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Alfred Deakin Spiritual Journey

In one of Alfred Deakins many notebooks is a clear statement about his faith.






J. A. La Nauze Biography (Deakin Manuscripts NLA- brown blue exercise book page 29-31)

" Jesus Christ is the life of the present, the light of the future and the hope of the world"

" Jesus Christ is the life of the present, the light of the future and the hope of the world"

Deakin attended a Christian church with his parents during his childhood and served as a Sunday school teacher. During this period he conducted an extensive study of the bible and came to the conclusion that the church (in his era) was spiritually limiting.


For Deakin, biblical Christianity was much more than what he was seeing in church. 


He wanted to know more about the supernatural world.  Spiritualism was on the rise during this period and many were searching for understanding about life after death, miracles and the ability to connect with spirit dimensions. 


English romantic poet William Wordsworth and a Swedish scientist, philosopher, theologian, and mystic Emanuel Swedenborg became his new passion.


In 1881 he wrote of Swedenborg:

Emanuel Swedenborg, 1688-1772

"What can be broader, fuller, or simpler than his definition of religion as love of God, implying knowledge of him, and love of Man, implying devotion to him? This is the pure primitive Christianity of Jesus. What can be more pregnant than his reiterated assertion that the root of all religion is the recognition of evils as sins and their repulsion as such with all possible fervour? This is the one truth that the age most needs; once grasped, the path becomes plain to all true men and women." Alfred Deakin 


"My salvation and inspiration come from philosophy a little and religion a great deal, especially from the mystics ancient or modern theosophical. With them my load is lifted and I regain peace, courage, faith. Praise be to the God of Jesus, ... of Swedenborg, of St. Paul."

Alfred Deakin Prime Minister in 2nd term.


Sunday Times- 2nd Aug 1903

Swedenborg teachings has influenced many famous leaders like Deakin however not all of Swedenborg's revelations agree with the bible. After a few years Deakin's intense attraction to Swedenborg began to wane.


After Deakin entered into politics he didn't continue an active engagement with spiritualism, however he was a member of the Theosophical Society in 1895. One year later he resigned from the society on the same day he became the member of Charles Strong "Australian" church in May 1896.


All through Deakin life he searched and prayed for spiritual insight and understanding. He wrote long into the night on many different topics and his 400 prayers is a testimony to his passion to communicate with the God of the bible.  


Deakin wrote a long letter to his young children in case he was to pass away saying:


"....In case of my death,  I desire and earnestly request that my children be brought up religiously, but as far as possible apart from sectarianism - the  knowledge and love of God as a foundation of all life and love and power - "closer to us than breathing and near than hands and feet" by whom our prayers are always heard..." Alfred Deakin 7th Sept 1890


In the early part of 1905 while he was in opposition Government, Deakin made friends with the General and Founder of Salvation Army William Booth. Booth found Deakin a "very excitable person" and was "very partial to him."

(The General: William Booth, page 381)

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