Page:The letters of William Blake (1906).djvu/74

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THE LIFE OF WILLIAM BLAKE

(vide Life of Swedenborg). Swedenborg was not a madman, nor does he appear to have been considered so by his contemporaries. His tenets after his death propagated, and, like all religious creeds, soon formed a sect, which sect has at some periods been very numerous. Flaxman belonged to them, as have many other as judicious men. Although it would not be irrelevant, it would be tedious to narrate Swedenborg's opinions, or rather Swedenborg's visions, for he asserted that he only gave a detail and history of what he saw and heard. All that is necessary to prove now is, that other men, other sensible men, such as scarcely could be designated as mad or stupid, did see into an immaterial life denied to most. All that is proposed here, further, is that it is a possible thing, that it does not require either a madman to see or an idiot to believe that such things are. Blake asserted, from a boy, that he did see them; even when a child, his mother beat him for running in and saying that he saw the prophet Ezekiel under a tree in the fields. In this incredulous age it is requisite, before this possibility is admitted, even as a doubt or question, that it should be said that he who inefficiently attempts to defend this power, never has been accustomed to see them, although he has known others besides Blake, on whose veracity and sanity he could equally well rely, who have been thus favoured. The Cock