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sincerely hope he may reap the fruit of his labour, which we know to be the gratification of making known the gentle wisdom of his revered pastor, and assisting the widow and the orphan.
OBSERVATIONS ON MR. GLADSTONE'S PAMPHLETS, AND THEIR BEARINGS ON QUESTIONS CONNECTED WITH EDUCATION, ETC. By C. M. MIDDLETON. London: Burns & Oates. 1875.
THIS temperate and well-written pamphlet, by a Roman Catholic layman, we notice chiefly for the purpose of mentioning his statement of the claims of his church, which, if admitted, place its dicta beyond all dispute, and make controversy with it useless. "That there is but one true church, and that that church can never fall into error, and that the Roman Catholic is that one true church, is the constant belief of every Roman Catholic. Assuming this principle of unity for argument's sake, the doctrine of the Infallibility of the Head of the Church follows as a matter of course; because there must be some available authority to decide on all disputed points. No Catholic maintains for a moment that a Pope cannot be guilty of crimes of every description. One Pope might commit murder, and it is perhaps not impossible that another might entertain heretical opinions; but that they should teach or promulgate erroneous doctrine, Roman Catholics hold to be absolutely impossible. So long as the Roman Catholic Church maintains as her leading principle, as the very essence of her teaching, that special immunity for error which she believes she has received from Christ Himself, she never can, and never could, have been a party to any scheme of union or re-union, except on condition of absolute submission to her teaching, either from nations or from individuals." How monstrous is the doctrine here set forth! Popes individually may be guilty of the worst of crimes, and entertain the most heretical opinions, but when speaking ex cathedra, they can deliver nothing but the purest truth! How true is all this to the description, "I sit as a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow!" Nothing, therefore, will satisfy her but absolute control over all educational establishments, whether colleges or schools.
Among the clergy there is a knowledge that the object contemplated by the Legislature constitutes a real danger to the faith of their people, that the very idea of mixed education is hostile to all religious instruction, and that therefore their duty, no less than their inclination, obliges them to do all in their power to defeat the intentions of the Act of Parliament, and at the same time to adapt the existing system, as far as possible, to their own views, which are ever in accordance with the wishes of the Roman Catholic population." This applies to university education. But this is "so very much inferior in gravity to that of intermediate and elementary education, that it is not necessary to allude to it further. The position of the Roman Catholic clergy on this question of education is peculiarly unfortunate. They are bound by every principle of religion to strive to secure for the people a system opposed to that promoted by the Government; and their efforts have hitherto been so far successful, that they have practically carried their point to a great extent, and have done so with the tacit consent or connivance of the Government." We have no wish to see our Roman Catholic fellow subjects deprived in the least degree of religious freedom, but we think it is the duty of the State to see that the people are educated. In the divided and to some extent hostile state of religious opinion, it is impossible for the State to enforce instruction in any one system of religious belief. Yet there is so much common ground on which all schools of theology and religious sects can meet, and
there are so many all-important truths and beautiful lessons that can be learnt from the Bible, without teaching the dogmas of any particular creed, that it shows a great and general deficiency of the true spirit and purpose of religion, that the churches cannot agree to have the Bible read and even studied in schools. Its history, geography, biography, natural history, and antiquities form an interesting and useful course of instruction, and one on which there can be no ground for sectarian jealousy or fear. The life and teaching of our Lord, as given in the Gospels, including His miracles, His parables, and His sermon on the mount, contain lessons of goodness and wisdom, which may be taught not only without introducing grounds of division, but with no other tendency than to promote love to God and to each other, which are the two great commandments that form the sum of all religion both of the law and the Gospel. Although the New Church differs from the other churches more than they differ from each other, we venture to say that no New Church parent would object to send his children to a Government school where such Bible lessons were given, but would greatly prefer it to the Bible not being read at all. Until all the churches can agree to have the Bible thus taught in public schools, there is not much hope of Christian union.
THE SPIRITUAL BODY. An Essay in Prose and Verse. By JOHN CHARLES EARLE, B.A. London: Kolckmann. 1876.
Ir is a hopeful sign of the times that two works, one by a Protestant clergyman and one by a Catholic layınan, should have appeared almost together, teaching, in no doubtful language or hesitating manner, the doctrine of the spiritual body and its immediate resurrection, as opposed to the doctrine of the material body as the soul's eternal habitation after its resurrection at the last day. Nor is it a less hopeful sign of the growth of the seed already sown in the earth, and of the increasing power of the inflowing light shed from heaven, that these works have been favourably noticed by the press. Mr. Earle, holding, seemingly without being aware of it, substantially the views of the New Church on this subject, bases it on Scripture, and supports it by reason and science in much the same way as New Churchmen generally do. His work consists of an essay under the name of a preface, and in a series of short poems, chiefly on passages or incidents of Scripture relating to the subject of the spiritual body and the resurrection. After reasoning in favour of the spiritual body the author says, "The doctrine of the spiritual body, however, is nothing new. It was taught and believed long ago in Sweden and Germany, and has latterly been received in many countries of Europe and in the United States. It is held by many clergymen and private individuals, scattered in various Christian communities; several Catholic priests among my own friends have avowed to me their belief in it; and it is sometimes faintly alluded to in books professedly orthodox; but it is here, so far as I know, for the first time rescued from extraneous surroundings and set in the framework of ancient dogma." We can hardly suppose that Swedenborg is credited with having taught this doctrine long ago in Sweden, or the author would not have claimed to be the first, so far as he knows, who had rescued it from extraneous surroundings and set it in the framework of ancient dogma. We do not dispute the claim of origination to any honest writer, and we withhold no recognition of merit for discovery by independent investigation. We rejoice when the truth is discovered, as we know it can be discovered, by a sincere and cultivated study of the Scriptures. The enlightened views that are now appearing are to us no derogation of Swedenborg's claims, but a double conformation of the truth of the doctrines he taught. They confirm the truths he taught, by showing how deducible they are from the Word of God,
and how illustrative their independent discovery is of the altered condition which he declared to have been produced by the last judgment and the second coming of the Lord. The light now shining into the human mind, with the knowledge of the truth now being gradually diffused, will make these cases more frequent and less wondered at. The author says, "When the idea of a spiritual body was first suggested to me, it broke on my mind like a flash of heavenly light, and now that I have brooded over it for years, it seems to me the true and only solution of many scriptural, theological, and scientific difficulties." The author has not only given his reasons for believing in the existence of the spiritual body, but, perhaps by brooding over it, given us his view of how the spiritual body is formed. The growth of the spiritual body within us, and the materials of which it is wrought, are among the deepest mysteries of our being. There can be little doubt of its being elaborated by the joint action of the mind and body, and that its seat is that nerve fluid, or ether, which envelopes the nerves, and by whose help the motion of their molecules communicates sensations, and transmits the mandates of the will. This nerve ether has been regarded as the vital force. It extends beyond the surface of the body, and encompasses each one of us with an envelope of nerve atmosphere, varying in depth and intensity in different individuals." Swedenborg tells us that when at death we lay down our material body, we rise into the spiritual world in a spiritual body, whose cutaneous covering is taken from the purest parts of nature, these forming the ultimate, the boundary, and the basis of the spiritual. This, too, is the reason that man must exist in the natural world in order that he may exist in the spiritual.
Mr. Earle has enlightened views respecting other points besides the spiritual body, but intimately connected with it, and indeed resulting from it, of which we quote an instance :—
"The spiritual body being a perfect resemblance and reproduction, under altered conditions, of the natural body, it might be expected that it should retain the material impressions in which memory is supposed to consist. Successive acts of consciousness leave indelible traces within us. Every thought that rises in our minds is accomplished by some molecular motions and displacements in the brain, and parts of these are in some manner stored up in the brain-cells so as to produce what may be called our physical memory. Other parts of these subtle motions are communicated, we may believe, to the spiritual or unseen body, and are stored up there, forming a memory which may be utilised when that body is set free by death and better able to exercise its functions. It will thus retain its hold on the past, and serve the grand purpose of maintaining a continuous intelligent existence.1 It is memory above all things which constitutes our identity with our former selves when we have passed from youth to age-for not one of the material fibres which we then had any longer exists within usand it is memory, in like manner, which will in great part form the identity between the individual in his after life and the individual during his probation on earth. Thus the doctrine of the spirit-body is closely connected with the ethics of mankind. We are writing daily our thoughts and deeds on imperishable tablets. We shall be witnesses hereafter for or against ourselves. Out of our own mouths shall we be judged. We shall carry with us through the gates of death our condemnation or acquittal. When the petals of the mind close in sleep evening after evening, the leaves are inscribed with the events of the day; and there is in man a fearfully vivid power of reviving past impressions and memories which we imagined were dead for ever. Memory, like Will, must have an organ, or it is a cipher. We shall carry with us into eternity the elements of our own bliss or woe. Heaven, hell, and purgatory spring out of the nature of things. They are indeed present as well as future. They begin in time. We are all even now in one or the other of these states. In the spiritual body the condition of the soul will only become more defined, more intense."
1 The Unseen Universe; or, Physical Speculations on a Future State, p. 159.
THE Sixty-ninth Session of the General Conference commenced its sittings at Accrington on Monday, August 7th, at 6 o'clock. The only business transacted on Monday was the verification of the Representatives' Certificates, and the signing of the Conference Roll by the Ministers and Representatives present. Eighteen Ministers and sixty-five Representatives attended; the Conference representing forty-two out of the sixtythree Societies in its connection.
On Tuesday morning the Rev. J. Presland was unanimously elected President; Rev. E. Whitehead, Secretary; and Dr. Bayley, Vice-President. The Reports of the various Officers and of the Committees appointed at the last Session were then read.
Rev. W. Bruce was appointed to prepare the next Annual Address to the members of the Church in Great Britain, and Rev. P. Ramage to preach before the next Conference.
Rev. R. R. Rodgers proposed that the Conference should meet next year in Birmingham, in a hearty speech, which elicited loud applause from the members present: the invitation was unanimously accepted. The Rev. R. Storry was nominated for the Presidency next year.
The usual ordinary Committees were then appointed, after which, notices of motions were handed in; and to afford the Committees the opportunity of meeting and deliberating on the subjects committed to them, the Conference ad-, journed until the following morning.
On Wednesday morning the Conference proceeded to consider the Reports of the various Committees appointed at the previous Session.
On the Report of the Building Fund, Dr. Pilkington drew attention to the fact that only eleven out of the sixtyfour Societies had contributed to the fund, and urgently impressed upon the Members of Conference the propriety of using greater exertions to give the fund a wider sphere of use. At the suggestion of Mr. Braby, it was agreed to recommend all the Societies to hold an Annual Collection on behalf of this fund.
The consideration of the Reports of the Committees of the Students' and Ministers' Aid Fund gave rise to a prolonged and interesting conversation. Dr. Pilkington having incidentally stated that he had met with various members of the Church who were of opinion that the funds for augmenting the ministers' stipends should be distinct from those for the maintenance of students, the Rev. W. C. Barlow asked the Treasurer of Conference to explain the various uses of the present fund, and its claims upon the liberality of the Church. Mr. Gunton preferred to take a subsequent opportunity of speaking on the subject. The Rev. Dr. Bayley, however, thought it desirable that the attention of Conference should be seriously drawn to at least one branch of the subject, viz., that relating to the augmentation of ministers' salaries. Alluding to the fact of the recent publication of a list of candidates for a vacant pulpit, he said he had asked himself, Would the addition of £50 to their salaries have made them more comfortable at home? After a practical reference to the decreased value of money, he proceeded to vividly describe the anxieties that unsettle the minds of ministers whose straitened means render it almost impossible for them to keep out of debt. He believed that if the members of the Church would make a hearty trial of doing more for the ministers, the cause of the Church would be largely benefited, and suggested that an effort should be made to fix the minimum salary at £150.
Mr. Briercliffe (Kersley) cordially supported the suggestion of the Vice-President. Twenty years since the ministers had schools, which they cannot have at present; and it was only fair, when the members of our various Societies required their ministers to devote themselves entirely to the work of the ministry, to support them in a state of comfort.
Mr. Braby, as a member of the Committee of the Students' and Ministers' Aid Fund, had felt it a pleasant duty to make additions to the salaries of ministers settled in small Societies. But this
pleasure had been followed with painful feelings when the following year these grants had to be diminished or withdrawn from want of funds.
Rev. J. P. Potts (Glasgow) was in favour of the establishment of a Ministers' Aid Fund, and regretted that the New Church was so far behind other religious bodies in this matter. Drawing attention to the Sustentation Fund of the Free Church of Scotland, he expressed his opinion that the New Church could adopt a similar system. It was neither the lack of means nor the absence of inclination that stood in the way. The great want of the New Church was improved organization, by means of which our various Societies might be more firmly cemented together, their energies more perfectly united, and their progress hastened.
Mr. Isherwood (Heywood) had long felt that the present was not a right state of things. He suggested the desirableness of grouping small neighbouring Societies, and supporting ministers from a common fund.
Rev. W. O'Mant (Leeds) thought that the funds of the New Church College ought to be applied to the maintenance of students, they being quite adequate to that purpose. From his short experience in missionary labours, he had felt the need of an organization to follow up and sustain the efforts of newlyformed Societies, and cordially approved the ideas put forth by Mr. Isherwood.
Mr. F. Pitman (London) believed that while the division of the fund in question would add to its efficiency, it was not desirable that Societies should be led to rely too much on Conference. The institution of the weekly offertory, whose success in our Metropolitan Churches was very great, would do much to relieve Societies from financial pressure. Mr. E. J. Broadfield corroborated the sentiments of the preceding speaker. Our Societies must be taught to organ. ize and help themselves. Nevertheless the Vice-President had made out a good cause, and suggested an immediate collection in aid of the object so evidently desirable.
Rev. J. J. Thornton quoted the steps taken by the English Presbyterians to secure to their ministers a minimum salary of £205; and urged that something of the kind was absolutely needed
to encourage suitable young men to enter the New Church ministry.
Mr. H. Cameron (Blackburn) held that the time was not far distant when more attention must be paid to the matter of organization. He lamented the isolation of many of our Societies, and contended that a superior organization in Conference would result in the encouragement of Societies to help themselves more. The plan that he thought most likely to succeed was a combination of the principles of Wesleyan and Presbyterian Church Government.
The Treasurer of Conference, as in duty bound, drew attention to the fact that the various schemes propounded must eventually find their way to the pockets of the members of the Church. He called attention to the fact that the list of contributions to the present fund had been doubled in the past year.
Rev. R. R. Rodgers, being anxious that the discussion should not be fruitless, moved that the Committee of the Students' and Ministers' Aid Fund be requested to consider the best method of augmenting the salaries of ministers to a minimum of £150 a-year. Mr. H. Cameron seconded.
Mr. Craigie (Liverpool) proposed as an amendment, “That a Committee be appointed to consider the best mode of fostering Societies whose numbers are small, and whose pecuniary resources are insufficient properly to support ministers, or to maintain efficiently the operations of the Church, to report to this Conference." Mr W. Robinson (Kensington) seconded. The amendment was adopted, and a Committee constituted.
On the motion of Mr. Isherwood, it was resolved to open a separate account for a Ministers' Fund.
The next matter of interest was the Report of a Committee appointed to consider the best means of regulating the religious instruction in our Day Schools. In moving the resolutions appended to the Report, Mr. E. J. Broadfield reminded the Conference that the education question had always been a difficulty to the Conference, which had frequently been called upon to alter its arrangements. The difficulty of giving religious instruction in Day Schools was felt by other bodies, not excepting the Church of England. By allowing the managers of schools to give religious