Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

age and other bodily infirmities, has compelled attention to the best means of supplying this lack of service. For some time the principal portions of the south and west of England have been without the active superintendence of bishops. The means of remedying this state of things led to lengthened debates, but to no practical result. The only approach to such a result was the passing of a resolution, in accordance with the recommendations of the Cathedral Commission of 1854, "That in case of the bishop's inability to discharge the duties of his office, from age or continued bodily infirmity, he may, subject to the approval of the archbishop, pray Her Majesty to appoint a coadjutor, cum jure successionis, with such proportion of the income of the see, and in such manner as may be hereafter determined.

[ocr errors]

The question which most seriously occupies the attention of the clergy at the present time, is the proposal to disestablish the Irish branch of the Established Church. This question was introduced, and determined the elections of many of the proctors to the convocations. Men of ability, like Dr. Vaughan, Mr. Bramston, and others, were set aside, on the ground of their sympathy with the Government measure, and efforts were made, in the Lower House of the province of Canterbury, to import into the address to the Queen a prayer that Her Majesty would not assent to any measure which would disestablish the Irish Church, or alienate to secular purposes any portion of the property or revenues which have been dedicated to the maintenance of the worship of Almighty God, and the support of His ministers. This prayer was too strong for the bishops, who constitute the Upper House. Bishop of Oxford regarded it as constitutional," and a modified and milder resolution was in the end agreed upon by both Houses.

66

The

un

Change is at present the law of all public institutions. The changes in progress are, in the majority of cases, undoubted improvements. But whether evidences of progress or decline, there is everywhere movement. The most conservative institutions cannot stand still. The petitions presented to the Convocation of Canterbury, and the various subjects introduced and in

quiries instituted, all indicate an eager desire to adapt the Church to the changes that are going on in society. These questions include the improvement of the condition of the clergy, the retirement of incapacitated ministers, the establishment of diocesan synods, a larger introduction of the lay element into the ordinary working of the Church, the reform of cathedral establishments, and many other subjects.

The Convocation of the province of York last year passed a resolution expressing the feeling that "this Convocation would cordially welcome any practical attempt to effect a brotherly reconciliation between the Wesleyan body and the Church of England." This resolution was coldly received by the Wesleyans in this country, and led to no practical results. In America, where there are three millions of Episcopal Methodists, it seems to have been more cordially welcomed, and some action taken towards union. This encouraged the leader of this movement to again introduce the subject by proposing a resolution to send to these bodies in America a copy of this resolution. The experience of the past disinclined the heads of the Convocation to undertake this correspondence, and the conversation ended by simply reaffirming the resolution of last year.

The

A more difficult question in this province is the question of heresy. Rev. Charles Voysey, a beneficed clergyman in the diocese of York, has given expression to sentiments, in a publication entitled The Sling and the Stone, which are generally acknowledged to have exceeded the bounds the Church can possibly tolerate. The Archbishop stated that he had used and exhausted the means of private expostulation, and, though most reluctantly, had instituted legal proceedings. The question will, therefore, come before the Church tribunals, and add another to the perplexities arising out of her doctrinal diversities.

AMERICA.

The Boston New Jerusalem Magazine for March has an article on "Practical writing and teaching in the New Church," in which the writer indicates some of the changes which have taken place, or are in progress, in the external and social relations of the New Church

in America.

[ocr errors]

The Church has had a period of intellectual growth, which has been of the greatest importance in establishing the heavenly doctrines in the minds of men. "Those of us,' says this writer, "who, as children, were brought up under its influence must carry with us through our lives a recollection of its delightful effect upon all social relations. And it was strengthened by the feeling of our proscription by those to whom the New Church appeared an outburst of falsity and error, —a feeling which was then so strong as to turn us in upon one another for that sympathy which, under such, circumstances, was so strongly developed."

The Church has now entered on a new phase of her existence, and this condition of things has become extensively altered. "All, or nearly all, who then became members of the Church were constant readers and students of its doctrines. But within my own short existence,' says this writer, there has been a great change. very large number of those who now come into it have but little behind a general knowledge of the leading points of difference between the New Church and the Old; and some faint, glimmering ideas of the necessity of a better life.

66

A

Our young people, educated in the Church, either do not become members, or do so from the force of example or home influence, with but little personal love for the life of religion. And this is where our religious instruction has failed to do its work. There has

been a great fear of impairing freedom through the leading of natural affections; and almost all teaching in the Sabbath school has been doctrinal, and in as nearly the original language of Swedenborg as was possible. This suited our fathers and mothers, and why not their children? But they were prepared for it by an already acquired love for a religious life, and consequently a strong desire and longing for religious truth.

The altered condition of things necessitates change in the modes of popular instruction. The Church must adapt herself to the wants of her members, and of those outside her pale which she desires to influence for good. "If we wish to do good to our children, and to the mass of mankind, who as regards knowledge of the truth are but as chil

dren, we must first seek to know the truth ourselves . . . . and to clothe it in such simple forms of language and expression as the simple-minded, whether young or old, can understand. It is the duty of every one who becomes a member of the Church to try to develop in himself a true knowledge of its doctrines, based upon his own efforts to live a good life, and then to 'give to every one that asketh' what he asketh, and in such a way that he can receive it. There are many asking, though their appeals may not be audible to the ear of the natural man."

The New Church is the Church of the future, and to fulfil its mission must adapt itself to the religious requirements of the present. "Can it be thought," says this writer in conclusion, "that these doctrines which appeal so strongly to the rational mind of man are not for that very reason the better adapted to the needs of those whose understandings are but little developed? I feel sure that they are; and I think that one who could hope that he might fill such a place in the service of the Lord, as there is now an earnest call for men to fill, should be glad to give up every other hope, and enter upon this work joyfully. No higher use could be desired by the heart of man.

[ocr errors]

Dedication of a New House of Worship at Brooklyn.-We extract the following account of this dedication from the New Jerusalem Messenger of Feb. 24:"The new house of worship of the Brooklyn New Church Society was dedicated on Sunday afternoon last. The house was crowded to its utmost capacity, a large number of friends from New York, and other places in the vicinity, being present. The services were conducted by the Rev. Mr. Ager, pastor of the Society, assisted by the Rev, Mr. Giles, pastor of the New York Society. At a little after halfpast three the two ministers passed up the centre aisle to the chancel, Mr. Ager bearing a copy of the Word, which he deposited in the repository provided for it. Then, turning to the congregation, he briefly explained the reason why New Church societies give this prominence to the sacred volume in their places of worship, and recited tho formula of dedication as follows, the people standing

66

:

We now set apart and consecrate

this house to the worship of the Lord Jesus Christ, the only God of heaven and earth; to the administration of His divinely ordained sacraments; to instruction from His holy Word, ac cording to the heavenly doctrines of the New Jerusalem, as made known in the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg; and to all heavenly and spiritual uses and offices and duties. And may it henceforth be set apart and kept free from all secular and worldly uses, from all false teaching and all unholy practices; and may it ever be to us truly a house of God, in which our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ shall be truly and manifestly present with His people. The Lord bless us and keep us. The Lord

make His face to shine upon us, and be gracious unto us. The Lord lift up His countenance upon us and give us peace. Amen."

Then followed singing, a response service, and a lesson from the Word, after which Mr. Ager read a brief statement by the trustees, showing that the total outlay had been 46,500 dollars, of which 29,000 had been paid, and 17,000 remains as a debt to be provided for. The Rev. Mr. Giles then preached a discourse, showing that the New Church worshipped one God, in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that the unity of His Church was to be built upon this cardinal doctrine. The singing of an anthem concluded the service.

The building, which was purchased of the Universalists, is of brown stone, in somewhat of the Gothic style of architecture. Inside it has a nave and side aisles, separated from the nave by quatrefoil pillars, and the roof is formed of groined arches, with clerestory. The dimensions of the auditorum are 55 feet in width, by 65 feet in length, and it seats 400 comfortably. At the western end, over the vestibule, is an organ gallery, in which is a fine organ, of ample power for the church. Since the purchase, the church has been thoroughly repaired and renovated. The most important change has been in the eastern or chancel end. This was formerly occupied by an immense pulpit, which has been removed, and in its place a very rich and tasteful repository for the Word has been erected. In front of the repository stands the desk from which the lessons from the Word are read. To the left is the prayer-desk, and to the right is the

pulpit, both of very elaborately carved wood. On the pulpit is the inscription Nunc Licet, with a crown. Under the auditorum is a large, high, and well lighted basement, containing a large Sunday schoolroom, two other large rooms, and other conveniences. On the whole, the Brooklyn Society thus feel that they have a very complete, beautiful, and convenient place of worship.

SABBATH EVENING LECTURES.

The winter lectures to which we alluded in our January number have been continued in several of our societies up to the present time, in most cases with marked success. Particulars of some of these courses have reached us and will doubtless interest our readers.

Heywood.-The subjects discussed by the minister in this society have been a continuation of those previously introduced, but have dwelt more fully on the relation of the New Church to other Christian communities, on the distinctions and diversities of Christian doctrine, and on the duties of members of the New Church in their relation to the age and to the changes of religious thought and feeling at present manifesting themselves in other Christian communities. The attendance at these lectures has been good, though not marked by any large influx of strangers. The society itself has attained a good position and somewhat settled character, and its neat and commodious church is usually well-attended.

[ocr errors]

66

Preston.-At this town a course of six lectures, extending from November 29 to February 15, were announced by Rev. Mr. Rendell. The subjects of these lectures embraced, Conscience, its true nature, and how it is acquired, "The Ark of the Covenant, and why miracles were performed by its presence,' "The Mystery of Godliness; God manifest in the flesh," "The Ladder of which Jacob dreamed, and the phenomena which appeared upon it," The Holy Spirit, and its operations in promoting the regeneration of mankind," "The digging of wells by the patriarchs, and its spiritual teaching. The ability of the lecturer is sufficient security for the interest which would attach to the discussion of these

important subjects. We regret, however, to learn that the delivery of

some in the latter part of the course was interrupted by the indisposition of the preacher, an indisposition from which we are happy to learn he is now slowly recovering.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Kersley. -Six lectures have been given to this society by the Rev. W. Woodman, commencing on January 31, and ending March 7. The subjects discussed were "the Church of the future,' "the Signs promised to follow faith,' "Work and Worship, or the relation of labour to religion,' "the Employ. ments of Angels, their nature and object," "Joseph and his coat of many colours," " 'Joseph sold into Egypt, his elevation and making himself known to his brethren." The attendance on these lectures has been good throughout, several strangers having attended the entire course. Considerable interest has thus been excited and enlarged views of truth widely diffused. Whatever may be the immediate consequence so far as the building up of the society is concerned, there can be no doubt that the seed sown will find some congenial soil in which it will spring up and yield a fruitage of abiding good.

Peter Street, Manchester-We are indebted to a correspondent for the following account of the lectures at this place:

The minister of this society has been engaged in delivering a series of Sunday Evening Discourses, which has attracted a more than usual amount of attention by their bold out-spokenness. The series is entitled "The Supernatual," and consists of the following striking subjects, "Is there a Spiritual world?" "Bible visions and seership;" "Bible dreams;" "Occasional glimpses of the Spiritual World;" "Swedenborg's claims as a Seer of Heaven;" and "Swedenborg's claims as a Seer of Hell." The circumstance of a noted spiritist "medium, visiting Manchester for the purpose of lecturing on Spiritualism, while Mr Hyde's series was in progress, rendered the fourth lecture of the above course of great public use, for it contained a careful, comprehensive, and exhaustive analysis of spiritism, and an exposure of its disorders and dangers. The church has been filled with apparently most thoughtful and interested congregations. As an assault from high spiritual

[ocr errors]

and rational grounds, on the materialism of the day, and as an effort to bring the grandly affirmative teachings of Swedenborg and modern negativism face to face, such a series of discourses cannot fail to bear good fruit.

Nottingham.-Mr. T. Moss, B.A., who has been elected to take charge of this society, has given a very instructive and interesting course of lectures on the senses of the body as illustrating scripture teaching. They commenced on February 21, with a lecture on "The Body and its Senses," and were continued by lectures on the several senses, closing March 21. In the announcement of his course, Mr. Moss has introduced at length the several passages of scripture of which each lecture was intended to be a particular illustration. The pertinence of these citations show the allusions made to the senses in the word itself, and can scarcely fail to impress the reader with the fact these allusions involve a higher purpose than what relates merely to the natural body. From the bill announcing these lectures we learn that the society has instituted a weekly coffeemeeting for reading New Church works and conversation; and that the library of New Church works is free for the use of members and inquirers.

97 66

Snodland.-The Rev. Mr. Marsden, the minister of this society, avails himself of what seems to be the custom of this part of the kingdom, to give an extended course of religious services at Easter, the discourses having special reference to the subjects of which the season is suggestive. These discourses commenced on March 14, and are to be continued through the month of April. The introductory subjects are "The Spirit of Man, its faculties and immortality,' 'Abraham's bosom and Hades." The subject for Good Friday is "Christ our Passover," for Easter Sunday in the morning, "the Resurrection of Christ;" in the evening, "the Infidelity of the professing Church in not preaching the divinity of the Lord's humanity as the ground of faith" (Zech. xiii. 6). The subjects which follow, are Regeneration grounded on faith in the Lord's Divine Humanity,' ," "the Cup before and after the Lord's Supper," the Lord's eating the fish and the honeycomb," "the Books which constitute the written

66

Word of God," "the Inspiration of the Word." These subjects will doubtless attract the attention of those interested in questions of so much importance and edify the church established at this place.

The Rev.

ASHTON-UNDER-LYNE. John Hyde has completed the delivery of a course of four lectures at Ashtonunder-Lyne, on "The Life after Death, "The Divine Trinity in the One Person of the Lord Jesus Christ," "Redemption the reconciliation of man to God, and not of God to man,' Regeneration a

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

66

spiritual process," Faith working by love, and not faith alone, the faith which saves." The Ashton-under-Lyne Society has suffered severely in consequence of the emigration and removal of many of its members; but the few friends that remain are bravely struggling on. The day school, under the direction of Mr Kay, is thriving in a most gratifying way, and will, it is believed, not only prove a means of use to the town, but also to the Society.

CARDIFF. This town has again been visited by the Rev. Dr. Bayley, of London, and though strong opposition was shown by some parties to his having the opportunity of addressing the people, there was also an earnest desire by many to hear the talented lecturer again, for the impressions made by his last visit, now nearly two years ago, had not passed entirely away. Bigoted persons tried to keep us from every public hall. After much difficulty the theatre in Crockubtown was opened for the lectures, and it was manifest how many were glad to secure a place. The first lecture was given on Friday evening, February 5th-subject, "The Scripture doctrine of the Atonement,"-which was listened to by a most attentive audience. The proofs appeared to be satisfactory to the majority of the hearers, but great excitement was felt when a minister of the Wesleyans (Rev. C. Christien) made himself very conspicuous by the way in which he put a question to the Doctor concerning Swedenborg's views of the Atonement, and the spirit in which he received his answer. The next evening Mr Christien had distributed a pamphlet of four pages, headed "Swedenborg or Scripture? Dr. Bayley is a follower of Swedenborg, and Swedenborg would rob us of our only

hope of Heaven." To this Dr. Bayley gave a short reply, which was widely circulated, after which Mr Christien put a letter in the Cardiff Times, which Dr. Bayley has again more fully replied to. We think it more likely this discussion will further our cause than do it injury. The second lecture was on "The Spiritual sense of the Bible the glory of the Word of God." It was evident the accommodation was very insufficient for the numbers who were anxious to hear, but the larger halls being refused through prejudice, no better could be obtained. The sentiments and views which the Doctor enunciated on the subject of that evening appeared to draw forth great admiration, and awaken a deeper interest than before. Embracing the highly valued opportunity of the reverend Doctor's presence amongst us, two services were announced for the Sunday-one in the afternoon, the other in the evening at the same place. The first discourse was chosen by the Doctor from Rev. iii. 18-"I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich," &c. The subject for the evening was from Mark xvi. 18 and 19 verses. It was requested by many that the sermon might be published, and we are happy in knowing that the Doctor has kindly granted it. These were services not soon to be forgotten by those who were present. church or chapel in the town that day, we are persuaded, had so full a congregation. A truly sacred influence pervaded, and there were many who could exclaim, with Jacob of old, "This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of Heaven." The Doctor addressed an assembly of probably 1500 on Monday evening. Two or

No

three tea-parties were made, to which the Doctor was invited, as many friends were anxious for a little more private discussion. Finding there are many persons whose minds are somewhat unsettled and anxious for help, a Sunday evening meeting has been formed, to be held at the home of friends alternately. We met together last evening for the first time in a like company; opened the meeting with singing and prayer; then one read a chapter from the New Testament, and another read one of the Rev. Dr. Bayley's sermons from the "Divine Word Opened;" another hymn was sung, and a prayer closed our

« VorigeDoorgaan »