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MISSIONARY & TRACT SOCIETY'S ANNIVERSARY.
The forty-fourth anniversary meeting of the Missionary and Tract Society of the New Church was held at Argylesquare, London, on Wednesday, May 10, 1H65. A preliminary tea meeting was held as usual, being but poorly attended on account of the inclemency of the weather. The public meeting was held in the church, commencing at 7 o'clock and closing at 9-45, it being felt that the inconvenience of prolonged meetings exceeds their benefits. Mr. H. R.Williams had been announced as chairman, but a letter received from him was read, stating his regret that unavoidable absence from town should prevent his fulfilling the engagement. Mr. Gunton took the chair, and, after calling upon Dr. Bayley, who opened the meeting with prayer, he made some brief remarks of an appropriate character.
The Secretary read the minutes of the last anniversary meeting, which were then signed by the chairman. The Committee's Report for the past year was also read by the Secretary. The Treasurer read the audited Cash Account.
Mr. J. B. Keene moved the first resolution:—" That the reports and accounts which have been read be received; and that they be printed, under the direction of the new Committee." He spoke in terms of high approval of the labours which, according to the Report they had heard, had been accomplished.
The resolution was seconded by Mr. Potts, from Manchester, who called the attention of the meeting to the necessity for accuracy with respect to names; a matter of considerable difficulty in some instances, as in the one he referred to, where the same place bears the three names of Warren Lane, New-Church, and Oswaldwistle. (Laughter.) He highly acquiesced in the remark of the first speaker, that each one should be a missionary. There were young folks in most homes, and why might we not begin to act at our own hearthstones? Let our children be trained in the New Church doctrines and principles from their youth upwards, as it was said of Timothy that he was trained in the Scriptures. He believed our best missionary afforts were home instructions,
and our best and most successful sermons our examples as manifested in our lives.
Mr. Moss supported the resolution. His experience in this southern sphere of missionary labour, he said, had hitherto been very pleasant. He would like to see more tracts scattered abroad among our country friends. He doubted if tract distribution was sufficiently appreciated; and he thought that the practice of giving out, at the conclusion of lectures, tracts appropriate to the subject lectured upon, was necessary to secure the full fruition of missionary labours. "Many run to and fro, and knowledge is increased ;" schools, colleges, and universities are extended in number, and improved in excellence; the sciences and arts are being developed, and are daily increasing their contributions to home comfort. But did we see in the some proportion the cause of truth and heavenly wisdom advanced amongst men? Science would never give a man wings to soar towards heaven. The doctrines of the New Church, and those doctrines alone, could in the fullest degree afford man that power; for, as we all know, the old system of theology cannot meet the advanced state of the rational mind of the present age. The New Church presents the grounds for a rational perception of matters heavenly and eternal, in the same way that science affords demonstration of things earthly and temporal. As by the first advent the Lord released man from his spiritual captivity, so by the second advent He will release man from mental captivity, and throw light upon those who grope in darkness. As the Lord had once sent forth his disciples two and two, so He is now sending forth his labourers in twos; for each missionary should have his mind well stored with a knowledge of the truth, and his heart glowing with love. The resolution was then put and passed.
The second resolution, as follows, was moved by Mr. Watson, and seconded by Mr. Butter :—
"That Mr. Sandy be the Treasurer of this society for the ensuing year."—This resolution was also put and passed.
The Rev. O. P. Hiller moved the third resolution, as follows:—
"That in view of the important fact, that by means of this Society the doctrines of the New Church may be and
frequently are presented to the attention of the public through the delivery of lectures in places where there is no New Church society, or else no regular minister; and considering that without the aid of a society which concentrates the means of the church this use cannot be extensively effected, this society is cordially recommended to the support of all those who desire the promulgation of the heavenly doctrines of the New Jerusalem."
He spoke of the unhappiness which is often experienced through an imperfect knowledge, or a misapprehension of the more important doctrines of Christian faith and religious truth, contrasting with it the happiness, satisfaction, and power for good derivable from the clear and well-defined knowledge of those truths which the New Church affords. He therefore would most cordially speak in behalf of the resolution which he had submitted. Many, he said, are indifferent to the mental darkness -in which they live—caring not whether their doctrines are true or not, and disregarding the diseases which are preying upon their spiritual nature. There are, however, some not in this state. Some there are who feel that they are wandering in mazes of error—that they are in labyrinths, out of which they long to be extricated, and they thank any one who will bring them light. Supposing that in a country town there were only one person of this latter description, distressed and afflicted, and that he had for a long time been in doubt as to the doctrine of Predestination; supposing him to be in darkness and perplexity: ho sees a placard announcing the delivery of a lecture on the theology of Swedenborg. Ready to look for the light in any direction, he goes to hear: and, his mind being open to the reception of truth, he hears the truth, and accepts it with joy. He perhaps receives, at the conclusion of the lecture, a tract; finds on the cover a description of the works of Swedenborg; sees where they can be obtained, gets them, reads them, and receives the truths with delight. It was difficult to over-estimate the good which a single lecture might thus have effected. And was not this a great and noble use? Those who were rolling in spiritual wealth—who were Dives, and had abundance of spiritual knowledge—who attended church, and constantly heard genuine truths, had little idea of the feeling of
friends in a country town when they received a visit from a minister. It was perfectly delightful to them, and they recollected it with pleasure for years. He knew that in Glasgow, until this day, friends spoke with affection of Mr. Noble's visit to that city 35 years ago. This society likewise enables ministers to go forth to wake up receivers, give them new light, new love, and put strength into them, and thus enable them " more and more perfectly to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling." Was not this society worthy the cordial support of every one who loves his fellow-men?
The resolution-was seconded by Mr. Goldsack, who said, nothing could be more dear to the heart of an angel or a good man than to see extensively spread those doctrines which he loves. Perhaps in the history of the world no time has equalled the present in an earnest desire to know and understand what the truth is. This spirit of inquiry is becoming more and more dominant in a section of the church which has been very unwilling to accept the truth. He referred to a sermon which had recently been preached, by appointment of the Bishop of London, in the Chapel Royal, Whitehall, by the Rev. Dr. F. Temple,—the chapel being densely crowded, and there being present the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Bishop of Ely, and a large number of the clergy and aristocracy. In that sermon Dr. Temple had spoken thus:—"Referring to modern controversy, they might find an example of it in the opinions which had prevailed in reference to the first chapter of the book of Genesis. Attempts had been made to reconcile its statements with the discoveries of modern science, but the two things were totally irreconcilable. On no ground could they be accepted as two accounts of the same thing, however ingeniously they might be dovetailed together. It was clear, therefore, that the first chapter- of Genesis was not the same thing that they learned from the study of geology, and they must come to the conclusion that the narrative in the first of Genesis was not history at all, but poetry. They had in all probability, in that account of creation, a poem, just as the whole of the Apocalypse was a poem. The seven days of the creation did not represent time. The number seven was a symbol; and they would never dream of inferring from the sevenfold gifts of the Spirit that the Holy
Spirit consisted of seven parts. The number seven signified perfection, and the seven days of creation was nothing more than a symbolical account of the perfectness of that creation. The first chapter of Genesis, then, did not profess to teach history, but doctrine. Be it, however, poetry or history, this first chapter of Genesis bore with it the same characteristic of authority. Whether it were, as some thought, a history, or as others thought with him, a poem, all would admit that it contained a Divine message." Now there were many simpleminded members of the church who would ask, What is to become of our religion, when the Alpha and Omega of the Book of God are decided to be poems? Truly it was a fit and proper time for the New Church to put forth its strongest efforts in spreading the truths they possess.—The resolution was then put and passed.
Mr. Austin moved the fourth resolution, as follows:—
"That this meeting is well pleased with the missionary efforts which have been made during the past year, as there is every reason to believe that they have been productive of much good; and that the new Committee are hereby recommended to persevere in the same course so far as is consistent with a due regard to any exigencies that may arise."
He referred to the immense meetings which were then being held, some of them being so largely attended that even Exeter Hall was not capable of containing the multitudes who flocked to the meetings. He felt that some of the labourers in the good cause needed missionaries to be sent amongst them, for what were the doctrines which these men were taught to disseminate? He would give one example. In a sermon by Mr. Beecher, recently published, and one which commends itself to all New Churchmen, he calls God our Father; and he tells his readers that in thinking of the Divine Being, they must strive most of all to think of Him as a father, and think that He loves them, that He cares for them, that He is their best friend, that He desires to make all happy. Now, the Rev. C. H. Spurgeon is fortunate enough to be able to boast that he can raise in his congregation £6,000. per annum. He has a college under his own immediate superintendence, in which, at the present time, ninety-one young men are studying. Let us see
how far these young men are imbibing genuine truths. In the last publication issued from Mr. Spurgeon's tabernacle this sermon of Mr. Beecher's is reviewed; and Mr. Spurgeon denounces the idea that God is to be primarily thought of as a Father; and, says he, if this be true, if it be a fact that God does thus love all his children, why the atonement? why the innocent punished for the guilty? If God loved us as children, it would be enough for us to go to Him and say, We are sorry for our transgressions, and He would need no inducement to relent. (" Hear, hear.") Under the extraordinary circumstance that such teaching as this is popular, it behoved them to endeavour to disseminate to those around them the glorious light possessed by the New Church as to the true nature of God, and other subjects of theological knowledge.
The resolution was seconded by the Rev. Dr. Bayley, who said he had great pleasure in seconding the resolution, as he always had in taking part in any matters which forwarded the interest of the Church. Our grand duty (that which we should postpone for nothing), our great aim (insomuch as the Lord has made us acquainted with principles so good, so gracious, and so grand), was to give ourselves to this work of spreading the principles of the New Jerusalem. We need, from time to time, to deepen our sense of this duty; for we are apt to forget the immense importance of these things, on account of their familiarity to our own minds. Our great object is no less than, by the promulgation of truth, to render the earth more efficient as a seminary of heaven. Our cause was now in its commencement; and as none would have thought that the babe whom the Lord preserved in an ark of rushes would be the means of introducing into the world an entirely new dispensation of religion, so we could have but little conception of the enormous changes that will be worked out by the grand principles which they had in view that night. We have to spread the grand doctrine of love, until it is felt by the nation, and permeates every law, and governs the world. Referring to the crude notions existing upon religious subjects, Dr. Bayley stated that he had recently heard the mother of a family declare that she had for a long time been absolutely afraid to teach her children any religion at all; but her mind
was now being cleared of its mists by a reception of the truths of the New Jerusalem. The speaker suggested that possibly more might be done towards securing the objects involved in the resolution he seconded, if societies or friends in those places to which visits were paid would exert themselves more strenuously and sympathetically in supporting the efforts of the visitors and lecturers. Let the societies and friends be resolved to secure good audiences, and a very great increase in the efficiency of the operations of this society would be the consequence. Something might be done, also, by the lecturers choosing appropriate subjects, and such as, owing to local or temporary circumstances, were certain to excite a considerable amount of attention; as, for instance, his own recent lectures in" Norwich, on "Marriage, verms Monastieism." By offering to the public what they were anxious to hear, and discoursing on subjects upon which their interest was excited, one was sure of good results.—The resolution was then put and passed.
Henry Bateman, Esq., moved the fifth and last resolution, as follows:—
"That as it is the duty of every New Churchman to make known, both individually and socially, the truth which he has received, so it is incumbent upon him to support this society according to his ability."
The New Church, he said, if not the Church of the present, is the Church of the future, for it is in possession of truths by which mankind, in a future age, are to be regenerated,—by which all men are to be influenced for good,— by which every man who comes into the world is, to a greater or less extent, to be enlightened. Many of those present had had mental difficulties entirely removed by the knowledge of New Church doctrine, and it was especially incumbent upon them to make known to others that which had been so valuable and so blessed to themselves. That which had been good for them would be good for others like them. It was their duty, therefore, to make every effort for the promulgation of those views. This must be done, as the resolution said, not only socially, but individually, by making known the doctrines to those with whom they came in contact;—not always proclaiming the whole extent of what they were acquainted with, but endeavouring so to adapt the truth as that it might meet the spe
cial requirements of the state of him to whom it was offered. This society arranges for the visits of missionaries and lecturers to places which are comparatively isolated from the Church, and to places where there are no visible signs of the Church,—cheering and instructing, and administering the sacraments in the one place, enunciating and expounding the truth in another.
The resolution was seconded by Mr. Pilkington, who said he believed there was not any New Churchman but who looked upon his becoming connected with the New Church doctrines as one of the most important events in his life, and upon the New Church as worthy of every exertion which he could make to promote its welfare. The press and the pulpit are the two great instruments which have advanced the world from its state during the dark ages to its present condition; and we must look upon this society as an important means of spreading the truths which we possess and value.—-The resolution was put and carried.
Auditors for the ensuing year were then chosen.
One of the pleasantest features of a pleasant evening was the announcement, by Mr. Butter, that the same kind friend who last year had made him his almoner to the society to the extent of £100, had this year repeated his generous gift, the amount of which Mr. Butter then handed over to the treasurer.
The first and last verses of the 132nd Hymn were then sung, and the Chairman called upon Dr. Bayley, who concluded the meeting with prayer and a benediction.
The opportunity is taken to call the attention of our readers to the important claims of the Missionary and Tract Society. The uses which it has for a long series of years been performing are well known, but not so extensively known or appreciated as they deserve to be. The society might well receive a large addition to its list of annual subscribers, and donations could hardly be made to a more worthy object. Subscribers are entitled to receive half the amount of their subscriptions in tracts and other publications. Subscriptions and donations will be gladly received by the treasurer, Mr. E. C. Sandy, Louisa Villa, Alleyne Park, Norwood, S., or may be paid to the secretary, Mr. F. Pitman, 20, Paternoster Row, London, E.C.
New Chorch College.—On Thursday, April 27, the twentieth anniversary of this institution was celebrated in the schoolroom of the College. Forty-nine persons sat down to tea, and by the time the chair was taken the number had increased to seventy. The Rev. Messrs. Goyder, Bruce, and Hiller, Messrs. Watson, Edward Madely, jun., and Dr. Spencer Thompson, were among the friends present.
After tea, the chair was taken by Mr. Batemau, who, previous to the business of the evening, stated he had the pleasing duty of presenting to Mr. F. Heath a handsome tea and coffee service, &c., which had been subscribed for by some friends of the Islington Society, as a testimonial for his gratuitous services as organist during a period of ten years. After a suitable acknowledgment from Mr. Heath, Mr. Bateman entered upon the business of the evening. With the model of the intended College before him, he proceeded to point out the accommodation which the structure would afford, showing that there was ample space for the erection of the buildings, and ample light in all parts of it. He was about to exhibit the plans for the completion of the respective buildings, when he was called away by professional duty. In his absence, Mr. Gunton was voted to the chair, and called upon Mr. Hiller, as the theological tutor, to give some account of the students under his charge, when that gentleman proceeded to give a very interesting account of their progress, entering into particulars of the mode of instruction pursued, from which it appeared the understanding, as well as the memory, was cultivated, and those arts of speaking, essential for the pulpit, kept in due prominence.
The Rev. D. G. Goyder followed with an account of the present state of the College Library. When ho first took charge of it there were about 200 volumes; there were now nearly 1,100. He enumerated the names of many of the donors, and stated that only a few days previous to the last meeting of governors, the College had received a most valuable donation of 155 volumes from Mr. and Mrs. Crompton Roberts, forming part of the library of the late Roger Crompton, Esq., one of the founders of the College. The works of Swedenborg, in this donation, were magnificently bound in purple morocco. Most of the other volumes were well
and substantially bound, and for such as were in pamphlets, together with some unbound volumes of the Repository, and some volumes of reports, the same generous donors had contributed five pounds to complete the binding. Mr. Goyder urged the necessity of a good library to such an institution as the New Church College, and hoped that authors would send copies of their respective works. He had received from Mr. Clissold, Dr. S. Thompson, Mrs. Rothery, and other New Church authors, copies of their respective works, and he hoped that other authors would do likewise.
Mr. E. Madeley was next called upon by the Chairman. He spoke with great hopefulness of the future prospects of the 'College as regards the difficulties in connection with conference, and expressed a firm belief that henceforth they would be of a minor character only. Mr. Gunton addressed himself principally to the students, pointing out the liberality of the Church in their maintenance and education, and hoping that they would show a grateful disposition, and evince, by a self-denying and selfsacrificing spirit, that they were anxious to fulfil the duties of the ministry with a single eye. From an examination of the premises, and the respectability of the neighbourhood, together with the large population, he saw no reason to doubt that the present site for the College was adequate for the purposes desired, at least for many years to come. By a previous arrangement, the students were now called upon to address the meeting, in the order in which they had been admitted.
Mr. Goldsack commenced with a few remarks upon " The importance of education as a necessary development of the intellectual faculties." Indisposition had prevented him from giving the subject much attention. His remarks, however, indicated his full appreciation of the subject.
Mr. Rogers, in a brief but comprehensive summary, insisted upon "The importance of education as a necessary preparation forthe ministry." His speech was characterised by much thought, with clearness of arrangement and expression. Mr. Moss pointed out " The advantage of association amongst those who are preparing for the New Church ministry;" Mr. Pilkington, "The importance of a competent knowledge of the languages