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THE SPIRITUAL WORLD. 475
sometimes shines like a star; and the societies of heaven are innumerable, all arranged in order, according to the varieties of the affections of love of good, which in God are infinite, and thence from Him are innumerable; and as these were foreseen before the creation, it may be presumed that, according to the number of these, were provided, that is, created, as many stars in the world, where men were to live in the natural body."—T. C. R., 160.
It is a very pleasing and elevating idea, that the stars which we look upon at night, twinkling and sparkling in the firmament above us, represent the heavenly societies, and that they are, probably, of a similar number, and are arranged in a similar order.* In fact, it is from this correspondence, the knowledge of which existed in ancient times, that the starry firmament is called "the heavens," and that many have even supposed the stars to be the abodes of angels, although we know from science and reason, that the stars are mere natural and material suns and worlds like our own, and consequently they are no more the dwellingplace of angels than our own world is. Our sun and our planets shine to them like stars, as much as they to us. On this subject Swedenborg remarks—
""When mention is made in the Word of ' the heavens,' in the internal sense are meant the angelic heavens. This is from correspondence, and also from the appearance. For the ancients had no other idea of the visible heavens than that the heavenly inhabitants dwell there, and that the stars were their habitations; similar, also, at the present day, is the idea of the simple, and also of children. Hence, likewise, it is customary to look upwards to heaven when God is worshipped. This, also, is from correspondence; for in the other life appears a heaven with stars, but it is not the heaven that appears to men in the world; but it is the true heaven appearing according to the state of the intelligence and wisdom of spirits and angels. The stars there denote the knowledges of good and truth; 'and the clouds which sometimes appear, have various significations, according to their colour, transparency, and motions.'"—A. C, 9408.
The reason why the angelic societies appear sometimes as stars, is hinted at in the last remark of the above passage, namely, because stars correspond to knowledges of good and truth, and all the heavens are in such knowledge; hence, they appear to shine, for in the spiritual world all truth shines, since truth is spiritual light. A knowledge of the fact that there exists such a starry appearance of the heavens in the spiritual world, affords an apt illustration of the meaning of the passage in Daniel (xii. 8.),—
"They that are wise shall shine as the brightness of the^rmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars for ever."
London. 0. P. H.
* A. C., 6377. (To be continued.)
THE SILENT WALK.
I roam across the grassy mead,
Where buttercup and primrose lead
I pass the blazing fields of corn,
Whose upturned ears adore the sun,
And thus reprove the man of scorn,
Who sneers at God, and says—" There's none!'
O'er woodlands, too, I thoughtful stroll,
My gaze, and fill my adoring soul
With praise to Him who earth hath blest.
The hills with verdure clad,—the dales,
Recite to me their charming tales
Harmonious all! and gifts Divine!
With beauty clad, imbued with life; Types of the higher, inner mine
Of mental treasures, rich and rife.
But Nature shows a curse, a blank,
In desert form, on barren soil;
The source to man of sweat and toil.
Dark types of froward, sensual states,
Of lust of gold and lust of power, It figures forth infernal hates,
It shadows Satan's darkened hour.
Nor poisonous plant, nor prickly thorn,
Nor mildew on the standing corn,
'Tis thus, I have a land within
Bestrewed by briar and by thorn; Alas! 'tis sown by poisonous sin,—
'Tis desert all—a land forlorn.
No flowers adorn, no fruits enrich
The landscape broad, or hill or plain;
Where all was whole, without a stain. ,
And shall this state be always mine,—
A barren soul, both bleak and void?
Forbid !—the curse shall be destroyed.
The Lord, the Husbandman, shall break
Which spring of Nature's evil freak,
The Master-hand shall prune the shoots,
And dress for better fruits the vine;
And fill the press with heavenly wine.
And when the work is wrought within, Displayed without in works of love, He will transplant—to rest from sin— To Eden's paradise above! Dewsbury. J. A.
GENERAL CONFERENCE. but only of suoh as are of more general
interest, we will advert to some particu
Id the last number we directed atten- lars that require not only the attention
tion to some of the Conference proceed- but the action of the church.
ings. Since then the "Minutes" have Among the documents annually laid
been published, and are no doubt already before Conference are reports of the
in the hands of a large number of mem- various institutions of the church, some
bers, and in the libraries of all sooieties, of whfch only are under the direction
from which they can be procured by of the Conference, but all regarded as
those who do not purchase them. We the objects of its fostering care. Several
would recommend their perusal, as, of these are included in one resolution—
besides the proceedings of Conference "That the Conference has received with
recorded in the Minutes themselves, the great satisfaction the reports of the
appendix contains much valuable and in- Swedenborg Society, the Manchester
teresting matter in the form of statistics, Printing Society, the New Jerusalem
reports, and addresses to and from the Church Tract Society, the Manchester
various sections of the church in dif- Missionary Society, the Missionary and
ferent parts of the world. These pre- Tract Society of the New Church, as
sent a comprehensive view of the state well as those of the National Missionary
and prospects of the church at home Institution, and the Students' and Mini
and abroad, and will be found cheering sters'Aid Fund. TbeConferencerejoices
as well as interesting. to observe that all these institutions are
As it is not our object to give a report in active operation, and performing a
of all the proceedings of the Conference, large amount of good, and would affec
tionately commend them to the hearty support of all the members of the church." Most of these institutions are, indeed, to a certain extent endowed, and have so far a permanent basis of support. This, which is a testimony to their importance, and a security for their stability, should only incite others to lend their assistance to carry out effectually the beneficent objects for which they were established. Sympathy is one of the most important means by which benevolent institutions are preserved in energetic operation; but material aid is essential to their actual performance of uses. Sympathy and aid will generally he found to be nearly proportional; for wherever there is real sympathy, there will be,according tothemeans possessed, substantial assistance. It is desirable that these institutions should rest on a broad basis of material as well as moral support; and this can only be the case by the many contributing according to their ability. It would be encouraging to see a general arrangement or organization amongthe societies of the church, by which the humblest of their members might have the opportunity of contributing their mite, while their wealthier brethren give of their abundance.
And we may here remark, that in looking over the lists of subscribers to these institutions, we have been rather struck with the limited range of the subscriptions. In the list of the Swedenborg Sooiety, for example, comparatively few of the subscriptions are above a guinea, none are less than ten shillings. It is true that the smaller sum is necessary to membership; but contributions of lesser sums might be encouraged, and might, we think, be obtained. This remark is intended to apply to all the other institutions of the church. Collections in our societies have, indeed, been recommended for them, but with little success; perhaps, if Conference were to recommend some one particular Sunday in the year for a collection to be made in all the societies in connection, as some other religious bodies do, the recommendation, by being definite, might become practical. Simultaneous is often more successful than separate action. But till some arrangement different from the present is adopted, we hope the affectionate commendation of these institutions to the hearty support of the church will receive as hearty a response.
Besides the resolution relating to these institutions, there are two others that apply, one to the Sunday School Union, the other to the various day schools. The Sunday School Union is an admirable institution. It does for Sunday schools what the Conference does for the societies of the church. It brings them together, through their representatives, to deliberate on matters relating to their general interests, that each may profit by the knowledge and experience of the others, and that they may pursue their common object with the harmony and strength that are derived from union.
Among the uses performed by the Sunday School Union, are the conducting the Juvenile Magazine, a monthly periodical for the little members of the church, and the maintaining of a Building Fund for aiding schools in the erection of suitable school rooms—both very useful in their way. "The Conference trusts that every society in the New Church which does not possess a Sunday school, will speedily take steps to commence one; and also urges all the managers of Sunday schools to avail themselves of the advantages derivable from a Sunday School Union."
Although there is no Day School Union, "the various day schools," we are assured, "are diligently performing their useful operations; some of them being in a position of distinguished prosperity. The Conference rejoices that the New Church is effecting in these schools her duty of giving a sound education to our youth, and is thus providing a suitable basis for those higher instructions in Divine Truth which lead to heaven." As the New Church was among the first, if not the first, in this country to establish schools for the education of neglected or poor children, she still occupies the foremost rank in maintaining their efficiency. The Peter-street school in particular has the character from the Government Inspector of being the first in Manchester. As these schools acquire a higher character, they attract a higher class of scholars. In this way we may expect our schools, without giving up their first object, will come to embrace another—that of providing a higher eduoation for those whose position in life require it, and they will thus carry their spiritual influence as well as thair
secular instruction upwards in society. As this is effected, we may hope they will become seminaries for the education of the children of New Church parents to a much greater extent than they are at present. Grants of money are made out of funds at the disposal of the Conference to these schools; but they are, so far as they are not selfsupporting, chiefly maintained by subscription, and this for the most part by the friends and members in their own locality.
Another matter it may be useful to notice, is one that relates to the Magazine. The Conference has directed that a sermon be printed as often as convenient in the pages of the Magazine, 500 copies of which shall be printed separately, under the title of "The New Church Pulpit," and be sold for one penny. As we expect considerable use to result from this separate issue of sermons, we think it desirable that it should be as regular as circumstances will permit. It is intended to commence with the January number; and that the "New Church Pulpit" may be a success as well as a use, the members of the church must give it their support, by not only being purchasers themselves, but by aiding in its distribution among others.
There are two other subjects to which Conference has required the special attention of the church to be directed, but these will occupy separate articles.
GENERAL CHURCH INTELLIGENCE.
Yorkshire New Jerusalem Church Missionary And Colportaoe AssoCiation.
The third anniversary of this association was held on the Kith and 19th August, when sermons were preached by the Rev. J. Hyde, of Derby, to numerous and delighted audiences.
The service at Bradford, on the morning of Sunday, the 16th, was held in Drewton-street school-room, the usual meeting place of the society, when from 200 to 300 persons were present, and completely filled the room. Mr. Hyde preached from Isaiah lx. 1, and dwelt with earnest and fervid eloquence upon the duties and privileges of the church as taught in the spiritual sense of the text, which he stated with great clearness andbeauty, enforcing with singular
ability the truth that, in order to shine, the members of the church must rise into elevated states of perception and feeling,—giving great prominence to the glorious doctrine of the Lord Jehovah Jesus as the One God and Saviour, which he regarded in the highest sense as "the coming of the Light," the doctrine of the Divine Human of the Lord being that whioh throws light and sheds lustre upon every other truth. The discourse was full of powerful argument, apt illustration, and sound practical remark, and evidently told upon the minds of his hearers, who listened with the closest attention.
On the evening of the same day, Mr. Hyde preached in Albion Chapel, Leeds, from Deut. xvii. 6—" At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he who is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness h e shall not be put to death." As in the morning the audience were delighted with the manner in whioh the preacher drew forth the dootrine of the Word, so in the evening were they charmed by the power and beauty of the spiritual sense of the text, in which was shown the correspondence of the external idolatry and its punishment of external Israel, with spiritual idolatry and spiritual death as its companion. The spiritual idolatry of wealth, power, ease, &c, were prominently and powerfully pourtrayed; the three witnesses whose testimony determines each one's state for salvation or condemnation, were plainly shown to be those of his will or desire—his understanding—his life and practice. After each sermon, collections on behalf of the association were made, and realised in the morning, £5.9s. 8d., and in the evening, £±. 15s. 3d. —together being a total of £10.4s. lid.
On the Wednesday following, notwithstanding the very unpropitious state of the weather, there was a very pleasant gathering of friends at Shipley Glen, who spent a most delightful afternoon together, and, at five o'clock, about 50 sat down to tea, after which the third annual meeting was held, and Dr. Marsden, of Dalton, presided. The meeting was opened with singing and prayer, when
The Chairman congratulated the members of the association upon meeting them at its third anniversary, and said that this association gave him