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or of famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in nature, but of such things as correspond to them in the spiritual world. *
But as for the state of the Church, this it is which will be dissimilar hereafter; it will be similar, indeed, in the outward form, but dissimilar in the inward.
appearance divided churches will
heretofore, their doctrines will be taught as heretofore; and the same religions as now will exist among the Gentiles. But henceforth the man of the Church will be in a more free state of thinking on matters of faith, that is, on spiritual things which relate to heaven, because spiritual liberty has been restored to him. For all things in the heavens and in the hells are now reduced into order, and all thinking which entertains or opposes Divine things inflows from thence, from the heavens, all which is in harmony with Divine things, and from the hells, all which is opposed to them. But man does not observe this change of state in himself, because he does not reflect upon it, and because he knows nothing of spiritual liberty, or of influx ; nevertheless it it is perceived in heaven, and also by man himself, when he dies. Since spiritual liberty has been restored to man, the spiritual sense of the Word is now unveiled, and interior Divine Truthis are revealed by means of it; for man in his former state would not have understood them, and he who would have understood them would have profaned them.
“I have had various converse with the angels, concerning the state of the Church hereafter. They said, that things to come they know not, for that the knowledge of things to come belongs to the Lord alone; but that they do know, that the slavery and captivity in which the man of the Church was formerly, is removed, and that now, from restored liberty, he can better perceive interior truths, if he wills to perceive them, and thus be made more internal if he wills it ; but that still they have slender hope of the men of the Christian Church, but much of some people from the Christian region, transplanted [sown or colonized], and from disturbers thence removed; which is such that it can receive spiritual light, and become a celestial-spiritual man; and they said, that at this day are revealed among that people interior Divine Truths, and also are received in spiritual faith, that is, in life and in heart, and that they worshipped the Lord." *
* Ast multam de aliqua Gente ab orbe Christiano dissita et ab infestatoribus inde remota, quæ talis est, ut lucem spiritualem possit recipere, ac cælestis spiritualis homo ficri; et dix. erunt, quod hodie, revelentur apud illam Gentem Divina Vera interiora, et quoque recipfantur spirituali fide, hoc est, vita et corde, et quod Dominum adorent.
In these revelations, I think I see indications of an entire new line of departure, both in Church and in State. We have the Word and divided churches as heretofore; but we have what neither the Old Church, nor even the apostles had, until the commencement of the New Church — spiritual liberty restored to man, and interior Divine Truths revealed by means of the spiritual sense of the Word.
We learn from Swedenborg, that for seventeen hundred years the apostles continued to believe that they should, at some future time, “sit upon thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Israel.” They had Do more understood the interior, real, or spiritual sense of these words, than had the first Christian Church on the earth. The Lord said unto His disciples, when he was in person upon this earth, “ 1 have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now." - John xvi. 12. The Church was then in a state of childhood ; and, until the Last Judgment had taken place, they were not, probably, in full spiritual freedom. Their Old Church “ successors this earth, as they style themselves, have still the same conceit. The Pope, in his Ecumenical Council, declares that he, as the Supreme Pontiff, knows he is infallible, while the Episcopal Bishop of Illinois, in passing sentence upon Mr. Cheney, declares, in substance, his power to cut off from the Church of God, and banish from heaven, a priest of his church who will not pronounce words which, in the latter's judgment, declare an untruth.
Joseph was the husband of Mary; and in the genealogy, in Matthew, the descent of the Lord is traced through him. Mary was the means by which He was ushered into the world, and made manifest to men. May not the relation of Joseph to the Lord typify and instruct us upon the relation of the Old Church, with its pomps, ceremonies, ecclesiastical authority, and priesthood, to the New Church? and may not the relation of Mary to the Lord also typify and instruct us upon the true position or relation of Swedenborg to the New Church? In the infancy of the Lord, Joseph was regarded as His father, and Mary as His mother, but when His infancy had passed, at the expiration of a generation of human time, when He began to be about thirty years of age, and had increased in favor with God and man, Joseph and Mary began to disappear and fade away. May it not be that the Old Church has occupied a sort of Joseph relation to the New Church during its infancy, and Swedenborg that of Mary? And as the New Heaven descends into the Church, may we not see that we have no more occasion to inquire into the history or practices of the Old Church for guidance, than the Lord had for the services of Joseph, after he became of age according to the Jewish reckoning? And that all idea of blind or arbitrary authority in connection with Swedenborg, however useful in the early infancy of our reception of the revelations made to the New Church, will fade away, and we shall come to regard and value his writings chiefly as mediums of arriving at a true knowledge of the Lord in His LIVING WORD?
These remarks are not made from any want of appreciation of the absolute necessity of Swedenborg and his writings to the Church. For in the language (slightly modified] of one of the oldest and most esteemed writers in the Church, in this country, “ The office of Swedenborg was not only of the highest character, - perhaps the highest to which any one man has ever been called in this world, but an office peculiar to himself. He was made the instrument by means of which the second advent of the Lord, and the Last Judgment which followed His coming, and the establishment of the New Church, were effected [as Mary was of the first advent of the Lord]. Some seem to imagine, that there was nothing in relation to Swedenborg which may not occur with others, and that he was in no sense a finality; and we already begin to see ignorant and conceited men, who seem ready to carry their vain and groundless pretensions just as far as they can, find those who are weak enough to follow them. It is true that the exhaustless treasures of the Sacred Scripture are now opened; and it is to be hoped and expected that there will be a constant progression in the Church in the reception of more and more of its contents; but there can no more be another Swedenborg than there can be another [Mary and another] second advent of the Lord, and Last Judgment. His office may, perhaps, be properly regarded as miraculous. It stands alone in all the dealings of the Lord with men. An exigency had arisen in the condition of the spiritual and natural worlds, which made it necessary for the salvation of mankind that a man should be called to perform a work distinct from any other, either before or after that period. We learn that there had been two General Judgments prior to that which took place in the year 1757,- the one represented by the Flood, and the other when the Lord was on the earth. But never before, since the creation, was it permitted to any man, as it was to Swedenborg, to stand consciously in BOTH WORLDS, the spiritual and the natural, and to be an eye-witness of the wonderful and awful scenes which then occurred, and not only to describe what was seen, but to explain, in the most rational and consistent manner, the hidden causes of those events. As the New Jerusalem is to be the last and crowning Church, and there can be no other General Judgment, among the myriads of men who have lived and died on this earth, and who will continue to live and die, SWEDENBORG STANDS, AND MUST ALWAYS CONTINUE TO STAND, DISTINCTLY ALONE."
[Swedenborg and his Mission, by Sampson Reed. Appendix to Hobart's Life of Swedenborg, pp. 206, 207.]
These remarks are not made as merely theoretical, but because they may have practical value in our deliberations. The Old Church is passed. Its boast is that it is historical. On its altars, or in its bosom, it has an image of the dead Christ. It expects to be saved by the literal blood of the Lord, poured out eighteen hundred years ago upon Mount Calvary.
The New Church, on the contrary, does not claim to be historical. In establishing it the Lord has declared, "Behold, I make all things new," and in His Living Word which occupies the sacred repository in our temples, both in heaven and on earth, we read, in golden letters, “WHY SEEK YE THE LIVING AMONG THE DEAD? HE IS NOT HERE, HE IS RISEN."
With us the inquiry should not be as to what the apostles taught, or did, but what does the Word - the living, written Word of God teach ? Not what are the mere verbal statements of Swedenborg, but what is the teaching of the Lord in His Word, as revealed through the rational understanding of Swedenborg, to our rational understanding? We need to ever bear in mind that the mere letter killeth, while the spirit giveth life. “ Hæret in litera, hæret in cortice.” “ To stick in the letter, is to sticle in the bark.”
Swedenborg warns us to beware of councils, but to go to the Lord in His Word.
If these suggestions are true, then all thoughts of the organization of the New Church upon the model of the Apostolic Church, or conceits of the authority of the priesthood or ministry, founded on mere historical statements of what took place in the first Christian Church, are out of place. We must go to the Lord in His Word, and not seek to find Him where He is not to be found.
REPORTS OF OFFICERS AND COMMITTEES.
No. 1. - REPORT OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE.
The Executive Committee of the General Convention of the New Jerusalem in the United States of America makes the following report of the proceedings of the Committee since the last meeting of the Convention:
The Committee has held six meetings, two in Philadelphia on twenty-first and twenty-second of June, and two in New York on twenty-seventh and twenty-eighth of September, and two in Chicago on seventh and eiglıth of June instant.
At the first meeting, which took place immediately after the adjournment of Convention, the subject of the meeting of Convention this year, and the revision of the rules respecting the meetings, together with the resolution No. 171 last Convention Journal, was referred to the President, with power to act, and in accordance with that resolution, and the invitation of the Chicago Society, the President appointed Chicago and the ninth of June, 1871, as the place and time of meeting.
The President took no action in reference to the other matters referred to him under the resolution, but the Committee recommend that Standing Resolution No. 12, Journal of 1869 (No. 11, 1870), be rescinded, and also that Rule 9 be amended, so as to read : “A Committee of three persons shall be appointed, annually, to prepare, on behalf of the Convention, for the next meeting thereof, and it shall be the duty of such Committee, under the direction of the President, to cause to be prepared and printed a programme for the Convention.” The Rev. Mr. Hibbard, and Messrs. Scammon and Northup, have been appointed a Committee on the Programme under Resolution No. 171.
At the second session of the Committee the following action was taken: The old members of the Board of Publications were re-elected, excepting that George W. Colton, of Orange, New Jersey, was elected in the place of Robert L. Smith, deceased. The same Sub-Committees were also elected, excepting that George W. Colton was substituted in place of Robert L. Smith on the Sub-Committee for New York, and Benjamin F. Glenn was placed on the Sub-Committee for Philadelphia, in the place of the Rev. Thomas P. Rodman, deceased. . The Committce on German Publications was discontinued. The Committee on the Rice Legacy was reappointed. It was determined, at this meeting, that the general management and editorship of the periodicals should remain as before.
All matters relating to the missionary work, including the method of raising funds for its support, and the disposition of funds already in hand, and the interest on the Wilkins Legacy, and the collection taken up on the nineteenth of June, 1870, were referred to the Rev. J. R. Hibbard, Superintendent of Missions. The following appropriations were made: To the Publication House in New York, $2,000; to the Rev. Mr. Brickman's German Paper, $300; to the “Little Messenger,” $300; and it was voted, on the