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196

Miscellaneous.

REVISION OF THE SCRIPTURES.

the resolution which I propose is utterly

inconsistent with that which your LordThis great work has passed through ships adopted yesterday. It is to my a scene of contention in the two Houses

own mind perfectly clear that the two of Convocation, which has placed its resolutions proceed on directly opposite accomplishment in considerable jeo principles. The principle of the resolupardy. The election of the Rev. Vance tion of yesterday was that the true Smith, an eminent Unitarian minister, bond of union amongst persons engaged has created great dissatisfaction in many in such an undertaking was a perfect quarters in the Established Church, and agreement in religious doctrines. I his reception of the sacrament of the wish it to be clearly understood that I Holy Supper with the other members mean my resolution to be the expresof the Committee of Revision in West- sion of å totally different principle,minster Abbey, has been regarded as a that I mean to deny that which is in. “scandal,” and commonly spoken of volved and expressed in the resolution as “the Westminster scandal." The

passed yesterday. While I fully admit question of this appointment was that agreement in doctrine is for many brought before the Upper House of Con- purposes, and those the highest of all, vocation by the Bishop of Winchester, the most important bond of union, I who moved a resolution declaring that say that for the special purpose of the “it is not expedient that any person revision of the translation of the Scripwho denies the Godhead of our Lord tures, it is not the true bond of union ; Jesus Christ should be invited to assist but that the true bond of union is a in the revision of the Scriptures, and common purpose amongst those who that ... any such one now in either are engaged in the work of setting to it company should cease to act therewith.” with a single eye to the accuracy and This resolution, after lengthened debates, adequacy of the translation.” was adopted, by a majority of ten against Both the resolutions thus adopted four. Its adoption led however to un- were transmitted to the Lower House of expected complications. The Bishop Convocation. The former rescinding of St. David's, in a speech of remarkable the appointment of Mr. Vance Smith, calmness and power, explained to their led to long and animated debates. The Lordships that their resolution con- opposition to the resolution was led by strained him to resign his place on the the Dean of Westminster, who mainrevision Committee ; and he concluded tained with great firmness the position by moving the following resolution, which had been taken by the Comwhich was unanimously adopted,-- mittee, and resisted with intense energy “ That, notwithstanding the restriction the effort to narrow the application of introduced into the fifth resolution, this the fifth resolution adopted on the House does not intend to give the appointment of the Committee, which slightest sanction or countenance to declared that the Committee “shall be the opinion that the members of the at liberty to invite the co-operation of revision companies ought to be guided any eminent for scholarship, to whatby any other principle than the desire ever nation or religious body they may to bring the translation as near as they belong.” In the course of his address can to the sense of the original texts ; he closely criticized the terms of the but, on the contrary, regard it as their Bishop of Winchester's resolution, and duty to keep themselves as much as contended that “by taking this one possible on their guard against any bias particular subject, and saying it was of preconceived opinions or theological necessary to exclude all who did not tenets in the work of revision.” This believe in the Godhead of our Lord, resolution raised a distinct issue which and not to make any assertion as to the the mover was careful to point out. “I Godhead of the other two Persons in the do not affect,” he said, “to disguise from Trinity, was of itself a heresy of the myself, nor do I wish to conceal from

grossest kind.

Under this resolution your Lordships, that in my judgment there was only one sect in England en

titled to sit on the Committee, and that mittee of revision singular judgment, the Swedenborgians, who believed the sagacity, and modesty." whole of the Godhead is concentrated

RITUALISM. in the person of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." The debates in the The Judicial Committee, the final Lower House ended in the adoption of court of appeal for the Established a resolution,—“That their Lordships Church, is at present dealing hard of the Upper House be respectfully re- measure to the extreme parties in the quested to allow the Lower House to Establishment. In our last number we postpone giving its opinion on the re- noticed the judgment in the case of Mr. solution of the Upper House until the Voysey, which affects the members of Committee appointed in May 1870, to the Broad Church. The judgment report to Convocation on a scheme of recently given in the case of Mr. Purrevision shall have made its report.' chas condemns the practice of the As “a scheme of revision” has been Ritualists, and painfully affects the ruled to mean the revision itself, this members of the High Church. By this resolution disposes of the objection to judgment "the chasuble, alb, and the appointment, and the work, we are tunicle' are declared to be illegal ; but told, is again in progress with Mr. the cope “is to be worn in ministering Vance Smith as one of the New Testa- the Holy Communion on high feast ment company.

The discussion has days in cathedrals and collegiate given prominence, however, to features churches.' In ‘all other ministrations,' of theological opinion and conditions of the only legal vestment is the surplice. theological bitterness, which make But the peculiar sort of cap called a painfully manifest the vast remains of biretta, cannot, it seems, be confidently the old leaven of the consummated pronounced to be unlawful when carried Church. The tritheism of doctrine in the hand.” The judgment enters which occupies the minds of the public into other particulars, as the mixing of teachers of the Church is expressed with water with the sacramental wine, wafer a nakedness we should scarcely have bread, the place of the celebrant at the expected. It is heresy to question any communion table, in all which the statement of the Nicene Creed, or to practices of Mr. Purchas is condemned refuse to admit the separate Godhead as having departed both in the spirit of the Father, the Son, and the Holy and the letter from the rubrics. Ghost. These several Godheads are This judgment curtails the liberty of spoken of with an ease and frequency the ministers of the Church both in the which show a total unconsciousness of use of vestments and the manner of the great scriptural teaching of the ab- administering the sacrament of the solute and personal oneness of God. It Holy Supper. In the case of vestments is not the Bible, it is the Creeds of the it seems to condemn the black gown of Church that fashions the thoughts and the Evangelical as well as the gorgeous inspires the words of her teachers. apparel of the Ritualist. But in the Thus both the priest and the prophet case of the latter a doctrinal significance "err in vision, they stumble in judg. is attached to these vestments and cerement." And the natural result of this monies, and with them, therefore, it deplorable perversion of doctrine is seen will be harder to submit. Notes of in the contempt and bitterness mani. rebellion have been sounded, anál fested towards those who differ from ministers who do not belong to the them. The members of the New Church extreme party express themselves as have little doctrinal agreement with deeply aggrieved. The Evangelical or Unitarianism, but they have no sym- Low Church party is jubilant, but the pathy with the narrowness which seeks judgment seems not unlikely to accel. to exclude from this important work erate tendencies and to hasten events, any who are fitted by sound scholarship against which they have thus far been to aid in its accomplishment, and still the most earnest to contend. Some of less with the expression of unchristian these are intimated by Canon Liddon and uncharitable feelings towards a in a letter to the Guardian, of which man of whom his opponents are con- the following are the concluding senprevious period in the history of the libly directed by the Holy Spirit, and Christian Church, and here we Chris- conscious or assured of their being so, tians are waging a war of mutual

we have evidence that tences :-"Infidelity menaces us with he showed in the progress of that Com- intellectual forces greater than at any

strained to say,

must feel themselves under the pressure extermination about questions of cere- of a strong restraint, obliged to pick monial. Far less important than this their steps, if I may so say, with extreme consideration is the bearing of_these nicety and delicacy ; to be very scrupstruggles on the security of the Estab. ulous and fastidious in telling what lishnient. But if the High Church they have to tell. I apprehend that party is desired to take its choice

we might expect the very opposite between submission to a tribunal which effect to be produced on their modes of proscribes its historical traditions, and thought and expression.

I a separation from the English Episcopate, can well believe that a man writing which it shrinks from as from schism under the assurance of a Divine guid(and therefore as sin in the sight of ance might take liberties in dealing God), the result is not difficult to foresee. with certain subjects, which, if left to Churchmen will, to a very great extent himself, he would by no means have indeed, find relief from the dilemma in considered it warrantable to take.' a third conrse, viz. co-operation with Now, these words were written by the the political forces which, year by year, Rev. Dr. Candlish, who said in the more and more steadily are working preface to his book—'Every word of towards disestablishment. This is not the Bible is what it is and where it is a menace; it is the statement of a by the Divine will of the Holy Spirit. simple fact. It will, I trust, suggest to The Holy Spirit is responsible for its many others than those who are directly being what it is and where it is.' Had interested in the particulars of this he (Mr. Robertson) wished to caricature judgment, that if the historical basis of

the infallibility of Scripture he could the Church of England is to be narrowed not have used more offensive or subverdown to the proportions of a Puritanical sive language than Dr. Candlish did in sect, or something very like it, it will

the passages quoted. And yet in the not by any means be certain that the

presence of the dogma of the supreme expulsion of the representatives of authority of the Bible over reason he Andrewes and Keble from the ranks of

(Dr. Candlish) could not help him. the Church's ministry will be the only self. His intelligence as a man saw the consequence of the proceeding.”

human errors and mistakes in the book, but his prejudices as a theologian de

fending Bible infallibility drove him to The orthodox Churches in Scotland apologies which degraded the Deity seem doomed to a succession of trouble- below the trustworthiness of a common some cases of heresy. The Free Church writer of history.” presbytery of Meigle has been occupied The teachings of Mr. Robertson, with the case of Mr. Robertson, accused however, are so fatal to all belief in the of being “ the author of certain publica- Bible as the inspired Word of God, that tions containing passages said to be the presbytery seem to have unanimoffensive to and subversive of the Word ously sustained the sentence of excomof God." The case is one which shows munication which had been adopted by the extreme difficulty, if not the impos- the kirk-session. These continual trials sibility of free and earnest inquiry mark, however, a phase of the controrespecting the Word and the retention versy respecting the Divine authority of faith in its plenary inspiration and of the Word, and make manifest the divine authority, without an acknow- unsettled state of the minds of the ledgment of its spiritual sense. "Éven prominent teachers in most Christian the leaders in the Free Church,” said communities. The great problem of the Mr. R. in supporting his appeal from the relation of reason to revelation is forcing kirk-session, were unconsciously per- not a few to the adoption of sentiments haps, under the influence of modern respecting the Word of the most disparthought.' In illustration of that he aging kind. Mr. Robertson was reported would quote from Dr. Candish, who to have said that a belief in “the Divine said in his lecture on the Infallibility origin, authority, and perfection of the of Holy Scripture,—'It seems somehow Old Testament Scriptures was as un. to be imagined by some that men infal- reasonable and false as any superstition

HERESY.

to which the human mind had ever been in subjection; and the evidence adduced from the historical books of the Bible,” he stated in the conclusion of his pamphlet, “exhibited how utterly false and unworthy of an enlightened people was the superstition that the entire Bible is the holy, authoritative, infallible Word of God."

The presbytery could not be expected to sanction such teaching as this, but its correction will require more than the forensic decisions of Church courts. Heresy can only be banished from the Church by true doctrine and enlightened exposition of the Word ; and the teachers of the Church have before them a work which will tax their utmost efforts, and for the accomplishment of which they will require better aid and a higher authority than the Westminister Confession.

SWEDENBORG. -A correspondent sends us the following account of a lecture on Swedenborg recently delivered at Bolton:-“During the past two months, a course of Sunday Evening Lectures has been given in the Bank Street (Unitarian) Chapel, Bolton, upon ‘Religious Reformers. The third lecture of the series was given on the 12th February, on Emanuel Swedenborg, by the Rev. George Fox of Park Lane, near Wigan. Mr. Fox treated his subject in a most appreciative manner, and did justice to the learning, the worth, and the purity of Emanuel Swedenborg. In the course of the lecture, he remarked—Swedenborg is a mystery.

I find it difficult for me to form an opinion concerning his pretensions. . I dare not call him a madman, I cannot designate him an imposter, get 1 hesitate to accept him as a prophet. He is a philosopher, a man big in body and mind. . He reveals so much of truth that one is tempted to accept his statements beyond the limits of one's convictions ; and yet again there is such a fanciful mode of reasoning, such a matter-of-fact way of dealing with heavenly secrets, that one finds it hard to receive his visions and interpretations as real. Whatever opinion however prevails, it must be conceded that he was a most wonderful genius—a man of simple and unassuming character-alike courteous and gentle in heart and life, with deep spiri

tual insight, and possessed of profound knowledge and wisdom.

While rejecting some of the fundamental doctrines of his theologic system, I reverence him for his purity of life and for his marvellous intellectual and spiritual capabilities. I do not hesitate to consider him as one of the greatest interpreters of the spiritual aspects of religion the world has seen. So far as I have read his works, I must say, that though much seems far-fetched, strange and fanciful, I am astonished at the knowledge, wisdom, and power displayed. I am indebted to Swedenborg for some of the most cherished of my thoughts. The lecturer next briefly reviewed the career of Emanuel Swedenborg as a philosopher, asserting that he anticipated many scientific facts whose discovery has been credited to more modern men; and proceeded :-'Hitherto Swedenborg had been noted for his great scientific knowledge and celebrity ; in allscientific matters his fame stood high.

He had arrived at a time of life when one might suppose the nature of his life might be fixed, when he appeared to the world in altogether a new character. At the mature age of fiftyfour heannounced that he behelda vision, in which his spiritual sight was opened to see in perfect wakefulness what was going on in the other world, and to converse with angels and spirits. From that time he gave up worldly learning, and devoted himself almost entirely to the task of recording his visions and illustrating his theology,

Swedenborg, in his matter-offact way, describes heaven and hell with wonderful precision. Whether these are as he describes or not, he certainly writes like an eye-witness, and with a certain unconscious simplicity and naturalness, leading to the belief that he did see in some vision, though one cannot tell how, what he has recorded. Whatever may be said of his pretensions as a seer in relation to the minute particulars of the other life, on which he has so largely written, it does appear indisputable that le possessed a more than ordinary vision, that in fact he was gifted with what may be called second sight.' Here Mr Fox related the well-known anecdotes concerning the fire at Stockholm,' &c., concluding with, “These stories are related on the best evidence. I

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do not pretend to explain them.

and laws of all phenomena. He was These anecdotes of Swedenborg are also a considerable financier, so much not his credentials; his position is to be so, indeed, that at the Swedish Diet of judged rather by his revelations than 1751 the most solid memorials on finby his second sight.' A brief, but ance were from his pen. Whether he accurate résumé of the theology of anticipated much of the science of the Swedenborg was next given by the lec- present day, or not, had been questioned; turer, who also commended the works but this at least was certain, that his of Emanuel Swedenborg to the atten- purely scientific works must ever retion of all lovers of truth. The inter- main as monuments of his unwearied esting lecture was brought to a close in research and subtle powers of examinathe following terms: 'If I am not pre- tion. But it was in the year 1743, that, pared to submit myself entirely to his to use his own words, the Lord Himexplanations of truth, I acknowledge self was graciously pleased to manifest the benefits I have derived from read- Himself to his unworthy servant, in a ing what I have read of his. I rever- personal appearance, to open his sight ence him as one of the giants of the to the spiritual world, and enable him earth whom God sometimes permits to to converse with spirits and angels.' enter to educate and advance the human The statement thus made by him at race. Swedenborg is one of the world's first, was made all the way through, great representative men.

He is truly

down to his very death-hour. The first one of the world's benefactors, for whom effects of this new experience were mankind is both the better and the blinding and confusing ; but, after two richer.'

J. D. years had passed away, the storm subA similar lecture to the above was sided into a calm, the eyes became used delivered by the Rer. F. R. Young, in to the great light, and his whole being the Free Christian Church, New Swin- became an organized power for good. don, as the first of a series on Great Immediately he began to write, in Latin, Men of the Christian Church.' This and publish volumes of his expositions lecture is reported at some length in of Genesis and Exodus, the mysteries the North Wilts Herald of February 6th. of Heaven and Hell, the Doctrine of It contains notices of the new Church the Lord, the Laws of Providence, the as well as of Swedenborg. Speaking of Laws which underlie Marriage, an Exthe latter, he says :-" The claims of position of the Apocalypse, &c., &c. that eminent man had been met by total The circulation of these works during rejection, total and unquestioning ac- his lifetime was inconsiderable, both in ceptance, or, as in his (the preacher’s) his own country, the continent, and individual case, with a mixture of re- England. But since his death they had jection and acceptance; many persons

been translated into English, Welsh, feeling themselves unable to attribute French, Italian, German, Swedish, and infallibility to Swedenborg's utterances, even Icelandic. The style of his works but, at the same time, having a most was my no means flowing and poetic, profound regard for his mighty intellect except in rare instances, while almost and his manifestly true views of God all their matter was so abstruse that and man.”

lovers of the periodical literature of the Taking as his guide the life of Swed- day would find their perusal a fatigue. enborg by “his friend Mr. William And yet there was no exaggeration in White,” he imitates his author by in- the assertion that no other single the. troducing into his discourse features of ologian of the last 200 years could be character to the disadvantage as well as named whose mind was of equal power, the advantage of Swedenborg. His and who by his works had rendered so general treatment, however, could great a service to pure and undefiled scarcely fail to remove prejudice and to religion. His seership was a great fact, create an interest in the writings of our and a gift of wonderful' magnitude. great author.

The following extract He denied a Trinity of Persons in the somewhat abbreviated, will give a fair Godhead, but taught that there was a specimen of this lecture :-"His (Swed- Trinity_of Principles; and that the enborg's) was an eminently scientific names Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, mind, and he had a rare love for search- were but names for the Divine Essence, ing out and understanding the facts the Divine Manifestation, and the

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