The Boys School
The Girls School
Rev. Ormond de Charms Odhner
Bryn Athyn, Penna.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Divine Purpose in Creation; Church History 1
The Origin of Man 7
The Pre-Adamites 10
The Raising Up of the Most Ancient Church 12
The Origin of Evil; The Fall; The Flood 15
The Ancient Church in Its Purity (Pre-History) 17
Decline of the Ancient Church 23
The Hebrew-Israelitish-Jewish Church 27
The History of the Religion of Israel, I 37
The History of the Religion of Israel, II: The Prophets 41
The Advent 47
Life of the Lord (Slides)
The First Years of Christianity: Pre-Pauline Christianity 51
Paul; the Apostolic Church 55
The Persecutions 62
The Fall of Rome; The Rise of the Papacy; the Dark Ages 75
The Ecumenical Councils 80
Pornocracy; Reform; Canossa 89
The Conciliar Movement 94
The Reformation 99
Modern Christianity 107
Emanuel Swedenborg 114
The Early English Conference 117
The Early General Convention 123
Richard deCharms; William Henry Benade; William Frederic
Pendleton; The Academy; The General Church; Two Recent
Controversies: The Bodies of Spirits and Angels; De
Hemelsche Leer 130
THE DIVINE PURPOSE IN CREATION; CHURCH HISTORY
I. The Divine Purpose in Creation
A. The greatest single fact in history is the Lords love for the human race. (K. B. Holmes)
B. True Christian Religion 43:
It is the essence of love to love others outside of oneself to desire to be one with them, and to render them blessed from oneself. The essence of God consists of two things, love and wisdom; while the essence of His love consists of three things, namely, to love others outside of Himself, to desire to be one with them, and from Himself to render them blessed. And because love and wisdom in God make one, ... the same three things constitute the essence of His wisdom: and love desires these three things, and wisdom brings them forth.
The first essential, which is to love others outside of oneself, is recognized in Gods love for the whole human race; and for its sake God loves all things that He has created because they are means; for when the end is loved, the means also are loved. All men and things in the universe are outside of God, because they are finite and God is infinite. The love of God goes forth and extends not only to good men and good things, but also to evil men and evil things; consequently, not only to Michael and Gabriel, but also to the devil and satan; for God is everywhere, and is from eternity to eternity the same. He says also:--That He makes His sun to rise on the good and on the evil, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. Matt. v. 45
The second essential of the love of God, which is a desire to be one with others, is recognized in His conjunction with the angelic heaven, with the church on earth, with everyone there, and with everything good and true that enters into and constitutes man and the church. Moreover, love viewed in itself is nothing but an endeavor towards conjunction; therefore that this aim of the essence of God might be realized, man was created by God into His own image and likeness, with which a conjunction is possible. That the Divine love continually seeks conjunction is evident from the Lords own words:--That He wishes them to be one, He in them, and they in Him, and that the love of God might be in them. John xvii.21-23, 26
The third essential of the love of God, which is to render them blessed from Himself, is recognized in eternal life, which is the endless blessedness, happiness, and felicity that God gives to those who receive His love into themselves.
C. Divine Providence 27:
THE LORDS DIVINE PROVIDENCE HAS AS ITS END A HEAVEN FROM THE HUMAN RACE. By long-continued intercourse with angels and spirits it has been made known and proved to me that heaven is not made up of angers created such from the beginning, and that hell did not originate in any evil created an angel of light and cast down from heaven, but that both heaven and hell are from the human race,--heaven from those who are in the lobe of good and consequent understanding of truth, and hell from those who are in the love of evil and consequent understanding of falsity ...
Now, since heaven is from the human race, and heaven is an abiding with the Lord to eternity, it follows that this was the Lords end in creation; and since heaven was the end in creation this is the end of His Divine Providence. The Lord did not create the universe for His own sake; but for the sake of those with whom He is to be in heaven; since spiritual love is such that it wishes to give its own to another; and so far as it can do this, it is in its being, in its peace, and in its blessedness. Spiritual love derives this from the Lords divine love, which is such infinitely. From this it follows that the Divine love, and therefore the Divine providence has as its end a heaven consisting of men who have become or are becoming angels, upon whom the Lord is able to bestow all the blessings and felicities that belong to love and wisdom, and to communicate these from Himself in them. Nor can He do this in any other way; for there is in them from creation an image and likeness of Himself; the image in them is wisdom and the likeness in them is love; and the Lord in them is love united to wisdom and wisdom united to love; or, what is the same thing, is good united to truth, and truth united to good.
II. Church History
A. What is the church? (The English word, church, is derived from a root meaning master, lord. Perhaps a better term is the Latin, ecclesia, meaning those called out.)
1. The church is the Divine of the Lord with men, and is that alone which can bring men into heaven.
2. The church is the body of the Lord on earth. (This is a very early Christian concept, and is repeated in the Writings.)
3. The church is the kingdom of the Lord on earth.
4. The Writings use the term, church, in two ways: the church universal and the church specific.
a. The church universal is composed of all men throughout the world who live a life of good according to the precepts of their own religion.
b. The church specific exists where the Word is and where the Lord is thereby known and worshiped in the good of life.
B. What makes the church (specific)?
1. The Divine of the Lord and its reception by men, H 8, A 10760.
2. The Word of the Lord.
a. SS 76: The understanding of the Word makes the church.
b. SS 79: There is no church, save where the Word is justly understood.
c. TCR 245: The church is according to its doctrine, but only the integrity and purity of doctrine establish the church.
3. The life of genuine charity.
a. CL 72: The truth of faith causes the Lords presence; the good of life according to the truth of faith causes conjunction with the Lord.
C. Church history is the record of how, throughout the ages, the Lord has presented Himself to men, and of how men have reacted to this.
1. It shows the infinite mercy of the Lord toward men and His infinite wisdom in accommodating Himself to their changing states.
D. The general divisions of church history are:
1. The first of these is exclusively a matter of revelation--the revelation given to the New Church; so is the early history of the Ancient Church; the history of the later Ancient Church and of the Israelitish and Christian Churches is recorded history, taught according to the Writings revelation of the internal history of those churches; New Church history is a matter of record.
E. The Five Dispensations of the Church. (Dispensation--a distinctive means of approach to God; a distinctive church, founded on a new revelation,) (References: Daniel 2:31-35; C. Th. Odhner, The Golden Age, 13-26; Conjugial Love 74-85.)
1. Nebuchadnezzars Image and the Five Dispensations.
a. Head Golden Age Most Ancient Church
b. Breast & Arms Silver Age Ancient Church
c. Belly & Thighs Copper Age Israelitish Church
d. Legs Iron Age Christian Church
e. Feet Iron & Clay Christianity perverted:
Truth & Falsity
f. The Stone Filling the Earth The New Church
2. General Characteristics of Each Church.
a. Golden Age (Adam--Most Ancient Church)
1. Before the existence of evil.
2. Mans only desire: to do good.
3. The will and understanding united.
4. Open communication with angels, and revelation thence.
5. Perceived correspondences, and thus learned spiritual truths from nature, which for them was the Word. h them the love of loves.
6. Had no science whatever; guided natural lives by instinct.
b. Silver Age (Noah--Ancient Church)
1. Spread through many nations.
2. Preserved knowledge of correspondences.
a. Had a written Word, the Ancient Word, in which spiritual truths were portrayed allegorically in natural stories.
b. Made external symbols of Gods attributes.
3. Will and understanding now separated; guided by conscience.
4. Looked forward to the coming of the Lord.
5. In its decline, began to worship the symbol instead of what it signified; hence came idolatry and polytheism.
c. Copper Age (Abraham and Moses--Israelitish Church)
1. Never more than a representative of a church.
a. Believed the external acts of their worship washings and sacrifices--were genuine worship itself.
b. Emphasized animal sacrifices; which had begun late in Ancient Church.
2. Yet, through their prophets, learned many fundamental truths from the Lord, e.g., monotheism, Heavenly Father, ethical religion.
3. Split into two warring kingdoms.
4. Restored in Judea.
d. Iron Age (Christian Church--Iron signifies strength.)
1. Had the strongest truths of all, e.g., God is a Divine Man.
2. Had other strong truths, e.g., life after death, essence of sin is in motive.
3. Yet soon began to mix these truths with falsity: Jesus Christ only one God in a Trinity; life after death awaits bodily resurrection.
4. Its history.
a. Simple charity of apostolic days.
b. Doctrinal disputes and establishment of falsity.
c. Growing power of Roman papacy; worldliness.
d. Degradation of papacy.
e. The Reformation and the Establishment of the Protestant Churches.
f. Modern Christianity turns to the Social Gospel.
e. The New Church (The rock of truth smashing the image and filling the earth.)
1. The religion of the New Church.
a. The Lord Jesus Christ is the one, only God of heaven and earth.
b. Those are saved who interiorly believe in His teachings.
c. Other points of New Church Doctrine.
1. Knowledge of resurrection and of life after death.
2. Restoration of knowledge of correspondences and thus of the internal sense of the Word.
3. Restoration of conjugial love.
2. The history of the New Church.
a. Revelation to Swedenborg, 1743-1772.
b. The Last Judgment on the Christian Church, 1757.
c. Establishment of the New Church as a distinctive dispensation, England, June 1, 1788.
d. Establishment of the General Convention of the New Jerusalem, in America, Philadelphia, 1817.
e. First New Church school, Cincinnati, 1840.
f. Founding of the Academy of the New Church, Philadelphia, 1876.
g. Academicians withdraw from General Convention, 1891.
h. Formation of the General Church of the New Jerusalem, 1897.
i. 1937: Schism; founding of Nova Hierosolyma.
THE ORIGIN OF MAN
I. Heaven and Hell 39:
In every angel, and also in every man, there is an inmost or highest (something), into which the Divine of the Lord primarily or proximately flows, and from which it disposes the other interiors in him that follow in accordance with the degrees of order. This inmost or highest degree may be called the Lords entrance to the angel or man, and His veriest dwelling-place in them. It is by virtue of this inmost or highest that a man is a man, and is distinguished from irrational animals, for these do not have it. From this it is that man, unlike the animals, is capable, in respect to all the interiors which pertain to his mind and disposition, of being raised up by the Lord to Himself, of believing in the Lord, of being moved by love to the Lord, and thereby of beholding Him, and of receiving intelligence and wisdom, and speaking from reason. Also, it is by virtue of this that he lives to eternity.
A. Man is NOT an animal, but is a creation as distinct from the animal kingdom as the animal kingdom is distinct from the vegetable.
B. Things that distinguish man from all animals.
1. Ability to be conjoined with the Lord in love and thought.
2. Liberty and rationality.
3. Eternal life.
4. Ability to change from the original order of his life, that is, to regenerate.
5. Other things?
II. The Genesis Story of Mans Creation.
A. In Genesis, Adam (who signifies the Most Ancient Church) is spoken of as if he were the first man on earth. But his creation out of the dust of the ground when God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life is told of in Chapter II of Genesis. In Chapter I it is said that God created men into His own image, male and female created He them.
B. There were, then, Pre-Adamites, and, in fact, there had to be, since the Lord could not raise up a church among men (Adam) until after He had first created men.
III. Various theories concerning the creation of man.
A. The Fiat TheoryGod said, Let there be (fiat), and there was.
1. This is based on a literal interpretation of Genesis, and today is accepted by very few Christians, save the Fundamentalists.
2. From beginning to end, the Writings show that the Lord never works in this manner, but instead works very slowly, step by step; according to the laws of order of the universe.
a. Science confirms this: The Lord created mountains and valleys, but not by fiat. Their creation took ages of ages, and was effected through volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, rain, wind, erosion,
3. The literal truth in the Genesis story is that man was created after the minerals, the vegetables, and the animals, and was different from all animals in that he was created into the image of God, that is, with liberty and rationality.
B. Darwinian Evolution (1859).
1. In every species of living thing (vegetable and animal), sports occur, that is, deviations from the form of the parents. If the sport happens to be better suited than were his ancestors to survival in his environment, his form is reproduced in his descendants; otherwise his form dies out. Over the eons, chance sports, working through the law of the survival of the fittest, slowly evolved from single-celled animals into higher types of animals, and finally into the highest animal, man.
2. As stated, this leaves all creation to chance. (Which is insane could chance have created true love, memory, the marvel of the human body?) But many Christians, and some New Church men have accepted the evolutionary theory of the creation of man, putting God in charge of the process. They say, It is the way God works.
3. The fundamental falsity in the theory, as stated in III-B-1, is that it does not allow for the discrete degree of difference between animal and man.
4. NB: The theory of evolution is only a theory. It cannot yet be proven scientifically.
C. The Hominine-Animal Theory (probably confined to New Church men).
1. Man originated through the creation of a human soul and seed in the womb of an animal.
D. Swedenborgs Theory, The Arboreal Theory. (Found in the allegorical work, The Worship and Love of God, written just as Swedenborgs spiritual eyes were being opened, and of which he said, about half a year later, after he had turned from science to religion in pursuance of his call, that he was amazed at the agreement with Divine revelation of what had been written in the previous work. History of Creation 9-10)
1. Man and woman came into being as the fruit of special trees created for this purpose by the Lord.
IV. The Teachings of the Writings.
A. The Writings give no direct teachings concerning the origin of man, but they do say, many times, that the human soul is created before the human body, and that the soul creates the body into its image (e. g., Arcana Caelestia 6468)
THE PRE-ADAMITES (Ref.: Odhner, Golden Age, 39-57)
I. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void: and darkness was upon the face of the deep. (Genesis 1:1, 2)
B. The first men created, the Pre-Adamites, had, just as we have, an internal man (heaven), and an external man (earth).
1. The internal man, or internal mind, is formed to receive spiritual and celestial things, that is, the goods and truths of heaven.
2. With the Pre-Adamites it was unperverted, and, though empty, was such that the Lords Divine order could pass through it unimpaired into the external man.
3. But the Pre-Adamites also had an external man or mind, and this, in the beginning, was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. In other words, externally they were In darkness and ignorance.
II. General description of the Pre-Adamites.
A. With them the will and the understanding were one. They could understand what they loved; they loved what they understood. With us, fortunately, the will and the understanding are separated: We can understand something that is better than what we love.
B. They were in complete ignorance of both good and evil.
1. As yet there was no hell.
2. They were animal-like.
3. They knew nothing of God, etc.
4. They had no conjugial love, but mated as animals.
a. But with them this was not evil.
5. But, though they had no evil loves, still it is said that they were in dense falsities arising from the fallacies of the senses. (Apocalypse Explained 294e)
C. Had the faculty of free choice and the faculty of rationality, but both were undeveloped.
E. Had internal breathing. (AC 607)
1. Without much air.
2. Starting from the navel and going up to lips.
3. (Note: Swedenborg enjoyed something like this--very deep breathing, almost imperceptible. Deep breathing goes along with deep thought.)
E. Without developed rationality, they were guided by instinct, as are animals, in the external things of their lives. (DP 275)
1. This does not mean that from creation they knew apple, but when they saw apple, they apparently perceived some subtle effluvia from it which told them, infallibly, that it was good for food,
F. Animal-like, they walked, stooped, and bent, helping themselves along with their hands. (Spiritual Diary 567)
1. Apparently a misunderstanding of DP 275 has led to the common belief in the New Church that the Pre-Adamites walked on all fours.
a. But SD 567, just referred to, says that the erect posture of the body is not natural, but is learned in the process of time.
b. Science has concluded that the human digestive system is built for all-four walking.
G. Had no vocal speech, but communicated through facial expressions, especially around the eyes and mouth.
H. Had absolutely no science--no tools, no buildings.
1. But are not to be confused with sciences picture of the fierce and bloody cave men.
I. Were all vegetarians.
J. They lived as the living things of the field.
A. Recall that with these people the will and the understanding were united, and that there was, as yet, no evil, thus no love of evil.
B. It is said that the ford Himself appeared to the first men and spoke to them face to face, or mouth to mouth. (AC 49)
C. Because there was as yet no evil, the freedom of choice between the first men was not between good and evil, between heaven and hell (as ours is), but rather between following the Lords instruction or staying in their animal-like state.
1. How did this give them free choice? Because man is created out of deed substance, and all dead substance has a tendency in it to stay put. This caused the downward pull that was equilibrated by the Lords gentle uplifting influence.
II. The process of the regeneration of the first men is told of in the story of the six days of creation, Genesis I. (Note; Even they had to be regenerated, re-born, for they were not created angels, or as spiritual and celestial men, but as natural men.)
A. The First Day: The Spirit or God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light; and there was light.... And God divided the light from the darkness. (Gen. 1:2-4)
1. The Spirit of God moved.... The Lords mercy descended to the Pre-Adamites, to raise them up to Himself in heaven.
2. Let there be light.... Spiritual light; the ability to see, understand, perceive truth.
3. God divided the light from the darkness: This ability enabled the first men to distinguish truth from falsity. (Recall: They had been in dense falsities arising from the fallacies of the senses.)
B. The Second Day: Creation of the firmament, dividing the waters above from the waters below. (Firmament literally means the sky.)
1. Water signifies truth. The waters above are spiritual truths, truths that relate to heavenly living; the waters below are natural truths, scientific truths that enable us to live on earth.
2. The first men (those who followed the Lord, that is), now came to see that there was a difference between spiritual truths and natural truths.
C. The Third Day: Gathering the waters into seas; dry land appears; creation of herbs yielding seed.
1. Gathering of the waters into seas signifies the making of doctrine to live by.
a. Example: The Lord Jesus Christ is the only God; what we love more than anything else is our God. Put these together, and you have a doctrine to live by.
2. Appearance of dry land: As water signifies truth, so land signifies good, here, the love of good.
3. Creation of the vegetables: Vegetables are living things, thus signify goods of life that have spiritual life within them. Yet vegetables have their roots stuck in the ground, and the first goods man performs (both modern man and the most ancient man), have their roots stuck in self, that is, there is personal pride in the doing of good.
D. The Fourth Day: Creation of Sun, Moon, Stars.
1. The natural sun, the source of all natural life, heat, and light, and that which the solar system revolves around, signifies the Lord. But the Lord Himself is not created in men. Here, then, the sun signifies love to the Lord.
2. The moon which reflects light from the sun, signifies faith: Genuine faith has its life only from love to the Lord, and is really but a reflection of that love.
3. Stars, lights high in the sky, signify elevated spiritual truths.
4. At this stage in the regeneration of the most ancients they could be endowed with love to the Lord, with faith (or, if you will, with charity toward the neighbor, which also is only a reflection of love to the Lord), and with further and more elevated spiritual truths.
E. The Fifth Day: Creation of Fish and Fowl.
1. Fish and fowl, living things capable of both movement and procreation, signify higher spiritual goods, higher spiritual truths, now acknowledged to be the Lords, and thus no longer having their roots in self.
2. Capability of reproduction: When man reaches this stage of regeneration, he is capable, from the goods and truths already in him from the Lord, of producing new goods of life and truths of faith as if from himself; he no longer has to have a direct teaching of revelation to guide his every thought and act.
F. The Sixth Day: Creation of beasts and mammals; creation of man into the image of God.
1. Acting from love and from faith, the regenerate man is now capable of producing genuine heavenly goods and truths.
2. Acting from both love and faith together is the image of God in man.
II. The Seventh Day: God rests from His labors; blesses the seventh day.
A. Seven signifies completion.
B. God rests: When man has been regenerated, the Lord can rest from His labors, for in the process of regeneration, although it seems to us that we do all the work, it is really the Lord who effects the whole thing.
C. Blessing the seventh day: The state of regeneration, signified by the seventh or Sabbath (rest) day, is the Lords final end and purpose in creation, and is that which can receive all blessings and delights of heaven.
D. Man, created out of the dust of the earth, but divinely inspired with spiritual life, is ready to live in the Garden of Eden.
A. The story in Genesis 2.
1. The mist ascending and watering the ground signifies that in this state men enjoyed the tranquility of peace, (AC 90-93), which comes after all temptations have ceased and when mans external life has become completely at one with his internal desire for good.
2. The shrubs and trees signify mans growing, living perceptions of what is good and true.
3. The river signifies the wisdom of the men of the Most Ancient Church.
4. The tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, both in the midst of the garden.
a. The tree of life signifies the love of good, that is, the love of the Lord and the neighbor.
b. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil signifies faith, or a living belief in truth.
c. Mans being forbidden to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil signifies that he was forbidden to acquire religious truth from himself, that is, from his own thoughts and ideas; he had to be content with the revelation given him by the Lord.
z. This is most important at every age: We cannot discover religious truths from ourselves; we have to accept what the Lord gives us in revelation, and conform our thoughts to His teachings.
B. The Externals of Life in the Most Ancient Church.
1. No evil, no sickness, no premature death (AC 5726).
2. All lived in peace with the neighbor, family by family, nation by nation (AC 470) under a patriarchal government of mutual love (AC 10814).
3. Had no external science or civilization at all, though the Writings indicate that they had domesticated animals and that they lived in tents.
4. Were strict vegetarians (AC 1002).
a. They regarded any killing as profaning the Lords life; today man is not condemned for eating flesh, since he himself has become wilder than the beasts he eats.
C. The Internals of Life in the Most Ancient Church.
1. They lived in absolute innocence, signified by Adams nakedness.
a. NB: In the Writings, innocence means the willingness and desire to be led by the Lord.
2. They knew and worshiped Jehovah as a God in human form.
3. They lived in strict monogamy, and with them conjugial love was the love of loves.
a. There was mutual love between husband and wife, and they jointly loved their children.
b. They loved the spouse more than they loved their children. An evil man can love his children, but only a good man can have true love for his wife. (AC 2731)
4. They enjoyed open communication with angels, and knew not whether they spoke to man on earth or angel in heaven.
5. The father of the family received revelations through angels, and he passed the truth on to his family.
a. This method of revelation is actually inferior to the revelation given in a written Word.
6. They perceived the correspondences of nature, and to them nature was the Word
7. They had no enjoyment of proprium--not even any delight in the feeling that their heavenly life was their own. All they enjoyed was attributing everything good and true to the Lord.
A. Told of in the story of the creation of Eve: And the Lord God said, It is not good for man to be alone: I will make him an help meet for him. (Gen. 2:18)
1. This cannot mean that the Lord saw that He had made a mistake in creating Adam alone; instead, the Writings say, it means that the Lord saw that men no longer felt good, living alone with God.
a. Recall that the Most Ancients had no enjoyment in proprium (selfhood; what comes from self; mans feeling that life is his own). All they enjoyed was the perception that everything good and true with them came from the Lord.
b. Now they began to be discontented with this perception, and began to desire the enjoyment of proprium, that is, the enjoyment of feeling that what they did and thought came from themselves.
z. Note: It is not evil to enjoy the feeling that life is our own, as long as we acknowledge that it is really the Lords. In fact, the Lord wants us to enjoy this sensation.
2. At first, with the Most Ancients, this turning to self found no satisfaction: Adam could not find a help meet for him among the animals.
3. Continuing, it brought on spiritual sleep--a loss of the acknowledgment that all good and truth are from the Lord; a feeling that they came from self.
4. But the Lord, out of infinite mercy, made this desire for proprium spiritually alive. He took Adams rib (a bone near the heart), and out of it He created Eve. The Lord, while permitting the Most Ancients the enjoyment of proprium, led them to see the necessity of acknowledging ail to be from the Lord, even while enjoying the feeling that their life was their own.
a. They became about as evil as we will be when highly regenerate--gladly acknowledging all to be the Lords, but enjoying the feeling of self-life.
B. How long before this state began?
1. The Writings are not specific. In many places they say it began with the posterity of the Most Ancients; elsewhere with the first posterity; and in still another place, with the third generation.
a. This last, however, may refer to the final fail.
b. The only important point is that it did not begin with those Most Ancients who had been regenerated to the highest degree.
II. The Origin of Evil. (Adam, Eve, The Forbidden Fruit, The Serpent. )
A. And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good. (Gen. 1:31) God is good, and all that He created is good. How, then, did evil--a thing He did not create; a thing against His wishes--come into being?
B. Various theories concerning the origin of evil.
1. The literal story of Genesis makes God at least partly responsible for evil, for He put a desirable tree in the Garden of Eden, and then commanded man not to eat it.
2. Persian Dualism: A good god who created everything good; an equally powerful evil god, who created everything evil.
3. Christian dualism.
a. In early church, there was a belief that Jehovah was an evil god, and that the good god remained unknown, until He sent His Son into the world.
b. Throughout the history of Christianity there has been the belief that the spirit of man is good, the body and the world are evil, created by God to strengthen man through temptation, and that the only way to attain heaven is to renounce the body and the world.
4. Prof. Edgar Brightmans theory of a finite god (Boston University).
a. In us, at birth, there are certain qualities for whose existence we are not responsible. So also in God. From the beginning there has been a certain surd evil in God, for whose existence He is not responsible. He always tries to control it, and usually can, but sometimes it gets the best of Him, causing Him to make mistakes.
C. The highly complicated teaching of the Writings (CL 444).
1. Man was created with the freedom to follow God, and thus also of course with the potential of not following God.
2. Man was created to enjoy the feeling that life is his own; the Lord wishes to give His life to us in such a way that we feel it to be ours; otherwise we could not enjoy it.
3. Man was created out of dead substances. All dead substance is inert; it has a tendency in it to stay put. Even the first men, therefore, were in spiritual equilibrium (balance)--had freedom of choice--between a gentle, uplifting influence from the Lord, on the one hand, and their own innate tendency to stay put.
4. The truth was revealed to the Most Ancients that all life is the Lords.
5. Two opposing things were now both pleasant to them.
a. The truth that life is the Lords.
b. Enjoyment of the appearance that life was their own.
6. In freedom, for NO reason, some of the posterity of the Most Ancient Church chose the latter.
1. This was the origin of evil with Adam
2. It is also said to be the origin of evil with every man today.
XII. The Fall.
A. The serpent seduces the woman, who seduces the man, to eat the forbidden fruit, in order to become as gods, knowing good and evil.
1. The serpent signifies sensual life, sensual pleasure which, though created by God, is the lowest thing in life.
2. The woman signifies proprium, the love of self.
3. Being as gods--determining truth and falsity, good and evil, from self.
B. Sewing aprons of fig leaves.
1. Adam and Eve realized their nakedness, that is, their lack of innocence.
2. The fig leaves signify excuses to hide their evils.
a. Note: Contrast the story of Adams and Eves shifting of blame with the admission of guilt by the prodigal son.
C. The Curse.
1. The sensual (the serpent), now separated from God, is cursed by itself, and becomes mans eternal spiritual enemy.
2. The woman: In sorrow shalt thou bring forth children: New understandings of good and truth would henceforth come to man only with pain and labor.
3. The man: Thorns and thistles. The evil weeds that the intellect would henceforth hatch in the mind.
D. The Hope: The Seed of the woman, though bruised in the heel by the serpent, would crush the serpents head.
1. This was the first prophecy of the Lords Advent, crucifixion, and victory over the hells.
2. Throughout the ages, this hope sustained the church, although it had to be renewed again and again, and had to be made more specific.
E. Expulsion from Eden: Mans own proprial evil caused the loss of paradise.
F. Cain kills Abel: Faith killed charity.
G. Further decline of the Most Ancient Church is represented in the list of the long-lived patriarchs, e.g., Methuselah, who lived nine hundred and sixty-nine years.
H. In this list we come to Enoch, who walked with God, and whom God took. (Gen. 5:24)
1. Enoch represents a group in the declining church which delighted in collecting and writing down the correspondences and allegories of the Most Ancient Church. These were of no spiritual use to those people, but the Lord preserved them for posterity.
a. His book was a part of the now lost Ancient Word.
IV. The Antediluvians. (The Nephilim--There were giants in the earth in those days. Gen. 6:4)
A. Because the will and the understanding still were one, man could understand only that which he loved; therefore, with these perverted descendants of the Most Ancients; because the will was evil, there could be no understanding of truth to restrain the evil lust.
B. The final posterity of the Most Ancient Church was utterly corrupt in mind, and even deformed in body.
1. Stooped; shaggy; lived in caves.
2. Desired huge families, for the sake of self-glory, (AC 1272)
3. Believed everything they thought to be Divine, and considered themselves al to be gods. (AC 562)
V. The Flood.
A. A flood of evil and falsity swept the earth, and literally destroyed all but a remnant of humanity.
1. The Writings seem to indicate that the chief cause of the death of the race was that with these perverted peoples internal respiration ceased; that only with a few could external respiration be substituted; and that the others suffocated of their own accord. (AC 1120)
2. Elsewhere the Writings indicate that death came through an overwhelming influx of evil from hell. (AC 563)
a. Note: The Writings state flatly that death can be induced directly from the spiritual world. (SD 5497, et al.)
b. Note: Excessive anger can induce death.
B. Noah, the salvable remnant with whom a new church could be started.
1. An actual new creation was effected in these men.
a. Externally it was manifested in external respiration such as we have.
b. Internally it consisted of the separation of the understanding from the will.
z. Necessity of this.
I. The inherited will is perverted beyond salvation.
II. The understanding, separated, can see and understand truth.
III. Self-compulsion to the life of truth builds up a new will--conscience--in the understanding.
IV. Thus is our salvation effected.
A. It was good, but not as good as the Most Ancient Church had been, for its essential was charity toward the neighbor, while the essential of the Most Ancient Church had been love to the Lord.
B. Its internal history is told in Genesis 7:1-11:1--Noahs salvation in the ark; the covenant of the rainbow; Noahs temporary drunkenness; the evil of his son Ham, and the charity of his sons Shem and Japheth; a genealogy of Noahs descendants; and, finally, the verse, And the whole earth was of one language and of one tongue.
1. Immediately thereafter comes the story of the Tower of Babel, as men began to journey from the East
C. Actually there were three Ancient Churches--the Church Noah; a revival begun by Eber, called the Hebrew Church; and that more representative of a church begun with Israel. Usually, however, the Writings speak of the Israelitish Church as a separate dispensation.
D. It spread over many, many nations, centering in Palestine, but extending into Greater Tartary, to the Black Sea, and into many nations in Africa, and Europe. (AC 1238, etc.)
E. It seems to have begun with Noah, a remnant of the descendants of the Most Ancient Church itself, who were not as perverted as the rest; but it was really established among gentiles, that is, among those whose ancestors had never been in the Most Ancient Church.
1. Who wore these? Descendants of unconverted Pre-Adamites?
2. Note: The Writings say that every new church is established among gentiles, rather than with the descendants of the former church. Hence the angels told Swedenborg they had little hope for the New Church in the Christian World.
a. In the General Church and the Academy we are working on the interpretation that children are gentiles
F. The distinguishing feature of the Ancient Church (and of all churches since) was that its men were regenerated through conscience, rather than through an inborn love of good.
1. The formation of conscience.
a. The understanding, separated from the innate, perverted will, can see and understand revealed truth.
b. Because of remains, man can compel himself to shun the evils that revealed truth opposes.
c. As he does so, there is gradually built up, in his understanding, a love of revealed truths, against which he cannot act.
z. This is conscience. It is called the new will; also, the heavenly proprium.
II. The instauration of the Ancient Church.
A. Already possessing the Book Enoch (containing the truths of the Most Ancient Church in correspondential stories), Noah now enjoyed a vision or revelation of the Lord, and from Him received further truths, oven while the flood swept the earth.
1. Not much perception to begin with--there was only one window in the ark.
2. After these Ancients had conquered in temptations and had at last become: regenerated, there came the covenant of the rainbow, signifying the promise that there would never again be a flood.
a. The rainbow signifies conscience.
B. These newly revealed truths were also written down in correspondential stories, and together with the former constituted the now lost Ancient Word.
1. From which we have the first ten and a half chapters of Genesis, and a few more verses scattered elsewhere.
III. Noahs temporary drunkenness: He began to be a husbandman, and he planted a vineyard; And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within the tent. (Gen. 9:20-21)
A. The Ancient Church fell prey to the old temptation to investigate religious truths from their propriums, rather than to accept divine revelation unquestioningly. The Church then fell into error and perversion (AC 1071), though eventually Noah awoke from his drunkenness.
A. The story: Ham finds his father naked in the tent, and goes and tells his brothers; they stretch a blanket between them and walk backward into the tent to cover their father.
B. Ham, on the one side, and Shem and Japheth, on the other, signify two classes of men that were in the Ancient Church external men and internal men. (AC 1075-1088)
1. External men, though they go through the acts of worship, find delight in disclosing their neighbors faults, gossiping about them, and condemning them for it.
2. Internal men scarcely see the evil of another, but observe all his goods and truths, and put a good interpretation on what is evil and false. Such are all the angels, which they have from the Lord, who bends all evil into good. (AC 1079)
V. Particulars concerning the Ancient Church in its purity.
A. Its truths.
1. Found the greatest delight in composing correspondential allegories.
2. Know and worshiped the one God, Jehovah, but called Him by various other names, such as God Most High. Knew the prophecies of the Advent.
3. Many were in genuine conjugial love.
a. Had the rite of betrothal before marriage.
B. A representative church.
1. Worshiped on hills and mountains, because of their spiritual significance; worshiped toward the sun.
2. Represented the various attributes of God under different forms and figures--a strong man to represent Gods power; a beautiful woman to represent His wisdom; a man with wings on his feet do represent Gods omnipresence.
3. But sacrifices were practically unknown, save with the external Hamites. (AC 1241)
C. Enjoyed some communication with angels and spirits.
D. Its unifying principle was charity toward the neighbor.
A. The story of the Tower of Babel and the confusion of tongues.
B. The East is the Lord, or, with men, love to the Lord. As hereditary evils increased in the Ancient Church, men began to lose their love for the Lord, which beforehand had unified them and made the earth of one language, and of one tongue.
C. They now began to seek their own ways to heaven, that is, to happiness--the tower with its head reaching into heaven.
D. Confusion of Tongues resulted, that is, each person or group of persons thought his particular ideas were right, and all other ideas wrong.
E. Thus is described in the Word the end of the First Ancient Church, although the final judgment upon it is not described until the story of the drowning of Pharaohs armies in the Red Sea.
F. A revival of the Ancient Church is told of in the internal sense, in connection with Eber (Genesis 11:14-17), a remote ancestor of Abraham.
1. Eber, for whom the Hebrew race was named, is said in the Writings to be the first literally historical character spoken of in Genesis. (AC 1343) He was not necessarily a single individual, but may have been a nation.
2. The worship of the ancient Hebrew nation, centered in Syria and Canaan, was marked by two things--their God was named Jehovah; they believed sacrifices to be the chief thing of worship. (AC 1343)
a. This worship had utterly died out with the Israelites in Egypt, and was revived by Moses, the real founder of the Israelitish or Jewish Church.
b. Note: The scholars of the world use the names Hebrew, Israelitish, and Jewish practically interchangeably. In the New Church Me more or less distinguish them as follows: Hebrew refers to the church up to and including Abraham; Israelitish refers to the church from Jacobs time on, and particularly to the church founded by Moses; Jewish refers to the church after the tribe of Judah had returned from the Babylonian captivity in the Sixth Century B. C.
1. A very common temptation for external men; e.g., we are not New Church because we open the Word at the beginning of our worship; that act is merely a symbol of the fact that at the Second Advent the Word was opened, and it has meaning for us as individuals only if the opened Word is in us.
B. Soon each symbol of worship was identified with the Divine attribute it represented; the Divine attribute was believed to be in it; and each symbol came to be worshiped as a god by itself.
1. Polytheism (belief in many gods) and idolatry resulted.
C. Correspondences were used for magic.
D. Sacrifices became general.
1. This, from knowledge of the prophecy of the Lords death: If the death of the Son of God would pay for our sin, might not the death of our own sons pay for our sin also?
a. Animal sacrifices were instituted by the Lord as a substitute for human sacrifices, and also because they could be made to represent what is genuinely good.
E. Conjugial love was lost; polygamy (many wives) became general.
III. This was the state of man at the dawn of history.
A. The Ancient Church still had some little purity in Egypt.
B. In Canaan, the Hebrews still worshiped Jehovah.
BC 2000 ? Abraham
1200 ? Moses and the Exodus
937 The Kingdom divided between Israel (Samaria) and Judah (Jerusalem)
800 The prophets of Israel--Amos, Hosea, etc.
721 Fall of Samaria to the Assyrians
700 The prophets of Judah--Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc.
586 The fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians; beginning of the Babylonian captivity
516 ? Restoration of the Jews to Palestine
400 Malachi, last of the prophets
4 Birth of Christ
AD 70 Fall of Jerusalem to the Romans
II. The human race was still declining spiritually, but the Lord now began to make preparations for His Advent by setting up a representative of a church among the Hebrews.
A. Meaning of a representative of a church: The Jewish Church was never in genuine charity and genuine truth; but the Jews went through external motions of a ritual that represented genuine worship. Actually, they were only play actors, kept in line by rewards and punishments,
1. To sacrifice means to make holy. A lamb signifies innocence, that is, the willingness to be led. The sacrifice of a lamb by the Jews represented making innocence holy, that is, making our willingness to be led a willingness to be led by the Lord alone.
2. The Jews performed many holy washings with water in their worship. Water represents truth; bodily filth represents evils of life; washings represented removing the evils of life by means of Divine truths.
B. Purpose of the representative of a church.
1. To keep open a path of communication between heaven (and the Lord) and men on earth; without this communication, and men would instantly perish.
a. This was effected in the following manner: The Lord adjoined to the Jews the most simple good spirits in the other world.
C. Note: The Jews were never Gods chosen people, but forced themselves into that role. In Exodus 4:24, it tells how after the Lord had told Moses to return to Egypt and lead out the Jews to Canaan, the Lord met Moses in an inn, and sought to kill him
D. Why did not the Lord make His Advent immediately? (This representative of a church lasted over 1500 years.)
1. Evil had not yet come to its height, and men would first have received the Lord and then rejected Him, causing profanation.
a. All the seeds of evil had been sown in mens hearts, but they had not yet borne fruit.
b. Profanation is the worst of all evils; it is better to reject at once, than to accept, and then reject.
c. When the Lord finally made His Advent evil was so dominant that very few accepted Him.
III. Early History of the Israelitish Church.
A. Begins with Abrahams call from Ur of the Chaldees, to settle in Canaan.
1. Why Canaan? Because the church had always been centered there, and its mountains, valleys, rivers, etc., had taken on certain significations, the memory of which still lingered in the minds of the angels.
2. Abrahams religious state.
a. Very low.
b. Did not worship Jehovah, but God Shaddai--God the Tempter (Exodus 6:3)
c. Was prone to human sacrifice; hence the story of the substitution of the ram for Isaac in the sacrifice.
d. Knew nothing of conjugial love, as is evident from the fact that he took Hagar as his concubine, and then, after Sarahs death, went into polygamy.
B. Abrahams great-grandchildren , the sons of Jacob or Israel, go into Egypt, and are eventually made slaves there. They remain in slavery and ignorance for several centuries.
1. In slavery, they had no knowledge of Jehovah, and kept out of their old religion almost nothing but the idea of animal sacrifice, which the Egyptians considered an abomination.
C. Moses, the Exodus, Nit. Sinai, and the Ten Commandments.
1. About 1200 BC the Lord appeared to Moses in the form of an angel, and commanded him to take the Israelites back into Canaan. There follows the story of the plagues, the borrowing from the Egyptians, and the Exodus.
a. Note: Recall that the last judgment on the Ancient Church was signified by the drowning of Pharaohs armies as they pursued after Israel.
2. The Covenant at Sinai; The Ten Commandments.
a. The Covenant: If Israel stayed faithful to Jehovah, He would give them victory, peace, riches.
b. The Ten Commandments. They were already universally known. Why, then, did the Lord reveal them to Moses, with so many miracles? So that men could see that they were not only the laws of civil and moral society, but also were Divine for only if they are obeyed for this latter reason is heavenly life built up in man.
3. The tabernacle, a movable tent, which became the center of Jewish worship until the building of the temple in Jerusalem by Solomon.
a. Its plan was revealed to Moses on Mt. Sinai.
b. It represents the perfectly constructed human mind.
c. It was fashioned out of the things the Jews had borrowed from the Egyptians
d. For plan of tabernacle, see page 32A.
e. Furnishings of the tabernacle.
z. The whole was covered over with four coverings of skin and embroidered cloth. Such a curtain also divided the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place.
y. This left the Holy of Holies absolutely dark. Its only furnishing was the ark, containing the ten commandments. The staves of the ark bulged out the curtain into the Holy Place. Only the high priest could enter the Holy of Holies, and even he, just once a year. There, as he swung the censer of incense until the whole room was filled with smoke, he consulted the Lord, and received answers through the flashing of some of the twelve precious stones on his breast-plate.
x. In the Holy Place, against the west curtain, was the altar of incense. On the south wall was the seven-branched candlestick (really a lampstand). On the north wall was the table of show-bread, on which bread and wine were kept as a perpetual offering to the Lord. The priests could enter the Holy Place.
w. Outside the tabernacle in the courtyard were the laver for ceremonial washings, and the huge altar of sacrifice, on which animals were burned.
a. The priests and Levites were allowed to fork out pieces of flesh for themselves.
4. Many ceremonial laws revealed to Moses--six hundred and thirty-nine of them covered almost every aspect of Jewish life.
D. The Forty Years in the Desert.
1. When the Jews first approached Canaan from the South, their spies reported giants already inhabiting the land. The people refused to attack, in spite of promised help from the Lord. Moses then kept them in the desert forty years, until all those above twenty years of age when they left Egypt should have died, with the exception of Moses himself, Joshua, etc. During this period Moses fashioned an army out of his mob of slaves. Apparently they only made seven different encampments during this time.
IV. The Conquest of Canaan.
A. Under Moses the Israelites conquered the other side Jordan (to the East; away from the Mediterranean).
1. The story of Salak the king, and Balaam, the prophet from Syria who worshiped Jehovah. Balaam thrice tried to curse the Israelites in the name of Jehovah, and each time blessed them, instead. (Numbers 22-23)
2. Note: Moses was allowed to see the promised land, on this side Jordan, but was not allowed to enter it because he had taken credit to himself for one of the many miracles wrought by the Lord.
a. Moses today in the spiritual world. (SD 6107)
B. Moses successor, Joshua, led the people across Jordan, and with utter ruthlessness slaughtered the inhabitants of Canaan.
1. It is quite obvious from the discoveries of modern archaeology that the Jews at this time conquered only the interiors of the land, not the sea coast, where the Philistines from the isles of the Aegean were beginning to settle.
2. Joshua and his armies left remnants of the Canaanites throughout the land, and the heathen religions of these people exercised a peculiar fascination upon the Jews.
a. Molech: A brass bull in the valley of Hinnom outside Jerusalem, tended by profane priestesses. Living infant sons were thrown into the fire that perpetually burned in the bulls belly. Not wiped out until about the year 750.
b. The fertility cults and their baals
V. The Height of Israels Glory.
A. Shortly before 1000 BC Israel forsook her priestly government and demanded a king. Got Saul, a wonderful warrior who suffered from occasional madness. Saul conquered much more territory, but still mostly in the interior.
B. Sauls family supplanted on the throne by David, c, 1000, who continued the conquest of Canaan, and began to bring prosperity to the nation.
C. Under Solomon, Davids son, the kingdom, lavishly rich, stretched from Syria on the north, to the Red Sea on the south, and included most of the Mediterranean coast, Israels ships were everywhere.
A. Solomons ivory couches, magnificent palaces and summer houses, his gold-filled temple, huge army, racing stable, seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines were maintained only through extremely heavy taxation.
B. When he died, the tribes to the North (the richer part of the land) asked for relief. They received little in direct royal benefits, but paid most of the taxes.
C. Refused relief, they revolted, and the ten northern tribes, in the year 937 BC, formed the kingdom of Israel, with its capital at Samaria.
1. The kings of Israel refused their people permission to worship Jehovah at Jerusalem, and they instituted instead the worship of golden calves, etc.
D. All that was left to Solomons descendants was the smaller, much poorer kingdom of Judah, with its capital at Jerusalem.
E. Frequently there was war between Judah and Israel, but at times they united against their common enemies, the growing world empires of Egypt, Syria, and Assyria. (Babylon would become the leading world empire after Israel had fallen; then Persia; then Greece; finally Rome. Each conquered Palestine in succession.)
VII. The Fall of the Kingdoms; Judah in Captivity.
A. 721 BC: Israel and Samaria fall to the bloodthirsty Assyrians after a three-year siege of Samaria.
1. The ten northern tribes are carried into captivity and disappear from history.
2. The Assyrians settle other dispossessed peoples in what now comes to be known as Samaria. They institute a perverted form of the worship of Jehovah, coupled with the rituals of their own religions.
a. E. g., they offered sacrifices to Jehovah on Mt. Gerazim, whereas the Jews had been strictly commanded by the Lord to confine their sacrifices to Jerusalem.
B. 586 BC: Jerusalem falls to Babylon; the city is utterly destroyed;
1. It is at this time that the story of Daniel occurs, revealing the Babylonians enlightened policies toward their captive peoples.
2. Note: About this time the diaspora also begins the voluntary dispersion of the Jews throughout the Mediterranean world, to any place they could make money.
C. 516 BC(?): After seventy years of captivity, the Jews are allowed by the Persians to return to Canaan. (The Persians had now conquered the Babylonians, and had become the leading world empire.)
1. Under Ezra and Nehemiah, they rebuild Jerusalem and restore the temple.
a. The Samaritans (who had filtered down around Jerusalem) seek to help the Jews. The Jews not only refuse their help (because of the mixed worship of the Samaritans), but also dispossess them, Henceforth there is bitter, undying hatred between the two peoples.
z. Note: About this time there really begins the intense nationalistic exclusionism of the Jews: All non-Jews are regarded as outcasts.
y. This story is told mainly in the non-canonical books of the Bible.
VIII. Later History.
A. 332 BC: Alexander the Great, having captured Persia, visits Jerusalem, making Palestine a Grecian province.
1. Greek influence begins to penetrate Palestine, in philosophy, culture, athletics, etc.
B. 167 BC: Rise of the Maccabees. Under their fierce leadership, the Jews regain independence and set up a line of priest-kings.
C. 63 BC: Pompey, the Roman general, subjugates Judea.
D. 37 BC: Herod, Romes puppet king, captures Jerusalem. Soon, to gain the favor of the people, he rebuilds the temple which is finally finished in the year 11 BC.
E. 4 BC(?): Birth of the Lord.
F. AD 29(?): Crucifixion of the Lord.
G. AD 66: Outbreak of the Jewish rebellion against Rome.
H. AD 70: Jerusalem captured by the Romans, following a long siege. Bloody massacre. Temple destroyed stone by stone.
A. As to that nation itself, it was the representative of a church, but not a church.
B. The Israelitish and Jewish nation was not elected, but only received (in order that it might represent a church), on account of the obstinacy with which their fathers and Moses insisted.
C. Their worship was merely external, without any internal worship.
D. Their interiors were filthy, full of the loves of self and of the world, and of avarice.
E. The Word is wholly shut to them.
F. Their holy external, was miraculously elevated by the Lord into heaven, and the interior things of worship, of the church, and of the Word perceived there.
G. For this purpose they were forced by external means, strictly to observe their rites in their external form.
H. Still those holy things did not affect them.
I. That nation was worse than other nations, their quality also described from the Word of both Testaments.
J. The tribe of Judah departed into worse things than the other tribes.
K. How cruelly they treated the Gentiles.
L. That nation was idolatrous at heart, more than any other.
M. They worshiped Jehovah only in name, and only on account of miracles.
B. Religion is connected with morality.
C. God is a loving, heavenly Father.
D. There is a life after death.
E. The idea of a Sacred Scripture
F. Most of our present form of worship in church,
G. The mission of a church is to save the world, not just itself.
a. This was taught, but only partially accepted.
H. God regards the heart, rather than the act.
a. This, too, was taught, but only partially accepted.
III. Israels Religion Under Moses.
A. Moses, though a Hebrew, was raised in the royal palace of the Egyptian Pharaoh. Here he must have received an excellent education, and must also have been introduced into the worship of the Egyptians, which, though apparently polytheistic, was yet better than most other religions in the East. Apparently Egyptian religion did not then include sacrifice of either animals or men.
B. When he was about forty years old, Moses fled Egypt, and dwelt in Midian, where he married the daughter of Jethro, the priest. Here he stayed about forty years.
1. It was during this period that the Lord appeared to Moses in the burning bush, and commanded him to lead the Hebrew people out of Egyptian slavery into the land of Canaan.
2. Most New Church men believe that it was here that Moses copied the first ten and a half chapters of Genesis from the Ancient Word.
3. Perhaps it was here that Moses became acquainted with animal sacrifices.
4. Certainly it was here that Moses learned the name, Jehovah.
5. Also at this time Moses got from the Lord the idea that the Hebrews were Gods chosen people.
C. At Mt. Sinai, after the Exodus, Moses learned not only the plans of the tabernacle, the ceremonial laws, etc., but also the Ten Commandments, and, most important, the idea that Jehovah connected morality with religion.
1. This last is one of the greatest contributions to humanity of the Hebrew religion; no other ancient religion connected moral living with religion.
D. There is no sure indication that even Moses himself was a monotheist. Apparently at this time the Hebrew people were what we call monolatrists, but not monotheists; that is, they believed that there were many gods, but they believed that they were allowed to worship only one of them.
E. With almost all the ancients at this time the belief prevailed that a god was identified with a certain portion of land, or with a certain phase of life.
1. Compare the story of Balaams attempts to curse Israel from different mountains and, hills. (See Numbers 22.)
IV. Israels Religion Under Joshua.
A. The only change at this time seems to be an intensification of the idea that the Hebrews were Gods chosen people, and that anything at all could be done, in the name of Jehovah, to the Gentiles.
V. Israels Religion During the Period of the Judges (1150-1050)
A. Much intensification of the idea that Jehovah was an angry, jealous God, who punished those who disobeyed Him, rewarded those who obeyed Him.
B. Much temptation to worship the local Baals of the land; apparently there was great doubt that Jehovah, who had proved by miracles that He was the God of the desert, was also the God of the Land of Canaan.
VI. Israels Religion Under Solomon (c. 950).
A. The land fully conquered; the temple finished; the upper classes very prosperous; religion became much more formalized and ritualistic. Sacrifices could pay for anything.
B. Marriage generally was polygamic; e.g., the writer of the Books of Kings demurs not at all over Solomons seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines.
A. Note: The word prophesy means to speak for, or to speak on behalf of. The prophets of Israel spoke on behalf of God. At times they spoke for God concerning; the future, and hence comes the present-day meaning of the word, to forecast
B. The history of prophecy is extremely interesting. Apparently it started simply as ridiculous show-off-iness of a religious nature, but of a kind which brought men under the complete control of spirits. It was then taken by the Lord, strictly controlled, and used by ... Him, both for the sake of the correspondential connection with the heavens, and, especially, for the revelation of further genuine spiritual truths.
C. The early history of prophecy.
1. In its beginnings, prophetism was ecstatic, frenzied; it somewhat resembled the religious seizures of todays Holy Rollers, but was even more weird; it apparently originated, not with the Israelites, but with peoples in Syria and the Fertile Crescent; it was not unknown in Egypt, but seems to have been especially prevalent in: Canaan before the Hebrew conquest. (Interpreters Bible, I:201, ff.)
2. This ridiculous prophetism was much venerated, and prophets were accounted as holy. Thus the Writings say, There were companies of prophets, among the Jews and Israelites, and among the Gentiles, who prided themselves on ridiculous gestures.... There seems to have been such a prophetic spirit with that people because they were in externals, and only insane as to worship.... Certain of that time who are now with me said that they esteemed such prophets as saints, and that nearly all desired to prophesy, wherefore such a spirit ruled them. (SD 2521-2)
3. The ridiculous gestures of the prophets:
a. The earlier prophets usually went around in bands, called in the Bible, the sons of the prophets; the prophets whose books are in the Word usually acted independently.
b. The frenzies of the early prophets were usually self-induced, to the tune of pipes, horns, etc. In these frenzies they jumped up and down, rolled on the ground, babbled incoherently, dressed themselves with horns, etc. and at last went off into comas. Saul even prophesied by throwing a javelin at David. (I Samuel 18-19)
c. Even the later, highly respected prophets did such things as making mud walls, and knocking then down with toy battering rams. And Isaiah, a prince, roamed Jerusalem naked for three whole years.
4. It is quite apparent that the prophets charged a fee for their services. (I Samuel 9:7-8)
5. We repeat: This ecstatic prophetism was taken over by the Lord, and strictly controlled by certain spirits, so that the gestures and actions of the prophets would represent the states of the church in Israel, and, finally, so that the prophets could speak for God the truths which He wished to reveal in preparation for His Advent.
6. The first important mention of prophecy in the Word occurs as Moses and the Israelites finally near the Land of Canaan. Seventy elders with Moses at the tabernacle, and two others back at camp prophesied and did not cease (Numbers 9)
7. The next mention concerns Balaam the prophet from Syria, who tried to curse Israel in the name of Jehovah. He was seized by spirits, and was forced to bless Israel three times, instead. (Numbers 22-24; SD 2354, etc.)
8. There were also female prophets: Miriam, the sister of Moses; Deborah, who led the people to war.
9. Samuel was a recognized prophet, highly respected. It was he who chose and consecrated Saul as the first king of Israel; later he denounced Saul for his sins, and consecrated David to take over the throne.
a. Here begins the intimate connection between the prophets and the kings of Israel and Judah.
b. Note the power of the prophet over the king: Samuel told Saul to go to war; Saul went, etc.
c. With Samuel there also began the prophetic insistence that morality was essential to the life of religion: Hath the Lord as great delight in sacrifices and burnt offerings, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. (I Samuel 15:22)
d. Samuel is the first prophet who could perform such miracles as bringing on a storm in the midst of the harvest drought.
e. Denounced by Samuel, Saul sends three companies of soldiers to arrest him. They find Samuel and his company of prophets all prophesying. The soldiers immediately begin to prophesy, too. Finally Saul himself comes out; the spirit of prophecy seizes him and he too prophesies, stripping himself naked, and lying on the ground all that day and night. (I Samuel 10:12)
z. Hence arose the saying, Is Saul also among the prophets? which is equivalent to saying, Has the King of England really joined the Holy Rollers?
10. The Prophet Nathan, at the command of the Lord, forbade David to build the temple; David dropped this much-cherished project. Nathan also determined the succession of Solomon to Davids throne.
11. Ahijah the prophet helped start Jeroboams revolution against Solomons successor; later he denounced Jeroboam for his sin of setting up the worship of the Golden Calves in the Kingdom of Israel.
12. Elijah and Elisha, the great prophets of the Book of Kings, were constantly at war with the kings of Israel.
a. Both performed many miracles, of much the same nature as those performed by the Lord: e.g., raising people from the dead.
z. Elijahs miracle to prove that Jehovah, not Baal, was the true God. (I Kings 18)
b. Elisha interfered in the politics of Syria, setting up a new line of kings.
z. NB: This is the first time that Jehovah stepped over the geographical boundaries of Canaan. It begins the revelation that Jehovah is the one, and only God of all the earth.
D. Teachings of the later prophets.
1. Amos, a prophet in Judah who lived about 750 BC, is usually regarded as the first definite teacher of monotheism in Israel; he also was the first prophet to give real emphasis to the teaching that the Lord demanded social justice, righteousness, and morality.
a. A simple shepherd from near the shores of the Dead Sea, down in Judah, Amos experienced five visions, which he interpreted as forecasting the conquest of the kingdom of Israel.
b. Amos left his work and went to the Israelitish town of Bethel, where one of the Golden Calves was located.
c. Apparently on a feast day, he mounted the temple stops and began to harangue the crowds: Jehovah would punish Damascus, the capital of Syria, Jehovah would punish Gaza, a city of the Philistines. So, too, with several other non-Israelitish nations. Then, He would punish Judah, And finally, Jehovah would punish Israel itself and destroy it.
z. Here several important new concepts of the truth entered Israels religion: (1) Jehovah would punish nations that did not even worship Him. (This was the real beginning of monotheism.) (2) Jehovah would punish even His own chosen people, because they had sinned.
d. Amos took up the list of Israels sins: her fat, sleek women oppress the poor with outlandish rents, and drink themselves drunk; her people offer lavish sacrifices at Bethel--and sin all the more; her creditors sell the poor into slavery for no more than the price of a pair of shoes; the priests are drunkards, and steal gifts left at the altar; her people practice the worship of fertility cults.
e. Amos then threatens Divine destruction upon the house of Jeroboam. Amaziah, the high priest, tells him he is speaking treason, asks him to go home to Judah and prophesy there. Amos hotly denies being a prophet, and tells the priest even he shall die in misery and disgrace.
f. The Book of Amos ends with a note of hope: a remnant of Israel would remain and would be restored to its promised land.
g. Note: Amos was not really the first to state that Jehovah was the God of all nations--even of those which did not worship Him.
h. A beautiful quote from Amos: I hate, I despise your sacrifices.... But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everlasting stream.
2. The contributions of Hosea.
a. By his willful marriage to an unfaithful woman, he represented the Lords love for an unfaithful Israel.
b. He pictured the Lord as a loving, heavenly Father, ever willing to forgive His errant sons.
3. Isaiah the Prince.
a. A prophet in Judah after the destruction of Samaria, he tremendously advanced the concept that God demanded morality in religion: To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto Me, saith the Lord ... And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide Mine eyes ... Your hands are full of blood ... Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before Mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well ... (Is. 1)
4. Jeremiah, and the growth of Israels religion in the Babylonian captivity.
a. Jeremiah lived through the time of Judahs fall to Babylon. Apparently he himself was not taken captive, but wrote many letters to the Israelitish captives, telling them to cooperate with their captors, and lead even them to the Lord.
b. In Babylon the Jews could not sacrifice. But they could get together on their Sabbath days and read out of their sacred books (to which Jeremiahs letters, and other writings, soon were added). At these Sabbath meetings, they not only read from the Sacred Scriptures, but also prayed to their God, sang psalms and hymns, and had one of the wiser elder men explain the reading.
z. Hence arose our present form of worship.
c. In Babylon the Jews also picked up the idea of a vague life after death, a belief accepted by all the Jews except the Sadducees.
5. Post-Exilic Religion.
a. More emphasis on ritual and form, especially at the instigation of the Pharisees.
b. Tremendous increase in Jewish nationalism.
A. The State of Angels.
1. This, the most important reason for the Lords Incarnation, is entirely a matter of revelation. (Note: It is possible, statistically, that there are more people in heaven than on earth; but the Lords chief purposes concern those who live in heaven, for they not only have achieved that final state of conjunction with Him, which is the very end, of His creation, but they also alone can serve to lead earth-men into heaven.)
a Last Judgment 9: Heaven and the church on earth are intimately connected, Heaven performs uses to the church on earth similar to the uses the mind performs for the body; the church on earth performs uses to the heavens similar to those that the body performs for the mind.
b Coronis 19: When the church on earth is at its end, the heavens lose their wisdom, integrity, and happiness.
z. At the time of the Advent there was absolutely no genuine church on earth.
1. Compare the Magnificat.
2. Roman priests greeted each other with Hail, Hypocrite!
2. At the time of the Advent the hells had broken out of their proper boundaries, had subjugated the world of spirits, and had begun to infiltrate heaven itself; even the highest, celestial heaven was in danger. (TCR 121)
a. Heaven had lost its wisdom, integrity and happiness, and Divine influx through heaven to man--the only thing that inspires men with a love of good and understanding of truth--was at the point of being cut off.
B. The State of Men.
1. Regeneration was impossible.
2. There was no genuine truth anywhere on earth.
a. Even good Jews, such as Mary, looked forward to the advent of an earthly Messiah only.
z. All the Lords disciples kept expecting this, even after the Lords resurrection.
3. Hence no man on earth could effect genuine spiritual judgment upon evil and falsity.
a. And without judgment in ultimate living, the interiors of life cannot be cleansed.
4. Spirits were at the point of being able to infest men bodily, even against their will the demoniacs.
a. e.g., Mary Magdalene; the twelve-year-old boy.
III. The Virgin Birth.
A. This is the most important single truth of all Christian religion.
1. The soul of every living thing comes from its father, and the soul creates the living thing into its own image. (TCR 92)
2. If the Lords soul had been from a human father, He could have been nothing higher than a finite man.
a. The Unitarian falsity that Christ was a good man! If He was good, He was not a man; if a man, He was not good.
3. Note: Today the New Church is almost alone in believing that the soul comes from the father.
B. In the greatest of all miracles, then, the Divine itself began to form for itself a human body in the womb of a virgin, Mary, and in this body the Divine would then build up a human mind and/or character, and make it Divine--or glorify it.
IV. Purposes of the Incarnation.
A. Eight principal purposes are revealed in the Writings.
1. To show that God is Man, and to show what man is and should be.
2. To effect judgment upon the hells.
a. The Lord came on earth to conquer the hells in temptations, not just to be tempted.
z. This could be effected only by taking the frailties of a human character, and allowing evils to attack it, thus meeting the hells in temptations on the same plane as that on which they attack men.
1. Once a hell is conquered, it remains in subjection to Him who conquered it.
2. The Lord finally was tempted by all the hells at once--and conquered then all.
3. Note: Define temptation. The Lord never had any love for evil.
3. To fulfill the law
a. The Jewish Law had long been the special object of attack for the hells; now, as the Lord fulfilled its requirements, the hells centered their attacks on Him.
b. Even more important, in its inmost sense, the whole of the Old Testament is a prophecy of the Lords glorification; now the Lord fulfilled this prophecy in Person.
4. To be in ultimates as before He had been in primes.
a. Now the Lord can enlighten men (evil) from without; before the Glorification, He had been dependent on the heavens for the enlightenment of men, and heaven can enlighten good men only.
5. To save the human race. (See above, II:B)
6. To redeem angels. (See above, II:A)
7. To glorify His Human.
a. This He did by casting every thing evil, false, and finite out of His Human mind and character, until Divinity could descend even into their lowest reaches, and there form itself into the Divine Human God of heaven and earth.
8. To establish a New Church.
A. Forty days after the Lords Resurrection, the disciples ask Him if He will now restore the kingdom.
2. Note here the lingering hope that the Lord would make the Jewish nation His earthly kingdom, the most powerful kingdom of the earth.
a. The disciples were Jews through and through, and the first great struggle of the church would concern the question of allowing non-Jews to join the Christian Church.
B. The Lord refuses a direct answer, but tells the disciples they will receive power from the Holy Spirit, and will be witnesses concerning Him in (note the order) Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and into the uttermost part of the earth
C. The Ascension.
1. The Lord rises up into the sky and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
2. Two angels tell the disciples that He will come again in the same manner as they have seen Him go.
a. Note the repetition of the prophecy of the Lords coming in the clouds of heaven.
II. Matthias Chosen to Take Judas Place (Acts I).
A. The number twelve must be maintained.
B. A different account of Judas death from that given in Matthew 27:5.
C. Choice by lot.
1. SD 4008: The Providence of the Lord is in the drawing of lots.
2. The priesthood of the New Church would be instituted by lot.
III. The Miracle of Pentecost (Acts II).
A. Note: Pentecost, fifty days after Passover, was the most popular of all Jewish religious feasts, and annually attracted hundreds of thousands from the diaspora.
B. The Gift of Tongues.
1. Tongues of fire light on the heads of the disciples, filling them with the Holy Spirit.
2. They begin to preach, and their hearers, who do not know the disciples Aramaic language, each hear the disciples preaching in his own language.
a. Two possible explanations: (1) Mass introduction into the spiritual world; (2) thought transference through associate spirits.
b. Mockers cry Drunkards! Peters hot denial.
C. Peters sermon: Jesus, whom the Council condemned, has been raised from death by God, and has been made both Lord and Christ.
1. Note that Jesus is not here called the one and only God, but neither is He called the Son of God, a separate person from the Father.
IV. Early Christian Communism (Acts 2:44-5, 5:11, 6:1.-8).
A. Absolutely voluntary, the Christians have all things in common, each taking what he needs from the common property.
B. The Sin of Ananias: He and his wife sell their land, give only a part of the price to the disciples, while pretending to give all. At Peters rebuke, they both fall dead.
C. Christian Communism ends in about a year.
1. Cheating enters; many complaints.
2. The disciples quit the distribution of property in order to devote themselves wholly to preaching.
3. Seven deacons appointed for this purpose, among them a man named Stephen.
a. Here begins the separation between the spiritual and temporal uses of the church.
V. The disciples many miracles and their preaching bring about mass conversions, but also bring on persecutions by the Jews.
A. Miracles: Healing the sick; raising the dead.
B. 3,000 converts; 5,000 converts.
C. The Sadducees, angered because the disciples are preaching the resurrection while preaching Jesus, demand the arrest of the disciples.
1. Floggings follow: imprisonment and miraculous release.
a. Here enters the first note of rejoicing because of persecution.
VI. Stephens Martyrdom (Acts 6:8-8:2).
A. Two bribed, false witnesses accuse Stephen of saying that Jesus will destroy the temple and the Mosaic Law.
1. Under Jewish Law, the testimony of two witnesses was sufficient for condemnation.
B. Stephen, on trial before the Sanhedrin, reviews Jewish history, showing that the Jews have ever rebelled against God, in spite of His continued favors. Ends by saying that they have murdered the Just One, and then, looking up, says that he sees Jesus at the right hand of God.
C. The Sanhedrin, horrified at such blasphemy, has Stephen stoned.
1. The orderly method of Jewish stoning.
a. The two witnesses given the privilege.
b. They need a guard for their robes.
z. These two choose Saul of Tarsus, a learned young Pharisee, who later will become Paul the Apostle.
D. Persecution of the Christians by the Jews continues.
1. Saul especially active.
2. Most converts flee--into Samaria, Israel, Syria.
VII. First Non-Jewish Converts.
A. Philip preaches in Samaria, and converts many, who receive the Holy Spirit
1. What was the effect?
a. Not sure; perhaps prophecy, interpretation, babbling, tongues.
2. Simon the Sorcerer tries to buy the Holy Spirit.
a. The Sin of Simony-- trying to buy church offices.
B. Philip, at angelic command, converts the royal treasurer of Ethiopia, a proselyte of the gate, that is, a semi-convert to Judaism.
1. Note: Judaism at this time making many converts.
A. Paul, very logical, sets out for Damascus, Syria, to capture the Christians who had fled there from the Jerusalem persecution.
B. High noon. A blinding light. Paul thrown from his stood. Hoars--and perhaps sees--the Lord, saying, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me? Paul: Who art thou, Lord? I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. Paul is then told to proceed to Damascus, there to receive further instructions.
C. In Damascus a man named Ananias is Divinely commanded to restore Pauls sight, and is told that Paul has been Divinely chosen to be the Lords apostle to the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel.
D. Pauls sight restored by Ananias; he remains some days with the Damascan Christians.
II. Pauls Early Christianity,
A. Probably immediately after this Paul left for Arabia, where he spent the next three years. It would seem that he here figured out his own particular brand of Christianity, doing this by considering the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah and His kingdom, in the light of the knowledge that these prophecies had been fulfilled in Jesus Of Nazareth.
1. Perhaps it was also here that he was caught up into the third heaven, where he heard things unspeakable (II Cor. 12:2-4)
2. Note: The Writings observe that Paul got nothing from the Lords own teachings and parables; that he practically never quotes a single word the Lord spoke. (SD 4412, 4824)
a. Paul claims to quote the Lord: It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35)
B. Paul then returns to Damascus and preached Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.
C. Persecuted for this by the Jews, he escapes the city, and finally contacts the disciples in Jerusalem.
A. For map of Pauls missionary journeys, see p. 56 b. [Map of Pauls Journeys]
B. Paul probably did more than any other one man in history to spread Christianity. He converted many thousands, and established congregations throughout the eastern Mediterranean world. His Epistles in the Bible are letters he wrote to these various congregations (or to individuals) giving advice on different matters.
1. He was so successful in Ephesus, for example, that the silversmiths who made statuettes for the worship of Diana had him beaten and driven from town.
C. Almost everywhere he went, preaching in the synagogues, the Jews rejected him, but the Gentiles were everywhere converted en masse. This would lead to the Jerusalem Conference AD 50 (see below),
D. Finally arrested by the Jews in AD 57, Paul, a Roman citizen by birth, appeals to Caesar--which meant that he must be taken to Rome for trial.
1. On way to Pome, shipwrecked on Malta, he converted most of that islands population.
2. Tradition says that in Pome, in house imprisonment, he converted most of Caesars Praetorian Guard.
3. Unreliable tradition has him making a missionary journey from Rome to Spain, and establishing a church there.
E. Tradition says that he was killed in the first, or Neronian, persecution AD 64--the same persecution in which Peter supposedly was crucified upside down,
1. The story, Quo Vadis?
IV. Christianity Separates from Judaism.
1. The disciples, an Jews, retained Jewish Messianic hopes, even after the Lords resurrection.
2. Many Samaritans had been converted to Christianity; Philip had baptized the semi-Jewish treasurer of Ethiopia.
3. Pauls preaching attracted masses of Gentiles, while the Jews rejected it. Paul baptized the Gentiles, and many of them received the Holy Spirit.
B. Peter, following a vision, baptizes the Roman centurion, Cornelius, and all his family. Then, when berated by the other disciples for dealing with Gentiles, he backs away.
C. The Issue: Judaizors from Jerusalem arrive at Antioch, Syria, where the disciples were first called Christians, and proclaim: Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.
1. Involved: Could a man be a Christian without first being a Jew who obeyed all six hundred and thirty-nine of the Mosaic ceremonial laws?
2. This causes great concern among the Gentile converts.
D. The Settlement:
1. Paul, and his traveling companion, Barnabas, journey to Jerusalem for conference with the disciples there.
2. James, the brother of the Lord (the leader of the Jerusalem church), allows that Gentiles can be saved without adherence to any Mosaic laws save those forbidding idolatry, fornication, things strangled, and blood. (Acts 15)
E. Final Separation from Judaism.
1. Jews rejected Christianity, Gentiles accepted it.
2. Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in AD 70, and Jewish worship came to an end.
V. Pauls Religious Teachings.
A. Faith Alone (Which Paul Did Not Teach).
1. Luther, at the time of the Reformation, said that Paul taught that man is saved by faith alone, and that good works contribute not a whit to salvation. He purposely mistranslated the Bible to prove his point.
2. Paul actually taught (as the Writings show) that the practice of the works prescribed in the Jewish ceremonial laws could not save man, but that man was saved by a living faith in Christ, which resulted in obedience to His words.
B. Marriage; Man and Woman.
1. Marriage is permitted to those too weak to control their desires; celibacy is far preferable, for only a celibate can devote his whole life to the Lord. (I Cor. 7)
2. Woman, not man, brought sin into the world. She must pay for this by keeping quiet in church affairs, by child-bearing, and by keeping her hair covered in public.
a. Man is to woman, as God is to man. (I Cor. 11, I Tim. 2 et al.)
1. Christ is a Divine Being, but different from the Father. (Acts 13:33)
2. Christ not differentiated from the Father. (Col. 1:15-17)
3. Christ a man. (Rom. 5:12)
4. Christ is the one and only God. (I Tim, 2:5) Also, Col. 2:9: In (Jesus Christ) dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
a. Note the lack of doctrinal clarity; this characterized the early church: they worshiped the Lord as Divine, but had as yet made no formulas concerning His relationship to the Father.
1. Paul an absolute predestinarian. (Rom. 8:28-30, 9:11, 9:20-23)
a. In the last, Paul has God make some people for honor, some for dishonor.
E. Miscellaneous Teachings.
1. The love of money is the root of all evil. (I Tim. 6:10)
2. A Bishop must be blameless, the husband of one wife ... sober ... not given to wine ... no striker, not greedy for filthy lucre. (I Tim. 3:2)
A. I Tim. 4:6-8: I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day.
B. The Writings teachings concerning Paul.
1. Among the worst of the apostles. Actuated in all things by the love of self and the desire to be the greatest in heaven. In the other world the rest of the disciples have at last rejected him. (SD 4412)
2. Thought only of worldly glory, even in heaven. (SDm 4561)
3. A nefarious one, constantly speaking against the truths of faith; associated with one of the worst of the devils. (SD 4321)
4. Utterly insensible to any internal sense in the Word. (SDm 4562)
C. Providential reasons for Pauls conversion.
1. AC 6481: The Lord provides for His ends through the evil equally as through the good; for the Lord moves the evil through their very loves to do what is good to the neighbor, their country, and the church; for the evil desire eminence ... and advantage, and for the sake of these ... they desire to seem upright and zealous, and from this desire, as from a fire, they are more strongly moved to do such things than are the well-disposed.
2. DP 250: (Where there are few who do good for the sake of good) the Lord causes the worshipers of self to be raised to high offices, in which each is incited to do good by means of his own affection.
D. The status of Pauls Epistles.
1. The Writings quote from them, or refer to them, about five hundred times.
2. Tafels Documents 224: Good books for the church.
3. AE. 815: Do not contain a spiritual sense, but still they are useful books for the church.
1. SD 4824: Divinely permitted to enter the Bible, because the Lord foresaw that the Christian Church would fall; He foresaw also that. Pauls writings would appeal to a fallen Christianity more than do the Gospels; and there is less profanation in basing false doctrines on works which do not have an internal sense.
VII. Organization, Worship, and Doctrine in the Early Church.
1. Dr. William Whitehead: The organization of the early church was distinguished by its absence.
2. Three chief ranks of officers.
a. Apostles--the twelve appointed by the Lord; the churches they founded were considered of especial importance.
z. Peter supposedly became the bishop of Rome.
b. Elders or Presbyters--A Council of Elders.
c. Deacons, in charge of temporalities.
3. The office of bishop.
a. Grew in importance only very gradually. At first the bishop seems to have been just one among equals, appointed to care for the properties of the church. Then he became chairman of the meetings of the congregation. Then he became official corresponding secretary, official welcomer, official delegate to conferences.
1. Emphasis on missionary work.
2. Met at private homes; sang, prayed, read the Gospels, preached.
3. Baptism, before much instruction, into the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
4. Holy Supper: At first a daily feast; soon profaned by intemperance; was then reserved for the Lords Day, and was made a token meal.
1. Extremely simple, with no set formulas or creeds.
2. Believed in the Divinity of Christ, in a life after death, in charity toward the fellow Christian, in a speedy Second Coming and Last Judgment.
3. The purity of the early church was in its life of mutual charity, rather than in doctrine.
A. SD 1325: The disciples, after death, were sometimes incited by trouble-makers to preach that none could enter heaven unless they had died martyrs deaths.
B. SD 3187: Martyrdom is no test for salvation, for there have been martyrs for merit, martyrs for falsities.
C. AR 103, 300: Martyrs, after death, given crowns (crowns of life) because they desired them and thought themselves deserving.
D. AE 358: But the good cast them off.
E. SD 2572, T 73: The cruelty of Nero is here mentioned.
II. The persecutions ranged over three centuries--from Nero, AD 64, to Diocietian, 303. In AD 310 the Emperor Constantine joined the Christian Church (though he postponed baptism until his death-bed.). A final persecution occurred in 363 under Julian the Apostate, who tried to revive paganism, called the Christians Galileans, and limited the rights of the Christian clergy. From that time on, Christianity was the official religion of the Empire.
III. Literally, millions have been martyrs, but it should be noted that the early church called anyone a martyr who even faced danger for the faith.
IV. Historians generally speak of ten persecutions, although different historians have different lists. There were many other persecutions besides the ten--local, sporadic--but the ten were extensive, even though only the last three were empire-wide.
V. Martyrdom fever broke out early. Ignatius, the Bishop of Syria who apparently died in the third persecution, prayed to be torn apart by the lions; said that through the lions mouths he would find union with God.
VI. Frequently the best emperors were the worst persecutors.
A. Christian attitudes toward the state.
1. Indifference. My kingdom is not of this world. Expectation of an early end of the world.
2. Hostility--toward end of First Century.
4. Appreciation--toward end of Second Century.
5. Cooperation. From the time of Constantine onward, Christians viewed the state as the protector of the church.
B. For several centuries, Christians refused military service, which, as a test of loyalty, demanded sacrifice to the pagan gods. Therefore the Christians, because they denied the gods, were called Atheists.
C. Hostility to other religions: In paganism, the more gods, the better; Christians opposed all other gods and were fanatical against idolatry. Further, the superstitious pagans believed the empires prosperity came from the gods, and therefore hated the Christians.
1. The Christians were therefore considered subversive, destroying the welfare of the state. This belief increased in equal measure with Romes troubles with the barbarians.
D. Roman attitude toward religions; toward Christianity.
1. Politically intolerant, religiously tolerant. Licensed existing religions, wanting the favor of all possible gods.
2. Exceedingly suspicious of secret meetings, especially among the Jews, who were continually rebellious.
3. Despised Christianity for its simplicity of worship, its lack of temples, pageantry, processions, etc. Called Christians the enemies of art, beauty, and culture.
4. Sometimes accused Christians of cannibalism, because of the Holy Supper.
5. Christian refusal to say, Caesar is Lord, was regarded as atheism, political subversiveness.
E. Christians were unsocial; considered themselves the elect.
IX. The Ten Persecutions.
A. Nero, AD 64.
1. Nero one of the worst, most immoral kings in history. Began career murdering his family, his teacher, and thousands of influential Romans. Ruled state well for five years; then insanely.
2. The burning of Rome. Blame shifts to Nero. He accuses Christians as arsonists, atheists, enemies of humanity. The Roman mob turned on them in a mass man-hunt; killed several thousands. Mere, feasting in his gardens, drove through long avenues of Christian human torches. About six thousand killed. Tradition includes Peter and Paul.
B. Domitian, 81-96.
1. For a few decades the Christians had peace. Then came Domitian--cowardly, suspicious, avaricious; tortured animals to see them suffer.
2. He, above all, insisted on emperor-worship: Caesar is the Lord and God of the State of Rome. For this reason persecuted the Jews, who refused emperor-worship, and included the Christians among the Jews. Struck at the leaders of the church, rather than the laity.
C. Trajan, 106-115.
1. During his reign, persecution was continual, but history does not record its details, save that it was methodical and ordered.
2. One of the best of the emperors, Trajans aim was the extension of the empire and the growth of its internal unity. He issued edicts against all secret societies, but especially against the revolutionary Christians.
D. Hadrian, 117-138.
1. Persecution neither extensive nor uncontrolled.
E. Marcus Aurelius, 170-177.
1. Kind, just, moral, rational, Marcus was probably the noblest of the emperors. He accepted the Stoic philosophy, with its emphasis on The Fatherhood of Zeus, and the brotherhood of man.
2. Many calamities occurred during his reign, and the common people blamed them on the Christian atheists. Marcus persecuted the Christians as fanatics and as the enemies of man. The persecution was especially severe in Gaul.
F. Septimus Severus, 193-211.
1. Against both Jews and Christians, especially in Alexandria and Carthage.
G. Maximus, 235-238.
1. The preceding emperor, Alexander, had been tolerant toward Christians, and had put a statue of Christ in his temple--along with all the other gods. Murdered by the monstrous pervert, Maximus, who persecuted Christians simply because Alexander had favored them.
H. Decius, 249-251.
1. This the first empire-wide persecution.
2. The empire was now tottering before the barbarians. Christianity was growing rapidly, and Decius suspected it to be the villain, for he believed the welfare of the empire depended upon the right worship of the did Roman gods.
3. AD 250: Issues order that all are to offer sacrifice to the Roman gods by a certain date, and prove it with a temple certificate. Terrific persecution of Christians followed--especially of Christian bishops.
4. Many renounced their Christianity; excommunicated, they were called the Lapsed. Others got their pagan friends to buy them the temple certificates, and many state officials smiled on this practice.
5. It was here that martyrdom fever reached its height.
a. The church soon had to forbid the willful seeking of martyrdom, lese she lose all her members.
I. Valerian, 253-260.
1. At first favored Christianity; had many Christians in his palace.
2. Suddenly ordered all Christian clergy to sacrifice to the Roman gods; forbade Christians to assemble or to use Roman burial grounds on pain of death.
3. Later, punished all Christian clergy. All Christian senators, knights, etc., were degraded in rank and deprived of their properties. If they would not denounce the faith, they lost their heads. All Christians in palace enslaved.
J. Diocletian, 284-305.
1. Christianity had enjoyed peace for forty-three years, and thought of itself as the state-religion.
2. Complex political situation.
a. Barbarians attacking everywhere; anarchy rampant.
b. Diocletian took the sternest measures to restore order; reformed army and taxation.
c. Divided the empire into two sections, the western capital remaining in Rome, the eastern being established in Nycodemia. To stop the killings by which the succession of emperors had previously been determined, he gave each division of the empire an Augustus, and a Caesar--the latter being the crown prince.
3. At first Diocletian paid little attention to the Christians. Both his wife and daughter were Christians, and Christians were now in high positions- everywhere.
4. AD 302: Dioclctian can get no answer from a pagan oracle; its priests blamed the Christians who were standing nearby crossing themselves.
5. Diocletian suddenly saw Christianity as a huge movement he did not control, Issued order demanding immediate sacrifice by al!. Other orders: burn Christian churches; burn Christian Scriptures; expel all Christians from state offices; burn all Christians who would not denounce the faith.
6. Terrific persecution followed; especially severe in the East. So many burned that even the pagans complained of the stench. Thousands scraped to death with oyster shells. Women unthinkably defiled, then murdered.
7. Persecution gradually failed; Diocletian, ill, resigned from office in 305.
X. The Conversion of Constantine.
A. Constantine appointee! Caesar in the West, supposedly in charge of Britain and Gaul only. Seeks to become sole emperor. With fiercely loyal troops he crossed the Alps into Italy in 312. Here he claims to have had a vision of a fiery cross in the sky, and says he heard the words, In hoc signo, vince. Promises to join Christian Church if Christ gives him victory. Conquers Western Empire..
B. AD 313: Constantine issues edict of toleration for Christians, and restores their property and offices.
C. AD 324: Constantine conquers. Eastern Empire, and becomes sole emperor. Issues edict of toleration for the East.
1. Note: Constantine retained the title of God-Emperor, but now sought to befriend Christians everywhere.
XI. Advantages to Christianity of Constantines Conversion.
A. End of persecutions.
B. Favorable laws.
C. Some heathen sacrifices forbidden.
D. Sunday labor forbidden.
E. Destroyed Christian churches rebuilt at Empires expense.
F. Rapid numerical growth. Everyone now joined, for there was now political advantage in being a Christian.
XII. Disadvantages to Christianity of Constantines Conversion.
A. Loss of freedom, for church and state were intimately united.
B. Emphasis on orthodoxy, creeds, for Constantine insisted everyone must know what he believes.
C. Absence of risk in being a Christian.
D. Entrance of worldliness into the church.
E. A double standard of righteousness--one for the common man, another for those who took religion seriously.
1. With martyrdom gone, monasticism mushroomed.
A. Monasticism not a distinctively Christian phenomenon. Buddhists and Hindus had monasteries and monks long before the time of Christ. Judaism had them in the sect of the Essenes, with their headquarters at Qumran, the home of the Dead Sea scrolls.
B. Perhaps the Essene influence entered Christianity through John the Baptist: Definitely ascetic in food, clothing, desert background, denunciation of immorality.
C. Origen of Alexandria, Egypt (c. 200), was teaching something of dualism even before the rise of true monasticism; the world and body are evil; only the mind and spirit are good.
D. Monasticism arose in Christianity in Third Century, in Egypt, in eremitic and semi-cenobitic forms. In true cenobitic form it also arose in Egypt about a hall century later--i. e., c. 325.
1. Paul of Thebes the first known Christian monastic; fled the Decian persecution into the Egyptian desert and simply remained there, unknown until a vision revealed his whereabouts to Anthony of Alexandria.
2. Anthony (born c. 250) was the real founder of Christian monasticism. Imitating the eremitic monasticism of Paul of Thebes, he too went into the deserts. Discovered in his life of self-denial, he attracted hundreds, who went into the wilderness to imitate him.
3. Soon thousands were in the wild Egyptian deserts, each trying to outdo each other in ostentatious piety. Many gathered into semi-cenobitic communities, each independent, but close enough together to have some fellowship, and for to be seen of men. Others became the stylites, the pillar dwellers
4. Pachomuis of Egypt (born c. 290) was the first to introduce true cenobitism. Attracted to a strictly disciplined, yet voluntary community, he later opened his own monasteries, and established a regula for his monks.
5. St. Basil, bishop of Caesarea, elevated the monastic life into prayer and a life of service.
6. Jerome (born c, 340) popularized cenobitic monasticism in the West.
7. Not until the time of Francis and Dominic did the monastics begin to preach--to enter the world and try to save its peoples. Thirteenth Century.
E. The history of the early monasteries was one of constant repetition: at first holy and devout, the group was considered worthy of receiving large donations of money. Rich, the monks became lazy and immoral, and in opposition, another monastery started up a reform.
F. Monasticism started out a lay movement, perhaps in opposition to the Church. As the monastic movement grew, the Church saw it as a dangerous rival, and took it over. Clever Popes managed to get the personal allegiance of many orders, and used them to extend papal influence into local dioceses, thus going over the heads of both parish priest and archbishop.
III. Background of Monasticism.
A. Pagan Influences.
1. Dualism: There are two powers in the universe, a good god, the creator of spirit, god an evil god, creator of earth and body; Persian.
2. Gnosticism: Salvation came through a secret knowledge given to those in whom a spark of Divinity had caused a dissatisfaction with the world. The gnostic was above the average man who enjoyed the world.
3. Both these influences entered Christianity through Origen of Alexandria who taught that creation itself was a place of punishment, which would come to its end when all erring souls had been purified.
B. Christian Influences.
1. The literal teachings of the Lord: He apparently taught that there is no marriage in the resurrection; He commanded, Sell what thou hast; He spoke of the rich fool; He belittled family ties; He spoke of those who made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heavens sake; He warned against trusting in riches; He said that He Himself had not where to lay His head; He exalted humility and service; at least once He fasted; and intimated that His disciples would fast when He was gone.
a. His Virgin Birth, and the fact that He never married, were used as strong supports for asceticism.
2. Paul: advocated a generally temperate life, and strongly taught that marriage was inferior to celibacy.
3. Early Christians expected a speedy end of the world, which of course meant that the world was unimportant.
4. As early as AD 200 clerical celibacy was being advocated by the Church.
5. Christians soon identified the Lords passion (suffering) with redemption; said we must make our bodies suffer in imitation of Christ.
C. Causes in the Times.
1. The persecutions. Many fled the persecutions into the Egyptian deserts where the mild Mediterranean climate made outdoor living easy; they simply stayed.
a. Then, when the persecutions ended, something of the glory of martyrdom could still be found in monasticism.
2. The barbarian invasions produced wide-spread political instability; the monastery offered comparative safety.
3. When Christianity became popular, many rather immoral practices became common, even within the church. Many, seeking perfection, wanted more than the church could give.
4. The three vows common to monasticism were not then a hardship--poverty, chastity, obedience.
XV. Early Mosnasticism.
A. Paul of Thebes. Fled Decian persecution (249-251) for Egyptian desert. For ninety years (!) remained in a cave before Anthony found him. For both food and clothing, depended on a near-by grove of palms. Also, ravens brought him food.(!) Lions lamented his death, and helped Anthony to dig his grave. (!)
B. Anthony of Alexandria. born of wealthy parents. So shy he would not go to school. In church, heard text, Sell what thou hast, and give to the poor. Sold all but enough to support his sister. Next Sunday he heard, Take no thought for the morrow. Sold remaining possessions and put his sister into a kind of nunnery. Went into retirement at edge of village; gradually withdrew further into desert, Many admirers and imitators. Went into a terrible desert in mountains of shore of Red Sea. Found after twenty years. Host of admirers forced him to be their instructor in monastic ways. (Each lived alone in a hut or cave.) Pilgrims besieged him for words of wisdom, cures for disease. He prayed, worked at mat-weaving, ate a single meal a day (bread and salt), rarely slept, never bathed his (evil) body. Died at age of 105. Funeral marked by tremendous pomp.
1. Deserts around Alexandria were soon filled with hermits, each trying to outdo the other in bodily suffering. Bodily filth: hair, beard, nails uncut; crawled with lice; filthy clothes, bodily stench.
C. Marcius of Alexandria decided to teach the monks in the desert of Tabenna a lesson. Visited them: stood upright on one leg in their doorway the whole of Lent. (!) Ate nothing but a few cabbage leaves on Sundays. Prayed and wove mats forty days and nights.
D. Some of Anthonys disciples formed a colony in desert, each in a separate cell. Built a church for Sunday and Saturday worship, and every morning and evening filled valley with chants. Whips at church doors for pilgrims.
E. The Stylites (Pole-Sitters), Founder, Simeon of Antioch (Syria) sat on a pole for thirty-six years--really a pillar. Eight years on a pillar nine feet high, seven feet across. Finally pillar was sixty feet high, three across. Ate once a week. Slept leaning against a rail. On feast days stood from sunrise to sundown with arms stretched out like a cross. Prayed each day until 3:00 p, m., bowed so low that his feet touched his forehead--once 1244 times in a row. Then preached to admiring throngs. Regarded as oracle of wisdom, even by Emperor Theodosius. His touch cured disease. ( ! ) Extreme bodily filth.
1. Many thousands of imitators, but Stylites died out by AD 1000.
F. The Cenobites (Convent-Dwellers).
1. Pachomius, c. 290-346. Born a pagan. Attracted by the Christian hermits asceticism--long fasts, strict self-discipline, little sleep, many prayers. In a vision heard a command to form monasteries and establish regula for his monks. Copied his regula from a tablet shown him from heaven. (!) Regula fairly simple: no irrevocable vows; thirty-nine prayers a week; meals eaten together, but in absolute silence; slept three to a cell, sitting; meat and wine forbidden; basket-weaving and mat-weaving; no visits from relatives; enforced study of Scripture; clothing rough and simple; absolute obedience to abbot, who could name own successor, and could transfer monks from one monastery to another; monks and nuns could never meet; all personal property belonged to monastery.
2. Schnoudi, a disciple of Pachomius, established a monastery in Libya; made Pachomius regula almost unbelievably strict. Personally whipped all offenders, and whipped one monk to death.
G. Basil, c. 329-379, the great popularizer of monasticism in the East. Born of wealthy Christian parents; very well educated. Believing his life wasted, he heard an angel say, Sell all thou hast ... Visited Anthony and Pachomius. Adopted cenobitism because: a) none can supply his bodily wants alone; b) love of others demands association with others; c) the hermit fails to recognize his own defects; d) only a group can fulfill all the demands of charity; e) repentance and humility are best practiced in a group.
1. Basils sister, vowed to perpetual virginity, established a nunnery across river from Basil.
H. Jerome, 340-420. Born of wealthy Christian parents; higher education in Rome, where he freely succumbed to vices of the city. Repenting, he went into monastery. Secretary to Pope Damasus for two years. Over much opposition, extolled the virtues of virginity. Attracted many wealthy female disciples. Berated immorality already prevalent in the clergy. Finally, disgusted with Home, he and a female disciple left for Palestine, where they established monasteries and a nunnery. Set standards of purity to which monastics now subscribe formally. Tremendous influence in Eastern Church. Wrote of Roman clergy: Covetous to be priests so they could associate with women; too dressy; marcelled and perfumed; adulterous; extorters of gifts; gossips; back-biters; gluttons.
V. The Later Monastics.
A. A study of these does not properly belong at this point, but we shall not take them up again.
B. The Franciscans. Founded by Francis of Assisi, who began his monastic life preaching to the birds. Disciples, dedicated to following the Pope, preached to the common people, and worked for their betterment. Born 1183, died 1226.
C. The Dominicans. Founded by Dominic, 1170-1224. Loyal to Pope. As the Franciscans, they too preached to the common people. Early entered into the work of education in the universities that were beginning to rise about this time.
D. The Jesuits, the Society of Jesus, founded by the Spanish knight, Ignatius Loyola, 1491-1556, and his disciple, Francis Xavier, 1506-1552. Intensely loyal to the Pope. As a dead body in the hands of the Pope. Turned monasticism to the conversion of the heathens--China, Japan, the Americas, Africa. Dominicans and Franciscans soon followed suit in intense rivalry. Jesuits, long known for their horrible evils and political intrigues, claimed the end justifies the means. Are today probably the best-educated men on earth.
A. First Century: Primarily in eastern and northern Mediterranean world--Asia Minor, Egypt, Ethiopia, Greece, Italy.
1. Small groups, chiefly in cities. The villagers and farmers long retained paganism.
B. Second Century: Little actually known; Carthage, Mesopotamia, the Phone Valley in Gaul, possibly England.
C. Third Century: Tremendous numerical growth throughout empire; also India and Arabia.
1. The church at Rome may have numbered 100,000.
D. Fourth Century: With Constantine, Christianity sweeps the empire. Many of the invading barbarians converted.
E. Fifth Century: All Gaul, Ireland, Assyria, Ceylon.
II. The Fall of Rome.
A. The Strength of the Empire, c. 300-400.
1. Tremendous unity: From England to Palestine, from Constantinople to Carthage, one system of government, laws, taxes, etc.
a. Laws quite humane: Better to let many criminals go free than that one innocent person should be condemned.
2. Magnificent road system; huge public buildings.
3. State-supported teachers; at least three in each city.
4. No district, save Palestine, even thought of quitting the empire.
B. Weaknesses of the Empire.
1. Unbearable taxation crushing all but the wealthiest.
2. Unbelievably wide-spread slavery--millions and millions.
a. Both the freeman and the freedman had to compete against, slave labor.
3. Decline in population: War, pestilence, taxation, decrease of fertility of land, abortion.
C. The Barbarian Invasions.
1. Early Germanic infiltrations. Caesar, unable to conquer Germans, began to let them into his army which gave them citizenship after twenty years. Whole tribes enlisted.
2. Small groups crossed Rhine, settled in Gaul as farmers, gradually pushed South, even to Rome. Romans accepted as equals; married them.
a. Roman women dyed hair blond to attract these big, husky, blond men.
b. Artists began to paint angels with blond hair and blue eyes.
3. As barbarian numbers increased, literature and art declined sadly.
a. Most good literature was in Greek, and the knowledge of Greek was rapidly disappearing.
4. The Goths.
a. The Huns, a bloody, restless Mongol tribe, originally had pushed eastward toward the great civilization of China. Stopped by the building of the Chinese Wall in Third Century, BC, they turned West. By late Fourth Century were displacing Goths from their lands.
b. Goths, possibly from Norway and Sweden, were in Germany by Fourth Century BC. Pushed on to Black Sea by AD 100.
c. Pushed west by the Huns, they were allowed to settle within empire, south of the Danube. Badly maltreated by the Romans, they revolted in 378 and set up independent kingdom.
d. Resumed their wanderings. Greece, Yugoslavia, Constantinople bought them off.
e. Conquered city of Rome in 410. Some limited plundering.
f. Bought off by Rome, moved on to Spain, established independent kingdom there.
5. The Vandals. A Germanic tribe. Devastated Gaul, Spain. Pushed out of Spain by the Goths. Conquered and settled in Carthage and North Africa. Plundered Rome of its finest treasures in 450.
6. The Franks. Germanic tribe. Conquered Gaul and set up lasting independent kingdom.
7. The Huns. The worst of all. Under leader, Attila, sacked most of Europe, murdering wholesale. Attacked Rome, 451, but at personal plea from the Pope, called off the attack.
C. The Decline of Learning.
1. As the barbarians took over--looting, burning, destroying--art and literature came to a halt.
2. Empire, bankrupt, withdrew support from state schools.
3. All great literature was in Greek, and by 524 the last man who knew Greek in the West was killed.
III. Rise of the Papacy. Reasons.
A. Constantine withdraw his capital from Rome to Constantinople. This left the bishop of Rome the most important man in the city.
B. During all barbarian invasions, the Popes remained calm. Result: greatly increased prestige.
C. As empire crumbled, the church took over the tasks of feeding the poor and enforcing the law.
D. Eastern and Western churches gradually separated over doctrinal and political issues. The church in the East came under control of the emperor.
E. The so-called apostolic churches had always been highly respected. Rome was the only apostolic church in the West; the others in the East--gradually died out or were finally conquered by the Muhammadans.
F. Politically clover Roman bishops wangled the monastic orders into their control; used them to increase papal power.
G. The insistently repeated claim that Peter had founded the Church in Rome, and that his successors therefore had the keys of the kingdom. By 600 the Pope was absolutely supreme in the Western Church, that is, west of Greece.
IV. The Dark Ages.
1. Decline of learning, literature, etc.
2. The triumph of Plato over Aristotle in the West.
a. Platos philosophy of Realism: Individual things are of no importance; only the abstract idea behind the individual things has reality. E.g., John Jones and Sam Smith as individuals are unimportant, reality is the abstract idea of man that is common to both Jones and Smith.
b. Aristotle rejected this. He said that the abstract; idea is nothing but a name unless it is connected with individual things, and that individual things, therefore, are important.
c. Platos philosophy was favored by the monastic elements in the Church--the individual things of the body are of no importance; only abstract, spiritual things are real and good, Platos writings were early translated into Latin.
d. Boetius, 480-524, thought differently. The last man in the West who knew Greek, he was a disciple of Aristotles. He began to translate Aristotles writings into Latin, but had not gotten far when he was falsely accused of treason against the emperor, and was beheaded. The Dark Ages had begun.
1. Learning disappeared. Even Charlemagne, AD 800, who tried to revive learning and was himself able to read, could never be taught to write, not even his own name.
2. The Church declared the body and the world to be evil. E.g., the world was said to be so evil that it was declared a sin to try to make the world better.
3. The Church actually discouraged learning, encouraged the grossest ignorance and superstition, even as it also forbade the reading of Scripture.
4. For about a thousand years, what little learning there was confined to the monasteries. With the crumbling of the empire, feudalism and political anarchy began. The cities were deserted--e.g., Romes population declined to about 17,000, as cows grazed in the ruins of St. Peters cathedral.
A. TCR 489: Trust not in any council ...
1. A council of men cannot decide what is eternally true. Only the Lord, in revelation, decides what is true. Any mans understanding of that truth is finite, and hence is liable to error. In the General Church, therefore, no council of ministers ever makes decisions binding upon the Church as to what is true.
B. There were two epochs of Christianity, one before, the other after the Council of Nicaea. TCR 76.
C. These four doctrines of the Christian religion came cut of the Council of Nicaea: a trinity of Persons in God; universal guilt for the sin of Adam (original sin); the imputation of Christs merit to man; man is justified by faith. BE 32.
D. To vindicate the Lords Divinity, Nicaea invented a Son of God from eternity, TCR 94.
E. This was a Divine permission, to uphold faith in the Lords Divinity. BE 31.
F. After the second Council of Nicaea, the last true light departed from the Christian Church. TCR 176.
II. The Seven Ecumenical Councils. (Learn underlined dates.)
A. Nicaea I, 325. )
B. Constantinople I, 3181. ) Marked by general consent
C. Ephesus, 431. )
D. Chalcedon, 451. )
Egyptian Church separates from rest of Christianity.
E. Constantinople II, 553.
F. Constantinople III, 680.
G. Nicaea II, 787.
Roman and Eastern Churches split.
Note I: Today, the World Council of Churches (chiefly Protestant) in its Ecumenical Movement is working to restore Christian unity.
A. Precedents. Beginning with the Jerusalem Conference (AD 50: A council of the disciples, Paul, and others, which settled the question of allowing non-Jews into the Church), local, provincial, and regional conferences had met frequently to decide matters of doctrine and church policy.
B. Doctrinal Precedents.
1. Origen of Alexandria (one of the very greatest of the early Church Fathers, c. AD 200, who had taught an internal sense to the Word amazingly like that which is taught in the Writings), had proclaimed that because infinite God is unchangeable, He therefore has been Father of the Son from eternity. But he also taught that Christ was created, and therefore was only a secondary God.
2. Sabellius (? Third Century; ? Rome) taught that the Father was God-before-the-Incarnation; He was succeeded by the Son, God-on-earth; and He, in turn, was succeeded by the Holy Spirit, God-at-work-today, His heresy spread widely and rapidly.
3. Dionysius, a pupil of Origens, taught that God created the Son, and that therefore there was a time when the Son was not.
C. Political Setting. Constantine had become sole emperor in 324. Found the Christian Church (his largest body of supporters) badly split over the Arian controversy. Summoned all Christian bishops to meet (at his expense) in Nicaea (now in Turkey). Presided at the council meetings, and finally insisted on a formula for unity.
D. The Arian Controversy. Arius of Alexandria, brilliant, young, eloquent, preacher, especially favored by rich women, loved argument. At a meeting of the ministers of Alexandria, accused his bishop, Alexander, of preaching Sahellianism. Proclaimed: God is without, beginning, but the Son had a beginning ... The Son is not a part of God. Violent arguments followed. Arius secretly, preached his new doctrine.
E. The Council. First session, June 19th, 325. Much pomp. Three hundred and eighteen bishops present, with armies of subordinates. Violent arguments. Ariuss support gradually dwindled .
F. The Decision (usually called the Athanasian Creed): We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things ... and in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of the Father, God from God, begotten, not made, of one substance ((standing; rank)) with the Father ... Who for us men and our salvation came down and was made flesh ... ((etc.))
G. Result: The doctrine of three Persons in the Godhead from eternity was fastened on the Christian Church, and accepted by all.
1. The Writings say that in spite of this, Arianism--the denial of the Lords Divinity--reigns secretly to the end.
IV. Chalcedon, 451.
A. The Issue. Almost immediately following Nicaea, a new doctrinal controversy arose concerning the relationship between the Divine and human natures of the Lord. Some emphasized the Lords Divinity to such an extent as to forget His humanity; said Christ was never really in the flesh, but only an appearance. Others said His Divine nature made His human nature Divine also. Others said that His human nature still remained merely human, even after the Resurrection. Much involved in the arguments was the status of Mary: Was she only the mother of Christ, or was she mother of God?
B. The Settlement. In 446, both sides appealed to Pope Leo (Leo the Great) for settlement of the dispute. (Leo was the first Pope to claim that he was vicar of Christ and God upon earth, and the first also to insist that disobedience to the Pope meant eternal damnation.) Leo finally forced his own views on the Church at the Council of Chalcedon: In the distinct Person of the Son of God, there were and still are, two distinct natures, one Divine, the other human: Mary is the mother of God..
1. Note: In the Christian Church today (especially Protestant), even though the belief in three Persons is fading, the belief in the dual nature of Christ is rising;
C. Teaching of the Writings. SD 4551: CONCERNING A COUNCIL WHEN A DISTINCTION WAS MADE BETWEEN THE DIVINE AND THE HUMAN NATURE OF THE LORD. It was granted me to speak with those who were in a council, wherein it was concluded that a distinction should be made between the Lords Divine and human nature. They were on the left, in front, at a great distance. They said that those who had the greatest influence in that council were together in a dark chamber, and made that decision principally far the reason that otherwise, if they had acknowledged the Lord as one with the Father, as He said He was, the papal throne would not subsist, and that the pope could not have been His vicar in the earth; for schisms existed at that time, whereby the papal power must have slipped away and been dissipated--therefore, for that reason, they assembled, that they might distinguish between the Divine and the human of the Lord; and to corroborate their distinction they sought out confirmations from the Word, and so persuaded others. They said that they knew otherwise from Scripture, but that they could not accept it for that reason; and they said moreover, that in their hearts they did not believe in the Lord, but that they did not dare to publish this, as, in case they did, they would be driven out or slain. That they could thus rule in heaven and earth, they took from the Word, in that to the Lord is given all power in heaven and earth; and thus they could rule over souls. And since, in addition to this, over their remaining possessions also, it was said that they were not content therewith, but also wished to possess everything on earth. It was replied that they would thus have complete power.
V. Nicaea II, 787.
A. Background. In the Eastern Church the worship and adoration of icons had become universal. (In the West, the worship of images was gaining ground.) (An icon is not just an image, but is a bas-relief picture.) Eastern theologians justified it thus: The worshiper does not really worship the icon, but rather worships what the icon represents. (Good theology, but the common people did not understand it.) Tremendous superstition developed. Some icons had been made without hands; others moved, cried, spoke, taught, worked miracles. Emperor Leo III believed that only reform could save his tottering empire--reform in all phases of life, including religion.
B. The settlement. Leos granddaughter-in-law, the Empress Irene, terribly superstitious, convened the seventh ecumenical council, Nicaea II, 787, to re-establish icon-worship officially. Council gladly did so.
A. The Koran (Islams Bible). Not written by Mohammed himself, but by followers who had learned his revelations word for word.
B. The Five Cardinal Doctrines.
1. There is but one God, Allah. He can do anything, and anything He does is right. He minutely predestines the most minute affairs of life (Kismet). He is beyond mans comprehension, though the faithful will see Him, with the understanding, after death.
2. Angels, created as such, spend their days in perpetual worship of Allah. They intermediate between God and man.
3. The Doctrine of the Books--Koran. Much mangled Christianity. Insistence on the Virgin Birth of Christ. Belief that the Christian Trinity consists of the Father, Son and Mary.
4. The Prophets. There have been many prophets: Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Mohammed.
5. The Resurrection. All will be judged by Allah; all Muslims will be saved. Heaven is the Garden of Pleasure, with wonderful food and non-intoxicating drinks, and endless numbers of beautiful girls.
C. The Five Pillars of Faith.
1. Repetition at all times of the creed, There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is His prophet.
2. Five daily prayers, preceded by cleansings with water or sand. Prostrate, facing Mecca.
3. Thirty days of fasting during the lunar month of Ramadan. No eating, drinking, smoking, etc., from sunrise to sundown, then, feast all night.
4. Alms-giving; absolutely mandatory.
5. The pilgrimage. At least once, to Mecca. (Or by proxy.) Elaborate ceremonies, Kaba circled seven times, the sacred stone being kissed each time. Sacrifices.
D. Other Aspects.
1. Duty of the Holy War. (Last real attempt failed in 1914.)
2. No priesthood.
3. No alcohol, pork, gambling, usury.
4. No images, no pictures of any living thing.
5. Great interest in education.
IV. The Expansion of Islam.
A. 632-732. Perhaps the most remarkable military-religious conquests in history. In 632, when Mohammed died, Arabia was under his control. Conquest spurred by promise of booty and slaves, by promise of eternal reward if killed in battle. 638: The huge Persian empire falls to the Muslim sword. 641: Palestine and Syria. 643: Egypt. 645: Tripoli. 649: Tunisia. Then on through Turkey to Constantinople (where the Muslims were thrice defeated). Across Northern Africa, through Spain, up into France. Stopped in France at Tours: by Charles Martel, and driven back into Spain. India. Central Asia. Then the Mohammedan conquest ceased as suddenly as it had begun.
1. This was Christianitys greatest territorial and numerical loss, with the possible exception of the Twentieth Century loss of Russia and the Christianized parts of Red China.
B. Fourteenth-Fifteenth Centuries. Led by the Turks. 1453: Constantinople falls. In Luthers day, at the gates of Vienna. Further south into Africa, further east into Asia.
C. Today. Great expansion of the religion. The Philippines; many of Americas intelligentsia, Africa.
D. Fate of the conquered Christians. Submission or the sword. Could remain Christians (in enclaves, subject to Mohammedan control), but were then subject to taxation and slavery. Death penalty for converting Muslims to Christianity.
E. Mohammedan acquisition of learning. Persia had become the seat of learning, based on Aristotle--medicine, surgery, mathematics, science, astronomy. The Muslims at once took this over and expanded it. It spread even to Spain, and in Spain and also in Palestine (during the Crusades), Western Christians finally came into contact with it.
A. DP 255: Mohammedanism was raised up out of the Divine Providence of the Lord to destroy the idolatry of the many nations it conquered, It acknowledged the Lord as the Son of God, the wisest of men, a very great prophet. It is adapted to the genius of the Eastern mind. In it is something of both Testaments. Provided to give the Orientals some knowledge of the Lord before they come into the spiritual world. It could not acknowledge the Lord as the one God, because the Orientals acknowledge God as the Creator, and they could not comprehend how He could have come into the world and assumed the human. (In this, like Christians today.) It has the precepts of the Decalogue.
1. The idolatry it destroyed was not only that of the pagans, but also that of Christianity.
B. TCR 83: Mohammedans are averse to Christians because they believe in three gods; are averse to Catholics because of their idolatry.
C. TCR 833: Without polygamy, the Orientals would have been even more inflamed with filthy adulteries than are the Europeans.
D. TCR 830: (This passage leaves no doubt that Mohammed is now a devil in hell.)
A. Morality. Christianity has always taught the highest standards of morality. Unfortunately, not all Christians live up to these standards, nor is moral deviation confined to the laity. By AD 325 there was so much immorality among the Christian clergy that the Council of Nicaea had to pass rules against it. As the Church grew rich and powerful, men entered the priesthood for money and Fewer. Caring nothing for religion, they lived immoral lives, neglecting their duties, and indulging in orgies of drunkenness. Gambling for stupendous suns became a common practice. Forced by church law to remain unmarried, many priests lived in open adultery. We come now to a period in Christian history, the Pornocracy, when such evil men finally seized the papal throne itself, the richest and most powerful office on earth.
B. The Popes and Political Power. By the year 600 the Popes were supreme in the Western church. Even kings and emperors were spiritually under their dominion. Now the Popes began to claim temporal (political) power as well. In the year 800 the Pope crowned Chariemagne Holy Roman Emperor Thereafter the Popes claimed that the empire belonged to the papacy, and was given to kings and emperors by the Popes, and could therefore be taken from them by the Popes. This claim was based on the nonsensical Doctrine of the Two Swords. Just before the Lords arrest in Gethsemane, one of the disciples, suggesting resistance, had said, Lord, here are two swords. The Lord refused them, saying, It is enough. (Luke 22:38) The Catholic Church now claimed that this meant that the Lord had given two swords to the Church, one being the sword of spiritual power and the other being the sword of temporal power, and that therefore kings and emperors ruled only as servants of the Popes. The struggle between king and Pope went on for centuries, the Popes gradually gaining the upper hand until after the climax at Canossa in the winter of 1077.
II. The Pornocracy.
A. Pornocracy means the rule of filth. In general it refers to an era in papal history from 900 to 1050 (904-1049) when the Popes lived in open adultery, staged lewd and drunken brawls, gambled and murdered. The name, however, applies particularly to the first decades of this period, when the Popes were under the dominion of two infamous women, Theodora and her daughter Marozia.
B. Popes of the Pornocracy.
1. Christopher I, 904, Obtained papacy by having his predecessor imprisoned and strangled.
2. Sergius III, 905. Imprisoned Christopher and condemned him to death by starvation.
a. During his reign came the building of the monastery at Clugny, France, out of which would eventually come reform.
3. John X, 912-928, Smothered to death in prison.
4. John XI, 931-936. Son of Sergius and Marozia. Imprisoned by his brother, another of Marozias lovers.
5. John XII, 954-963. Pope at age of eighteen. Murdered his father. Publicly drank to the devil. Slain by an outraged husband.
6. John XIII, 965-973. Famed for cruelty. Personally cut off nose and lips of a rival priest, before having him dragged through the streets to his death.
7. Boniface VIII, 973. Assassinated predecessor. Fled the outraged Romans to Constantinople after looting Vatican of most of its treasures. Sold these in the streets of Constantinople, to pay for his mistresses, his many drunken brawls.
8. John XIX, 1024.. Bought papacy. A layman, he was ordained through all degrees of the priesthood in a single day.
9. Benedict IX, 1033-1045, Boy Pope at age of twelve. In his early twenties sold papacy for a huge sum--after first secretly looting Vatican of all its treasures. Driven from Rome by outraged citizenry.
C. Present Catholic Attitude.
A. Clugny. In the year 910 a new monastery was built at Clugny (Cluny), France. Put under strict adherence to Rule of Benedict: Head abbot absolutely supreme; monastery received all of each monks property; simple but adequate food and clothing; fastings, many prayers, a church service every three hours; much directed reading of Scriptures and religious writings; much silence; no laughing; much hard work in fields or library. Reforming influence of Clugny spread rapidly; within a century, two thousand monasteries under its control.
B. Hildebrand. Son of a goatherd; educated at Romes Clugny-influenced convent of St. Mary. Outstanding youth, constantly on the rise. Chosen as chaplain to Pope Gregory VI (who bought papacy from Benedict IX). Three rivals at this time: Gregory; Benedict (who changed his mind and decided to remain Pope); Sylvester, who was made Pope by the angered Roman citizenry. Citizenry now appeals to the emperor, Henry III, to settle the issue. Henry convenes council in 1046, allowed Gregory to preside; deposed both Benedict and Sylvester; then allowed Gregory to resign, because of his sin of simony, Gregory went into exile at Clugny, Wildebrand followed him.
C. The Hildebrandian Popes
1. Leo IX, 1049. The emperor had elected his cousin, Bishop Bruno, to the papacy. On way to Rome, Bruno stopped at Clugny, met Hildebrand, who persuaded him not to take papal chair until elected by the citizens of Rome. Bruno entered Rome as a bare-foot pilgrim. Wildly acclaimed. Elected, chose the name of Leo IX. Hildebrand was with him; immediately began reform. Fought simony and clerical immorality--including marriage! All priests guilty of simony were excommunicated. Rome was left without a single priest! Forty days of penance substituted for excommunication.
2. Nicholas II, 1059. Henrys six-year-old son now emperor. Hildebrand used his minority reign to increase papal powers. Secured election to papacy of Nicholas, and immediately became the power behind the papal throne. Had Nicholas summon the Lateran Council of 1059, which decreed that the cardinal bishops would henceforth elect the Pope.
D. Hildebrand as Pope Gregory VII, 1061-1085. Elected by wild acclaim when Nicholas died. Calmly notified emperor of his election, Claimed church was absolutely supreme over all the world. Every king and bishop in the West was forced to obey his will. Wiped simony out of the church. Finally enforced celibacy on all Catholic priests, despite terrific opposition. (Most French, German, and English priests were married. Gregory dissolved their marriages, forced their wives and children into the streets.)
A. The Investiture Struggle. Feudal lords, from kings on down, had long appointed priests to their parishes, and had invested them with the symbols of their powers. Gregory ordered lay investiture stopped; deposed five of Henrys counselors (because Henry had invested them), and threatened Henry with excommunication. Henry gave in for a while, then reappointed the five, paid his soldiers with the churchs money, stole the churchs jewels.
B. Canossa. Henry called a church synod at Worms, had it depose Gregory from the papacy on a ridiculous list of charges. Gregory responded by excommunicating Henry, deposing him from his throne, releasing his subjects from their oath of loyalty, Henry called a second council; protester Popes actions. Gradually his support dwindled. A third council of the German Church--ordered Henry to submit to rite Pope and seek absolution within twelve months, Henry went into palace imprisonment, but then, with only two months to go, started off for Italy in the dead of winter. Found Pope in the fortress of Canossa in the Apennine mountains; barred from entry. For three days Henry then stood bare-foot in the snow, clad only in a hair shirt. Pope finally admitted him to his presence, granted him forgiveness, but not his crown. The empire was at last prostrate before the church.
C. After Canossa. Gregorys victory was only temporary. Henrys enemies elected a new emperor, Rudolf. Henry demanded his crown back from Gregory. Gregory refused, so Henry elected a new Pope, who at once excommunicated both Gregory and Rudolf. Gregory excommunicated him and crowned Rudolf, Henry captured Rome. Gregory and his Normans recaptured it, Normans looted city terribly.
A. For the sake of convenience the Middle Ages, usually misidentified with the Dark Ages, are dated from: 500 to 1500. Actually, the decline of learning in the West began several centuries before 500, and the Revival of Learning, long before 1500--about 1000, to be more specific.
B. Recall: In western Christianity, Platos philosophy had won out over Aristotles, Reality is found only in the abstract idea behind specific examples: e.g., the idea of man is the reality; specific men are of comparative unimportance. This led to a focusing of attention of the spiritual, and a despisal of all that is in the natural world. In Persia, however, Aristotles philosophy had been kept alive: the abstract means nothing until it is put into concrete form in a specific example. This led to an interest in the things of the world and of nature, with the result that science remained active in the East. We have already seen that when Islam conquered Persia, Islam quickly took over the learning there found, Thereafter, for several centuries, science developed in Islam--astronomical observations, the invention of zero, and surgery (including the use of anesthetics).
II. The Revival. of Learning.
A. The rise of universities. In Italy, very early; in France; in England (Oxford); much later in Germany.
1. First known university at Salerno, Italy, a medical school, organized, probably before 1000, by young students desiring to study medicine. They hired and strictly controlled their teachers. Perhaps the nearness of the Muslims, who then had footholds in Italy, accounted for the interest in medicine, but there is evidence that this was simply a revival of an ancient Roman school of medicine. Unfortunately for medicine in the West, the Pope, in 930 and again in 337, forbade all monks to practice surgery, on the grounds that it was a sin to cut the human body, this having been made in the image of God.
2. A university of law began later at Bologna.
3. The mother of northern universities, the University of Paris, began as an outgrowth of the older cathedral school of Notre Dame.
4. Oxford may have been started by rebellious students at Paris, who deserted France for the freer climate of England.
B. The study of Aristotle in Spain. Spain was definitely a Muslim country by AD 1000, and therefore enjoyed the learning of the Muslims. About this time it became popular for the sons of the rich to go to Spain for their higher education. They brought Muslim learning home to the Continent, and, as well, Aristotles interest in science.
C. Crusades. Starting in 1092, and ending in 1270, the Crusades brought hundreds of thousands of western Europeans into contact with the tremendously superior civilization that remained in the Eastern Roman Empire (centered in Constantinople), and with the really advanced civilization of the Muslims. The westerners came home changed men, and though perhaps they did not yet desire education itself, they wanted the benefits and luxuries that education could bring.
D. The Rediscovery of Aristotle, Both from Spain and from the East, the teachings of Aristotle began to seep into the West. At first Aristotles books were forbidden by the church, but soon the church had them translated into contemporary Latin. A gradual reawakening of interest in nature followed, and it was not too long before modern science began.
E. The Mendicant Orders. (Mendicant means begging.) Two new orders of monks now arose--the Franciscans in1210; the Dominicans in 1216. Both orders became closely associated with the new universities, and soon supplied most of the teachers. More than this, both mendicant orders went in for preaching sermons to the common people--a practice which had almost died out in the church.
III. Heresies and Heretics.
A. The Waldenses. Even before the rise of the Mendicants, thousands of men and women flocked to the banner of Peter Waldo of France. They tried to live in literal imitation of the poverty apparently taught by the Lord. They stressed a knowledge of the New Testament, and preached it everywhere. Forbidden to do so by the church, they left the church, denounced it and its popes as corrupt. Their faith was simple; their lives, exemplary; their ritual, utterly free from Roman Catholic mumbo-jumbo magic. Their persecution by the church became extremely bitter; thousands were killed. The survivors fled to the strongholds in the Italian Alps. Today their descendants are centered in South America.
B. The Cathari (Pure). Much further removed from the Catholic Church. Centered in northern Italy, northern Spain, and southern France, where the clergy was especially noted for indolence and immorality, Extreme dualists, they believed in a good power who created spirit, an evil power who crested body and world. Stressed New Testament. Believed two churches existed--their own, the Church or Christ, and the Roman Catholic, the church of Satan. Discarded Roman sacraments. Among them, the perfect were celibate and vegetarian, and gave up private property; the believers were not so extreme. Ardent missionaries. Pope Innocent III ordered a crusade against them, which killed many, many thousands.
C. John Wycliff (1328-1384) and the Lollards. A student, later a teacher of theology, at Oxford. In last years of life, began to write that evil priests could be deposed by civil authority (thus reversing the age-old belief of the church); that popes could err, and, if evil, should be deposed. Condemned saints, pilgrimages, relics. Translated Bible into English, and though it was banned, had it widely circulated in England. His followers, the Lollards, were much persecuted, but Wycliff himself died in peace.
D. Jon Hus (many spelling variants), 1369-1415. In what is now Czechoslovakia (then Bohemia), another heretic arose, a while after Wycliff, to challenge the authority of Pope and Church. (To some extent, at least, he was responsible for the founding of the Academy of the New Church.) A mediocre student of philosophy and theology at the brilliant, new University of Prague, Jon Hus became rector of that institution. As a preacher in Prague, preaching his sermons in Czech as well as in Latin, he attracted tremendous congregations from every rank of society. Soon he began attacking the immorality of the Bohemian clergy, questioned the infallibility of the Pope, and said that Christ--not Peter--was the foundation of the church. Bohemians then much under the influence of Wycliffs writings (due to political alliance), and Hus appealed to their heretical tastes. Much opposition arose; Wycliffs books were burned; Hus was excommunicated. To spare Prague from a threatened interdict, Hus left the city; preached wherever he could find an audience, championing the right of the laity to read the Bible, the right of the laity to partake of wine in the communion. Eventually he was treacherously arrested at the Council of Constance, and was burned at stake. Civil war later broke out among his followers, depleting their numbers, and a crusade was organized against them. Remnants fled to Germany, where they united with the Moravians during the Reformation,--the Moravians, who have always stressed the religious education of their children.
E. The Inquisition. To meet the menace of heresy, and also the deadly menace of witches, the Catholic Church, about 1300, organized the Inquisition. It was widely justified by the most learned scholars of the day, on the ground that preaching heresy was worse than murder, since it led the soul to eternal damnation. Under the rules of the Inquisition, anyone could accuse anyone else of heresy--anonymously. The accused was arrested by the Inquisition, was regarded guilty until he proved himself innocent, was usually denied knowledge of his crime, and usually tortured until he confessed. If he then recanted, he was imprisoned for life; if he did not recant he was killed, by the civil authority. (The church itself rarely inflicted the death penalty, save in the case of a few mistakes--e.g., Joan of Arc). Hundreds of thousands died.
IV. The Decline of the Papacy.
A. Innocent III, 1198-1216, ruled the world. In 1303, Pope Boniface VIII, apparently at the instigation of Philip the Fair of France, was kidnapped, and though he was almost immediately released by an angry mob, he soon thereafter died of rage, and/or grief.
B. The Babylonish Captivity of the Church. By 1309, the papacy, afraid to remain in the strife-torn city of Rome, removed its seat to Avignon, and there, until 1317, was completely under the domination of the French court. The seven popes who ruled at Avignon were of low moral character, though, compared with some still to come, were angels. It was during the Babylonish Captivity that the population of Rome sank to about 17,000, and that cows grazed in the nave of the ruined St. Peters Cathedral. It was also during this period that the Black Death ravaged Europe for two years (1348-1349), and carried off about half the population. This last had a terribly demoralizing effect on the church: with so many of the clergy dead, anyone off the street could receive ordination, merely upon application.
C. The Great Schism, 1378-1409. The last of the Avignon popes moved the papacy back to Rome in 1377. The next pope, an Italian, outraged the luxury-loving cardinals from Avignon, due to his demands for moral reform. They moved back to Avignon, and elected another pope. For thirty years there were two rival lines of popes, and Europe was almost equally divided in its papal allegiance.
A. Pisa, 1409. Utterly failed in its attempts to reform the church and to heal the schism, but served as sounding board for the idea that an ecumenical council was superior to any one official of the church.
B. Constance, 1414-1418. Extremely well-attended by cardinals, kings, bishops, etc. About 100,000 visitors and delegates. Forced the abdication of the vile John XXIII (!) from the papacy. Forced the resignation of the Pope at Rome. Did little to bring about the moral reform of the church. Treacherously arrested and burned Jon Hus. Ordered exhumation and burning of Wycliffs bones.
C. Bsasel, 1431, etc. Issued many orders for the reform of the church, but its. members drifted away to Florence, Italy, attracted by an offer from the Eastern Church (centered in Constantinople) to reunite with the West. In Florence, the council came entirely under the domination of the Pope, who broke the back of the counciliar movement, and finally established the papacy supreme in the church once again.
VI. Degenerate Renaissance Popes, 1447-1521. During the 14th and 15th Centuries occurred what is known as the Renaissance, or Revival of Learning. Centered in Italy, it soon spread to France and beyond. It was marked by a renewed interest in Greek and Roman classics, and this, in turn, led to a focusing of attention on the pleasures of the world, the beauties of the human body, and, as well, a belief in the innate goodness of man. This, of course, led to worldliness, sensuality, and immorality. By 1447, the Renaissance had captured the papacy, and for almost a hundred years thereafter, religion was never mentioned in the Vatican. Profligacy and degeneracy once more reigned in the papal court, almost to a greater degree than during the Pornocracy. The only hope of Christianity lay in the coming Reformation.
A. It was a provision of Divine Providence, in order that the Word might again be read, and that the Lord might again be acknowledged as the sole Possessor of Divine Power. (AE 1069, SS 110, AE 684:40, Inv. 24, AR 759.)
B. It brought some genuine light of faith to the Protestants. (CJ 14, AR 631, AE 968:4.)
C. But it was never a genuine rebirth of the Christian Church. (Scrip. Conf. 1906 Swedenborg Society Edition, p. 32.)
1. Because the Reformed adopted the belief that salvation was by faith alone.
2. Because they kept the old Catholic doctrines concerning the Trinity, Adams original sin, etc.
II. Martin Luther (1483-1546).
A. His early years. Saxon peasant stock; poor at first, very severely disciplined; a pious, superstitious good Catholic family. Not outstandingly bright in university days. July, 1505, frightened by thunderstorm, vowed to become a monk; kept vow, against fathers wishes.
B. Early years as monk. Entered convent at Erfurt, Germany, noted for its severe discipline, Luther outdid the rules. Continual study of the Bible, under the superior, von Staupitz. Constantly oppressed by sense of sin. Ordained into the priesthood, he visited Rome on a mission for his convent; there was pious as the best of pilgrims, but was repelled by the worldliness of the clergy in Rome.
C. The Ninety-Five Theses, October 30, 1517.
1. 1512: Luther appointed as a lecturer in theology at the University of Wittenburg, then under the protection of Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony.
2. The Sale of Indulgences.
a. Their history. In the first centuries of the church, martyrdom had brought forgiveness for sins. (Note: an external act could pay for sin.) The Germanic barbarians allowed the payment of a fine as a substitute for corporal punishment. In 607, in England, the church allowed this money-payment as substitute for the punishment it could then inflict for civil crimes.
b. The Indulgences of Leo X, Pope during Luthers rebellion. Continent-wide, to build new St. Peters, and to pay Popes gambling debts. High-pressure salesmen. Johan Tetzel, a monk, came hawking indulgences in Mainz, near Wittenburg: Every time a coin drops into the box, a soul jumps out of Furgadory. Specific list of prices for specific crimes.
3. Faith Alone. The doctrine of faith alone teaches that man is saved, not by good works (which are meritorious, and therefore evil), but simply by the unmerited gilt of faith that Christ died, for my sins--a gift given at the personal decision of God. By the year 1515, when Tetzel was hawking indulgences in Germany, Luther was already preaching this doctrine in his classes in the theological school. He said that at this time he never thought of breaking from the Roman Church; the Writings say that it was revealed in the spiritual world that Luther, though warned by an angel not to do so, purposely hatched out the doctrine of faith alone in order to have a doctrinal issue on which to break from Rome.
4. The Revolution Begins. Following established custom, Luther (who had forbidden his parishioners to buy any indulgences, but found them doing so anyhow), challenged Tetzel and all comers to debate with him concerning indulgences, and concerning disorders in the papacy. He did this, by posting on the church door at Wittenburg a list of ninety-five theses, some of which attacked the claim that indulgences had anything to do with forgiveness (which, Luther said, came directly from God, without priestly mediation). Wittenburg--Saxony--Germany--Europe--went wild. Tetzel made a fool of himself in the debates, but Luther also had several formidable good Catholic opponents.
D. The Revolution Continues. For a while it looked as though Luthers controversy with Rome would be settled peaceably, but, finding many supporters, he grew bolder in his attacks on indulgences and the papacy. On August 7, 1518, the Pope gave Luther sixty days in which to appear at Rome and recant.
E. Luthers Three Reformatory Tracts of 1520. In 1520, Luther published three widely distributed pamphlets, making his break with Rome complete. He appealed to the German nobility to reform the church, urging the right of the laity to read and interpret the Word for itself, and to take part in church government; and ad the same time he attacked the worldliness of popes and clergy, and many of the superstitions of the Catholic Church. Next he denounced the seven sacraments of Rome. Finally, in The Freedom of the Christian Man, he formally and in detail expounded the doctrine of salvation by faith alone.
F. Excommunication; Burning the Papal Bull. Leo X finally issued the order of Luthers excommunication. Germany went wild in protest. December 10, 1520, following public notice, Luther burned the papal bull and many other Catholic writings. Wittenburgs students rioted, ransacked the town for Catholic writings, burned them, too. Luther formally notified the Pope of his net in letters addressed Your hellishness, Most Hellish Father The pope ordered the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, to turn Luther over to the civil authority for burning. Charles, for political reasons, instead gave Luther safe conduct to the Diet (Congress) of Worms, 1521.
G. The Diet of Worms. Luther went to Worms, everywhere on his journey being welcomed as a national hero. He defended his positions, refused to recant, and ended his defense with the famous words, Hier steh. Ich. Ich kann nichts anders. Gott helfe mir! Amen. He left Worms, even before he was put under the ban of the Empire. On his way home, he was kidnapped by agents of Frederick the Wise, and was hidden in Fredericks castle at Wartburg.
III. Switzerland (Part I).
A. Huldrych Zwingli, 1484-1531. Born of good, Swiss Alpine stock. A humanistic education, emphasizing the innate goodness of man. At the age of twenty-two a village preacher; ten years.
B. The Protestant churches stemming from Zwingli are technically called the Reformed. They are far more literally Biblical than the Lutherans, Episcopalians, Congregationalists, etc.
IV. Back to Germany.
A. Radicalism at Wittenburg. Luther remained in friendly imprisonment. In Wittenburg the Reformation was taken over by radicals, led by one Andreas Carlstadt. He started out by divesting himself of priestly robes; next, demanded that all priests marry; soon was ridiculing theological study, and was asking totally uneducated farmers to do his preaching. He ended by claiming new revelation, directly from the Holy Spirit, which was to supplant the written Word. The conservative element that had followed Luther returned to the Catholic Church. Luther came back to Wittenburg and resumed the leadership of the Reformation.
B. The Peasants Wars. The lot of the Sixteenth Century German peasant was almost unbearable. Their every demand for betterment of their lot was denied by the nobility. Finally revolt broke out. Luther turned wildly on the peasants--they had held him to be their champion--and literally screamed at the nobles to kill the peasants like dogs. The nobles did, killing over a hundred thousand of them. The peasantry deserted the Reformation.
C. Politics and the Reformation. In 1526, the German Diet had a Lutheran majority;
A. John Calvin and Geneva. John Calvin, a French Protestant, arrived in Geneva:, Switzerland, in1535, and it was not long before he had assumed full control of the Reformation in that city, getting the city council to back up every one of his reforms with civil law. Every aspect of life was strictly watched over by the church, and the evil (including gamblers, adulterers, and anti-John-Calvinists ) were severely punished. Calvin is best noted for his doctrine of double predestination. His variety of the Reformation swept Scotland, and was embodied in the Presbyterian Church there, whence it spread influentially to America.
VI. The Reformation (If Any) in England.
A. Henry VIII, 1491-1547. When Henrys older brother, Arthur, died, Henry became Crown Prince. His father at once had the boy (thirteen) betrothed to Arthurs widow, Catherine of Spain. Married in 1509, they were apparently happy for a while. She bore him several children, but only one of them, Mary, survived. Then suddenly her child-bearing ceased. Henry wanted a son td succeed him. He knew the Scripture that a man who marries his brothers wife will be childless. He also had become keenly aware of the charms of Anne Boleyn. He asked the Pope to dissolve his marriage to Catherine. The Pope refused. The bishops of the Church of England, heavily in debt to Henry, reviewed his case, and told him to proceed with the divorce. He did. The Pope excommunicated him, and Henry separated the Church of England for Roman Catholics and made himself its head.
B. The Church of England. Nevertheless, it was not until the reign of Elizabeth I (Henrys daughter by Anne Boleyn) that England really became a Protestant country.
A. Preface. Many of the best minds of the day stayed within the Roman Catholic Church, and sought to reform it from within. Eventually they succeeded, won back much of Europe to the Catholic faith, and yet, at the same time, made the Catholic Church (though cleansed), even more objectionable to Protestants than it had been before.
B. The Jesuits. They are an order of monks founded by the Spaniard, Ignatius Loyola (?1491-1556), which received its charter from the Pope in 1540. They have ever been noted for their tremendous stress on education, for their completely blind obedience to the Pope, and for the great interest in missionary work (even during the Sixteenth Century they carried the church as far as Japan and China). In their early days, they were also noted for spying and political intrigue. They were one of the great forces behind the Catholic Counter-Reformation.
C. Reformatory Popes.
1. For two years after the death of Leo X, Pope during the start of Luthers rebellion, a man with reformatory zeal, Adrian VI, sat on the papal throne. An ascetic and a scholar, he tried to put the clergy, including the papacy, on a budget. Such tremendous opposition arose that he got nowhere.
2. Paul III, 1534-1549. A dissolute youth, but an excellent reformatory pope. Tremendous administrative ability. Curbed worst abuses of indulgences; insisted absentee bishops live in their bishoprics; reformed Inquisition; summoned the reformatory Council of Trent; gave all his male relatives high church offices.
3. Paul IV, 1555-1559. High-handed reformer; forced reform, despite terrific opposition from both clergy and laity.
4. Pius IV, 1566-1572. A learned theologian; brought asceticism back into Vatican; made his papal court a model of morals.
5. NB: Never since has the Pope of Rome been anything but a learned, strictly moral man.
D. The Council of Trent (1545-1563).
1. After several broken papal promises to call a general council of the (Roman Catholic) Church, Paul III finally did so, Dominated by the Jesuits, it first drew up a final formulation of Catholic doctrine, and then, years later, worked out a moral, re-form of the clergy. Since that Council, little has changed in the Catholic doctrine, except for the following points:
a. 1854: The dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.
b. 1870: The dogma of papal infallibility.
c. 1893: The decision to undertake the Social Gospel.
d. 1949: (USA only) Declaration that unbaptized may go to heaven, provided they have not knowingly refused to join the Catholic Church.
e. 1954: The dogma of Marys bodily assumption.
2. Decisions of the Council (SD 6089).
a. The Word is not to be explained and interpreted, except by the Church.
b. The seven sacraments are Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Repentance, Extreme Unction, Order (Ordination), and Matrimony.
c. The body and blood of the Lord, together with His soul and Divinity, are actually in the bread and wine of the Holy Supper, and when the bread and wine are consecrated, they actually turn into body and blood.
d. Souls in purgatory are benefited by the prayers of friends.
e. The saints reigning with Christ are to be venerated and invoked.
f. Honor and veneration are to be paid to images.
g. The Pope is the successor of Peter, the chief of the Apostles, and the vicar of Jesus Christ.
h. Mankind is condemned for the sin of Adam, but may be saved by faith and grace, not by works; but works of charity contribute to salvation.
A. Forerunners of the Social Gospel.
1. It is now claimed that the Lord Himself taught the Social Gospel--when He spoke to cities as a whole, rather than to individuals; when He spoke of church-state relationships (Render unto Caesar ...); when He spoke of economics (How hard it is for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God); when He prayed, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
2. The very early church. The earliest Christians were voluntary Communists. James, the brother of the Lord, berated employers who cheated their employees. St. Augustine (d. 4-30): The superfluities of the rich are the necessaries of the poor. Jerome (d. 420): Unless one has lost, another cannot gain.
3. In the Middle Ages, the church controlled the state, forbade taking interest, organized the workers into guilds.
4. During the Reformation, Luther allowed the taking of interest. Calvins Geneva was the state, and controlled every aspect of life.
5. After the Reformation, the social interest of the church died out. The lot of peasants became worse, As the industrial revolution swept Western Europe, the lot of the worker sank lower and lower--even children were forced to work all day in mines or factories, deprived of all education.
B. Rise of the Social Gospel.
1. Sunday Schools. An Englishman, Robert Raikes, organized the first Sunday School in 1790 in the city of Gloucester. It provided secular education as well as religious, especially for working children. The idea caught on rapidly, and by 1000 the first American Sunday School had been organized in Pittsburgh.
2. Slavery. Human slavery is a practice dating back to prehistoric times. It is obviously both anti-Christian and contrary to the teachings of the Writings. Yet not until 1779 was any movement founded against it. Then a Swede, Charles B. Wadstrom, organized a society, part of the purpose of the organization being to agitate against African slavery. He had a profound influence on William Wilberforce, the Englishman who finally got his government to abolish slave trade. (The other purpose of Wadstroms group was to read and publish the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.) About a century later an American woman, Mrs. Julia Ward Howe, wrote The Battle Hymn of the Republic, in which she pictured the war against slavery as the coming of the Lord. Mrs. Howe, also a believer in the Writings, saw the Civil War as an outgrowth of the Last Judgment of 1757, which was effected, in part, to restore human freedom.
3. John Frederick Oberlin 1740-1026, was a Lutheran minister to a country parish in Alsace. He found his parishioners so poor that no family had enough clothes to go to church all together; so uneducated, that they were destroying the fertility of the land. He established a school and a kindergarten; taught soil conservation and diversified farming; showed his people how to build roads; trained mechanics, and paid for the medical education of a local man. (Among the most-thumbed books in his library were Heaven and Hell and the True Christian Religion.
4. Wilhelm von Ketteler, 1811-1877, Catholic archbishop of Mainz, encouraged the formation of labor unions, the regulation of the labor of women and children, and the improvement of factory conditions.
5. The reactionary Pope Pius IX in 1864 issued his famous Syllabus of Errors, denouncing every modern reform movement such as constitutional government, the reform of working conditions, freedom for Protestants, etc.
C. The Modern Social Gospel.
1. Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903) practically reversed the decrees of Plus IX. In his Rerum Novarum, 1892, Leo all but aligned the Catholic Church with the cause of labor, against management. Insisted that workers do their jobs honestly, and that they refrain from violence, but insisted also on labors right to organize; demanded that employers give their workers just wages, suitable work, proper working conditions, and proclaimed it the duty of the government to see that labor is properly housed, clothed, and fed.
a. Today many Catholic priests are appointed as personal advisors to labor leaders, both in Europe and in America.
2. The American Protestant Social Creed of 1932. Protestants went into the Social Gospel more slowly than Catholics, but it was in American Protestantism that the Social Gospel really caught fire. The Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America in 1932 adopted a Social Creed, and vowed to work for it, as churches, even through political pressures. It condemned speculation and the profit motive. It asked for governmental planning of society and the control of money, credit, and economics; a minimum wage; old age and unemployment insurance; a shorter work week; collective bargaining. It condemned child labor, alcoholic beverages, and war.
D. The Social Gospel Today.
1. Still very strong, both with Catholics and with such sects as the Methodists (who go to wild extremes in it). The duty of the church to try to reform society along Christian lines is no longer even called into question.
2. But doubts are growing. Two world wars, the atomic bomb, etc., have dampened the belief that man can ever reform society by laws and other external means. A renewed belief that man is sinful by nature, and cannot overcome sins without Gods intervention, has resulted.
A. Biblical Criticism. In the 18th and 19th Centuries historians had seen that they could not really understand any ancient document until they had discovered what the words of that document meant at the time of its writings. (E.g., in Psalm 4:2 the Lord asks men, How long will ye seek after leasing? What does leasing mean?--renting a house? Today it does, but when the Bible was translated to English, leasing meant lying,) The historians began to turn their research to the Bible, and soon were upsetting almost all faith in the Bible itself. Utterly sure of their conclusions (in spite of constant disagreement and changing opinions), the Bible critics began to tear the Bible apart. The Gospel of John was not written until about AD 200. (Today it is believed that John is probably the earliest of the Gospels.) The five books of Moses were not written until after 750 BC (five hundred years later than Moses), The stories of Samson are just legends about a national hero, and contain hardly even an element of truth. The Lords miracles are just stories invented by a superstitious church.... On they went through the years, and they are still going. Faith in the literal statements of the Bible rapidly faltered. Today, the more educated and sophisticated Protestants no longer believe that a thing must be true simply because it is taught in the Bible: it must find outside support, and it must also be reasonable
1. That old villain, science. Even during Swedenborgs day, science was beginning to uncover evidence that was in conflict, both with the literal statements of the Bible, and with many ancient beliefs of the Christian Church. It was not until the 19th Century, however, that the conflict came out into the open. By 1830, geology had shown that the earth was millions of years old, and had required ages to make; out went the seven days of creation, and, as well, the Biblical teaching that the earth was created in 4004 BC. Astronomy began to probe inter-stellar space and heaven lost its place in the sky. In 1859 Charles Darwin published his evolutionary Origin of the Species; out went Adam and Eve and the Golden Age. So it went, and as science grew more and more in public esteem, religion, the Bible, and the Church grew less.
2. Fundamentalism. In the United States, about 1890, tremendous opposition began to arise against the new modernism that science and Biblical criticism were bringing into the Church.
3. The Fall of Fundamentalism. William Jennings Bryan, leader of the Fundamentalists, had gotten anti-evolutionary laws passed in such states as Tennessee, which declared it a crime to teach in public schools any theory that denies the story of the Divine creation of man as taught in the Bible. A test case was brought to court, centering around a young teacher, John Thomas Scopes. Suddenly the newspapers and radios of the country took interest in it, almost to the exclusion of everything else. Bryan came up from Florida to prosecute Scopes; the notorious criminal lawyer, Clarence Darrow, came down from Chicago for his defense, Scopes was almost forgotten in the wild excitement, as Darrow ridiculed Bryan. Bryan insisted that Jonah lived three days in the whales belly; that the sun stood still at Gibeon; that even the fish were killed in the flood. The crowd and the world practically laughed at him. He won his case, nevertheless, but he had lost his cause, and he knew it; within a week he was dead. Fundamentalism died with him, end today only the simple and extremely ignorant believe that every statement in the Bible is literally true.
C. More Recent Doctrinal Changes.
1. The Trinity. Many leading Protestant theologians see today that a trinity of Persons in one God is the same as three gods, and have therefore rejected the old concept of the Trinity, saying that the three persons in God are simply three different aspects of God. By no means, however, have they accepted New Church doctrine on the subject.
2. The Person of Christ. The falsity hatched in 451 by the Council of Chalcedon (that there are two distinct natures in Christ, the Divine and the human) still is held by most Christians.
3. The sinful nature of man. The history of the last fifty years has cast grave doubt on the innate goodness of man. By nature, it is believed by many today, man is sinful. Only God can save him. This, in turn, has led to a renewed stress on the doctrine of salvation through faith alone.
III. The Ecumenical Movement (Ecumenical means world-wide). Popular today is a movement to reunite all Christian sects into one. It has made some headway among Protestants. Catholics spurn Protestant efforts, of course; but the present Pope, John XXIII, speaks of calling a world council of all Christian churches to reunite under Catholicism. So far only the Church of England and the Greek Orthodox have shown much interest in this plan.
A. Forerunners of the Movement.
1. Foreign Missions. Many Protestant sects have seen the foolishness of introducing their sectarian differences to the natives they are trying to convert. Both in Europe and in America there has been tremendous inter-denominational missionary work in the past century.
2. Christian Fellowship. Such organizations as The Worlds Council of the Young Mens Christian Associations have done much to cement inter-denominational friendship.
B. Edinburgh, 1910. The World Missionary Council proposed a worlds conference of Christian churches, for the purpose of seeking unity. World War I delayed much action, but during World War II, this World Missionary Council saved and supported the foreign missions of Germany, France, Norway, etc.
C. Amsterdam, 1948. The first meeting of the Worlds Conference of Churches; further steps toward unity. Second meeting, Evanston, Ill., 1954; much talk, but little accomplished.
D. Some Ecumenical Successes.
1. In Canada, in 1925, Methodists, Congregationalists, and Presbyterians formed The United Church of Canada, primarily for work on the western frontier.
2. In the United States, there are innumerable city-wide inter-denominational organizations of churches and/or ministers. Several Lutheran sects have united into a single body. A contemporary effort, showing signs of success, would reunite Methodists and Episcopalians. The Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America works for inter-denominational activity and the erasure of sectarian boundaries. The General Convention belittles the General Church for not cooperating with that body, but the Conventions application for membership in that body was rejected on the ground that Swedenborgianism is not in the main stream of the Christian tradition because it makes too much of Jesus Christ.
A. Spiritual Diary. 5 vols. 1747-1763. Never published. Record of his spiritual experiences and his interpretations of them. First part quite obscure.
B. Arcana Coelestia. 12 vols. London, 1748-1756.
C. Heaven and Hell. London, 1758, Description of the spiritual world.
D. New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine. London, 1758. Short summaries of New Church doctrines, innumerable references to the Arcana Coelestia.
E. Last Judgment. London, 1758. Description of the Last Judgment (1757) on the Christian Church in the spiritual world.
F. Earths in the Universe. London, 1758. Description of contacts with spirits from other earths.
G. Apocalypse Explained. 6 vols. Never published. The internal sense of the Apocalypse. At the end are lengthy treatments of Faith Alone, the Decalogue, Divine Providence, etc.
H. The Four Doctrines. Amsterdam, 1763. The Lord; the Sacred Scripture; Life; Faith.
I. Divine Love and Wisdom. Amsterdam, 1763. Concerning creation, etc.
J. Divine Providence. Amsterdam, 1764. Concerning the Lords government of humanity and the universe.
K. Apocalypse Revealed. 2 vols. Amsterdam, 1768. The spiritual sense of the Apocalypse.
L. Conjugial Love. Amsterdam, 1798. Concerning genuine love in Marriage, and its perversions.
M. True Christian Religion. Amsterdam, 1771. The Universal Theology of the New Church.
N. The Coronis. 1771. Never published. An account of the history of the churches on this earth. The whole last part of this work--which Swedenborg had come to London to publish has been lost.
A. The Gottenburg Trial. In the year 1765, two Swedish Lutheran clergymen, Rev. Gabriel Beyer and Rev. Johan Rosen of Gottenburg, were converted to the teachings of the Writings and began to preach them in their sermons and in their university classrooms. A few years later, a bishop of Gottenburg began to attack them and Swedenborg and the Writings, as wall. The two clergymen, charged with heresy, were brought to trial before the Consistory of Gottenburg in 1770, when they refused to submit to an order which would officially have suppressed Swedenborgianism. Convicted, the two were forbidden to teach theology or to make converts to the New Church. Rosen temporarily recanted his Swedenborgianism, but to no avail; his persecution continued until his death in 1773. Beyer persisted in his beliefs, and for them he suffered innumerable hardships until his death in 1779.
B. The Exegetic-Philanthropic Society. Organized in 1786 by Augustus Nordenskjold and Charles B. Wadstrom (the leader of the movement against slavery), the Exegetic-Philanthropic Society set out to collect, preserve, and publish the theological Writings of Swedenborg.
C. Pro Fide et Charitate. Secretly, on January 1, 1796, other Swedish New Church men organized the Society for Faith and Charity, to continue the publishing of the Writings in Sweden. Counsellors, barons, professors, and many Lutheran clergymen joined this group, from which todays organized New Church in Sweden is descended. In New Church history, it is in this group that we first meet the names of Gyllenhaal and Odhner.
II. First English Converts.
A. William Cookworthy. It was probably Stephen Penny, who in 1760 introduced the well-known chemist and Quaker preacher, William Cookworthy, to the Writings. He, in turn, may have been responsible for the conversion to the Church of the Rev. Thomas Hartley. Together with Hartley, Cookworthy translated into English and published several volumes of the Writings, including The Doctrine of Life and Heaven and Hell. The two of them also enjoyed a long visit with Swedenborg when the seer was once more in London.
B. Thomas Hartley, a clergyman of the Church of England, was converted to the New Church in 1765. We was a thorough New Church men and a noble laborer in its cause, but it was he, nevertheless, who first gave utterance to the idea that it was a New Church mans duty to remain within the ecclesiastical organizations of the O1d Church,.to try to purify them from within.
C. The Rev. John Clowes, famous Church of England clergyman
D. Robert Hindmarsh (17583-1835), London printer and later a New Church minister ordained under the Divine auspices of heaven, is usually regarded as the forefather of the General Church and the Academy Movement. Converted to the New Church in 1782, he was a leading spirit of the separatist movement that resulted in formal organization of the New Church. He converted many to the Church, including his father, Rev. James Hindmarsh, a Methodist minister, and was chosen by lot to ordain his father and the Rev. Samuel Smith as the first New Church ministers in the world. Later it was recognized that this choice-by-lot was tantamount to ordination by the Lord. Recognized leader of the early English Conference, he was a profound and distinctively New Church theologian, championing the absolute Divine authority of the Writings. Many of the works he wrote and published are still outstanding in the Church today.
III. Formal Organization of the New Church.
A. Preliminary Meetings. In 1783, Robert Hindmarsh found three other readers of the Writings in London. They began to meet regularly and discuss the Doctrines. Late that, year they advertised a public meeting of New Church men for December 5th.. One new reader appeared. A week later, following further advertisement, two more new men appeared, one of them being James Glen, South American plantation owner, who would soon introduce the Writings to the United States.
B. Formal Organization. By 1787, separatists in the group, led by Robert Hindmarsh, proposed the institution of distinctive New Church worship. The majority in the Theosophic Society vetoed the proposal. Hearing of the movement, Rev. Clowes paid a visit to London to dissuade the separatists from this rash act, but in spite of this, Hindmarsh and his followers separated from the Theosophic Society, and on May 7, 1787, established the New Church signified by the New Jerusalem in Revelation
C. First Service of Worship; An Ordained Priesthood. The first distinctive New Church service of worship was held July 31, 1787, the Rev, James Hindmarsh officiating. New Church baptism and communion were administered, Robert Hindmarsh being the first baptized. November 5, a chapel was rented at Great East Cheap, London, and public worship was instituted there on January 27, 1788. The need for an ordained New Church priesthood was seen, and James Hindmarsh and Samuel Smith, ex-Methodist ministers, were recognized as candidates for the ministry. Twelve of the members were chosen by lot to ordain. On one lot Robert Hindmarsh wrote the word ordain; the last to draw, he drew that slip. The twelve ordained James Hindmarsh and Smith by the laying on of hands. Much publication work was now undertaken, both of the Writings and of the collateral works.
D. First General Conference. In response to an invitation from the Great East Cheap Society, New Church men from other counties in England (and from several other countries also) met in a general conference in April, 1789. In a spirit of harmony, the members debated doctrinal issues, and unanimously agreed to thirty-two resolutions. The Writings, perfectly consistent with the Holy Word were declared to be a revelation from the Lord alone. The Old Church was pronounced spiritually dead. Distinctive New Church worship, baptism and communion were recommended, and distinctive New Church education was suggested. A marriage of love truly conjugial was declared to be mans highest estate.
E. Scandal. All the pages containing minutes of the meetings of the Great East Cheap Society from May, 1789, to April, 1790, have been torn out of that societys record books. From other sources, however, we know that they concerned many solemn meetings which resulted in the expulsion from the society of Robert Hindmarsh, Augustus Nordenskjold, and four others.
F. Dissension. The spirit of democracy was rapidly spreading in the Western World at this time, and in ecclesiastical affairs it tended to put the church and its ministry firmly under the control of the laity. Hindmarsh saw such a policy as being opposed to the teachings of the Writings (which seem to favor an episcopal government for the Church). When the Fourth General Conference, 1792, voted in lay control, Hindmarsh and a few followers therefore withdrew from the Conference, and established a separate society. Their members were so few, however, that they could not long hold tenancy of any building, and soon they were meeting for worship in private homes. The liberal majority held a Fifth General Conference in the following year, oven more democratic in tone and less distinctively New Church--e.g., rebaptism into the New Church was made optional but deprived of Hindmarshs dynamic leadership, the whole organized church of England rapidly fell apart, and did not get back as a going concern until 1807.
G. The Divinity of the Writings. During those interim years the New Church slowly but surely gained converts throughout the country. More important, however, was the controversy which took place in the pages of the New Church monthly periodical, The Aurora, just at the turn of the century. In the October, 1799, issue, a correspondent wrote that he had found two classes of receivers of the Writings in England: one held them to be really the Word of the Lord; the other held them to be merely highly useful in opening the spiritual sense of the Word, but not on equal footing with the Word itself. The editors of The Aurora immediately and wholeheartedly agreed with the former view, holding; the Writings to be free from all error and mistake, For some months the argument raged, no general conclusion being reached. The two views are still alive today. The General Church holds strictly to the belief that the Writings are the Word. The (American) General Convention believes them far less than the Word. The English Conference is in between the two, but nearer to the Convention than to the General Church.
H. The Conference to 1820. General Conferences were resumed in 1807. By the year 1820, the English Conference had pretty well shaped up into its present form. The need for distinctive separatist organizations had been seen and accepted. So had the need for a distinctively ordained New Church priesthood, distinctive New Church worship (including the administration of the sacraments), and a distinctive New Church baptism (though rebaptism of Christian converts was made optional). The Swedenborg Society had been founded for the publication of the Writings. Great stress was laid on missionary work, and on the establishment of New Church schools for Old Church children. The original ordinations of James Hindmarsh and Samuel Smith were formally approved; Robert Hindmarsh was officially recognized as having been ordained by the Divine auspices of heaven, and it was recommended that future ordinations be continued from that source. Suggestions had been made for a trinal order in the priesthood, but the third degree, a minister-superintendent over the whole Church, was never filled. Ordination of candidates into the ministry was made conditional upon the call of the society, following a period of trial preaching And the Writings were definitely declared to be less than the Word: the Word was as the sun; the Writings were as the rays of light therefrom. Robert Hindmarsh once again became the moving spirit in the English New Church, and under his leadership and that of his immediate followers, membership in Conference grew rapidly. By the 1880s, there were over 6,000 members. In one city, Manchester, seven New Church temples could be seen from the top of a certain hill. But the seeds of weakness had been sown. The Writings were not recognized as the Word. Stress on missionary work resulted in too little emphasis on teaching the distinctive doctrines of the Church to born-and-bred New Church men. (More went out the back door than came in the front.) The priesthood could not act independently from the laity. A decline in Conference membership set in as Conference grew sicker. Today it is only 4,400, and continues to decline year by year.
A. James Glen, a young Scot who had bought a plantation in Demerara, B.G., had come across Heaven and Hell in Latin on a trip to England in 1783. Converted almost at once, he next noticed Robert Hindmarshs advertisement in the London papers, and attended the meeting of the New Church men held on December 12 of that year. Immediately he was recognized as a leader in the work of the Church. Returning to South America the following year, he stopped at Philadelphia and delivered several well-advertised lectures at Bells Book Store, meeting place of the citys literati. Most of his audience laughed to scorn his account of the Writings description of heaven, but at least three persons were immediately converted, two of them being Francis Bailey and John Young. Glen then went on to Boston and converted several people there. Back in South America, utterly convinced of the Divinity of the Writings, he felt it his duty to proclaim their truths to all, though he never again had much success.
B. Thomas Bailey. Some months after Glen had left the United States, a packet of New Church books arrived for him in Philadelphia, mailed by Robert Hindmarsh. They were sold at public auction, and among the buyers were Thomas Bailey and Miss Hetty Barclay, who soon would found a New Church circle in south-central Pennsylvania. Bailey soon found other readers of the Writings in Philadelphia, and they began to meet at his home to read and discuss the Heavenly Doctrines. A printer of some wealth, Bailey also began to publish New Church writings. New Church men were still meeting; in his home in 1792 when there arrived in Philadelphia a converted Methodist preacher, the Rev. Ralph Mather. Bailey joined Mather in the services of worship he then instituted. He kept up his publication of the Writings--Conjugial Love, True Christian Religion--at his own expense, and advertised them freely in his newspaper. Slowly his wealth drained away, and at last, bankrupt, he retired to his farm in Lancaster. Slowly, also, the remaining leaders of the Church in Philadelphia moved away or died, and by 1804 only a few New Church men remained. It would be another ten years before the New Church would see a real revival in Philadelphia, and in that revival, Bailey, an old man, took no active role, though he was kept informed of all events..
C. The Rev. Ralph Mather, ex-Methodist, ex-Quaker, was converted to the Church in England about 1785. Catching missionary zeal from Hindmarshs group, he and a friend began open air preaching to large crowds, attracting many with their stress on the sole Divinity of Christ. In 1790 he became pastor of a newly organized society of the Church at Liverpool, where his missionary success was so great that within a year the society could afford to build a large and elaborate chapel. Licensed only as a preacher by the Great East Cheap Society, Mather about this time was ordained into the ministry by three laymen at Liverpool. By 1792, however, the anti-separatist majority of the society forced him out of his pastorate because of his distinctiveness, and he emigrated to Philadelphia.
D. John Hargrove. Mathers departure left Hargrove sole pastor at Baltimore, and there he regularly ministered thereafter without salary. When Jefferson became President, Hargrove sent him a copy of True Christian Religion. Two years later, Hargrove was invited to preach to the President and the Congress, and on December 26, 1802, he did so twice: A Sermon on the Leading Doctrines of the New Jerusalem Church. Two years later he again preached to Congress on The Second Coming of the Lord and The Last Judgment; He was soon recognized by almost all as the leader of the American New Church, both as a student of doctrine and as a missionary. (On one missionary trip throughout western Pennsylvania, he baptized no less than seventy-eight persons!) A man of strong personality, he was able to hold together both factions of the Baltimore Society the German-speaking and the English-speaking. After his death, the German-speaking clement organized their own group under the leadership of the Rev. A. G. Brickman.
III. The Early New Church in Ohio.
A. Johnny Appleseed was probably the first New Church man in the territory of Ohio, arriving there by 1801. Previously, however, the Doctrines had been taken west of the Alleghenies by Judge John Young, of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, and by Hetty Barclays convert, Thomas Vickroy, the original surveyor of the city of Pittsburgh.
B. William Grant Rev. Thomas Newport, Rev. David Powell. The formal establishment of the New Church in Ohio must be attributed to the three men here listed. All moved to Ohio between 1790 and 1800, already converted to the Church, one of them through Francis Bailey. Grant and Powell were brothers-in-law; together they founded a little society in the Ohio River town of Steubenville. Powell also established a day school there. His children had been persecuted out of regular school because of their Swedenborgianism; soon the parents of the other school children enrolled their children in Powells school. Newport settled on a farm not far north of Cincinnati. Much respected, he soon gathered around himself a circle of believers, and in 1817, they organized themselves into the Turtle Creek Society. Powell was ordained into the ministry immediately following the First General Convention in 1817, and thereafter ordained Newport. Many of Powells descendants are members of the General Church today.
C. Rev. Adam Hurdus was the founder of the organized New Church in Cincinnati. An English Methodist, he was intrigued by John Wesleys attacks on Swedenborg's sanity, and determined to investigate the heretic for himself. Converted, he at first attended Clowes services in Manchester, but, repelled by Clowes constant mention of three persons in the Godhead, he and several other separatists withdrew and formed their own organization, the Peter Street Society.
A. Before the First General Convention met in Philadelphia in 1817, there were New Church men from the Atlantic Seaboard west to the Mississippi, north to Maine, and south to Georgia. Of importance to the later history of the Church, however, were the New Church men in Boston, New York City, Lancaster, Ohio, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore.
B. Boston. James Glen himself had preached the Writings in Boston, and there had made several converts. So had another early New Church preacher, the non-separatist, Rev. William Hill. A friend of Hills, in turn, had introduced the Writings to Samuel Worcester. Samuel got his younger brother, Thomas, a Harvard Divinity School student, interested in them, and Thomas soon gathered around him a circle of fellow-students to reed and study the Writings. (All of them became influential members in the Convention.) Although there were about twenty New Church men in Boston by 1817, the group sent no delegates to the General Convention. No society was organized in Boston till the following year, but for over a century thereafter, the name of Worcester would be extremely important in the American New Church.
C. New York. Several small societies of the Church were formed in up-state New York between 1810 and 1820, but of more importance was the group started in New York City by an English emigrant in 1805, among the members was the poet, Samuel Woodworth, author of The Old Oaken Bucket.
A. The Conjugial Heresy. In 1819, Richard deCharms was appointed a lay reader in the Philadelphia Church. He had accepted the Doctrines in 1816, and two years later he had begun the study of theology under Jonathan Condy. Up in Boston in 1819, Thomas Worcester, still a student at Harvard Divinity School, dreamed up a heresy which was to plague the New Church for years to come, and which would make shipwreck of much of it. Worcester termed his theory The Pastoral Relationship; its opponents labeled it The Conjugial Heresy. Chief leader of its opponents, and eventual victor over it, was Richard deCharms.
Briefly stated, Worcesters theory taught that there was a correspondence to the relationship of husband and wife in the relationship between a pastor and his society. In a truly conjugial marriage, the wife receives truth through or from her husband, and then establishes it in the good of life. Worcester stated that so also a minister receives truths from the Writings in accord with the degree of his regeneration, which truth, with him, is the truth of good; his society was to accept this truth from him and put it into life; and this, with them, was the good of his truth. Furthermore, Worcester held, since there was the conjugial relationship between a society and its pastor, it follows that for a society to change its pastor, or for a pastor to change his society, was to commit spiritual adultery. The same term was applied to the act of a member of the society even listening to the preaching of a minister not his pastor, to the act of a pastor of one society occupying the pulpit of another, and especially to the act of receiving the Holy Supper from a minister other than ones own pastor.
The whole idea is, of course, ridiculous, but the fundamental heresy in it all is that a pastor gives his truths to his society, and that the amount of truth a pastor can give to his society is determined by the degree of his regeneration. When a minister preaches from the Writings, it is not his truth but the Lords which he preaches, nor is the degree of truth in his preaching limited by his individual degree of regeneration: evil ministers can preach genuine truth, and the laity can receive the Holy Supper through evil ministers as well as good.
Subtly, but inevitably, the conjugial heresy would first lead to a weakening of the authority placed in the Writings--a looking to men, rather than to the Lord--and finally it would lead to a denial of the Divinity of the Writings. Before finally abandoning his heresy, Worcester flatly stated that he no longer read the Writings for authority, but only for instruction.
B. Richard deCharms Early Years in the Church. During his late teens, printers-helper deCharms became a teacher in an Episcopal Sunday School in Philadelphia, thus, perhaps, first finding his love of the religious education of children. We have already seen that in his early twenties he was studying New Church theology under Jonathan Condy. He was still studying it when he graduated from Yale in 1826. The following year he was in Baltimore as assistant to John Hargrove, and once again--history repeated itself--the assistant at once became more popular than the pastor. His abilities were recognized throughout the Church. In 1827 he was elected Secretary of the General Convention, and received the honor again in 1830, at which time he was also appointed to Conventions committee to study New Church education. He was plagued by ill health, however, and for a while he ministered to the circle at Bedford, in the Pennsylvania mountains (for an annual salary of $100.00!), and then, of all things, left for England in 1830 to try to regain his health. In England he supported himself as a printer for two years, but, far more important, he also resumed the study of theology; this time under the tutelage of that outstanding English minister, Samuel Noble, Hindmarshs successor as champion of the Divinity of the Writings.
C. Cincinnati. By 1832 deCharms was back in America, as pastor in Baltimore, but soon moved on to accept the pastorate of the Cincinnati society. Here it was that he was ordained into the ministry by Adam Hurdus. In 1837 he was appointed western delegate to the 19th General Convention, and there he first came into conflict with the Worcesters, objecting violently to their Boston plan for a trine in the priesthood, with one bishop supreme over the whole church, with the church organized into district conventions, and with the decisions of the General Convention binding upon all its societies.
The following year, deCharms and a few devoted followers organized themselves into the Cincinnati Third Society. (The Cincinnati Second was a fly-by-night affair which ended up repudiating an ordained priesthood.) Many points in the constitution of this society are familiar to members of the General Church today. It proclaimed that the Lords Second Advent has taken place through the instrumentality of Swedenborg and that the Heavenly Doctrines are to be received as authority in all matters of doctrine and ecclesiastical affairs. New Church baptism was insisted upon. Clerical and lay uses were carefully distinguished: All spiritual uses of the Church are the province of the clergy; all temporal uses the province of laity, who support the clergy through free will offerings, Order in the clergy is to be maintained through superior and inferior officers. Distinctive New Church education was stressed, and the purpose of social life was declared to be infusing spiritual order into natural uses. Unanimity in church affairs was insisted upon, it being said that a doubt gives reason for delay, and that a few actions taken in a spirit of unanimity are better than many taken with divided opinion.
During the late 1830s, the New Church in the West had become increasingly dissatisfied with the Boston-dominated General Convention, though not until 1839, the year deCharms left Cincinnati for Philadelphia, did the westerners organize themselves into the Western Convention independent of the General Convention. Their dissatisfaction did find ultimate expression, however, in the publication of a periodical, The Precursor, with Richard deCharms as editor. Its pages were filled with articles from his pen stressing the Divine authority of the Writings, the distinctiveness of the New Church, the need for New Church education, the duty of family worship, etc.
D. Philadelphia. The Cincinnati Third could not support Mr. deCharms financially, and therefore in 1839 he left Ohio to assume the pastorate of the Philadelphia First Society. Here he found the conjugial heresy fully accepted by many, and immediately began a battle against it.
E. DeCharms and Benade. While on a missionary journey in Lancaster, Penna., deCharms met with a young Moravian minister, the Rev. William Henry Benade, who had already accepted the Writings as the Second Coming of the Lord, and who had run into trouble with his congregation when he proclaimed them such, Benade began to study theology with Mr. deCharms, and in 1845 he was baptized, licensed to preach, and installed as pastor of the Philadelphia First, Mr. deCharms having removed to Baltimore. Benades ordination took place the following year,
F. The Last Few Years. By 1849 Richard deCharms health was badly broken and his mentality was failing. He had made almost innumerable enemies by this time, with his constant attacks on slavery and on spiritism (the latter being particularly prevalent in the New York Society). In 1854 he was given the honor of presiding over the meeting of those who had seceded with Benade from the Philadelphia First Society in the cornerstone dispute, and who now formed themselves into the Philadelphia Society. A few more useful publications came from deCharms pen about 1860, but his health continued to sink rapidly and in 18~1e this great champion of the distinctiveness of the New Church entered the spiritual world.
II. William Henry Benade, 1818-1905.
In William Henry Benade we come across a New Church man of most unusual character. It is well that the main building of the Academy of the New Church should be named after him; for it was he, more than any other, who was the moving spirit of the Academy. We championed the Divinity of the Writings (including their implications that the Old Church is consummated and dead), and was one of the first to use the phrase, The Writings are? the Word. He fought for and established the trine in the priesthood. He was loved by all fiercely loved. In his old age, however he became high-handed in his conduct of the episcopal office, then dictatorial, then autocratic, and finally unbearable. The Church separated from him. When he died in 1905, almost every society held a memorial meeting in his honor, eulogizing him to the skies.
A. Benades First Decade in the Church. Three things are very evident about Benades first years in the Church.
B. The Pennsylvania Association had been formed in 1845 in opposition to the distinctiveness of Richard deCharms and his Central Convention. Benade began to attend its meetings, however, and in 1848, it evinced interest in his talk of New Church education. Ten years later he and his Philadelphia or Cherry Street society would formally enter the Pennsylvania Association and revitalize it, but first we must tell the story of the Philadelphia Society.
By 1850, the majority of Philadelphias New Church men had associated themselves with the dynamic young Benade. Many of them were what Benade later called the Quaker element, anything but distinctive in their New Churchmanship. By 1854, the society was so large that it needed a new building. Benade presented to the building committee his views to the effect that a New Church building should be built according to revealed correspondences and representatives. He, of course, had been asked to officiate in the laying of the cornerstone, but when, in August, 1854, he saw the plans of the new building, he flatly refused.
Others followed Benade out of the Philadelphia First Society, and under his leadership they organized themselves into the Philadelphia Society, purchasing a lot in 56 at Cherry Street, and erecting a new temple there. Included in the group were Richard deCharms, L. C. Iungerich, F. E. Boericke, Rudolph Tafel, N. C. Burnham, David Powell, B. P. Glenn, and Dr. George Starkey. The following year, the year that Benades society was received into the General Convention, Benade opened a New Church day school, the first in the world. Its enrollment averaged about thirty until it closed in 1861 because of economic difficulties connected with the Civil War.
With Benades entrance into the Pennsylvania Association, that body came hack to life. In 1861 it adopted Benades report on the Second Coming and the Divinity of the Writings, and the following year adopted a new constitution explicitly recognizing the Writings as of Divine authority, and recognizing a trine in the priesthood, as well.
About this time Benade was appointed to Conventions Committee on Ecclesiastical Affairs, and far the next thirty years was recognized as leader of the opposition against the congregationalist majority. Around him, year after year, gathered a minority group of ministers including the Rev. Messrs. Burnham, Stuart, Wilks, Hibbard, Tafel, et al. They found themselves so much in harmony on their desire for a trine in the priesthood and for a church in which spiritual uses were directed by the clergy alone that they began to speak of themselves as the Pre-established Harmony. Later they shortened their nickname to Harmony. It was out of this group that the Academy emerged, and, indeed, it was one of their numbers, J. P. Stuart, who first suggested the formation of a New Church Academy to give systematic training for the ministry, there being as yet no New Church Theological School in America.
Four more points should now be noted before passing on to the founding of the Academy. One: In 1864 the Philadelphia Second Society, dissatisfied with Benades leadership of the Pennsylvania Association, withdrew from that body, and were almost at once recognized by the General Convention as an independent society;
A. Foundation of the Academy. On January 12th, 1874, Benade, Pitcairn, Walter Childs, and Franklin Ballou met at a Pittsburgh restaurant and organized the New Church Club for the purpose of promoting an Academy of New Church scholars to give scholars a thorough instruction for the ministry. Two days later John Pitcairn donated $500 for the cause. The following year at Convention the Harmony group adopted for their name The Academy of the New Church, and almost immediately undertook the education of young men for the ministry. (The students would study in different cities under the tutelage of various ministers,) On June 18th, and again on June 19th, 1876, members of the Harmony met at the home of Dr. Boericke in Philadelphia, and organized their Academy more formally. A council of twelve was chosen, with Benade as its chancellor. On November 3rd, 1877, the Academy was granted a charter by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, recognizing it as existing for the purposes of propagating the Heavenly Doctrines of the New Jerusalem, and establishing the New Church ..., promoting education in all its forms, educating young men for the ministry, publishing books, pamphlets, and other printed matter, and establishing a library. The same charter empowered the Academy to grant degrees, etc. Within a year nine men were studying theology at the Academy--more than Waltham had ever had, more than Waltham and Urbana combined ever had. In the autumn of 1877 they were gathered into one school in the Cherry Street Church building. That same year the Academy began its first publication, the famous and studious Words for the New Church, and four years later the Academys students would begin their own publication, the New Church Life.
Two years later, the General Church of Pennsylvania received into its membership societies in Kansas, Brooklyn, and to the utter consternation of the Convention--the Immanuel Church of Chicago, of which W. F. Pendleton was now pastor.
In the Academy itself trouble was also brewing. New translations of the Word had been recommended, committees appointed to make them. Rev. Louis Tafel at once began to buck the majority, who wished to give pre-eminence to the Latin translations found in the Writings. Over in England, his brother, Dr. Rudolph Tafel, was attacking the Academy for autocracy, and soon was suspended from the Academy. And finally, in 1887, occurred the famous spankings that rocked the Church to its bottom. Two naughty pupils in the new Boys School, Gideon Boericke and Gustave Tafel, were spanked by the principal, J. E. Schreck. All sorts of wild accusations were hurled at Schreck by the Boerickes and the Tafels, and the boys were withdrawn from the school. Louis Tafel resigned from the Academys faculty, soon was suspended from the Academy Council, and finally from his pastorate in Philadelphias Advent Society. Benade wrote him a scathing letter, and at the end of the school year sent a stiff letter to all pupils parents that hereafter parents would comply fully with all actions taken by school authorities, or ELSE!!!
Bishop Benades government of the Church now headed rapidly toward autocracy, but as yet no one questioned his actions publicly, and apparently hardly anyone did so privately. But trouble of another sort was now beginning. In 1888, Convention began a series of attacks on the Academy and General Church, primarily because of two things, the Academys use of wine, and the Academys defense of Conjugial Love. Scandalous insinuations filled the attacks. The Academy replied with articles in New Church Life exceedingly frank for that day, detailing the conditions under which a man could indulge in pellicacy and concubinage.
With the beginning of Conventions attacks on Academy morality there immediately began talk of our separation from the Convention, but such action was not finally taken until November of 1891, and then primarily for another reason. Benades interest in education, particularly with the education of little children, had become an all-consuming passion with him. He spoke of it as a more interior work than the conduct of worship. Soon he was speaking of the Academy as a church, began to have Academy services of worship (along with those of the General Church), and then--quite within his legal rights--ordained W. F. Pendleton into the third degree of the ministry, to be Bishop of the Academy. Infuriated, Convention termed him disloyal to the spirit, if not the letter of Conventions constitution.
V. W. F. Pendleton and the Sad Years.
A. The General Church of the Advent of the Lord; the Church of the Academy of the New Church. Following its withdrawal from Convention, the General Church of Pennsylvania reorganized itself, 2891, into the General Church of the Advent of the Lord. Decision was made not to adopt any constitution, but instead, merely a declaration that the General Church of the Advent of the Lord declares its purpose to proclaim and teach the everlasting gospel that the Lord Jesus Christ reigneth, as that Gospel is set forth in the books written by Him through His servant, Emanuel Swedenborg.
If things had stopped there, all might have been well; but things did not stop there. Bishop Benade now spoke of two churches--the internal Church of the Academy, the external General Church. Worship services were conducted for each church, at least in Philadelphia, but since everyone wanted to be internal but no one external, the worship of the General Church was without a congregation.
To add fuel to the fires of discontent, which were now smoldering beneath the surface, Bishop Benade adopted a new policy in connection with the local day schools of various societies.
Revolution finally began in England. The Rev. E. C. Bostock had been appointed by Benade as Headmaster of the London School. The pastor there was R. J. Tilson. Bostock expressed doubts as to the necessity and wisdom of two churches, and therefore refused appointment as assistant bishop of the General Church of the Advent. Benade turned. on him in fury, first calling him very negative and then willfully evil before it ended.
Increasingly, doubts spread as to the wisdom of two churches. Benade boldly stated that we should not attempt to penetrate into the Divine purpose of their existence. By 1894 his autocracy was so great that he would say that the high priest was responsible only to the Lord, that there could be no human tribunal to judge his actions, and that though lower priests might think and will in opposition to him, they could not so speak and act. That, he said, was real freedom!
But still the majority of the clergy went along with him, until finally at a meeting of the ministers of both churches (Philadelphia, June, 1896), the Rev. C, Th. Odhner (actually on the request of several other younger ministers, and on their behalf) read to Benades face a paper questioning the wisdom of continuing the two churches.
About this same time many members of the Philadelphia Society were moving to the country around Huntingdon Valley, in spite of Bishop Benades violent objection to the move, on the ground that it would endanger the very life of the Academy. (Originally, Benade had been much in favor of the move.) W. F. Pendleton, pastor of the Philadelphia Society, was also pastor for Huntingdon Valley, the two groups still being considered as one society. By now, Benades interest in education of little children led him to belittle higher education, even of theologs. When Pendleton asked for pastoral assistance in the country, in order that he might devote more time to the Theological School, Benade, therefore, was infuriated. Hearing that Rev. Homer Synnestvedt was considering resigning from his work in the Philadelphia schools, so as to undertake pastoral work in the country, Benade refused him permission to do so. Synnestvedt stated to Benades face his complete loss of confidence in Benades continued ability to lead the Church. This was done at a meeting of ministers with Benade
Under Bishop Pendletons leadership, and also under the leadership of his successors, N. D. Pendleton and George deCharms, the General Church has since enjoyed an almost continuously steady growth. The following statistics may prove of interest:
1900: Twenty-one ministers, 560 members; societies and circles in Bryn Athyn, Denver, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Baltimore, Glenview, Middleport, Ohio, Toronto, Kitchener, Allentown, Pa., Brooklyn, and Philadelphia.
1910: Twenty-four ministers, twenty societies and circles (now including London and Colchester, England); 941 members.
1920: 1435 members; new societies and circles in South Africa, Holland, Sweden, France, Australia, native mission in South Africa.
1930: Forty-seven ministers; 1922 members; new societies in Rio de Janeiro and Los Angeles.
1940: 2241 members.
1950: 2568 members; new societies and circles in Detroit, Washington, St, Paul, Madison, Fort Worth, Tucson.
1960: 2914 members; new societies and circles in Denmark, Denver, New Jersey, San Diego, and San Francisco.
VII. Two Recent Controversies.
A. The Bodies of Spirits and Angels. The second decade of the present century saw the General Church almost split over a controversy concerning the nature of the bodies of spirits and angels. At the British Assembly in 1911, Mr. W. Rey Gill presented a paper on the subject, in which he put forth the view that the spiritual body was nought but an ultimate appearance representative of the mind, The paper was published in New Church Life, November, 1911, and was immediately criticized by the editor, C. Th. Odhner, on the ground that for many people, Mr. Gills views robbed the spiritual world of all reality; he insisted that the spiritual body had actual existence, and was composed of substances independent of angelic minds. The controversy waxed exceeding hot and bitter. For the next five years the pages of Life were filled with articles on the subject, the two chief protagonists being C. Th. Odhner (backed by John Pitcairn) and Alfred Acton. It seemed that the Church would split into two. Toward the end of the controversy, Bishop W. F. Pendleton resigned as Executive Bishop; his brother, N. D. Pendleton, was elected to succeed him. At his urging, and for the good of the Church, Messrs. Odhner and Acton took to silence. (They also ceased speaking to each other.) A precarious peace descended upon the Church, but within a Pew years the controversy had receded into polite argument and discussion, the status it still enjoys today.
B. De Hemelsche Leer. Far more serious and eventually resulting in schism was another controversy that usually goes by the name De Hemelsche Leer (actually the title of a Dutch periodical in which the new views were championed). It began in 1927, exploded into a split in the Church in 1937, and closed with a smaller schism in 1940. Originally it concerned the question of the possibility of an internal sense to the Writings, and soon included the idea that only a regenerating man could see this internal sense, and ended with the accusation that the ministry of the General Church was denying the Divinity of that which is the Lords in man, claiming it as part of mans own proprium.
We have already seen that questions concerning an internal sense to the Writings had been asked by English New Church men as early as 1800.
Early in 1931 an article by Dr. H. L. Odhner appeared in Life, refuting the idea that doctrine derived from the Writings is an internal sense, the idea that the doctrine of the Church is Divine, and warning of danger in making spiritual judgment upon the state of the Church, From then on, the controversy boiled over, and soon became personal and abusive.
A year later Dr. Odhner was warning, in print, that claims to Divinity for the doctrine of the Church must inevitably lead to a Catholic type of authoritarianism, but both Pitcairn and Pfeiffer kept insisting on the Divinity of the derived doctrine of the Church. Bryn Athyn, Durban, South Africa, the Hague, Jonkoping, Sweden and Los Angeles all were now in much turmoil over the controversy, and by 1933 at least the Rev. Theodore Pitcairn was broaching the subject of resigning from the General Church,
Schism finally came in 1937, following Bishop N. D. Pendletons resignation from the post of Executive Bishop and the nomination of Rev. George deCharms to succeed him. At the ministers meetings in April, 3-937, Bishop deCharms noted the insulting letters he had received from Mr. Bjork, spoke of Mr. Pitcairns disturbing the Church with the constant preaching of new doctrines, and noted the request for an independent diocese of the Church for Holland, with either Pitcairn or Pfeiffer to be ordained into the third degree. Pfeiffer immediately said that he had never requested ordination from Mr. deCharms--ordination from him would be impossible!; he sought ordination from the Church. A letter from Bjork was read, stating that Bishop deCharms was unfit to be Executive Bishop.
On April 7, 1937, Bishop deCharms separated Mr. Pfeiffer from the body of the General Church. Over a hundred followers of the new view resigned from the General Church almost immediately thereafter, mostly in Bryn Athyn, Holland, Sweden, and California.
A second, minor schism over the same issue occurred in 1940, led by the Rev. Philip Odhner of Durban, South Africa. Ten members there followed him.
Today the De Hemelsche Leer faction of the New Church, styling itself The Lords New Church, continues its work in various parts of the world. Its center is in that section of Bryn Athyn called Paper Mills.