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Miscellaneous.

ROMAN CATHOLICISM.

THE dominant feature of Catholicism is the lust of dominion by the things of the church. The evidences of this character pervade its history.

Its

maintenance becomes, however, daily more difficult. The increased light which is entering the Church, combined with the general progress of society, makes manifest the wickedness of its doings and exposes its pretensions. In Spain the provisional government have adopted measures to secure an inventory of the vast possessions of the churches, with the intention of applying to secular use all scientific, literary, and artistic property existing in ecclesiastical institutions. Objects required for the immediate wants or frequent use of public worship are to be left in the possession of the church, but "the produce of genius," says the decree, "belongs not to individuals but to the whole nation." These productions are to be preserved in public libraries and museums, and thus made available to the people.

This decree has excited the strongest opposition of the clerical party. In the city of Burgos the governor, apparently by their instigation, has been brutally murdered. Some of the reasons assigned for this opposition reflect on the honesty of the clergy. "It is hinted at by some," says the correspondent of the Daily News, "that fears of discoveries which would not reflect favourably on the honesty of the clergy had much to do with it. From the earliest ages to the present time, the Spaniards have distinguished themselves by the profusion with which they have lavished their treasures in the decoration of their

religious edifices. Vessels of gold and silver, jewels of enormous value, and pictures of countless price have been freely consecrated to the worship of the Virgin and the saints. The clergy have been the custodians of these, and many of them have sadly betrayed their trust.

This very week a priest has been sent to prison, charged with robbing the convent of Caballero de Gracia, in Madrid (to which he belonged), of some articles of great value. They were

missing from the convent. A noise was made about them, and the police found them in his house. From all parts of Spain, we hear reports of a similar nature. The correspondent of the Times writes to the same effect. "What the minister wished," he says,

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as it now appears was, that in all the large towns an inventory should be made of all the books, objects of art, plate, jewels, and other treasures to be found in the churches, as the experience of the last three or four months has shown how unsafe such articles, in Spain as well as in Italy, are in the hands of the priests." The conflict between the priests and the secular authority will doubtless be long and severe. The discovery of wickedness in the high places of the church must have its effect upon the minds of the least cultured, and tend to weaken the hold of the clergy on the great body of the people, and thus hasten those ecclesiastical changes which are inevitable.

In our own country an exposure of a different kind is going on. The alleged

ill-treatment of a nun in one of the nunneries has led to an action at law in the Court of King's Bench. The case furnishes examples of the leading features of these institutions. Subjection to the will of superiors, jealousy and distrust, constant surveillance, and all the natural consequences of this assumption of authority over the bodies and souls of others. Among the vows taken on admission are the following:"The sisters are always to bear in mind that by the vow of obedience, they have ever renounced their own will, and resigned it to the direction of their superiors.' "They are to regard the voice of the Mother Superior as the voice of an angel." The voluntary subjection of the will to the will of God, as revealed in the Word of Truth, is one of the great duties of the Christian life. The prostration of the will before the usurped authority of a fellow-mortal is full of danger, and a fruitful source of error and evil. Of this the disclosures in this trial furnish abundant evidence. The voice of the superior does not appear on all occasions to have been that of an angel.

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Whatever, therefore, may be the legal consequences of this investigation, we may reasonably hope that its disclosures may tend to disabuse the minds of imaginative votaries of the strange fascination which the priests are able to throw around these unnatural institutions.

CLERGY AND LAITY.

At the luncheon which followed the inauguration of Dr Tait, the newly appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, he is reported to have said:

"I do not suppose that any bishop in the Church of England desires to rule over men who are not capable of thinking for themselves, or who deem it wrong to do so. We desire to govern, not slaves or dead men, but living, energetic, free men, and where there is real life there will of necessity be diversity of opinion. My experience, however, is that amid this diversity of opinion there is a real hearty concord, and an earnest desire animating the whole body of the clergy of this country to do their work with a zeal and a harmony which have never been exceeded. I think it well that we should encourage ourselves by the recollection of that fact. When we speak of the clergy they will be the first to acknowledge with me that the clergy are but the servants of the Church, and do not constitute the Church. And as to the laity I say it fearlessly-there never was in this country an age in which the laity did in a more intelligent and at the same time hearty way rally round the Church and support the clergy."

The successor of the archbishop in the see of London, Dr Jackson, takes a less hopeful view of the state of conflicting opinion in the Church.

At a

meeting of his clergy at Sion College, he said, "It was at one time the dream

of his life that the differences which existed in the Church were rapidly passing away, and that they would live to see the time when all minor differences, at least, would disappear. That dream was now dissipated. It might be so in the future, but he should not live to see it. The course of events had tended lately to widen differences rather than to draw members of the Church together. The spirit of the age had penetrated into the Church. The aggressive activity of intellect which

called all first principles into question, which took nothing for granted, which delighted in perplexities, and which allowed no prescription to be any evidence of truth or ground of persuasion. He did not think that errors of doctrine would ever be cured by decisions of law courts. Such decisions seldom succeeded in silencing-they never succeeded in persuading. Perhaps he should not carry all with him to the same extent when he expressed his conviction that differences of opinion or errors of doctrine could not be cured by what was called "Church speaking." They had been told in many quarters that if the Church would but speak, all differences would be settled. If the Church were to speak by the united voice of the Episcopate, aided by learned men in theology and law, or by the voice of Convocation, of one, two, or four provinces, or by diocesan or provincial synods, or by general councils, he believed that the result would be pretty much the same-namely, that those whose opinions were condemned would contend that the Church had not spoken, or that the Church had made a mistake."

Among the evils of which the Bishop complains, one is the tone of what was called the Church press,- "He did not intend to speak of newspapers on one side or other, but of all, and there was involved in the question a great breach of Christian charity. It was very well to lay the blame on newspapers, but newspapers were written to sell. If they were not sold they would not be written, and the inference was that the vast masses of persons who bought them were not displeased with their uncharitable misrepresentations. But the great

evil in connection with newspapers was this, that they provided means of scandal for the worldly and unbelieving, who, taking for granted what they read, despised what were called the love and charity of Christians. It could only be in a spirit of the bitterest irony that the sceptic and the unbeliever could point to the Church newspapers of the day, and say, 'See how these Christians love one another!'"

THE REAL PRESENCE.

The ritual controversy and the decisions of the courts of law have led

to an extended correspondence in the newspapers connected with the Established Church. In the Gaurdian the discussion of the position of the celebrant in the Holy Supper has issued in a further correspondence on the question of what is called the objective, or real presence. The subject is introduced by Mr. Ll. Davies, who contends for a spiritual presence. It is continued by other writers, who maintain an objective or substantial presence under the form of bread and wine; and, at the time we write, is closed by a letter by W. Walsham How, who says:The 'Real Presence' in the Eucharist means, not the Real Presence of Christ, but the Real Presence of Christ's Body and Blood." There is no intimation in this correspondence that any of these writers have the slightest perception of the correspondence of the elements used in the communion service with the spiritual blessings which are promised and therein imparted to every devout recipient. The idea of the literal rendering of the words may induce a reverent or superstitious reception of this sacrament, but can never open the mind to an intelligent apprehension of its meaning, or nourish a rational and, therefore, truly Christian piety.

THE INDIGENT CLASSES AND THE MEANS OF THEIR ELEVATION.

One of the most urgent of our social questions is the rapid growth of pauper

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This growth is unchecked by the efforts of public charity. Recent investigations have disclosed the fact that not less than from six to seven millions sterling are expended on the poor of London. Yet, notwithstanding this expenditure, there are occasionally deaths from starvation, and an increasing army of beggars. The whole question is one pressing urgently for thoughtful consideration, and able men are giving their most earnest attention to its solution. "East London," says the Spectator, "crushes down hope. No man who has studied seriously the difficulties of the population there collected ever long escapes the feeling that external aid is unavailing, that nothing short of some tremendous moral impulse, a new creed, or a new social conviction, will

avail to raise the people to the level of civilization." The want which is thus suggested is being to some extent supplied. Agencies of various kinds and degrees of excellency are employed to counteract the wide-spread misery which prevails. It is now very extensively, if not generally felt that the cure of pauperism by almsgiving is not to be expected. The Lord Chancellor in a letter to the Times warns us that "indiscriminate almsgiving might easily be shown to have occasioned more mischief than lavish expenditure.' He commends a scheme for elevating the poor by their own agency, or still better for saving the all but lowest from sinking yet lower. How is this to be accomplished? The mass of poverty, and ignorance, and misery which abounds can only be reached and beneficially affected by the spirit of Christian compassion and mercy, united with Christian prudence and wisdom. The great want for this work is a forgetfulness of self in Christian devotion to these outcasts of the human family. Biblewomen, mission-women, conductors of mothers' meetings, and others are feeling their way in this sublime work of Christian charity. Two great difficulties stand in the way of all these agenciesthe difficulty of finding suitable agents, and of providing for them a proper training. Many would undertake the work of visitation and lecturing the people from the love of display, the hope of gain, the notice of those above them in social life, or other merely selfish motives. They are not the class required. It is the patient, kindly worker with the heart full of sympathy and love. And it is also the carefully trained worker. All recent experience is teaching this lesson-That Christian labour, in all the channels which are opening before it, to be efficiently and usefully conducted, must be directed by a trained and cultured intelligence. The progress of society is everywhere pointing to the necessity of uniting these two great principles, faith and love, intelligence and Christian sympathy and compassion. And just as this point is reached, is the centre of New Church teaching attained, and increased provision thereby made for the descent and establishment of the New Jerusalem on earth.

AMERICA.

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE, UNITED STATES. -The Messenger of December 20th gives from a local paper the following account of the organization of a Society of the New Church at this place:

"NEW JERUSALEM CHURCH.-The Meeting of Friends of the Swedenborgian or New Jerusalem Church on Sunday, at the United States Court Room, was attended by forty persons, and organized by calling on Judge Trigg to preside. In a brief address Judge Trigg, in admirably chosen terms, gave a concise statement of the peculiarities that distinguish the New Church. The proceedings were very interesting, and a warm feeling was expressed in favour of forming a permanent congregation in this city. As a beginning, it was unanimously resolved to form a society, and to hold meetings every Sunday. Messrs. Judge Pierce, J. M. Tomeny, and Alfred Matthias were appointed a committee to make arrangements for organization. The meeting adjourned until Sunday next, when it will again assemble at the same place at three o'clock in the afternoon.'

SOUTHERN STATES.-We extract the following account of the Southern States from the report of the Warminster Society to the Maryland Association :

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"We cannot leave this portion of our report without calling your attention, and that of the Church generally, to the singularly receptive state of the southern mind at the present crisis. It is a field where an hundred missionaries could be well employed. The political convulsions through which this section has recently passed, were, no doubt, the result of a partial judgment in the spiritual world, immediately adjacent; and such times are eminently favourable for the introduction of new religious ideas. An extended and well sustained effort inaugurated now, before the public mind shall begin to harden into a new state of externals, might establish the Church in these States to such a degree, that it would soon take a powerful hold of the affectional and emotional nature of our people."

From this report we also learn that Pike's slanderous pamphlet against the New Church has been published in opposition to this society. The reply

has been circulated, and the society hopes to receive no injury from this effort to excite prejudice against them.

From the report of the committee on missions of this Association, we find that a larger amount of missionary work has been done during the past year than in any former year. Some of this work has been performed outside the limits of the Association. Rev.

Mr. Day reports particulars of a missionary journey in which he travelled about nine thousand miles, and preached or lectured thirty-nine times. In this journey he visited societies and small bodies of receivers of the doctrines in the States of Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, Delaware, and Maryland. "Although my travelling expenses," he says, "have been large, on account of the great distances between the places where there are New Churchmen, still the contributions from the missionary field itself have been nearly sufficient to pay the expenses, which, considering the impoverished condition of the southern country, is all that can be afforded by the New Church Friends in that region at present." We commend this fact to the attention of the Church in this country. Hitherto it has been the practice of our missionary institutions to provide all the expenses of missionary labour, and to invite no contributions towards meeting the expenses of these labours from the congregations benefited by them. We are convinced that many persons who attend our missionary services would gladly contribute towards their expenses, and would be benefited by having the opportunity of doing so. This subject has already, we believe, received the thoughtful attention of the ministers in Lancashire, and we hope ere long to see it generally adopted.

Another feature which is becoming manifest in America, might be usefully adopted in England. "The Church in Abingdon, Va., has been without a pastor or ministerial service of almost any kind for a number of years, and has not made much progress externally, although the society itself may be said to have the best elements of success, if properly employed. The friends and members of the Church in that locality are now endeavouring, with the cooperation of the Society in Nelson

County, Va., and the New Church friends in Knoxville, Tenn., to procure the services of some experienced minister of the church, who can be settled at Abingdon, and divide his time between the three places, Norwood, Abingdon, and Knoxville. How many societies in England might profitably combine their energies for the same purpose?

SWEDENBORG SOCIETY.-We have received the following account of the doings of the committee, and of interesting and important events in connection with the Society.

There have occurred two gratifying evidences of zeal and attachment to the cause. The late Mr. B. Bucknall, formerly of Stroud, bequeathed to the Society £50, free of duty; this has now been received, and Mr. Dean, one of the trustees, has testified his good wishes towards the objects of the Society by a donation of £100. These examples will, it is hoped, stimulate others to do likewise; there is every prospect that the claims on the funds will soon be very large and urgent.

In the Lord's good providence new openings for introducing the doctrines of the New Church to foreign nations occasionally present themselves. As stated in our January number, this has recently occurred in reference to Italy, where freedom of religion is now fairly established. Our friend, the Rev. A. E. Ford of Florence, has come into correspondence with a zealous and intelligent native, who, having quitted the Roman Catholic religion, in which he was born, embraced Methodism, and was actively and successfully engaged as a missionary in that cause. Subsequently he became dissatisfied with those views and gave them up; and, after awhile he met with the doctrines of the New Church, which satisfied his utmost longings. He now wishes to devote his talents to the cause he has so heartily embraced. The Committee have therefore deemed it right to employ him to translate into Italian "The Heavenly Doctrines of the New Jerusalem," to be printed and published at Florence, under the inspection of Mr. Ford. It is expected our American brethren will supply means for him to be engaged in missionary labour among his now emancipated countrymen.

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The Index Biblicus-a portion_of which was published by the late Dr. Tafel, has been completed by Dr Kahl, who kindly undertook the labour. declined to accept any remuneration, saying he had much enjoyed the work, and had been paid during its performance. He, however, expressed a wish that some assistance should be afforded to the Swedish Society; the committee therefore made it a present of £10. Further portions of the Index Biblicus have since been discovered by Professor Tafel among the MSS. at Stockholm.

The fifth volume of the Arcana Coelestia, in Swedish, has been published, the Society making its usual contribution towards the expense.

The introductory matter which is prefixed to the "Four Leading Doctrines," when issued in one volume, has been revised and printed; so that the work can now be had in that form.

As usual, several grants of works have been made. To the Exeter Free Library, to the Public Library, Graaf Reinett, South Africa. To the Manchester Free Library, to complete the set; also to the Royal Library, Stockholm, to assist in completing their already large collection in various languages. A few works have also been presented to two zealous New Churchmen, sergeants at Aldershott, who have for some years been circulating the works among their comrades.

The periodical, "Good Words" is universally known, having a circulation of upwards 100,000, especially among men of enlarged views. Presuming on the liberality of the publisher, inquiry was made with a view of stitching in it a complete list of Swedenborg's works, with an introductory address. Finding it would be admitted, the Rev. T. M. Gorman and the Secretary were appointed to carry the measure out. It consequently appeared in the number for November. As this document has been placed in the copies of the Repository, the readers are enabled to judge of the importance of thus bringing the works to the notice of residents in every part of the globe. Copies of it are in progress of being sent to the clergy of the Established Church in London and elsewhere; and friends who desire to circulate them in their own sphere can have copies for that purpose. The expense has been large;

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