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The present age is emphatically one of change - transition. Never before did men so run to and fro upon the earth ; never before did knowledge so rapidly increase. Amid the varied and wonderful modifications of modern society, not the least remarkable, both for depth and variety, are those which have happened to the Church at large. Since the appearance of the Oxford Tracts, developments of religious thought and sentiment have taken place in every Christian communion with surprising rapidity, and in directions the most diverse. The state of affairs is becoming every day more perilous for the oldfashioned theology of every shade. The Church is everywhere perforce thrown back on the consideration of FIRST PRINCIPLES. There is no evading the hard necessity. It is important for all concerned to bear in mind the pregnant statement lately made in a remarkable connection, that “

un temps de transition comme le nôtre est aussi nécessairement .. un temps de transaction.” There is not only the mere act of change; there is also the result. What is the character of that change through which the Christian Church is now manifestly passing? What is that change destined ultimately to accomplish under the Divine guidance of the Father of the Ages? These are questions of the gravest moment, to which the work before us is intended to give a plain and intelligible answer.

It would be impossible in a brief notice like the present to do more than refer to a very few of the numerous and interesting topics treated of in this volume. One leading principle pervades it throughout, which in substance is this—The state of the church has from the beginning to the present time been undergoing a succession of changes in a regular order under the all-good, all-wise control and direction of Divine Providence, whilst the deposit of Divine Truthconstituting The WORD, and giving to the Church, without cessation or interruption, its essence and existence in the course of the agesever remains one and unchangeable. It is the aim of the author to treat in a popular form that general doctrine of the succession of churches and the continuation of THE CHURCH, which is unfolded in the Arcana Coelestiu with such marvellous clearness, power, and depth of thought. To bring within the range of popular apprehension the vast generalization here referred to is a task beset with difficulties peculiar to itself, and such as can be adequately appreciated only by those who, in any form, may have made a similar attempt. To bring to anything like clear consciousness, for the first time, the cardinal doctrine set forth in this volume would be equivalent to making a new

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discovery-not indeed of something in addition to the Word of God, but of that which always existed in the Word, and which up to the period of its first announcement had remained deeply concealed. As a matter of course this most precious addition to our conceptions of Divine Truth was destined, as soon as it was made known, to share the fate of all discoveries. It was rejected and still continues to be rejected, especially by those whose peculiar office it was to assist in its promulgation. In the end, however, it will prevail over all opposition simply because of its own inherent divine virtue. Too often the apostolic admonition not to be wise above what is written is made the ground for refusing to be made wise according to what is written. The former is of course impossible, and the attempt to do it only leads (as is but too evident) to delusion and folly. The latter, however, is a duty which, to all appearance, the teachers of religious truths generally are among the last to observe.

The doctrine of development has, in modern times, been treated of from the point of view of mere human reason. The results are before the world in such forms as the pantheism of Hegel or the atheism of Comte. The former, which, strange to say, still pretends to some kind of belief in the Christian Revelation, may be given in the following summary of the views of Dr. Baur, a Protestant professor of Tübingen

“Dr. Baur distinguishes three modes of looking upon the process of the history of dogma : the first he calls that of ecclesiastical belief ; the second that of subjective reason (the ordinary rationalistic); the third is that of the speculative criticism (Hegelianism). According to the first there is to be found in the history of dogma only a substantial matter, without that movement in which the life of history consists ; according to the second, nothing but movement and change, without the substantial reality which is the kernel of historical movement. These two are but one-sided inodes of viewing the question, and the one-sidedness can only be taken away by taking one's stand on the principle, according to which the historical movement is considered as the indispensable reconciliation of the matter (Inhalt) with itself, or as the subjective self-movement of the Idea.”(Vid. Dub. Rev., Jan. 1869, pp. 40, 41, from Kühn's Katholische Dogmatik.)

The Comtian development, in one of its numerous phases, has lately been prominently brought into notice as the only means of reconciling religion and science. The terms are stated thus :-“If Religion and Science are to be reconciled, the basis of reconciliation must be the deepest and most certain of all facts—that the Power which the universe manifests to us is utterly inscrutable.” This is at least a plain, definite, and honest way of stating the case. It is moreover a pretentious and withal an ingenious periphrasis of the well-known term-Atheism. Of this it may be said in the words of Dryden, but with a far different application and intent,


• The literal sense is hard to flesh and blood.

But nonsense never can be understood." The theories of development arising from the principle of Church authority have also yielded some startling results. Examples of these are presented in such dogmata as the personal infallibility of the Bishop of Rome, and the notion of the Immaculate Conception. Development, according to Roman Catholic theologians, has its well-defined stages, and its order of progression: but it is a development of notions said to be supernaturally impressed on the Church, not a development of Eternal Truth revealed in THE WORD. A modern writer of this communion observes : -“ As there was from the first an idea of the Holy Trinity, and of the Sacred Humanity, remaining one, notwithstanding variations of conception and of expression, so there was also from the first impressed on the mind of the Church the idea of Mary. It was seen in the visions of S. Gregory Thaumaturgus. It found expression on the lips of S. Justina when her chastity was in danger. It persuaded S. Irenæus of the salvation of the guilty Eve. It consoled saints in the wilderness. It had its poet in S. Ephrem : its preacher in many a saint. It was a power in the Church. It was like nothing else, being the idea of a Virgin and Mother of God. It was one and integral in spite of variations. It was too real to be turned aside, even by so great a doctor as S. Thomas Aquinas. Its legitimute development, which it contained from the first, is the Immaculate Conception.”

Here may be seen as in noon-day light the fruits of a scheme of development which takes its stand on a Church and not on the eternal Word. It is a chimerical not a real development. It is a development of confusion and error, not of order and Truth.

(To be continued.)


the General Convention of the New Jerusalem in the United States of America. 1868.

The teachers in the Sunday Schools of the New Church have long been placed at a disadvantage for want of suitable books of instruction for use in their weekly discharge of duty; works which might serve as text-books, and by means of which they might be able to strike out a systematic line of instruction for those who were depending so much upon

their wise and devoted efforts. Of late this want has been often expressed by them, shewing that it is a want which is not merely seen to exist by the leading spirits among them, but is also felt by the teachers themselves; and there are indications that the demand is about to be met by a good supply.

The nice little volume which it is now our privilege to bring before the notice of our readers is the work of Mr. Thomas Hitchcock of New York, a gentleman who is best known in this country as the editor of the “N. J. Messenger," whose initials are appended to the series of leading articles on various interesting subjects connected with the external organization of the Church which have been appearing for some months in that paper. In a note at the commencement of the work, the author says :

“In preparing this book, the writer has had in view the general plan and teachings of 'The True Christian Religion,' by Emanuel Swedenborg. For the sake of convenience, however, he has placed what he had to say about the Lord's Prayer and the Ten Comniandments by themselves at the beginning, as it is desirable to instruct children in those portions of the Word, before proceeding to more difficult doctrinal points.”

We venture to think this arrangment will be approved of by those for whose use the “Child's True Christian Religion” has been written. The whole book contains 192 pages, and of these nearly half are devoted to the two subjects referred to in the above note. The Lord's Prayer is explained sentence by sentence in language most admirably adapted to the intended purpose; a remark not less applicable to the other portions of the volume. Indeed we feel bound to say that throughout the whole book, which it was a great treat to carefully read, scarcelyan expression was encountered which might not be read out aloud to a child of average intellect with fair probability of its being listened to with interest and understanding. But to give our readers the pleasure of judging about this matter for themselves we will quote a passage or two from the several divisions of the book. In explanation of the words “Hallowed be Thy Name" the author says ;

“ If you will only think of it, the name of any one, when it is spoken, brings up before your mind all you know about him. Take anybody you are acquainted with, and the moment any one speaks the name by which he is called, you cannot keep thinking how he looks, and talks and acts, and whether you like him or dislike him. His name is the same thing, when you are away from him, as he himself. If you love him you will always speak his name with a feeling of love, or if you are naughty enough to hate him, you will show it by the way you pronounce his name. Cannot you tell, yourself, whether any one loves another one just by the way he calls his name, when you are talking about him ? Just so the Lord's name stands for all we know or think about Him, and if we love and honour Him, we shall always speak His name reverently. To use His name to swear by, as wicked men do, is telling everybody that we do not care about Him;



and to speak it hastily, and without thinking who we are speaking about, shows that we do not really believe Him to be our Heavenly Father, who is so good and loving to us.”—p. 13.

And so the thread of instruction runs on, in the same pure Saxon language of our homes and firesides ; the reader being unconsciously under the sweet illusion all the while that he is once more a child, and never being rudely awakened from the pleasant impression by any jarring note from another sphere of thought or style, much less by any stilted condescension of tone, any “coming down to the apprehension of children” which is so prevailing a mistake among their would-be instructors. But let us take another example. There is one of the commandments which many sincerely disposed teachers feel some difficulty in handling with propriety and delicacy, and at the same time with instructiveness in the presence of children. Alas for the impurity of our common humanity that it should be so. If we were pure-minded ourselves, such a difficulty could never be felt about a subject which should be associated with all our purest thoughts and feelings. I refer

I of course to the seventh commandment. Let us see then how a childlike and pure-minded writer deals with this commandment before his children. I say child-like, because nothing is more certain than that no man who was not thoroughly in sympathy with children could ever have produced a work like the Child's True Christian Religion.” And I have chosen this part of the explanation of the commandments chiefly because, being the most difficult, it may be a more convincing proof to our readers of the justice of our commendation.

“Thou SHALT NOT COMMIT ADULTERY. The Lord has so made men and women that they find their greatest happiness in being married. It is written : ‘From the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife. And they twain shall be one flesh, so that they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together let not man put asunder.' (Mark x. 6, 9.) There is no love so pure and holy as that which unites the husband to his wife, and the wife to her husband ; and, since all happiness comes from love, that produced by marriage is the purest and holiest which any one can enjoy, either in this world or the next. From marriages on this earth too, children are born who become happy men and women in their turn, and, after death, angels in heaven. Every angel and spirit was once a child on this, or some other earth, and was born from marriage union of a man and a woman. So that, besides affording happiness to men and women on earth, marriage fills the spiritual world with inhabitants, and therefore performs the highest of all uses. But in order that marriage may produce all the happiness, and be of all the use for which the Lord intended it, it is necessary that a husband should have no more than his one wife, and the wife no more than her one husband. It is necessary, too, that after a man and woman are once married, they should continue to be husband




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