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Br. New Church Families. £. s. d.
ToMr.A.Braby 5 0 0
"W. Crofts, Esq., Bedworth 10 0 "Anonymous, per Dr. Baylev, dated Nov. 15th .. 20 0 0
"Mr. Bucknall, Stroud 10 0
"Mr. Bogg, Louth 2 0 0
•' Mr. Gibbings, N. Tawton 0 10 0
"Mr. Tallents, Louth 1 10 0
"Mr. T. Berry, Barnstaple 0 3 0 "Mr. J. Berry, Bideford ..020
"St. Heliers Society, Jersey 3 3 6 "York Society (1st don.) ..074
"Ditto (2nd don.).. 0 18 2
"Keighley Society 0 9 8
Islington, London .... 0 16 3
"Mr. Teed, Hounslow 2 0 0
"Collections at Argyle-sq.
Society 15 0 3
£54 0 2
By Ashton-under-Lyne £6 0 0
"Ramsbottom 5 0 0
"Warren-lane 5 0 0
"Balance in hand 39 0 2
Ladies' Contribution, Birmingham £% 0 0
Sheffield Society, per Mr. Wil-
Rev. W. Cass, Tunbridge
(2nd don.) 0 6 0
Ditto, a Christmas present for a distressed member .. 0 5 0
Contributions from the hands employed in Messrs. J. S. Hodson and Son's printing office 0 10 0
A parcel of clothing from. Islington Society.
C. Townsend Hook and Co.,Snodland, Kent, a bale of felt, for blanketing.
A parcel from Birmingham, containing, among other useful articles, forty pairs of boots and shoes.
Expenditure. £. s. d.
Paid for Shirting Cloths,
and Sewing Materials for
orders already received.. 5 18 5 J Ditto to twenty persons in
Sewing Classes 7 18 2
Ditto for Carriage, Postages,
Stationery, &c 0 8 7
Distributed to 31 families,
in food, &e 16 6 lj
DittotoSlfamiliesinclothing 2 13 Ditto to four special cases,
in cash 0 18 0
Ditto to six sick members,
in cash 1 1 0
Total expenditure.. £34 11 7
Arrangements are already made for distributing the clothing, shoes, &c., reeeived. Parcels of clothing, &c, will come carriage free, if addressed "The Relief Committee.Blackburn, J. M., 700."
The Committee again desire me to express their gratitude to the numerous contributors who have assisted us thus far, and as there is yet no prospect of our poor people being able to resume their customary employment, we still hope for a further flow of benevolence from those who can help them in this time of need.—On behalf of the Committee,
Thos. Pemberton, Treasurer,
Subscription to Blackburn Relief Fund received late—Mr. Kaye, per Rev. J. B. Kennerley, £l.
On Sunday, November 16th, the Rev. G. B. Porteous preached in Percy-street Chapel, when collections were made on behalf of "The Lancashire Distress Fund," resulting in £5. 17s. Od.
Messrs. Catcheside have instituted Collecting Cards, which they have distributed amongst their friends. The cards already sent in to the treasurers contain JE17. 3s. 6d., a gratifying result to the projectors, if even nothing mora is realised.
Active exertions are being made in the town generally, large quantities of clothing are being collected daily, and a public subscription is open at all the banks.
The Dalton Society has been passing through a severe ordeal. Within the last few months the mill of the late Mr. Senior has almost ceased to work, and most of the hands have been discharged. Others who have been accustomed to take a very active part in the affairs of the church have been called by the providence of the Lord to a distance. Several have passed into the spiritual world. Amongst the latter, we would not pass unnoticed the late Mrs. Ewart, Mr. Jessop, and Mr. Stead.
Mrs. Ewart was 7S years of age when she was called by the Lord Jesus, her Divine Master. She attended the earliest services of the late Mr. George Senior, when he ministered at Colne Bridge and Upper Heaton, anterior to the building of Grove Place, Dalton. When young, she was in the employment of the son of the Archbishop of York. The family had a great respect for her. Some years ago, she had to undergo the operation of amputation of the arm. She was a worthy, consistent, and exemplary member of our society. About twelve months ago, a Wednesday evening Bible and reading class was established, which is doing some service. She took great delight in these meetings, and had always something to say, or some quotations from the hymns to make, appropriate to the subject in hand.
William Stead was born six years after the death of Swedenborg. He was, therefore, one of the last links connecting this with the first generation of the New Jerusalem Church, having attained the patriarchal age of eighty-four. For many years, he was overlooker at Brooks Mill, Huddersfleld, called Brooks at Wells. His master entertained a high opinion of him as a man of honesty and integrity, and when he was disqualified for his position as overlooker, gave him another situation. For about ten years he has, however, done little; but his mind seemed to mellow down into that state of innocency and wisdom after which we ought all of us earnestly to strive. He was long in an infirm state, but attended our services last month. He was confined to his bed about a fortnight, expressed a desire to partake of the Lord's Supper, and it was administered to him. Throughout his illness, his mind was calm, serene, and resigned; and he breathed his spirit into the world of spirits in the act of praying to the Lord. It is worthy of note that Mr. Jordan, who sat next to him in the same pew, aged 94, was summoned away a little while before him. He was not a member of the church, but an occasional attendant at Grove Place. He had become deeply interested in certain discourses I had delivered on the Sole and Supreme Divinity of Jesus Christ, based on Isaiah ix. 6, and Zebedee's Children, Matt. xx. 20, 23; and I have reason to know, from my visits to him, that he almost instinctively arrived at the conclusion that if the Lord Jesus Christ is God at all, He must be God alone. He was so much interested in the ideas of the New Church, that he called two of his children to listen to one of the conversations respecting our views of the person and work of the Lord Jesus.
Our friend Mr. Jessop, of Colne Bridge, has also sustained a severe loss in the removal of his beloved partner. Mrs. Jessop's removal was consequent on her confinement. Active inflammation set in, and resisted every effort to remove it. She was much attached to Grove Place, was a very amiable and praiseworthy person, and we all deeply sympathise with the irreparable loss which Mr. Jessop has sustained.
T. L. Maesden.
Cave & Sever, Printers by Steam Power, Hunt'sBank, Manchester.
NEW JERUSALEM MAGAZINE.
No. 110. FEBRUARY, 1863. Vol. X.
THE PRODIGAL SON.
By the late Rev. S. Noble.
"And He said, A certain man had two sons: and the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living," &c.—Luke Xv. 11, to the end.
Never was there a composition of a more engaging and affecting character than this divine parable,—never any which went more home at once to the best feelings of the human heart; for never was there any which could be more fully charged with the Divine love and tenderness of our Heavenly Father. This is the secret of its wonderfully attractive and softening power. It speaks the feelings which flow from the inmost essence of Divine Goodness; it delineates the most essential nature of the Lord our Creator and Redeemer, and displays the veriest ground of all His dealings with mankind. It shews how He is affected with the miseries of His creatures, and demonstrates, in the most powerful manner, that, in all their wanderings, He still regards them with the tenderest love. And while all artificial elegance and sublimity are absent, how truly elegant is the natural simplicity of the style; how truly sublime the heavenly sentiments which it dictates, the celestial emotions which it inspires!
Such being the character of this most beautiful parable, I propose, in this discourse, to confine my observations to the notice of the circumstances of the literal sense, and of the doctine which, in that sense, is obvious to the view. Possibly, the mind cannot be more profitably employed, than, by dwelling on the particulars of the parable in their natural expression, in imbibing from them somewhat of that spirit which
50 THE PRODIGAL SON.
they so obviously breathe. I shall take up the subject again, with a view to investigate some of the particulars contained in its spiritual sense, next Lord's day morning.
First, then, I would remark on the manner in which the parable is narrated,—that it obviously expresses the feelings of the Divine Mind itself in regard to the lapses of miserable mortals. In many parts of the Word of God, more especially in the Old Testament, anger is ascribed to the Lord, as if He actually burned with wrath and vengeance against mankind on account of their sins; and these representations have been commonly viewed as delivering the real truth; whence the common system of Divinity is founded altogether upon the assumption that anger is an essential property of the Divine Nature, and that God actually regards the human race, on account of their transgressions, from feelings of wrath. Indeed, so implacable is the wrath of God believed to be, that to appease it, by satisfying its demands, and suffering the full measure of the punishment due to the sins of mankind, is regarded as the grand and only purpose of the advent in the flesh of the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet the truth is, that, when anger is in Scripture ascribed to God, the idea intended by it is, not that such a passion really does or can exist in the Divine bosom, but that such is and must be the appearance to man, while under the influence of sinful inclinations and living in a state of devotedness to wicked practices. In such a state, man, whether conscious of it or not, really cherishes in his heart anger against God: and from this state in himself, thus from the contrariety between the evil in which he is and the Divine Goodness of the Lord, what in the Lord is love appears to him as auger; and because suffering and misery are inseparably combined with wickedness, and cannot be otherwise in the very nature of things, when he experiences these inevitable consequences of his own evil state, he attributes it to anger and wrath in God. Speaking, then, according to this appearance to the natural man, mention is made in Scripture of the anger of the Lord; though in Him, in reality, is nothing but love, and to feel anger He must go out of Himself, which would be to cease to be God. Thus even the greatest wickedness and obduracy in man cannot excite anger in God. God still can feel towards him nothing but love; though, the wicked man, not being receptive of His love, can have no perception that such is the case, and cannot, even by the Lord's Infinite Love, be rendered happy, because he rejects the principles in which alone happiness can dwell. Still the Lord feels towards him nothing but love; and from such love strives to bring him out of his evil, or to withdraw him from his wicked pursuits; and where man does not suffer himself THE PRODIGAL SON. 51
to be withdrawn, still the Lord's love operates for his relative good by restraining him from plunging into deeper evils, and thus incurring still more extreme depths of misery; into which man of himself would inevitably rush, if not prevented by the restraining mercy of the Lord. Thus the Lord acts, even with the most wicked, not from anger, but from love. The sinner's insanities excite, in the Divine bosom, not emotions of wrath, but of pity and compassion.
This is evident from the manner in which the errors of the Prodigal Son are narrated in the parable before us;—they are so narrated as to excite compassion for his folly, and the wretchedness which this brought upon him, rather than indignation for his wickedness and a desire for his punishment; in which mode of exhibiting the case, we doubtless are presented with a just picture of the way in which the lapses of His sinful and erring creatures are viewed by their Heavenly Father. In all their wanderings, they are the objects of His pity, and are still regarded by Him with love. If they obstinately persevere in their corrupt courses, they necessarily incur the painful consequences, of them. Suffering and misery, sometimes assuming the form of actually inflicted punishment, are the unavoidable results of a life of wickedness. Were the progress of evil, which continually tends to greater and greater enormities, not to be checked by these means, the certain consequence would be the destruction of the universe. For the preservation of the good, the wicked must be kept under restraint by punishment and the fear of it, both in the other life and in this. In the other life they are thus prevented from doing injury to the good, but they cannot be prevented from inflicting suffering on each other. But this is permitted by the Lord, not as willing that there should be any suffering, but because, without it, order could not be preserved; whence it is permitted, in mercy, for the prevention of greater evils; and it is permitted, not only in mercy towards the good, who are thus preserved from being injured and destroyed by the wicked, but in mercy also to the wicked themselves, who are thus prevented from plunging into still more direful and atrocious evils, which would render still more dreadful degrees of punishment finally unavoidable to restrain them from injuring the good. Thus even the obstinately wicked never cease to be objects of the Lord's love. But if, in this world, the sufferings which are allowed to overtake them have the effect of causing them to come to themselves, or to a sane state of mind, which is the chief object for which, in this world, they are permitted, then the Lord's love goes forth upon them in its most direct form. They are not checked in their desire to return by being told that, having broken the law of God, that law inexorably demands their eternal condemnation;