candlestick

1839


The Collected Letters, Volume 11


-----

TC TO JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON ; 28 September 1839; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18390928-TC-JJGW-01; CL 11: 189-190


TC TO JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON

[28 September 1839]

The book of Swedenborg which you have translated anew, I read carefully in the old version received from you long ago. The impression it left was, and is, very strange. In his feeling about the moral essence of things, properly the core of his own being, I almost altogether and even emphatically agreed with him. It was clear, too, that he was a man of robust, nay, you would have said, cold, hard, practical-looking understanding: how such a man should have shaped for himself, into quiet historical concretions, standing there palpable, visible, solid and composed as the mountain rocks or more so, spiritual objects which eye hath not seen nor ear heard; this is what I cannot at all put together. I have looked into all the lives of Swedenborg that my Biographical Dictionaries would yield me; but with little help there.1 I ought to admit that this is one of the most wondrous men; whom I cannot altogether undertake to interpret for myself! I can love and honour such a man, and leave the mystery of him mysterious.

That good may go with you on the good path you travel so prays heartily, my dear Sir, yours always,

T. CARLYLE