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secret power which animates the works of the Swedish revelator : the understanding of a single word has cost us many days of arduous labour. With the test of interpretation in our hands, we have analyzed each verse of the Bible, each passage in the Arcana, each corresponding Hebrew word, and we have always found Swedenborg in perfect accordance with himself. Similar researches upon the whole of the language of correspondence would occupy more than the life of a man. Now no person is ignorant that it requires more time to originate a science than to learn it: the pupil learns in one hour what it has cost the learned ages to discover. By what miraculous contradiction has Swedenborg been able to form in a few years a science which will require ages to be comprehended in its vast applications ?*"
To your correspondent, M. Portal, I beg to present my best thanks and fraternal regards for the benefit I have derived from this specimen of his valuable labours. Let him not be deterred by any trifling attacks upon his title, but let him continue to act like one of the noble minded French nation, of whom Swedenborg writes in his A. R., 745; and let him proceed to give us some additional examples of analysis of the Hebrew terms as used by our Author in relation to the science of correspondences, by which means he will be affording his assistance in building the walls of the New Jerusalem. I remain, Gentlemen, yours, &c.,
ALEPH. London, March 17, 1842.
ON THE DESIGNATION, “NEW JERUSALEM CHURCH.”
[Note. We have received some other papers on this subject, some
urging the retention of the customary title and others its alteration. As it is a matter that cannot be decided by individuals, we make no doubt it will receive due consideration at the ensuing meeting of the General Conference, which is the only body that can satisfactorily settle it.-EDITORS.]
To the Editors of the Intellectual Repository. GENTLEMEN, Your correspondent, who, in your last number, page 85, and in the volume for 1841, page 22, signs himself A Member, may be, I think, presumed to be correct in assuming that E. S. has nowhere used the terms New Jerusalem Church. I do not recollect any place in his
* Vol. 2, p. 398.
works where they are used, nor do I find such use of them on turning to those places in them, where, if anywhere, they might be expected to be found.
A Member states, very truly, that there is abundant authority for the title New Church ; to which he adds, I think without having duly weighed the subject, and perhaps New Christian Church. The title New Church may be found in a thousand places in the works of E. S. ; but that of New Christian Church, I feel pretty confident, nowhere. The title of New Christian Church appears to me the most objectionable of all the titles by which it has yet been designated by its professed members. But of this further on.
I do not see the soundness of the conclusion to which your correspondent has come, that because the New Jerusalem signifies the New Church, that therefore the title New Jerusalem Church, is equal to New Church Church. Jerusalem, as well as the New Jerusalem, in the Word, denotes or signifies the Church, and, on account of this sig. nification, is often spoken of as the Church itself; as in the New Church, we speak of the New Jerusalem as the Church. But in both cases the idea of a city is the first idea which occurs to the mind, of which Jerusalem is the proper name; and the name and the city together signify or represent the Church ; and without any great impropriety, such proper names may be adjectively applied, according to the almost universal usage of mankind, to distinguish the New Church from all existing churches. A Jew, an Israelite, and a Christian, denote respectively the man of the church, the church in man, and the church itself, and yet Swedenborg frequently speaks of the Jewish Church, the Israelitish Church, and the Christian Church. Now it appears to me that New Jerusalem Church is quite as proper as Christian Church, having its name from the Lord himself, who is himself the all of every true church.
I feel confident that the early members of the New Church intended no more by New Jerusalem Church, than to distinguish it as much as possible from the Church as designated by Catholic, Roman Catholic, Protestant, Lutheran, Calvinistic, Greek, Moravian, Baptist, &c. Swedenborg's general designation of Old Church and New Church, is sufficiently intelligible among the readers and receivers of his works ; but Old and New Church convey to people in general no clear idea of their meaning as used by him. It is no wonder, therefore, that the first promulgators to mankind, after E. S., or cotemporary with him, found it convenient to designate the New Church, signified specifically by the New Jerusalem in the Revelation, as seen and described by John in that portion of the Divine Word, the New Jerusalem Church.
In the preface to the True Christian Religion, Mr. Hartley, in his admirable letter to the venerable translator of that work, uses the title New Jerusalem Church. His words are, “ There is the greater reason to abide by our author's interpretation of the last days mentioned in Scripture, with reference to the approaching end of the present state of things, in order to give place to the New Jerusalem Church.” I quote this from the third edition, quarto; printed in 1795.* When the first edition was printed, I am not, at present, able to state ; but it must have been several years before, and before there was much manifestation of the church in an external form. The letter, as printed in this edition, is without date. I do not quote from Mr. Hartley as an absolute authority, for no authority in the New Church can give validity to anything improper ; but to shew how natural it was to designate that the New Jerusalem Church, which was so fully and wonderfully represented by it as seen by the spiritual eye of John, coming down from God out of heaven prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
With the members of the New Church, the New Church will be considered its genuine and a sufficient title ; but in giving it a title before the world, by which they may be induced to inquire into its nature and character, as distinguished from other churches, I feel very confident that some different designation will, for a long time, be found requisite.
A MEMBER is not the first who has felt a desire to alter the name or title of the New Church. Many years ago, Mr. Hindmarsh sought to improve it, by substituting Immanuelism, and wrote and published a tract upon the subject; but little or nothing has been heard of it since; and very few, if any, co-operated with him in producing the desired change, which he sought to effect, though few members of the church have been more respected by the recipients of the doctrines of the church, and justly too, than Mr. Hindmarsh.
In fact, the New Church, in its genuine character, is the New Jerusalem, when spiritually seen in all that for which the name stands; and, therefore, I can see no impropriéty in continuing to designate the New Church to the world, which is not able at once to recognize anything in that title, different from new churches as buildings so called for a considerable time after their erection, the New Jerusalem
I have seen the original title-page in manuscript dated 1781, and H.'s original letter, but no date.
Church : and I feel very happy in being, as I hope, a citizen of the New Jerusalem, or a member of the New Church signified by it.
Although the New Jerusalem never existed in material stone, wood, mortar, &c., as Jerusalem did in the material land of Canaan, yet it had all the appearance to the sight of John of being constructed of the materials which he describes it to be built of; and his representation of it is in literal language, and forms the literal sense of the Holy Word. Children and simple people can entertain no other than natural ideas of what is described, till they are better instructed, or are able to see natural things as corresponding to things spiritual, or to see them in a spiritual light. I should say, in opposition to A MEMBER, that the New Jerusalem is mentioned in a literal sense, and that that literal sense is the basis and continent of the spiritual sense ; just in the same manner as any description of Jerusalem in the land of Canaan, and contained in any portion of the Word of the Old Testament. Jerusalem would never have been named in it, but on account of its spiritual signification, though it literally or materially existed on the earth.
E. S. frequently says, the angels know nothing of persons and places, named in the Word, whether or not they existed in the material world; but in all places they understand the divine and spiritual things which were represented and spiritually denoted by them. Thus, of the New Jerusalemn itself, as a city in appearance to John, they have no idea as such, but of the things signified by it. The idea of it as a city is for the man of the church in the world, and, both with him and the angels, must form the basis of the spiritual sense.
To call the New Church the second Christian Church, would be quite as objectionable as the New Jerusalem Church, and equally arbitrary. There would, however, be a meaning in it, if no division of churches had before obtained among Christians. We have the Eastern Church and the Western Church, the Greek Church and the Romish Church, which comprehend numerous subdivisions.
Then we have the Protestant Church, comprehending almost innumerable other churches, so that the second Christian Church would be a perfect puzzle to all that are unacquainted with the doctrines of the New Church, which is new, as distinguished from all at this day acknowledged under the name of the Christian Church.
The Christian Church, founded by the Lord and his apostles, in its genuine character, was the true church. Of this the New Church is a continuation, and is in nothing opposed to it. No other foundation than that which was laid by them, can be now laid. “And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (Rev.21, ver. 14). To call, therefore, the New Church the New Christian Church, would, as I view it, be a kind of suicidal act,--would wound its just reputation in the eyes of all who call themselves Christians ; and its members being foremost to inflict upon it this disgrace, is only calculated to exhibit them as a body of individuals guided by weak intellects. I have frequently, of late, seen, with sorrow, in some of our Tracts and the Magazine, this, to me, very hurtful, and, as I think, very foolish appellation. I have verbally remonstrated against it in the proper quarter, without producing conviction, and therefore without effect. I feel confident, notwithstanding, that it is calculated to do the New Church serious injury in the eyes of all other Christians.
We do not need to be offended if they retort upon us, that "you do well to call yourselves the New Christian Church, as your religion is in direct opposition to that founded by the Lord and his apostles.” Certainly, it must appear a curious plan to labour to establish a Christian Church superior to that established by the Lord himself, and to labour to persuade mankind that the inspired apostles did not understand what they were doing. Yet all this seems fully implied in this appellation.
The apostles themselves adopted a wiser course as regarded the Jewish Church. They laboured, eventually with success, to convince mankind, that though the observances of the Jewish ritual were abrogated by Christianity, Christianity was, nevertheless, a more perfect fulfilment of even the ceremonial law. And it should be our endeavour to prove to Christians in general, that the church, as founded by the Lord and his apostles, was the true church, which now, by the New Jerusalem Dispensation, is to be built up in its genuine character. That now is given the true doctrines of the Christian Church, illustrated to the understandings of men; and that now it is allowed to those who admit its light, to enter, with the understanding, into the mysteries of its faith, or to see the things of faith rationally ; which having been long obscured, by perversion and falsification, the man of the church has been compelled to repose a blind confidence in them, under the impression and persuasion that they were not to be understood.
Ever since the Reformation, one of the most successful taunts of the Romanists against it, is, that of its novelty, or of its being a new religion, or a new Christianity. That Protestants have felt very bit