Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

373

Miscellaneous.

MISSIONARY INSTITUTIONS. Tie month of May is distinguished by the holding of the public anniversaries of the great Missionary Institutions, and of the various philanthropic and Christian associations of the country. Day after day the large halls of the metropolis are thronged by the friends of these institutions. Their reports furnish evidence of Christian liberality and zeal, the addresses of the several speakers manifest increased Christian culture, while the conducting of their regular business indicate the dawn of more prudent management than has obtained in former years.

We give a few particulars from the reports of three of the leading Missionary Societies.

CHURCH MISSIONARY SOCIETY.--The report stated that the income of the year from all sources had amounted to £157,330, lls. 6d. There were 156 stations in connection with the Society, and 320 clergymen-namely, 202 European and 118 native and country born. The number of laity employed, consisting of European laymen, native and country horn catechists and teachers of all classes not sent from home was 1,955.

WESLEYAN MISSIONARY SOCIETY.-The report of this society stated that the total receipts for the year were £146,249,

and the natives of Polynesia. The report gives details of the labours in these several missionary fields, and of the missionaries employed in them. In addition to the agents sent from England, many native teachers and preachers are becoming extensively employed in the work.

THE LONDON MISSIONARY SOCIETY. -The number of chief stations occupied by this Society is 130. The native churches are 150 ; they contain 35,400 members : in a community of nominal Christians, young and old, amounting to 191,700 persons. Of these, nearly 13,000 are in Polynesia ; nearly 5,000 in the West Indies ; over 4,000 in South Afriea ; and 3,400 in India. The converts under the Society's care speak altogether twenty-six languages. The native agency employed by the Society has for several years been growing large. The Society has fifteen institutions for training these agents, which now contain 170 students. The total number of native assistants is above 1,200, of whom 81 are ordained pastors and missionaries. The English missionaries of the Society are now 156 in number. And the directors have during the year accepted no less than 18. Amongst them are two of the missionaries' sons. The total number of missionary students in the Society is now 42.

expenditure, £146,071, 13s. 2d. ; leaving a smalí balance towards the liquidation of the accumulated deficiences of former years, which remain a burden on the Society to the amount of £19,000. It is the peculiarity of the Wesleyan Missionary Society, said the report, to embrace within its operations diverse fields of labour, which in other churches are usually carried on by separate societies. It is an Irish Society, having missions in the sister island. It is a Continenal Society, with missions in France, switzerland, Germany, Italy, and Spain. It is a Colonial Missionary Society, largely engaged in missionary labours among British colonists. It sends missionaries to India, Ceylon, China, Western and Southern Africa, the West Indies, the North American Indians,

78.

8d. ;

AMERICA.

The periodicals of the church in America give pleasing evidence of the zeal of our brethren. Their missionary operations are extended through several of the States, and their missionaries meet at most places with willing hearers. A feature of these services which we scarcely ever witness in England, is the frequent occupancy of the churches of other denominations for New Church lectures. The lectures are followed by the distribution of tracts and the sale of pamphlets and books. By this means the interest excited is continued, and in many of the places visited small societies are gradually rising.

Another feature of the missionary operations of our brethren, is the effort

to extend the influences of the church out love toward the neighbour, the to the neglected portions of society. In presence of the Lord in the Christian this work they are adopting the plan Church is impossible ; and that any of mission schools. This is unquestion

Church which is founded upon authority ably the best mode of reaching those as a first principle of unity, or on the who are dwelling in the dark shadows person and power of any created being, of ignorance and the gloom of spiritual especially to the exclusion of liberty of death. It is not by public preaching, but conscience and the right of private by patient and persevering instruction judgment, contains within itself the that the light of truth must be brought elements of its own dissolution." He to illumine these dark places of the addressed the meeting at considerable earth. The effort of our brethren, con- length. We do not give even an outfined at first to individual endeavour, line of the Chairman's speech, as the is being taken up by one at least of whole of its substance will be found in their associations. At the annual Mr. Clissold's new publication, entitled meeting of the New York Association, “The centre of Unity ; What is it? “a resolution was unanimously adopted, Charity or Authority, which will to the effect that the opinion of the shortly be issued by Messrs. Longmans meeting, the time had arrived for New and Co., in a pamphlet, price 2s. Churchmen and New Church organiza- The Rev. H. M. Gorman seconded tions to pay more attention to bringing the resolution, remarking that he felt the influences of the Church to bear on some difficulty in doing so, both from the poor and neglected classes of society, the importance of the subject, and and commending the efforts now making through following their Chairman's able to establish New Church Mission Sun- address. The Society which met in day Schools." We hope the time is that room was one which had a peculiar not distant when a similar movement mission, being meant to enlighten the will take place in the New Church in Roman Catholic Church, the Protestant England.

Churches of all kinds, of all names and

forms, and sectarists of all sorts ; it had SWEDENBORG SOCIETY.

the grand and sacred office of making The Anniversary Meeting of the Swe- known to the world a perfect theology denborg Society was held in the Swe- in this day of theological chaos. The denborg Society's house, Bloomsbury Society was established only a few Street, on Tuesday evening, the 15th years before the battle of Waterloo : June. The Rev. Augustus Clissold, the battle of Waterloo reminded them M.A., occupied the Chair. The room of the French Revolution, and the was crowded, and the proceedings were French Revolution would remind them of a most interesting nature. The Sec- of 1757, the year of the last judgment; retary read the Annual Report of the so that they could closely connect their Society. Mr. Jobson moved the adop- operations with what is known to be tion of the Society's Report, which was the second advent of the Lord Jesus seconded by Major Powys, and passed Christ in the spirit and power of His unanimously. The Treasurer read the word. That was the great truth which audited cash account, and stated that had to teach the nations ; humble the balance in hand on the Latin Man- as the Society was, that was the great uscripts by Printing account was £66, work that lay before it. As part of Os. 8d., and that on the Swedish Society's their work it became their duty to Printing account, £25. Mr. Watson was answer this Papal letter. Any one at re-elected Treasurer. The Chairman all conversant with Roman Catholic moved the first resolution, -" That polemics was well aware of the subtilty this meeting desires to receive the with which Roman Catholics could Papal Letter addressed to all Protes- argue; and although they themselves, tints and other non-Catholics, with firmly fixed in clear demonstrated spirievery due mark of respect, and to re- tual truth, might be inclined to overlook cord its conviction, that it is not the the hundreds and thousands and millions person, but the confession of Peter that of Christians who have not yet received is the Rock upon which the Church is that blessing, it appeared to him clearly built ; that the source of true faith is to be their duty to take every means in not authority, but charity ; that with. their power to make known the truth in every way. If those truths were to whom they will recognise the fulfilment advance, it must be by that medium of the prophecy of Zechariah (xiv. 9), which Swedenborg had himself adopted, The Lord shall be king over all the viz., the press. He believed it to be earth, in that day there shall be one their peculiar duty to make use of that Lord, and His name one.” He said the greatest of all instrumentalities in resolution was a declaration of what modern times, the press, which was the was self evident, viz., that charity alone grand conduit for the dissemination of can unite men, churches, and nations. Divine truth throughout the nations. It seemed so simple a thing, so easy for They need not fear as to the future of every one to understand, that he had that Society, provided they were per- ventured to say that the principle was fectly sincere and earnest in their con- self-evident. În relation to all our victions as to the sacred nature of the unions in daily life, we all know that trust which was committed to them it is only the loving person with whom under the Divine Providence. The others can unite ; the despotic, selfquestion before them had two special willed character, one who is impatient aspects : the politico-religious, and the with others, ready to insult those who theological. The speaker here instanced differ from him—with such a person the state of religion in Italy, in Aus- none could unite. They would protria, in Spain, and in France, referring bably remember the anecdote recorded to the characteristics of the Papacy as concerning such a character in the life evincing the inordinate love of rule ; of Cromwell. In his camp one of the referring them to the Church of Eng. marked personages was Col. John Lillland, the Church to which be belonged, burne, and this Col. Lillburne was of so and saying that that Church by her unmanageable a spirit that he was conformularies, if fairly and honestly in- stantly in hot water with every one, no terpreted, based her teachings upon the matter whether it was a common soldier, theory that Holy Scripture contains all or a fellow-officer, or the commanderthings necessary to salvation.

He re- in-chief;

and respecting this man Cromjoiced in the privilege of attending that well had one day been provoked to remeeting ; for who was it that could mark that, so imperious and so selfexplain scripture without making one willed was Col. John Lillburne that he place or part repugnant to another ? believed that if all the rest of the world It was those who read Swedenborg, were annihilated, instantly John would and those who knew his writings best. divide from Lillburne, and Lillburne Therefore, although the Church of Eng- would attack John. This was really land was a witness and a keeper of the experience of the world with regard Holy Writ, it was the readers of Sweden- to despotic, authoritative, self-willed, borg who possessed a perfect set of doc- dictatorial spirits ; they never could trines, and a clear spiritual understand- unite, but always would divide; while ing of the Holy Word. With reference on the contrary a kindly, loving, gentle to the Papacy, Swedenborg's own individual would always find a good answer was the most perfect and ab- point with others soniewhere, and alsolute, as would be seen on referring to though he could not approve of everythe Apocalypse Revealed, Nos. 243, thing belonging to any other person, 717, 718, 723, 725, 729, 733, 738, 740, he yet would seek for some little bit, 741, 742, 745, 746, 749, 751, 753, 759, some corner, in which he could, as it 768, 784, 786, 787, 790, 795, 796, 798, were, join hands with the other in a and 802.

loving, agreeable, gentle spirit; in that The resolution was then put, and spirit which was like the golden hooks passed unanimously.

which we read of in connexion with the The Rev. Dr. Bayley moved the next curtains made for the tabernacle in the Resolution, “ That the doctrine of wilderness. These little golden hooks recharity unfolded in the writings of presented the uniting quality of lovingSwedenborg is calculated to unite all kindness. Where there is something Churches and all classes of men into that causes the heart-felt smile, the one grand brotherhood, in which each touch of friendship, the kindly, useful, member will cherish kindly feelings loving act, there were the little golden towards every other, and all will ac- hooks that unite soul to soul, society to knowledge the sovereignty of the Creator society, and man to man, all the world and Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ, in

We did not need to seek for

over.

evidences all over the world to teach us what it is that unites persons; every person knows what it is that unites him to his wife, and his wife to himself, that unites parent to child, children to parents, family to family, and friend to friend; and it is this very spirit which forms the essence of all New Church doctrines, viz., the spirit of charity to man derived from love to the Lorů. He considered that the numerous pamphlets and documents that had appeared in late times crying out for charity and unity, all these were in the first place a proof that neither the charity nor the unity exists. The cry was likewise a proof that there was a yearning that such a unity should exist. It became New Churchmen as far as possible to show to such persons how very easy a thing it is to arrive at this desired unity if only the right course be adopted, viz., coming into a state of charity, doing away with all those ponderous anathemas in connection with certain creeds, articles, and declarations ; let them remove all this, confess that the Lord himself, the God of love, is the God of all men all over the world ; confess that charity itself is the very centre and soul of all true religion, and this would pave the way for the realisation of the happy state in which there should be one fold under one Shepherd. In nature was found an admirable illustration of the power that unites. If it were desired, say, to unite two pieces of iron, they might be pressed with the highest hydraulic power, but they would still remain separate, although in very close contiguity ; but bring heat to bear upon them, and then the two would fuse and become absolutely one. Exactly so in all spiritual things should there be the holy fire of love, which alone could blend heart with heart and hand with hand. With one other thought he would conclude his remarks. Every loving heart, animated by real love to the Lord, and seeking to depress in himself every inferior and selfish and despotic feeling, is in union with all good hearts all over the world ; he is already united with all good men, and he lets it be known that whether it be Jew, or Pagan, or Mohammedan, or whatever else, he is only seeking their general welfare and blessing. Such a one will point all men to that glorious

Lord who is King over all the earth ; he will do nothing but good, spread nothing but blessing, and will walk in the path of peace and justice to all men, and this is the universal balm, uniting principle and blessing both for earth and for heaven.

The resolution was seconded by Henry Bateman, Esq., who said he had thoroughly enjoyed the speech of his excellent friend Dr. Bayley. It always did good when a man spoke from the heart to the heart, as Dr. Bayley did. He knew of nothing more delightful to contemplate than the changes which were taking place in regard to the dissemination of the principles of the New Church, not merely in their own separate societies, but throughout the whole world. Swedenborg had taught in his work on the “Last Judgment” that the changes that would take place in the natural world after the last judgment were of such a kind as were compatible with external things going on much the same as they had done before, with Churches retaining their old forms, and various matters of that kind ; but that there would be an internal principle acting from the heavens above on the minds of men, which would make men think, and speak, and act from freedom, from love according to liberty. That was the work which was going on. Swedenborg in his great work, the “ True Christian Religion,” alverting to the importance of charity, had pointed out that if you separate charity from faith and good works, it was like bruising a pearl to powder, breaking it up and destroying all its beauty and all its value. As had been well remarked, the whole of the New Church writings are really the unfolding of this great doctrine of charity. When men took the Word in its mere letter they saw in it things apparently inconsistent with true love and charity. What the New Church was doing was to tell men that where, for instance, anger is predicated of God, it was not anger in God, it was love assuming the form of zeal, love manifesting itself to man in his low state, so that it appeared as anger, and thus when the grand truth of the Word was laid bare, by means of correspond. ence, right doctrines were deduced and true views were perceived. Then it was known that the Lord is love and

a

love only. In the present state of the world without doubt it was right that there should be various doctrines preached, some internal and some external, so that all men might be reached and all states affected, and the drunkard who could not be reached by the preaching of the love of God, might possibly be affected by the vehement language of a more external preacher, who would address him thus, “If you don't leave off drinking, you will go to hell

, and you will burn for ever.' He believed, therefore, that it was for the good of mankind that there should be a diversity of sects in this country, and that there was more true religion in England than there would be if we had one religious denomination established as the religion of all. Seeing that Mr. Hyde was present, he would content himself with these few remarks, simply expressing the delight he felt at being present at the meeting, and his conviction that the resolution he had seconded deserved to be placed among the records of the Society.

The Rev. John Hyde said his being called upon to address them was a pleasure, but it certainly was an unexpected pleasure to him. It sometimes seemed to a man who was commencing to examine into the doctrines of the New Church, and whose state might be expressed as one of affirmative doubt, to be a very illogical position, which many New Churchmen assumed in regard to the relation of Swedenborg to the whole of the Christian Church in the world. Some of the remarks which had been made might possibly induce an earnest and thoughtful person to ask himself this question : If a good Roman Catholic were a dear child of God, if an earnest member of the Greek Church were a dear child of God, if a sincere member of the Anglican Church were a dear child of God, if a good Methodist or a member of any other denomination—if snch were dear children of God, then where was the use of the New Church or of the Swedenborg Society endeavouring to disturb men's thoughts, and endeavouring to communicate new ideas concerning religion? If wrong ideas concerning Divine things would not, and did not, prevent men from being the “other sheep” of the Lord's fold, where was the use of trying to inseminate into people's minds earnest doubts,

and of causing them to pass through. very serious states ; where was the logical consistency of this? The remarks of Mr. Bateman might possibly, to some minds, suggest such a difficulty. An approximate answer was easily to be found. There were certain persons in the world whose states of religious want were best met by something other than the doctrines of Swedenborg. There could be no question that to dispute this would be to impugn the wisdom and goodness of Divine Providence. There were, then, some persons in the world for whose religious states the highest and the best thing is Mohammedanism. Low as Hindooism is in its present state ; grotesque, disgusting, dreadful, in some respects abominable, as are the rites of that heathenism, yet it is the highest and the best thing that the states of the people will permit of. So again, if we looked at Christendom, it must be admitted that the highest and best form of religious thought that is adapted to the states of a very large proportion of the Christian world, is Roman Catholicism. Otherwise there is no Providence in the world ; otherwise the Divine Being has made a mistake in His operations ; for it must be held to be essentially true that the Lord will ever do the very best for men in regard to religious instruction and religious things that the states of men will admit of. There was, however, no fixity in human states. If there were fixity in human states ; if the second generation could never advance to the realization of new wants, and if the third generation could never attain to such a condition as to begin to question where their fathers were content to believe, and to begin to desire to believe where their fathers felt altogether ignorant or altogether indifferent ; if there were fixity in human states, then there was no necessity at all for the New Church. He spoke of the New Church, it should be observed, in a large sense, and, as he believed, in the true sense, viz., as the Divine dispensation of goodness and truth which the Lord had communicated to man through Swedenborg. Any careful and attentive observer of the progress of the world in religious and in philosophical things, especially of the progress of the world during the last century, must have been struck with the fact that there is now

[ocr errors]

1

« VorigeDoorgaan »