Sidor som bilder

leading tenets of her faith. That Creed simply declares the belief of the Church in God the Father Almighty, in Jesus Christ His Son, born of the Virgin Mary, and in the Holy Ghost. But there is little in the writings of the first Fathers to explain what we should call their views on the doctrine of the Trinity. This subject had not then been brought under discussion. But when it came to be a subject of inquiry, various opinions were formed respecting it; and while some seemed to run into the extreme of there being three Gods, others maintained the divinity of the Lord so simply and exclusively as to deny the existence of any distinctions in the Godhead whatever. Among these was Praxeas. The author identifies this account with what he considers a modern heresy. “Praxeas, like the followers of the illustrious Emanuel Swedenborg, appears to have held that the whole Godhead of the Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity was absolutely identical with the One Person of God the Son. In other words, that there was but One Person as well as one Substance of Godhead. Thus the Person of the Father and the Person of the Son and the Person of the Holy Ghost existed in nothing else save the name.”

The manner in which the author speaks of Swedenborg shows that he has no prejudice against him, and we are sure he had no intention of misstating the views of his “ followers." The members of the New Church do not, however, hold that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost exist in nothing but in name. They believe that there is a real distinction between them-a distinction more real than that which personal individuality implies. Three Divine Persons may, or rather must, be so entirely of the same nature, that they really differ only in name. For such as is the Father, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost. According to our view, the Father and the Son are distinct as Love and Wisdom. This is a real distinction; for Love is essentially different from Wisdom ; and although they must both exist in and as one Person, they cannot be confounded with each other : they are essentially and eternally one, and yet essentially and eternally distinct. The distinction is analogous to that which exists between the will and understanding of man. These form but one person, and yet they and their functions are distinct-Divine Love and Wisdom are the Divine Will and the Divine Understanding. But there is a third principle necessary to the existence of the one Being. Will and understanding would be nothing without action : they would only at least have a potential and not an actual existence. This third essential is the Holy Spirit, which is Love and Wisdom in their emanating and active condition. Even supposing this were not the true doctrine of the Divine Trinity, it is not liable to the objection of being nothing more than a nominal distinction. No doubt Praxeas and some others, who maintained the unity of God in the Person of Jesus Christ, did not see, or did not see clearly, the distinction between Father, Son, and Spirit. They maintained the Divine Unity, but did not understand the Divine Trinity. They erred on one side, as the orthodox erred on the other. In maintaining the Divine Unity, they lost sight of the Divine Trinity, as the orthodox, in maintaining the Divine Trinity, lost sight of the Divine Unity. In the Doctrines of the New Church these two grand principles are combined, and in the only way they can be combined so as to preserve them both. On this important subject we may refer to Mr. Clissold's important work, recently published, on Sabellius and Swedenborg.

We intended to touch on some of the other subjects of the volume, as they were regarded by the early writers in the Church. Not till they were drawn out in a distinctive form by controversy or by heresy, did many of the doctrines which we now dwell upon occupy a prominent place in the mind of the early Church. The most precious lessons we can learn and the purest inspiration we can draw from the contemplation of those times are, intense love of Jesus and of each other, a readiness to spend all and suffer all in His cause, humble piety, deep earnestness, and ardent zeal. The state of the human mind is different from what it was then. Men were then more disposed to be satisfied with the simple facts of Christianity and its great aim—to save them from their sins. Now they demand the reasons of things, and spend much of their mental energy in satisfying themselves and others that these things are so. Against this no just complaint can be made. It is a condition of mind that was foreseen and provided for. In the New Church Writings the demand is met by the supply. But we need to be reminded that to the intellectual means of building up the Church in ourselves and among others, we must, if we would prosper either individually or collectively, if we would ourselves advance and help the world forward, add those qualities for which the early Christian Church was so eminently distinguished, and which made its members so instrumental for good.

The work of Mr. Mossman may be recommended to students of Church history as presenting a view of the early Church at once fresh and instructive.


To the Editor of the Intellectual Repository.SIR, -A strict observance of the obligations we are under to the rules of ethics in making quotations is of such great moment in all matters connected with the Writings of Swedenborg, that I feel compelled to enter an earnest protest against the manner in which your correspondent, Mr. J. Robinson, has treated No. 784 T. C. R. in his letter on the question, “Does the New Church descend from Heaven or not?

the paragraph in its integrity is absolutely necessary to enable a reader who desires to form a just and true estimate of Swedenborg's own view of the subject your correspondent is discussing.

It will be quite sufficient here to quote the first half of the paragraph, although the proofs and illustrations taken from the Word with which the passage concludes are indispensable to obtaining a clear and full comprehension of the doctrine intended to be taught.

Swedenborg says (T. C. R. 784): “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 ; and that the internal must be formed before the external, and afterwards the external by the internal is a truth known and acknowledged by the clergy in the world. 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; so that this cannot be effected in a moment, but in proportion as the falses of the former church are removed; for what is new cannot gain admission where falses had before been implanted, unless those falses be first rooted out, and this must first take place amongst the clergy, and by these means amongst the laity; for the Lord says,

No man putteth new wine into old bottles, else the bottles break and the wine runneth out, but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.'”

To my mind Swedenborg disposes of the whole matter, and I shall neither waste my time nor that of your readers by discussing the question in your pages. It might be worth while to do so if Swedenborg's statement were not accepted, but, when it is accepted, then it would be simply darkening wisdom by excess of words.

The latter portion of your correspondent's letter places the whole question on the same sound basis as that on which Swedenborg has himself placed it in No. 784 T. C. R.-Yours truly,

GEORGE WALLIS. West Brompton.


(To the Editor of the Intellectual Repository.") DEAR SIR,_Will you permit a New Churchman, a subscriber to your Repository, to shew your readers that your argument in the review of “Sir Jasper" in your last number admits of some important rectifications ?

I will not detain them with your doctrine of Temperance, further than to point out that Total Abstinence is not such a mere appendage or questionable companion to Temperance as your treatment of her seems to imply. If indeed Temperance means only self-restraint in the use of indulgences, I admit you are right; but not so if it includes also self-restraint in the choice of indulgences. For this inclusion I am compelled to contend ;-otherwise a man unhappily addicted to opium-eating might be worthy of the praise of Temperance, and be held up as exhibiting that virtue “both as a principle and an example.” ' Opium, it is true, even where most usually consumed, is not half so destructive of social order and well-being as intoxicating drinks are found to be ; yet no lover of mankind would be willing to say with regard to opium-smoking or laudanumdrinking, and having in view your use of the word * Temperance,” that he has “no hope that total abstinence will ever become general," but has “no doubt that temperance will become universal."

Neither, in the second place, will I ask your readers to investigate at great length your allusions to the Divine permissions of evil. Let nie say, however, that the whole fabric and administration of human law exist in order to limit what would otherwise be Divinely-permitted evils. Indeed, apart from human laws, the Divine permissions of evil would be intolerable ; for it would appear that many things can he permitted to us by the Lord, which we should be altogether wrong in permitting to each other. Hence the necessity for man-made legislation ; granting which, the whole question of what limitations should be put by human laws on what would otherwise be Divine permissions remains open for consideration.

Nor, in the next place, will I allude lengthily to that reference to Moses and Divorce with which your argument is burdened. It does not follow that because Moses permitted a great evil which Christ afterwards forbade, we are bound to tolerate other great evils. On the contrary, is it not certain that human law ought to permit no evil that it can abate, save when greater evils would flow from the abatement than from the permission? In any case, I conceive a wide distinction must be maintained between Moses permitting under the third and worst possible Dispensation a flagrant evil, and a Christian legislature in this day of the Lord's Second Coming fortifying and confirming with its special sanction and approval a much more destructive evil, and consenting to draw suicidally its revenues from the vices and impoverishment of the people.

1 pass on, therefore, to your main argument, which is, that intoxicating drugs are no more the cause of drunkenness than great guns and gunpowder are the cause of war. In reply, I venture to remark that whereas it is certain that war was waged long before there were guns and gunpowder, there is no reason to suspect that, before intoxicating drinks were used, any one was ever overcome with drunkenness. Let your readers kindly suppose an island on which no intoxicating drugs are produced, and into which none are imported, and then say whether an entire absence of drunkenness might not be relied on, as well as, collaterally, a decided relief from much internal warfare. But let into such an island, so happily free from drunkenness and so peaceful, intoxicating drugs be introduced and drink-shops set up at every street corner, and then say whether before long there would not be a frightful development both of internal war in the form of street brawls and domestic violence, and of that drunkenness which of all such war is by far the most usual and extensive provocative.

But indeed, Sir, your argument about great guns and gunpowder would be excellent, if implements of war were found in practice to be no less stimulant, seductive, and infatuating, than intoxicating drugs always prove when freely consumed by a people. If, for example, it were commonly observed that addic. tion to great guns and gunpowder leads men to sacrifice for their sake all other considerations. If it were discoverable that in almost every case the squalor of poverty was the result of a passion for great guns and gunpowder. If, of all crimes of violence and outrage, the bulk were provoked by the stimulus of great guns and gunpowder. If scarcely ever was chastity designingly and villainously invaded, without resort to the exciting and reason-drowning aid of great guns and gunpowder. If, besides, the judges of the land were often found declaring that but for the existence of great guns and consumption of gunpowder they, the magistrates, the jailers and the police would have little to do. In such case, the comparison of warlike implements with intoxicating drugs might, so far, be justifiable. Only, in that case, I should draw from the facts a lesson that, it seems, you would somehow avoid deducing ;-namely, that the sooner the traffic in guns and gunpowder were abated to the utmost possible extent, and subjected to the utmost available rigour of the law, the better would it be for all the purposes of that holy Charity of which we New Churchmen so largely speak, and on which we are so strenuously and justly insisting

I could add much, if I could hope you would encourage me, on your doctrine that “it is not so much deficiency of knowledge as lack of principle that causes drunkenness ;"-a doctrine which overlooks the fact that however deeply sinful drunkenness may be in some cases, in many others it is no otherwise à result of inward depravity, than is a consumptive chest or a weak spine. Indeed a man may become a hopeless drunkard with no more guilty intention than if he fell down a precipice or were dying of dyspepsia. It is a certain physiological truth that drunkenness is frequently nothing else than a bodily disease, and must be treated on that principle. I will only add, in conclusion, the statement of my earnest conviction, that we can no more afford to wait for the "true remedy for intemperance” you affirm religion to be, than, abolishing all laws, we can afford to wait for that same true remedy for theft and murder ;-can no more afford to commit the cure of drunkenness to the slow action of religion, than we can the cure of scarlet fever or the small-pox. The diseases of individuals it is true, like all other external evils, have an occult connexion with the sins of mankind at large; but I apprehend that the fact of that causative connexion does not reduce to ridicule the existence of the medical profession. You do not accuse your doctor of diverting, with his external drugs, the attention of his patient from the true remedy for diseases, nor is it more just to accuse us of doing injury to the cause of Temperance by insisting on the value of abstinence and righteous laws. You think it no damage to the cause of honesty that our legislature should forbid the use of fraudulent trade marks, however certain it may be that religion is the true remedy. Why then should you advance against us the very same irrelevant argument, when you find us proposing to bring law

to the help of the well-being and virtue of the community?-I remain, sir, yours respectfully,

H. [Since the critique on “Sir Jasper" appeared, we have had the opportunity of reading a document bearing on the subject, which should have the effect of modifying the views expressed by both writers.

Among the “Documents" collected by Dr. Tafel in Sweden, and now in the press, there is a memorial on the “liquor traffic,” which was presented by Swedenborg to the Swedish Diet in 1755. In that memorial he expresses his fears that drunkenness will be the ruin of his country. He wishes that the distillation of whisky were prohibited; but if the consent of the people cannot be obtained to that, he proposes that the manufacture of it should be licensed, by which it would be placed under restrictions, and might be made to yield a considerable revenue to the State. And we understand his recommendation was not without effect. He had at this time finished the Arcana, in which he so luminously explains the laws of permission; and we cannot suppose he would recommend a measure which was inconsistent with them. But while he speaks of whisky as “a pernicious drink,” it is well known he did not so stigmatize all other “intoxicating liquors." Although it is understood he did not drink anything stronger than coffee at home, in company he so far conformed to "the drinking usages of society" as to take a glass of wine, though he seldom took more than one. Without claiming infallibility for one who counselled and acted on this wise, we may venture to say that those who follow in his wake may claim to be favourable to the cause of temperance.

Notwithstanding all the efforts of temperance societies, thirty million gallons of ardent spirits were consumed in these islands in the year of grace 1873! If not something else, certainly something besides, what this movement has effected, needs to be attempted. A speech which Sir Henry Thompson delivered at the annual soiree of the Students Total Abstinence Union, held at the New College, St. John's Wood, on the 13th of March, contains so much good sense, that we give it here as a useful contribution to a knowledge of the proper treatment of this national disease :

"Sir Henry, after observing that it was of the utmost importance on physiological grounds that people should abstain from the immoderate use of alcoholic drinks, proceeded to remark that it was specially important that all having to do with the welfare of the working-man should wean him from that appetite for drink which is his curse, and which renders him a trouble to all around, and to ask whose fault was it that this was the case. It is because,' he said, “you and I and our fathers and forefathers have failed to educate this class that we see them what they are. Sir Henry remarked, 'All men of action, whether educated or not, require a foil of some kind to their hours of blank toil; they need a totally different condition of the nervous system which shall be a relaxation from that which exists during the strain of prolonged labour. In approaching this class we must recollect that their sources of relaxation are very few.. They have only now and then a chance of meeting a light and brilliant ray across their path to chequer agreeably the hard lot of monotonous toil. Most of us have several sources of pleasure--they are shut up to sensual enjoyment, because by want of education they have no power of appreciating better things. It is useless for you to say, give up your liquor, if you have nothing better to put in its place. You and I can do it. We have painting and music; our resonrces are manifold : the art of fiction, the studies of history, philosophy, literature, the appreciation of natural beauty, and studies of travel. We have games of skill and a thousand things not possible to the uneducated. These are the bright beams which diversify our labour and fit us for it. The working man has none of them. Do you wonder then that he seeks that elevation of spirit, that buoyancy of heart which he can buy for so many pence, but which, as the habit grows, certainly results in injury to the body, and in debasement to his mental and moral nature! You may give these men your tracts in which you show that the habit is bad for this world and worse for another. but all this is powerless, and will be s9 with the majority. You must provide for them other recreation; you must create and cultivate the taste by which they will appreciate other forms of recreation before you will do thern any widespread good. You must mix with these men, not in your obviously professional character, which they more or less discredit or suspect, but you must personally devise and superintend plans for making them comfortable, such as clubs and recreation rooms, eating-houses like those in Glasgow, with amusing resources in

roach them on their only day of rest games and free libraries of course. You must approach them


« FöregåendeFortsätt »