Henry gordon-drummond-the-new-church--a-great-voice-out-of-heaven-new-church-press-london-1933


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Henry gordon-drummond-the-new-church--a-great-voice-out-of-heaven-new-church-press-london-1933

  1. 1. The "New Church" "A Great Voice out of Heaven" ~ BY THE Rev. H. GORDON DRUMMOND ~ JI ~
  2. 2. The ~~New Church" "A Great Voice out of Heaven" BV THE Rev. H. GORDON DRUMMOND FirJt Edition 1933 Serond Edition 1934 Third Editiotl 193 8 NEW-CHURCH PRESS, LTD. 20 HART STREET, LoNDON, W.c. l
  3. 3. CONTBNTS PA.GEWhat the New Church 1s 5A Christian Church 7What is a Church ? 8Jesus, Divine . 12The Word of God ]6Salvation and Atonement 20Providence and Chance . 24The Second Coming of the Lord 30Life after Death . 36The Day of Judgment 4]The Christian . 44A Fulfilment of Prophecy 45The Creed of the New Church 47 3
  4. 4. What the New Church Is Perhaps the answer to the question, "What is the NewChurch ?" can best be given by stating in as simple and briefa wery as possible what the New Church teaches. But ftrst it should be dearfy understood that the New Churchis deftnitefy and unfalteringfy Christian. It is founded upon abelief in the Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ, to whom it looksfor enlightenment and direction in ail matters. The New Church teaches that in Jesus Christ we have the/tillness of the Divine,. the Father, according to His ownstatement, being in Him, and the Hofy Spirit proceeding from Him, as when He breathed upon His disciples and said," Receive ye the Hofy Spirit." It teaches that the inspired books of the Old and New Testa­ments were dictated by His Spirit,. that within the sense ofthe letter there is a Spiritual and Divine sense, having reftrencesolefy to the things of heaven and the Lord,. and that theirinspiration, and their daim to be the Word of God, consist inand are proved from this. It teaches that Salvation is deliverance not from the conse­quences of sin, bllt from sinning,. and that the Atonement isthe reconciliation not of God to man, but of man to God. It teaches the continuity of life after death,. and the realityof the spiritual world,. that ail are immortal,. that those whobave loved goodness and truth and tried to do right, to serveGod and their neighbollr, go to heaven, and are happy for ever ,.and that onlJ those who have chosen evil ftnd their place in hell.
  5. 5. The "New Church U lt leachu Ihat ail are created for heaven, and none for helland that they who go to hell do so of their own accord. lt teaches that Judgment is the disclosing of charactsr, .ntithat our final abode hereafter is with our own kind. lt teaches that the Divine Providence rules ail things,. thatit is the Government of Divine Love and Wisdom,. that nothingcon happen in this or any other world apart {rom it,. thatthen is no such thing as Chance. lt teaches the Second Coming of the Lord as an event thathas alreacfy oceurred,. not in any dramatic or physical manner,but in the opening of the spiritual sense of the Word wherebyHe is enabled to come in the fullest possible wCfJ to the conscious­"ess of the individual soul. lt teaches that he onfy is a Christian who lives as a Christian. The New Church is the fulftlment of the Scripture: "Andl, John, saw the Hofy City, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for ber hus­band. And of the promise: "Behold, 1 make ail thingsNew." 6
  6. 6. The" New Church" A Christian Church IRST, it should be clearly understood that the NewF Church is definitely and unfalteringly Christian; it rests upon the old foundation: "For other foun-dation can no man lay than that is laid, which is JesusChrist"; it is Christianity itself, re-stated and re-born. The New Church is founded upon the rock of Faith inthe sole and absolute Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ,to whom it looks for enlightenment and direction in ailmatters. By a belief in His Divinity is meant the acknowledg-ment that He, and He only, is God over all-Divinityitself; the self-existent Maker of heaven and earth. The New Church makes this acknowledgment with-out reservation or qualification of any kind, not merelyas an item of its creed but as the fundamental anduniversal principle, the beginning and end, first and lastof al! it has to teach. The New Church holds that apart from this acknow-ledgment there is no true Christian religion, and can beno true Christian Church. A Christian Church is a Church in which Jesus Christis held supreme. The acknowledgment of this supremacy of Jesus isno mere matter of Hp confession: no lip confession canmake a Church. It is more than knowledge: the Churchdoes not exist from knowledge. It is more than inte1-lectual assent. The Church of the Lord exists from loveof Him. The true Christian Church is found where the LordJesus Christ is recognized and confessed as God ofheaven and earth; where His commandments are obeyed,and He is loved with al! the heart and ail the mind andaU the might. 7
  7. 7. The "New Church" What is a Church ? lTa know al! that the New Church is would make one wiser than the angets of heaven. But we may, by a little effort, get to know enough to make usconsiderably wiser than perhaps we are. In attempting to answer the question of what theNew Church is, in such a way that even the simplestinquirer may fol!ow, if he will, it may be wel! to considerfirst the meaning of the term Church. What is it thatactual!y constitutes a Church ? The first and simplest meaning with which ail arefamiliar is, a building set apart for the worship of God. To such a building it is usual to give the name ofChurch; but refleetion shows that this must be far fromthe true or essential meaning: it is never a buildingthat makes a Church, but only the purpose for which thebuilding exists. When a building ceases to serve thepurpose of a Church it is no longer a Church. Moreover,as the purpose of a Church involves people, and has noexistence apart from them, it fol!ows that they alone whoentertain and seek to achieve the purpose form theChurch. If the same people were to meet in the rudestbarn or cave, or even under the open sky, the Churchwould be there; for it would be in them. The purpose of a Church is to worship God. Worship,therefore, is that which constitutes the Church. But before there can be worship, there must be know­ledge of Truth; we must know whom or what we wor­ship. Worship from ignorance is impossible. The New Church is a new spirit of worship, from anew realization of Divine Truth. 8
  8. 8. The" New Church" IIW HEN it is said that the purpose of a Church is to worship God, further questions at once arise: Who is God? And how do we worship Him ? Let us take the second of these questions first. Theterm worship is a contracted form of worth-ship, andimplies the acknowledgment on the part of the wor­shipper of supreme worth. It is when one sees thesuperlative value or worth of God that one is in a positionto worship Him, and not until. This implies, of course,a knowledge of what He is; and such knowledge ofnecessity implies revelation. Revelation is the makingknown to man of things otherwise unknowable, beyondthe range of physical sense. Revelation is The Word of God. If there were no W ord of God in the world, nothingwould be known of Him. No man by searching, that is,by the exercise of natural intelligence, could find Himout. Even the cry, " 0 that l knew where l might findHim l would be impossible without some previousrevelation and acknowledgment of His existence. Forno one would think of seeking the altogether unknown. The New Church is a new worship of God, from anew knowledge of Him, through the fuller revelation oropening up of the inner or spiritual contents of His Word. IIIT HE question as to who is God is now to be answered for us, in the only possible way, by reference to the Ward itself. For in it alone we find the record ofHis Being and Doing. His Word is the answer to ailmans questioning. It gives us the name of God; itshows His face; it speaks with His authority; it is theassurance of His presence. B 9
  9. 9. The" New Church n From it we get to know not only that there is a God,but what kind of a God He is. And, what is more, exactlywhat kind of people we are and ought to be. We oughtto be like Him. And this we cannot be until we learnto worship Him. To worship Him is to esteem Hisworth above ail other values; to set Him on the highestpedestal of our adoring regard, and to love Him withail the heart. The name of the God who thus invites, and also renderspossible, this attitude of adoration, worship and love,is that of Him who came in love and pitYto redeem man­kind; to save His people from their sins: "Thou shaltcali His name, Jesus." The New Church is the worship of the Lord God, theSaviour, Jesus Christ. IVT HE New Church is the Christian Church, reborn. It is the Christian Church, from natural made spiritual. Its newness is no mere circumstance of time. "Timecannot wither it, nor custom stale." When countlessages have passed away it will still be new. For it is theChurch of the new-born spirit, the regenerated humansoul, the "new man," the "second birth." It has thenewness of the" new heaven" and the "new earth."To it the "many things" the Lord had yet to say toHis disciples have been revealed in the "spirit" and" life" of His Word. The ineffable things of His loveand wisdom, veiled in mercy to the eyes of His firstfollowers, because they could not bear them then, arenow to it and through it by His mercy made known, toail who have eyes to see and ears to hear. 10
  10. 10. The "New Church st They have been made known through the instrumen­tality of a man of unique enlightenment and incomparablegenius, prepared of Divine Providence for the specialwork, endowed with all the necessary gifts of intelligenceand perception, able to avail hirnself of the richest fruitsof the worlds scholarship, gathering into himself the sumof earthly knowledge, and, through the opening of spiritualfaculties, granted the extraordinary experience, duringmany years, of the life and circumstances of the worldbeyond; an intimate of kings on this side and of angelson the other; the great Swedish writer, scholar, scientist,philosopher, and theologian, Emanuel Swedenborg. II
  11. 11. The" New Church" Jesus, Divine N the FAITH OF THE NEW CHURCH, which fonns aI _ preface to the LlTURGY issued by the General Con­ ference, the opening words are, "That there is one God, in whom there is a Divine Trinity, and that He is theLord Jesus Christ." This is what the New Church teaches, in briefest surn­rnary, with respect to God; it is its answer to the question,Who is He? He is the Lord Jesus Christ 1 There is no other God in heaven or earth. He it waswho came into the world in fuifilment of His promise,repeated through the ages, "1 will come and save you " ;"Look unto Me and be ye saved aIl the ends of theearth, for l am God, and there is none else"; and ofwhorn it is written, " His narne shal! be cal!ed Irnmanuel,which being interpreted is, GOD WITH us." Thus the New Church proclairns that the notion ofthree Persons in God is contrary to Scripture, and initself beyond rational acceptance; a quite unthinkableproposition, only to be entertained by the suppression ofreason and the denial of cornrnon sense. It is indeed rnost true that the idea of a Divine Beingwho is Maker of heaven and earth and al! things therein,transcends the capacity of the nnite hurnan mind tograsp in all its issues. But the idea of a Divine Beingdoes not therefore contradict what the human mind isable to lay hold of; the faith that entertains it is a faiththat sees 1 The faith that sees is that of an enlightened intelligence-enlightened frorn above-and, strictly speaking, therecan be no other faith. Faith has been supposed to irnply a belief in thingsthat cannot at al! be seen. But this would declare faith 12
  12. 12. The "New Church .. blind. Whereas a blind faith is a contradiction in terms. Faith cornes by enlightenment, through the hearing of the Word and by the exercise of the organ of aIl vision, both natural and spiritual, which is the eye of the mind. It is the mind that sees in every case; and only the intelligent, seeing mind can have real faith. To say that you have faith in what you do not see to be true is to deceive yourself. You may believe that what you see faUs short of the reality; but you cannot believe if you see nothing. True faith is seeing God! It is the inward perception of His presence 1 The God who is seen must be a Person ; there is no seeing of an impersonal Deity. Neither is there any seeing of a Being who is more than one. The idea of three persons making one God, as suggested by the Athanasian Creed, is beyond conception. Even to caU it an " idea " involves contradiction; for an "idea" is something sem; and who is there that can see a God who is both One and Three? The New Church teaches, and by its teaching enables the intelligent, affirmative mind to see, that there is one• God in whom there is a Divine trinity. The trinity in God is not one of persons, but of attri­ butes or aspects and essential parts. There is a like trinity in every created thing. It may be recognized in a flower, a bird, a human being. There exists a trinity even in a grain of sand. It is not in these indeed such as is the Divine trinity; but it is one in which the Divine is surely reflected; it is a three­ in-one of substance, form and proceeding sphere. These three make every one thing. But three flowers do not make one flower at any time; nor do three birds make one bird; or three human beings one human being. But three essentials make one God; and these are speci­ ficaIly the Divine substance, the Divine form, and the emanating Divine sphere. The Divine substance is His Love; the Divine form is His Wisdom; and the Divine 13
  13. 13. The" New Church "sphere is His going forth to influence, sustain and bless­the all-pervading effluence and operation by which theuniverse is created and maintained. In these three con­stituents the fullness of the Godhead consists. They areall that the Divine is, has been, or ever can be. Andthere is nothing more than these in heaven or earth. Allthat presents itse1f to the senses is but their reflection andexpression. The New Church teaches, and by its teaching enablesthe intelligent, affirmative mind to see, not only that thisis the fullness of the Divine, but that all this fullness wasembraced in Jesus, and is in Him still. He was and isIncarnate Love; He was and is Incarnate Wisdom, thevisible and effective embodiment of these constituente1ements. He was these effectually focused and broughtdown to earth to dwell with men. And these are thesuperlative things, possessed of greatest worth, invitinghuman worship, promising heaven to all who can receivethem, because they are Divine. They are not abstractions;neither do they exist in ether or in air; but theirdwelling is in persons, and their fullness is the Personal God. The New Church teaches that there is one God in whomis a Divine trinity; and that He is the Lord Jesus Christ 1In Him the Divine of Love, Wisdom and Power were •manifested and contained according to His own repeateddeclarations: "The Father, who is in me, He doeth theworks." "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.""1 and the Father are one." And that the Holy Spiritwas no other than His own all-vivifying sphere, thecreative breath of His life, He clearly showed in breathingupon His disciples and saying to them, "Receive ye theHoly Spirit." " Breathing is an external representative sign of Divineinspiration." Does He not thus breathe upon us now, that we toomay have the true breath of life from Him, the quickeningand reviving influence of wisdom and of love, the in­spiration of every living soul ? 14
  14. 14. The" New Church" The Father who was in Jesus, as the soul of a man isin the instrumental body, was that impelling Love bywhich He sent Himself into the world; the all-originatingsoul of the living God. Love itself is Father of us ail ;Parent of ail good. There is nothing born into the worldexcept from Love. Love begets Wisdom, and Wisdomissues forth in Power to bless. Thus in the beginningthe heavens and the earth were made, and do still subsist.Thus were we created, and are now maintained, inbeing from moment to moment. Love is our HeavenlyFather. Yet in no impersonal or abstract sense is this thecase. The Love that is our Father is that which stoopedin Jesus to our estate. It is HIS Love. This was HisFather, and also ours. It is this that has ail power inheaven and on earth. Nothing else has any power. ForPower is the proceeding of Love, by Wisdom, intoEffect. There is no other power. We have power-so-called-to destroy. You cancrumple up a rose in your fingers and ruin it beyond ail recognition; you may trample it under your feet. But to create one of its delectable petaIs is beyond you. You have sorne ability to take life, but none to give it. Howpoor a thing-how utterly deceptive-is your " power" when you come to examine it; it is only a semblance, ashadow, a mere usurper and pretender of power. Power itself is productive of ail good, from truth. Jesus alone had this power. It was in Him and it proceeded from Him. By it He caused the deaf to hear and the blind to see, the lame to walk and the dead to live again. He created them anew. And ail that He did was good. He set imprisoned spirits free. He opened the gates of heaven. He went before; for He was the Way, the Truth and the Life. And no man cometh to the Father but by Him. For in Him dwells al! the fuilness of the Godhead bodily. He is "one God over ail, blessed for ever." q
  15. 15. The" New Church" The Word of God The New Church teaches that the inspired books ofOld and New Testaments were " dictated" by the Spiritof the Lord, which means that the writers were undera unique control and guidance, not only as to the sub­stance of what is written therein, but also as to the veryform or "letter" in which it is presented; they heardvoices speaking from within, and they also had visions ofthe things described. The voices and the visions were ofGod. It teaches that the result of this dictation and controlis the LETIER OF THE DIVINE WORD. It teaches, further, that within the sense of this Letter,which is occupied with earthly and human affairs, andwith temporal events, there is a Spiritual and Divinesense, having reference solely to the things of heaven,which are enduring and timeless, the things of the souland of the Kingdom of the Lord. Their inspiration andclaim to be " the Word of God " consist in and are provedfrom this. Not aH the books of our Bible are of this uniquelyinspired character. AH indeed are serviceable, in varyingdegrees, to the purposes of religion and the Church. Theyare instructive to the student of Divine things, and haveproved helpful in preserving a sense of the Divine amongthe people. It is not to be doubted that the inclusion ofsuch books as Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomonin the Old Testament, and the Epistles of Paul and othersin the New, has been of the Divine Providence. Butthis does not involve their having the same character,quality or value as the books that were dictated anddirected by the Spirit. The dictated and directed booksare written throughout in symbolic language, the lan­guage of inspired parable, of metaphor and "corre­ 16
  16. 16. The .. New Church " spondence." Such are the books of Moses, Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings, the Psalms and aU the Prophets of the Old Testament; with the four Gospels and the Revelation of John in the New. By the "correspondence" according to which aU the books of the Divine Word are written is to be under­ stood the intimate and vital relation of natural things to spiritual, of earth to heaven, and the body to the soul ; it is the relation in which every efficient cause stands to its produced effect, and every produced effect to its efficient cause. This may be illustrated by the living play of expression in a human face, every feature of which has its corresponding emotion in the mind. Other instances occur in customary speech; as for example, when the heart is mentioned as the recognized seat and symbol of love, and the hand, of power. These are not only figures of speech, but actual correspondences. Because the inspired books of the Word have been written according to "correspondence," not merely in a general way, but in every detail, they must be so inter­ preted if they are to be correctly understood. Wherever natural and earthly things are mentioned, spiritual and heavenly things are indicated and involved. Where the narrative appears to be concerned with matters of time and space, infinite and eternal things are its theme. Thus understood, the Written Word becomes the inexhaustible source of knowledge concerning the Lord, our relation to Him, His purposes to usward, and con­ cerning the world and life beyond. The New Church teaches that the W ord of God is a Divine Revelation, not only of what He is, but of what. wc are; that we could not know even ourselves without it; that it makes known to us the things that would otherwise be undiscoverable. By its means the inmost secrets of the universe and of the human spirit are brought forth to view. Men need no supernatural Revelation of matters with which their senses make them acquainted. History, 17
  17. 17. The" New Church"geography, the discoveries of science and art, lie outsideits scope. What is known of these-all that is necessaryto be known-is the outcome, the gathered fruit, ofpatient study, experiment and research. The naturalfaculties of man are sufficient for these tasks. No voicefrom heaven is wanted to tell us that the sky is blue, thatwater runs down hill, and the river finds its way even­tually into the sea. But we need a Revelation to informus that there is a God, a Being of Love, omnipotent,omniscient and omnipresent; that there is a heaven andalso a hell; and that we are destined to live for ever. Forthese are not among the facts dicoverable by observation,or by any exercise of an untaught and unenlightened reason.Nature alone does not in any of its phases prodaim theexistence of a God. All that Nature can do is to lend itsconfirmation to the truth when the truth is ascertained;to show it, as it were, in a mirror. Nature gives assurance to the mind when it is already informed and disposed to the conclusion; but the information and the disposition to believe must first be there. Belief in God involves the will to believe. And the will to believe comes only by influx from heaven. The will to believe opens the eyes to the evidence. Without the will the eyes are dosed. The teaching that there is a God, and that He is Love is Revelation from on high. The New Church teaches that the inspired books of the Old and New Testaments are not the Word of God in an exclusive sense; for there is no nation, no tribe or community of people throughout the world with any daim to rationality, that is without a religion of some sort, or without a knowledge of the existence of a God. All have the knowledge, as we have it, from Revelation. All have their cherished traditions, and their revered and sacred writings. Prior to the time when the books of the Old and New Testaments were written there was a Word in existence, ~ a Divine Revelation, from which some of the contents of the Old Testament were taken. This is spoken of in New 18
  18. 18. The" New Church"Church writings as "The Ancient Word." Moses, weare told, took his account of Creation, of the Garden ofEden, and the Flood, with the rest of the early Genesisstories, from it. Similar stories occur in practically all thesacred writings and traditions of the human race. Theyhave a common origin. And before the time of the Ancient Word there wasOral Tradition, instruction in Divine things conveyedfrom mouth to mouth. And there was, from the verybeginning, communication between earth and heaven. There has never been a time, since time began, whenthe world was without a revelation of the existence andnature of the all-creating and sustaining God. 19
  19. 19. The "New Church" Salvation and Atonement What Jesus Came To Do The purpose for which the Lord came into the worldis variously stated in the Scriptures. It is both negativelyand positively given; we are told not only what He cameto do, but also what He did no! come to do. He did notcome to send peace; nor to caU the righteous; nor tojudge the world. That He did not come to send peace is perhaps themost surprising of the negative statements; for it seemsto contradict a number of passages in which peace appearsto be of the very essence of His purpose in coming. TheChristmas angels sang "Peace on earth." And Isaiahprophesied that His name should be caUed "the Princeof peace." He said Himself to His disciples, "Thesethings have l spoken unto you that in Me ye might havepeace." "My peace l give unto you." "Peace be untoyou." Yet against this may be set the equaUy inspiredwords of the aged Simeon to Mary, "This child is setfor the faU and rising again of many in Israel; and for asign which shaU be spoken against." And when Hcrod theking had heard of the star seen in the east, "he wastroubled and aU Jerusalem with him." His advent didnot bring peace to these. Even to Mary it was to bringa sword, piercing her soul. Jesus came to "caU sinners to repentance." The caUto repentance is meant to have a disturbing rather than asoothing effcct. He came to bear witness to the Truth. His witness tothe Truth resulted in the frenzied cry of the multitude," Crucify Him, crucify Hirn ! " He came that whosoever might believe in Him shouldnot perish but have everlasting Hfe. But the attainment 20
  20. 20. The "New Church Uof everlasting life necessitated the more or less painful laying down of the earthly life, for His sake. He came that we might have peace after couillct, but the conflict must come first. He said, "He that loseth his life for my sake shallfind it." But the great purpose of His coming-as to which there can be no question in any mind-was " to save His people from their sins." It was the purpose of SALVATION ! The Church, as with one voice, proclaims this; andthe world also acknowledges it. For if Christianity is tohave any meaning, for us or for the world, it is summed up in the word, " Salvation." But as to the nature of the Salvation for which Jesuscame, what it involves and how it is accomplished, theremay be many questions. And on this subject the NewChurch has much to say that is both new and true­rational, practical, and at the same time entirely Scriptural.It shows very definitely what Jesus came to do; andwhat He is doing now; it teaches what Salvation actuaHyis. It does this negatively; and it does it positively. Ittells us definitely what Salvation is not 1 It declares Salvation to be no mere deliverance fromthe consequences of sin. Jesus did not come into the worldto save sinners from suffering the results of their wrong­doing; He came to save them from sinning. He cameto prevent them from doing wrong. "The soul thatsinneth, it shaH die" was declared by the mouth of Hisprophet long years before He came. His coming did notmake the declaration any less true. It is not less true forus to-day. "Sin when it is finished bringeth forth death "-not the death of the body, which is quite anotherthing, but the death of the soul. Death for the soul isalienation from its Source; it is being, as it were, cutoff from God. Even as to live is to be in communion withHim. The death of the body is the souls release; it is ajoyous birth into the spiritual world. 21
  21. 21. The "New Church " Salvation is deliverance, not from penalties of sin, butfrom love of evil and from aU desire to do the wrong. The New Church teaches that a saving faith is to believein the Saviour. To believe in Him is to have confidencethat He will save. And as none can have this confidencebut those who make the effort to do His commandments,this also is included. There is no saving faith that excludesor ignores the life of obedience, which consists in thecontinuaI effort of shunning evils as sins against God. Jesus came into the world " not to caU the righteous,but sinners to repentance." Repentance precedes Salva­tion. Repentance is more than confession of sin; it ismore than contrition for having sinned or even thantrusting in the Saviours grace. It is the personal abhor­rence and avoidance of sin. Until this is realized therecan be no Salvation for any one. , Jesus came as "the Saviour of the world." He wasthis to the extent that by Him Salvation was made possiblefor aU; whosoever wiU may receive it. But it does notfoUow that the world is therefore saved. He is theRedeemer of the world. Every member of the race,without exception, whatever his birth, heredity, environ­ment, religion or state of life may be, is a subject ofthe Redemption Jesus wrought. This redemption waswrought, once for aU, in subduing the powers of heU,so that men couId no longer be coerced or dominated byheUish influence beyond their ability to resist. Theredemption wrought by Jesus set men for ever spirituallyfree; it secured to them the liberty of thought and will,that in the hour of temptation they might choose life andnot death. But Redemption did not save them 1 It only madetheir Salvation possible. It prepared the way. No mancan be saved against his will, or without his willing co-operation. None can be delivered until they choose.Salvation cornes in the fulfilment of the Divine covenant.And the covenant is in the Ten Commandments. " Ifthou wouldest enter into life," the Saviour said, " keep 2.2.
  22. 22. The" New Church"the commandments." To enter into life, and to be saved,are the same. J es,us " did not come to caU the righteous "; for theywho daim that title are without the sense of sin. Theyare the self-righteous, and the self-righteous are theself-deceived. They know no need of repentance. Theyhave no ears to hear the Saviours caU. The New Church teaches that the ATONEMENT madeby Jesus was a reconciliation not of God to man, butof man to God. It dismisses altogether, as unworthy andeven blasphemous, the idea of a God offended andestranged, needing to be reconciled, willing to accept thesacrifice of the Innocent for the guilty and to admit mento heaven on the basis of a vicarious act. It maintains,with overwhelming confirmation from the inspired Word,that He who came in love and pitY to redeem and savemankind was no other than the Omnipotent Being who created the heavens and the earth; who is and who wasand who is to come, the Almighty. There is no other God. "l, even l, am J ehovah," is His word, "and beside Me there is no Saviour." The New Church teaches that we share in this Atone­ ment to-day, not through the blood of Christ, understood in any merely literaI or historical sense; not, that is to say, by His death upon the Cross, which was the last of the temptation trials by which He brought His earthly labours to a dose. But we are saved by His Blood in the purely sacramental sense, whereby that blood becomes identified with Life itself, and with the revealed Truth of which the eartWy life of Jesus was the completely adequate expression. He caUed Himself "The Truth." And "he that drinketh My blood," He said, "hath eternal life." We are saved to-day to the extent in which we receive His Truth, foUow Him in that life, and are daily guided by Him in thought and word and deed. 23
  23. 23. The" New Church U Providence and Chance Milton prefaced his Paradise Los! with the prayer, What in me ig dark Illumine, what is low raise and support; That to the height of this great argument 1 may assert etemal Providence, And justify the ways of God to men.And Shakespeare wrote, Theres a divinity that shapes our ends, Rough-hew them how we will. The ways of God are ways of Providence. And Pro..;vidence is the Divinity that shapes our ends, even fromthe beginning. Among the distinctive messages of the New Churchto the world its teaching with respect to the DivineProvidence has a foremost place. Nothing more com­forting, satisfying and tranquillizing to the believing spiritcould weil be imagined. To those who can receive it itbrings peace in the midst of the turmoil and stress ofdaily life; peace to the troubled heart. Peace. perfect peace. our future ail unknown ? Jesus we know; and He is on the throne 1 That He is on the throne of the universe we areassured; the government is upon His shoulder, and Hisname is Prince of peace. He has ail power in heaven andon earth. The New Church teaches that the Divine Providencecontrols all things, from the least to the greatest, fromcentre to circumference; and that nothing can happen inthis or any other world apart from its jurisdiction; itdeclares that there is no such thing as Chance. Chance is a phantom; the substanceless creation of aninfatuated mind. Z4
  24. 24. The" New Church" According to the literaI meaning of the term, Provi­dence is the seeing of things before they come intoexistence; it is Foresight. Providence on the part of God becomes prudence onthe part of man. Human prudence involves so methingof foresight; we have the capacity to anticipate events.And we find it an extremely useful capacity; we exerciseit freely in all our affairs. Without foresight the businessworld would soon be in confusion. But with all itsusefulness, and our dependence upon it, we are sadlyconscious of its limitations; we are rarely, if ever, quitesure of it. Foresight with us is largely guesswork. Weassume from past experience that things will take a certaincourse. Alas, too often we have to admit ourselves mis­taken ; even the wisest among us errs. Life, we say, isfull of surprises, pleasant and unpleasant-the unpleasantseeming to outnumber the pleasant. Which is a faithless,and surely a false conclusion to come to, due largely, ifnot altogether, to our unhappy habit of paying moreattention to the unpleasant, taking the agreeable forgranted, and forgetting how much we have to be thankfulfor in "the trivial round, the common task "; in theenjoyment of food and sunshine, sleeping and waking,the ability to see, to hear, and to remember. Providence is Foresight; and something more. Whenwe speak of Divine Providence we imply not only Fore­sight but Over-sight, and Through-sight; not only theDivine Seeing but the Divine Doing; arranging, devis­ing, restraining, impelling; a continuaI preparation forall that is to come. Providence sees the end from thebeginning-that is, not merely in time but from eternity-and makes ready for it; causing all earthly circum­stance and events to work together for eternal good. Now the end, foreseen and provided from the begin­ning, is nothing else than a happy people, a heaven ofangels from the human race, a place in realms of joy forall. This is the thing anticipated, proposed, and renderedpossible. For this we were created, and are now sustained ; c 25
  25. 25. The "New Church ttand there is nothing that can by any possibility happento any one of us that is not either designed or perrnitted,6tted and directed to the furtherance of this great project,no matter how unfavourable it may appear to be. Pro ­vidence secures to each the requisite opportunity and theurge; it even brings pressure to bear-short of com­pulsion. The Divine Providence cannot compel. For tocompel would be to destroy; compulsion would defeatthe end. Only that which is effected in freedom remainswith a man. There is no place in heaven for those whohave not freely chosen it and are prepared to 611 it. Forheaven is made for man; even as man is made for heaven.There are no angels there who were not once human beingslike ourselves living on earth. Angels are not anotherorder of creation. "Angels are men, in lighter habitsclad; and men are angels loaded for an hour." Heaven is made for man; but man must do his partin getting to it. It is a covenanted mercy, to be realizedthrough co-operation. Neither God alone, nor man alone,is able to accomplish it; but the two together; oneacting and the other reacting; the Divine proposing andthe human being disposed. The invitation is given," Come unto Me. Ail things are now ready. Behold lstand at the door and knock; if any man will open thedoor, l will come into him and sup with him, and hewith Me." There is nothing between them but the door,which only man can open. " They who are in the stream of the Divine Providence,"we read in the work by Swedenborg on this subject," are borne continuaily towards happiness, whatever mayhe the arpearance of the means; and they are in thestream 0 Providence who put their trust in the Divine,and attribute all things to Him." They who are in the stream of Providence are at peace,whatever may be the appearance of the means. Theappearance is not always what one would choose; often,alas, it is quite otherwise. "God moves in a mysteriousway His wonders to perform." In the world only those 26
  26. 26. The "New Church ..things that seem favourable to our desires are accounted"Providential." When threatening troubles are averted,or dangers escaped, we speak of a "Providential" de­liverance. And it is right that we should do so. For thedeliverance is surely from above. AU good is from theLord alone. And aU tbat is from Him is fortunate. Butwhat one bas to remember is that Providence may be noless in what seems to us unfortunate, even to the extreme.The most unfortunate of happenings may prove occasionsof the greatest blessing. When troubles and disappoint­ments come, it may seem that Providence has failed. Butthe truth is, Providence never fails 1 it is only we whofail at times to appreciate the issue. It is hard for most of us to realize that we are not inthis world merely to get what we would like; we arehere rather to get experience and discipline; we are hereto be prepared for things to come. Providence bas us inits care. Providence sees the way. It has the necessaryforesight; and it commands the means. Jesus said, " Thevery hairs of your head are aU numbered." By the hairsof the head are signified the least things of human life.To be numbered is to be known. "He knoweth ourframe; He remembereth." "There is not a word in ourtongues, but 10, 0 Lord, Thou knowest it altogether." The Divine Providence is the government of the DivineLove and the Divine Wisdom. It is not a matter of interference, or of any mereintervention, either in human affairs or in the order ofNature. The universe as we know it, as every intelligent andtruly rational mind perceives it, as science has discoveredit to us, and as every tireless investigator into the morerecondite things of Nature invariably assumes, is nohaphazard affair. Things did not faU fortuitously, we maybe sure, into the amazing relation and perfect adaptation ofparts-the interdependence-in which we find them.Everything is seen to be connected, mutuaUy supporting,and harmoniously working to a common end. Every­ 27
  27. 27. The" New Church"where we are enabled to trace the features of a consistentscheme; design is manifest throughout; purpose isassumed; Infinite Wisdom is displayed. Nature isnothing else than a theatre or stage on which the opera­tions of a Wisdom passing aU understanding are exhibitedfrom day to day. And surely not less evident, to those who have eyes tosee, is the universality of Divine government in theaifairs of men. Just at the time when events occur wemay be too near the circumstances to see the trend orto recognize the directing and controlling Hand. But aswe look back upon the past the vision clears. Othe wondrous Loving-kindness Planning, working out of sight 1 How wisely we have aU been led, despite our way­wardness 1 How lovingly we have been guided andprevented, along the earthly road 1 But while it is comforting to know that nothing canby any means happen to one apart from the DivineProvidence, it is not therefore to be concluded that what­ever cornes is according to the will of God. For thiswould be a serious mistake. Things certainly happen, ona large scale and a smaU, at home and abroad, that are notat aU as He would have them, or as they would be, if wewere diiferent. Things come to us according to our needof them. Is it not from sorne recognition and acknowledg­ment of this fact that George Bernard Shaw has writtenin his mordant way, "Every drunken skipper trusts toProvidence. But one of the ways of Providence withdrunken skippers is to run them on the rocks"? Provi­dence does not run even drunken skippers on the rocks,but it permits sorne of them to get there at times. The trials and the mishaps, the disappointments oflife, are things permitted; but they are never sent. Al!that is sent us is for gladness and delight. Fain would theHeavenly Ruler make smooth the way before us, Hewouldbrighten al! the path in which we rove. The 28
  28. 28. The" New Church "troubles and the sorrows of our experience He permits,as not being quite preventable; yet are they permittedonly to the extent in which they may b~ of use as meanstowards a happier time in stdre. They who truly and devoutly put their trust in DivineProvidence are in its stream. They go with it; they arecarried along by its beneficent current. They meet thefuture-all unknown-without a fear. For" Jesus they know; and He is on the throne." 29
  29. 29. The "New Church" The Second Coming of the Lord It is usual to think of the promised Second Coming ofthe Lord as still awaiting fuIfilment in the dim and distantfuture; and as an event involving catastrophic happen­ings in the visible universe; a grand finale in the cosmicplay, and a " last day " for all. This has been concludedfrom a literaI interpretation of the answer given by Jesusto the question of His disciples. "Tell us, when shallthese things be? and what shall be the sign of Thy coming,and of the end of the world ? " The New Church teaches that this conception is basedupon a misunderstanding of the Scripture; that what issaid in Matthew is to be understood spiritually andmetaphorically rather than naturally or literally; that theSecond Coming of the Lord has already occurred; notin any spectacular, or physical manner, but in the openingof the spiritual sense of the Word, whereby He is enabledto come in the fullest and most directly possible way tothe enlightened consciousness of the individual sou!.It assures us that He has fulfilled His promise and isstill fulfilling it in individual experience; and that Hewill continue to fulfil it thus in the experience of ailwho are ready to receive Him, through time and toeternity. The Second Coming of the Lord is a distinctly spiritualeventl To look for spectacular happenings or dramatic demon­strations is to be in danger of missing the experiencealtogether. Just as the manner of His First Coming was50 different from all human expectation, that when ittook place there was hardly a soul to recognize the fact ;so with the second. And still with respect to it may itbe said: "The light shineth in darkness; and the dark­ness comprehendeth it not." He was in the world, and 3°
  30. 30. The "New Church "the world was made by Him, and the world knew Himnot. He came unto His own and His own received Himnot. But as many as received Him, to them gave Hepower to become the sons of God, even. to them thatbelieve on His name." Even the First Coming of the Lord is an event still inprocus 1 In the work entitled The True Christian Religion,Swedenborg has written, " The Lord is present with everyman and is urgent to be received; and when a manreceives Him, which he does by acknowledging Him tobe his God, his Creator, Redeemer and Saviour, it isthen His nrst advent." Regarded in the light of this statement, the First Comingceases to be a mere historical and local event and takeson a universal and timeless character. It happens daily.It is accomplished in the acceptance of the inspired record,in the experience of aU who acknowledge Jesus to betheir God. To those who are brought to believe theGospel story He cornes afresh. "It is then His nrstadvent," in their experience. And in making thus His First Advent the promise isrenewed, that He will come again 1 The Second Coming of the Lord is not to be thoughtof as any mere repetition of the nrst. He does not do thesame thing twice. What He does He does once for ail.Yet the fact rernains that in doing things once He is doingthemall the while; they continuaUy recur. For He is "thesame yesterday, to-day, and for ever." He cannot change;He does not cease at any time to be or to do; He is likethe sun which goes on shining ail the while. He is "theFather of lights, with whom is no variableness, neithershadow of turning." His First Advent was predieted by seers and prophetsthrough long ages. That Jehovah-God, the Creator ofthe universe, would eventuaUy visit the earth and showHimself in Human Form, was known and believed bythe instructed people of the earliest cimes. The needof such a happening was foreseen, and the necessary 3I
  31. 31. The "New Church "provision made; accredited messengers were sent fromtime to time to prepare the way. Not to meet an unexpected crisis, and not into a whoHyunexpectant world did the Promised One appear. It is true that He found darkness when He came;gross darkness covered the people. Yet even in the dark­ness there were eyes straining upwards to the light;inheritors of ancient wisdom watched the heavens for asign; there were those who waited patiently for theconsolation of Israel. Some there were who proved ready to follow Him at aword. And there was Mary, the humble and the willinghandmaid of the Lord. These formed a nucleus of reception. To these He came.With these His First Advent was begun. Through themit cornes to us. As with the First Advent, so with the Second; it wasan event foretold. Jesus said to His disciples, "1 willcome again and receive you unto Myself." That His disciples remembered His words, and wereexpectant of a fulfilment, is quite evident. As He sat uponthe Mount of Olives they came to Him saying, " Tell us,when shaH these things be ? and what shaH be the sign ofThy coming?" And He answered them in strange,apocalyptic manner. The sun, He told them, would bedarkened, and the moon would fail to give her light, thestars would fall from heaven and the powers of theheavens would be shaken. And then would appear thesign of the Son of Man in heaven, and they would see Himcoming in the clouds ofheaven with power and great glory. Where were the heavens in which these extraordinaryhappenings were to take place? Were they in the skies ofNature? " The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation;neither shaH ye say, Lo here, or 10 there. For behold theKingdom of God is within you." It is within that onemust look, and not outside, for the phenomena of theKingdom, and for aH the signs of the coming of the 32
  32. 32. The "New Church"King. It is here that He will keep His promise; it ishere that He has kept it. For" Now iJ the lime ofthe SecondComing of the Lord! " Lo, He cames, in cIouds descending 1 The " douds " that carry Him are not in space but inthe Word; they are its literaI messages; the adum­brations of ancient prophecy; the obscurities of itsnatural sense. And they are also the like obscurities andadumbrations in the minds of those who so dimly appre­hend Him-minds shadowed and bewildered by theconcealing circumstances of time and sense. The heavens also, in which the sign of His SecondComing appears, are tobe recognized in the Book thattells of Him, that shows His face and brings to us theconsciousness of His love and power. They are wherewe 6nd ourselves as we read it, most near to Him; inthe gracious sphere of His Presence, with minds enlight­ened by His truth; exalted and strengthened by HisSpirit; where eyes that once were blind now see, and theinmost prayer of the heart has been answered: "Evenso come, Lord Jesus 1" o send Thy Spirit, Lord, now unto mc ; And do Thou touch mine eyes, and make me sec 1 Show me the truth concealed within Thy Word, That in Thy Book revealed 1 sec Thee, Lord- Where the satis6ed heart makes thankful confession: Here, 0 my Lord, 1 see Thee, face to face: Here faith can rouch and handle things unseen ; Here 1 would grasp with finner hand Thy grace, And ail my weariness upon Thee Jean. " Lord, how is it that Thou wilt manifest Thyself untous, and not unto the world ? " His disciples asked. Andthey were answered, "If a man love Me, he will keepMy words; and My Father will love him, and We willmake Our abode with him." Wherever He is truly loved, and His words are faith­fully kept, He takes up His abode. He cornes to receiveHis own unto Himself. H
  33. 33. The "New Church" Would spectacular happenings in the skies, or llmongthe douds of Nature, a reeling universe, a darkenedworld bring assurance of greater actuality ? Does not the inward experience provide its own entirelyadequate conviction? He has come again ( His First Coming was and is of necessity to sense per­ception 1 To the bar of sense perception ail things mustfirst be brought. From the testimony of the senses we aUbegin to learn. We use our eyes and ears, they give us thestarting-point of knowledge. But they do not carry one very far. Other faculties andendowments must be brought to bear on matters fortheir correction, and for their indefinite extension. We acquire our acquaintance with things from without;but if we are to know them truly we must learn them again,from within. Everything must come to us a second time,not by mere repetition but by another route, before it canbecome our very own, or enter and dweU within us. The nrst time it is a matter of memorizing; the secondit is a matter of life. The first time it is the natural mindalone that is engaged; the second, it is the spiritualmind in charge. The nrst time it is a question of believingin what we see and handle or can form a natural conceptionof; the second rime it is a perception or a realization ofthe invisible and enduring things of God. Jesus comes into the world a first time for aUI Whenthe story of His coming is received, and the confessionmade, tbat He who was born in Bethlehem was veritablyGod, the timeless miracle of the ages has been wrought incime; the central happening of bistory is realized. TheLord is then present with man, saying, "1 will comeagain, and receive you unto Myself." He must come again, in power and in glory, that wemay behold Him from within, in that spaceless place ofthe spirit where every eye may see Him, as in His trans­figuration with Face sbining as the sun and raiment as 34
  34. 34. The "New Church "the light; even as He appeared to John in Patmos, witheyes as a Rame of tire, saying, "1 am Alpha and Omega,the Beginning and the Ending, who is, and who was, andwho is to come." He must come again that we may look on Him withspiritual eyes; that we may hear Him with the quickenedears of the spirit; and touch .Him with the extendedhand of faith and of will to personal service, recognizingand acknowledging Him as our only Lord and God, " ToWhom be glory and majesty, dominion and power bothnow and ever, Amen." 3j
  35. 35. The" New Church" Life after Death The New Church teaches the unbroken continuity of Life after Death ! It gives the assurance that there is no such thing as death,in the sense of lifes extinction; death is a passage from one experience of life to another; it is a change of state. There is no end to life. It thus confirms the well-known lines of Longfellow;" There is no death; what seems so is transition." Butit carries the poets vision a little further in declaringthat what seems death is not merely a transition but anexaltation, an immeasurable opening out and lifting upof life. What we calI death is but the removal of an encum ­brance, the setting aside of what has usefully served, buthas now ceased to be of use. The body laid in the graveat death is but a covering that was lent for use in theworld; it is committed to the dust, as being itself of thenature of the dust; it is no part of the living man. Manhimself is a spiritual and immortal being, made after theimage and likeness of his Creator. God Himself, we are told, is a Spirit. A spirit is no mere wraith or ghost; but a fully equippedand substantial being, in organic form. A spirit has eyesto see with, and ears to hear with; it is endowed withevery sense and faculty which we associate with the ideaof a man. A spirit has hands and feet; a heart and brain.There is, in short, no difference at all between a man anda spirit, except that man, while he is in the world, has aninstrumental material frame by means of which he is ableto have commerce with material things. AH that is livingin him; aH that is conscious and effective, belongs to thespirit, even while it functions and manifests itself in thematerial body. The instrumental frame, with every organ ;6
  36. 36. The" New Church"and aptitude for use, is shaped and distinguished in allparts, and given efficiency, from the spirit within. In aword, the flesh owes everything to the spirit; while thespirit owes nothing to the flesh save a debt of gratitudefor temporary assistance. Apart from the flesh the spirit is still a man, lackingnothing essential to his existence as a man; he hears andsees precisely as before, only more acutely; he thinksand feels exactly as before, only more intensely; hemoves about as before, only more easily and swiftly,relieved of the handicap of physical weariness and fatigue.He derives his life from Life Itself, just as he did before.How should he be or feel any different ? Physical death is deliverance from the burden of aframe no longer capable of résponding to the behests ofthe spirit, and which has thus become a hindrance insteadof a help. Physical death is this indeed; but it is more: it isliberation for the spirit; it is mans entrance upon a widerfield, a more interior and therefore higher and moreperfect plane of living. Death brings us swiftly nearer tothe heart of things, and to the Living Source from whichail our ability and ail our vitality are derived. The New Church not only teaches the endless con­tinuity of life; it also proclaims the nearness and realityof the spiritual world. The truth that there are two worlds, one natural andthe other spiritual, one temporal and the other eternal, isa necessity of thought, as weil as of life. For we are livingin these two worlds even now. There is the world ofNature of which we are aware; it lies outside of us.ltis the realm of material things, a universe of measurabletime and space. In it alone the eartWy body dwells. TheeartWy body occupies a measure of space; it exists in ameasure of time; it is limited and conditioned by theseat every point. It is held subject to the so-called laws ofNature. It breathes the air; it is warmed by the sun­shine; it is fed and nourished by material bread. 37
  37. 37. The "New Church " Not so the spirit. The spirit lives and moves and hasits being in a realm that is in all respects distinct. Thespirit occupies no space. It is affected by no time. Ithas food to eat that the body knows not of. No circum­stance of matter has ever entered into the realm of thought.The extent of human love is neither ascertained nordetermined by any physical scale. Hearts are not to beestimated according to the foot-rule. For the simple reason that the spirit belongs to anentire1y different sphere; it has its own peculiar worldto live in, and is subject ooly to the special laws, thecircumstances and conditions of that world. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body;there is a natural world, and there is a spiritual world.We are living in the spiritual world even now, as to ourspirits; ooly withheld from the immediate conscious­ness of the fact by our prevailing physical sensations. You do not see the spiritual world because you arelooking through the eyes of the flesh 1 They blind youfor the time being to its existence. The New Church teaches the reality of the spiritualworld. It is the realm in which ail who have passed fromthis world are now living. It is no realm of shadows ;but is peopled by men and women like ourse1ves-notghosts, not disembodied spirits, but substantial men andwomen, as real and as human, as capable as any of thosewith whom we are now in daily conscious association. It teaches that we are irnmortal; destined to live forever, by virtue of the amazing fact that we have beencreated capable of knowing and loving our God 1 Toknow Him is life everlasting. In this capacity we are discretely separated and eternallydistinguished not ooly from one another but from everyother form of life. Ail life is one, in the sense that it hasa cornmon Source; it is derived from Him who has lifein Himself. In the opening of His hand the desire of everyliving thing is satisfied. Thus the life of the animal andof the vegetable is as truly a life derived from Him as is ~8
  38. 38. The "New Church "the life of man. But in the case of the man tbere is recep­tion and response, a capacity of will and understanding­of willing good and understanding truth-of knowingand loving-Iacking in the lower creation. " Unless above himself he can erect himself, how poora thing is man," the poet wrote. He wrote in this, perhaps,more truly than he knew. For it is in the possession ofthis ability of apprehending and aspiring to what is"above himself" that man is distinctly man. What is" above himself" is God. It is from this distinguishingability that he alone, among created things, may be saidtruly to live. Ali other things exist. Life is something more than existence. Life itself islove. And He who is Love Itself is Life. The life of man is nothing but his love. It is from lovethat we are actuated and impelled to think, to purposeand to carry purpose into effect; by love we aresustained. Our aspirations and desires are nothingbut the activities of love. If love were to cease withinus we should immediately cease to be. Love is ourvery life. From this alone-because the love that is our life isactualiy not only a derivation from, but a response to,the Divine love-we are immortal. The New Church teaches that aU who love goodnessand truth, and are in the effort to do right according totheir opportunities, to act unselfishly, from a principle oflove to God and their neighbour, go to heaven whenthey leave this world. They take their own heaven withthem where they go. Wherever they find themselveshereafter it is heaven. For heaven, we are assured, is primarily and essentialiya state of mind and life; and only secondarily a place.The place is a projection of the state. Angels live in thernidst of beautiful surroundings, surpassing aU descrip­tions, because they themselves are beautiful within; theyhave love1y minds. The surroundings reflect and giveexpression to their loveliness. 39
  39. 39. The" New Church" It is quite impossible for any one to go to heavenunless heaven is within him. AB have been created by the Lord for heaven; butaH, alas, do not go to heaven. They go where their loveleads them! They who love evil gravitate to heH; theyare not sent there; but move thither of their own accord;they seek the company of their kind. To be with their kind does not give loyers of evilhappiness. For only they who are in heaven are reaHyhappy. But it makes them somewhat less miserable. HeHneed not be thought of as a place of torture; except forthose who fil1d pleasure in torturing others. The punish­ments of heH are self-inflicted. AH evil tends to punishitself. God is no punisher; for He is Love itself and Mercyitself. He seeks to comfort and to bless even the evil­doer; He mitigates sufferings, and makes existence evenin the lowest heH a thing that may be borne. For the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to ever­lasting, and it is over aH His works. 40
  40. 40. The" New Church" The Day of Judgment The New Church teaches that Judgment is essentiaUythe disclosing of character. In the Epistle to the Hebrews it is written, "It isappointed unto men once to die, but after this the judg­ment." The passage is familiar to most of us, fromfrequent quotation. It gives convenient expression totwo widely recognized and accepted truths: (1) that wemust aU die; and (2) that we must aU be judged. Mter death cornes the J udgment. But what is the Judgment ? In the Gospel of Matthew we find what purports to bea description of the Last J udgment. The picture therepresented is that of a King seated on a throne with aHnations gathered before him to be separated, " as a shep­herd divides his sheep from the goats." In the separationthe sheep are set on the right hand of the throne, but thegoats on the left. Those on the right hand are caUed toinherit the kingdom prepared for them from the founda­tion of the world; while those on the left are dismissedinto everlasting nre. It is an impressive picture, and in sorne respects aformidable one; it terrifies. Other pictures, even moreformidable and terrifying, appear in the Revelation ofJohn. Are we to take these inspired pictures as presenta­tions of literai fact ? We are told concerning Jesus that He spoke at aUtimes in parables; "for without a parable spake He notunto them." Nowa parable is admittedly "an earthlystory with a heavenly meaning "; in other words it is astatement of spiritual truth in terms of natural fact, or,as we say, "according to correspondence." Correspondence is the relation in which aU natural thingsstand to their spiritual causes. D 4I
  41. 41. The" New Church" The Word throughout, we are assured, is written" according to correspondence." Jesus spoke in terms ofcorrespondence. John also wrote his Revelation in sirnilarterms. What he describes for us so dramaticaHy is aseries of spiritual events or experiences portrayed inrepresentative eartW y forms. Now it is to be understood that aH spiritual eventshave relation to and actuaHy take place in the mind; theyhave nothing whatever to do with the body, or withNature, or with the things of space and time. John was in the spirit when he had his visions, as aHthe prophets were. We also must be in the spirit if weare to see what they denote. To be " in the spirit" is to be dissociated in thoughtfrom aH that is olltside; and to be concentrated upon whatis within. The Judgment, and aH that is connected with it, takesplace in the realm of spiritual experience, which is withinthe mind. Whether we say the spirit, or the mind, or the soul ofman, or the very man himself, it is the same. Jesus said, "For judgment l am come into the world."But He also declared, "I judge no man. If any manhear My words, and believe not, l judge him not: forl came not to judge the world, but to save the world.He that rejecteth Me . . . hath one that judgeth him:the word that l have spoken, the same shaH judge him inthe last day." By " the word that l have spoken " is to be understoodthe Truth itself. There is no other judge but Truth. AHthings are judged, righteously,from the standpoint ofTruth.A man of sound judgment is one who knows Truth, andforms his conclusions from it. AH Truth is of the mind. When ones mind is equipped with Truth it sits, as itwere, upon a throne; high and lifted up, to see thethings that are beneath it; and it sees them there in theirrelation one to another; thus it has circumspection; itis a wise judge. 42
  42. 42. The "New Church" So when we are lifted up after death, to see things inthe light of Truth, and thus to know them for what theyreaUy are, we shaUlook at them not " as through a glassdarkly, but face to face"; not as they who know onlyin part, but knowing even as we are known. We shaUknow ourselves; stripped of aU pretences and aU cover­ings; with our illusions dissipated and our conceits dispeUed. We shaU have one that judges us: even theWord that He has spoken-the Truth that is in us. Judgment hereafter is the process-begun and continued even in this world-of the disclosing of character, and iti s the discovering of what we actually are! It is the discovering also of our kindred, and of our final place. For in the other world there is no mixing of the kinds. "Birds of a feather flock together." This is a spiritual as weU as natural law. Inevitably we gravitate, each to the company and quarters of those who are most like ourselves. For only with these can we enter into any­ thing approaching to a state of satisfaction and of rest ; only there we settle down. The settlement is not to be accomplished aU at once; only by degrees is the full discovery made; only graduaUy are the coverings removed and the hidden things exposed. The length of the process is according to the nature and extent of our cherished self-deceptions. Sooner or later for aU, in that intermediate realm into which we are introduced immediate1y the earthly veil is rent, the experience cornes, "There is nothing covered that shaH not be revealed; neither hid that shall not be known." 43
  43. 43. The" New Church" The Christian The New Church teaches that He only is a Christian who lives as a Christian! In other words, it puts the whole significance of the proudtide, and the justification for its use, not in creed, nor inany kind of Hp profession, but in the aetuaHties of dail y life 1 It caHs to our remembrance, with renewed emphasisand a persistence that is never satisfied, the teaching ofthe W ord-made-flesh: "If ye know these things, happyare ye if ye do them "; "Not every one that saith untoMe, Lord, Lord, shaH enter into the kingdom of heaven ;but he that doeth the will of My Father who is in heaven " ;" He that doeth truth cometh to the light." , And it proclaims again the message of the prophetMicah: "He hath showed thee, 0 man, what is good ;and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly,and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy GÇ>d?" What is it to live as a Christian? Surely it is above aUthings to obey the law of love. Jesus said, "A newcommandment l give unto you, That ye love one another ;as l have loved you, that ye also love one another. Bythis shaH aH men know that ye are My disciples." 44
  44. 44. The "New Church" A Fulfilment of Prophecy It is claimed for the New Church that it is itself thefulfilment of the Scripture: "And 1, John, saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of Heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband" ; and also of the promise: "Behold, l make aH things new." Scripture is fulfilled when its inner content has beenrealized; it is accomplished in the experience of thedeveloping human soul. The essence of aB Scripture, God-inspired, is Revela­ tion; and Revelation is the opening of faculty, it is beinggiven 10 see ! There is no Revelation of things on the natural plane; nor any fulfilment of prophecy to be looked for there. Jesus said, "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shaB ye say, Lo here ! or, 10 there ! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." In the Holy City, New Jerusalem, seen by John as coming down from God out of heaven, the kingdom of God-the ceaseless topie and the end in view in aB ourLords teaching-is envisaged and presented in figure. Inthe figure of a city it should not be difficult to see therepresentation of a Church. For a city is a complex ofhuman relationships and activities; it is essentiaBy a com­munity of life. The Holy City is the ideal Community,the perfect human life; it is the achievement of thatFellowship of the Spirit for which the Church exists, andof which it is, ideally, the embodiment. And in the figure of the Bride adorned for her Husband,the symbolism of a Church is hardly less manifest; theWoman is the Church in relation to the Divine Beingwho has caBed it into existence, who bestows upon it aUits beauty, and inspires it with His life. If the existence of a New Church in the world is 45
  45. 45. The" New Church"conceivable; if the possibility of such a thing is aUowed,this claim to be the ful@ment of Scripture can hardlybe rejected: if there is, or can ever be, a New Church inthe world, it must be this, it can be nothing less. If there is a New Church in the world to-day--and hesurely would be presumptuous indeed who would denythe possibility-its newness will be seen, and provedbeyond aU controversy, in the fact that it reveals newthings, which are also true things; new readings of the lifeinspiring and sustaining Word; new visions of the worldto come; "new thoughts of God, new hopes of heaven." It will show itself to be the Church of the new man,who is renewed in knowledge after the image of Himthat created him. 46
  46. 46. The" New Church" The Creed of the New Church1, l BELIEVE that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is the one God of heaven and earth, the Creator and Preserver of aU things. 2. 1 believe that our Lord Jesus Christ came into theworld for our redemption, and is now making His SecondAdvent through His Word with power and great glory. ;. 1 believe that the Sacred Scriptures are the inspiredWord of God, the fountain of aU wisdom for angels andmen. 4. 1 believe that, if 1 would be saved, 1 must, in theLords strength, shun aU evils as sins aga,inst Him, andwalk in the way of His Cornmandments. 5. 1 believe that when 1 die as to my natural body 1shall rise in my spiritual body in the World of Spirits,and be judged according to my works. 6. 1 believe that heaven is the home of aU who die inchildhood, and of those in every nation who fear God andwork righteousness; and that heU is the chosen abode ofthose who love evil rather than good. 7. 1 believe in the universal and constant Providenceof our Lord, whose tender mercies are over all His works. 47