« 上一頁繼續 »
may be instructed, and amongst whom A New CHURCH IS ABOUT TO BE
Where such persons are the Lord alone knows. There WOULD BE FEW within the Church” (A. C. 3898).
Those few were found, of whom Flaxman was one and Hindmarsh another; a few who for conscience' sake dared to stand out for the Lord Jesus, His kingdom and the regenerate life, amidst the prejudices and corruptions of an evil generation, the result of what the West-End Vicar admits was a moribund or dying Church. The MORIBUND CHURCH has the same false doctrines to the present day, dares not alter even a few expressions lest the weak edifice should crumble, and where its condition has been improved, the improvement has been compelled by the State. Hail then to the noble few who feared the Lord and stood out for truth and goodness, and spake often one to another ! The Lord remembers them when He makes up His jewels.
Others of the few who are by the Lord made the nucleus of His New Church remain externally united with their former religious associations, though their gentle spirits are often sorely tried, both by the false teachings, the perverse forms of worship, and the narrow-minded bigotry of those with whom they are connected. Yet they bear for the sake of the truth they hope to introduce to others, often because they have no New Church Society convenient with whom they are able to worship, and also for other personal reasons. These, whether in the Church of England or in Nonconformist bodies, though they may not outwardly unite with their New Church brethren, respect them, and are respected by them. The saintly rector of St. John's, Manchester, Mr. Clowes, and the no less estimable Mr. Hindmarsh, who laboured in the same town, Manchester, were always the best of friends.
The Rev. Aug. Clissold and others of his ministerial brethren in different parts of England, warmly reciprocate the good feelings evinced by their brethren who have freed themselves from the trammels of the Establishment. These, on the one side and the other, live in the element of charity described by Swedenborg when he said, “The several Churches in the Christian world are distinguished by their doctrines, and the members of those Churches have hence taken the names of Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Calvinists, or the Reformed and Evangelical Protestants, with many others. This distinction of names arises solely from doctrines, and would never have existed if the members of the Church had made love to the Lord and charity towards their neighbour the principal points of faith. Doctrines would then be only varieties of opinion concerning the mysteries of faith, which they who are true
Christians would leave to every one to receive according to his conscience, whilst it would be the language of their hearts, that he is a true Christian who lives as a Christian, that is, as the Lord teaches. Thus one Church would be formed out of all these diverse ones; and all disagreements arising from mere doctrines would vanish, yea, all the animosities of one against another would be dissipated in a moment, and the kingdom of the Lord would be established on the earth (A. C. 1799).
This and similar expositions frequent in Swedenborg we would commend to the thoughtful study of the West-End Vicar. His letter has a tone peculiarly like that of many other letters which some time ago appeared in the Kensington News, all, it is curious to remark, connected with the West End of London.
These letters indicate a great desire for the study of the Writings of Swedenborg amongst his clerical brethren, which it is thought would do them good, and in which we heartily concur; although, looking at the Jewish, Mohammedan, and Romanist Churches, our hope of Churches reforming themselves finds little encouragement in history.
But why assail with so much bitterness those whose efforts are incessantly directed to diffuse the truths these Writings contain, and to live and worship in harmony with them? They are only doing now what the Churches it is hoped will do at some distant period. Such vituperations as the letter to the Guardian remind us forcibly of those our Lord condemned when He said, “Woe unto you, lawyers ! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge : ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered” (Luke xi. 52).
WHERE SWEDENBORG LIVED.
SOME years ago * the late Mr. J. S. Hodson published a prettily got-up pamphlet, with illustrations of the remains of Swedenborg's residence at Stockholm, his native place, and his last abode in his own country. The little book contained a view of the house from the street, and one of the summerhouses, the most ornamental, which Swedenborg had built for the reception of visitors. An appeal was also made to the New Church public to subscribe for the purchase of the property, and thus preserve to future generations the spot where the most celebrated man of his age lived in simplicity, and received the scholars and statesmen who called upon him. Some eighteen or twenty years have passed away, and relics more to be venerated than the birthplace of the bard of Avon have, it appears, considerably suffered. A prophet has no honour in his own country. The good people of Stockholm troubled not themselves about the condition of the dwelling-place of the greatest ornament of their nation. One might imagine that the countrymen of Swedenborg, whatever they may think of his theological * The pamphlet has no date, and I cannot remember the year of its publication. teachings, would show more regard to the memory of so famous a philosopher and so busy a citizen. It is true the Royal Academy of Sciences at Stockholm struck, many years ago, a medal in honour of one “in whom they greatly delighted;" but the token is probably seldom called to mind except when seen in the cabinet. In this age
of scholarship one might suppose the educated youth of Sweden, by no means such sticklers for Lutheranism as their grandmothers, would have had their enthusiasm kindled by the academic glory of Swedenborg. One might picture them hastening in holiday troops to the scene which should preserve the fragrance of his footsteps. It is not
The studious foreigner joyously seeks the haunt of one who lived centuries in advance of his age to find—not the sweet aroma of his memory, but a decaying repository of rags and filth!
Perhaps it may be interesting to some to read the following description of the place from a letter which I lately received from my
“When in Stockholm I visited the scene of Swedenborg's residence, and was deeply grieved to witness the condition into which it has fallen. The house in which he lived some time in his earlier life, a wooden building, is now almost a wreck, and is used as a rag-shopso filthy that it is almost unapproachable. Another portion of the residence is in good condition, but has been altered, and the lower part converted into a carriage-house. This part almost adjoins the wooden building, and is, I believe, constructed of stone. Beyond these there is a space, and then we come to another house, larger, and built of stone, where, I was told, Swedenborg lived in the latter part of his life, and where, to use the words of the present owner, ‘he rose to greater eminence. There is also a summerhouse behind this part of the residence, a portion of the same property, which is full of pots, paints, and oils, and nearly tumbling down. The owner coolly remarked it was nothing to him, as he did not sympathize with the followers of Swedenborg, and he thought of pulling it down entirely. The yard around is in a most disorderly state.
“The property (of which I enclose a sketch from memory) is in the hands of three parties, thus appropriated :
“1. The wooden house, carriage house, and yard.
"2. A space, once Swedenborg's garden, apparently intended for buildings.
"3. The stone house, summerhouse, and yard.
“ The street in front is called Hornsgatan, 'gatan' being the Swedish for street.
“As near as I can remember there might be about an acre of ground altogether, of which the garden part in the centre would be more than half. The frontage to the street might be from fifty to seventy yards. Of course these measurements are merely rough guesses. “The parts first described, the wooden building and the carriage-house,
Referring to Mr. Hodson's pamphlet, I find the measurements supposed are larger, the frontage being estimated at about eighty yards.-R. A.
are perhaps hardly worth preserving. But the other parts, the stone house and the summerhouse behind, should, in my opinion, be at once secured. Indeed, I should think the whole property could be had for a reasonable sum. The owner of the best part seemed to be a work
“I was told that many persons, especially from England, went to inspect the place. I hope to go again next year, perhaps in the spring, and should be happy to procure any further particulars."
Will the New Churchmen of England and America allow this memorable spot to go to utter decay, and be entirely lost to posterity, who would probably most highly appreciate its possession ? Will not the whole Church, and others, admirers of Swedenborg, at once throw down their “mites” mickles,” and raise the needful sum to rescue the remains and in some measure effect their restoration ?
This is evidently the moment when something must be done, or the opportunity may be hopelessly lost.
COMPLETION OF THE COLLEGE CHAPEL. THE Chapel of the New Church College has at last been completed by the removal of the old wooden commandment tables belonging to the temporary church, and the construction of a reredos of white stone in character with the rest of the building. Some of our readers will remember the more recent steps that have been made towards completing the chapel as funds were forthcoming. When the building was first erected the sides of the gallery were opened to the staircases, and a great improvement was made by closing these with the present screen walls.
Then came the provision of a new organ, the money being raised chiefly through the energy of Miss Bateman; then the closing of the arch on the north side of the chancel, turning the room behind into a laboratory; but for a long time the part of the chapel which should be the most ornamented, namely, the eastern wall, has been the plainest, presenting a dead wall-surface of upwards of thirty feet high from the floor to the underside of the round window in the face of the congregation, without any ornament but some Scripture texts of paper bands and the not very sightly commandment tables above alluded to. About two years ago a reredos fund was commenced. It did not progress rapidly till this summer, when Mrs. Bateman and the Misses Bateman took the matter up energetically, and sent out circulars inviting subscriptions, with such a measure of success that the Council were emboldened to give the order for the commencement of the works last July.
The eastern wall of the chapel overhangs the wall of the basement below some inches, and it was not safe to add a reredos without strengthening the foundations, which was done by the addition of two brick piers in the basement and a cross girder; and many of the stones
of the reredos being built through into the solid wall, it will act as an excellent buttress and support. It was no easy problem to ornament such a surface as the lofty eastern wall of the chapel presented without going to considerable expense; the pyramidical form seemed the best, and it has been chosen for the general outline. The reredos has been designed in the Gothic style of a late period, and it has been endeavoured to give to each part a symbolical character, so that the whole may exhibit representatively the leading doctrines of the New Church, and especially that all therein refers to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is of white stone, about 10 feet 3 inches wide and 22 feet high; the base consists of plain-wrought stone behind the communion-table, with columns projecting on each side to carry part of the work above. The next and principal stage immediately above the communion-table consists of a wide arch of ogee shape in the centre, on each side of which is a curtain looped back, and through which is seen a bas-relief representing the principal objects in the Jewish tabernacle ; the ark of the covenant being in the centre, the candlestick with seven branches above, and the altar of incense and table of shewbread below. It need scarcely be said that these indicate that the writings of the New Church unveil the meaning of the ceremonies of the Jewish ritual, while the slab below, on which is written, "I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the ending, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty,” shows that they all refer to the Lord (see the explanation of Rev. xv. 5, 6, in the "Apocalypse Explained,” 948). Over the arch in the spandrils are two angels with extended wings, looking down upon and guarding as it were the opening, emblems of Divine Providence guarding and protecting the unveiling of interior truth in the world. This central compartment is crowned with a cornice, along which a sculptured vine is entwined, the well-known symbol of the Church producing truth. On each side of the central arch are two smaller niches, containing the tables with the ten commandments, and the words from Matt. xxii. 37-40, to show that it is the doctrine of the New Church that religion consists in keeping the commandments.
In the centre of the highest compartment of the reredos, and resting on the cornice with the sculptured vine, is a statue of the Lord after Thorwaldsen, standing in an enriched canopy, on the spire of which are three crowns to show that the Trinity is in the Lord. Of all the numerous statues of Christ that Christian art has produced that of Thorwaldsen has been chosen as most giving the New Church idea of our Lord; it represents Him with hands extended, and seems to say, “ Come unto Me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” and may be taken to symbolize the incarnation of Divine Love. The canopy is supported on each side by rich buttresses and tracery, on which is written, "King of kings, and Lord of lords," and on the pinnacles on each side are angels with harps in their hands (Rev. xv. 2-4).
The reredos was designed by Mr. Alexander Payne, architect, of 4