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THE CHURCH TRIUMPHANT (SCHWEINFURTH).
The founder and head of this body is George Jacob Schweinfurth, who was born in Marion County, O., in 1853. He entered the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Michigan, but soon left it and became a disciple of Mrs. Beekman, who, before her death, which occurred in 1883, declared herself the “spiritual mother of Christ in the second coming,” and pronounced Schweinfurth the “Messiah of the New Dispensation.” He accordingly became the acknowledged head of her followers, and removed the headquarters of the sect from Byron, nine miles from Rockford, Ill., to the Weldon farm, six miles from Rockford, changing the name of the body to the Church Triumphant. A large frame house, called “Mount Zion” or “Heaven," is occupied by Schweinfurth and a number of his disciples. There are also other companies, each of which is presided over by an apostle,” who reads weekly the sermons previously delivered by Schweinfurth at Mount Zion. There are no rites, ceremonies, or forms of worship. The single condition of membership is recognition of Schweinfurth as the “ Christ of the Second Coming" and discipleship.
The Church Triumphant accepts the Bible as the Word of God, but denies the essential divinity of Christ. He was a mere man, but passed through an experience in
which he was freed from the power and curse of sin, after which he received the Spirit of God and became divine. Schweinfurth does not claim to be Jesus of Nazareth, but to have received the same Spirit and to be equal to him. He claims to be sinless, to perform miracles, and to be able to bestow the Spirit on whomsoever he chooses. He also declares his power over sin, not only to save from its curse but to save from its commission.
There are in all 12 organizations and 384 members. All the services are held in private houses with one exception, Mount Zion being returned as a hall.
CHURCH OF THE NEW JERUSALEM.
The theological writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, born in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1688, died in London, England, in 1772, led to the organization of the New Jerusalem Church. Its members are often spoken of as Swedenborgians. He was called, according to his own words, “to a holy office by the Lord himself, who most mercifully appeared before me, his servant, in the year 1743, when he opened my sight into the spiritual world, and enabled me to converse with spirits and angels." From that time he began to "publish the various arcana” or sacred truths, seen by or revealed to him, "concerning heaven and hell, the state of man after death, the true worship of God, the spiritual sense of the Word, and many other important matters conducive to salvation and wisdom." His voluminous religious works contain the body of doctrine to which his followers adhere. The greater portion of them consist of the exposition of the spiritual meaning of the Scriptures.
The first meeting for organization was held in London in 1783, eleven years after his death. The next year his teachings were set forth in Boston and Philadelphia, and a congregation was established in Baltimore in 1792. This was the beginning of the church in this country. It was gradually established in other cities and towns, and is represented now in twenty-nine States, besides the District of Columbia. It has 154 organizations, and 7095 members or communicants, more than a fourth of whom are to be found in Massachusetts.
The doctrines of the New Jerusalem Church declare that God is one in essence, person, and nature, manifesting himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—the Father being the infinite divine essence, the Son the human organization with which the Father clothed himself to accomplish the redemption of mankind when immersed in sin, and the Spirit being the divine power flowing forth into act; that the Lord accomplished this redemption by fighting against and overcoming the infernal hosts which had long enslaved mankind, and restoring man to spiritual freedom; that life is not created, only the forms which receive it, man's mind and body being organic forms for the reception of life, which is maintained by the constant conjunction of man and God; that man has a spiritual body which is fitted to receive and manifest the divine forces, and the mind or spirit constitutes this spiritual body; that the material body is only the husk, so to speak, and its death is caused by man's resurrection from it; that the spiritual world is a substantial world, the realm of causes, and exists in three divisions—heaven, the world of spirits, and hell; that the world of spirits, which all enter immediately after death, is the place of preparation for heaven or for hell, according to the character brought into it; that the life in this intermediate state is similar to the one in this world, except that it is not a life of probation, but a life devoted to bringing discordant elements in man's nature into harmony, and to receiving instruction; that gradually the scene changes and men rise to heaven or sink to hell, drawn by the irresistible affinities of their true character; that hell is not a