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books in theology have been written by no less a person than Emanuel Swedenborg himself, the New Church College is fully able at the present day to provide for its theological students both the necessary professors and the necessary text-books, so that for this particular work it does not require the help of an Academy of Sciences.
In conclusion, I hope that my hint about the advisability of the establishment of an Academy of Sciences in connection with this College will not be thrown away on the worthy Secretary of this institution, and on my fellow-members in the Council and in the Board of Governors, but that in their very next meetings they will take into consideration the steps necessary for maturing this desirable object, inasmuch as I am firmly convinced that in this and in no other way will they plant the New Church College at Islington upon a permanent foundation.
DEATH OF DR. LIVINGSTONE. The great missionary of Christianity and of Christian civilization to the inhabitants of the great terra incognita, Central Africa, has, like so many others, either fallen a victim to the climate, or has sunk under the fatigues and perils of his arduous undertaking. Whether his journey has, or if it had been completed would have, added any additionai light to the faint gleams that have been shed by Captain Grant, on the existence of a superior and more enlightened nation in the centre of that vast continent, we know not. Every new step made in African discovery leads to it. For the solution of this problem, or rather for the demonstration of this proposition, we are anxious, though not impatient, for we know it will come in the Lord's own time. Livingstone's death bespeaks its still further postponement. His loss we lament for the partial failure it will cause of the immediate object of his mission. His view, to make commerce the pioneer of Christianity, was a sound one. Although he has fallen without having achieved all that he had hoped to accomplish, he has done much to advance the cause he had so deeply at heart. Others will follow his footsteps, and carry forward the work in which he has so nobly laboured and so gloriously died. So much as the peaceful and saving conquests of the Cross are better than the terrible and destructive conquests of the sword, so much will the fame of the humble Missionary be greater than that of the Leaders of conquering armies.
OUR PUBLIC WORSHIP.
LIVERPOOL, January 15, 1874. DEAR SIR, --Among various subjects in connection with the doctrines and worship of the New Church, to which the Ministers and Licentiates of the Church in Lancashire and Yorkshire have devoted attention at their quarterly meetings, two topics, viz., the proper attitude in prayer in the Publio worship of the Lord, and the duty of the people to contribute å greater share than at present in the services, have been seriously and extensively considered.
We beg, through you, to submit to all who join our societies in public
worship the opinion of our meeting on these two topics ; not, of course, as dictating to our brethren the practice of which we agree in approving, but for the earnest and free consideration of the members of each Society.
The precept of the Word, the custom of the Christian Church for centuries, the teachings of Swedenborg, and the correspondence of posture with the feelings expressed in prayer, all unitedly point to kneeling as the fittest attitude in which to bow before the Most High.
The precept of the Word is : “O come let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker: for He is our God; and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand” (Ps. xcv. 6, 7).
The custom of the Christian Church was, beyond question, founded on this and the following Scriptural examples :-Solomon “kneeled down on his knees” while uttering the prayer of dedication of the temple (1 Kings viii. 54, 2 Chron. vi. 13); Daniel" kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God” (Daniel vi. 10); the Lord Jesus “kneeled down and prayed” at the Mount of Olives in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke xxii. 41); so also the father of the demoniac child kneeled to the Lord (Matt, xvii. 14); the leper kneeled before Jesus (Mark i. 40); Stephen " kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge” (Acts vii. 60); Peter “kneeled down and prayed” at the bedside of Tabitha (Acts ix. 40); Paul “kneeled down and prayed with them all" at Miletus; and again on the shore of Tyre with his companions and the disciples at Tyre, with their wives and children (Acts XX. 36 ; xxi. 6). So associated was this attitude with worship that “to bow the knee" is synonymous with worshipping. See Isa. xlv. 23; 1 Kings xix. 18; Ezra ix. 5; Matt. xxvii. 29; Mark xv. 19; Eph. iii. 14.
Swedenborg in expounding the cry“Abrech” (how the knee) uttered before Joseph in Egypt, has this remarkable statement, “All internal efforts which are of the will, thus which are of the love or affection, consequently which are of the life, have external acts or gestures corresponding to them, which acts or gestures flow from the very correspondence of exteriors with interiors : holy fear, and humiliation grounded therein, consequently adoration, have acts or gestures corresponding to them, viz., the bending of the knees, the falling down upon the knees, and also the prostration of the body even to the earth. In that state, if the adoration be from genuine holy fear, there is a failing of the spirits, and hence a falling down of the joints in the neighbourhood or intermediate part where the spiritual is conjoined to the natural, thus where the knees are, for the parts which are beneath (the knees) have correspondence with natural things, and the parts which are above the knees) with spiritual things : hence, bending the knees is a sign representative of adoration. With celestial men this act is spontaneous, but with the spiritual it is voluntary” (A. C. 5323).
So also in expounding the Divine statement, “ Unto Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear” (Isa. xlv. 23), Swedenborg says, “ By every knee shall bow' is signified that all who are in natural good from spiritual shall worship the Lord, the knee signifying the conjunction of natural good with spiritual. Hence it is evident that bending of the knees signifies acknowledgment, thanksgiving, and adoration, from spiritual good and delight in the natural man" (A. R. 455).
From these, and many other similar statements of Swedenborg, it may be seen that kneeling is the posture which most fully corresponds with the state of prayer, and that, consequently, it is the most fitting attitude for all worshippers to assume during acts of prayer.
We beg, therefore, to solicit the attention of all worshippers of the Lord Jesus to the propriety of a literal obedience to the precept—“ Let us KNEEL before the LORD our Maker."
The second point is the desirableness that the worshippers should audibly join the Minister in the utterance of the Lord's Prayer and the various Responses used in our Services. In connection with this subject, the only direct authority and guidance furnished by the Word is the Divine injunction in respect of the utterance of “ Amen" by the people, as expressing their assent and consent to the matters thus affirmed. Thus in the trial of jealousy, the woman was required to say, “ Amen, Amen" (Nuinb. v. 22). In the curses pronounced from Mount Ebal, it was enjoined in respect to every one of them that “all the people shall say, Amen" (Deut. xxvii. 15, etc.). The Psalmist indicates one of the modes of public worship in his day, “ Blessed be Jehovah God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say, Amen, Hallelujah!” (Ps. cvi. 48). So also the four “ living creatures,” in response to the ascription of praise to the Lord Jesus, “said Amen” (Rev. v. 14); and again, to another ascription of praise and glory to the Lord, together with the four and twenty elders, fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, and exclaimed, “ Amen, Alleluia!" (Rev. xix. 4). It is obviously the intention of Him who has taught us how to pray, that the “ Amen” should be the audible response of all who join in the prayer, and of whom the one who prays is only the mouthpiece. We must regard it, therefore, as fitting and incumbent on all worshippers thus far to respond.
With reference to the audible joining in the Lord's prayer, we have no direct authority from the Word. Hence we do not lay so much stress upon the practice as a duty of worship as we feel it our duty to do on the matters previously considered. In all things connected with modes and forms of worship, our Lord has left all at liberty. The only implied command is that the Divine prayer which He taught His disciples should be used, and that it should also form a model for all other prayers. Yet the ancient and long continued practice of the Christian Church has expressed the conviction that it is fitting for the people to utter the prayer as well as to listen to its being uttered.
In the opinion of the meeting of the Ministers and Licentiates of the New Church in Lancashire and Yorkshire, the states of the leaders of worship and of the worsbippers would be more fully brought into harmony, the services would be rendered more interesting, the sphere of worship would be both deepened and rendered more general among the congregation, and the duty of private prayer would be more fully impressed upon the people if the practice of the audible repetition of the above-named portions of our services were to be universally adopted.
We beg, therefore, to submit these matters for the consideration of the Church, seeking thus to promote unity of practice while respecting the liberty of all.
On behalf of the Ministers and Licentiates of the New Church in Lancashire and Yorkshire.-- We are, dear Sir, yours very faithfully,
RICHARD STORRY, President pro, tem.
We have inserted this letter in deference to the wishes of the intelligent and influential body from which it proceeds. It appears to us to be, however, liable to one objection. Any address to the General Church recommending to its several congregations the consideration and adoption of even certain forms of external worship should proceed from the General Conference, which alone has general functions. By no other means can we expect to obtain that unanimity which the authors of this manifesto desire. For if one local association thinks
Does the New Church Descend from Heaven or not? 131
it right to recommend one thing, any and every other local association may think it right to recommend another, and then, instead of unanimity, we should have conflict and confusion. The practice of congregations articulating the Lord's Prayer (for kneeling and responding are already directed in the rubric of the Conference Liturgy) may, however, be usefully recommended to the thoughtful attention of the Church, as a means of preparing for its consideration, and perhaps for its sanction and recommendation, by the Conference. -ED, I. R.)
DOES THE NEW CHURCH DESCEND FROM HEAVEN OR NOT?
To the Editor of the “Intellectual Repository." SIR, I have carefully read over the reply of Dr. Tafel to my previous letter, but must confess that I think he has not fully met the point which I raised. I quite admit, along with all New Church students, that a “ city” represents “doctrine," and that by the "holy city New Jerusalem " is meant the "New Church as to its doctrine ;" but I cannot forget that all the gorgeous descriptions which crowd the two last chapters of the Apocalypse are descriptions of this “New Jerusalem"2" coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband"__"descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God." We must read these descriptions in their spiritual sense as a whole, and then we shall find that the origin of the Lord's New Church is a heavenly one, and that, unless heaven does indeed descend by influx into human minds. the New Church can never be built up.
Dr. Tafel admits that Swedenborg, in several passages," does not limit the term 'to descend' to the doctrinal system of the New Church, or to the New Jerusalem as a city,' but applies it to the New Church or to the 'New Jerusalem' generally;" but because the New Church is also spoken of as to be instituted or formed upon the earth, he seems to infer that "descending" means “instituting" and “forming "—that it is only another word to express the same idea. May I sugge factory reason for this variety of expression ?
Swedenborg teaches that, as man is both internal and external, so likewise is the Church. If this be so, then the New Church must have its internal and external. The internal of the New Church is the New Christian Heaven. Here goodness and truth are wedded in angelic minds. In A. R. 66, this New Heaven is called the “New Church in the heavens ;” and in T. C, R. 784, we read as follows : “It is agreeable to divine order that a new heaven be formed before a New Church on earth ; for the Church is both internal and external, and the internal Church forms a one with the Church in heaven, and consequently with heaven. . . . In proportion as this new heaven, which constitutes the internal of the Church in man, increases, in the same proportion the New Jerusalem, that is, the New Church, comes down from that heaven." The falses of the former Church, which impede its descent, are then alluded to, and the manner in which they will be removed. This teaching is in perfect accordance with a number of passages elsewhere, and especially in the A. R., some of which have already been quoted by Dr. Tafel and myself; and surely it must be obvious that Swedenborg did eraphatically insist in them that the “New Church" and the “ New Jerusalem are one, and also that the “New Church," as a Church, will continue to descend upon the earth from the “New Church in the heavens."
Why, then, does not Swedenborg always use this phraseology? Why does he speak, in the passages quoted by Dr. Tafel, and many others, of the New Church as to be in. stituted or formed upon the earth? I reply, Not because the same idea is involved in the different terms used, but because Swedenborg is describing quite different processes, which are all needful in order that the New Church may exist and flourish in the earth. Everything which constitutes the Church is heavenly, and descends from heaven. And this is taught where it is said that “the Church upon earth is formed through heaven by the Lord, that they may act as one and be consociated." In the regeneration of man, in the degree that “he approaches the Lord only, and at the same time performs repentance from evil works," the Lord through heaven opens and forms man's internal or spiritual mind, and stores it with good and truth. But that these heavenly principles may exist and operate in the external life and character, they must descend and influence the natural mind; and they cannot be established as life-principles without conflict and temptation in the external degree of life : when they are
victorious, the Church is instituted by the Lord on the natural plane, and man's little world is formed into an image of heaven.
So I take it to be with the New Church. The descent of all those inward and spiritual graces which distinguish the New Heavens must precede their establishment in human minds on earth : the one process is entirely distinct from the other. And I believe that all who are in the Christian world where the Word is, and where, consequently, the Lord is known, if they live according to the Lord's precepts in the Word, constitute the true Church." (A. R. 10.) Into the minds of these, whatever may be their ecclesiastical designation, the sun and light of the New Christian Heavens will shine down. They will be consociated, as to the interior of their minds, with the New Jerusalem above ; and its holy influences will descend into their lower natures, melting them into sweetest ch
etest charity, strengthening them in all self-denying uses, and forming their external characters after the similitude of heaven.
I do not think, however, that it can be shown from Swedenborg that an acceptance of the many doctrines of truth taught by him is a necessary condition of church fellowship in the New Jerusalem ; and I should be indeed discouraged if I were to believe that connection with any particular organization of Christian believers were absolutely
e in order that entrance into the Lord's New Church might be secured. When I read the passage from the A. R. 922, which is quoted on page 34 of the Repository for this year, I cannot for one moment regard its comforting statements as referring to any organized and visible church on earth, but rather to the blessedness of admission into that communion of internal and regenerate souls which is consociated with the New Jerusalem above. Into this communion--this invisible and heavenly "New Jerusalem-all those who are in truths originating in the good of love to the Lord, will be continually received, because no false principle of faith is there. Its gates not being shut by day, signifies that those who desire to enter in are continually admitted ; by day signifies continually, because there is light continually there, and not any night. The reason why those who are in truths originating in the good of love to the Lord are continually received, is because the light of the New Jerusalem is truth originating from the good of love ; and into that light none but those who are in truths originating in the good of love to the Lord can enter; if aliens enter they are not received, because they do not accord, and then they either depart of their own accord, because they cannot bear the light, or else they are turned out." These words cannot apply to any earthly and visible church organization ; for where does a church of this kind exist on earth of which it can be said that “no false principle of faith is there?" What outward organization, either at the present day, or in the future, could claim “continual light?" Would it not be most presumptuous in any such church on earth to determine who are ". aliens" and who may be "admitted,” according to the meaning of the above expressions? The words clearly can only be applicable to that inward and invisible New Church on earth which makes “ a one" with the New Church in the heavens; and I rejoice to believe that all around, “wherever the Lord is known, and evils are shunned as sins," in every pale and among those of every creed, the “New Jerusalem" is descending unconsciously to many of its humble recipients, and on Trinitarian or even Unitarian soils, is now, at this day, gladdening many honest hearts and cheering many sorrowing minds, with the fruitage of the “ Tree of Life."
J. Speirs, London. PART of this little work appeared in the Repository two years ago. The beautiful “ allegory" is treated principally in the Pauline view, according to which Hagar, the bondmaid, and Sara, the free-woman, represent the two covenants--the first, the covenant of external obedience to the letter of the law, which gendereth to bondage ; the second, the covenant of internal conformity to the spirit of the law, which is liberty. The author endeavours to establish a coincidence between Luther and Swedenborg on the genuine doctrine of Justification, as contrasted with the spurious doctrine which has so long superseded it. The reader will find it well worthy of perusal, and well suited for distribution among persons not in the Church.