Page:A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.djvu/36

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unusual age of eighty-four years. His life divides itself into three sharply-defined periods.

First, the period of his childliood and Academic life, reaching to 1710.

Second, the Scientific period, from 1710 to 1742.

Third, the '"Illuminated" period, from 1742 to 1772.

Swedenborg was descended from a family of successful and opulent miners. He was the third child of Jesper Swedberg, who attained successively the positions of chaplain of the Court in 1688; Pastor of Wingaker in 1690; professor in the University of Upsala in 1692; Dean of the cathedral in Upsala in 1694; superintendent of the Swedish churches in America, London, and Portugal in 1696; and Bishop of Skara in 1703. The father was chaplain at Court when Emanuel was born, and by his fearless, straight-forward and truly apostolic demeanor, soon won the entire confidence of his King. He commenced his duties as chaplain by exercising his regiment, consisting of 1,200 men, in the catechism. In a voluminous Autobiography which he left behind him in MS., he tells us:—"To this they were quite unused, so that when they saw me coming they quailed more than they ever did before the enemy. But when I began telling them stories from the Bible in a quiet way, they soon came to like me so well that they did not care to go away when their time was up and another detachment was to come in, so that between the two I was near being trampled under their feet. The officers, too, sat at the table listening and exchanging with me edifying remarks. At one yearly muster of the regiment I told them that the next year I should give a catechism to each man who should be able to read it, at the same time taking down the names of those who could then read, numbering three hundred. The next year I found six hundred who could read, and it cost me six hundred copper dollars to redeem my promise. I betook myself to the King, told him of the expense I had incurred, and he at once pulled out his purse filled with ducats, and gave me a handful without counting them."

Father Swedberg was no time-server, and neither found nor sought one way for the rich and powerful and another