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existed and continued to delineate the immortal and noble master it purported to represent.
The resolution was then submitted to the meeting, and unanimously carried amidst loud applause.
The Rev. W. BRUCE proposed a vote of thanks to Mr. PICKSTONE for his gift of a piece of Brauna wood for the pedestal of the bust.
This was seconded by the Rev. Dr. BAYLEY and carried unanimously. The SECRETARY then read the following letter from Mr. GRUNDY :
31 ALWYNE ROAD, CANONBURY, N.
17th June 1879. MY DEAR MR. ELLIOTT, - Accompanying you will receive the couple of miniatures about which I spoke to you some few months ago, and which are now reframed.
One is an ideal miniature of the Honourable Emanuel Swedenborg; and the other miniature, also upon ivory, is a likeness of the Rev. Robert Hindmarsh, who on April 2nd, 1824, was styled “the undaunted champion of the New Church.” This latter one was taken from the life. They were both painted some five-and-sixty years ago by my father, John Grundy (sen.), himself an earnest and useful member of the Church.
And I now beg of you in your honourable position of Honorary Secretary to ask the Swedenborg Society to grant me the favour of accepting them.
The one of the Řev. Robert Hindmarsh may probably awaken some pleasing reminiscences in the minds of those who have enjoyed the happiness of seeing and hearing him, and to the rising generation it may perhaps prove an agreeable memento of, as recorded by himself, “one of the earliest receivers of the heavenly doctrines of the New Jerusalem in this kingdom, and the first who took measures for the formation of a Society in London.”—Believe me, with kindest regards, yours very truly,
J. LEEMING GRUNDY.
The Rev. Dr. BAYLEY said he was very happy to propose a resolution of thanks to Mr. Grundy for his gift. He did so with peculiar pleasure, as he recollected Mr. Grundy's respected father quite well. He had been one of his earliest friends connected with the Salford Society-one of the salt of the earth, a humble, kindly, loving, wise Christian. Dr. Bayley said he remembered Mr. Grundy's telling him that when he first joined the Society in Salford its members were reported to be very queer people, and the place went by the name of the Beefsteak Chapel. Mr. Grundy had told him that although it was thought in the neighbourhood that they had some very good ideas, yet that he thought it better to go round to the back and enter by the back door. But Mr. Grundy had seen the cause grow, by the influence and power of such men as himself. Some half-dozen of the mayors of Salford had been chosen from the church there, and Mr. Grundy was quite ready to proclaim the truths of the New Church, and go in at the front door (laughter and cheers).
Mr. Elliott had very much pleasure in seconding the resolution. He alluded to the well-known modesty of Mr. Grundy, who had scarcely considered his gift worthy of acceptance by the Society. Mr. Elliott said that such objects as that now before them did not decrease in value, but in the future would be worth untold gold to any one interested in early New Church history.
The resolution was then put to the meeting and unanimously adopted.
The Rev. J. PRESLAND then moved “That in the opinion of this meeting the freedom of thought—which is one of the characteristics of our age, and which is fostered by the introduction of liberal political institutions ; by the freedom of the press; by the care devoted to the primary education of the masses of the people; and the freedom of investigation claimed by and accorded to men of science and philosophers—is preparing humanity for the reception of an interior, rational system of religion.” He said that the resolution he was called
reminded him of the French saying concerning the embarrassment of riches; it contained so much that called for consideration that he was almost aghast at the trap that had been laid for him. In the first place he did not suppose that the liberal political institutions of which it spoke were bounded by any narrow party lines, but that it referred generally to the grand progress of the social and political condition of our land. He could not better illustrate this progress than by a reference to the present condition of the great Conservative party, which probably did not possess a single member who a century ago would not have been branded as a revolutionary republican. Mr. Presland proceeded to say that he did not think the liberal political institutions alluded to
even English institutions. When he read those words he remembered how slavery had been abolished in America, how serfdom had been wiped away in Russia, and how the temporal sovereignty of the Pope no longer existed. All those things tended to remove the difficulties in the pathway of the great cause they had at heart. For they should remember that political institutions were the groundwork of religious progress. Political slaves could never receive a rational theology, and they therefore did well to regard with satisfaction the introduction of liberal political institutions.
The resolution went on to speak of the freedom of thought claimed by and accorded to men of science and philosophy, and certainly this was one of the most startling signs of the times. The spirit of inquiry was truly audacious in the subjects it selected for examination, and many might possibly be inclined to tremble for revealed truth. But they should remember that this spirit of inquiry had produced two great results. It had rendered impossible the reception of Divine truth in the bare literal manner in which it had formerly been accepted, and it had also achieved results tending to confirm a belief in revealed religion. It was quite impossible for any thoughtful mind to regard the real history of our race in the old simple manner that was once so easy and unquestioning. But the accounts given of the early development of life upon earth and the early existence of men were all in direct accordance with the teachings of the “ Arcana Cælestia.” Many might regard with alarm the attention given to
research on the external plane, but in this natural expansion of thought they beheld but the budding of the fig-tree's branch. Life was necessarily bounded by the conditions in which it was received. The forms of the rose and the nettle were very different but the life was the same, and Mr. Presland said he regarded all this stir of thought in Europe as but the preparation for the reception of a more spiritual life. He was amazed when he considered the marvellous prescience displayed in the writings of Swedenborg, produced as they were amidst the midnight gloom of thought. And when they found that there was scarcely a change effected, no improvement in the present, no marvels in the future, but what was not, he did not say in detail, but the principles of which were not enunciated in the writings of the New Church, the inference was imperative that they were more than human writings, that they came to us with more than human authority, and that therefore it was their duty to strive with all their power to communicate them to others.
Dr. J. J. GARTH WILKINSON seconded the resolution. He said that after the very eloquent address of his friend his task was a very easy
He would say one word with reference to Mr. Presland's remarks as to the liberal political institutions alluded to in the resolution. He would take a smaller view of them in one sense, and suggested that the dissemination of New Church opinions would involve the absence and almost death of party spirit in the country. Party had been the great regulator of men's actions. Joseph Hume was said to have expressed his readiness to swear that black was white if party required it. Under the influence of the New Church the only question raised upon any proposal would be whether it was good and true. This he called the platform of justice. The resolution itself was made up of planes, or platforms, as our American friends would style them. Without these planes no influence of life and truth from heaven could be received, and therefore the new circumstances of the age really consisted in the formation of new planes of light, of life, and of action. The freedom of the press was another subject of great interest. He regarded as especially wonderful the fact that in great journals, side by side, the contest of opinions was allowed. It must be admitted that this was a platform of charity. Of course one of the most vast platforms that could exist was that of education. He entirely agreed with the remarks of Dr. Stocker as to education in patural science. One thing also he approved, the teaching of drawing. If the shapes of things bore a correspondence to their quality, it was of the utmost importance that their forms should be accurately delineated and known.
A movement was going on independently of the Churches themselves. It reminded him of the landscape in the Isle of Wight, where the rock called the Blue Slipper had allowed the chalk cliffs to slip out of their place. Almost all parties agreed that, in the words of the resolution, humanity was preparing for the reception of an interior rational system of religion. Even materialists thought they A great
were pleading a new religion. The disciples of positivism themselves considered their principles to amount to a new religion, and with most remarkable self-denial even shut themselves off from the idea of heaven, lest it should divert their thoughts from the religion of earth. The only thing no party admitted was the reception of such a system of religion as that of which the resolution spoke. None wanted it given, they wanted only the work of their own faculties. synthesis was wanted, and an agent to bind men together, and that, he believed, the works published by that Society could supply.
The resolution was put to the meeting and carried unanimously.
The Rev. Dr. BAYLEY proposed “That in the opinion of this meeting the only system of religion which satisfies at the same time the religious yearnings and aspirations of a sincere believer in Christianity, and expresses in a tangible, rational form the highest spiritual ideals capable of being reached and seized by enlightened human thought, are contained in the doctrines of the New Church, which the Lord revealed to mankind at His Second Coming through the instrumentality of Emanuel Swedenborg." He said that at that late period of the meeting, and considering the heat of the room, he was sure he should be forgiven much expansion of the resolution he had read, the more so since it was in itself a nice little speech. It contained this happy circumstance, that in the writings of Swedenborg we had what the souls of good people crave for, that was to say, a degree of certainty. It would be the experience, no doubt, of all in that room, that at the present time there was a universal confusion, a huge upheaving. Everything was being questioned. This was largely so in the pulpits. The almost universal theme was that there was a strange upheaving. This had been the opinion of priests whom he had met on his last autumnal journey. They complained that there was a disposition to question everything, to doubt long-established authority, and to be on good ground somehow. Now in the New Church, on all the various subjects of religious and intellectual thought, they were able to say they did know what was right on those subjects, and that they had concerning them a conception as clear to their spiritual sight as light to the natural eye. Dr. Bayley said he was recently making a statement of this kind to a very high authority, who had said to him, “But who can understand anything about religion ?” and further inquired how water placed on the face of a child in baptism could take away his sins, or how the bread and wine when blessed by the priests could possibly be changed into the body and blood of our Lord. Well, Dr. Bayley had said, nobody could understand that, but there was a right way and a wrong way of understanding these things. They believed that they could understand all these matters by simply going to the Lord Jesus Christ, and letting Him teach them. As to the Trinity it was only necessary to take our Lord's words, “The Father in Me," and they could understand it. The reply made was that that certainly put the matter in another light altogether, and Dr. Bayley proceeded to say that in this manner all
the yearnings of the human soul, all the aspirations of the heart might be satisfied. But he wished to press very urgently upon his friends not to be too soon satisfied with general remarks and general declarations. Many sometimes were content to take them for granted, and failed to take an opportunity of reading the writings for themselves. They would remember that there was a very interesting portion of the Gospel which told how the disciples murmured amongst themselves because they had forgotten to take bread. They also should not forget to take bread, but should read a little of Swedenborg every day. He had lately been revising the “Divine Providence,” which he called a golden book. The poet spoke of “linked sweetness long drawn out." But this book was loving wisdom long drawn out. If they would read a page every morning they would find their minds so strengthened with some golden aphorism that they would find themselves throughout the day more kindly hearted, more lovingly tempered. Thus when Swedenborg was showing the goodness of the Lord, he said that the end of creation was to form a happy heaven out of the human race, and therefore it was the object of the Divine Providence to provide that every one should be capable of being saved, and they are saved who acknowledge a God and lead a good life. Such a sentence spoke for itself. Such was the bread he advised them not to forget. He should like to quote again from the same book, where Swedenborg said that since man is by his nature unregenerate, he is while unregenerate in hell. This should be a real statement to make a man stir himself, and endeavour to remove those sorrows and sins which would go on unless those works were spread amongst men. There was more in the words of the Psalmist than was ordinarily supposed when he said, “ Great, O Lord, is Thy mercy, for Thou hast raised me from the lowest hell.” Dr. Bayley concluded by advising his hearers to multiply all the means of diffusing the good and truth contained in the writings of Swedenborg. By so doing they would leave the world far better than they found it, and at the same time help themselves to reach the grand and eternal home of all.
This resolution was seconded by Mr. R. Jobson, who said he might have wished that so important a resolution had been intrusted to one more able to do it justice than himself. But their esteemed Secretary was a thorough man of business and duty, and though slim and slender of form, was also possessed of great resolution and firmness of purpose, and so there was no help but for him to do his best. It was in the first place necessary to have a clear idea of what was Christianity. During the past 1800 years it had undergone many changes and modifications, but it had outlived them all, and still survived. Christianity at the present day was made up of many sects—some large, some small, some old, some new, some so narrow that they expelled from their midst those who could not subscribe to their creeds, others so broad that they had no defined creed at all. So great was the variety that existed that the impartial observer might almost be inclined to despair at the hope of ever seeing harmony established. What was the