Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

325

Miscellaneous.

AMERICA-BOSTON.-The Society of the New Church in this city, which has long been distinguished for the number and intelligence of its members, and the eminent uses it has rendered to the Church in America, was instituted August 15, 1818. Last year, therefore, it had existed fifty years, and the members determined to hold a semi-centennial celebration. The particulars of this celebration are before us in a pamphlet of 86 pages. It is full of pleasant reminiscences of the past and cheerful hopes for the future. It abounds also with instructive narratives of personal experiences connected with the history and progress of the Church.

"At

The celebration was preceded by preliminary exercises in the church. the close of these exercises, the company repaired to the vestry below, which presented a very pleasant appearance. Tables had been set running the whole length of the room from south to north, with a smaller table at the southern end at right angles with the former. At this smaller table sat the pastor, with most of the church committee and the speakers of the evening. After a blessing pronounced by the pastor, the company partook of a plain but substantial repast, which was served by young ladies and gentlemen selected chiefly from the Sunday school." This repast was followed by a number of addresses by aged and distinguished members of the church, by letters from absent members, and by songs specially composed for and suited to the occasion. The early period of the Society's history is thus sketched by the Rev. T. B. Hayward -"As you have just been informed by your pastor, I am the only person present who took part in the institution of this Church or Society fifty years ago. There were twelve of us, three of whom are still living. The other two are Miss Cary, now at the advanced age of ninety-three, and the Rev. Thomas Worcester, D.D., who has been your pastor during almost the whole history of the Society. As nearly as I can recollect, there were at that time about fifteen receivers residing in Boston, and about ten or twelve more

in the neighbouring towns; and it is doubtful if there were a half dozen other persons in Massachusetts who were at all interested in the doctrines. Some of these had received them in the latter part of the previous century, and some at later and different periods. Two of them, Dr. Worcester and myself, were members of the Harvard University.

"The reception of the doctrines at that early period was a very different thing from what it is now. The opposition that we experienced, whether openly expressed, manifested in manner and deportment, or unconsciously exerted by spiritual sphere, cannot at the present day be conceived or imagined. We experienced a general sphere of oppression from the world at large that cannot be described. Those who received the doctrines in those early times had to give up everything else for them. This was strictly true with the most, and mainly so with all. We were regarded as insane, madly insane, to imagine that we had come into possession of a new religion, which was really a new dispensation. Then,

again, all the ties of affection, relationship, social position; all the motives of ambition, respectability, personal interest; and everything else but the conviction and love of the truth were arrayed against us. Few, very few, could receive the doctrines under such influences, and none except such as were lifted up and carried forward by the stronger internal influence of the Lord. They felt that the doctrines opened in them a new world, a spiritual worlda world within, which their opposing friends knew nothing of, and, therefore, could not assail; and the conscious experience of this alone sustained them. The few receivers in Boston and the vicinity had held meetings, sometimes every week, and sometimes once in two weeks, on Saturday afternoon for more than a year; and at length they began to consider the question of 'coming out,' as they called it. But they found they were not unanimous on this point. Those who favoured it thought it would give us a position, and would materially qualify and go far to remove

the constrained relations of things which have just been alluded to. Besides it was our imperative duty to set up the standard of the Lord's New Church before the world, and it was none too soon to begin. But some of our most valued friends could not see the matter in this light, and when it was resolved to become a church openly, they remained behind.

"Information had been received that the Rev. Maskell M. Carl, the minister of the New Jerusalem Church in Philadelphia, would be in New York at a certain time, and it was determined to request him to extend his journey to Boston and form us into a church. He

[ocr errors]

came, and on Saturday afternoon, August 15, 1818, twelve of us met at the house of Dr. Mann, corner of Washington Street and Newbury Place, and were instituted into a Church, by name the Boston Society of the New Jerusalem.' The ceremony was very simple. We stood in a circle round the room; Mr. Carl read some suitable forms, including some passages from the Word; we kneeled and united in repeating the Lord's Prayer; the proper questions were asked and answered. Mr. Carl then declared us to be a duly instituted Church, and we all signed our names to a creed which had been previously agreed upon.'

On the following day (Sunday), Mr. Carl preached morning and evening in Boylston Hall. Notice of the services had been given in the public papers. The hall was densely filled by a highly respectable and intelligent audience, who listened to the services with great attention. The sacrament of the Holy Supper was administered after the morning service. "From that day the Society held public worship regularly on the Sabbath. On the second Sunday the audiences were nearly as large as on the first. They soon diminished, however, and in three months we had but few hearers beyond our own numbers. Yet now and then an individual became interested in the doctrines and joined with us." At the end of the first ten years, we are informed by a subsequent speaker, the whole number of members was only sixtythree, of whom, at the time of holding the meeting, twenty-four were living.

Miss Cary, one of the three survivors of the twelve who first entered the So

ciety, passed to the spiritual world about three weeks after the festival-on the 7th day of December. The Boston New Jerusalem Magazine for May gives the following extract from her will :"I take this last solemn opportunity to declare my entire belief in the mission of Emanuel Swedenborg, and my reliance on the truths of the New Jerusalem Dispensation, on which I rest my hopes of future happiness through the infinite mercy of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, in whom is the fulness of the Godhead bodily.' Miss Cary, we are also told, gave one thousand dollars to the New Church Institute of Education at Waltham.

[ocr errors]

SWEDENBORG SOCIETY.-The fiftyninth anniversary is appointed to be held at the Society's House, Bloomsbury Street, on Tuesday evening, June 15th, the chair to be taken at seven o'clock precisely, by the Rev. A. Clissold. The reports of the retiring committee, treasurer, and auditors will be read, and new officers elected. It will be recollected that portions of the Chairman's address of last year were given in several numbers of the Repository, and afterwards published, in an enlarged form, under the title-Transition; or the passing away of Ages or Dispensations, Modes of Biblical Interpretation, and Churches. An equally important address may be looked for on this occasion, the critical state of the religious world at the present time demanding our attention. Favourable opportunities for placing the works in public libraries have arisen, and have been promptly met by the committee. It is earnestly hoped that the members and friends of the Institution will attend the meeting in such strength as to encourage the new committee to enter upon their duties with increased energy. The subscriptions are due at the anniversary; any arrears should be previously paid to the treasurer, Mr. Thos. Watson, 19 Highbury Crescent, N.

Mr. James Spiers, late of Glasgow, has succeeded Mr. Alvey as agent. All orders for books should be sent to him. Communications for the committee to be addressed to the secretary, Mr. Butter, 249 Camden Road, N.

MISSIONARY AND TRACT SOCIETY OF THE NEW CHURCH.-The forty-eighth

anniversary of this institution was held at the chapel of the College, Devonshire Street, Islington, on the evening of Wednesday, the 12th of May 1869, Wm. Pickstone, Esq., presiding. Dr. Bayley opened the meeting with prayer. After some appropriate remarks from the chairman, the minutes of the last anniversary, the committee's report, and the treasurer's accounts were read. From these it appeared that the Society continued to perform a variety of most important uses, by the abundant circulation of tracts, the regular supply of missionary aid to several societies needing such assistance, and keeping for sale the cheap edition of "Noble's Appeal," "Antediluvian History," "The Future Life," and several minor works. It is worthy of note also, although known to many readers of the Magazine, that during the past year a cheap edition (3000) of the Brighton Lectures," at 6d. per copy, has been printed, and the greater portion of them sold.

66

These lectures were delivered by Dr. Bayley at Brighton some years ago, the questions and answers which followed the lectures being added. The first edition was sold at 2s. per copy. They were regarded by the committee as very excellent, and as calculated, in a cheap form, to serve an important missionary use. Dr. Bayley having generously given to the committee the copyright, the edition spoken of was printed, the price however, 6d. per copy, does not quite cover the cost. The meeting, though not large, was one of considerable interest. The funds are in a sound state-extended uses however could be performed if more ample supplies were furnished. Out of the 100 copies of Noble's Appeal, generously given by Mr. Finnie, 92 have been applied for and furnished to ministers. Perhaps some other generous friend will follow this excellent example, and authorize the committee to give out if applied for, 25, 50, or 100 additional copies. It cannot fail to be useful to circulate such a work amongst ministers who desire to read it.

The essential resolution of the evening was 66 That the Society, believing that the New Church possesses spiritual treasures, the dissemination of which will greatly benefit the world, determines that it will zealously prosecute

[merged small][ocr errors]

This it will be seen is an inexhaustible theme, and one of its features is an appeal for additional subscriptions. During the evening the meeting was addressed by Dr. Bayley, Rev. W. Bruce, Messrs. Bateman, Dibley, Elliott, Moss, Smith, and the Treasurer. Very sanguine expressions of possibilities were uttered. No doubt that in the good providence of the Lord, this Society will continue to be, as it has for so many years been, one of the most useful of our institutions. The names of the new committee were announced, the chairman made some additional observations, a verse was sung, the benediction pronounced, and the meeting terminated.

MANCHESTER TRACT SOCIETY.-The annual meeting of this society was held in the Peter Street school-room, on the evening of May 11. The Rev. Mr. Hyde was in the chair, and introduced the business of the meeting by remarking on the agency of the press in its relation to the new dispensation. Other churches had been raised by preaching, the New Church chiefly by the press. Swedenborg did not teach by word of mouth, but by the publication of his writings. As members of the Church, we should not neglect the zealous employment of both these means of disseminating the truth, but we should not be true to the character of the Church and requirements of the age if we neglected the employment of the press.

The report of the society was of a cheerful and hopeful character. A number of new tracts have been published, and six thousand copies of tracts published by others purchased. The number of subscribers have also increased, and the society is in a healthy condition, and pursuing a course of vigorous usefulness. The reading of the report was followed by a series of resolutions, the moving and seconding of which gave rise to many instructive and interesting remarks. In addition to those of a formal kind, one of these resolutions affirmed, "that the various circumstances now affecting the re

ligious world, the important religious questions which are agitated, the growing desire for religious unity, and the increasing prominence given by almost all preachers to the doctrine of life, should encourage believers in the new dispensation to fresh efforts and greater zeal in communicating to others the exalted principles they are privileged to hold." The Rev. Mr. Woodman in moving this resolution briefly referred to the social changes taking place in the Irish branch of the Church of England, and their probable influence on the future of the Established Church in its relation to other Christian communities. The great want of the Church, he remarked, is her return to allegiance to her Divine Head. Should this take place, she may yet realize the description of the Apostle, and become a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing. And in this case she has before her a future of greater usefulness than has distinguished her history in the past. In dissenting communities the study of scientific subjects have led to broader views, affected their conceptions of doctrine, and changed their style of preaching. The prominence formerly given to faith was gradually giving place to the setting forth of good works, as essential to the formation of Christian character. The influences which were thus changing the teachings and improving the condition of all Christian communities in England, extended also to other countries. The doctrine of faith alone had no charm for the inhabitants of Italy and other Catholic countries. They wanted a warmer doctrine, corresponding with their warm climate, and suited to their warm affections.

Another resolution intimated that the possession of knowledge concerning Divine Truth is to be regarded as a trust involving a solemn responsibility to disseminate that knowledge among men, and pointed to the Society as eminently deserving the support of the Church, as a means of promoting this end.

Mr. E. J. Broadfield in moving this resolution, remarked on the new series of tracts in course of publication, as adapted to the growing wants of the age. The great evil of the present time is not scepticism but indifference. Scepticism is an active thing which suggests inquiry, leads

people on, and induces men to ask the reason, why? Scientific men are combating indifferentism by their suggestions and theories. These theories though attractive were not satisfactory. Will it satisfy the dying to be told that life is merely an attribute of matter? The New Church teaches that material substances are not living but only recipients of life. The New Church must adopt the sentiments of the wiser ancients, and unite them with her newer doctrines in her warfare with the mistaken scientific teachings of the age. In addition to these resolutions, and to those of a formal kind, was one expressing the society's sense of its deep indebtedness to the treasurer, Mr. G. B. Shatwell, for his untiring and useful labours during the six years he has held the office, and the regret of all the members at the prospect of his removal to another part of the kingdom. resolution was moved by Mr. Broadfield, and supported by several other speakers, all of whom expressed their admiration for the Christian character of Mr. Shatwell, and their hope that he might find some congenial field of usefulness in the society to which he was about to

remove.

This

Addresses were also delivered by Revs. J. Boys, W. Westall, and R. Storry, and by Messrs. Deans, J. Parkinson, Dr. Pilkington, Mackereth, Standring, and F. Smith.

The meeting was well attended. All the proceedings were pleasant and harmonious, and seemed to interest all who were present.

MISSIONARY LECTURES.

LEICESTER.Three lectures have been recently delivered in this town by the Rev. Dr. Bayley. The 26th, 27th, and 29th of April will long be happily remembered by many at Leicester. The rarity in this town of such a treat as these three lectures promised, operated as a strong attraction to all local receivers of New Church Doctrine, and also upon the curiosity of hundreds of the general public. As the first evening drew near, considerable attention seemed to be manifested, and when the Doctor entered the hall, the largest in the town, seven or eight hundred persons had gathered. As the Doctor progressedly unfolded to view simple and majestic truths with regard to the

future life, the spiritual sense of scripture, and the atonement, the close attention of all testified to the absorbing interest felt, the evidence of this being completed by a spontaneous vote of thanks at the close of the last lecture. As regards the character of the audiences, it may be said that every class was well represented, gentlemen of large local influence, professional men, and a goodly number of artizans being present every night. Altogether, the visit may be pronounced a decided success, on account of the number and character of those addressed, and the impressions that it is known have been made on many minds.

To this gratifying result, previous lectures by the Rev. Woodville Woodman, the Rev. R. Storry, and R. Gunton, Esq., have, no doubt largely contributed.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

DALSTON.-A course of four lectures was delivered here, in Luxembourg Hall, by the Rev. Dr. Bayley, last month. The subjects were, first, "Jesus, and Him Glorified; the whole Trinity in Him. Second, "The Scripture Doctrine of the Atonement; God reconciling the world unto Himself." Third, "The Resurrection; where are the Dead Men's Souls?" And fourth, "Heaven, what it is; where it is; and how to prepare for it.' The subjects were all very ably treated, the lecturer illustrating his points with a mass of scripture evidence, under the weight of which the old theology could not stand, and still more strengthening the views of the New Church by many happy arguments and illustrations drawn from reason and nature. The hall, which will hold about 600 persons, was on each occasion full, on one occasion so much so that not a seat could be had. There was a good sprinkling of New Church faces amongst the audience the first two evenings, but this was followed by a large number of strangers the succeeding nights. The hall is used on the Sunday by the Baptists, and they were not altogether pleased with the Doctor's visit.

He

came quite unexpected, like a thunderbolt in their very midst, and those of them who ventured to oppose him were very quickly and effectually disposed of. The great mass of the meeting shewed their appreciation of the lecturer's ability, and the thorough Christian character of his teaching, by their close

attention during the lectures, and at their close a hearty and unanimous vote of thanks was accorded to him, the hope being expressed that although this was his first visit to Dalston, it would not be his last. These lectures have done great good, several earnest thinking men of other denominations having been present on nearly all the evenings, and from their marked attention, evidently imbibing the new ideas as they flowed from the speaker's lips, we only wish we had many more earnest men such as Dr. Bayley to take the field, for true it is "the harvest is ready, but the labourers are few. Many hundreds of tracts were distributed, and a good number of the "Brighton Lectures" and other works sold. This little book promises to be one of the most effective little missionaries the

Church possesses. The lectures were

advertised on the North London Railway Stations, free of charge, and the committee have presented a copy of Noble's Appeal and the Brighton Lectures to Mr. Hitch, the superintendent, as a slight mark of their appreciation of his kind assistance.

The Dalston lectures are to be followed by another course on the "Spiritual Sense of the Bible," to be delivered the last week of May, and the first week in June, in the Town Hall, Shoreditch. This room will hold 1500 persons, and it is very desirable to fill it. Other churches hold their May gatherings in Exeter Hall, and the New Church will this year have an opportunity of holding four "May Meetings" for missionary work in the fine large hall of Shoreditch. To make these meetings a success, it is earnestly requested that all friends in London desirous of assisting in the good work will communicate with Mr. Jobson, 50 Queen's Road, N.E., who will gratefully receive books, tracts, &c. for sale and distribution in the room. If we wish to dissipate the prejudice and ignorance existing on the subject of New Church teaching, and proclaim its glorious truths and missions to men, we must not hide its light under a bushel, but enter amongst the great masses of the people. In this way will it truly become "a light unto the world, a city set on a hill which cannot be

hid.

« VorigeDoorgaan »