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Emanuel Swedenborg

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B f barrett_a_cloud_of_independant_witnesses_the_swedenborg_publishing_association_philadelphia_1891

  1. 1. A CLOUD OFIndependent Witnesses TO THE TRUTH, VALUE, NEED, AND SPIRITUAL HELPFUL. NESS OF SWEDENBORGS TEACHINGS. BY B. F. :^ARRETT,Author of "The Golden City," "Heaven Revealed," "The New View OF Hell," " Foot-prints of the New Age," " The True Catholicism," etc. PHILADEPHIA: THE SWEDENBORG PUBLISHING ASSOCIATION, GERMANTOWN, PA.
  2. 2. -B3 G/(^ Copyright by THE SWEDENBORG PUBLISHING ASSOCIATION, 1891. • Y,^!ilivJli)irA/^ ^^^"^^PRESS OF WM. F. FELL K CO., 1220-24 SANSOM STREET, PHILADELPHIA.
  3. 3. d^ PREFACE. Let me assure the reader here, in the outset, thatthis volume has not been written in the interest of anyparticular sect or denomination, but purely in theinterest of religious liberty and unadulterated Chris-tianity. Hitherto there has prevailed throughout Christen-dom an intense prejudice against Swedenborg and histeachings, especially among ministers and churchesclaiming to be evangelical and much of this preju- ;dice still even in the most enlightened com- lingers,munities, though with its former intensity andacerbity considerably diminished. Church membersare advised by their pastors to shun the writings ofthis man and his expositors as they would shun whatthey knew to be spiritual poison ; and sometimes ex-communication threatened, and even practiced, as isthe penalty for reading and accepting the teachings ofSwedenborg. The Young Mens Christian Associ-ations generally regard Newchurchmen as non-evan-gelical, and refuse to receive them into membershipon equal terms with other Christians, however blame-less and excellent their characters as revealed in theirdaily lives. I am sure that no one who reads the followingpages can fail to see that this prejudice is utterly blind iii 383321
  4. 4. IV PREFACE.and unfounded. Its prevalence in ecclesiastical circlesisa powerful hindrance to the progress of the highestreligious truth and the growth of the best religiouslife. Those who harbor and are most zealous in it, and strengthen it, have notheir efforts to perpetuateconception of the nature of the work in which theyare engaged. Most of them, I doubt not, think that "they are really doing God service," as did the apostlePaul before his conversion, when he " shut up manyof the saints in prison, having received authority fromthe chief priests." For all such blind opponents of theNew Christianity, therefore, we can heartily join in theDivine Saviours prayer, " Father, forgive them, forthey know not what they do." Weinvite the readers special attention to the factthat not one of the witnesses here summoned is, orever has been, a member of the organization knownas the New Christian Church. Their testimony,therefore, all the is stronger for being perfectlyindependent, and not open to the suspicion of beingprompted by a sectarian spirit, or a desire to strengthenand build up a particular denomination. And it is thetestimony of men who are quite familiar with the oldtheologies — more than a hundred ministers, represent-ing ten of the leading Christian denominations most —of them well educated, having been thoroughly trainedin theological seminaries, and many of whom havepreached the old doctrines from four to forty years.Can we conceive, therefore, of more competent orreliable witnesses in a case like this, or witnesses moreworthy of an attentive hearing ? And what is their
  5. 5. PREFACE. Vuniform and concurrent testimony? Why, that theOld theologies, compared with the New as unfolded inthe writings of Swedenborg, are as the dim twilightof evening compared with the splendor of noonday. Then, look at the character of the extracts quoted two hundred pages. These, in the aggre-in the firstgate, cover all the leadingand vital doctrines of theChristian religion, and reveal also their spirit andobvious tendency. That their teaching does notchime with the creeds of two or three centuries ago,or with the still prevalent religious dogmas, is verytrue. But is unscriptural, unreasonable, un- any of itphilosophical, or detrimental to the souls orderlydevelopment and noblest growth ? Has it not a mani-festand strong tendency to draw every honest inquirernearer to the Lord, and into closer fellowship withthe angels of heaven ? These are the importantquestions, — and the reader can answer them for him-self when he shall have carefully read the book. And consider also this other fact, that some of theworks herein extensively quoted and those, too, —most thoroughly imbued with the spirit, philosophyand doctrines of Swedenborg, but whose author wasnot generally known to be a believer of his teach-ings —havereceived from the periodical press, bothreligious and secular, the highest commendation everbestowed on any religious works published in America.In confirmation of this statement, let the reader turnto pages 144, 65, ZZ. The wide acceptance of theteachings of these books is indicated by their extensivesale — very extensive for religious works " Regener- —
  6. 6. VI PREFACE. " "ation having passed through ten editions, Fore-gleams and Foreshadows of Immortality" throughfourteen^ and "The Fourth Gospel, the Heart ofChrist," through nine. We call special attention also to this other fact,that, in none of the works herein quoted, and in noneof the extracts from more than a hundred letters, isthere the least manifestation of a narrow, bigoted, orsectarian spirit, or of a purpose to disturb existingecclesiastical relations ; but instead of this the grandcatholicity of the Gospel of our Lord, and an earnestdesire for that unity among Christians of whatevername, which is sure to result from the due exaltationof charity above faith, character above creed, lifeabove doctrine. B. F. B. Germantovmy Pa.y Sept. 28th, i8gi.
  7. 7. CONTENTS. CHAPTER I. PACKTESTIMONY OF REV. JOHN CLOWES, 13 His Conversion to the New Christianity, 15 His Life and Character, 20 Mr. Nobles Estimate of Him, 23 His Address to the Clergy, 31 Their Duty to Examine These Writings, 33 A Common Objection Considered, 35 Trieir Neglect to Examine Inexcusable, 37 Existing and Groundless Prejudices, 38 Practical Value of the New Doctrines, 40 Preparation for Their Reception, 42 His Idea of the Nfiw Church, 45 CHAPTER II.TESTIMONY OF REV. EDWIN P. HOODy 51 His View of the Athanasian Creed, 52 Some Central Doctrines Discussed, 54 Regeneration, 56 The Sacred Scripture, 58 Homology and Psychology, 62 CHAPTER III.TESTIMONY OF REV. HENRY B.BROWNING, . . . 66 How to Think of God, 68 The Glorification of Christ 70 The Divine Incarnation, 7 What Is it to Love God? 71 The Influent Life of God — Its Law, 72 Human Happiness — How Attained, 73 Prayer, 74 Preparation for Heaven, 76 vii
  8. 8. viii CONTENTS. PAGE The True Worship, 77 The Law of Spiritual Growth, 78 Spiritual Liberty, 80 The Elements of Angelic Life, 81 — Angels and Their Fellowship With Men, 82 Gods Purpose in Creation, 82 Discrete Degrees in Creation, 83 A Spiritual and a Natural World, 84 Origin of Things Noxious, 84 Death and Resurrection, 85 The Judgment After Death, 88 Hell — Its Punishments Merciful, 90 Apparent Truths in Scripture, 92 Apparent Truths in Nature, 94 CHAPTER IV.TESTIMONY OF REV. T. M. GORMAN, 97 A New Theology Needed, ^ 97 The Divine Trinity, 100 — God a Divine-Human Person, loi The Three Essentials, 104 The Dogma of Faith Alone, 106 His View of Sacred Scripture, 107 The Church and Church Unity, 108 Views Accepted by Intelligent People, iii CHAPTER V. TESTIMONY OF REV. E. H. SEARS, D.D., 113 His Acceptance of the New Doctrines, 115 Becomes Senior Editor of a Religious Monthly, 117 His Three Principal Works, 119 The Holy Spirit, 120 Its General and Special Influence, 126 Some Press Notices of " Regeneration," • . . . 131 The Divine Humanity, 132 " Foregleams and Foreshadows of Immortality," 134 "Home," 135 A Few Press Notices of this Work, 143
  9. 9. CONTENTS. IX PAGE « The Fourth Gospel, the Heart of Christ," 145 Symbolic Character of Scripture, 145 Babylon and the New Jerusalem, 148 Incarnation of the Divine, 154 The Resurrection of Christ, 158 The New Jerusalem Descending, 162 The Apostolic Thrones, 163 Some Press Notices of this Work, 165 CHAPTER VI.TESTIMONY OF REV. HORACE BUSHNELL, D.D., . 169 The Old Doctrine of the Trinity, 172 The Old Doctrine of Atonement, 173 Expiation —A Pagan Doctrine, 174 The — Doctrine of Substitution A Mockery of Law and Justice, 176 Mediation and Intercession, 177 God Humanized, 178 A New Inauguration of Faith, 179 Religious Character, 180 Mans Power and Responsibility, 181 Divine Providence, 181 Character Before Creed, 182 Christian Nurture in the Home, 183 Sin Causes Bodily Disorder, 184 Correspondence Clearly Recognized, 185 Influence of Spirits — Good and Evil, 186 The Satan of Scripture, 187 A Few Press Notices, 188 CHAPTER VII.TESTIMONY OF PROF DRUMMOND, F.R.S.E., F.G.S., 189 Adulterations in Theology, 193 The Ordinary Forms of Belief, 194 Regeneration — Testimony of Science, 196 The Spiritual and Natural Man, 199 Salvation by Formula, , 200 Love is the Supreme Thing, 203 The Final Test of Religion 205
  10. 10. X CONTENTS. FAGB The Christian Life Causal —Not Casual, 206 Christ the Alpha and Omega, 209 CHAPTER VIII.TESTIMONY OF REV. GEORGE T FLANDERS, . . 212 Difficulties Finally Mastered, 213 His Idea of the Spiritual World, 216 « Other World Order," 219 A Summary of His Conclusions, 224 Little Children After Death, 226 Divine Providence, 229 The Verdict of Reason, 230 His View of the Old Creeds, 232 CHAPTER IX.MANY WITNESSES NOT YET SUMMONED, .... 234 CHAPTER X.TESTIMONY OF A HUNDRED OTHER MINISTERS, 239 Extracts from Letters of 1882, 242 " from Letters of 1883, 245 " from Letters of 1884, 250 « from Letters of 1885, 255 from Letters of 1886, 266 " from Letters of 1887, 278 " from Letters of 1888, 288 " from Letters of 1889, 297 " from Letters of 1890, 303 CHAPTER XLSWEDENBORGS PREDICTIONS, 307 Effects of the Last Judgment foretold, 307 These Predictions Verified, 309 The Nevi^ness in all Things 313 Another Prediction Fulfilled, 316
  12. 12. A Cloud of Witnesses, CHAPTER I. TESTIMONY OF REV. JOHN CLOWES. the intelligent receivers and advocates ofAMONG the doctrines of the New Church signified bythe New Jerusalem, as taught in the writings of Eman-uel Swedenborg, the name of Rev. John Clowes willever hold a conspicuous place. No man ever under-stood these doctrines more clearly than he, or receivedthem more affectionately, or imbibed and exemplifiedtheir heavenly spirit more fully, or was more zealousand active in their dissemination among the English-speaking people. He was a member of the ProtestantEpiscopal church, and Rector of St. Johns in Man-chester (England) for nearly sixty years ; and for morethan half a century he taught these doctrines openlyfrom his and delighted audiences. He pulpit, to largeconversed and lectured on them at his own house, andon all suitable occasions elsewhere. He wrote numer-ous letters about them to his friends at home and 13
  13. 13. 14 - CLQVp QF.^^WITNESSES.abroad. He translated eighteen volumes of Sweden-borgs works,* and wrote and published more thanforty of his own (great and small), in explanation andvindication of their teachings. The manner of hisconversion to the New Theology is worthy of record,and cannot failto interest every Christian believer. Itwas not less remarkable than was Pauls conversionto Christianity. Indeed, it so closely resembled thatof the great Apostle, that, viewed in connection withhis zeal and success in propagating the New Christian-ity, he may not inappropriately be called a secondPaul. Shortly after his acceptance of the Rectorship ofSt. Johns Church, Mr. Clowes formed the acquaint-ance of Richard Houghton, Esq of Liverpool, a ,gentleman of great learning and piety, and a diligentreader and enthusiastic admirer of the writings ofSwedenborg. Mr. Houghton urged him, in a manner "so affectionate, sincere and earnest, to read The TrueChristian Religion," —not then translated into Eng-lish — that he at once sent to London and purchaseda copy. But when he had procured it, he felt not theslightest inclination to read it; and it remained uponthe shelf several months unexamined and untouched.He had noticed that it treated mainly on doctrinalpoints, and in these he felt no interest. Besides, hewas well satisfied with his spiritual attainments, and
  14. 14. TES TIMONY OF RE V. JOHN CL O WES. 1 5thought he had no need to trouble or concern him-self with questions of a speculative nature, which hedid not think could add either to his sanctity or in-ward peace. "Alas!" says "I was not aware, at the time, he,either of the pearls of wisdom which I was over-looking, or of my own want of them, both for orna-ment and for use. I was deceiving myself (as is thecase, it is to be feared, with many Christians) bysupposing that had attained the highest point of IChristian purification and perfection, and was alreadyin full possession of the supreme good and the su-preme truth, without considering that the Christianlife is a continually progressive life, and that to standstill, therefore, under any present attainments, whetherof goodness or wisdom, is to change its characterfrom progressive to stagnant." HIS CONVERSION TO THE NEW CHRISTIANITY. At length a remarkable circumstance occurredwhich induced him to take up and read with careand without prejudice, the hitherto neglected vol-ume. The following is the account of it as writtenby himself: — " In the month of October, immediately succeeding
  15. 15. 1 6 A CLOUD OF WITNESSES.the spring when the True Christian Religion wasrecommended to me by my friend at Liverpool, Iwent, according to annual custom, to visit an oldcollege pupil of mine, the late Right Honorable JohnSmith, of Heath, in the county of York. On theevening before I set out, I opened the long-neglectedvolume, not with a view to read it, but merely to geta better idea of the general nature of its contents,when, in turning over the pages, I happened to castmy eye upon the term Divinum Humanum. The termappeared new and strange, but still it did not affect mymind in a manner to produce any lasting impression ;and accordingly, on shutting up the book, it seemedto be forgotten and gone. Probably, too, it wouldnever again have been recalled to my remembrancehad it not been for the following memorable cir-cumstance. "On awaking early one morning, not many daysafter my arrival at my friends house, my mind wassuddenly and powerfully drawn into a state of inwardrecollection, attended with an inexpressible calm andcomposure, into which was instilled a tranquillity ofpeace and heavenly joy, such as I had never beforeexperienced. Whilst I lay musing on this strange,and to me most harmony in the interiors of delightfulmy mind, instantly there was made manifest, in thesame recesses of my spirit, what I can call by no
  16. 16. TESTIMONY OF REV. JOHN CLOWES. 1/Other name than a divine glory, surpassing all descrip- and exciting the most profound adoration. Buttion,what seemed to me the most singular circumstanceon this occasion, was, that I was strongly impressedat the time, by a kind of internal dictate, that theglory was in close connection with that DivinumHumanum, or Divine Humanity, above mentioned,and proceeded from it as from its proper divinesource. " The glory continued during a full hour, allowingme sufficienttime both to view and analyze it. Some-times I closed my bodily eyes, and then opened themagain, but the glory remained the same. It is well,however, to be understood that there was no appear-ance presented of any visible form, but only a strongpersuasion that the glory proceeded from a visibleform, and that this form was no other than the DivineHumanity of Jesus Christ. " When the glory disappeared, as it did by degrees,I quitted my bed; but the recollection of what hadhappened attended me during the whole of the day,whether I was in company or alone and what is still ;more remarkable, the next morning on my first awak-ing, the glory was again manifested but, if possible, ;with increased splendor. Now, too, a singular effectwas produced by it upon my mind, convincing me ofthe spiritual and providential origin of what I had
  17. 17. 1 8 A CLOUD OF WITNESSES.seen, by the important end to which it pointed, andwas designed to conduct me. The effect was no otherthan the excitement of a strong and almost irresistibledesire to return home immediately, in order to enterupon a serious and attentive perusal of the neglectedvolume^ which I had left behind me. And such wasthe powerful impulse of this desire, that although Ihad intended to remain with my friend a week or afortnight longer, yet I made some excuse for quittinghis house the next day, and hastened back to Man-chester rather with the impetuosity of a lover thanwith the sedateness of a man who had no other objectof pursuit but to consult the pages of an unknownand heretofore slighted book." A sudden change in Mr. Clowes feeling toward theneglected volume, was wrought by this circumstance.He immediately felt an uncontrollable desire to readthe book. He did read it —and and delight his interestin its teachings increased with every page he read. Tocite his own words : — " It is impossible for any language to express thefull effect wrought in my mind by the perusal of thiswonderful book. Suffice it, therefore, to observe thatinproceeding from the chapter on the Creator and onCreation to the succeeding chapters on the Redeemer
  18. 18. TESTIMONY OF REV. JOHN CLOWES. 1 9and Redemption, on the Divine Trinity, on the SacredScriptures or Word of God, on the Decalogue, onFaith,on Charity, on Free-will, on Repentance, onReformation and Regeneration, on Imputation, onBaptism, on the Holy Supper, on the Consummationof the Age, the Advent of the Lord, and the New-Heaven and the New Church, it seemed as if a contin-ually increasing blaze of new and re-creating light waspoured forth on the delighted understanding, openingit to the contemplation of the most sublime mysteriesof wisdom, and convincing it of the being of a God,of the existence of an eternal world, of the interiorsanctities of the Holy Scriptures, of the true natureof creation, redemption and regeneration, in a man-ner and degree, and with a force of satisfactory evi-dence, in which those interesting subjects had neverbeen viewed before. " The mind, therefore, was no longer perplexed aboutthe proper Object of its worship, because it was en- —lightened to see clearly as by the of a meridian lightsun —that Jesus Christ Divine Humanity in his that isObject, He being the Creator from eternity, the Re-deemer in time, and the Regenerator to eternity, thuscontaining in his own Divine Person the sacred Trinityof Father, Son and Holy Spirit; the Father beinghis hidden essence, the Son his manifested existence,and the Holy Spirit his proceeding operation. In
  19. 19. 20 A CLOUD OF WITNESSES.like manner all difficulties and doubts were removedrespecting the sacred Scriptures, or Word of God,through the bright and heretofore unseen manifesta-tion of their spiritual and interior contents, by virtueof which discovery apparent inconsistencies vanished,apparent contradictions were reconciled; and whatbefore seemed and nugatory, assumed a new trivialand interesting aspect; while the whole volume ofRevelation was seen to be full of sanctity, of wisdomand of love from its Divine Author, and also to be inperpetual connection with that Author, who is itsinmost soul — its essential Spirit and Life! Such is the account which Mr. Clowes himself hasgiven of his conversion to the New Christianity, andhis intense and steadily increasing interest in the NewJerusalem verities. HIS LIFE AND CHARACTER. And what was the character of the man who relatesthis remarkable experience ? What reputation did hebear among his contemporaries and acquaintances?The fact that he was Rector of St. Johns Church formore than half a century, and retained for this wholeperiod the affection of his people in a manner almostwithout a parallel —and this, too, notwithstanding hisknown interest in the doctrines of the New Church,
  20. 20. TESTIMONY OF REV. JOHN CLOWES. 21and his zeal in disseminating them — is sufficient evi-dence on this point. Seldom has a higher tribute ofpraise been offered to the memory of any man, andnever a tribute better deserved, than that which wasspontaneously poured forth through the columns ofthe public journals at the time of his death. TheLondon Times (June 4, 183 1,) said: — " His affections were ever alive toward all who camewithin the sphere of his usefulness ; and it would havebeen any one to resist the influence of that difficult forgoodness which showed itself in all he did, or said, orlooked and to have been with him, even for a little ;while, without being impressed with a sense of theloveliness of Christian principle as it was exemplified inhim. ... In simplicity of heart, in unity of pur-pose, in the abandonment of every selfish consideration,in the unclouded and playful cheerfulness of a pure andbenevolent mind, in the ornament of a meek and quietspirit, in the beauty and happiness of genuine holi-ness, he truly adorned the doctrine of God his Saviourin all things. Those who did not know him, maybelieve this tribute to be the offspring of strongfriendship and affection ; but the many who did,will feel how inefficient must be the attempt rightlyto commemorate his admirable and truly Christianexcellences."
  21. 21. 22 A CLOUD OF WITNESSES. The Manchester Courier, in an obituary of the samedate, said : — " In recording the excellence of this venerable manand truly apostolic minister, it may be allowed tomark, as prominent features of a character in whichall was lovely, his child-like simplicity, his singlenessof heart, the elevation of his devotion, the cheerful-ness of his piety, the beauty of his hoHness, . . .the ease of his seriousness, the innocence of his mirth,the purity of his exuberant joy. " He was admirable in all the faculties and powersof an enlightened mind ; but the charm by which hewon and ruled the hearts of all, was that grace in manwhich is the nearest image on earth of a holy andmerciful God, —the boundless benevolence of a trulycatholic spirit. " This admirable person enjoyed, in a singular de-gree,through life, the respect and affection of all bywhom he was known but, in an especial manner, the ;veneration of his own flock, over which (and it was and only care of souls) he was, by Gods pro-his firstvidence, the shepherd for the very unusual term ofnearly sixty-two years."
  22. 22. TESTIMONY OF REV, JOHN CLOWES. 23 MR. NOBLES ESTIMATE OF HIM. Rev. Samuel Noble, a distinguished New Churchwriter,who was an intimate friend of Mr. Clowes, " "speaks of him as the principal instrument in ex-tending the knowledge of Swedenborgs teachingsthroughout the kingdom of Great Britain, He com-pares him with the illustrious seer, and thinks he stoodto him in a relation similar to that of Aaron to Moses.He says : " To Britons, and to all who speak the language ofBritain, he stood in a relation toward Swedenborganalogous to that which Aaron bore to Moses. Butfor him, or some other person raised to fill the officewhich he discharged so well, Swedenborg must stillhave been, to almost all, both in a natural and spirit-ual point of view, as Moses says of himself, * slow ofspeech, and of a slow tongue; — unintelligible to thegenerality, not more for the learned language in whichhe wrote, than for the elevated and abstract characterof the divine truths which he delivered. But in Mr.Clowes he found a genuine brother, —a kindredspirit, eminently qualified, as another Aaron, to be his spokesman unto the people. This character he sus-tained not only by the translation of his works fromLatin into English, which any other learned man
  23. 23. 24 A CLOUD OF WITNESSES.might, If sufficiently zealous and industrious, haveaccomplished, but by a talent for bringing down theinterior truths which they contain to the comprehen-sion of themost simple and common understanding,and presenting them in the most engaging form, evento the adapting of them for the instruction of children.It is owing, I verily believe, as its immediate cause, toour having had a Clowes, that the doctrines of theNew Church have made greater progress in England,and United States of America (the people of in thewhich are still Englishmen as to language), than inany other country upon earth. No wonder, then,if one who was to be the instrument of such exten-sive usefulness, was called to the work by as special adivine interposition as was vouchsafed to Swedenborghimself." And for more than fifty years this gifted and mostestimable man read and circulated the writings ofSwedenborg, and openly taught the doctrines they "contained as the genuine doctrines of Christianity."But he did not do it without opposition, nor withoutsome harsh treatment and bitter persecution byministers of his own denomination. At one timethere were three clergymen in his neighborhood, whoheld regular weekly meetings for the purpose of "crushing the growing heresy." The most un-
  24. 24. TESTIMONY OF REV. JOHN CLOWES. 2$founded rumors respecting Swedenborg and hisdoctrines, and the most bitter and scurrilous invec-tives, emanated from almost daily. Nor this sourcewere his persecutors content with employing theirtongues only ; they had recourse to their pens.They wrote and published a pamphlet in which theyendeavored to prove that the writings of Sweden-borg were opposed to religion and common sense.Mr. Clowes at once replied to this pamphlet. Theynext appealed to the Right Rev. Dr. Porteus, thenBishop of the Diocese, preferring, in a formal manner,the four following charges against Mr. Clowes ist; :that he denied the Trinity ; 2d, that he denied Atonement ; 3d, that he went about the countrytiQendeavoring to propagate the Netv Doctrines ; 4th,that hehad private meetings at his own house for thesame purpose. Mr. Clowes was accordingly sum-moned to appear before the Bishop to answer to thesecharges. He appeared and answered — in a manner,it is said, quite satisfactory to the Bishop, who is re- "ported to have said afterwards, that he wished therewere many more John Clowes in his diocese." Thisdamped the ardor of his persecutors ; and from thattime he was permitted to preach and publish his ownsentiments without further molestation. It was in the fourth year after his acceptance of thepastorate of St. Johns Church, that Mr. Clowes com-
  25. 25. 26 A CLOUD OF WITNESSES.menced the study of the heavenly doctrines ; andduring the remainder of his earthly life he was a dili-gent student and faithful teacher of these doctrines asexpounded by Swedenborg and unfolded from thehigher and heavenly sense of the Sacred Scriptures. " " No sooner," he says, had I finished the perusalof the True Christian Religion, than the treatise onHeaven and Hell, the Arcana Coelestia, the Apoca-lypse Revealed, the Angelic Wisdom concerning theDivine Love and Wisdom, and also concerning theDivine Providence, the Delights of Wisdom concern-ing Conjugial Love, etc., with other minor tracts bythe same author, were successively read, or rather de-voured; and as constantly excited wonder, delightand edification. At the same time a strong andardent desire was enkindled to put others in posses-sion of the same sources of heavenly intelligence;and this desire frequently, yet tacitly, expressed itselfin those words of the great Saviour, where he prays, Father that they may be with mey to behold Thy gloryJohn xvii : 24. For the whole testimony as deliveredby the messenger of the New Jerusalem verities inhis theological writings, appeared to my mind like aradiant glory from the face of Jesus Christy and repeat-edly called to my recollection the words of that in-carnate God, where, speaking of his second advent,
  26. 26. TESTIMONY OF REV. JOHN CLOWES. 27He says, * Then shall ye see the sign of the Son of mancoming in the clouds of heaven with power and greatglory! — Matt, xxiv : 30." And in his autobiography, or narrative of his reli-gious experience, written when he was seventy-fiveyears of age, and after he had experienced theenlightening and comforting influence of the truthsof the New Church for nearly half a century,he says — : " The author cannot conclude his narrative withoutoffering up to the Father of Mercies his most devoutand grateful acknowledgments for the extraordinaryprivilege and inestimable blessing vouchsafed him,inhaving been admitted to the knowledge and ac-knowledgment of the truth and importance of thedoctrines unfolded by Swedenborg from the Word ofGod, as the genuine doctrines of Christianity. Forwhat worldly glory, gain, or happiness can stand incompetition with this, —to know Jesus Christ to bethe only true God, and to be allowed to approachand worship Him in His Divine Humanity; to bedelivered thus from all perplexity as to the properobject of worship ; to see, at the same time, the di-vine volume of Revelation opened ; its interior treas-ures displayed; its evidence and authority thus
  27. 27. 28 A CLOUD OF WITNESSES.confirmed by its divine contents ; its apparent contra-dictions reconciled ; whilst all that is divine and holy,all that is good and true, all that is calculated toexcite the veneration of intelligent beings, and theaffection of penitent ones ; all, in short, that has atendency either to enlighten the human understand-ing, or to purify the human will ; either to edify, by thebright and profound lessons of divine truth, or tosoften and console by the sweet and tender influencesof the divine love, is perceived to proceed from thisDivine Fountain, as its only source ! " Yet such is the transcendent glory, gain, andhappiness imparted to every penitent and devout re-ceiver of the above heavenly doctrines. Add to this,the nearness and connection between this world andanother, demonstrated by such a weight of irresistibleevidence ; the great evangelical doctrines of faith, ofcharity, of repentance and remission of sins, of temp-tation, reformation, regeneration, the freedom of thewill opened, explained, and enforced, according totheir edifying and important meaning; the nature,also, and effect of the Last Judgment, the Lordssecond advent, and the descent of the New Jerusalem,presented to view in all the brightness and fulness oftruth, and confirmed by the testimony of the sureWord of prophecy and some faint idea may then be ;formed of the immense debt of gratitude owing at
  28. 28. TESTIMONY OF REV. JOHN CLOWES. 29this day from all the families of the earth to theirheavenly Father. " For who, except that Father, whose tender mer-cies are over allHis works, could thus cause His lightto shine in darkness, for the deliverance of His peoplefrom evil, from error, and from destruction, and, atthe same time, for the guidance of their feet into theways of righteousness, truth, and salvation ? To hispraises and most unfeigned thankfulness on this oc-casion, the author is lastly urgent to add his ardentprayers, that the above glorious light may shine inevery corner of the habitable globe, until the wholeearth becomes that blessed tabernacle of God whichwas announced to be with men, in which God willdwell and be with them their God, and wipe away alltears from their eyes. Rev. xxi : 3, 4. " Nor can he entertain a doubt but that, sooner orlater, this prayer will be fulfilled, inasmuch as theAlmighty pledged Himself for its fulfilment, whenthe seventh angel sounded, and there were greatvoices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this worldare become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of HisChrist, and He shall reign for ever and ever. Rev.xi: 15. " In the full persuasion, then, that all these gloriousthings are coming to pass, and, indeed, in some degreeare already come to pass, the author cannot express
  29. 29. 30 A CLOUD OF WITNESSES.the state of his mind in language more appropriatethan that of the devout Lord, nowman of old, Thou Thy servant depart in peace, accordinglettestto Thy word for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, ;which Thou hast prepared before the face of allpeople ; a Light to lighten the Gentiles, and the gloryof Thy people Israel. Luke ii : 29 to 33. Amen. " Glory be to God in the highest.* "Manchester, February 28, 18 18." Here we have the testimony of one of the purestand best men that ever lived, and one who was capableof judging between the Old and the New ChristianTheology. He had been familiar with the Old doc-trines from his childhood; had studied and preachedthem for several years. He understood equally well,too, the doctrines of the New Church as unfolded inthe writings of Swedenborg ; for he had made himselfthoroughly acquainted with these by long and patientexamination. And what is his testimony ? Why, thatthe Old as compared with the New, is as darkness tolight. In respect to all the great doctrines of Chris-tianity —the doctrines concerning God, the SacredScripture, the Spiritual World, Creation, Redemption,Regeneration, etc. —he confesses that the perusal ofSwedenborgs True Christian Religion had opened
  30. 30. TESTIMONY OF REV. JOHN CLOWES. 31his mind to the contemplation of sublime mysteries "of wisdom in a manner and degree, and with a forceof satisfactory evidence, in which those interestingsubjects had never been viewed before y HIS ADDRESS TO THE CLERGY, And before his death this saintly man wrote an"Affectionate Address to the Clergy," urgingthem for their own sakes as well as for the sake ofthe Lords kingdom on earth, to give the writingsof Swedenborg a patient and prayerful examination.His appeal to his brother ministers is so affectionateand earnest, and the request he makes is so reason-able, that no apology is needed for introducing liberalextracts from it here. " Rev. Brethren, —Deeply impressed with vener-ation for your sacred character as ministers of thetruth, and with as real a concern for the interests ofthat truth of which you are the ministers, I feelmyself induced by many powerful and pressing mo-tives, to call your attention for a moment to a fewconsiderations respecting the theological writings ofEmanuel Swedenborg, so far as the contents of thosewritings appear to me more immediately to affect theduties imposed on you by your holy function andhigh station.
  31. 31. 32 A CLOUD OF WITNESSES. " You are in a peculiar sense the Ministers of God,entrusted with the oracles of his Word, and commis-sioned to read, to meditate upon, to understand, topreach and explain, the laws of the eternal wisdomtherein contained. From you the people receive theinterpretation of those laws, and their understandingof them must needs, in a great measure, depend onyours. If the light which is in you be darkness, thelight which is in the people will most probably bedarkness also ; but if your bodies be full of light, itmay then be reasonably expected that those of thepeople will be likewise /^//Z of light. The state, there-fore, of religious knowledge in the land, will ever takeits standard from you, and of consequence, whatsoeveris connected with religious knowledge has a peculiarclaim upon your attention, and you must necessarilyfeel yourselves bound by every motive of duty andgood conscience to take cognizance thereof in thefear ofGod, and out of due regard to the interests ofthat truth with which you are more especially en-trusted. . . . ^The theological writings in question are confess-edly of a religious kind, treating on religious subjects ;and containing various and interesting explications ofthe Word of God, which is the divine fountain andfoundation of all religion. Much wonderful, and hith-erto hidden, information respecting religion, is brought
  32. 32. TESTIMONY OF REV. JOHN CLOWES. 33to light in them. Various religious errors are detectedand exposed, various religious truths too are mani-fested, recommended and confirmed. THEIR DUTY TO EXAMINE THESE WRITINGS. " The ministers of religion^ therefore, must needs feelthemselves particularly interested in, and in dutybound to a careful and candid examination of, thesewritings,and of the ground and reasonableness ofthose high titles by which they are announced to thepublic. And as such examination implies at leastperusal, serious attention, candor and impartiality ofjudgment, the exercise of these virtues will also beexpected from you. To condemn, therefore, or ap-prove blindly; to suffer your judgment to be influ-enced by popular prejudice, or to be determined bythe sentiments of others rather than by your own ;to be deterred from engaging in a deliberate andequitable inquiry, because you have heard the author and his works stigmatized by those who per-vilified,haps never read them, or who have an interest in con-demning them ; all this would be criminal in you, andexpose you to the censure of all wise and discerningmen, and especially of your own consciences at thathour when you appear in private before the Maker ofhearts and the Inspeptor of secret purposes. 3
  33. 33. 34 A CLOUD OF WITNESSES. " Let it be supposed for a moment, that you hadlived in Judea at the time when the incarnate Wordappeared there to give light to them who sat in darkness ;and that your names at this interesting period hadbeen enrolled in the Jewish priesthood: It is veryplain that under these circumstances your duty wouldhave called you to form a judgment of that wonderfulperson, his pretensions and his doctrine. But informing thisjudgment, would you have thought itsufficient to hearken only to the voice of the multi-tude ? ^Some said he is a good man^ and that never manspake like him ; others said nay, but he deceiveth the peo-ple ; he has a devil and mad, why hear ye him ? The isvoice of the multitude, therefore, was divided, andmight have led you right or led you wrong, accordingas you received your report from this or that quarter.But would you have thought it safe, or prudent, orconscientious, or becoming your characters as mem-bers of the Sanhedrim, entrusted with the oracles ofGod and the interpretation of prophecy and the instruc- and peculiarly called at that periodtion of the people,of time to discover the marks of Messiahship, todetect false pretenders, and point out the true Christ—would you, I say, have thought it safe and equitableunder these circumstances, to see with anothers eyes,and hear with anothers ears, instead of using yourown ? Would you not rather have thought it your
  34. 34. TESTIMONY OF REV. JOHN CLOWES. 35duty, and have made it your business, to see and hear thewonderful man yourselves ? to examine his doctrinesand pretensions impartially? to acquaint yourselveswith the tenor of his life and conversation ? to removefrom your own hearts every unreasonable suspicion,jealousy, or prejudice, which might pervert yourjudgment? in short, so to consult, by sincerity andpurity of intention, the divine will and wisdom inyourselves, that you might know of the doctrine whetherit were of Gody or whether the speaker spake of him-self? .... A COMMON OBJECTION CONSIDERED. " But methinks I hear you urge, as a final and un-answerable argument against acceding to the testimonyof Swedenborg, that the dispensation of grace andtruth in Jesus Christ, when he became incarnate hereon earth, is the last and crowning dispensation whichGod hath to offer unto mankind ; that it is all- com-plete and every purpose of salvation, all-sufficient forbeing the end of the law and the prophets, and con-taining so full and perfect a revelation of the will ofthe Creator to his creatures, as to supersede the ne-cessity of any further dispensation; consequently nofurther dispensation is to be expected, and nothing isrequired of the ministers of the gospel but to believein and preach Jesus Christ and obedience to his com-
  35. 35. 36 A CLOUD OF WITNESSES.mandments, which be abundantly competent to willsecure every possible blessing both to themselves andthe people committed to their care. It is granted: —The dispensation of grace and truth in Jesus Christis as you represent it, all-complete and all-sufficient ;and it be well with you and with your will assuredlypeople, and you can want no other dispensation tosecure your eternal happiness, if Jesus Christ bepreached, and his commandments obeyed. But letme ask, is this the case ? " In the first place, is Jesus Christ preached ? Doyou him yourselves as the one only Lord believe onAND God of Heaven and Earth, and do you teachyour people so to believe on him ? Do you acknowl-edge the Father and the Son to be one in Him, as heHimself hath taught ? and that of consequence He isthe manifested Jehovah, the sole Creator, Redeemer,and Regenerator of man ? Or rather, have not someamong you entirely rejected this your God, by deny-ing his Divinity ? And have not others divided thisone only Lord and God into three, making one God ofthe Father, another of the Son, and another of theHoly Ghost? Do you not regard Jesus Christeither as a mere creature, or as a Divine Person sepa-rate from, and subordinate to, the Father ? Do younot regard the Holy Ghost as a Person separate fromboth, assigning to each separately distinct attributes
  36. 36. TESTIMONY OF REV. JOHN CLOWES. 37and offices ? Is not your idea of God become thusaltogether confused and perplexed, so that you know-not to what or to whom to direct your worship, some-times addressing yourselves to the Father, sometimesto the Son, and sometimes to the Holy Ghost but ;never to Jesus Christ alone as the one only God, inwhose divine person the sacred Trinity of the Father,Son and Holy Ghost is contained ? And is not thisconfusion and perplexity in your ideas of Jesus Christmanifested by want of power in your public preachingand ministry? .... THEIR NEGLECT TO EXAMINE INEXCUSABLE. " I repeat it, be these writings true therefore, again ;or false; be their authority well or ill-founded; bethey from the Father of Lights, or from the father of your office and duty, as ministers of the truth,lies, it isto examine well into the nature of their evidence, andthe degree of credibility which is due to them.You cannot possibly excuse yourselves from the dis-charge of this duty. A regard to truth and theinterests of religion demands and you are it of you ;bound to greater caution herein, inasmuch as thejudgment you form will not affect yourselves only, butwill affect also the people committed to your care so ;that the salvation of thousands may possibly depend
  37. 37. 38 A CLOUD OF WITNESSES,upon your decision in this interesting case. If Swe-denborg, therefore, be a heaven-taught scribe^ your ownconsciences will dictate to you in a more powerful lan-guage than that of any human words, how you oughtto hear what he teaches and not only hear him your- ;selves, but also make his doctrines known to others,as far as ability is given. And if he be d. false teacherand deceiver, you are still equally bound to discoverand make known the fallacy and deceitfulness bywhich he hath already begun to impose upon thou-sands, that so the error may be nipped in the bud. EXISTING AND GROUNDLESS PREJUDICES. " Many prejudices, it must be acknowledged, arisingfrom a variety of sources, at present stand in the wayto oppose in your minds the testimony of the honor-able author here presented before you. But, let meask, what teacher of truth, whether ancient or modern,religious or philosophical, hath not prejudice opposed?The prophets of old, you well know, were each ofthem in their turn, violently assaulted by prejudice.The God of Truth Himself, when manifested in theflesh, did not escape prejudice. His most venerablefollowers inall ages, after the example of their DivineMaster, have had to combat with the same unreason-able adversary, prejudice. Prejudice, too, has had the
  38. 38. TESTIMONY OF REV. JOHN CLOWES. 39boldness to oppose the conclusions of a sound phi-losophy, as well as of a sound theology ; and you neednot be informed that, had the voice of prejudice pre-vailed, the brightest discoveries of the most ablephilosopher that ever contemplated the works of theGod of nature, had still laid buried in obscurity. " I wish only further to observe on the subject,that it is impossible for you to read many pages ofthe writings in question, seriously, and in a Christianspirit, without discovering some things of importancewhich must needs affect every well-disposed mind.You will see, for example, the Divinity of the Chris-tian Redeemer, and his oneness with the Father,principally insisted upon, and demonstrated with sucha power of solid proof, deduced from the Sacred Scrip-tures in general, as will supply the most effectualantidote against the poisonous tenets of modernArianism and Socinianisjn. You will see, also, thesacred doctrine of the Holy Trinity explained, andelucidated in a manner so simple and yet sublime, soagreeable to the Word of God and at the same timeso consonant to sound reason, so satisfactory to theunderstanding and so edifying to the you life, thatwill wonder how so much darkness could ever pre-vail in the world respecting so bright and clear atruth ; but you will wonder still more, that now the
  39. 39. 40 A CLOUD OF WITNESSES.truth is discovered in its brightness, all mankind donot immediately assent to and rejoice in it. Youwill see, likewise, the sanctityof the Holy Scripturestaught and explained, and the hidden wisdom thereofopened and brought to light by the doctrine of cor-respondences^ with such a fullness of conviction aswill at the same time both greatly astonish andedify you, while it supplies an internal evidence ofthe Divinity of the sacred Word, and particularlyof the Apocalyptic part of it, infinitely surpassing,yet not overturning but confirming, all its externalevidence. PRACTICAL VALUE OF THE NEW DOCTRINES. " You will see, further, the purest, plainest, andmost consistent doctrine of life presented to your view,and contrasted with those impure, dark, and incon-sistent tenets which are at this day so frequentlytaught and circulated under the venerable name ofChristian precepts. And here you will be surprisedto find every evil of life, and every error of doctrine,detected and described, which in these latter timesthreaten the very existence of religion in the king-doms of the earth, and cause so much serious alarmin the minds of many Christians who look furtherthan the mere skin and complexion of the Church to
  40. 40. TESTIMONY OF REV. JOHN CLOWES. 41forma judgment of the soundness of its constitution.You will see, also, pointed out, the root whence suchanti-Christian evils and errors have sprung —howthey have all originated in mistaken ideas of theDivine Being, his nature and mode of existence andoperation, and in the consequent separation of thethree essentials of Christian life and salvation, viz. :charity faith ^ and good works. * And while you lament the unhappy causes andconsequences of such an unscriptural and irrationaltheology which you will here see figuratively depictedunder the significative images of Dragon^ Beast, falseProphet^ and the great Whore, mentioned in the Reve-lation, you will not fail to rejoice in the prospect ofan order of pure truth and doctrine about to be mani-fested from Heaven to mankind, signified and repre-sented by the Holy City, New Jerusalem, coming downfrom God out of Heaven, whereby all false, pervertedprinciples of faith and life will be dissipated in suchminds as are meet for its reception ; and the under-standing be enlightened, the will purified, and thelife be restored to the order of heaven a near and ;blessed conjunction will again take place between theCreator and his creatures, predicted and described inthese words : * The taber7iacle of God is with men, a?idHe will dwell with them, and they shall be his people,and God himself shall be with them their God
  41. 41. 42 A CLOUD OF WITNESSES. PREPARATION FOR THEIR RECEPTION "But after all, it is not the testimony of fact andexperience uniting their evidence with that of ourauthors interpretation of prophecy; neither is itthe brightness and power of divine truth discover-able in such interpretation ; nor yet the consistency,the harmony, the clearness, the edifying tendency ofevery page of his Theological Writings, which will ofthemselves lead to conviction, and beget a full persua-sion of the authors faithful testimony in yourminds or in the minds of others. To produce thishappy effect, it is necessary that the readers under-standing be previously prepared, by a meet disposition^for the reception of truth ; without which preparationthe truth itself, let it be ever so much confirmed, mustneeds appear untrue, and the more so in pro-portion to the unprepared state of the mind andtemper, agreeable to the declaration of the truthITSELF, * He who doeth evil hateth the lights neithercometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved^ " have due If this consideration is permitted to itsinfluence, it will doubtless lead you, and every readerof the writings in question, to attend well to the spiritand disposition in which you read, from a prudentand profitable suspicion that something may be wrongin the state of the persons mind who reads, as well
  42. 42. TESTIMONY OF REV. JOHN CLOWES. 43as in the matter of the book which he reads ; andthat it is not always the fault of an author that hisworks are not generally received and approved. Youwill, therefore, begin, like pure lovers of the truth,before you remove from your hearts all those read, tounreasonable prejudices and partialities which mighttend to blind your eyes and pervert your judgment.You will recollect our Lords words where he saith,*/ thank thee, Father Lord of Heaven and Earth, ,because thou hast hid these things from the wise andprudent^ and hast revealed them unto babes; and withthese words in your remembrance, you will see theexpediency of putting away from you all that mereworldly wisdom and prudence which they condemn astending to hide the things of God, and the equalnecessity of cherishing that child-like and simple tem-per of mind to which alone the things of God everhave been and ever will be made manifest. "You willbe taught, also, by the same divinewords, in your examination of truth, not to place anill-grounded dependence on any attainments of merehuman science, or any natural talents or intellectualabilities you may possess ; knowing that such advan-tages, unless under the guidance of a humble andteachable spirit, have, in all ages of the Church, ex-cited the bitterest persecution against the truth of
  43. 43. 44 A CLOUD OF WITNESSES.God, insomuch that when this Truth appeared onearth in Person, the cry of Crucify him, crucify him,was principally at the instigation of learned critics,deep-read scholars, admired orators, inquisitive phi-losophers, and especially of what were deemed at thetime able expositors of the Divine Oracles. You willbe further cautioned by the above words, in your ex-amination of truth, against that servile attachment togreat names, and the influence of human authorities,which is ever suggesting the old question. Have anyof the rulers believed on him ? And remembering thatrulers may be deceived, and have been deceived, aswell as other people, yea, and are frequently moreexposed to deception, as being more exposed to thetemptations arising from an overweening conceit oftheir own wisdom- and prudence, you will assert thefreedom of thinking and judging for yourselves inthat which so essentially concerns yourselves; andwill be bold, in the pursuit of truth, not only to op-pose all motives of worldly interest and honor, buteven the most respectable powers and authoritiesamongst men, whensoever they stand in competitionwith the higher power and authority of that wisdomwhich is from above. "Commending you to the guidance of this wisdomin all things, and sincerely wishing you in possession
  44. 44. TESTIMONY OF REV. JOHN CLOWES. 45of all its comforts, I remain, with all possible venera-tion for your sacred office and character," Your affectionate Brother and Fellow-laborer in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to whom be Glory and Dominion in all Ages^ " John Clowes." Such is the independent and unbiased testimony ofa minister of the Church of England, to the truth andvalue of Swedenborgs writings ; —the testimony, too,not of an ignorant or prejudiced man, but of one whohad acquainted himself with these writings by patientand thorough study of them. Such the judgment ofa singularly wise and good man, as to the relativebeauty and excellence of the two systems of Christian —theology the Old and the New. HIS IDEA OF THE NEW CHURCH. Mr. Clowes was eminently qualified, by the purityof his heart and life, to understand and interpret theteachings of Swedenborg. No man was more com-petent than he. And the fact that he remained inconnection with the Episcopal Church after receivingthe heavenly doctrines, shows how thoroughly heappreciated the non-sectarian and catholic spirit ofthese doctrines. And he has left on record his idea
  45. 45. 46 A CLOUD OF WITNESSES.of the nature and whereabout of the New Church.In one of his works he says — : ** I apprehend that by the term New Church, is notmeant a mere new Sect, or particular denomination ofChristians, as Quakers, Moravians, Methodists, andthe like ; but that it denotes a Dispensation of uni-versal grace, mercy and truth to the whole humanrace, without exception or limitation of time, place orsect." —Dialogue between Sophron and Philadelphus. " Nothing, therefore, can be plainer, than that theNew Jerusalem Dispensation is to be universal, andto extend unto all people, nations and languages onthe face of the earth, to be a blessing unto such as aremeet to receive a blessing. Sects and sectarians, assuch, can find no place in this General Assembly ofthe ransomed of the Lord. All the little distinctionsof modes, forms and particular expressions of devo-tion and worship, will be swallowed up and lost in theunlimited effusions of heavenly love, charity andbenevolence with which the hearts of every memberof this glorious New Church and Body of Jesus Christwill overflow one toward another. Men will no longerjudge one another as to the mere externals of churchcommunion, be they perfect or be they imperfect; forthey will be taught that whosoever acknowledges theincarnate Jehovah in heart and life, departing from all
  46. 46. TESTIMONY OF REV. JOHN CLOWES. 47evil, and doing what is right and good according tothe commandments, he is a member of the New Jeru-salem, a living stone in the Lords new Temple,and a part of that great family in heaven and earth,whose common Father and Head is Jesus Christ.Every one, therefore, will call his neighbor Brother^in whom he observes pure charity; and this spirit ofhe will ask no questions concerning the form of wordswhich compose his creed, but will be satisfied withobserving in him the purity and power of a heavenlylife."— /^/^. He did not believe in separating from other Christiancommunions on receiving the heavenly doctrines. Heregarded such separation as unauthorized and need-less, so long as ones Christian rights and privilegesare not denied him. He believed it was fraught withdanger and tended to foster the growth of a sectarianand anti-Christian spirit. He, therefore, spoke againstit, wrote against it, and worked against it till the dayof his death. He published a discourse on this sub-ject, under the title of "An Address from the Trans- Readers of the Theological Writings oflator to theEmanuel Swedenborg, intended to point out the gen-eral design and tendency of those Writings, and par-ticularly to show that they do not authorize theirreaders in a separation, at this time, from external
  47. 47. 48 A CLOUD OF WITNESSES.communion with other professing Christians." Andafterremarking upon some of the dangers to be ap-prehended from such separation, he says : — "Would the compass of this address permit, Icould here point out some other dangers to be ap-prehended by the New Church from a sudden separa-tion from external communion with other professingChristians, such as particularly the danger of fallinginto a sectarian spirit, and thereby despising or think-ing lightly of all others, who are not worshippingGod according to certain forms expressed in a pecu-liar language. But I trust that what has been alreadysaid, will be sufficient to convince every candid readerof the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, that suchseparation is neither prudent nor expedient at thistime whilst the New Church is in its present infantstate, nor yet agreeable to the sentiments of our en-lightened author." And in this address, Mr. Clowes gives his idea ofthe Apocalyptic New Jerusalem. " " It is a church," he says, not to be limited by anyexternal forms or ceremonies of worship, neither tobe pointed out by a lo here ! or lo there ! but univer-sal as the reception of heavenly truth and obedience
  48. 48. TESTIMONY OF REV. JOHN CLOWES. 49to its dictates, consisting of the upright and sincerein heart among all people, nations and languages, andforming one grand body or kingdom here on earth,whereof the Lord Jesus Christ is the soul or head,and of which all are living members who worshipHim in spirit and in truth. Woe be to those whowould endeavor to confine this blessed tabernacle andtemple of the Most High and Holy One within anypale of their own framing, under the delusive imagi-nation that any mere opinion, speculation, doctrine,form or ceremony whatsoever, can of themselves con- which the almightystitute that spiritual building, inand eternal Jehovah Jesus dwells, with all the bless-ings of his parental love, and the powers of his sal-vation Whereas it must be very plain to every !attentive reader, both of the Sacred Scriptures and ofthe writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, that the churchof Christ consists solely of the humble, the uprightand the obedient, agreeable to those words of the *Lord, My mother and my brethren are these, whichhear the Word of God, and do it," (Luke viii : 21);and in another place, * My sheep hear my voice,(John x: 27); where to hear is to obey." Such was this saintly mans idea of the NewChurch signified by the New Jerusalem. So welldid he understand the meaning and purpose of the 4
  49. 49. 50 A CLOUD OF WITNESSES.heavenly doctrines. So fully did he enter into andso thoroughly comprehend their large and catholicspirit. So clearly did he see that the New Jerusalemis not a visible body, and can never be identified,therefore, with any organization or sect. And scoresof passages might be cited from Swedenborg, show-ing how fully his teachings sustain those of Mr.Clowes as here quoted.* (See A. C, 402, 940, 8938 ;N. J. D., 95.) * Although Mr. Clowes was quite correct in his understanding of thenature and whereabout of the Church signified by the New Jerusalem,it is to be said in justification of the new and separate organization,that the state of nearly all the churches a hundred years ago, was suchas to render that step almost if not quite unavoidable. So great wasthe prevailing intolerance and so intense the spirit of sect, that personsknown to be readers and receivers of the New-Church teachings,would not be received into many of the churches of that day ; and ifalready members, would be required to renounce their belief in theseteachings, under penalty of excommunication if they refused. Thoughsome of the old intolerance still lingers, it is far less intense than it wasa century or even a half century ago. —B.
  50. 50. CHAPTER II. TESTIMONY OF REV. EDWIN P. HOOD. distinguished clergyman, though classed withTHIS the English Independents or Nonconformists,was cordially welcomed to all orthodox pulpits inAmerica at the time he visited this country a fewyears ago. He is the author of several interestingworks — among others, "A World of Anecdote,"" ** Lamps, Pitchers and Trumpets," and Swedenborg :A Biography and an Exposition." This latter, accord-ing to the authors own testimony, was written purelyin the interest of spiritual truth and true religion. Afriend (as we are told in the preface) hearing that he "was writing such a book, said to him Then, of :course, you are a Swedenborgian." To whom he " amreplied : I am *no more a Swedenborgian than Ia Bunyanist, a Howeist, a Bernardite, a Franciscan, aMoreist, a Behmanite, or a Lawite. The sayings andthoughts of all great and true men are precious to me ;and I hope I can both receive them and retail themwithout parting with myself" Mr. Hood may, therefore, be regarded as an emi- 51
  51. 51. 52 A CLOUD OF WITNESSES,nently independent witness in this case. He knewwhat the Old Theologies are, and could have had noconceivable motive in misrepresenting or disparagingany of their teachings. He had also read Swedenborgenough to pretty thoroughly master his system, or atleast toknow what he teaches on all doctrines of vitalimportance. What says this witness ? We shall givehis testimony on a few points only. Hear, first, hisvindication of Swedenborgs perfect sanity —for someprofessedly Christian ministers have pronounced him " "a monomaniac," and his theological system, onevast, utter delusion." " Sanity is the due exercise of our whole manhood —body, mind, and spirit —the frame, the intellect, andthe will or affections ; and it is obvious that this highsanity can only be in a state where sin, the greatdisjointer and deranger of humanity — sin, which isinsanity, is excluded. But if we look at Swedenborgscareer, we find all his life balanced and harmonized.If ever there lived a man who might ^aim to present tothe world a completed being, he was the man." (p. 162.) HIS VIEW OF THE ATHANASIAN CREED. Of the Athanasian Creed, as accepted by mostChristians and published in not a few prayer-books,Mr. Hood says : —
  52. 52. TESTIMONY OF RE V. ED WIN P. HO OD. 53 " The Athanasian Creed is a most astonishingaffair. . . . We have ever been amazed at theboundless arrogance —the haughty, awful impudenceof the thing —that any man should dare to say on sodark a subject so much more than God himself hassaid ; should so, from the finite standpoint, close upand moat round the avenues of mercy and InfiniteInfinite personality. Truly we may be very tender onsuch matters, but we cannot read it without a shud-der; it is the embodiment of a faith working withoutlove i. e. faith alone] —a faith singing hollow words,rattling like the bones of a skeleton, without a heart.The Athanasian Creed is the feudal keep of Theol-ogy; it bristles from all its turrets with cruel spear-points ; every word grins like an opening manchicola-tion; in it God no longer looks like the Father —Christ no longer looks like the Saviour —the Spirit*no longer looks like the Comforter ; it repels — it doesnot invite — like a stern old battlement of the MiddleAges; it is lonely and divorced from sympathy; it isso cleverly constructed —that castle of words —that itprobably contains nothing that any sincere Christian infact doubts, and yet, perhaps, not one in a million ofall the saved could understand it —that AthanasianCreed ; and it contains within it dungeons, racks,blocks, and stakes. It is a ruin, however it has done ;something to bring indignation on the idea of creeds at
  53. 53. 54 A CLOUD OF WITNESSES.all. It is a tower with the drawbridge ever up; claim-ing to be the wicket gate of Christianity." (p. 249.) SOME CENTRAL DOCTRINES DISCUSSED. Then he comes to some of the central doctrines ofChristianity ; and here we have his confession touch-ing both the Old and the New interpretations : — " But it is now necessary that we direct some atten-tion to those views of the Divine Being and characterwhich more especially belong to the province ofRevelation as unfolded in the pages of Swedenborg.. . . Oh, if men would but form their ideas of Godfrom his Word for themselves, rather than on thosedarkening and blackened glosses by which, from age4o age, even the best men have sought to obscure, or,seeking to make clear, have really obscured, the DivineBeing ! " Thus the doctrine of the Trinity has, to ourthought, been purposely and intentionally surroundedby obscurity. We have been angry with any effortmade to roll away the clouds, and to present it as intruth it is in Scripture — plain, intelligible, rational,necessary. . . . "Are we Polytheists? At least, are we Trithe-ists ? . . . Do Trinitarians think of Three Gods ?
  54. 54. TESTIMONY OF REV. EDWIN P. HOOD. 55Is there not in much of our Christian worship asgross a Tripersonality as in Grecian mythology, or inthe Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva of Hindoo paganism ?And have we not often noticed that in most of ourprayers we do not treat the Personalities as equal ?Our prayer to God the Father, is as to a Person quitedistinct from and superior to the Son. We do notoften in prayer address the Son at all. ... Itmay we do not often use language be doubted whetherwe do not understand, when we speak of Christ as*the gift of God. When we implore Christ to inter-cede with the Father for us, we do in these phrasesshow that we entertain a sense of the inferiority ofthe second adorable Person ; and it is the inevitableconsequence of our teaching that it should be so."(p. 251.) Then he proceeds to Swedenborgs doc- givetrine on this subject, with evident satisfaction andapproval. " Swedenborg devoutly believed in the Doctrineof the Trinity —not in three Gods, but in one God.. . . The Lord Jesus Christ is, with the Father andthe Spirit, the One only true God. This is Sweden-borgs great Faith." (pp. 251,252.)