every ear, without those who hear it being able to do anything with it but profit by it, or leave it alone; not, however, excluding the enlargements which might arise out of our interview and conversations, but with which you are already so abundantly provided by our correspondence, and still more by the minute treasures of our friend Bohme, that, in all conscience, I cannot think you are in want, and I shall think so still less for the future, if you will only work your capital wisely.
It is in this spirit, I shall answer you on the different points you wish me to clear up in my new undertakings. Most of these belong precisely to the initiations I passed through in my first school, and which I have long since left behind me, to attend to the only initiation which is truly after my own heart. If I spoke of those points in my early writings, it was in the ardour of youth, and from the empire which, through the daily habit of seeing them treated of and praised by my masters and companions, they had gained over me.
But now, less than ever, could I push any one forward in this way, seeing that I turn away from it more and more myself; besides, it would be utterly useless to the public, who, indeed, by writings, only, could not receive light sufficient, and who would have no guide besides. This sort of light ought to be for those who are called to make use of it by God's order, and for the manifestation of His glory; and when they are called thereto in this way, we need not be troubled about their instruction; for they will then receive, without any difficulty or any obscurity, a thousandfold more notions, and those a thousandfold safer, than any which a mere amateur like me could give them on all these bases. To speak of them to others, above all, to the public, would be merely to stimulate an idle curiosity, and be working rather for the glory of the writer, than for the good of the reader. Now, if I have committed faults of this kind, in my writings, I should commit still more if I persisted in doing the same again. Hence my future writings will speak much of that central initiation, which, by means of our union with God, can teach us all we ought to know; and very little of the descriptive anatomy of those delicate points on which you desire me to direct my view, and to which we ought to pay no attention except so far as they are comprehended in our department and charge. This will not prevent me, my dear brother, in this very letter, saying all I can to you on all the points you enumerate to me in yours, so I shall proceed in order.
1st. On the means of an immediate union of our wills with God. -- I will say that this union is a work which can be accomplished only by the firm and constant resolution of those who desire it; that there is no other means for this but the persevering use of a pure will, aided by the works and practice of every virtue, fertilized by prayer that divine grace may come to help our weakness, and lead us to the term of our regeneration. This will is the true property of man: God Himself seems to respect it, since, when He came to bring us the good tidings, the most He did was, through the angels, to wish us a good will; and we see that His property is, not to go farther than menaces and promises, leaving it to man to make use of either, as he likes. Thus, you see, what I might say to the public, on this head, would infallibly receive no more credit than the divine word itself does.
2ndly. On the sensibility of our globe. -- This is precisely one of the points I spoke of in the greenness of my youth, and which, for this reason, I would not undertake to push further, without first examining more deeply into it myself, and, above all, without orders. But, with the openings which our friend B. furnishes us on the contexture of universally particular nature, I think you may obtain some satisfaction on this subject, if you will take the trouble to read him with attention.
3rdly. On worship, &c., p. 105. — I will say that the worship which concerns the laws of the class alluded to is really the ceremonial order intrusted by God to His great Elect, at the different epochs when He has manifested His wisdom and His succours upon the earth. It concerned those whom He chose for the purpose; the others received the fruits. It was the different spiritual and divine instructions, received by Enoch, Noah, Moses, Elijah, and as many others as were charged with general missions. As for the generality of men, they are, like ourselves, charged only with their own restoration; and this is enough to occupy us: let us begin by being faithful in small things; it is for God, afterwards, to know whether He will think proper to trust us with great things.
4thly. On the union of the original with the copy. — I will say that in spiritual generations of every kind, this effect ought to appear natural to you, and quite possible, for images, being related to their originals, must always tend towards them. This is the route which all theurgic operations take, in which are employed the names of spirits, their signs, characters, and everything which, being derivable from them, may have relationship with them: this was the course of the Levitical sacrifices; this is the way, above all, of the law of our central and divine initiation, by which, on our presenting to God, as pure as we can, the soul which He gave us, and which is His image, we must attract the original to ourselves, and form the sublimest union, beyond any ever made, by any theurgy or any mysterious ceremony of other initiations. As to your question on the aspect of flame, or elementary light, how to attain the virtues which are its originals, you must see that all this is purely theurgical, and of that theurgy which makes use of elementary nature, and as such, I believe it to be useless, and foreign to our true theurgy, where no flame is needed but our desire; no light but that of our purity. This, however, does not interdict the profound knowledge which you may draw from Bohme on fire and its correspondences: you will find enough to repay you: the most active acquisitions, in this way, rise in spiritual operations on the elements; and on this subject I have no more to add.
5thly. On the vitiation or feebleness of our will. — You attach more importance to this passage than I do. It is answered completely in No. 1, above; for if a constant, pure, and strong will, must, with God's favour, obtain all things, the contrary will must deprive us of all things. So I cannot, in any other way, indicate what acts of the will are necessary to remove the veil. It is nothing else than, that, in the exercise of our will, we may learn to perfect and give virtuality to our will; which may be said of all our faculties, as is to be seen every day in what relates merely to our arts, our vulgar sciences, and even our agreeable accomplishments.
. . . . I have read the passage in Isaiah xiv. 29, pointed out by D. It contains a fundamental truth, verified in every epoch where divine justice has been manifested by the hand of nations employed for her vengeance: this truth is now, and will still be verified in our revolution, as it will always be in similar events; for this reason it would be a mistake to apply it to any particular circumstance, seeing it embraces all.
The five remaining Letters, dated from July to Nov. 1797, are only fragmentary and of inferior interest, and therefore omitted.