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with the energy displayed by their teachers. They are the special outbirth of Christianity. They were first formed, according to Tertullian, in A.D. 180, and their object was to instruct the heathen converts, in order to preserve them from falling away from the religion which they had embraced. They however proved so useful, that they were very soon extensively established, and they flourished until they were overshadowed by the ignorance and evil of a fallen Church in the Dark Ages. They declined and passed into obscurity from about the close of the sixth century until the dawn of the Reformation--a period of about 1000 years. It was not until the latter part of the eighteenth century that they again began to receive the lively interest and attention which they deserved. It may recur to your minds that about that time the early receivers of the New Church doctrines first began to meet together for worship and instruction; thus the movement in regard to Sunday schools, which is now bearing fruit a thousand-fold, is coeval with the rise of the New Church. And regarding as we do the New Church, not as a sect, but as a new dispensation of love and truth from the Lord, we may justly conclude that the great institution of Sunday schools, which has spread with such amazing rapidity during the last century throughout every civilized country of the world, is one of the external evidences of the descent of the New Jerusalem, which we believe to have been taking place since 1757. The New Church therefore should fully recognize the Sunday school as an eminent means of building up the Church. Indeed, the school is to the Church what the Church on earth is to the heavens-the seminary. If therefore we would see our Church fully prosper, we must regard it as a special duty diligently to prepare the youth around us in our Sunday school.
There appears to me one more special duty which we should perform to the young, and that is to provide for them suitable books, for books and magazines are certainly among the most extensive and powerful means we have of reaching the masses. How important then it is that the literature of the day should become as pure as possible! It is all very well to be pleased with a popular work of the day if we discover a few New Church views which have perhaps found their way into it as though by some accident, while the remainder may be mere rubbish; but we should not lose that keener relish for those books which abound with New Church truths; for if one pearl in a heap of sand be so valuable, what must be the worth of a heap of pearls! It is therefore desirable that New Church literature should be extensively increased, and circulated far and wide. But I would urgeI would plead for more books for the young. There is verily a cry coming up from the little ones. Our stock of juvenile books they have exhausted. Perhaps once a year, besides the reprints of good old ones, a solitary new one appears, which of course is soon read, and only creates an appetite which looks in vain for more. The drops of promise come, but never the shower. The only periodical treat that we have is the modest "Juvenile," which, to its praise be it spoken,
is probably read as much and with as much interest by adults as by juveniles; but as a magazine for children it absolutely requires illustra tions to the extent of at least one to every number, and a good frontispiece to the volume. I am informed that there is nothing wanting but that which is most essential-the monetary means. This must be raised either by a considerable increase in its circulation or by voluntary aid. Now, I feel sure that if every New Church person in this country would only lend a little more aid in its circulation, a 1000 more numbers at least might be sold every month, and this would furnish its ' editor with the means of making it more like what we desire to see it. We also feel the want of more matter of a New Church character for reading, reciting, and the like, at our entertainments.
I only hope that these brief remarks on our juvenile literature will be favourably received by you, and that you will see that we owe a great duty to the young in this respect.
And now, dear friends, what is it our special duty to teach, by this grand trine of means, namely, the home, the Sunday-school, and the literature of our Church? It is the heavenly truths which we are enabled to see, the love and life of which we perceive to be the source of all heavenly joys. It is not necessary that I should particularize those truths, as I doubt not they will readily recur to your minds. I will, therefore, only say, whether we be parents, Sunday-school teachers, or authors, let it be our constant effort, by word and deed, to inseminate into the receptive minds of youth the heavenly truths of the New Church. Let us never tire or fail to take the most lively interest in teaching and showing that the Word is Divine, and that the Lord is a Being of infinite love, wisdom, and power; that He once came down to a level with the very lowest of men, in an assumed humanity, to deliver and save them from the power of evil; the infirmities of which humanity He successively put off as He overcame in temptation, until at last His Body became eclipsed by the Divine from within which filled it with glory, when the Father glorified His Name, and exalted it to the right hand of power-invested it with omnipotence; and that this glorious Divine Being is the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only God. To teach that the Lord must be acknowledged, approached, and worshipped under this His true form, is a work all worthy of our life's energies, if we had nothing else to teach. But we know that from this, as a centre and source, flow truths in infinite abundance and variety. We must on no account neglect to teach that if man would be saved from hell and attain to heaven, he must shun evils as sins against God, and live a life according to the Ten Commandments. These essential truths, with additional instruction concerning heaven and hell, what man is of himself, and what he may be from the Lord, and the nature of true life here, and heavenly bliss hereafter, may be gradually unfolded in the simplest, choicest language which we can command; and they will sink deep into the memory of youth, and form most valuable materials for moral and spiritual culture in after-life. Being fore-instructed, they will be fore-armed; for by the truths we teach
we instruct their minds, and by the loves we exercise we educate their hearts. We put in truth and draw out love; for to instruct means to put in, and to educate means to draw out-we thus learn that the truths we may teach will return to us in love, and the promise will be fulfilled, "For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron" (Isa. lx. 17).
My brethren, our happiness here and hereafter, the prosperity of the Church, the welfare of the rising generation, and of humanity even in the distant future, are all bound up together, and greatly depend upon our faithfulness in the present discharge of "our special duty to the young."
Listen to the divine words of exhortation, "Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord.
"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
"And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart; and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up" (Deut. vi. 4-7).
BRITISH AND FOREIGN.
THE Sixty-fourth Annual Meeting of this important Society was held in the Swedenborg Society House, Bloomsbury Street, London, on Tuesday, June 16th; Dr. Stocker, President of the Society, occupied the chair. The meeting was not quite so numerously attended as usual, which was to be regretted, as the proceedings were of more than usual interest. The proceedings were opened with prayer by the Rev. Dr. Tafel. The Chairman, on rising to address the meeting, stated that he had an important communication to lay before them. A letter had been addressed to him in his official capacity by a gentleman to whom the Society was deeply indebted for the position it at present occupied, whose labours in the cause they regarded with the highest admiration, and who was personally the object of their highest esteem. He was sure that a communication from the Rev. Augustus Clissold would be received by the friends now assembled with the greatest satisfaction. He then read the following letter :—
"To the Chairman of the Swedenborg Society.-My dear Sir,-Will you have the goodness to excuse the few lines I now send on the occasion of the Anniversary meeting, as indicating the deep interest which I feel in the object for which the Society was instituted.
"The visible decline of ancient ecclesiastical institutions, and the signal failure of all attempts to effect a reunion of Christendom upon the ancient basis, as illustrated in the recent efforts of The English Church Union, have led many highly cultivated minds to contemplate these signs of the times as prophetic of the
Second Advent of the Lord.1 It is the express object of the Swedenborg Society to testify to the world that this Second Advent has actually taken place, by the revelation of the Lord in the clouds of Scripture. In the language of St. Peter-"We are witnesses of these things "--but then, as he says,-Seeing that all these things, namely, the heavens and the earth, shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness.
"If St. Peter could say this when he had only external ideas of the Second Advent, does it the less apply to us, because we hold the true and spiritual ideas of its nature? What visible dissolution of the material heavens and earth could equal that moral dissolution of the Divine Order of things which took place at the First Advent, and which is thus described by the eminent Dr. Barrow: 2
"We may with astonishment contemplate that strange contest between Divine patience and human wickedness, striving which of them should excel, when we do peruse and weigh those enigmatical passages-God accused by man of blasphemy, the Eternal Wisdom aspersed with folly, truth itself impleaded with imposture, essential love made guilty of mischief, and supreme goodness styled a malefactor; infinite power beat down and trampled upon by impotent malice; the Judge of all the world, the Fountain of all authority and right, arraigned, condemned, and executed for injustice; the Desire of all nations rejected by His own country and kindred; the Joy of Paradise (whose lightsome countenance doth cheer heaven itself) almost overwhelmed with grief, uttering lamentable groans, tortured with grievous agonies, the very heart of God bleeding, and the sole Author of life expiring.'
"If such was the spiritual chaos in the time of the first advent, is there no corresponding chaos in the present day?
"The Catholic Church,' says Count de Maistre, asserts that the Sovereign Pontiff is the necessary, the only, the exclusive basis of Christianity. To him belong the promises; with him disappears unity, in other words, the Church.' This proposition has been finally reaffirmed by the recent Vatican Council. Need we then be surprised to find in a work edited by Archbishop Manning, that Swedenborg is classed with Mahomed, that his doctrines are denounced as heresies, his communications with the spiritual world as delusions, and Swedenborg himself as an impostor?
"Where Divine Truth is not made to depend upon the voice of the Pope, it is made to depend upon the voice of the Church. Dogma, says Archbishop Manning, is the teaching of the Church, and it is true because the Church teaches it. This exactly accords with the rule of Ignatius Loyola, who says "That we may be entirely of the same mind with the Church, if she have defined anything to be black which may appear to our eyes to be white, we ought to believe it to be as she has pronounced it.' The reason assigned is, because the Church is the body of Christ, the body cannot be separated from the soul which is His Divinity, so that the Church as the body of Christ inherits His Divinity. In this case, the voice of the Church is said to be identical with the voice of the Lord Himself. Need we then be surprised, that in a work published by The English Church Union, and to which a preface is attached by Dr. Pusey, the voice of the Catholic Church should be contrasted with what the writer calls-that specious spirit of comprehensiveness, which, while it is prepared to tolerate the followers of Christ, will not reject the followers of Mahomed or Swedenborg. Here again Swedenborg is classed with Mahomed. If this be the voice of the Church, how are we to appeal against it? It cannot be done; for the voice of the Church is said to be the voice of the Lord, inasmuch as the Catholic Church inherits the Divinity of the Lord. "Here then the very faculty in virtue of which man is man; the faculty, namely, of perceiving good to be good, and truth to be truth, is taken away from man altogether, so that consequently no MAN is to be found, in the language of Scripture, I beheld and lo! there was no man.' While this faculty of perception 1 See the Sermons and Essays published by The English Church Union, including members of the Oriental, Catholic, and Anglican Communions.
Sermon 21. On The Trinity.
Papal Sovereignty, p. 320.
Essays on Religion and Literature. Second series, p. 310, 1867.
Spiritual Exercises, edited by the Rev. Orby Shipley, rule 11, p. 159, 1970.
Essays on the Reunion of Christendom, edited by Dr. Lee, p. 51, 1867.
is denied to man himself, the Catholic Church claims to itself not only the exclusive power of distinguishing good from evil and truth from falsehood, but the right to be considered as much the very source of good and truth as the Divine Humanity of the Lord Himself; inasmuch as, in her own estimation, she herself is that Divine Humanity now upon earth. It is satisfactory to know that it is upon this principle, that, in the Catholic Church, the writings of Swedenborg are classed with those of Mahomed; so that although we may think that the age has again returned in which Eternal Wisdom is aspersed with folly, and truth itself impleaded with imposture, yet we are admonished, that if the Church have defined anything to be black which may appear to our eyes to be white, we ought to believe it to be as she has pronounced it."
"What is the result? That visible disorganization of the whole Catholic Church, that transition of the old heavens and earth of Christendom, which indicates the dissolution of the old order of things and the commencement of a New Church. This is that Second Advent foretold by St. Peter, of which he says'Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought we to be'-we who are witnesses to the world of this Second Coming! Evidently those who, when the love of many waxes cold,' yet live among ourselves in harmony and peace, who as such are fitted by a new life, together with all who love the Lord, to be inhabitants of the new heavens and earth, where Ephraim shall not envy Judah, nor Judah vex Ephraim, but all shall be one, acknowledging one Lord and his name One.' Congratulating the Society upon its success, I AUGUSTUS CLISSOLD. remain, your faithful, fellow-servant,
"June 12th, 1874."
When the warm expression of approbation which the letter elicited had ceased, the chairman proceeded to address the meeting. He saidAnother anniversary of the Society for printing and publishing the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg has arrived, and again by your kind suffrages I am placed in the honourable position of chairman of this evening's proceedings. Let me, in the first place, thank you very warmly for the trust reposed in me, and assure you that as far as my powers allow no effort shall be lacking to make this evening's gathering both profitable, instructive, and pleasant to all who are now present. Profitable, for does not a meeting like this, from its very nature, tend to enlarge the sympathy and interest of all who are in any way engaged in helping forward the printing and publishing of the works of Swedenborg or assisting in their distribution-works the importance of which are in my opinion secondary only to the Divine Word itself. Instructive, for is it not impossible to be associated with people imbued with truths derived from God's Holy Word, the Bible, enforced by a knowledge derived from a perusal of the writings of Swedenborg, without catching some practical illustrations of those truths (applicable to every-day life), set forward in clear, forcible, and loving language. Pleasant, for is it not both pleasant and delightful to find that truths which have profited us are spreading and gladdening hearts previously dark and perplexed; and this you will find has been done when the records of the Society for the past year (embodied in the Annual Report) are read by our excellent friend and secretary, Mr. Elliott.
It is not necessary that I should call your attention to the need that now exists for spreading abroad the writings of Swedenborg, from the shortcomings and failings in the theological systems of other religious denominations; should I attempt to do so time would fail me