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GENERAL CHURCH INTELLIGENCE.
Lectures At Edinburgh, By The Rev.
J. H. Smithson. 'Our brethren at Edinburgh having (according to several notices recently made in this Periodical) carried out their intention of enlarging their place of worship, in Infirmary-street, of that city, it was resolved formally to open the neat and commodious chapel on Sunday, the 11th of October. It was also resolved to invite the Rev. J. H. Smithson, of Manchester, to undertake the duty, and to deliver two discourses, and also to administer the Lord's Supper on this interesting occasion. It was further determined that Mr. Smithson, under the auspices of the National Missionary Society, during his stay in Edinburgh, should deliver three lectures in the Queen-street Hall; and the subjects proposed were, first—" German Philosophy;" secondly—"The Reformation, its Uses and its Results;" thirdly—" Swedenborg and his Teachings." These subjects were duly advertised in the local newspapers, and owing to the assembly of the "National Association for the Promotion of Social Science" being held in Edinburgh at this time, with Lord Brougham as its president, it was thought by some of our friends that lectures on these subjects might be attractive, not only to the citizens, but also to some of the many visitors and strangers who had come from various parts of Scotland to attend the meetings of the Association. Nor were our friends altogether disappointed in this respect, for at the first lecture, on the evening of October 9th, when the subject of "German Philosophy" was explained and discussed by the lecturer, nearly all the sittings in the Hall were occupied, and this notwithstanding the heavy and incessant rain which fell during the evening. On the following day, October 10th, the subjoined notice from the Daily Review appeared:—" The Rev. J. H. Smithson's Lectures.—This gentleman delivered the first of a course of three lectures in Upper Queen-street Hall last night. The subject of his lecture was 'German Philosophy.' The lecturer, after explaining the term philosophy, and demonstrating that there
is a philosophy for everything, proceeded to survey the various systems of philosophy prevalent in Germany, particularly those of Kant, Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel. He concluded by supporting the views of Swedenborg. The lecture was listened to with interest by rather a numerous audience, and was frequently applauded."
A longer notice would have been given by the reporter, had not the columns of the paper been crowded with reports of the meetings and doings of the Association. The writer of this notice regrets this, as a detailed report of this lecture would be interesting to the reader. On another occasion, should the lecturer favour us with another visit, it would, we think, be better to appoint a time when no such excitement as caused by the Association of Social Science exists in the city. Suffice it to say, that the subject of metaphysics has, from the time of Plato down to the latest attempts by the celebrated German philosophers, been proverbially enveloped in great obscurity, so that the thinking mind can scarcely work its way 'out of the labyrinth of unintelligible ideas into any satisfactory results, in which it can acquiesce with any degree of pleasure and mental repose. Thus, a philosopher was still required who could solve in a manner satifactory to rational inquiry, the grand problems of metaphysical philosophy, and thus supply the mind with a palace of intelligence, in which it can dwell with satisfaction and peace. This philosopher, the lecturer demonstrated, was Swedenborg, who had solved the great problems of German transcendental philosophy, and whose name would, ere long, be recognised as the gifted and enlightened mind who had done this good work for our thinking humanity. For in his work on the "Divine Love and Wisdom," together with the work on the "Divine Providence," would be found the solution of the various problems of metaphysical, or rather of mental and of spiritual intelligence which, for ages past, have engaged the intense application of reflecting minds, down to the transcendental philosophers of Germany, who, as confessed even among themselves and their disciples, have not yet arrived
at satisfactory results on the great questions of metaphysical and mental philosophy. These questions are, according to Kant, Fichte, Shelling, and others,— 1. The science of the Absolute and Universal,—that is, of God; 2. That which explains the principles and causes of all things; 3. The relation of the Absolute, the Unconditioned, the Infinite, to the created, the conditioned, and the finite, and especially toman; 4. The science of man, his faculties, his conditions, and his relations,-—the origin and nature of his liberty, and its limitations; 5.. The Esse (das Seyn), the Existere (das Daseyn).
These are some of the important subjects which German philosophy endeavours to explain; but owing to interminable disputes, respecting even the definition of these points, the German philosophy still remains undecided, and perplexed in the greatest obscurities. Swedenborg, however, in the abovenamed works, and generally in his writings, has satisfactorily, on the basis of Scripture and reason, explained them; and inquiry was earnestly solicited by the lecturer, on the part of his intelligent audience, to read the works of Swedenborg, and to judge for themselves.
The lecture, as stated above from the reporter, was listened to with great interest; and when stating the explanations of Swedenborg, approbation was frequently expressed.
On Sunday, the 11th of October, two discourses were delivered by Mr. Smithson, at the place of worship, recently enlarged, which were well attended. The place, it was said, is capable of holding 150 persons, and we were glad to find nearly all the sittings occupied. The discourse in the morning was on the "Kesuscitation of the Shunammite's Son;" (2 Kings iv. 29.) and in the evening, on "Raising up the Standard of the Lord against Evil from Hell." (Isaiah lix. 19.) After the morning service, the Holy Supper was administered to about forty persons, and a very delightful communion was experienced, when love to the Lord, and mutual love one to another, was felt by all present. After the evening service, a lady stated to the treasurer her intention to give £50., and another lady £'10., to assist the society in clearing the building of debt. A little more help of this kind would, We understand, accomplish this
most desirable object, when the society would be in a better position to contribute to the support of its worthy leader, Mr. Gladwell, who has exerted himself in every possible way to make known the doctrines of the New Church. His preaching in the meadows adjoining the city, during the summer and autumn seasons, although unusual with New Church preachers, has been attended with marked success. He is treated with respect by the numerous audiences who surround him, and listened to with great attention. A spirit of inquiry as to the Heavenly Doctrines is awakened; and many tracts are distributed, and are no doubt read and conversed about with considerabe interest. Some of the hearers have joined the congregation at the place of worship in Infirmary-street. In this way Mr. Gladwell has opened a new field of usefulness,which he appears to cultivate with much promise of success. The working classes of Edinburgh are well educated; they can read and reflect; and being, we believe, untramelled by any party dogmas, or by any sectarian spirit, they are free to judge for themselves, much more so,indeed, than many in the middle and higher classes of society. And it is probable that Mr. Gladwell's ministry to them, from the affectionate earnestness with which he addresses them, may lead many to the gates of the New Jerusalem, which are always open to receive the true-hearted and sincere inquirers after truth.
Should any who read this statement feel inclined, and are able, to assist the Edinburgh society in the entire liquida tion of its debt, which we believe is now about £100., we can refer them to Thos. Isbister, Esq., 2, Rutland-placej Edinburgh. Mr. Gladwell has also been instrumental in disposing of many books, such as the "Future Life," or Heaven and Hell, "Noble's. Appeal," and some others, which, with the help of the London Missionary Society, he is able to dispose of through an Edinburgh bookseller at a cheap rate. Other books,such as "Smithson's Theological Letters," Rendell's "Ante and Post-Diluvian Lectures," are in request, and if supplied at a cheap rate, will, it is thought, meet with purchasers whose minds have been awakened to the importance of the New Church doctrines. But above all, Swedenborg's works, especially the " Four Leading Doctrines,"
as published by the Manchester Tract Society at so cheap a rate, will be easily disposed of to inquiring minds.
On Monday, the 12th, Mr. Smithson delivered his second lecture at the Queenstreet Hall, on the "Reformation, its Uses and Results." This lecture was also well attended, and the audience appeared pleased with many things stated during its delivery. But we have not space to enter into details.
On Wednesday, the 14th, the last lecture of the course—" Swedenborg and his Teachings," was delivered in the same hall, when, as stated by those who observed, the attendance was greater than on the former occasions.
On Thursday, the 15th, the friends had agreed to assemble at the room in Infirmary-street, at six o'clock, to tea, and for mutual intercourse. This was a very delightful meeting of the brethren. Mr. Isbister, who for many years has been so highly respected by the society, was in the chair; and the meeting, after the repast, was addressed by Mr. Gladwell, Mr. Drysdale, and by Mr. Smithson, also by an intelligent young man, Mr. Russell, who was led, when living at Stirling, to examine and receive the doctrines through reading the small volume of "Theological Letters," by Mr. Smithson, which he found in the Free Library of that town, several copies of which had been presented to that library by John Finnic, Esq., soon after its publication. The pleasure of the evening was also much enhanced by two ladies who sang an anthem, accompanied by the harmonium, and also by the presentation of a handsome writing desk, as a testimonal to a young lady, Miss Macara, for her long and useful services in the Sunday-school of the society.
On the following day, Mr. Smithson, having bid farewell to his kind friend Miss Anderson, at Langton Villa, whose hospitality he had enjoyed, proceeded to Newcastleon-Tyne, on his way to North Shields, where, according to the arrangement of the National Missionary Society, he was to deliver two lectures. On the Sunday morning he preached at Newcastle; and in the afternoon proceeded with several friends to North Shields, where they were kindly entertained by Mrs. Mills, who for many years, together with her amiable daughters, has taken great interest in everything relating to the New Church.
The first lecture at Shields was delivered on the Sunday evening, and the room occupied by the brethren was well filled. The subject was the "Future Life, or the State of Man after Death." Besides the brethren from South Shields, there were many strangers, who seemed to take an interest in the subject of the lecture. On the following evening the subject was—" Swedenborg and his Teachings," when several friends from Newcastle were in the audience. This concluded the course of lectures; and our thanks are due to the Committee of the National Missionary Society, for supplying the means by which this useful mission to Edinburgh, Newcastle, and North Shields, has been accomplished.
The following resolution was presented to Mr. Smithson, on his return from Shields to Newcastle, by the New Church society:—
"New Church Society,
"Dear Sir,—I am desired to convey to you the following resolution, passed at our quarterly meeting last night, viz.:
'"That this society gratefully recognises the eminent service rendered by the Rev. J. H. Smithson, in the delivery of a deeply impressive discourse; and in conveying to Mr. Smithson our best thanks, we would beg at the same time that he should convey to the National Missionary Society our expressions of gratitude for' the opportunity thus afforded of making known to the world the stirring and regenerating truths of the New Jerusalem, calculated as they are, over all others, to imbue the mind with a standard and barrier against the constantly recurring temptations and sins to which fallen humanity is subject. This society, moreover, would express a wish that Divine Providence will spare Mr. Smithson with health and strength to continue to perform those high uses to the churoh and to the world for which he is so well qualified'.—I remain, dear sir, yours very truly,
"Fakaday Spbhce, Sec. "The Rev. J. H. Smithson."
Visit Of The Rev. J. H. Smithson To
North Shields. To the Editor. *
On Sunday, October 18th, the fourth anniversary of our society was celebrated
by special services. In the morning a sermon was preached by the Rev.W. Ray, of Newcastle. The devout and earnest manner of Mr. Ray made a salutary impression upon the members and friends present. In the evening an extraordinary large number of strangers thronged our hall to hear Mr.Smithson's lecture (the anniversary services having been publicly announced by placards). Alter the usual devotional service, the lecturer proceeded to unfold the New Church aspect of the " Future Life." The audience listened with intense interest as the lecturer answered in successiou the following momentous questions:—Shall we rise again? How long after death? With what body? What will be our surroundings in the other life? Who will be our companions? and finally, Shall we know our departed friends? The basis of this lecture was the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. This subject was handled by Mr. Smithson in a simple yet most forcible manner, demonstrating every part by such Scripture proofs and illustrations as were familiar to the humblest thinker and reailer. This was one of the most delightful meetings in our experience.
The subject of the lecture on the Monday evening following was "The Teachings of Swedenborg." This lecture was very effective, but owing to the badness of the weather the audience was not so large as on the previous evening. We consider the visit of Mr. Smithson to North Shields a great success; and our thanks are due to the National Missionary Society for this assistance. There can be no more powerful aids to small societies than by sending round among them at times its eminent and popular preachers.
Joh. Choklton, Sec.
The members of the society in this city return their grateful thanks to the members of the church, by whose kind assistance they have been enabled to enlarge and greatly improve their place of worship, at a cost of about £130. They are very desirous—as they mentioned in their appeal to the church—of clearing off the debt of £103. on the building, which would, by removing a heavy encumbrance, leave them free to apply their resources to the maintainance of a minister, on which the welfare of the society so greatly depends.
Besides the sum of £60. promised by two ladies (as mentioned in the Rev. Mr. Smithson's account of his visit to Edinburgh, in the present number), the following subscriptions have been received:—
A Friend to the Cause, Edinb. £10 0
Mr. J. Allen, Glasgow 0 5 0
Mr. Robt. White, Glasgow ..010 Mr. G. Robertson, Edinburgh 10 0 Mr. D. Kennedy " .. 1 10 0
Mr. John S. Craigie" ..076 Subscriptions will be thankfully received by
T. Isbister, 2, Rutland-place.
Hull New Church Society.
It may be in the recollection of the readers of the "Repository" that the New Churchmen in Hull availed themselves of the Rev. Dr. Bayley's visit to this town, in February last, to form themselves into a society for the purpose of holding public worship, and for the spread of New Church truths. Though only occupying a temporary room (the Temperance Hall, St. Luke-street,) our progress since then has been steady and cheering. Recently the Rev. E. D. Rendell, of. Preston, paid us a visit, and preached on the Sunday, and Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. Since then, we have to record a visit by the Rev. Chas. Wilkins, lately minister of the Independent Chapel at Brampton, Cumberland, and who has recently embraced the doctrines of the New Church. He preached on Sunday, the 23rd, Tuesday, the 25th, and Sunday, the 30th August. Our friends were both edified and delighted by his very lucid expositions of Scripture, especially in Tiis treatment of the subject of the Transfiguration of Christ, which extended over two sermons. His subject on the last Sunday evening was the Atonement, when the attendance, which had been increasing from the first, was extremely good, nearly 120 being present.
On the Wednesday evening a social tea meeting was held, when addresses were delivered by Mr. Wilkins and other friends, and a very happy evening was spent. Our friends were highly gratified with Mr. Wilkins' visit, and he seemed equally so with his reception. Steps are being taken to ensure that the
bond of sympathy which has thus sprung up between us shall not be barren of results, so that, if possible, we may place ourselves in a position to invite him to become pur pastor. For the sake of the cause here we trust this may be accomplished. In conclusion, it may be added that Mr. Wilkins will also preach on the last two Sundays in this month.
Blackburn. The annual sermons, in aid of the Sunday school in connection with the temple here, were preached on the 16th September, by the Rev. E. D. Rendell. The collections amounted to upwards of £8., a rather handsome sum, considering the great and long continued distress in this town and neighbourhood. The afternoon sermon was on the disciple who lay on Jesus' bosom, and that of the evening was on prayer. Both discourses were listened to with marked attention, and a very favourable impression was made on some strangers who were present. In the morning of the same day, Mr. Bendell delivered an excellent address to the teachers, scholars, and friends, on the advantages of the New Church education, urging all to avail themselves of the opportunity to secure so great a blessing, of which no opposition or misfortune could deprive them, and which would prove an invaluable possession to them whether rich or poor. S. N.
the subject of " New Church Development," which had been selected as the theme for the evening. The proceedings were also enlivened with appropriate musical selections by the choir of the church; and the evening was altogether one of profit and delight. We are informed that this, the oldest Junior Members' Society in the church, now numbers about 160 members, and that efforts are constantly being made to extend its usefulness as a New Church institution. The weekly proceedings comprise a conversational meeting on Sunday afternoon for the consideration of Scriptural subjects ; meetings of the Theological class on Monday evening, and of the Elocution class on Tuesday; while the general meeting of the society takes place every Friday evening, and is devoted to lectures, readings, or debates. On these occasions the attendance of all who can conveniently be present is cordially invited; and much interest in the doctrines of the church is frequently excited among strangers by the various addresses and conversations. We heartily recommend the young members of other societies to adopt some similar plan for the systematic and united study of the great and ennobling truths of the New Dispensation.
Argyls-square Junior Members' Society, London.
The seventh annual festival of this institution took place in the school-room, Argyle-square, on Wednesday, the 11th of November. The room was tastefully decorated for the occasion with garlands of evergreens and artificial flowers, and was also adorned with a fine collection of water-colour sketches, kindly lent by Geo. Wallis, Esq. A number of appropriate mottos, chiefly selected from the writings of the church, were displayed upon the walls, so that the visitor was met at every turn with some object either of beauty or edification. Upwards of a hundred friends partook of tea; and during the evening the number considerably increased. The Rev. Dr. Bayley occupied the chair; and addresses were delivered by Messrs. E. H. Bayley, G. Wallis, G. M. Pulsford, Warren, J. Presland, Berry, and C. W. Smith, on
Jersey. We have received a copy of the third annual report of the Jersey New Church Missionary Association, held in the temple, Victoria-street, November 8th, 1863. The committee report that, through some misunderstanding, only one missionary has visited the island during the present year. The Rev. E. D. Rendell delivered a course of lectures on New Church doctrines, by which several have been led to seek for further information on the subjects of his discourses. Mr. Rendell's lectures were highly appreciated, and are still spoken of with great approbation. A lecture he delivered to the Temperance society, in their hall, on the subject of the question—"What is man?" made a favourable impression, and has done much to remove prejudice against the doctrines. The Rev. Mr. Kennerley has for some time been expected; but it seems that it will not be convenient for him to visit Jersey till early in the spring. The committee express their thanks to the members and friends, and also to the National