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Paris, 9 Floreal.
I DO not, like you, my dear brother, see any connection between that passage of your minister Daniel and Joachim Greulich, unless it be in the death of the two personages there mentioned; for the subject, knot, denouement, and results of these two tragedies are entirely different, to say nothing of their secondary parts. But this would be too long to write about in a letter.
Our normal schools are at their last gasp; they will be buried on the 30th instant. . . . When my time is more my own, I will look for the 'Memoirs of Abbe Rozier,' where your experience is alluded to.
You have given me a real pleasure in sending me the account and letter from Munich. . . . I have formed the best opinion of the author. Would to heaven I might join you and him in your country, that we might travel together along the fruitful and pleasant road we are on! But I always restrain my desires, as you know, lest I should put them in place of the will of Providence. Besides, financial matters, in our present position, fare ill with little rentiers like me, and I might really have to sell all my property to be able to live one year or two in a foreign country. If Providence decrees me this consolation, He will make smooth the way.
A countryman of yours, who knows your family well, and who also knows a good deal of your Munich friend, has been lately introduced to me by a mutual acquaintance. He spoke well of the writer of the Munich letter, although he is not in a position to judge him in his present degree, having known him formerly at a much lower point. I spoke to him of the letter very briefly; I did not show it to him, nor say where the writer lived, for fear of indiscretion. This countryman of yours had lived in the grand monde, and somewhat imbibed its futilities; but I do not find him as much spoiled as others, who are gangrened with the deadly philosophical systems now ruling in that world. He wishes well, and seeks it; he has read, and still reads, my works; but I have treated him as I did you, by sending him at once to our friend B., whose name he did not even know, and who, I fancy, is rather strong meat for him; but it is God who sows, and waters, and gives the increase as it pleases Him. . . . He requests your assistance to procure our friend's books. . . . You will, no doubt, expect me to name him — it is Baron de Krambourg. He has lost a beloved wife, and he lives in France because he has lost his fortune in assignats . . . which he cannot turn into money. He esteems you as he ought from the character I have given him of you. . . .
Adieu, my dear brother. I commend myself to your prayers. &c.
Morat, 11th May, 1795.
I YESTERDAY, my dear brother, received your letter of 9th Floreal, as I was passing through Berne, on my return from a journey which I had made for the public service. . . . So you have seen M. de Krambourg! I wish, from the bottom of my soul, that his reformation may be sincere, and, above all, lasting, and that his resolutions may not prove like the caprices of a blase, who, after being sated with the wine which the world afforded, now turns to the strong drinks of the marvellous. He never was able to appreciate my Munich friend, notwithstanding the stay he made in this country, and I am obliged to you for the reserve you used in regard to the letter. All he wrote me was trusted as to the bosom of a friend, and what I wrote to you was written for you, and you only.
M. de Krambourg had — I know not whether he still have — intimate relations with people who are our perfect antipodes. Those people know that I am always in their way, and that I should not be afraid to acknowledge, in case of need, that I am our Master's disciple. M. de Krambourg might very easily, and that without any other intention than to publish a romance, inform them of all he had discovered of our intimacy; you may judge what a bonnebouche this would be for these gentry: it would be an excellent foundation on which to raise a building of calumny, enthusiasm, fanaticism, ridicule, &c. &c. You know what most men are made of, &c. &c.
. . . . In these times we cannot be too careful. . . . I will suppose M. de K. to mean well at present; who can answer for him in the future? He must, at least, pass a noviciate, before he is to be trusted with the names of your friends. Although M. de K., for the time being, is not my compatriot, because, by an act of egregious folly, he has lost his rights of citizenship, and he cannot return to his country till be gets his pardon, which I would not advise him to ask for at present, that would not in any wise check my readiness to get our friend's works for him, if I were sure I should thereby be doing him any good; but, besides their scarcity, seeing that those who possess them will not give them up, . . . there is another reason which makes M. de K.'s request altogether useless to him, and that is that he would be a thousand miles away from comprehending them; he would not even understand a common serious work written in German in any concise or reflective style. If his intentions are honest, let him read the New Testament and 'L'Homme de Desir'; he will have enough to do to put in practice the contents of these books. Think of our friend sometimes, also of our General Gichtel and his thirty disciples. Doctor Raadt, for his versatility, was perhaps something like M. de Krambourg. If he wants to meddle with our ideas as an amusement, he is lost. To know whether he is in earnest, examine whether he really desires his conversion, and his conversion only; and whether he holds himself, his ways, and his faults in abhorrence. Meanwhile, it seems to me the best thing in regard to him will be never to speak to him of the work, and as little as possible of me and my friend. . . . Wait till he turns Christian before you open yourself to him.
Adieu, my dear and respected brother; do not cease to pray for me, especially at present, for the help and support of our Divine Master.
Paris, 3 Prairial.
I WAS anxious about your silence, my dear brother; I began to fear my letter was lost. As for our Munich friend, you may be tranquil about my attachment to him; . . . what you say of him is stamped with too good a die, to doubt that it will be lasting, even though we should never meet in this lower world. I intend, as soon as my little writing is in print, to send him a copy, through you. So you will receive two. They will go through the channel of the Swedish embassy. . . . I hope you will not have long to wait.
As for M. de K., I see him very rarely, owing to the distance of our respective residences, and the difference of our social connections. . . . I am very glad that I did not allow him to see a single word of the letter in question, which, I swear to you, has been, and shall be, entirely and exclusively entre nous.
For all that, I sincerely blame myself for not having been still more discreet, and for not having withheld your name and that of your friend, which there was no occasion for him to know; and my heart suffers for the pain my thoughtlessness may have occasioned you, for which I condemn myself, and ask your pardon. . . . You know what I think of the marvellous, and my repugnance to it; . . . my conversation with K. did not embrace it for an instant. . . . Thus nothing will be easier than to deal with him exactly as you recommend. . . . I will tell him what you say of the Gospel and 'L'Homme de Desir' as coming from myself. . . . To any questions about yourself or family, I will say that you have not told me a word. . . . Thus, my dear brother, I hope your friendship for me will dispel all the clouds which my haste may have raised up in your mind. This lesson will serve me for the rest of my days, and I thank you with all my heart for the wholesome truths you have told me on this score.
I shall soon leave for my own country; not without regret, for, there, I have no friendships of the kind I want, and here I have several. I listen to everything, I see all that come, trying the spirits, according to the precept. There are some who had described to me beforehand, almost to the very letter, the shaking we have just experienced, in which I have again seen how fortunate and powerful the star is that presides over our revolution. There are others who describe things to me of a higher order, the confirmation of which also frequently appears. They are all animated with the most lively faith, and entire trust in the virtues and spirit of our Divine Repairer, which makes their intercourse sweet and wholesome.
But I promise my friends to return, as soon as I finish some business at home, and when the crops have made provisions a little less dear; and I hope to have the means of living here a little more pleasantly than I have done the last five months, and be less taken from my work. I will tell you of this in due time; I speak of this to nobody yet, any more than of what I have confided to you above; I like to trust such subjects only with those who are above; now men, for the most part, are below.
Adieu, my dear brother: love me and pray for me still.
Morat, — June 1795.
I AM afraid, my dear brother, I caused you pain by my last letter; be assured that this occurrence has not in the least diminished my attachment to you. I happen to know of a certain state of things which makes it really urgent to maintain a strict reserve on the subject of our thoughts.
Unbelief has actually formed a well-organized club; it is a great tree which overshadows a considerable portion of Germany, bearing very bad fruit, and pushing its roots even into Switzerland. The enemies of the Christian religion have their affiliations, their lookers-out, and a well-established correspondence; they have a provincial for each department, who directs the subaltern agents; they control the principal German newspapers; these newspapers are the favourite reading of the clergy who do not like to study; in them they puff the writings which support their views, and abuse all besides; if a writer ventures to rise against this despotism, he can hardly find a publisher who will take charge of his manuscript. This is what they can do in the literary way; but they have much more in their power than this.
If there is a place vacant in the public-instruction department, or if a grandee wants a tutor for his children, they have three or four candidates all ready whom they get presented through different channels; by which means, they are almost always sure to succeed. In this way is constituted the University of Gottingen, the most celebrated and best attended in Germany, and where we send our young men to study. They intrigue likewise to place their affiliates in the bureaux of ministers in the German Courts; they have them even in the Councils of Princes.
Another grand means which they employ is that of Basil, . . . Calumny. This is all the easier for them, that most of the Protestant ecclesiastics are, unhappily, their most zealous agents; and as this class has a thousand ways of mixing everywhere, they can, at pleasure, circulate reports which are sure to hit their mark, before one knows anything about it, or is able to defend oneself. This monstrous coalition has cost its chief, an old man of letters at Berlin, and at the same time one of the most celebrated publishers of Germany, thirty years' labour. He has edited the first journal of the country ever since 1765; his name is Frederick Nicola. This 'Bibliotheque Germanique' has, by its agents, taken hold also of the spirit of the 'Literary Gazette' of Yena, which is very well got up and circulates wherever the German language is known. Besides this, Nicola influences the 'Berlin journal,' and the 'Museum,' two works of repute. Political organization and affiliated societies were established, when these journals had sufficiently disseminated their venom. Nothing can equal the constancy with which these people have followed their plan. They have moved slowly, but surely; and, at the present hour, their progress has been so enormous, and their influence become so frightful, that no effort can now avail against them; Providence alone can deliver us from this plague.
At first, the march of the Nicolaites was very circumspect; they associated the best heads of Germany in their 'Bibliotheque Universelle'; their scientific articles were admirable, and the reviews of theological works occupied a considerable portion of every volume. These reviews were composed with so much wisdom, that our professors in Switzerland recommended them, in their public discourses, to our young churchmen. But they let in the poison, a little at a time, and very carefully. This poison was cleverly supported. At last, they threw off the mask, and, in two of their affiliated journals, these wretches dared to compare our divine Master to the famous Tartar impostor, the Dalai Lama. These horrors circulated among us, without a single person in all Switzerland giving the least sign of displeasure. Then, in 1790, I took the pen, and, in a political newspaper, to which was added a sheet of Miscellanies, I revived the public indignation against these illuminati, Aufklarer, or enlighteners, as they called themselves. I dwelt on the atrocity and profound stupidity of that blasphemy.
The disorders of the Church, in the states of the King of Prussia, in the matter of irreligion, had become so great, that the present king was obliged to break up the Consistory of Berlin, and commit the choice of candidates for the ministry to one of his favourites, M. de Wollner, and two safe men, Messrs. Hillmer and Woltersdorf. In 1788, the king had published an edict which had restrained the clergy from preaching any other religion but the one which was tolerated; but this edict was trampled in the mud by all the affiliated journals, and ridiculed on the stage, in a play written on purpose. One of the authors of this play, Doctor Bahrt, was arrested, and while he awaited his trial, Mr. Wollner, who had been the most abused in his satire, sent him money for the support of his family. The king was satisfied with his being imprisoned for some time in Magdebourg. He is now dead. He was a prolific writer, and one of the most furious advocates of the doctrines of the Nicolaites. As I had then, a little more leisure than I have now, I followed the steps of these gentry, particularly in their progress in my own country. About this time, I entered into correspondence with our Munich friend, whose acquirements, and especially his love for religion, gave me the sweetest satisfaction. He knew physics well; and, by his new experiments, suited to his Prince's taste, he gained his goodwill. I told him of my observations of the grand league formed against the Christian religion; he became interested, and made observations on his side. He discovered so much, that he took up arms also. He composed a memorial to awaken the governments. I recommended him a secret interview with the Elector. He obtained one, was approved, and his memorial was sent to Vienna, with the support of the court. I renewed acquaintance with Chancellor Zimmermann, at Hanover, an old lion, one of the best writers of Germany. He entered into all my ideas, and drew up a memorial which he got presented by one of his friends to the Emperor. This friend was a professor at Vienna, whom the Emperor often received. Leopold approved our watchfulness, made a handsome present to Zimmermann, and wished to take active measures in concert with the court of Berlin, when he died suddenly, and who knows how? The enlighteners gave a cry of joy on the occasion of his death, and candidly confessed, in their affiliated journals, that they had had a narrow escape. Nicola! and his 'Bibliotheque Germanique' were driven from Berlin; but he carries it on at the present hour, in another province of Germany. Since then, matters have gone continually from bad to worse. However, I have found honest people, in different places, combined against these brigands; at Bale, where the clergy are still intact, there is the centre of union of a society which extends to different countries, and publishes a work, carefully edited, for the maintenance of Christianity; and, six weeks ago, I received a letter from a professor in the University of Hesse, informing me that a numerous society of learned men of all classes, had been formed there, to resist the enlighteners; at present these gentry do less harm by their writings than by their affiliations, their intrigues, and monopoly of places; so that the greater part of our clergy, in Switzerland, are gangrened, even to the marrow in their bones. I do, on my side, all I can, to clog the march of these people. Sometimes, I succeed; but sometimes, my efforts are powerless, because they are very dexterous, and their number is called Legion.
I beg you will, on returning to Paris, speak to your new friends on this painful state of affairs; consult with them, and let me know the result.
It is a great satisfaction to me to hear that you have found some true worshippers of our divine Master. I respect them from the bottom of my heart. . . . Adieu, my dear and respected brother: never doubt my unalterable attachment to you, and do not forget me in your prayers.
What do you say to Nos. 5 and 8 in the 'Gradual March,' Stuffengang, of our Munich friend, in the letter I sent you? Do not you think they are coins of the best possible die? Who would have expected such acquirements in an elective Councillor, in the court of the Elector Palatine, and a secretary of Archives?
I THANK you, my dear brother, for the information you give me of the society in question. This system has been trying to spread itself a long time, and, for the last sixty years, our philosophers have planted it far and wide in France. I am convinced that our normal schools, without belonging to this society, had the same aim. Thus, as I said, and still repeat, I regard it as a work of Providence, that those schools have been abolished.
I have not the least doubt that the society you speak of will likewise end; do not believe that our French revolution is an indifferent thing upon the earth; I look upon it as the revolution of human nature, as you will see in my pamphlet; it is a miniature of the last judgment, with all its features, except that things succeed one another in it, whilst, at the last, everything will be done instantaneously. France has been visited the first, and that very severely, because she has been very guilty. Those countries which are no better than she, will not be spared, when the time of their visitation arrives. I believe, now, more than ever, that Babel will be pursued and overthrown progressively throughout the globe; which will not prevent her again throwing out new shoots, which will be uprooted at the last judgment; for, at the present epoch, it will not be visited to its centre, because, fortunately for us, its centre is still hidden; and wo to those who will be present when this centre pours out its infection!
As to the course which should be taken in regard to the infernal doctrines which are spreading in Germany, I believe the one you take is the best; writing, and good conduct, are the sole remedies we can apply against this poison. When it is further developed, no doubt Providence will raise up equivalents to counterbalance it. A thought strikes me in reference to this, — I will tell you; it is, when you have read my little pamphlet, to beg you will collect yourself inwardly, and consult yourself, and see whether you think it might be likely to forward in any way the good you wish to do to your Germanic countries. If so, I would be bold enough to ask you to translate it into your tongue, and publish it. The work would be easy to you; and a few leisure days would be all that was required. The cost would be a trifle in your country; in mine, this bagatelle, which, in other times, would have cost me five or six louis, has cost me nearly a thousand ecus. And, although I do not expect to get my money back, seeing that these subjects are very uninviting to the levity of my countrymen; and although I must expect to be booted rather than applauded, still, as I felt in my conscience that those thoughts ought to see the day, I did not hesitate; and I rejoice at it with all my heart, feeling sure that He for whom I did it will one day give me a better reward than men can give. You will tell me what you think of the idea I have submitted to you; whatever you decide will be right.
As for Mr. de K., if it is in reference to that Germanic Society that he has given you any umbrage, I should think it was without foundation. I do not think he has any connection of this sort; he seems too unfit for the pen for such a task. He is simply in the class of the frivolous and ignorant; a little bothered with the philosophers systems; having, however, within these few months, acquired (not through me) a belief on some important points. If I see him on my return to Paris, as he expressed a wish I should, I will try to encourage him in the path of faith, and that of his generation; and you may be assured that I shall never compromise you or your friend, and still less the Work.
Your friend's Nos. 5 and 8 struck me as they did you, especially as this 3 m/7 4 agrees wonderfully with my numbers, according to my first school.
The number 8 is its active development, in that it really made him find the lost word again. The spirit of God blows where it will. I am not surprised that this light should have germinated in a prince's court, — Isaiah was of a royal race, — any more than I am surprised that these high doctrines should be found in a shoemaker like our friend B., or a shepherd like the Prophet Amos. I am quite convinced that this simple shepherd was one of the most advanced in the knowledge of the Word. God regards not men's persons; it is only our friends that are of His kingdom. All the caricatures and harlequinades which we stuff into this lower world, are strangers in the eyes of Providence; they are, as it were, a kingdom apart, phantoms on which His vision cannot rest. Read Nos. 13 and 14 of that 47th letter of Boehme, which was so dear to General Gichtel, and you will see in what life consists, and where the fountain of Juventus really is — the knowledge of the name of God and the Word which transmits it. These letters I am reading at present.
I am staying for some time in the country with my few remaining relations. With the repose and wholesome food I here enjoy, I repair my physical health, which had suffered considerably during my sojourn in Paris. I still more repair my spiritual health by reading our friend and the Sacred Scriptures, and prayer.
As for my writing-desk, I allow it to rest awhile; I am so afraid of moving without my guide, and so much would I wish never to separate myself from my source and ground, in thought, word, or act. In short, I would have no will of my own, and I feel how far I still am from this. Nevertheless, that is my aim. Let us help each other to this end as much as we can; that will be a true fraternity.
The friends in Paris, to whom you wish me to speak of your German affair, on my return, are not in a position to help otherwise than with their prayers; they are simple people, and unlearned; and the favours they enjoy are far from having altogether my confidence. The astral seems to have much to do with it; and the subjects which occupy them are of only secondary importance. The high sciences and beauties of spiritual logic are unknown to them; but they have some virtues; they come to see me; I refuse nobody, and I try all, according to my poor ability.
Adieu, my dear brother; your previous letter nowise gave me pain; a brother never can give pain, my own weakness only and unsteadiness could do it; as for you, you always give me only pleasure. I commend myself to your prayers. Let me know when you receive my pamphlet. . . .
Address your letters always to Arnboise, although this is posted in Tours, which is the nearest town to the country where I am; and insert in the address, Place de la Republique — to save delay.
Morat, 1st July, 1795.
MY DEAR AND RESPECTED BROTHER,
I have just received your interesting letter of 30th Prairial. Our friend B. believes, like you, that Babel will be pursued and destroyed; and, what is very remarkable, he foretold that his writings would remain, and that the time would come when the pearl would be looked for in them. At this present hour, I know several booksellers at Berne, who assure me that they are often eagerly inquired for; yet it is nearly two centuries since they were written. . . . As for Mons. de Krambourg, whose true name is Frisching, and whose family are of patrician and consular rank among us, you will do a good work if you kindle the good spark which seems to show itself in his soul. He was led astray, in his youth, by his handsome person and his fortune, which, if well managed, would far more than have sufficed for all his reasonable requirements. It was the women — especially his mother, who idolised him — who spoiled him. He passed his youth partly in France, where he devoted all his faculties to become homme a bonnes fortunes, and make himself agreeable. Thus the women contracted his mind; for I believe he might have been made better than he is. His first tutor was a respectable man, who believed in religion: he may, perhaps, have left some seed sown, which, now that he must be disgusted with the world, may begin to germinate. His unhappy proclivities caused him to commit such an act of rashness as exceeded all bounds; but it would be of no use to trouble you with it now. I am persuaded, not only that he carries on no correspondence on the Germanic Society's affairs, but that he is altogether ignorant of its existence. What I thought of was a correspondence on matters of business which he formerly had with a clergyman chez nous, who is what they call homme d'esprit, but a bad fellow for all that, and to whom he might have imparted our intercourse, by way of news, to fill up a corner of a letter.
. . . . As for our friend, I am rather anxious about him, and that on an occasion which gave me a fresh proof of his goodness. Out of friendship for me, or, to speak more correctly, from a desire to contribute to the glory of the active intelligent Cause, he resolved to have an interview of two or three days with me; he wished to communicate verbally to me the knowledge of the lost word. We appointed a rendezvous in a town on the frontier. He was recovering from a serious illness; and on the way, between Munich and Switzerland, he was taken ill again, so that they were obliged to carry him home without my having the pleasure of seeing him. He wrote to me of his illness, hoping soon to recover, and with the intention to carry out his project of an interview as soon as possible; he sent me, at the same time, a work of his which had just issued from the press. His letter was of the 6th June, since when I have not had a syllable from him; so that I am not without fear on account of his real state of health. His book is the most astonishing production that has appeared in Germany since the writings of our friend B. He has executed, with far superior means, the very project which I had conceived, from some scattered hints in Leibnitz and Wolf, at the age of nineteen, when I was still in the army. I shall always remember, with pleasure, the time I passed in the fort of Saint-Pierre, half a league from Maestricht, where I was on detachment, with the writings of a countryman of yours, from Touraine, in which I found, in his 'Traite de la Methode,' that his spirit felt the same wants as my own. At the age of twenty-four, I met Daniel Bernouilli, at Bale, who encouraged me; and a year afterwards Lambert published his 'Novum Organum,' which further confirmed me as to the great deficiencies or void which thinkers in different countries found in the road leading to the truth. Since that time I have employed my leisure hours in that work, as I believe I have told you in one of my letters. But here is our friend, who, with an assiduity without example, has penetrated, in much less time, all the scaffoldings, which, by dozens, our philosophers and human corruption have built, one on the top of the other, to hide the truth from us. He makes use also of a new instrument, or at least one little known: this instrument, which was not one of mine, is numbers. After establishing his principles, he uses his instrument openly for the solution of many problems of very different kinds. It is all dressed up in the costume of modern philosophy, the better to confound the pretended teachers of the age, of whom one, Kant, of Konigsberg, has, since the last ten years, produced a kind of metaphysical revolution, which has made a prodigious commotion in Germany.
I quite believe that it was 'Le Tableau Naturel' which put him on the way; besides that, he found in Marsilius Ficinus, 'De Secretis Numericis,' and many others still more ancient, tracks which encouraged him. I will quote only four passages: —
"Paucissimi vivunt in terris qui profunda numerorum intelligunt arcana." — Plato.
"Mirantur profunda, nescientes quibus principiis nos in operatione mirandorum utamur. Derident nos; nos autem haec de nobis judicantes propter eorum ignorantiam non miramur." — Mars. Fic., 'De Secret. Num.'
"Numeri ratio contemnenda nequaquam est, quae in multis sacrarum scripturarum locis quam magis sit aestimanda elucet diligenter intuentibus; nec frustra in laudibus Dei dictum est: Omnia, mensura, pondere et numero fecit." — August., 'Civ. Dei II
"Numerorum imperitia, multa facit non intelligi translate et mystice posita in scriptura." — Id., in 'Doctr. Christ.' I. 2.
On my way to the frontier I had a rencounter which I must relate to you en passant. I met at an inn, a Frenchman, formerly established at Lyons, called Gabriel Magneval. As he found that I was connected with one of his intimate friends at Bale, who was present, he was very open. We spoke of Lyons in 1784 and 1785. He was one of the first directors and contributors to that sort of temple which cost them 130,000 francs. I did not conceal from him my doubts as to the soundness of their doings; doubts founded principally on the immorality and want of Christian faith in their master. He readily agreed to the worthlessness, and especially to the unbridled pride, of their teacher; but he argued that the truth might, like the gifts of the Roman Church, pass through the channel of an impure priesthood, without losing its value; that they themselves were of good faith, and full of respect for our divine Repairer. I found by his conversation that their master, notwithstanding his low morality, worked by the word, (paroles,) and that he even transmitted to his disciples the knowledge how to work in the same way, in his absence. I observed that they had probably produced forms in effigy only, and not real things. He then asked me how I thought I could distinguish real manifestations from such as were only counterfeit? I told him I thought the best guide in this was to have a perfect inward disposition. Our conversation was interrupted; but the remarkable fact remains, that an impostor like Cagliostro was in possession of the word. Do you know this citizen Magneval personally, and what do you think of him?
You are now reading our friend B.'s 'Letters'; so am I. I was reading them when I received your letter. I find our author shows forth in them all the beauty of his soul. I have read in the xlvii. Letter the Nos. 13 and 14 which you recommended. The basis of these Nos. seems to me to consist in the precept not to will anything without the will of God. I believe also that the secret inclination which draws us to him is the drawing of the Father, in confirmation of what Jesus Christ said: 'No man can come unto me except the Father draw him." But there is a wide distance between this attraction and the knowledge of the Word, or the sacred name. Our author seems to give a particular virtue to the pronunciation of this name, just as if the vibration of the air, caused by the voice pronouncing the four great letters of the holy name J. H. V. H., carried with it a virtue or sensible force, which, added to the virtue and force which are not sensible, would produce effects that would fulfil all our desires! I confess this is an impenetrable mystery to me; and, according to what my friend at Munich says, there must be a particular way to pronounce this name: this is a new profundity in which my ideas are lost. According to the doctrine of No. 13, one would be led to believe that the Divine will makes use of the human voice as an organ for conducting the light through the fire.
If you have permission to open your thought to me on this subject in clear and plain terms, I shall be obliged to you; if not, tell me, with the same frankness, that you cannot.
Adieu, my dear and respected brother. I hope your sojourn in the country and the diet you speak of will confirm your health. I am eagerly looking for your books. Do not forget me in your prayers. I have told our Munich friend the kind things you commissioned me to say to him.
I AM not surprised, my dear brother, to hear that our friend's works are sought for, as he foretold; but I doubt whether much fruit will be gathered from them, seeing that, notwithstanding their simplicity, they are so profound that few will read them, or, if they do, they will take them in a sense injurious to their dignity. I doubt whether I should myself have enjoyed them as I have, if I had not been prepared for it by twenty-five years of wonders, both in deeds and intellectually.
I have finished the 'Letters.' Now that I have gone rapidly through all our cherished works, I am taking them again at their foundations, and studying them. Within these few days I have read the 13th, 14th, and 15th chapters of the 'Three Principles'; that is to say, I have studied them. My astonishment becomes boundless when I see that such wonders are in the world. The mind of man runs eagerly after the key to any of the small truths of his narrow atmosphere, this limited physical universe; whilst, in the grounds and developments which our friend opens to us, may be found the keys of every universe, and the principle of every key. When will it then please Providence that I may find people to whom I may communicate these treasures His will be done! This study, in which I have engaged, will somewhat interfere with my plans of translation; for I find much more profit in it for myself than in the other. My egotism, moreover, is excused by circumstances, seeing that, even if I had translated all the work, it would now require at least a hundred thousand ecus to get it printed, and I should have no such means. I shall therefore probably confine myself, till further orders, to translating the most important subjects for myself; and even this would be only in case I am condemned by the state of things to live as I do, far from assistance in matters of foreign languages; for my eyesight is going at a great pace, as I think I once told you; and if, in time, it were to leave me altogether, as it may happen, and I should find myself amongst French people only, I should at least be able to have something of our friend read to me in my own language, without which it would be all lost for me. You see what calculations I am obliged to make. Be thankful, therefore, to Providence that you are in a free country, in a quiet position, and surrounded with men of desire. I know, by the want of these advantages, how precious they are. . . . I should be very sorry if your friend's accident had any evil result. When you get any news of him, please let me hear, for I am more interested in him than I can tell you. If you can procure me his work, you may be sure I shall be impatient to read it; as for mine, I am surprised it has not reached you. I will write to Paris a third time about it.
His work, you say, makes use of an instrument not used in a similar undertaking of your own youth; that is, numbers. And you believe it was 'Le Tableau Naturel' which put him on this route. This is what I have formerly thought, and what now, more than ever, I think on the subject of numbers: — They have given me, and still occasionally give me, a sort of intelligence; but I never thought that they gave more than the mere ticket of the package, and not commonly the substance of the matter itself. I felt this from my first entrance into my first school. Friend Boehme came to justify this presentiment, by giving me, in nature, the very substance of all the operations, divine, spiritual, natural, and temporal, of all the testaments of the Spirit of God; of all spiritual churches, ancient and modern; of the history of man, in all his degrees, primitive, present, and future; of the mighty adversary, who, through the astral, has made himself master of the world, &c. And, in this respect, I say he has given me more than numbers would ever have given, although both branches will go perfectly well together, and are, as it were, inseparable. I yesterday remarked, with much pleasure be it said, en passant, that he dwelt, as it seemed to me, on a point of doctrine admitted in my first school, on the possibility of the devil's resipiscence on the formation of the world and the emanation of man. It is in the xv. chap. of the 'Three Principles,' No. 7: "In hope that they would," &c. Add to this No. 12 of the same chap., in which man is put in the place of this devil, where he was only to bear the same spirit of the Fiat which established him in it, and you will see how much alike these two doctrines are. I will not extend my reflections which this study has given rise to; paper would not suffice.
I know the citizen Magneval only by name; nor do I know anything of his career in the path he has taken. As to the power of the word passing by impure organs, the fact cannot be denied, even if we had no other example than the prophet Balaam, for I do not reckon the pretended transmission of the Church of Rome, which, in my opinion, transmits nothing as a church, although some of its members may sometimes transmit, whether by their own virtue, or by the faith of the hearers, or by a particular will of goodness. But this power does not make the instrument more respectable. It is only a casual power in his hands, which becomes still more so in that of others to which he may transmit it. Thus it is not the less absolutely necessary to look only to the true fountain, when we know it; and this brings me to your question about the pronunciation of the great name. My precept is not to meditate much on this subject, because, as I am persuaded this fountain must draw all its value from itself, we cannot touch its waters with our cold human speculations, without disturbing their limpidity. I do not think this of you, in the present instance; and I will, as a brother, tell you, in common language, all that occurs to me on the subject.
I see that, from the beginning, the Word has always communicated itself directly, without medium. It spoke directly to Adam, to his children, and their children, to Noah, Abraham, and Moses, to the prophets, &c., till the time of Jesus Christ. It made use of the Great Name, and so willing was it to transmit it directly, that, according to the Levitical law, the high priest shut himself up alone, in the Holy of Holies, to speak it; and, according to some authorities, he wore little bells on the border of his robe, to conceal its pronunciation from the ears of those who were in the outer courts. I believe the transmission of it which took place in the sacerdotal ordinations, when the high priest pronounced it to the candidates, must have been rather to revive in them this spring, which sin had benumbed in all men, than to teach them its material pronunciation. This vivifying method was sheltered from all error and profanation; and it was only as the high priests departed from it, that the mechanical method gradually took its place. And I firmly believe that in this first method of ordinations, the Great Name may have been whispered over the candidates, and that only in the subsequent ordination it would be transmitted by distinct speech. Remember, in reference to this, certain vaults of steel and shuffling of feet, in the masonic ceremonies. When the Christ came, He made the pronunciation of this word still more central and interior, since the Great Name expressed by those four letters was the quaternary explosion, or the crucial sign of all life; whereas Jesus Christ, by exalting the Hebrew [[sin]], or the letter S, united the holy ternary itself to the great quaternary name of which three is the principle. Now, if, in the ancient ordinations, the quaternion had to have its own source in us, with much greater reason should the name of Christ take from Himself alone its whole efficacy and light. He told us to shut ourselves in our chambers when we pray; whilst, under the ancient law, it was absolutely required to go to the temple of Jerusalem, to worship; and, here I will refer you to our friend's little treatises on Repentance, Prayer, and True Resignation, in his 'Way to Christ'; you will there see, at every step, if every human method has not vanished, and whether it is possible that anything can be truly transmitted to us, if the Spirit do not create itself in us, as it creates itself eternally in the principle of universal nature, where the image from which we took our origin is in permanence, and which served for the framework of the Incarnation. No doubt, a great virtue is attached to this true pronunciation, whether central or oral, of that Great Name, and that of Jesus Christ, which is as its flower. The vibration of our elementary air is a very secondary thing in the process by which these names make sensible what was not so before. Their virtue is to do to-day, and at all times, what they did at the beginning, in creating all things; and, as they made all things before the air existed, no doubt they are still higher than the air when they perform the same functions now; and it is no more impossible for this divine word to make itself audible, even to one who is deaf and in a place the most deprived of air, than it is difficult for spiritual light to make itself visible to our physical eyes, even though we be blind, and shut up in the darkest dungeon. When men force words out of their true place, and, ignorantly, imprudently, or impiously give them over to the external regions, or to the disposal of men of the world, the words still, no doubt, preserve their virtue, but they also withdraw a good deal of their virtue within themselves, for they cannot accommodate themselves to human combinations; thus these valuable treasures have suffered only loss, in passing through the hands of men; to say nothing of their place being continually taken by negative or dangerous ingredients, which, producing also their effects, have ended by filling with idols the whole world, because it is the temple of the true God, who is the centre of the word.
Here, my dear brother, you have, in short, what your question has availed with me. I feel myself so drawn towards the inward cultivation of the word, that if a man were presently to offer me the true pronunciation of the two great names on which both the Testaments are founded, I believe I should refuse the offer, so persuaded I am that it can never be made really my own, except so far as it may take birth in me naturally, and shoot, as it were, out of its own stalk, or its own root, which is also my soul's root. This would not prevent my feeling that I was in the very best company in the world, with a man who had attained to this high degree of favour himself, and I should profit, with, a gladness beyond expression, by the blessed influence which such an atmosphere would be sure to exhale. And God knows how much I would give to be near your friend at Munich. But I should confine myself to humbly uniting myself to his spirit, and carefully feeding on all the unction which must escape from his whole being; and I should aim exclusively at putting no obstacle to the fertilizing shower, that it might ferment properly in my own earth, and make it capable of producing fruit in its turn, and becoming a living soil like his; a thing, I repeat, we can never obtain but by direct communication, and without the mediation of man. I know that the Apostles transmitted the spirit by their ordinations, and even by their preaching only, as did St. Peter; but I do not learn from the history of the time, that any of their candidates pushed the wonders of this transmission very far. I cannot say the same of the direct transmission made from Jesus Christ to His Apostles, and especially of that made directly to St. Paul on the way to Damascus, although he was afterwards put under the operation of another man, who, as the Spirit's organ, had to cleanse him from his foreign substances before he could be in a state to fulfil the election which had just been planted in him.
All these evidences confirm me more and more in my opinion. I submit it to you; but I think I shall be doing something good for your health, and therefore good for your happiness, if I succeed in making you adopt it. I will add another little testimony in favour of this principle.
Take Exodus iii. 14, 15, &c.; you will there see how the Great Name was given to Moses, directly, and afterwards, by him, to all the people, and even to the King of the Egyptians, namely: to Moses, as a power; to the Israelites, for instruction; to Pharaoh, as a judgment. Then see Exodus again, vi. 3, &c.; you will find that God appeared unto Abraham, filled him to overflowing with promises, and made a covenant with him, without giving him His great name, although it was by this great name alone that his election was made in secret. Look again at the solitariness of the high priest in the Holy of Holies, under the Levitical law. Then see St. Matthew iii. 17, when the voice was heard from on high over our Saviour, at His baptism, and where the officiator, by His ceremony, merely opened the ground of attraction which was enclosed in the Man-God; and you will see with what variety, and at the same time, with what wisdom, this Great Name modulates itself in its operations, and consequently, how foolish we should be not to give ourselves blindly to its control. The greatest loss we experience from this misconduct, is that every formula is detrimental to faith, whilst faith, on the contrary, would wish to take the place of all formulas. This kind of faith is the ultimate end of all law; and, consequently, the only thing which our divine Master laboured to preach and inculcate in the heart of man, because He well knew that, by inculcating this virtue, He inculcated all others.
I stop, my dear brother, for I have promised myself not to allow my pen to carry me away, and I feel that, at this moment, it would draw me beyond what my spiritual age authorises. I will conclude with some facts personal to one who is not far from me, and which, I expect, will, to you, be like the coffee after the little feast I am sending you; for you are still rather fond of the sensible, and I do not blame you for it, provided you keep this feeling within bounds. Know then that the person I speak of has known the Crown, sensibly, these eighteen years; and not only does he not yet possess it, but it is only within these few years that he even comprehends it in its true substantial relations, although he understood it numerically, from the first acquaintance. Know further, that for nearly twenty-five years, he has been acquainted with the voice of anger and the voice of love; and that it is only within these few months he has been able to distinguish between them, either by the sound, the impression, or the side: and he is still far from having all the light on this head, that he hopes to get daily more and more.
This little narrative, added to all that precedes, will help you to form a wise and solid idea of the gradations, and of the hand which alone ought to direct them: vigila et ora. This is all we have to contribute to the contract; the contractor takes charge of the rest.
It is long since you have said anything of your Zurich ladies. You know how much interest I take in them, and I think, in all conscience, I may ask for a long letter in return for the folio I now send you. Do not therefore be afraid of multiplying or enlarging your matter: all that comes from you, and all that bears upon these subjects, is always prized by me.
Adieu, my dear brother: I commend myself to your prayers. I say nothing about Baron de K., except that, minus his history, which I could not know, I had formed about the same idea of his morality that you give me of it. I shall follow your advice when I see him, and have nothing to say to him, when I return to Paris. . . . Au reste, that return is anything but settled; and everything here is so uncertain, and my pecuniary means so much in arrear from the state of things, that we Frenchmen are hardly allowed to live otherwise than from hand to mouth. To calculate humanly only, I should look very gloomily upon our public affairs at present; but I always keep my confidence in petto that this revolution is led by Providence, and thus cannot fail of reaching its term. Nevertheless, this does not make it the more comfortable for those it meets in its course.