Page:A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.djvu/42

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a habit of subjecting problems of natural science to the mathematical crucible is calculated to inspire confidence in the conclusions which a mind formed by such a habit is satisfied with.

The fruits of Swedenborg's labors, during what we have termed the second period of his career, are preserved in seventy-seven distinct works, all of which were written in Latin, except twenty in the Swedish tongue. About half of the whole are still in manuscript, the substance of most of them having been incorporated into the larger works which were printed. Though it will not probably be contested, that Swedenborg led all his contemporaries in nearly if not quite the whole range of applied science which he cultivated, his scientific writings are chiefly interesting to the modern reader for the part they had in preparing him for the higher task to which he felt himself called to consecrate the last thirty years of his life. The mere titles of his scientific works are enough to appall the modern student, by the evidence they furnish of his industry and the range of his explorations. They also show that this man, whom the world has been disposed to regard as the most chimerical of dreamers, was the most practical as well as one of the most ingenious of philosophers.

He was the first to introduce into Sweden the differential and integral calculus.

The validity of a patent for the modern air-tight stove, now in such universal use, has been recently contested and set aside in our courts, upon the ground that the principle of the stove was discovered and made known by Swedenborg more than a century ago.

His Specimens of Chemistry and Physics contain the germs of the atomic theory set forth afterwards by Dalton.

The French chemist Dumas ascribes to Swedenborg the creation of the modern science of crystallography.

Nineteen years before Franklin's famous experiments, Swedenborg had reasoned out the identity of lightning and electricity.


  1. Swedenborg was residing in London during the latter part of Franklin's sojourn in that metropolis, and though it does not appear that either ever at-