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Church is established by the Lord, seldom or ever the establishment has place with those amongst whom the old Church existed, but amongst whom there was heretofore no Church, that is, amongst the Gentiles. This was the case when the most ancient Church perished; a new one which was called Noah, or the ancient Church which was after the Flood, was then established amongst the Gentiles, that is, with those amongst whom there had existed no Church. In like manner, when this Church perished, then something resembling a Church was established amongst the posterity of Abraham, for Abraham was a Gentile. The posterity of Jacob in Egypt became still more Gentile, insomuch that they were altogether ignorant of Jehovah, consequently of all Divine worship. After this resemblance of a Church was consummated, the primitive Church was established, the Jews being rejected. The case will be the same with the Church which is called Christian" (2986).
"The reason why the interior contents of the Word are now opened is, because the Church at this day is vastated, or is so void of faith and love, that although men know and understand, still they do not acknowledge, and still less believe, except the few who are in the life of good, and are called the elect, who now may be instructed, and amongst whom a new Church is about to be established. Where such are the Lord alone knows. There will be few within the Church; the Church in former times has been established among the Gentiles" (3898).
So far is the author from teaching that the New Church will be a rejuvenessence of the Old, or will be established by gradually inseminating its principles into men's minds, without effecting any ecclesiastical change, that he makes this statement respecting the then existing Church. "The destruction of this (the Christian) Church is foretold by the Lord in the Evangelists, and by John in the Revelation, and is what is called the last judgment; not that heaven and earth were then to perish, but that a New Church will then be raised up in some region of the earth, though the former still continues in its external worship, as the Jews do in theirs, in which worship it is well enough known there is nothing of charity and faith, that is, nothing of a Church" (1850).
We have made these extracts for the purpose of showing that during the whole period the author was engaged in writing the "Arcana," he had the conviction that the New Church, like every preceding Church, was to be established among the Gentiles, and that the old or vastated Church would, like the Jewish Church, continue to exist as a Church which is no Church. The "Arcana" was written before the time of the Last Judgment, and it may not unreasonably be supposed that he did not then see so clearly, as he afterwards saw, the true state of the case. But whatever modification or enlargement his views acquired by that event, we think there is no evidence to show that he had entirely changed them. At the end of this work on the Last Judgment he says: "I have had various conversations with the angels concerning the state of the Church hereafter; they said that things to come they knew not, for that the knowledge of things to come belong to the Lord alone, but that they know that the slavery and captivity in which the man of the Church was formerly is removed, and that now, from restored liberty, he can better perceive interior truths, if he wills it; but that still they have slender hope of the men of the Christian Church, but much of some nation far distant from the Christian world, and therefore far removed from infesters, which nation is such that it is capable of receiving spiritual light, and of being made a celestialspiritual man. They said also that interior divine truths are revealed in that nation, and also are received in spiritual faith, that is, in life and in heart, and that it worships the Lord."
There is certainly little indication of any material change, or even of any important modification of view here. Even angelic minds bad no certainty, and but faint hopes of the New Church being established at all among the men of Christian Church. Yet there is one point on which we think some of Swedenborg's subsequent writings indicate an enlargement of his views. He still adhered to his often-repeated statement that the New Church was to be established among the Gentiles; but he came more clearly to see that it was to be established among the Gentiles within the Church, as well as among those beyond it.
In his explanation of the Apocalypse, the author has necessarily much to say respecting the old Church and the New. Where they are mentioned separately or together, where they are contrasted, and especially where the New is spoken of as taking the place of the Old, now vastated and come to its end, one who has read the "Arcana" will naturally retain the ideas he has there acquired respecting them, and think of the New as entirely distinct from that whose place it has taken. Yet those who think that the change from the Old to the new is to be an inward and not an outward change, a spiritual but not an ecclesiastical change, interpret these expressions accordingly. When, for example, the author says, "The reason why the Word is now
interiorly revealed, that is, as to the spiritual sense, before the Church is fully vastated, is because the New Church will then be established, into which they of the former Church are invited, and for the New Church interior truth is revealed;" those who understand the New Church to mean no more than new principles, regard the invitation to mean nothing else than an invitation to accept or enter into her principles. True, "the Church is in man, and not out of him" (A. E. 20); and some in consequence jump to the conclusion that this is the only aspect in which the Church is to be regarded.
But the Church exists in the concrete as well as in the abstract, and in general as well as in particular. In speaking of the man who was an angel, who measured the wall of the New Jerusalem, the author says, 66 A man here (Rev. xxi. 17) signifies the Church as consisting of men, and the angel signifies heaven as consisting of angels; therefore the measure of a man, which is of an angel, signifies the quality of the Church as making one with heaven. In the Word, man signities intelligence and wisdom derived from the Word, and intelligence and wisdom derived from the Word in man, is the Church in him; hence man in the concrete or in common, that is, when a society or assembly is called a man, in the spiritual sense means the Church (A. R. 910). While it is true that the Church is in man, and that every such man is a church in particular, it is equally true the Church in general consists of those persons in whom the principles of the Church are. Therefore, while it is true that the men of the old Church are invited to come into the principles of the New Church, they are invited to come into the New Church itself, as consisting of those who have received its principles.
But if there are passages in the writings which may seem to an honest interpreter to teach that the New Church there treated of means only certain principles, there are others that seem intelligible only on the idea of the existence of an organized body of believers. Take the following: "And the gates shall not be shut at all by day, for there shall be no night there, signifies that those who are in truths originating in the good of love for the Lord, will be continually received into the New Jerusalem, because no false principle of faith is there. Its gates not being shut by day, signifies that those who desire to enter in are continually admitted; by day signifies continually, because there is light continually there, and not any night. The reason why those who are in truths originating in the good of love from the Lord are continually received, is because the light of the New Jerusalem is truth originating from the good of love; and into that light none but those who are in truths originating in the good of love to the Lord can enter; if aliens enter they are not received, because they do not accord, and then they either depart of their own accord, because they cannot bear the light, or else they are turned out" (A. R. 922).
Can all this be said of the New Jerusalem as consisting of abstract principles? Does not the whole passage imply the existence of a body of persons who acknowledge certain principles, and whose ecclesiastical government is regulated by them? In a previous number the author speaks of the formation of such a body. Explaining the words in chapter xix., "His wife hath made herself ready," he says, this signifies that they who are to be of this New Church, which is the New Jerusalem, will be collected, initiated, and instructed; and because this is signified by making herself ready, therefore it follows that the wife was arrayed in fine linen, clear and shining; and fine linen signifies truth from celestial good" (A. R. 813).
It can hardly be expected that the Old Church, whether Catholic or Protestant, would perform the maternal part of thus gathering the New Church brood under her fostering wings. The possible character and condition of that Church does not favour such an expectation. For as Swedenborg, in his Arcana," speaks of the vastated Church as remaining a crystallized form of her former self, he speaks in the "Apocalypse Revealed" of the possibility of her becoming worse. "In the consummation of the age, when there is an end of the Church, then if they do not approach the Lord Himself, and live according to His commandments, they are left by the Lord, and they become as pagans who have no religion" (750).
We intended to touch on some other points, but our disposable space forbids us to proceed. Whether we may return to the subject again depends upon circumstances. We would not have been the first to open the discussion. It has been forced upon us. Should we not revert to the subject, let us assure our non-separatist brethren that we have the greatest respect for them, and desire to live in relations of the most cordial friendship with them. To some of them-to Clowes and Clissold--we owe besides a debt of gratitude which we can never repay. Let us remind them also, and with them our readers generally, that our simple aim has been to show that Swedenborg not only did not condemn, but that he sanctions the idea of the existence of the New Church as an establishment separate from the Old. We have not entered on the question whether the body calling itself the New Church is that which in the Apocalypse is called the
New Jerusalem. On this point we have decided convictions; but it is not the vital question. Those who believe there is to be no visible New Church, cannot of course allow its claim. If the doctrine of a visible Church be accepted, it is for those who refuse to admit the claim of the professing New Church to show that it is not what it pretends to be.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF REMARKABLE PEOPLE, CHIEFLY FROM PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS; WITH MISCELLANEOUS PAPERS AND POEMS. By SPENCER T. HALL, “The Sherwood Forester." London: Simpkin, Marshall, and Co. 1873. (Demy Octavo, pp. 450.)
To many of our readers the name of Dr. Spencer T. Hall, "The Sherwood Forester," is well known as the author of several graceful and charming books, as a lecturer on various subjects, and as having long shown active sympathy with the doctrines and objects of the New Church. The elegant volume now before us is the last production of his pen. It contains much interesting matter, and is written in the pleasing style of subdued tenderness and poetic prose which characterize all the author's works. The "Sketches" include the names of Erasmus, Darwin, William Cobbett, Professor Wilson, Ebenezer Elliott, Dr. Samuel Brown, William Hutton, Charles Reece Pemberton, Mary R. Mitford, John Henry, Fifth Duke of Rutland, D'Ewes Coke, the two Montgomeries, Bloomfield and Clare, Combe, Gregory and Liebig, Dr. Dick, James Silk Buckingham, the Author's Parents, the Seventh Earl of Carlisle; Glimpses of George Herbert, Gratton "The Quaker Preacher," Bernard Barton "The Quaker Poet," George Purseglove, Claude Gay, Robert Owen, the Whiteheads, Frederic William Davis, "A Young Hero;" Glimpses of Florence Nightingale, Nanny Shacklock, the mother of the Howitts, Mrs. Wilberforce, Mrs. Jerram, Matthew H. Barker, William Powers Smith, Walter C. Ellis, Robert Millhouse, Richard Howitt, William and Mary Howitt, Samuel Plumb, a poet, Thomas Miller, novelist and poet; and various others not so generally known, but of whom Dr. Spencer T. Hall has some pleasing things to say. The Miscellaneous Papers treat on Love of Distinction, Education and its Responsibilities, Religious Differences, Local and National Peculiarities, the Mission of the Press, Blondinism, Footsteps of Civilization, Christmas, New Year's Eve, and other matters. Thirtysix poems on various subjects, in various metres, of various lengths, complete the work. An excellent portrait of the Author, as well as of Charles Reece Pemberton, Wanderer," a view of the Upper Fall at Rydal, also of Lea Hurst in Derbyshire, the home of Florence Nightingale, and of Brookside Cottage, in which the author was born, embellish the book. Readers must be indeed difficult to please who cannot find something in this volume to interest and instruct them. They cannot fail to be impressed with the poetic sensibility of the writer, his ardent love of nature, the dreamy tenderness inspired in him by hill and dale, streamlet and lake, woodland and waterfall, and the deep sympathy he manifests with whatever true, loving, and self-sacrificing in those of his friends of whom he writes. Other admirers of those whom he sketches will be gratified at seeing the impression they produced on the author, and will welcome the addition he has made to the world's knowledge concerning those of whom he treats. Some of his "Sketches" pleasingly introduce to a wider circle of acquaintances various persons whose fame has hitherto been of a merely local character. The "Papers and Poems" which have been embodied into the volume evince the same sympathetic susceptibility as is displayed in the sketches, the impressibility of a poetic nature more in harmony with the minor than the major keys of song.
INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION: ITS DIFFICULTIES AND ADVANTAGES. By the Rev. JOHN HYDE. Published by the Lancashire and Cheshire International Association, 6 St. Ann's Square, Manchester.
THIS essay which was read at a Conference of ministers of all denominations held at Manchester, 30th September 1873, to consider the subject of International Arbitration, has been publicly styled by Dr. Fraser, bishop of the diocese, "a most able and exhaustive paper," and by Dr. Vaughan, Catholic bishop of Salford, an "able pamphlet." The Manchester Examiner, and Times also, commended it as an "extremely able essay, not only admirable as a temperate and reasonable argument for arbritation, but it con
tains a considerable amount of documentary information." Every New Church reader of the pamphlet will concur, with especial satisfaction, in this high praise. Our ministers are sometimes charged-generally, we believe, unjustly-with indifference to the great questions of the day, and slowness to co-operate in their discussion and advancement. Mr. Hyde has set an example which others may profitably follow; and demonstrated that prominence in New Church advocacy need not exclude from successful and cordially appreciated labour in other fields.
The pages before us are the work of no utopian dreamer, squandering sentiment and imagination on what is abstractly beautiful, but practically unattainable. They bristle with cogent arguments, confirmed by illustrative facts. The intrinsic irrationality and iniquity of war, with its terrific waste of energy and treasure-amounting annually, in Europe alone, and in times of profound peace, to two hundred and eighty-one millions of money-are most powerfully exposed; and the feasibleness of a better method of decision, is demonstrated by a citation of sixteen questions, involving important interests, and black with political menace, which have actually been adjusted by arbitration within the last century. Mr. Hyde advocates the establishment of an authoritative code of international law, to be enacted and administered by "a more or less permanent International Board of Commissioners, with broad links to their jurisdiction, representing all Europe, and, in due time, all the civilized world." Difficulties, arising chiefly from the bellicose spirit of the newspaper press, and the predominance, throughout European society, of a military class, interested in the maintenance of war expenditure and martial prestige, will gradually succumb before an enlightened public opinion. "Let the people declare against war, and where will our rulers obtain the forces to do their fighting? It is indeed a people's question, and earnestly should the people be taught to study it." Yet in certain cases an appeal to the sword is recognized as unavoidable. "The armed resistance of invasion by a foreign enemy, or of revolution by a domestic faction, must be regarded as justifiable war." Moreover, it is conceded that the proposed international tribunal would require the command of a sufficient force to ensure the acceptance of its awards. Hence Mr. Hyde contemplates the continuance of war establishments, greatly reduced and modified, as probably necessary for very many years; though he justly urges that the formation of a public opinion favourable to the systematic use of arbitration, will reduce the danger of their employment within the narrowest possible limits.
We have no space to enumerate the many weighty arguments adduced, nor to quote examples of the eloquence, and-where appropriate-the humour with which they are enforced. The pamphlet may be obtained of Mr. Ledsham, 31 Corporation Street, Manchester, and we trust will find its way to many of our readers. The perusal will interest, not only as matter of speculation, but as suggesting principles practically valuable in the polling-booth, and in the selection for our daily paper, and the topics of our conversation. "Our immediate work," says Mr. Hyde, "is to labour to convince mankind." Whoever, therefore, has speech, and a friend to talk to, can do something for the great cause, in furtherance of which the admirable essay under consideration was written. X.
CONSIDER THE RAVENS. REGENERATION: By EDMUND H. SEARS. Manchester New Jerusalem Church Printing and Tract Society. 1873.
THESE are two of the latest publications of the Manchester Printing and Tract Society. The former is a small brochure devoted to the exposition of the text which forms its title. The plan is novel and suggestive. The Word is the pioneer of all spiritual progress, and the adoption of some of its striking passages as the titles of tracts for the million, can scarcely fail to be useful. The writer's treatment of his subject offers many suggestive reflections, and is, in some parts, singularly beautiful. It is open to question, however, whether the introduction is not more likely to feed a negative state of mind, than to lure to a thoughtful consideration of the work.
The second publication is a slightly abridged edition of a work which has been long before the public, and the excellencies of which are well known and warmly appreciated by readers in more than one school of religious thought. It is well suited for extensive circulation, and we trust that the neat and cheap form in which it is here presented I will lead to its wide diffusion.
THE DECAY OF THEOLOGY.
THE English Independent is jubilant over the address of the chairman of the Congregational Union. The editor, who confessedly belongs to the new school of thought which is rapidly growing up in the Independent Churches, is specially glad that "necessity" has fallen on the chairman, Rev. Eustace Conder, "to speak upon a subject that must sooner or later demand the serious consideration of theologians of all sections of the Christian Church." The subject thus intimated is "the Decay of Theology," which is explained as "the decay of comprehensive, systematic, thoroughly educated thought concerning the whole compass of revealed truth." Using the word systematic as it was used by the theologians of a former generation, it will be readily admitted," continues the editor of the Independent, that this method of studying theology is no longer popular either in college classes or pulpit ministra tions. In the former the old text-books have had their day and ceased to be,' and instead of men being drilled in the minute and formal definitions of great doctrines, proved by strings of isolated passages of Scripture, often torn with ruthless partisan hand from their context, our students are compelled to devote their chief attention to discovering the meaning of the Scriptures as they stand. Exegesis has, in fact, largely taken the place of systematic theology-or, as we prefer to put it, the basis is laid, by the work of exegesis, for the upbuilding of a truer, and therefore more permanent, system of theology."
Such then is the state of mind among the educated members of this influential body of dissenters. Their collegiate and pulpit ministrations have so completely departed from the old landmarks, that the fact can no longer be concealed. The teachings of the pulpits and the doctrines of the chapel-deeds in very many cases are utterly irreconcileable. The question of doctrine, therefore, is beginning to force itself on the attention of the churches; and the importance of this question in its relation to the new age on which the Church has entered must be our apology, if apology be needed, for giving to this important "Address" a more extended notice than is our wont.
"It is a familiar and safe remark," says Mr. Conder, "that we live in times of change. The changes of our time are extraordinary in magnitude, rapidity, and depth. Society slants toward change, as the trees lean in the direction of the prevailing wind. The foundations are stirred, the naked granite is upheaved, and the overlying strata crack and bend, and must henceforth take new forms." The traditions of independency combine, in the estimation of the chairman, in the highest degree the opposite principles of change and conservatism. Its fundamental ecclesiastical principle is the permanence of the apostolic polity; its fundamental religious principle, the authority of the Word of God. From the first it has declared war against all that human tradition has added to the institutions of the apostles and to the doctrines of the New Testament. "We are," says Mr. Conder, "staunch conservatives regarding the first century, and radical reformers concerning the other seventeen. Hence," he continues, "the nature of our position exposes us to a double danger; the danger of mistaking false conservatism for true our own customs and fixed opinions for apostolic ordinances; and the danger of mistaking change for reformation-the spirit of the age for the Spirit of Christ." The second of these is at present the greatest danger, and the speaker, in severe terms, justly condemns the impatience of all that is old, and the eagerness with which men claim every novelty as evidence of mental freedom. "Men need to be reminded," he truly says, "that thought may be as free in clinging to the old as in embracing the new. Indeed, it may often need greater mental independence, more of manly courage, to abide by truths which we are assured every educated man has ceased to believe, than to shout the newest cry, and court notoriety by flaunting in the eyes of sober people the latest fashion of heterodoxy. After all, the weathercock of fashion does but show which way the wind blows, not which