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I observe, thirdly, that what becomes habitual becomes permanent.
The power and the permanent effects of habit arise from the circumstance that every human being is created for a life of usefulness, in consequence of which the whole mind is formed for activity and the whole body for action. The mind has two faculties,—the faculty of loving and the faculty of thinking. We feel within ourselves a power of loving persons and things, and a power of thinking about them. Loving and thinking are operations of the mind; but whenever the mind is active, it calls the powers of the body into action also; for mind shows itself in the body, and effects its purposes by its instrumentality. Action has the same relation and connection with thought and affection that the body has with the mind. Thought and affection are within action as the mind is within the body. So that action is as a body in which our thoughts and affections manifest themselves, and in which they assume their outward form and appear in their image. And what is of the utmost consequence to us, those actions which embody our thoughts and affectious will form our spiritual body in the other life, when at death the natural body is laid aside for ever. It is in the eternal world that the state becomes unchangeably fixed, when the habit becomes hopelessly confirmed. As the tree falls, so it must lie. Its root is no longer in the earth, its branch is no longer tender and yielding, and such as it then is it must remain for ever. This is not the case absolutely with any one while he remains in this world. No one is confirmed beyond the possibility of change during his abode upon earth, but the hope of change is less and less as the habit is of longer duration, and as life advances.
There is another consideration which shows the power of habit, and the importance of avoiding evil habits instead of trusting to the power of correcting them. Every evil that becomes habitual leaves its mark upon the character,—a kind of blemish in the spiritual body which even a life of repentance cannot entirely remove; every evil, therefore, that has become a habit, takes away somewhat from the moral beauty of character which is the result of love and truth, and forms the happiness which it secures.
What, then, must be the advantages of forming orderly habits?
The Lord is order itself, and he desires to make each of us like himself. For this purpose he has given us the laws of order in his Holy Word, especially in the Ten Commandments. So far as we do what those laws require, we acquire habits of order; and so far as we acquire habits of order, the Lord enters into our minds and inspires them with the love of order, and with the delight of being orderly in all things. By habitual obedience to the Divine commandments, the Lord and his angels come nearer and nearer to us, and make us more heavenlyminded, and surround us with a sphere of happy influences, which preserve us in a state of satisfaction and peace which the children of disobedience and disorder can never feel.
GENERAL CHURCH INTELLIGENCE.
Swedenrorg Society.—The fifty-sixth anniversary of this Society is appointed to be held on Tuesday, June 20th, at St. George's Hall, Gray's Inn Road; the Rev. A. Clissold in the chair.
The subject of advertising the works has been brought prominently before the Committee. Of the propriety of doing this extensively they are fully convinced; but for this purpose adequate funds are requisite; and they therefore earnestly invite increased, and especially new subscriptions, to enable them to devote even more attention than hitherto in this direction. Only one-half of their duty is performed, when they have printed a book: in order to bring it and keep it before the public, it is necessary to do as other religious bodies do, that is, to spend liberally in advertising. As several works, giving their author's views on heaven, are now frequently brought before the public, the Committee have deemed it important to advertise the "Heaven and Hell;" giving a brief outline of some of its interesting contents. This has been found. effective, and will therefore be continued.
The Committee having bought the remaining copies of Mr. Noble's translation of the "Heaven and Hell," any person prefering that edition can now be supplied with it.
Missionary And Tract Society Of The New Church.—The friends of the church are affectionately invited to the
forty-fourth anniversary meeting of this society, which will be held in the church at Argyle-square, King's-cross, London, on Wednesday, May 10th, 1865, at seven o'clock. Amongst other gentlemen who are expected to address the meeting, may be mentioned Dr. Bayley, the Rev. O. P. Hiller, Messrs. Austin, Bateman, Butter, Goldsack, Gunton, James Keene, Moss, Pillrington, and Rodgers. Admission free. There will, as usual, be tea in the School-room beneath the Church, and it is hoped there will be a numerous attendance. Tea will commence at 5-30 p.m. Admission Sixpence.
The Students And Ministers' Aid Fond.—I am requested by the committee of the Students and Ministers' Aid Fund to lay before your readers the following extracts from the Rev. O. P. Hiller's last report to the committee respecting the students, whose theological studies he has been appointed to superintend. The committee believe that the church watches the advancement and well-being of the students with considerable interest, and it is therefore proposed from time to time to forward you accounts of their progress. Fredk. Pitman.
"Since my last report, another student has been added to the class—Mr. Colley.* As far as I have yet observed, I am inclined to think hiin possessed of good abilities. He seems very desirous of continuing his preparation for the ministry, and is trying very hard to improve himself in reading.
"Besides the studies in Latin and Greek before described, I give them every week a short lecture on some point of New Church theology; or, rather, I turn it into a conversation, so that the students may not be passive listeners, but may, in answer to questions, express their own ideas on the point, so that I may know whether they understand it. I think this exercise will be found very useful.
"They are also required, in turn, to recite pieces of prose or poetry, with proper intonation and gesture—an exercise of the first importance to a public speaker.
"The students seem to enjoy their duties, and have been regular in their attendance."
* Not yet adopted by the Conference.
Advertising.—In accordance with a friendly wiBh expressed in an advertisement on the wrapper of the Repository of last month, calling upon individuals and societies to an effort to make the truths of the "New dispensation " more fully known, by advertising any of the works in any local newspaper, I have placed the following advertisement in the York Herald for a period of one month, with what fruits may be hereafter known:—
"To the reflecting of all denominations.—-The Second Coming of the Lord, proved from Scripture and reason to have taken place, and is now taking place, shown in Noble's appeal in behalf of the views of the Eternal World and State, and the Doctrines of faith and life held by the body of Christians who believe that a New Church is signified (in the Rev. chap. 21.) by the New Jerusalem. Price 3s. May be had of all booksellers; or ten copies for £1., direct from the publisher, Mr. Alvey, Swedenborg House, Bloomsbury-street, London."
I would very respectfully and most affectionately suggest, that such an advertisement is most fitting the present time, now that Dr. Cumming has been, and is agitating the religious world with his theory of the end of the present world, and "men's hearts are failing them for fear of those things that are coming on the earth;" and this may be in the order of God's Providence an opportunity for the " Church to arise and shine, her glory being come." Should you think this fitting for a corner of next Repository to call the church to publish this glory, you will oblige, yours truly, G. W., York.
Exeter.—The Western Times of the 31st March, contains the brief statement of Faith, drawn up by order of the Conference, and printed in the Minutes of 1857, attention to which is directed by the following notice in another part of the paper:—
'' The New Jerusalem Church.—Among our advertisements will be found a declaration of the points of belief which distinguish this community, made in the year 1857, when it celebrated the centenary of its existence. Whatever difference any may have on other articles of the manifesto, all will agree that'' mankind should serve one another in love,
especially in the promotion of their dearest rights, irrespective of creed, caste, or colour, in the full faith that this ordinance of Heaven can only result in good."
The New Church In India.—In a letter lately received from Madras, India, we find the following interesting item of information :—" A New Church friend here has lent 'The True Christian Religion' to a native Christian, who thinks there is a great deal in it which the Hindoos would like, and is therefore translating it into Tamul."
Northampton.—Our congregation having received an accession of several young people who had previously been members and hearers of the Wesleyan Methodists, and having heard that the subject of the Sole Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ had excited considerable attention among the members of a Theological and Mutual Improvement Class in connection with one of the Wesleyan Societies in the town, we thought this afforded a favourable opportunity for a lecture on that subject. We therefore invited the Rev. J. Hyde, of Derby, to visit us, having received information that the committee of the National Missionary Society had arranged for two visits from him, to us, during the present year. In compliance with our request, Mr. Hyde lectured on Tuesday, Feb. 21st, on "The Lord Jesus Christ, the only true God ;" and on Thursday, Feb. 23rd, on " The Life after Death."
These lectures were so well attended, and gave so much and such general satisfaction, that it was thought very desirable that Mr. Hyde's proposed second visit should follow in the course of six weeks. Arrangements were made for the 11th and 13th of April. The subjects chosen were, "If God is Love, why is there a Hell?" and "If Christ was God, why did he pray to the Father?" Both lectures were well attended by earnest and thoughtful hearers, and we most confidently hope that the good "seed of the kingdom " will yield " fruit unto eternal life."
It is not necessary that we should comment on the lectures, as Mr. Hyde's ability as a powerful expounder of the doctrines is well known; but we desire to express our warmest thanks to the Missionary Society for his valued services.
Birmingham. — Branch Birle SoCiety.—On Wednesday evening, April 5th, a meeting was held in the New Jerusalem Church girls' school-room, Summer-lane, Birmingham, to commemorate the tenth anniversary of a branch Bible society there. After partaking of a very agreeable tea which had been provided, the chair was taken by the Rev. E. Madeley, who opened the meeting with a few appropriate remarks on the pre-eminent importance of the Bible because of the infinite truths it contained, and after urging the claims of the Bible Society for that reason before every other institution, called upon Mr. G. C. Haseler to read the report, and to move its adoption. From this report it appeared that the subscriptions during the past year amounted to £21. 16s. 10d., a sum larger than that of any previous year, and that during the ten years of its existence, subscriptions to the amount of £193. 17s. 4d. had been paid in. Having in warm and encouraging terms moved that the report be received with thanks, the motion was seconded by Mr. Benton, and supported by Mr. Rolason, who forcibly urged that the results, as yet small, should be increased by united and persevering exertions. The motion was carried unanimously. The agent of the Bible Society in Birmingham, Mr. Craig, then moved a vote of thanks to the lady collectors, and proposed their re-election,—speaking from his own experience of their conduct of affairs, and quoting the assertion of Dr. Chalmers that in these matters one lady was worth ten gentlemen. The motion was seconded by Mr. Tonks, who observed that the uses which the collectors performed were not insignificant, if pursued from proper motives, but ennobled by the glorious object they had in view; and Mr. Humphries, who followed with characteristic warmth and simplicity, expressed his delight at what had been done, and his faith that these doings would increase. The motion was passed unanimously. The chairman then called upon Mr. Swallow, who was deputed by the Bible Society to attend, to move the following resolution:—
"That this meeting cannot without deep thankfulness and gratitude to the Lord, reflect upon the world-wide influence, and increasing usefulness, of the British and Foreign Bible Society, by
whose means, under the Divine blessing, the Holy Word, which is able to make us wise unto salvation, has been translated into almost all the languages of the earth, and extensively circulated, without note or comment, among nearly all nations. We feel compelled to exclaim—' It is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes;' nor can we refrain from expressing at the same time our fervent conviction that it is the bounden duty of all who rejoice in the profession of Christianity to give it their hearty co-operation and liberal support." Mr. Swallow having given an interesting account of the local and foreign doings of the society in distributing the Bible during the past year, was followed by Mr. Wilkinson, who seconded the resolution, which was unanimously passed. After a vote of thanks had been passed to the delegates from the Bible Society, and responded to, the meeting was concluded by benediction.
Staffoedshire Potteries.—On Monday, the 3rd of April, the Rev. Mr. Woodman lectured in the Town Hall, Burslem, to a very attentive and numerous audience. There were only seats sufficient for about half the number present, and to show the interest they took in the lecture, those that could not find sitting room stood while Mr. Woodman delivered the lecture referred to, which occupied nearly one hour and three quarters. He was repeatedly applauded, which was a further sign of his having pleased his hearers. The following report of the lecture appeared in a local newspaper:—
"On Monday the Rev. Mr. Woodman, a minister of the New Jerusalem Church, delivered a lecture in the Town Hall on the subject of 'Heaven: what, and where is it?' According to the lecturer's view, heaven is to be thought of rather from an idea of state than of place, having its origin from love to God and the neighbour, which would, he said, make heaven anywhere, just as the opposite loves of self and the world would anywhere produce hell; and the great gulf fixed arises from the total opposition of these two states. He adduced various philosophical and Scriptural illustrations to show that the spiritual world and the abode of angelic spirits is very near us, and can instantaneously be presented to man's view whenever the Divine Providence,
for its own wise purposes, sees fit. Mr. Woodman was attentively listened to by a numerous audience."
On the following evening he delivered a lecture in the Town Hall, Stoke-onTrent, which was also well received, but not quite so well attended. A brief report of this lecture was also given:—
"On Tuesday the Rev. Mr. Woodman, minister of the New Jerusalem Church, delivered a lecture at the Town Hall, on the subject of ' Freewill,' his object being to show that man's liberty to choose between right and wrong (without which he would be a mere machine) was not at all incompatible with the divine foreknowledge of the use he would make of it; and that, in fact, that liberty could never have been granted had not God foreseen every evil consequence that would arise from man's misuse of it, and been prepared with a corresponding remedy."
These lectures, in conjunction with those delivered by Mr. Hyde about a month since, have caused a general inquiry, and it is the opinion of the few friends who have been instrumental in getting these lectures delivered, that they will be the means of much good. Allow me to again suggest how necessary it is we should work while it is day. Let every isolated member, and those also that are connected with our large or small societies, contribute some small portion of their means for the purpose of giving a course of lectures during the lecture season. This is the way these lectures have been brought about:— some eight or ten members having subscribed a small sum weekly for this much needed purpose, with additional aid from the Missionary and Tract Society, the committee of which are always willing to help those who help themselves. The members here return sincere thanks to the London and Manchester Tract Societies for the kind assistance given us, signifying our intention of again troubling them about the end of this year.
Adelaide, South Australia.—The following extract from a letter, dated Feb. 24, has been sent us by a friend in Londoni—
"Mr. Day has been bold enough to come out in a course of lectures on 'Swedenborg, the Authorized Expositor of the Apocalypse.' People ask What
do you mean by authorized I and of course we have to tell them; it really seems necessary that the authority should come out now-a days when people are so inquisitive as to what—doctrinally—is. Mr. Day was induced to deliver this course, by a lecture by the Rev. Mr. Woods, B.A., Unitarian minister. I intended to have heard him, but, it being the first Sunday of the month, and a special occasion with Mr. Day, I could not forego the certainty of a substantial feast for an uncertain treat; but the Rev. gentleman hearing that some of us would like to read his manuscript, kindly lent it to the New Church friends. Its title, published and placarded about the streets, was, 'Swedenborg : his spiritual insight and religious speculations.' Well, we read it at our house, and I can say, that not you, or any other New Church man, could utter such a eulogy without a blush; we almost blushed to read it. He heaped on E. S. all Emerson's praises, without his detraction; he advised his auditors to follow his (Mr. W's) example, and read the works of Swedenborg; assuring them that they could not fail to rise from the perusal of them, 'wiser and better men.' However, Mr. Day is not the man to be dazzled by any of the idols and trinkets of the Assyrian camp, but plainly pointed out the difference between reading enough of our great author's works to be able to give a popular lecture thereon, and inculcating the doctrine and living the life which those works enjoin."
The Conference Hymn Book.—Permit me through your columns to request the members of the various societies, and likewise all the friends who are interested in the Conference Hymn Book, seriously to consider the following three questions, and to favour me with the results of their consideration and investigations at as early a date as possible :—
1. Is there any need for a revision of the Hymn Book?
2. How far ought any attempted revision to extend?
3. Is the present time—now that the Hymn Book is out of print, and that the stereotype plates will have to be renewed—the most proper and best time for making such revisions as are necessary?
The opinion of the church must be the guide of the Conference. As the
subject will have to be fully considered at the approaching meeting of the Conference, to have obtained a general expression of the sentiments of the friends will very materially tend to aid the members of the Conference in arriving at a just and wise conclusion on tho point. John Hyde,
9, Sacheveral-street, Derby. April 6th, 1865.
South London Society The annual general meeting of this society was held at the Literary Institution, Newington Causeway, Southwall, on the 24th January, when the chair was taken by Mr. Edward Austin, the leader. The proceedings were of a very satisfactory character. We quote such passages from the first annual report as appear to be most generally interesting :—
"The society was formally constituted at a general meeting held January 7th, 1864, when the Faith of the New Church having been read, the members' book was signed by sixteen friends; since then, there have been thirty-three more names added, thus raising the number of the society to forty-nine registered members. * * * *
"Mr. Austin has delivered several courses of lectures on subjects calculated to awaken inquiry, which have been well advertised both by handbills and in the local newspaper. These have been well attended, and it is hoped have been the means of doing much good. One of these lectures calls for special remark. The Rev. Mr. Spurgeon some time past delivered a discourse on 'Baptismal Regeneration,' which attracted considerable attention in the religiousworld. Mr. Austin thinking it desirable that the public should have an opportunity of hearing the question discussed from a New Church point of view, delivered a lecture on the same subject. The committee considering that the controversy originated in the immediate neighbourhood, and that the question would also be one of universal interest, resolved to publish the lecture in the form of a penny pamphlet. This was accordingly done, and the first edition of 1,000 copies having sold readily, it was resolved to print a second edition, which is now on sale. « * * * *
"The Financial Statement for the year shows a small balance due to the treasurer; considering, however, how