Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

previous period in the history of the Christian Church, and here we Christians are waging a war of mutual extermination about questions of ceremonial. Far less important than this consideration is the bearing of_these struggles on the security of the Estab. lishment. But if the High Church party is desired to take its choice between submission to a tribunal which proscribes its historical traditions, and a separation from the English Episcopate, which it shrinks from as from schism (and therefore as sin in the sight of God), the result is not difficult to foresee. Churchmen will, to a very great extent indeed, find relief from the dilemma in a third conrse, viz. co-operation with the political forces which, year by year, more and more steadily are working towards disestablishment. This is not a menace; it is the statement of a simple fact. It will, I trust, suggest to many others than those who are directly interested in the particulars of this judgment, that if the historical basis of the Church of England is to be narrowed down to the proportions of a Puritanical sect, or something very like it, it will not by any means be certain that the expulsion of the representatives of Andrewes and Keble from the ranks of the Church's ministry will be the only consequence of the proceeding.”

libly directed by the Holy Spirit, and conscious or assured of their being so, must feel themselves under the pressure of a strong restraint, obliged to pick their steps, if I may so say, with extreme nicety and delicacy ; to be very scrup: ulous and fastidious in telling what they have to tell. I apprehend that we might expect the very opposite effect to be produced on their modes of thought and expression.

I can well believe that a man writing under the assurance of a Divine guidance might take liberties in dealing with certain subjects, which, if left to himself, he would by no means have considered it warrantable to take.' Now, these words were written by the Rev. Dr. Candlish, who said in the preface to his book —'Every word of the Bible is what it is and where it is by the Divine will of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is responsible for its being what it is and where it is.' Had he (Mr. Robertson) wished to caricature the infallibility of Scripture he could not have used more offensive or subversive language than Dr. Candlish did in the passages quoted. And yet in the presence of the dogma of the supreme authority of the Bible over reason he (Dr. Candlish) could not help him. self. His intelligence as a man saw the human errors and mistakes in the book, but his prejudices as a theologian defending Bible infallibility drove him to apologies which degraded the Deity below the trustworthiness of a common writer of history.

The teachings of Mr. Robertson, however, are so fatal to all belief in the Bible as the inspired Word of God, that the presbytery seem to have unanimously sustained the sentence of excom. munication which had been adopted by the kirk-session. These continual trials mark, however, a phase of the controversy respecting the Divine authority of the Word, and make manifest the unsettled state of the minds of the prominent teachers in most Christian communities. The great problem of the relation of reason to revelation is forcing not a few to the adoption of sentiments respecting the Word of the most dispar. aging kind. Mr. Robertson was reported to have said that a belief in the Divine origin, authority, and perfection of the Old Testament Scriptures reasonable and false as any superstition

HERESY.

The orthodox Churches in Scotland seem doomed to a succession of troublesome cases of heresy. The Free Church presbytery of Meigle has been occupied with the case of Mr. Robertson, accused of being “the author of certain publications containing passages said to be offensive to and subversive of the Word of God.” The case is one which shows the extreme difficulty, if not the impossibility of free and earnest inquiry respecting the Word and the retention of faith in its plenary inspiration and divine authority, without an acknowledgment of its spiritual sense. the leaders in the Free Church,” said Mr. R. in supporting his appeal from the kirk-session," were unconsciously perhaps, under the influence of ‘modern thought.' In illustration of that he would quote from Dr. Candish, who said in his lecture on the Infallibility of Holy Scripture,— It'seems somehow to be imagined by some that men infal

6 Even

was as un.

to which the human mind had ever tual insight, and possessed of profound been in subjection ; and the evidence knowledge and wisdom. . . While adduced from the historical books of the rejecting some of the fundamental docBible," he stated in the conclusion of trines of his theologic system, I reverhis pamphlet, “exhibited how utterly ence him for his purity of life and for false and unworthy of an enlightened

his marvellous intellectual and spiritual people was the superstition that the capabilities. I do not hesitate to conentire Bible is the holy, authoritative, sider him as one of the greatest interinfallible Word of God.'

preters of the spiritual aspects of religion The presbytery could not be expected

the world has seen. So far as I have to sanction such teaching as this, but read his works, I must say, that though its correction will require more than much seems far-fetched, strange and the forensic decisions of Church courts. fanciful, I am astonished at the knowHeresy can only be banished from the ledge, wisdom, and power displayed. Church by true doctrine and enlight- I am indebted to Swedenborg for some ened exposition of the Word ; and the of the most cherished of my thoughts.' teachers of the Church have before them The lecturer next briefly reviewed the à work which will tax their utmost career of Emanuel Swedenborg as a efforts, and for the accomplishment of philosopher, asserting that he anticiwhich they will require better aid and pated many scientific facts whose disa higher authority than the Westmin- covery has been credited to more modern ister Confession.

men; and proceeded :-- Hitherto Swe

denborg had been noted for his great SWEDENBORG.-A correspondent scientific knowledge and celebrity ; in sends us the following account of a all scientific matters his fame stood high. lecture on Swedenborg recently de

He had arrived at a time of livered at Bolton:-“ During the past

life when one might suppose the nature two months, a course of Sunday Even- of his life might be fixed, when he aping Lectures has been given in the peared to the world in altogether a new Bank Street (Unitarian) Chapel, Bol

character. At the mature age of fiftyton, upon ‘Religious Reformers. The fourheannounced that he behelda vision, third lecture of the series was given on in which his spiritual sight was opened the 12th February, on Emanuel Sweden- to see in perfect wakefulness what was borg, by the Rev. George Fox of Park going on in the other world, and to Lane, near Wigan. Mr. Fox treated converse with angels and spirits. his subject in a most appreciative man

From that time he gave up worldly ner, and did justice to the learning, learning, and devoted himself almost the worth, and the purity of Emanuel entirely to the task of recording his Swedenborg. In the course of the lec- visions and illustrating his theology: ture, he remarked-'Swedenborg is a

Swedenborg, in his matter-ofmystery. . I find it difficult for fact way, describes heaven and hell me to form an opinion concerning his with wonderful precision. Whether pretensions. I dare not call him a these are as he describes or not, he madman, I cannot designate him an certainly writes like an eye-witness, imposter, yet I hesitate to accept him and with a certain unconscious simas a prophet. He is a philosopher, a plicity and naturalness, leading to the man big in body and mind.

belief that he did see in some vision, He reveals so much of truth that one is though one cannot tell how, what he tempted to accept his statements beyond has recorded. Whatever may be said the limits of one's convictions ; and yet of his pretensions as a seer in relation again there is such a fanciful mode of to the minute particulars of the other reasoning, such a matter-of-fact way of life, on which he has so largely written, dealing with heavenly secrets, that one it does appear indisputable that he finds it hard to receive his visions and possessed a more than ordinary vision, interpretations as real. Whatever that in fact he was gifted with what opinion however prevails, it must be may be called second sight." Here conceded that he was a most wonderful Mr Fox related the well-known anecgenius—a man of simple and unassum- dotes concerning the fire at Stockholm,' ing character-alike' courteous and &c., concluding with, “These stories gentle in heart and life, with deep spiri- are related on the best evidence. I

a

6

6

race.

[ocr errors]

" Great

do not pretend to explain them. These anecdotes of Swedenborg are not his credentials; his position is to be judged rather by his revelations than by his second sight.' A brief, but accurate résumé of the theology of Swedenborg was next given by the lecturer, who also commended the works of Emanuel Swedenborg to the attention of all lovers of truth. The interesting lecture was brought to a close in the following terms : If I am not prepared to submit myself entirely to his explanations of truth, I acknowledge the benefits I have derived from reading what I have read of his. I reverence him as one of the giants of the earth whom God sometimes permits to enter to educate and advance the human

Swedenborg is one of the world's great representative men.

He is truly one of the world's benefactors, for whom mankind is both the better and the richer.””

J. D. A similar lecture to the above was delivered by the Rev. F. R. Young, in the Free Christian Church, New Swindon, as the first of a series on Men of the Christian Church." This lecture is reported at some length in the North Wilts Herald of February 6th. It contains notices of the new Church as well as of Swedenborg. Speaking of the latter, he says :-“ The claims of that eminent man had been met by total rejection, total and unquestioning acceptance, or, as in his (the preacher’s) individual case, with a mixture of rejection and acceptance ; many persons feeling themselves unable to attribute infallibility to Swedenborg's utterances, but, at the same time, having a most profound regard for his mighty intellect and his manifestly true views of God and man."

Taking as his guide the life of Swedenborg by “his friend Mr. William White,” he imitates his author by introducing into his discourse features of character to the disadvantage as well as the advantage of Swedenborg. His general treatment, however, could scarcely fail to remove prejudice and to create an interest in the writings of our great author.

The following extract somewhat abbreviated, will give a fair specimen of this lecture :-“His (Swedenborg's) was an eminently scientific mind, and he had a rare love for searching out and understanding the facts

and laws of all phenomena. He was also a considerable financier, so much so, indeed, that at the Swedish Diet of 1751 the most solid memorials on finance were from his pen. Whether he anticipated much of the science of the present day, or not, had been questioned; but this at least was certain, that his purely scientific works must ever remain as monuments of his unwearied research and subtle powers of examination. But it was in the year 1743, that, to use his own words, the Lord Him. self was graciously pleased to manifest Himself to his unworthy servant, in a personal appearance, to open his sight to the spiritual world, and enable him to converse with spirits and angels.' The statement thus made by him at first, was made all the way through, down to his very death-hour. The first effects of this new experience were blinding and confusing ; but, after two years had passed away, the storm subsided into a calm, the eyes became used to the great light, and his whole being became an organized power for good. Immediately he began to write, in Latin, and publish volumes of his expositions of Genesis and Exodus, the mysteries of Heaven and Hell, the Doctrine of the Lord, the Laws of Providence, the Laws which underlie Marriage, an Exposition of the Apocalypse, &c., &c. The circulation of these works during his lifetime was inconsiderable, both in his own country, the continent, and England. But since his death they had been translated into English, Welsh, French, Italian, German, Swedish, and even Icelandic. The style of his works was my no means flowing and poetic, except in rare instances, while almost all their matter was so abstruse that lovers of the periodical literature of the day would find their perusal a fatigue. And yet there was no exaggeration in the assertion that no other single theologian of the last 200 years could be named whose mind was of equal power, and who by his works had rendered so great a service to pure and undefiled religion. His seership was a great fact, and a gift of wonderful' magnitude. He denied a Trinity of Persons in the Godhead, but taught that there was a Trinity_of Principles ; and that the names Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, were but names for the Divine Essence, the Divine Manifestation, and the

Divine Energy, and that the Lord Jesus endeavoured to find scientific reasons Christ was Himself the only and Eternal for the expected destruction of the God. He taught that the natural and earth. The lecture was followed by a spiritual worlds were set over against sermon in the parish church by the each other, the last being symbolized in Vicar on 2 Peter iii. 10, 11. In this the phenomena of the first. He taught discourse the preacher gave a strictly that the genuine Scriptures contained literal interpretation of the text, and an external and an internal sense, and an imaginative description of the burnthat the internal sense was absolutely ing elements, in which, while the rightand infallibly true, in every minute eous are miraculously preserved, the particular. His work on heaven and wicked will be burnt up. These dishell was the most profound volume on courses seem to have excited consider. that subject in any language, but it was able attention, and were followed by burdened and darkened with the terrible letters in the local papers criticizing error of the dogma of eternal damnation. their statements and arguments. The He did not appear to have understood members of the New Church resident very fully many of the doctrines of in the neighbourhood were not backorthodoxy, and much that he wrote ward to avail themselves of the opening against justification by faith alone, the thus made to call public attention to doctrine of the Atonement, &c. &c., higher and truer views of Scripture would be very properly repudiated by teaching on the subject. Our active intelligent orthodox believers of the and earnest friend, the Rev. Mr. Marspresent day,” [but not in the time in den, has published two pamphlets on which he wrote,] “as caricatures rather the subject, in which he discusses in than fair representations of the matters the light of the teachings of the New in dispute. But he taught, with tre- Church the several topics to which promendous energy and rare felicity, the minence has been given in these disabsolute necessity of piety in the heart courses and the subsequent discussions. and good works in the life, or love to These topics take a wide range.

Be. God and love to man, as the alone sides the passages immediately appealed foundations upon which human happi- to, “The Days of Noah,” “The Deness here and hereafter could be secure- struction of Sodom and Gomorrah,' ly built. Mr. Young went on to say &c., &c., are introduced. A third that the sect bearing the name of the pamphlet is in the press, which will “New Jerusalem Church” owed its complete the series. Lectures have existence to a number of Wesleyans also been delivered by Dr. Bayley and who left the parent body ; but, princi- Mr. Gunton, which have been very pally, to a man named Robert Hind- favourably received, and left an abiding marsh, a printer, and the son of a Wes- impression on the minds of many whose leyan preacher. The members of the attention had thus been attracted to sect were ordinarily highly intelligent, these important inquiries. Further while their lives, morally speaking, efforts will doubtless be made by our were very much above the average. friends to diffuse right views respecting But in their ecclesiastical relations they the Lord and the glory of His second were painfully exclusive, and they ap- coming. peared to look down upon those who did not agree with them with a kind of BERLIN, ONTARIO, CANADA.—The mild pity which narrowly escaped from Messenger of March 1st gives the folpassing into contempt.

lowing account of the temple erected

by the members of the New Church at DURATION OF THE EARTH.—The doc- this place, and of its dedication :- "The trine of the destruction of the world by members and friends of the New Jeru. fire, as supposed to be involved in the salem in Berlin and vicinity will long prophecies respecting the Lord's second remember, with unalloyed pleasure, the coming, and taught by the Apostle opening of their beautiful 'new temple Peter, has been the subject of an excit- for divine worship. Being, as it is, the ing discussion in the town of Maidstone. most beautiful structure of its kind, not The question appears to have been in- only in Berlin, but in the whole county, troduced by a scientific lecture on “The it stands a monument of the zeal of the Forces of Nature.”in which the lecturer Society. The building is composed of

[ocr errors]

stone, beautifully edged with white dressed stone, and built in the pure Gothic style, in the form of a cross, the top of the cross being towards the east. The size of the building is eighty by thirty-two feet, except the two arms of the cross, which project five feet beyond the main building on each side. The steeple rises 103 ft. from the ground, and is surmounted by a cross. The basement is divided into three apartments, the largest being intended for the Sunday-school and social gatherings; of the other two, one is the pastor's room, the other contains the heating apparatus. The entrances to the vestibule are from the west, by two doors. Above the right-hand entrance in the bottom of the steeple, is a tablet with a representation of the open Bible in the centre, with the all-seeing eye above, and the words, 'Nunc Licet' beneath it. Surrounding the Bible is the inscription, Verbum Domini manet in Eternum,' and beneath is the name of the church, and the date 1870. From the vestibule the audience-chamber is gained by two short curved flights of stairs. At the further end of the room is the chancel, containing on the right the pulpit, with the words, Nunc Licet' inscribed on it. On the left is the reading-desk, and further back are the communion table and the repository for the Scriptures, this last is a beauti. ful piece of carved work and white pine ; at the top are the initials ‘I. H. S.' and a cross. The circular light behind the chancel contains the monogram, ' Alpha, Omega,' in its centre. The organ occupies the north wing of the Church, and contains 632 pipes. It is beautifully carved, and is made to correspond with the main building. On it are the words, “Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord.' Next to the organ is the baptismal stand. The cost of the Church, including the organ, has exceeded $7000. On Sunday, 29th ult., at 10.30 A.M., the dedication took place. The service was commenced with the beautiful dedicatory ceremonies of the New Church, the music being under the able direction of Mr. Zöllner, of Waterloo, Miss Zöllner presiding at the organ; after which Mr. Türk, pastor of the Society, delivered a most excellent sermon from Genesis xxviii. 17, “How dreadful is this place ! this is none

other but the house of God.' He was listened to with deep attention by an audience of upwards of 500, many of whom had probably never heard a New Church sermon before. At 2 P.M. the rite of baptism was administered to six infants, and the Holy Sacrament was partaken of by quite a large number. In the evening the Rev. J. Parker, of Toronto, delivered a very able and impressive address to a very crowded house. His text was taken from John viii. 31, 32. On Christmas Day, Mr. Türk and Mr. Parker dedicated the new chapel, lately erected by the Toronto Society. Mr. Türk intends to preach in English every second Sabbath evening. This will give great pleasure to the English portion of the Society.”

CONFERENCE FUNDS.—We are informed by the treasurer, that a benevolent lady, recently removed into the spiritual world, has manifested her desire for the progress and support of the Church, by bequeathing to its various institutions the sum of £1,400. Of this sum, £700 is to be invested by Conference for the benefit of the church, library, and schools at Bath ; the other £700 being £100 each for seven of the Church institutions.

NATIONAL MISSIONARY INSTITUTION. - The national missionary is at the time of our going to press pursuing his labours in the north. These services will close on the 19th of March at York. The only services of which we have received notice are at Middlesborough-onTees, where Mr. Gunton, in the month of February, gave a course of lectures in the Town-hall, and preached in the Society's meeting-room on the Sabbath. The first lecture is partly reported in the Middlesborough Exchange newspaper, and from this report we learn that the lectures were favourably received, and followed by animated discussion at the close of each lecture. In introducing his first lecture, Mr. Gunton said: “We lived in an age of progress, and it would seem strange if there was not progress in their understanding of religious truth, as well as in every other description of knowledge. No part of the world's history, he believed, ever indicated such rapid strides in the development of knowledge as the last fifty years. And could they for a moment conclude that they understood

[ocr errors]
« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »