ROBERT HINDMARSH, A BIOGRAPHY 1
CHILDHOOD AND YOUTH 5
HIS RECEPTION OF THE DOCTRINES OF THE NEW CHURCH 7
THE BEGINNING OF NEW CHURCH ASSOCIATION 10
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE NEW CHURCH
IN AN EXTERNAL FORM 17
THE FIRST CONFLICT IN THE CHURCH 25
A DEFENDER OF THE FAITH 32
A PERIOD OF TEMPTATIONS 37
RENEWED ACTIVITIES 45
THE LEADER OF THE CHURCH 55
HIS LAST YEARS 60
REASONS FOR SEPARATING FROM THE OLD CHURCH 65
PRINCIPLES OF ECCLESIASTICAL GOVERNMENT 89
THE PRIESTHOOD OF THE NEW CHURCH IN GREAT
BRITAIN. A CHRONOLOGICAL LIST 97
THE history of the Priesthood of the LORD'S New Church contains no name more worthy of remembrance than that of Robert Hindmarsh. The founder of the first organization of the Church, the first receiver of her Baptism, the first ordainer of her Priesthood, the unwearied translator and publisher of her Doctrines, a hero of Michael defending her Faith against the Dragon, the deepest and soundest of her early theologians, in short, the high-priest of the Church for half a century; in all these lights Robert Hindmarsh stands forth preeminent in the early annals of the New Church.
The present sketch is the first attempt that has been made to give a connected outline of the life and work of Robert Hindmarsh. Viewed as a whole, that life and work may be said to represent the principle of the ultimation of the Heavenly Doctrines in the organized form of the visible Church. Of all that is distinctively of the New Church, Robert Hind marsh was the great exponent and defender. May the lesson of his life tend to promote that heavenly use which he himself so deeply loved and so faithfully served, the establishment of the New Jerusalem, distinct from the Old, on every plane of life.
Readers who desire to consult the original documents upon which this work is based will find the references printed in New Church Life for 1894.
CHILDHOOD AND YOUTH.
ROBERT HINDMARSH was born at Alnwick, in Northumberland, England, on November 8th, in the year 1759. His father, James Hindmarsh, who had formerly been writing master at the Methodist seminary called Kingswood School, near Bristol, at that time was an itinerant preacher in John Wesley's newly-founded sect, but became, at a later period, the first public preacher of the Heavenly Doctrines of the New Jerusalem. Brought up by this religious father, Robert Hindmarsh was early imbued with love for the Word of God and for the spiritual things of the Church.
His education was continued at the Kingswood School. Here the young boy soon became conspicuous for a remarkable degree of "clear-headedness," an ardent love of knowledge, and an extraordinary facility for acquiring and retaining it. So great was his progress that when, at the early age of fourteen years, he was taken out of school, he was regarded by his masters as one of the principal ornaments of the institution. He had then acquired an elementary knowledge of the sciences, and great proficiency in the Greek and Latin languages, particularly in the latter, which he could read and write with facility and correctness. His studies did not cease with his short school life, but in the course of time, by a wide and systematic reading, he acquired extensive and well-balanced learning.
After leaving school he was placed by his parents with a printer in London, where he learned the printer's trade. While yet a very young man, he established a printing office of his own, and conducted this business successfully for many years. In the year 1787 he received an honorary appointment as "Printer to His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales."
Though born and bred in the very focus of Methodism he never formed any attachment to the doctrines and discipline of this sect, but searched diligently for a religion that would appeal to his understanding rather than to unreasoning sentiments. He early discerned the divisions and the doctrinal confusion in the Christian Church. The dogma of the three persons in the Godhead was especially offensive to him. He states that by examining the Sacred Scriptures he arrived at the conclusion-obscurely seen at first-that the LORD JESUS CHRIST could be the only Divine Person, who as Creator is called "Father," as Redeemer, "Son," and as Comforter and Regenerator, "Holy Spirit." Thus he was prepared by the Divine Providence to receive the heavenly light which was soon to shine upon him out of the Writings of the New Church, and to take up the sacred work of publishing these through the press.
RECEPTION OF THE DOCTRINES.
HE first heard of Swedenborg's name in the year 1778, when the work Heaven and Hell, translated by the Rev. Thomas Hartley and Mr. William Cookworthy, was being printed in London at the office of Mr. James Phillips. Robert Hindmarsh was at that time an apprentice in a printing house connected with that of Mr. Phillips, and he thus came to hear of the very curious book that was to be published, and about the extraordinary author, "Baron" Emanuel Swedenborg. Though his curiosity was then greatly excited to learn something definite about the state of man after death, the current reports about Swedenborg's unsoundness of mind discouraged him from investigating the book for himself. But his interest had been aroused, and he was led to continue his inquiries on the subject of eternal life. Thus it came to pass that on the first of January, in the year 1782, while on a visit to his father, then stationed in Canterbury, the conversation turned to the subject of Swedenborg and his Writings. On inquiring where these books could be obtained, the young man was referred to Mr. George Keen, a Quaker then residing in the same town, who was said to possess some of them. Calling the following day upon this gentleman, who subsequently became a member of the New Church, Hindmarsh was favored with the loan of the works Heaven and Hell and The Intercourse between the Soul and the Body.
"These works," he informs us, "I read with the utmost avidity, and instantly perceived their contents to be of heavenly origin. I therefore as naturally embraced and delighted in them, as the eye embraces and delights in objects that reflect the golden rays of the rising sun. The same day that introduced me to a knowledge of these Writings, introduced me also to the first interview with the young lady [Sarah, daughter of Mr. Henry Paramor], who, on the 7th of May following, became my wife. . . . Thus I found myself doubly blessed by the events of the before-mentioned day."
At that time but few of the Writings were translated into the English tongue, and Hindmarsh, therefore, speedily procured a full collection of these Writings in the original Latin, which he now began to study with ever-increasing delight. Business cares demanding most of his attention in the daytime, he borrowed from the night many an hour for his favorite studies, even taking the books to bed with him, and reading until sleep overtook him.
Like most new receivers of the Heavenly Doctrines, he confidently expected that every person of sound judgment or common sense would receive these with the same ease and delight as he. But in this he soon found himself grievously disappointed. Wherever he turned with his treasure of heavenly truth he met with naught but contempt or ridicule. Swedenborg was universally considered a madman or an impostor, and even the father of our young Newchurchman at first earnestly warned him against the "dangerous vagaries" of the "Baron."
THE BEGINNING OF THE NEW CHURCH.
AFTER a year had thus passed he at last found three other readers of the Writings, Mr. Peter Provo, a surgeon, Mr. William Bonington, a clock-case manufacturer, and John Augustus Tulk, Esq., a gentleman of wealth. In the year 1783 these persons were invited by Robert Hindmarsh to meet regularly for reading the Writings, at his house in Clerkenwell Close, not far from the spot of Swedenborg's last residence on earth.
After these meetings had continued for a time, the friends agreed to call a public meeting of all readers and friends of the new doctrines who were definitely known as such. This meeting was accordingly held on the fifth of December, 1783, at five o'clock in the afternoon, at the "London Coffee House" on Ludgate Hill. Five persons were present at this meeting, the only addition to the former number being Mr. William Spence, a surgeon. The repeated occurrence of the number five in connection with this, the first public meeting of the New Church, was remarked upon as significative of the fact that the New Church was to begin among a few.
From lack of a secluded apartment at the Coffee House the meeting was immediately adjourned to the neighboring "Queen's Arms Tavern," where, among other things, it was agreed to meet again on the following Thursday for further consultation.
"To hear the story of each other's first reception of the doctrines, and to observe the animation that sparkled in the eye and brightened up the countenance of each speaker as it came to his turn to relate the particulars of that, by him, never to-be-forgotten event, was itself a little heaven . . . . Our spirits were elated by the meeting. Three or four hours passed swiftly away; and soon after nine o'clock we adjourned, highly gratified with this first public interview of congenial minds, and determined to prosecute our plan of holding up to the view of the world a Light, which could no longer be concealed in a secret place, nor hid under a bed or a bushel."
During the following week a room was engaged at the "Inner Temple," near Fleet Street, and an advertisement was inserted in some of the London journals, extending a general invitation to all readers of the Writings to meet together for the purpose of joining in an effort to promulgate a knowledge of the New Church. In accordance with this invitation a second meeting was held on December 12th, when the five gentlemen mentioned above, were joined by two zealous and intelligent receivers of the Doctrines, Mr. Henry Peckitt, a retired and wealthy surgeon, who had been an interested reader since the year 1777, and Mr. James Glen, a Scotchman, of eccentric manners but of profound insight into the Heavenly Doctrines.
These and successively others, who joined the meetings, brought increased strength and impetus to this circle of Newchurchmen who, in January, 1784, organized into a society with the designation:
The news of the formation of the "Theosophical Society" now spread rapidly in London, and the membership increased greatly within the period of the following three or four years. A number of gentlemen of talents, distinction, or means associated themselves with the new movement. Meetings were held not only on Thursdays, but also on Sunday evenings, at which the Writings were read and discussed, and measures were considered for the promotion of the heavenly uses of the society. At these meetings Robert Hindmarsh acted as Reader. Among the earliest additions to the membership the following were the most noteworthy: Benedict Chastanier, a French surgeon, resident in London, and one of the most active of the members; Augustus Nordenskjold and his brother Carl Frederic, two Swedish noblemen, both well-known in the history of the Church; Charles Bernhard Wadstrom, a learned Swede, who is famous as the first agitator against the African slave-trade; Henry Servante, distinguished for his zeal, intelligence, and activity;
The proposed work of translating and publishing the Writings was begun in the year 1784. The first work to be published was The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine, translated by Mr. Provo and Robert Hindmarsh, and published at the joint expense of the "Theosophical Society" in London, and the
"Manchester Printing Society," which, at this time, was being formed through the influence of the Rev. John Clowes, Rector of St. John's, in Manchester. In the same year Robert Hindmarsh edited and published, at his own expense, the first Latin edition (4to), of Summaria Expositio Sensus Interni, the manuscript of which had been brought to London by the Nordenskjold brothers.
About this time Robert Hindmarsh became instrumental in the planting of the New Church on the American Continent. James Glen, while on his way to Demerara, in British Guinea, where he was to settle, paid a visit to the United States in order to announce the new Gospel of the Second Advent of the LORD.
In the following year, 1785, Robert Hindmarsh, in conjunction with four other gentlemen, undertook the great work of editing and publishing, at their joint expense, the first Latin edition of Apocalypsis Explicata, which was among the manuscripts brought from Stockholm by the Nordenskjolds. This work was published in four volumes, extending over a period of four years. During the publication the following striking incident took place. Mr. Henry Peckitt, as one of the editors, had in his possession the manuscript of the second volume. One night a fire broke out in his neighborhood, which soon laid his own home in ashes. Mr. Peckitt himself narrowly escaped with his life, and in the excitement forgot the precious manuscript in his possession until the fire had consumed his valuable library of several thousand volumes. Next morning, while he was despairingly searching amongst the ruins, a neighbor informed him that some books had been picked up in the street, where they had been thrown at random by a fireman.
Robert Hindmarsh, at this period, performed another important service to the Church, by obtaining from Mr. Richard Shearsmith, in whose house Swedenborg had expired, a legally sworn affidavit, emphatically denying the current report that Swedenborg, a few hours before he died, had retracted all his theological writings.
Many of the members of the "Theosophical Society" at this period attended the Sunday services conducted at the "London Asylum for Female Orphans," by the Rev. Jacob Duche. This eloquent preacher is famous in American history as having read the opening prayer in the First Congress of the United States, held in Philadelphia in the year 1776. Later, being suspected of sympathy with the English, he was forced to leave this country, and settled temporarily in London. Previous to his exile (which lasted only a few years) he had embraced the Doctrines of the New Church, and now incorporated these in his sermons, though with the greatest caution of expression. From the teachings and example of him, and of the Rev. John Clowes, in Manchester, many of the early receivers of the Doctrines were led to hope that the truths of the New Church would gradually find their way into the Established Church, thereby effecting a general reformation, and rendering unnecessary, nay, disorderly, any separate establishment of distinctively New Church worship.
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE CHURCH.
LED by the ever resolute and fearless Robert Hindmarsh, some of the members of the Society resolved to lay before their brethren the proposal to open a place for the distinct public worship of the LORD JESUS CHRIST in His Divine Human.
This momentous proposition was submitted to the Society at a meeting held on April 19th, in the year 1787, but was negatived by a small majority of the members, some of whom were altogether opposed to any separation from the Old Church, while others did not think that the proper time for such a step had yet arrived.
But though the Rev. John Clowes came to London for the single purpose of dissuading the minority from their expressed purpose, the latter were not convinced by his arguments, nor persuaded by his appeals for "charitable" sentiments toward the Old Church. The votes of a majority could not outweigh the dictate of their conscience, and hence, on the 7th of May of the same year, they organized a new and separate Society, which they styled "The Society for Promoting the Heavenly Doctrine of the New Jerusalem Church." They still continued in friendly relations with the remaining members of the
"Theosophical Society," which latter did not dissolve until some years afterward.
At the first meeting of this new Society it was resolved to engage, at the first opportunity, a chapel for the meetings and the public worship of the New Church, but as no such opportunity offered itself for some time, the members continued to meet at private houses. "Rules and Regulations" for the Society were adopted at a meeting held on July 2d, and a declaration of "Principles" at a select meeting held on July 29th, 1787.
In this latter interesting document, which was drawn up by Mr. James Glen, it is declared, among other things, that
"The Truths of the New Church are alone contained in the Word and the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg."
"Introduction into the New Church is solely through the Spiritual Correspondence, Baptism, performed in that Church."
"Conjunction with the LORD and consociation with the angels of the New Heavens are effected by the Holy Supper taken in the New Church, according to its Heavenly and Divine Correspondences."
The first establishment of the New Church in an external form was finally completed when, on July 31st, 1787, the Sacraments of Baptism and the Holy Supper for the first time were administered according to the Doctrines of the New Jerusalem.
At this solemn meeting "it was determined by lot that Mr. James Hindmarsh should officiate in the room of a priest." First, the Holy Supper was administered to eleven persons, and afterward the Sacrament of Baptism to five others.
Soon after this occasion the first Liturgy of the New Church, entitled The Order of Worship for the New Church signified by the New Jerusalem in the Revelation, was drawn up by Robert Hindmarsh and adopted by the society.
On November 5th of the same year the Society met for the first time in a chapel in Great East Cheap, which had been hired by Mr. Hindmarsh and two other members for the uses of the Church. This chapel was opened for the public worship of the New Church on the LORD'S Day, January 27th, 1788. Mr. James Hindmarsh, who had been chosen the first minister of the Church, on this occasion preached a sermon on the text, "Praise ye the LORD."
In view of the purely ecclesiastical form which the Society had now assumed, it was resolved, at a meeting on May 5th, 1788, to adopt the scriptural and doctrinal designation, "The New Church, signified by the New Jerusalem in the Revelation," instead of the former secular name.
At this time the necessity for a regularly appointed and ordained Priesthood began to be recognized, and many meetings were held for the consideration of this important subject. The question arose, Whence should the Priesthood of the New Church derive its authority and ordination? From the authorities of the Old Church?
Two of the members, James Hindmarsh and Samuel Smith, had been in the preaching office before their conversion to the New Church, and were unanimously considered by the others to be well qualified and called by the LORD to continue in this use. The drawing of lots was only to determine who should act as the LORD'S instruments in conferring upon these two the powers of ordination.
These conclusions having been reached to the satisfaction of all, it was unanimously agreed, at a meeting held on June 1st, 1788, to ordain James Hindmarsh and Samuel Smith as priests and ministers of the New Church. Twelve of the male members, representing the Church as a whole, with all its goods and truths, were then chosen by lot to lay their right hands upon the candidates for ordination, while Robert Hindmarsh, as one of these twelve, was unanimously requested to read the service of ordination, which he had prepared for the occasion.
In his history of the Rise and Progress of the New Church Hindmarsh adds to his account of the above ceremony the following information:
"Being desirous, for my own private satisfaction, to ascertain which of the twelve to be selected by lot it might please the LORD to appoint to read or perform the ceremony, I wrote, unknown to the rest of the Society, upon one of the twelve tickets thus marked with a cross, the word ORDAIN. I then put the sixteen tickets into a receiver, when a prayer went up from my heart that the LORD would show whom He had chosen for the office of ordination. The members being properly arranged, I went round to them all; and each one took a ticket out of the receiver, leaving me the last ticket, on which was written, as before stated, the word ORDAIN. Still the other members were not aware of what I had done; and when the twelve were separated from the rest, after consulting together a few moments, they unanimously requested, that I should read and perform the ceremony of ordination. Whereupon James Hindmarsh was first ordained by me, and immediately afterward, Samuel Smith" (pp. 70, 71).
Robert Hindmarsh, in consequence, considered himself doubly chosen, by the LORD Himself as well as by the Church, to act as the principal ordainer, and that he himself, in fact, and by virtue of this double choice, was ordained a priest of the New Jerusalem. Though he never claimed recognition as such from his brethren, yet the Church itself, at the Conference held at Derby, in the year 1818, by a unanimous resolution, placed his name at the head of its list of ordained ministers, together with the addendum, "ordained by the Divine Auspices of the LORD."
During this period Hindmarsh was not less active in the literary work of the Church than in the work of her organization. He translated from the Latin, and published at his own expense, the works on The Last Judgment, on The White Horse, on The Intercourse between the Soul and the Body, and A Brief Exposition of the Doctrine of the New Church. In the same year (1788), in his capacity as Secretary of the Great East Cheap Society, he wrote a small work entitled Reasons for Separating from the Old Church. This was written in answer to a letter addressed to the Society by the Rev. John Clowes and his friends, in Manchester, who still hoped to persuade their London brethren to give up their separate establishment. So completely did Hindmarsh silence the objections raised to the separation, and so luminous and convincing were his arguments, that a majority of Mr. Clowes' own followers soon afterward separated from the Old Church, and established the prosperous Society in Peter Street, Manchester. Nothing stronger has ever been written on this important subject than this little pamphlet by Robert Hindmarsh.
On the invitation of the Society at Great East Cheap, the friends of the separate establishment of the New Church assembled in London for a "General Conference," on April 13th to 17th, 1789. This first general meeting of the Church was truly representative and universal in character, being attended not only by members from various parts of England, but also from Sweden, France, and America. Among the many resolutions which were passed at this memorable meeting, which was opened with an earnest address by Robert Hindmarsh, the following, the very first of the series, is of special interest, as showing that the recognition of the Divine Authority of the Writings was the very cornerstone upon which these early builders of the Church endeavored to erect the holy Temple of the LORD:
"I. Resolved, unanimously, That it is the opinion of this Conference that the Theological works of the Hon. EMANUEL SWEDENBORG are perfectly consistent with the Holy Word, being at the same time explanatory of its internal sense in so wonderful a manner that nothing short of a Divine Revelation seems adequate thereto. That they also contain the Heavenly Doctrines of the New Church, signified by The New Jerusalem in the Revelation; which Doctrines he was enabled by the LORD alone to draw from the Holy Word, while under the Inspiration and Illumination of His Holy Spirit."
The sphere at this first general meeting of the LORD'S New Church is described as having been most delightful. Perfect unanimity reigned throughout all the proceedings, and it seemed to all the members as if the loving brotherhood of primitive Christianity had been restored upon earth.
THE FIRST CONFLICT.
BUT this innocence and peace were largely those of ignorance, and therefore did not last long. No sooner had the first establishment of the Church been effected in this world than her internal temptations began. Soon after the delightful love-feast of the first General Conference a difference arose among the members of the Church in London, involving an issue of a most serious nature. The history of this, the first internal conflict in the New Church, has hitherto been wrapped in great mystery. Veiled references to it may be found here and there in the literature of the Church, and these have been unscrupulously used by some to throw discredit upon the ordinations of the New Church, and upon the fair name of Robert Hindmarsh. It will, therefore, be useful to examine somewhat in detail this mysterious affair.
In the "Historic Notice" which is prefixed to the volume of Reprints of Early Minutes of New Church Conferences, etc. (London, 1885), the writer, the Rev. J. R. Boyle, on page xxxii, has inserted this footnote:
Mr. Hindmarsh, with five others, had been separated from the Great East Cheap Society, for reasons not needed to be stated here, three years before" - that is, before the year 1792. This note leaves great scope for damaging conjectures, which may gain strength from the sinister interpretations of Robert Hindmarsh's acts and character suggested by this writer in other parts of his "Notice."
Robert Hindmarsh "separated" from the Church of which he was the first founder and the most active and intelligent member! What possible "reasons" could justify such an act?
On this subject the Church would have been left in most satisfactory obscurity, had not the Rev. Manoah Sibly - who was one of the earliest members of the Great East Cheap Society - furnished a clue to the mystery. In "An Address" to his Society, in Friar Street, London, Mr. Sibly, in the year 1839, published the following information:
"I am here under the necessity of stating, however reluctantly, that in the year 1789 a very sorrowful occurrence befell the infant New Church, whereby the flood-gates of immorality were in danger of being thrown open, to her inevitable destruction.
"The Church held many solemn meetings on the occasion, which ended in her withdrawing herself from six of her members, viz.: Robert Hindmarsh, Henry Servante, Charles Berns Wadstrom, Augustus Nordenskjold, George Robinson, and Alexander Wilderspin. On the Church coming to this conclusion, Mr. Robert Hindmarsh remarked, That he would never put it into the power of any Society again to cut him off, as he nevermore would be a member of one. And I believe, notwithstanding his eminent services in the cause of the New Church, that, to his dying day, he kept his word" (pp. 3, 4).
In what way, then, could Robert Hindmarsh be implicated in the opening of "the flood-gates of immorality" upon the New Church, - he whose conjugial life has been described as most pure and lovely, and who, at his death, was declared "integer vitae scelerisque purus" by necrologists such as Noble, Goyder, Howarth, and others? What was the "sorrowful occurrence"?
The Minute Book of the Great Fast Cheap Society, which is still preserved, ought to give more specified information on the subject of these "many solemn meetings." But we are told by Mr. Thomas Robinson, in his Remembrancer and Recorder (Manchester, 1864) that,
"Up to May 4th, 1789, this whole Book, from the first day, seems to be in the handwriting of Robert Hindmarsh. And from that day to April 11th, 1790, the account of the proceedings seems to have been torn out. From page 46 to 63 is missing. And we have been informed that it was not deemed advisable to let posterity see the nature of the records contained therein" (p. 94).
This fact we find confirmed in the New Church Repository (vol. VI, page 545, New York, 1853) by Mr. Elihu Rich, of London, who also had investigated the Minute Book, and who, in company with the Rev. William Mason, of Derby, had unearthed this old scandal in order to besmirch the character of the first originator of the New Church ordinations in England.
While the memory of Robert Hindmarsh was being defamed by writers in the New Church Repository, an honorable love of fairness led Mr. Samuel M. Warren (then resident in Philadelphia) to write for authentic information to Mr. John Isaac Hawkins, who at that time was the last surviving member of the former Society in Great East Cheap. Mr. Hawkins, in his reply, which is dated Rahway, New Jersey, 1853, wrote as follows:
"With respect to tile sorrowful occurrence you allude to from Mr. Sibly's pamphlet, it was a perverted view of Swedenborg's doctrine of Concubinage in his work on Conjugial Love, then just published;* whereby some held that, if a husband and wife did not agree, they might separate and the man take a concubine; I forget whether or not the wife was to have the same privilege.
* The italics are Mr. Hawkins's. As a matter of fact, the work on Conjugial Love was not published in English until tile year 1794, thus five years later than 1789.
"The notion, however, soon ceased to be broached, and the Church was relieved from further discussion of the distressing subject. I do not recollect any case where the notion was acted on. Mr. Hindmarsh certainly did not; nor do I believe that either of the five persons you name did."
In the same volume of the New Church Repository in which the above letter was printed (vol. VI, p. 143) Mr. Hawkins's statement is corroborated by a letter from Dr. Henry Bateman, of London, who had at one time conversed with Mr. Sibly on this subject. He reports from this conversation that,
"The evil itself was no other than an erroneous view of Swedenborg's teaching in the treatise on Scortatory Love - a work which was viewed from an unchaste ground by some of the early receivers of the Doctrines . . . . And whilst Robert Hindmarsh believed that those views were true to some extent, and to a degree which was calculated in the estimation of good Mr. Sibly to open 'the flood-gates of immorality,' he kept aloof, in the opinion of Mr. Sibly himself, from all unchaste practices" (p. 144).
We have now at last come to something tangible in the mystery. Robert Hindmarsh, we are told, held "erroneous," "perverted," and "unchaste" views of the holy subject of Conjugial Love, but did not act according to his evil conviction.
But what were these views, and in how far were they false and evil? Hindmarsh himself, in all his published works, is entirely silent on this subject, and our effort to vindicate his character would be futile were it not for the contemporary evidence of his fellow-sufferer, Augustus Nordenskjold.
This indefatigable pioneer of the New Church spent the year 1789 in London, taking an active part in all the proceedings of the Church, and the following year published at Copenhagen a work in the Swedish tongue, on The Form of Ecclesiastical Organization in the New Jerusalem (Forsamlingsformen uti det Nya Jerusalem). In this curious book, which has never been translated into English, we find the following section dealing with the "distressing" subject of concubinage:
"54. As it will happen, of course, that for long times to come there will be found unmarried men in our Church who are not able to marry, and married men who have been received among us, but who have unchristian wives, rejecting the New Doctrine, and who thus must live in a disharmonious marriage, it follows that when such men are driven so strongly by the inborn amor sexus that they cannot contain themselves, it is inevitable, for the sake of order, that they be permitted, the former to take a mistress and the latter a concubine. But no one is permitted to live thus in our Church who does not report it to the Bishop or the Marriage-Priest. [The latter was a proposed special degree in the Priesthood.] These are to examine, according to Swedenborg's rules, De Fornicatione et de Concubinato, if his case is truly such as he presents it.
Barring the teaching of this paragraph, that religious disagreement per se authorizes concubinage, unless it involves "internal dissimilitude, from which comes antipathy," and "extreme impiety" (C. L. 472), it may be seen that the essential idea - not to discuss the regulative formalities it prescribes is neither an "erroneous," "perverted," or "immoral" view of the LORD'S teachings on this subject, but is based upon the Doctrine revealed in Conjugial Love, nos. 459, 462-476 (quos vide). If the affirmation of these Divine teachings be an "opening of the flood-gates of immorality," then all loyal followers of the LORD in His Second Advent are equally guilty of the same offense. On the contrary, however, it is the means of Divine Mercy whereby the inclination to the conjugial life may be preserved from entire destruction.
It is quite evident that the announcement of the Doctrine concerning Concubinage and Pellicacy, as set forth in Conjugial Love, was what brought on the first conflict in the New Church, and which resulted in the separation of Robert Hindmarsh, Augustus Nordenskjold, Henry Servante, Charles Bernhard Wadstrom, and two others-all among the most intelligent members of the Church-from the Society in Great East Cheap.
It may thus be seen that the dark shadow of suspicion, which ignorance or prejudice have cast upon the memory of Robert Hindmarsh, must give way before this new evidence of his loyalty and courage in defending even the most unpopular of the Doctrines of the New Church.
DEFENDER OF THE FAITH.
MR. SIBLY thus concludes his account of this first conflict in the New Church:
"I wish to mention here, to the honor of Mr. Robert Hindmarsh, that, notwithstanding he discontinued to be a member of the Society, there was no breach of personal friendship between him and the members of the Society; he still held the joint tenancy of the place, and attended, as usual, the meetings of the Church for public worship, as well as for business; and did all hi his power to promote the establishment of the New Church distinct from the old Church; and the Society were much gratified herewith, conceiving him, to be a very valuable man, possessing a bright understanding, and a devout well-wisher for her prosperity" (An Address, etc., p. 4).
At this period the work of Robert Hindmarsh seems to have been especially that of announcing and defending the Doctrines of the New Church through the press. To him belongs the honor of having produced the first work of doctrinal instruction for the young, in a little work which was published in the year 1790, under the title A Catechism for the Use of the New Church. It was officially adopted by the second General Conference, held the same year, in London.
In January, 1790, the first journal of the New Church in England appeared in London, under the title The New Jerusalem Magazine.
In the following year, Hindmarsh entered upon a second journalistic venture, in the publication of The New Jerusalem Journal, which appeared monthly until October of the same year, when it expired from the same cause as its predecessors. In these Journals the theological depth and thoroughness of Hindmarsh became more than ever apparent. Such subjects as the separation from the Old Church, "Rebaptism" into the New Church, the eternity of hell, the dangers of Mesmerism and animal magnetism as then practiced by many "Swedenborgians," the necessity of a literal translation of the Word, and many others, were discussed and answered editorially by Hindmarsh with a maturity of judgment that is truly astonishing in so young a man. (He had then passed his thirtieth year.)
Among the literary labors of Hindmarsh during this period should be included the translation and publication of The Continuation concerning the Last Judgment, in 1791, and of An Hieroglyphic Key to Natural and Spiritual Mysteries, in 1792.
Joseph Priestley, LL. D., was one of the most noted of English deists of the eighteenth century, and is no less celebrated in science, as the discoverer of oxygen, nitrous gas, and various other gases. Doctrinally he was an avowed Unitarian, and politically a Radical. A man of a strong mind and wielding a trenchant pen, he was ever engaged in controversies, in which it is said that he always had the last word.
When the newly-built temple of the Society in Birmingham (which was the first temple ever erected by the New Church) was consecrated to the worship of the LORD JESUS CHRIST, on June 19th, 1791, Dr. Priestley, who resided in that city, attended the ceremonies. He was, on this occasion, introduced to Robert Hindmarsh, who had come from London to be present at this interesting occasion, and he expressed to him his pleasure, and at the same time his surprise, at the doctrines of the New Jerusalem, which seemed so similar, yet were so different from his own Unitarianism.
In July of the same year the "Tory riots" took place in Birmingham, and as Dr. Priestley was an admirer of the French Revolution and an avowed opponent of the existing government, his house, library, and manuscripts were burned by an infuriated mob.
Among the manuscripts of Dr. Priestley which had been destroyed, was a pamphlet entitled Letters to the Members of the New Jerusalem Church, which the author soon re-wrote and published. The appearance of this pamphlet, which was the most public attack yet made upon the New Church in England, caused a stir among her members. Two of her champions, Mr. Proud and Mr. Bellamy, rushed immediately into the fray with "Answers" to Dr. Priestley, but as the occasion seemed to demand the very best talent of the Church, Robert Hindmarsh was prevailed upon by his friends to meet this Goliath of Arianism.
"Never was there witnessed," says the Rev. Samuel Noble, in any discussion whatever, a more complete demolition of every one of an adversary's arguments, than was effected by Mr. Hindmarsh for those of Dr. Priestley. Well might the discomfited champion of Unitarianism, in all other instances so impatient of rebuff; retire as he did, as silently as possible, from a field in which he had reaped nothing but disgrace; and that disgrace the greater, since he, a celebrated author, had been defeated by a man whose name had never been heard of in the domains of literature."
The Letters to Dr. Priestley are, indeed, a masterpiece in New Church polemics; incisive, unsentimental, clear, convincing, interesting, and at the same time devout, dignified, and courteous. Dr. Priestley had promised to return to the field of battle; but, though he was on one occasion personally reminded of this promise by Mr. Hindmarsh, he never again took up arms against the New Jerusalem.
It has been said, adversely, of Robert Hindmarsh, that he sought to build up the New Jerusalem on earth "with the sword in one hand and the trowel in the other." This, indeed, is the very manner in which the Holy City must be built on earth, surrounded as the builders are on every side by fierce and hostile tribes. The Son of Man came not to bring peace upon earth, but a sword.
AT the first three General Conferences, held in London in the years 1789, 1790, and 1791, entire harmony and unanimity characterized all the proceedings. But soon a different spirit began to manifest itself. At that time the membership of the New Church consisted largely of persons who had come out of "liberal" and "dissenting" ecclesiastical bodies; and many brought with them into the New Church their old and favorite notions of democratic government.
At the fourth General Conference, held in London, April 9th to 13th, 1792, the appointment and powers of the Priesthood came up for consideration, and it became apparent that the majority were strongly in favor of government in the spiritual things of the Church by the will of the people or laity, while the minority, led by Robert Hindmarsh, based their position on the revealed teachings of the Heavenly Doctrines in favor of the Theocratic government of the Church, through the instrumentality of a distinct and graded Priesthood. So determined were the convictions of each party, that a virtual separation took place, and two different Reports of the Conference were printed, one by the majority, and another by Hindmarsh, the regularly appointed Secretary, in which the arguments of the minority also were presented.
To the minority, the introduction of the democratic spirit, and the subordination of the Priesthood to the will of the people, seemed destructive of the true genius of the New Church, and rendered impossible any unanimous co operation. A fifth General Conference had been appointed by the majority, and was held at Birmingham on April 1st and 2d, in the following year, but this meeting was not attended by Hindmarsh and his friends, who, instead, assembled in a General Conference in the temple at Great East Cheap, holding their deliberations from April 1st to 5th, 1793. At this Conference, which was composed of seven of the most intelligent members of the Church in London, it was unanimously declared
"That the Ordination of Ministers in the New Church ought to be according to the Episcopalian plan, and not by any Power or authority derived from the People. And as the Ordination of Ministers hitherto has been accompanied with a Condition, that they should not ordain others without the consent of the Church, by which has been understood an acknowledgment of the Authority of the People to appoint, by a majority of votes, whomsoever they pleased to the Office of the Ministry; it is thought expedient and necessary that all Ministers hitherto ordained be henceforth liberated from such Restriction, and also from the Principle which gave Rise to it; and they are accordingly hereby declared to be liberated therefrom."
The Conference then adopted a Plan of Ecclesiastical Government which to them appeared consistent with and deducible from the principles of the New Jerusalem as contained in the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg. The single idea which permeates the proposed "Plan" is that of the LORD Alone as the Sole Authority in the New Church, acting through His own office of the Priesthood.
A spiritual lethargy now seems to have set in. For a number of years no further General Conferences were held, and no general enterprises were undertaken. It seemed that the New Church, which had begun with so much success, was about to perish from upon the earth while yet in her very infancy. Robert Hindmarsh himself appears to have been filled with disappointment and disgust at the disorderly tendencies of his fellow-members in the Church, and his impatience seems to have betrayed him into an action, which, if it has been correctly and impartially reported, was certainly hasty and inconsiderate.
Soon after the Conference described above, another conflict arose in the Great East Cheap Society, which resulted in a separation of the members. The Rev. Manoah Sibly, in his before-mentioned Address, gives the following account of the difficulty:
"The immediate cause of the Society's leaving Great East Cheap was in consequence of Mr. Robert Hindmarsh, who hitherto held the joint tenancy of the place [together with two others], having gone to the landlord, without the privity of Messrs. John and Thomas Willdon, and induced the landlord to take him as the only tenant. Having so done, at the next monthly meeting for business, he came into the vestry and informed the meeting that he was now the alone holder of the place, and asked them what they could now do to prevent him from having the government of the Church carried on according to his own views; at the same time declaring himself not to be a member of the Society. The Society hereupon took umbrage and left the place."
After the removal of the greater part of the Society, with Mr. Sibly as their chosen pastor, to Store Street, Tottenham Court Road (whence they finally removed, in 1802, to Friars Street, Blackfriars), the chapel in Great East Cheap was kept open for worship by Robert Hindmarsh and his few supporters until the end of the year 1793. It was then given up and the remnant kept themselves together by meeting for worship at one, another's houses until the year 1796.
Though cut off from any organized work for the Church, Hindmarsh's literary labors in her behalf did not cease. He still acted as the general printer of the Church, and published in the year 1794, at his own expense, a translation he had made of A General Explication of the Ten Precepts of the Decalogue, extracted from the Apocalypsis Explicata. He also made an unsuccessful, attempt to unite the scattered members of the Church in London in a common use, concerning which he published a Plan and Design of a Society proposed to be instituted for promoting the Heavenly Doctrines of the New Jerusalem by giving away Bibles, Testaments, and the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.
"During the year 1795 nothing remarkable appears to have occurred relative to the New Church" at least in England, beyond the publication of an edition of The True Christian Religion, and of the sixth volume of the Arcana Coelestia, both issued from Hindmarsh's printing office in London.
In the year 1796 the remaining members of the Great East Cheap Society purchased ground and built a Temple in Cross Street, Hatton Garden, which was opened for worship on July 30th of the following year by the Rev. Joseph Proud, of Birmingham, who had been engaged as the regular minister of the congregation. Mr. Proud was a preacher of unusual eloquence, and soon attracted great multitudes to his services. For about two years the new society progressed very successfully, until, in the year 1799, there arose between the pastor and the proprietors of the place difficulties, partly of a financial character and partly on account of Mr. Proud's strong objections to the outspoken doctrinal statements in the new Liturgy, which had been composed by Robert Hindmarsh and adopted by the society and the proprietors. No agreement being reached, Mr. Proud and the majority of his congregation left the Temple in Cross Street and rented a chapel in York Street. A few of the members remained at Cross Street, among whom was Robert Hindmarsh; but after some unsuccessful efforts to maintain public worship, the temple was rented, and finally sold to outside parties. In the year 1827 the building again came into the possession of the New Church, having been purchased by the York Street Society, which originally occupied it.
We have now come to a period in the life of Robert Hindmarsh concerning which but little is known. About the year 1799 he gave up his printing office, as may appear from the title-page to the eighth volume of the first English edition of the Arcana Coelestia, from which we learn that this volume was printed at London, 1799, "under the inspection of Robert Hindmarsh, late Printer." We are further informed by Mr. Sibly, in a memorial sermon on the death of Robert Hindmarsh, that the latter,
"Prior to his going to Manchester [in 1810], and being out of business, engaged in a speculative occupation, not at all suited to his still and quiet genius; and being inexperienced in the artifices practiced by those who are usually engaged in the line he was then pursuing, he found himself, after a time, to be a loser. I do not know to what amount, but, to the honor of the Church, it may be mentioned that, although the losses were not legally binding on him, yet he paid the whole. He thus came out from them with clean hands, and surely, I may say, with a pure heart; and he made the sacrifice, notwithstanding the voluntary payments, as they might be called, left him a poor man in comparison with what his circumstances in life had been before."
In a letter, published in the Monthly Observer and New Church Record (London, 1857, P. 311), and dated London, August 12th, 1805, Henry Servante makes the following reply to the question put to him by James Glen, of Demerara, whether "Robert Hindmarsh had totally renounced [the New Church]":
"I cannot positively answer this question, though I apprehend he is in a very cold state, toward the northern quarter. His profession at present is that of a stockbroker, and I have been told he had acquired considerable sums by speculating in the public funds. The amor sui mundique seems to absorb his whole attention."
Whatever may have been the cause of the apparent decline in his zeal for the progress of the Church, it is certain that Hindmarsh never "renounced" his faith in the Heavenly Doctrines.
The whole first decade of the nineteenth century was a period of inactivity and apparent decline in the New Church. It was a time of "war and the rumor of war," and its history testifies to the fact that but little spiritual progress can be made while the affections of the natural man are strongly excited. The New Church has prospered most under conditions of natural liberty and peace. The men of the Church live in the natural world, and are, perforce, influenced by the generally prevailing sphere. Robert
Hindmarsh was no exception to this general rule.
Still his love for the spiritual things of the Church did not entirely cease. It is known that he began, in the year 1799, an exposition of the spiritual sense of the whole Word, and kept up this work for many years, though it was never brought to a final completion. In the year 1800 he made the first English translation of the Summary Exposition of the Internal Sense of the Prophets and Psalms, which was published in the same year by J. A. Tulk, Esq., and in the year 1802 he paid a visit to the little circle of the New Church in Paris, concerning which he gives much interesting information.
During the same period he kept up a correspondence with Newchurchmen in America and in Russia. He did not, however, attend the sixth General Conference which met in London in the year 1807, nor the seventh General Conference, held in the same city in the following year.
EMERGING from the state of apparent indifference and spiritual vastation which followed upon the struggles described in the last chapter, Robert Hindmarsh re-appears in the history of the New Church in the year 1810, when it is known that he prepared a new preface to his translation of the work on The Last Judgment, which was the first work published by "The Society for Printing and Publishing the Writings of the Hon. Emanuel Swedenborg, instituted in London in the year 1810."
In January, 1811, Robert Hindmarsh, who was then without a settled occupation, removed to Manchester to take charge of a printing office which the Rev. William Cowherd professed to have established in that city for the special purpose of publishing translations of Swedenborg's Scientific and Theological Works. Mr. Cowherd had formerly been a curate under the Rev. John Clowes, and was later, for some years, the Pastor of the New Church Society in Manchester, which had separated itself from the Old Church, and had opened a chapel in Peter Street; but he was never ordained into the Priesthood of the New Church. An eloquent and popular preacher, he was at the same time a person of unbalanced if not unsettled judgment, combining with this an incredible arrogance and imperiousness.
It seems that Hindmarsh, when connecting himself with Cowherd, was not aware of the latter's personal and theological peculiarities. Arriving at Manchester, he found that the "Printing Office" was a fiction, and that Cowherd only wished to use the name of Robert Hindmarsh to seduce the New Church. After enduring, for three months, incredible indignities from this fanatic, Hindmarsh broke his engagement with him, and determined to return to London.
By this time, however, the members of the New Church in the neighborhood of Manchester had, as if by accident, discovered the wonderful power of Hindmarsh as a public speaker and expounder of the Word. A number of them urged upon him to accept the office of minister to a new Society then being formed in Manchester, and, after much hesitation on account of his age, as he was then in his fifty-second year, Hindmarsh finally consented to enter actively into the work of the Priesthood.
The Rev. D. G. Goyder, in his Concise History of the New Jerusalem Church (London, 1827), thus describes Hindmarsh as a preacher:
"Mr. Hindmarsh is so far from having studied preaching as an art that he has been heard to say it was what he abominated. His utterance is at once rapid and natural, flowing inconceivably easy, and productive of great effect upon such elevated minds as are capable of understanding him. He is so exceedingly well read in all the Writings of our author that his discourses appear as combining all the luminous views of Emanuel Swedenborg, whilst they are couched in language of the most elegant and dignified description. He is not very apt in Scriptural quotation, but his comparisons and illustrations are striking and beautiful in the extreme. For a congregation of old recipients of the New Church, I look upon him as being the Minister most likely to be useful, for it is no disparagement to other ministers to state that his knowledge of the Doctrines was superior to most, equal to all, and inferior to none. But where there is a society of new recipients, or where they are young men, I do not consider him as likely to be so eminently useful; still, in making this assertion, I wish it to be understood that the fault would be more in the hearer than in the speaker; his discourses being mostly of that interior and spiritual kind, only fitted to those who have been long receivers and readers of the Writings" (p. 112).
No faithful preacher of the Internal Sense of the Word can wish for higher praise than this, but Mr. Goyder is evidently mistaken in his estimate of Hindmarsh's power of accommodating his presentation of the Doctrines to the apprehension of the simple or the uninstructed.
The first fruit of this work, after he had resigned his secular occupations, was a translation of The Coronis, or Appendix to the True Christian Religion, which was published at Manchester in the year 1811. This was the first English translation of the Coronis, and was furnished with a very valuable
"Glossary," explaining certain foreign or unusual terms and names used by the author. In the same year Hindmarsh published an excellent sermon on The Birth of Immanuel, treating of the Incarnation of the LORD.
In the following year he published a work, entitled Reflections on the Unitarian and Trinitarian Doctrines (Manchester, 47 pp.), which was occasioned by the public attacks on the Divinity of the LORD by the Rev. John Grundy, a Unitarian minister.
His next work was published under the title, The New School of Theology (Manchester, 24 pp.), and contained a description of the aims and methods of an Institution which he had opened in Manchester, in the year 1813. This School was to be "similar to the ancient Schools of Philosophy and Divinity." It was to be open on Thursday evenings, and was intended to afford all inquirers an opportunity to investigate and discuss the Doctrines of the New Church.
"Twice Mr. Hindmarsh had his goods packed up, and was on the point of departure for London, and twice was this room closed, and again opened to the public; his friends were exceedingly reluctant to part with him, and on the evening preceding his intended departure, when he had not so much as a candlestick unpacked, it was contended that the erection of a New Temple would be the only means of raising a Society, and of permanently establishing Mr. Hindmarsh among them. The idea was no sooner presented than grasped, and Mr. Hindmarsh had once more to unpack" (Goyder's History, p. 111).
Accordingly a commodious and handsome Church was built in Salford, near Manchester, which was dedicated by Hindmarsh in September, 1813. From this time forth the Society increased and prospered greatly under the faithful ministrations of the talented Pastor, who continued in that office during the period of eleven years.
Robert Hindmarsh's most extensive work was published in the year 1814, under the striking title A Seal upon the Lips of Unitarians, Trinitarians, and all others who refuse to acknowledge the Sole, Supreme, and Exclusive Divinity of our LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST.
As a sequel to the Seal upon the Lips, and to be distributed gratis with it, Hindmarsh published at the same time a little work of 35 pages with the curious title, The Interview Extraordinary, being the report of an imaginary conversation between Athanasius, Arius, Socinus, Dr. Priestley, and Mr. Hindmarsh. The errors of Tri-theism and Atheism are here, again, exposed in a clever and entertaining manner.
In July, 1815, Hindmarsh finished an interesting little work on Precious Stones, which was published at London, in the year 1851, sixteen years after his death. He treats here of the spiritual signification of the stones in the breastplate of Aaron, and other precious stones mentioned in the Word, and gives proof of thorough scholarship as well as of a systematic study of the Writings.
In the same year he was chosen President of the Eighth General Conference, which met in Manchester, August 14th to 18th, 1815. This Conference was of especial interest, in consequence of the unanimous resolution which it passed, establishing a Trine in the Priesthood.
The next work produced by Robert Hindmarsh was A Compendium of the Chief Doctrines of the True Christian Religion (London, 1816, pp. 166), which in a very brief compass presents a bird's-eye view, as it were, of the pearly gates and golden streets of the Holy City, the New Jerusalem. This compendium was the first of its kind ever published, and became very popular in the Church. It was published in new editions both in England and in America, and has been published twice in the French language. In the year 1816, Hindmarsh published, further, his Remarks on the Holy League (Manchester, pp. 48). This League, it will be remembered, was an Alliance entered into after the fall of Napoleon between the rulers of Austria, Prussia, and Russia, whereby these monarchs bound themselves to remain united in "true and indissoluble fraternity" under the Supreme Sovereignty of "God the Divine Saviour." History shows the hollowness of this pretended "Holy Alliance," but Hindmarsh, and many with him, hailed it at the time as the harbinger of a new dispensation of love, justice, and peace among the nations on earth. He sent copies of his Remarks to the three rulers concerned, and received, in reply, a brief but gracious acknowledgment signed by Frederick William, the King of Prussia.
On July 26th, of the same year, Robert Hindmarsh paid a visit to the ancient town of Colchester, and delivered there a lecture on the Doctrines of the New Church. From four to five hundred persons were present on this occasion, crowding the room almost to suffocation.
The following year Hindmarsh made another missionary journey, which was attended with great success and permanent results. He visited and lectured in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Paisley, New Castle, Hull York, and Leeds, and wherever he appeared great multitudes were attracted by his well-known name, and were instructed by his luminous exposition of the Doctrines. In Edinburgh, Paisley, and Glasgow his visits led to the establishment of permanent new Church Societies.
At the Eleventh General Conference, held in Derby, August 11th to 14th, 1818, Robert Hindmarsh was again elected President. In the Report of this Conference we find the following minute:
"37. Mr. Robert Hindmarsh having been requested to leave the room, and the Rev. J. Proud called to the chair, the subject respecting the ordination of Mr. Robert Hindmarsh was then introduced, and underwent a very deliberate and able discussion: when it was
"Resolved, unanimously, That in consequence of Mr. Robert Hindmarsh having been called by lot to ordain the first minister in the New Church, this Conference consider it as the most orderly method which could then be adopted, and that Mr. Robert Hindmarsh was virtually ordained by the divine auspices of heaven; in consequence of which this Conference consider Mr. Robert Hindmarsh as one of the regular ordaining ministers."
This resolution is of the utmost importance in the history of the Church, being a distinct acknowledgment of the Divine origin of the Priesthood. Unfortunately the Conference did not long remain in this acknowledgment, although the ordinations through Robert Hindmarsh have never been formally repudiated
The Intellectual Repository for the same year contains a "Proposal for founding a Seminary for the education of youth in general, and particularly for the qualification of young men as Ministers of the New Jerusalem," which was communicated by Robert Hindmarsh. This proposition, which may be said to have initiated the long-continued propaganda for a distinctively New Church education, is characteristic of Hindmarsh's penetrating view of the most effective means to the establishment of the New Church. We quote the following from the introductory paragraph of the "Proposal":
"It having been found, by more than thirty years' experience, that the course of Religious Education adopted in the Universities and other public Seminaries is in itself a serious obstacle to the reception of the Heavenly Doctrine of the New Jerusalem, inasmuch as it disqualifies rather than prepares a student for the important office of minister in the New Church; and it being now generally admitted that a respectable, able, and useful ministry (however desirable) cannot be established, unless measures be taken to unite with liberal education a system of Religious Instruction in all respects congenial with the true sense of Divine Revelation, as laid down in the Theological Writings of the late Honourable Emanuel Swedenborg;-the following Proposals are, therefore, submitted to the consideration of the members of the New Church in general."
Though this proposition does not appear to have been immediately adopted by the Church at large, the idea had found an expression, the seed had been sown. The first attempt to establish a New Church College, such as the one proposed by Hindmarsh, was made ten years later in London, when the "Woodford School" was instituted by Mr. W. Malins, and though this School, after a few years, lost its distinctive character, yet the desire for New Church education, amid many disappointments and much bitter opposition, revived and increased in force, until, in the year 1876, it found an organic ultimation in the establishment of the Academy of the New Church, which body has adopted, as its chief raison d'etre, the performance of this all-important Heavenly use.
In the year 1820 Robert Hindmarsh published another excellent work, which was entitled A Key to the Spiritual Signification of Numbers, and of Weights and Measures in the Holy Word (Manchester, 238 pp.). The author has here compiled and carefully digested the teachings of the Writings on these subjects. The little volume is one of the most useful works in the collateral literature of the Church, and might be republished to the great benefit of every student of the Science of Correspondences.
THE LEADER OF THE CHURCH.
ROBERT HINDMARSH, at this period of his life, was looked up to as the foremost minister and acknowledged leader of the Church, whether in peace or in war. Such was the general confidence which the Church reposed in him that he was unanimously elected the President of the General Conference at five consecutive sessions of that body (1818-1822), and when attacks were made upon the Heavenly Doctrines by the forces of the Dragon, as often happened in those days, he it was whom his brethren called upon to ride forth as unconquerable champion of the Truth. Thus, in the year 1820, when the Rev. J. G. Pike, a Baptist Minister of Derby, poured out upon the Church a vial of malignant misrepresentations and calumnies, in a volume entitled Swedenborgianism Depicted in its True Colours, Hindmarsh was requested by the Conference of that year to draw up a suitable reply. At first he expressed his disinclination again to enter the field of controversy, but at length acceded to the wishes of his brethren, and, in the following year, issued his well-known Vindication of the Character and Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, against the slanders and misrepresentations of the Rev. J. G. Pike (Manchester, pp. 290).
His next work, which was one of a similar character, was published in the year 1824, under the title, Christianity against Deism, Materialism, and Atheism. This volume was occasioned by a blasphemous letter openly addressed to the author by Richard Carlile, the notorious English infidel and radical, who used to travel about England, lecturing against the existence of a God. It is not known what effect Hindmarsh's answer to this letter had upon him, though it was sharp enough in tone and arguments, but he soon found a formidable adversary in another Newchurchman, a simple Lancashire weaver, named Thomas Wilson, who literally pursued the atheist. Wherever Carlile lectured in Lancashire, Thomas Wilson was sure to be there, sometimes in disguise, to trouble him with New Church arguments and unanswerable questions, until Carlile finally fled in terror at the first sight of his relentless antagonist, never again to appear in that county.
In the year 1824 Robert Hindmarsh resigned his pastoral charge in Salford, owing, it is said, "to some unfortunate differences of opinion" (Goyder's History, p. 111), or, according to another authority, to failing physical strength. On leaving Salford, an elegant and valuable silver cup was presented to him by his Society, with an appropriate inscription expressing the gratitude and affection of his flock for his many years of faithful ministry.
Hindmarsh and his wife now took up their residence in the home of a married daughter in Canterbury, but though he withdrew from the regular work of the Ministry, his activity in behalf of the Church by no means ceased. He still devoted his best energies to the defense and exposition of the Doctrines, and the pages of the Intellectual Repository during this period were enriched by many valuable articles from his pen. About this time he became involved in a friendly controversy with the Rev. Samuel Noble, the editor of that journal, on the subject of the Integrity of the Word. Mr. Noble held that the Word, in the sense of the Letter, is, indeed, preserved entire, but is not to be found so preserved in any one particular manuscript or text. Hindmarsh, on the other hand, firmly upheld the teachings of the Doctrines of the New Church on this subject, and proved that the Word is preserved entire, without fault or omission, in the Textus Receptus, which was the one used by Swedenborg himself. Hindmarsh's position was that of simple faith in the authority of the Writings of the New Church, as the only reliable source of our information respecting the canonicity and integrity of the Word in the Letter. Mr. Noble, on the other hand, based his position more on the "facts" brought to light by biblical criticism, and denied, in toto, the authority of the Writings in dealing with matters of natural science!
The external progress and affairs of the Church were still followed with great interest by Hindmarsh in his retirement, and he occasionally officiated in the ordinations of ministers and the consecration of Churches. At the General Conferences of 1827 and 1831 he was again elected President of this most general body of the New Church in Great Britain.
After a few years of quiet study and preparation, Hindmarsh, in the year 1833, brought out two new and important works. The first of these was An Essay on the Resurrection of the LORD (283 pages), in which the author attempts to answer the much-discussed question, "With what Body did the LORD rise from the Dead?" After reviewing exhaustively the different opinions on this profound subject, he states, as his own conclusion from the Doctrines, "that the material body was dissipated in the sepulchre, at or before the time of the LORD'S resurrection in and with a Divinely-substantial body, perfectly distinct from the former." We cannot here enter upon a critical examination of the book as a whole, but may safely state that, though not free from errors, it forms one of the most solid works on interior theology ever produced in the New Church.
The other work, referred to above, was entitled The Lamb Slain from the Foundation of the World (237 pages), being a forcible exposure of the false doctrines held by Christians in general concerning the Person of the LORD, the work of Redemption, and the means of Salvation.
THE LAST YEARS.
IN the year 1833, the beloved wife of Robert Hindmarsh, after more than fifty years of most happy and lovely companionship, preceded him into the spiritual world. He contributed an account of her last moments to the pages of the Intellectual Repository, from which we quote these touching lines:
"Having lived for so many years in the bonds of married love with her partner, she was [while on her death-bed] almost constantly inquiring for him, if on any occasion he happened to be absent from her (which, however, was seldom the case), and when present she with equal earnestness begged him to be as near to her bedside as possible, and to continue with her. Indeed, in her very last moments, when through weakness she was unable to articulate her words, she was still heard, in feeble and dying accents, to call upon him to keep close to her; and when she was assured by those around her, and by the well-known, voice of her husband, that he was present, she then seemed satisfied for a while; but presently she again called for him, and was again answered as before; and this continued as long as she was capable of uttering an audible sound. In a few minutes afterward, her pain having previously left her, she expired apparently in great peace and tranquillity of mind: a rare example of the affectionate attachment of a wife to her husband through life, and in the very article of death itself" (1833, p. 437).
The issue of the long married life of Robert and Sarah Hindmarsh were five children: Henry, Elizabeth, Charles, George, and Jane. From their infancy these children were instructed in the Heavenly Doctrines by their father, but they do not appear to have taken any active interest in the uses of the Church, with the exception of the eldest, Mr. Henry Hindmarsh, who was a solicitor in London, and, in the year 1820, prepared the "Conference Deed," or legal document of Trust, whereby the Conference was authorized to receive, hold, and apply legacies, etc., for the sole use and benefit of the Church at large.
Robert Hindmarsh bore his grievous bereavement with the resignation and fortitude of a true Newchurchman. He was now seventy-four years of age, yet his health seemed as robust and his mind as active and vigorous as ever. He attended the twenty-sixth General Conference, held in Bath, in August, 1833, when, for the ninth time in his life, he was chosen to preside over the deliberations of this body. He afterward visited Manchester, and then returned to London, where he saw his last two works through the press. He again went to Manchester, whence he returned to London in February, 1834. On this, his last journey, he contracted a severe cold from which he never recovered. Being fully persuaded that the fullness of his time had come, he devoted the remainder of his days to revising his manuscript works, collecting and arranging his papers, and generally "setting his house in order." To a friend who visited him a short time before his death he remarked,
To the very end he delighted in conversing with his friends upon the spiritual things of the Church, and dwelt with rapture upon the pleasure which be anticipated in soon being able to understand the Word so much better than it was possible to do in this world, and especially upon the blessed privilege, which he hoped would be given him, of beholding the LORD in His Divinely Human Person.
In his very last days, when panting for the breath which was fast leaving him, he comforted his sympathizing friends with the words that he did not suffer as severely as they might think, saying, among other things, "You might think it odd to be told that there are two parties concerned about one dying man; but there are two friends near me, who do all the hard work for me." He also said that the delight of the state to which he was going at times so burst upon him that he was obliged to pray to the LORD that he might not be overpowered by it; that such myriads of transporting thoughts rushed in a moment upon his mind, that he perceived that the increased activity of perception, which he should have when altogether in the spirit, would be such as to surpass all description, and be attended with delights now inconceivable. The day but one before his death he somewhat revived, and, sitting up in bed, requested that his manuscript history of the New Church be brought to him that he might examine a certain part, which he thought needed correction.
The Rev. David Howarth, who was his successor as Pastor of the Society at Salford, thus describes him as a man among men:
"In the manners of Mr. Hindmarsh there was nothing of pharisaical austerity; his piety was equally free from the fanatic's gloom and the dissembler's affectation; and his equability of temper and cheerfulness of mind plainly evidenced that, in his estimation, religion was not intended to diminish, but rather to purify and exalt every human joy and pleasure, whether internal or external. In private conversation our friend was communicative, animated, and engaging; and here, as in his discourses from the pulpit, he was zealous alike to maintain the truth, and to expose the fallaciousness of error; his intelligent remarks, therefore, would sometimes appear sharp and indiscriminate, yet they were evidently made without any consciousness of improper feeling, and designed to promote the spiritual welfare of all with whom he conversed" (Memorial Discourse, p. 17).
The Rev. Edward Madeley, of Birmingham, thus summarizes his personal virtues:
"His time, his learning, his talent's, his influence, and whatever he could secure from but scanty means of support, were all, for the protracted period of upwards of half a century, cheerfully devoted to the LORD'S service. He maintained in all the relations of life, as a husband, a father, a minister, and a friend, that uncompromising integrity, that devoted attention to duty, that ardent attachment, which, combined with true Christian piety and even child-like humility, commanded the universal affection and respect of all who had the high privilege of his association" (Intellectual Repository, 1835, p. 418.)
And the Rev. Samuel Noble thus indicates the historical significance of the career of Robert Hindmarsh to the future generations of the New Church:
"So long as the New Church exists, which will be as long as the earth endures, the great promoter of the establishment of the New Church distinct from the Old will be spoken of with honor; and the name of a Peter and a Paul will not be remembered longer than that of ROBERT HINDMARSH" (Intellectual Repository, 1835, p. 422).
The lesson of his life is before us. May it serve to illustrate the Divine Truth, which he so clearly perceived, so lovingly obeyed, and for which he so faithfully labored. May the thought of his personality recede before the recognition of the LORD in His Divine Human, who is the One and only Priest, Ordainer, Organizer, and Sustainer of His Church, the New Jerusalem.
Separating from the Old Church
MEMBERS OF THE NEW JERUSALEM CHURCH, WHO
ASSEMBLE IN GREAT EAST-CHEAP, LONDON.
IN ANSWER TO A LETTER RECEIVED
FROM CERTAIN PERSONS IN MANCHESTER, WHO PROFESS TO BELIEVE IN THEE HEAVENLY DOCTRINES OF THE NEW JERUSALEM CHURCH, AS CONTAINED IN THE THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS OF THE LATE HON. EMANUEL SWEDENBORG, AND YET REMAIN IN THE EXTERNAL FORMS OF DOCTRINE AND WORSHIP NOW IN USE IN THE OLD CHURCH, NOTWITHSTANDING THEIR DIRECT OPPOSITION TO THE HEAVENLY DOCTRINES OF THE NEW CHURCH. TO WHICH ARE ADDED SUNDRY PASSAGES FROM B. SWEDENBORG, ON WHICH THE EXPEDIENCY, AND EVEN NECESSITY, OF A COMPLETE SEPARATION FROM THE FORMER CHURCH IS FOUNDED.
PRINTED BY R. HINDMARSH,
PRINTER TO HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE OF WALES,
NO 32 CLERKENWELL-CLOSE,
Now it is allowable to enter intellectually into the mysteries of the WORD, which hath heretofore been closed up; for all the truths contained therein are so many mirrors of the LORD (T. C. R., n. 508).
REASONS FOR SEPARATING FROM THE OLD CHURCH.
We received your friendly epistle of the 14th of November, 1787, and after mature deliberation on the contents thereof, we think it necessary to deliver our sentiments, as follow:
It appears to be written in a spirit of Charity, and accordingly we receive it as expressive of your best wishes toward us and the New Church at large. But in regard to that part of it where you advise us not to separate from the present established forms of worship in the Old Church, as no argument is advanced from the Holy WORD, or from the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, which to us are dearer than every other consideration on earth, we dare not comply with any requisition of man that in our judgment would tend to crush the LORD'S work in His infant New Church. It appears to us, from the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, that the Faith of the Old Church is diametrically opposite to that of the New Church, and consequently that they cannot remain together in the same house, much less in the same mind, without the most dangerous consequences to man's spiritual life.
With respect to the universality of the Divine Mercy, which you seem to consider a sufficient ground and reason for not separating from the Old Church, inasmuch as the LORD accepted the sincere worship of all men, however imperfect their forms, we conceive this might as well have been applied to the primitive Christian Church, when separating from the Jewish, and with much greater propriety to the Reformed or Protestant Churches, when they withdrew from the Roman Catholics, than to us in the present case; for the consideration of the LORD'S mercy being extended to Pagans and Idolaters, and even to the wicked, doth not seem to us to be a sufficient reason for continuing either in idolatry or wickedness, when the means of reformation are in our power. If the LORD accepted the sincere worship of all men, notwithstanding the imperfection of their forms, surely we may hope that His mercy will be extended to us even in our new form, while we worship Him alone in sincerity and truth. And if so, even upon your own principles of universality, we beg leave to ask wherein consisteth the evil or danger of separating from the forms of the Old Church?
By a separation we by no means wish to circumscribe the limits of the LORD'S universal mercy, much less to confine it to ourselves, or to the forms which we have adopted for present use, as may appear from the address to the reader prefixed to our Liturgy, to which we refer you for our sentiments on this head. Nay, so sensible are we of the universality of the Divine mercy that we believe it is perpetually extended even to the infernal spirits, in preventing them from falling into deeper hells; the LORD from His Divine Love being ever desirous of elevating all into Heaven; but this is impossible, by reason of their acquired evil, which they have confirmed to such a degree that it cannot be removed or extirpated to all eternity (H. and H., n. 521 to 527).
You will be pleased to observe that the friends in London by no means wish to confine the New Church to any forms which they may think most suitable for themselves; for we know that all perfections consists in variety (A. C. 1285; H. and H., n. 51 to 58). There will, therefore, be many varieties of worship in the New Church; but all these varieties will harmonize by the acknowledgment and profession of one God in the Divine Human Person of the LORD JESUS CHRIST. This is the universal that must enter into every particular and singular, as the very life and soul thereof; and this will unite all the members of the New Church, howsoever different their modes of worship may be. But it is plain to see that this cannot extend to the forms in use in the Old Church, for the universal that prevails therein, particularly in respect to its doctrine concerning God, the person of Christ, Charity, Repentance, Freewill, Election, the use of the Sacraments of Baptism and the LORD'S Supper, and in every other the most minute singular, is a trinity Of Gods (see T. C. R. n. 177); and this trinity of Gods as naturally begets the pernicious doctrine of justification by Faith alone, as the acknowledgment of one God in the Divine Humanity in the LORD JESUS CHRIST produces a life according to His Commandments.
We trust, therefore, our dear brethren of Manchester will not impute to us a sectarian spirit, when we profess and endeavor (through Divine assistance) to maintain Charity toward all mankind, and declare that we have nothing in view but the worship of the true God, and the advancement of His New Church, both in Doctrine and in Life.
In separating from the Old Church, and in framing a Liturgy agreeable to our perceptions of the Heavenly Truths of the New, we conceive we are only exercising that liberty of conscience which the LORD in His Divine Providence has been pleased so peculiarly to favor us with, and which as members of the New Church, and subjects of a free land, we have a most undoubted right to. Indeed, the propriety, and even necessity of this measure appears the more striking, when we consider that all the present forms of worship in use in the Old Church are calculated to implant in the mind a divided idea of the one God, and to lead from the true object of worship, which is JESUS CHRIST, to an imaginary God of a superior order, who is on all occasions to be addressed for the slake of the merits and sufferings of His Son.
We consider it, therefore, as a duty incumbent upon us to forsake whatsoever is calculated to oppose and obstruct the free reception of Good and Truth from the LORD; and howsoever trivial it may appear to some, whether we use or reject the forms of the Old Church, yet we are firmly persuaded (by certain experience) of the truth of Emanuel Swedenborg's assertion (speaking of the forms of prayer now in use) that whatever is implanted in the memory in a person's younger years becomes the subject of all his future thoughts (T. C. R., n. 173).
The danger resulting from such erroneous sentiments to the rising generation is too evident to escape notice, but rather awakens us to a sense of the duty we owe to our families and offspring, in guarding them, as much as possible, against receiving and being confirmed in principles that cannot fail hereafter to prove highly prejudicial to their eternal life. (See T. C. R., n. 23.)
But it is not our design to point out to you all the sad consequences of the faith of the Old Church, as no doubt you must be well acquainted with them already from the Works of our Author. Suffice it to observe that we consider them as sufficient reasons for withdrawing from the former Church. And we hope and trust that our dear brethren of Manchester and elsewhere will also, in due time, see the importance and necessity of relinquishing, both internally and externally, those destructive forms of faith and worship which have already been the means of vastating and consummating the Old Church, and which, if persevered in, will doubtless threaten the most dangerous consequences to the New.
You, as well as we, believe there is only One God in One Person, and that the LORD and Saviour JESUS CHRIST is He.
As a Church has lately been opened in London, wherein the LORD JESUS CHRIST alone is worshiped, and the Doctrines of the New Jerusalem are avowedly preached, we can from some experience declare that we think your fears about a separation from the Old Church were entirely groundless. Many persons have already by that means been brought to the knowledge of the Truth; and we have a good hope, from present appearances, that the efforts of those concerned therein will, through Divine mercy, in the end be crowned with the desired success.
Sensible of our own weakness and infirmities, and how much we stand in need of the Divine assistance, it is the sincere prayer of our hearts that we may be preserved in the Truth of the Holy Word, and in the genuine spirit of charity toward all mankind.
We do not wish to lay a stress on any reasoning derived from man's propriety or self-intelligence, but simply to receive the truth as the LORD has been pleased to manifest it by means of his servant Emanuel Swedenborg. And where we cannot all agree in sentiment or opinion on any particular points, we trust we shall ever be united in the bonds of mutual love and charity.
We think it proper, at the close of this letter, to point out to you some of those passages in the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, on which we ground the necessity of a separation from the Old Church, and which appear to us of sufficient weight to authorize our conduct. The application of the same passages, however, to your own breasts, we shall leave entirely to yourselves. We do not wish to urge the example of our separation as a just reason for yours; being well persuaded that every man must judge and act for himself, particularly in matters of such importance as have respect to his conscience.
This is our ardent prayer for you, for ourselves, and for all others who desire to worship the LORD in spirit and in truth.
GREAT EAST-CHEAP, LONDON,
Dec. 7, 1788.
John Augustus Tulk,
George William Wright,
C. B. Wadstrom,
J. R. Needham,
Henry Servante, Jun.,
Some passages from Emanuel Swedenborg, whereon the expediency, and even necessity, of a complete separation from the Old Church is founded.
That all prayers directed to a Trinity of Persons are henceforth not attended to, but rejected in Heaven as ill-scented odours (T. C. R., n. 108).
That there is nothing spiritual remaining in the Old Church, but that it is full of blasphemy against the LORD (T. C. R., n. 132, 133; A. R., n. 692, 715).
That no one in Heaven can pronounce such an expression as a Trinity of Persons, each whereof singly is God; that the heavenly atmosphere is in opposition to such an expression, and consequently that men on earth ought likewise to be in opposition to it (T. C. R., n. 173).
That the confession of a Trinity of Persons is a tree in man, which ought not only to be cut down, but also to be extirpated by the very roots (T. C. R., n. 173.)
That the variance of the heart and the mouth in relation to three persons naturally leads to the denial of a God (T. C. R., n. 173).
That whosoever assents to the Athanasian Creed assents to the existence of three Gods (T. C. R., n. 172, 173).
That the Christian Church is at this day entirely overturned (T. C. R., n. 177).
That a trinity of Gods pervades the whole and every particular of the Doctrine and Worship in the Old Church, even the sacraments of Baptism and the LORD'S Supper; and although this may not actually appear therein, yet that is the true fountain from whence they all flow (T. C. R., n. 177).
That it is highly expedient that men's eyes should be opened to see that it is actually the case (T. C. R., n. 177).
That a faith in a trinity of persons playeth the harlot with every truth of the WORD (T. C. R., n. 177).
That this faith in three Gods hath extinguished the light of the WORD, and turned it into mere darkness (T. C. R., n. 177).
That the LORD is departed from the Old Church (T. C. R., n. 17 7).
That all who abide by the faith of the Old Church do not enter by the door into the sheep-fold, but climb up some other way (T. C. R., n. 177).
That the faith of the Old Church, inasmuch as it is directed to three Gods, is a faith in nature as God, and consequently in no God (T. C. R., n. 178).
That there is not a single truth remaining in the Old Church which is not falsified, and brought to its consummation; and that this is signified by the abomination of desolation spoken of by the Prophet Daniel (T. C. R., n. 176, 177, 180, 758).
That so long as men adhere to and are influenced by the faith of the Old Church, so long the New Heaven cannot descend to them, and consequently the New Church cannot be established among them (T. C. R., n. 182).
That the faith of the Old Church is the dragon which obstructs and prevents the reception of Divine Truth from the LORD (T. C. R., n. 182).
That by the faith of the Old Church no flesh can be saved (T. C. R., n. 182).
That the most absurd, ludicrous, and frivolous ideas concerning three Divine persons existing from eternity arise in the mind of every one who continueth in a belief of the words of the Athanasian and Nicene Creeds (T. C. R., n. 18 3).
That such a faith is founded on a delirium of the mind and a spiritual insanity (T. C. R., n. 183).
That Swedenborg publicly opposed the Bishop and other dignitaries of the Old Church in regard to their faith in three persons, and confuted them to their faces (T. C. R., n. 16, 112; A. R., n. 716).
That the faith of the Old Church originates in principles of adultery; for where there are three Divine persons, or three Lords in the Church, it is either like a woman who plays the harlot, or like a woman who is married to one husband, who yet hireth herself out to others; and whilst she spends the night in their embraces, calleth each of them by turns her husband (T. C. R., n. 380).
That the angels cannot utter such an expression as three equal Divinities, and should any one approach them with an intent to utter it he would be forced to turn his face away from them; and when he had given it utterance, he would become like a human log, and would be cast out to take his place in hell with those diabolic spirits who acknowledge no God (T. C. R., n. 23).
N. B.-We conceive that a solemn rehearsal of the Athanasian Creed, and the other forms of worship in the Old Church, is an attempt to approach the angels with a design of uttering the expression of three equal Divinities; and therefore we dare not put it into execution.
That to implant in children and young people the idea of three Divine persons, to which is unavoidedly annexed the idea of three Gods, is to deprive them of all spiritual milk, and afterward of all spiritual meat, and, lastly, of all spiritual rationality, the consequence whereof is spiritual death to all those who confirm themselves in such an opinion (T. C. R., n. 23).
That external forms of worship, agreeable to the Doctrines of the New Church, are necessary in order that the members of the New Church may worship God in one person, according to the dictates of their own consciences, and that their acknowledgment of the LORD may, by descending into the ultimates, be confirmed, and thus their external man act in unity with their internal (A. C., n. 1083; A. R., n. 533, 707; T. C. R., n. 23,177, 508).
That wheresoever there is a Church there must of necessity be both an external and an internal (A. C., n. 1083).
That unless there were external worship, the nature and qualities of what is holy would remain unknown (A. C., n. 1083).
That as at the destruction of the Most Ancient, the Ancient, and the Jewish Churches, a new Church was always established amongst those who were separate from the former; so will the New Jerusalem Church be established among those who are separate from the Old Christian Church, because it cannot be established among those who are within it (A. C. 2986, 4747, 9256).
That the Old Church hath shut up Heaven against itself (A. C. 9256).
That the Church is at this day transferred from the Christians to the Gentiles (A. C., n. 9256).
That the Old Church is rejected, and the New Church adopted (A. C., n. 4331, 4333, 4334, 4422, 4638).
That the internals and the externals of the Old Church shall perish; and that this is what is meant in the Word by heaven and earth passing away (A. C, n. 4231).
That the LORD is departed from the Old Church, and come to the New (A. C., n. 4535).
That there are three dangerous and baseful spheres propagated by efflux from modern Christendom, or the Old Church; the first, which exhale from the learned part of the clergy and laity, and takes away all belief in the Divinity of the LORD'S Humanity, in consequence of introducing the idea of three Gods. The second sphere is concerning faith, which causeth darkness in the understanding, and, joined with the former sphere, introduceth a kind of lethargy concerning One God, concerning regeneration, and the means of salvation. The third sphere is concerning the conjunction of faith and charity, which is so strong that it cannot be resisted, but is at this day abominable, infesting as with a plague whomsoever it toucheth, and breaking all connection between those two means of salvation established from the creation of the world.
The spheres of spiritual truths are as yet few, being only in the New Heaven and with those under Heaven, who are separate from the spirits of the dragon (T. C. R. 619).
That if infernal spirits are near persons while engaged in Divine worship they infest them with their sphere, and excite a perception of horror (A. C. 7454).
That men are exhorted to beware of the Doctrines of the Old Church (A. C. 3900).
That no credit is to be given to what the teachers of the Old Church say, either about truth or goodness (A. C. 8900).
That the Old Church is a dead carcass or corpse, and that reasonings in favor of the Old Church are what are signified in Math. xxiv, 28, by the eagles being gathered together about the carcass (A. C. 3900).
That men must flee from and shun the Old Church (A. R. 707).
That there can be no conjunction between Heaven and the Old Church, and therefore there is an absolute necessity that New Church be formed distinct from the Old in order that the new angelic Heaven may have a foundation to rest upon in this natural world (A. R., n. 533).
He who continues in the use of the Forms of Prayer in the Old Church, howsoever he may make three persons to be one God, yet actually divides his idea into three Gods when he so prays (A. R. 537).
That they who adhere to these words of the Athanasian Creed: "There is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost;" and also to these words: "The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God," cannot make one God of three persons. They, indeed, say that they are one God, but they cannot think so (A. R. 537; A. C. 4766).
That the doctrines of the Reformed or Protestant Churches in the spiritual world are represented by a dragon (A. R. 537).
That man is only so far regenerated as his external is reduced to a conformity with his internal, the reason of which is, because previous to this, the internal is only in the cause and not in the effect; and if the cause does not descend into the effect, it becomes dilapidated and perishes. [Consequently it is not sufficient merely to believe with the heart that there is only one God in One Person; but it is also necessary that we acknowledge and confess the same with our mouth] (A. R. 510).
That the falses of the former Church must first of all be removed before the truths of the New Church can be received and implanted; or, in case they are received, they do not abide in the mind, but are extracted by the spirits of the dragon (A. R. 547, 700).
That a wise man will reject from his memory such an unintelligible and vain expression as the following, viz.: That God exists in three persons (A. R. 564).
That the faith which prevails at this day contains nothing of the Church; that it is not anything; but only an idea or shadow of something, and, therefore, it is deservedly to be rejected; yea, it rejects itself as a thing that bears no relation to a Church (B. E. 96).
That unless the false doctrines and reasonings of the Old Church are detected and explored, any person unquainted therewith, although in other respects sufficiently intelligent, might easily be seduced (A. R. 700).
That before any person can be introduced into the New Church, the falses of the Old Church must necessarily be removed (A. R. 700).
That the LORD JESUS CHRIST must be worshiped in the New Church as He is in Heaven; consequently, that as in Heaven the Angels worship the LORD alone making profession of Him in one person, and cannot utter such a thing as three divine persons; so likewise the members of the New Church on earth must make open profession of the LORD JESUS CHRIST alone in one person (A. R. 839, 914, 921, 924; T. C. R. 25, 113).
That all falses must be destroyed by the truths of the Word, less the doctrine of the New Church reach anything but the truth (A. R. 707).
That the Old Church is spiritual Sodom and Egypt, where our LORD was crucified (A. R. 502-504; T. C. R. 634, 635).
That the faith and imputation of the New Church cannot abide together with the faith and imputation of the Old Church; and in case they abide together, such a collision and conflict will ensue as will prove fatal to everything that relates to the Church with man (T. C. R. 647-649; B. E. 106).
That whosoever embraces the faith of the New Church, and still retains the faith of the former Church, is like a person extricating himself from five horns of the dragon and becoming entangled in five other horns; or escaping a wolf and falling into the clutches of a tiger; or like being raised out of a well in which there was no water and falling into a well full of water, and being drowned (T. C. R. 649; B. E. 104).
That the Doctrines of the Old and New Church do not agree together - no, not in one single point or instance no matter how minute (B. E. 96; T. G. R. 648).
That the faith of the Old Church in consequence of excluding all light from reason, may be likened to an owl; but the faith of the New Church may be likened to a Dove; wherefore all their conjunction in one mind would be like the conjunction of an owl and a Dove in one nest, where each would lay its eggs, and after setting would hatch their young, and then the owl would tear in pieces the young of the Dove, and give them to her own young for food, for the owl is a bird of prey (B. E. 103; T. C. R. 648).
That the New Church will be established distinct from the Old, the latter remaining in its external worship, just as the Jews did in theirs; although there is nothing of charity and faith - that is of the Church - among them (A. C. 1850).
That, although Swedenborg was charged with inverting and disturbing the worship which hath been for many ages established in the Christian world by the publication of his "Brief Exposition of the Doctrines of the New Church," which the clergy of the Old Church call the apple of contention; yet he considered it to be his duty to maintain his ground against all opposition and openly declare the truth (T. C. R. 112).
That it is agreeable to order, and by the Divine Providence of the LORD that the New Church should at first take place among a few, and successively and gradually be enlarged (A. R. 547).
To JESUS CHRIST be glory and dominion for ever and ever. For He is Jehovah of Hosts, and in Him alone dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
PRINCIPLES OF ECCLESIASTICAL GOVERNMENT.
(Extracted from the Minutes of the General Conference of the New Church, held in London, April 9th-13th, 1792.)
"A CONVERSATION having taken place on the subject of Ecclesiastical and Civil Government, Mr. R. Hindmarsh observed that he thought it a duty incumbent on the members of the New Church, at the present critical moment, when the principles of infidelity and democracy were spreading abroad in the world, and threatening the peace of the nation in particular, to stand forward and declare their sentiments, in order, as far as lies in their power, to check the said principles of infidelity and democracy, to promote the interests of the true Christian Religion, and to give satisfactory information to all persons inquiring into the real nature and tendency of the New Jerusalem Doctrine. He then produced and read a Declaration, which was to the following effect:
We the undersigned Ministers and other Members of the New Jerusalem, observing with serious concern the present alarming progress of infidelity and democracy in this country, systems which ascribe to the people at large the right and power not only to decide upon every question relative to Civil and Ecclesiastical Government, but also to appoint and remove, at pleasure, their Governors and Teachers; and thinking it a duty incumbent upon us, in order to prevent any misapprehension of the real and genuine Doctrines of the New Jerusalem on the above subjects, at this time to declare our sentiments of the same, as derived from the Word of God, and inculcated by the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, do hereby, in the most solemn and deliberate manner, declare our disapprobation of the aforesaid Republican or Democratic Principles, which we believe to be hostile to the peace of society, and therefore object against for the following reasons:
1. Because we believe and acknowledge that all power is derived from the LORD alone.
2. Because we believe that all Ecclesiastical Power and Authority is delegated by the LORD to those whom He has been pleased to appoint to the Office of the Ministry, as representatives of Himself in respect to the administration of Divine Good and Truth in the Church.
3. Because we believe that all Civil Power and Authority is delegated by the LORD to those whom He has been pleased to appoint to the Kingly Office as representatives of Himself in respect to the administration of Divine Truth and Good in the State.
4. Because we believe, that those Ministers whom the LORD has appointed to the Office of the Ministry, and those Kings or Governors whom He has appointed for the government of Nations, are the proper mediums or channels by and through which the LORD appoints other Ministers and Kings or Governors.
5. Because we believe, that as all Kings and Ministers, in respect to their Office, represent the LORD and not the People, therefore they ought to be appointed by the LORD whom they do represent and not by the People whom they do not represent.
6. Because we believe that every Society is or ought to be in a human form; and that every individual occupies a certain province in that form, according to the uses which the LORD has qualified him to perform, and not according to any election of the people.
7. Because we believe that they who excel in celestial love and wisdom constitute the head; that they who excel in spiritual love and wisdom constitute the breast and body; and that they who are principled in natural love and wisdom constitute the legs and the feet: And further, that the celestial principle produces the spiritual, and governs it; and that both these in union produce the natural and govern it: Whereas it appears to us that the bulk of the people are principled in natural love and wisdom, and therefore ought to submit themselves to be governed by those who from their office and habits of life are supposed to excel them in the reception of superior degrees of love and wisdom from the LORD.
8. Because all influx is from the head of the members, from the internal to the external, from the soul to the body, from spirit to matter, and not vice versa; which nevertheless appears to us to be implied in ascribing to the bulk of the people at large the right and power of deciding upon every question of a civil and ecclesiastical nature.
9. Because it appears to us that throughout the Holy Scriptures all true Prophets, Priests, and Kings were appointed by the LORD alone, and not by the People, who in many cases opposed the Divine Will, not only in majorities, but with one voice and consent.
10. Because we believe that the appointment to all offices in Church and State, and the determination of all questions by the popular voice, is so much like the atheistical doctrine that the centre is produced from the expanse, which is expressly condemned by Emanuel Swedenborg (True Christian Religion, n. 35), that, as members of the New Jerusalem, we are bound in conscience to express our disapprobation of such a false and dangerous principle.
11. Because it appears to us that by the People electing persons to fill the Office of the Ministry, is implied, though indirectly or remotely, that they are the authors of their own salvation:
12. Because we believe, that the persons who are in ignorance and need instruction in Divine things, as the bulk of the people confessedly are in consequence of their attention being principally engaged in worldly affairs, cannot be supposed qualified to judge of the necessary qualifications of a teacher. We admit, indeed, they may know whether a Minister pleases them or not; but we do not apprehend that pleasure in the hearer is the proper criterion whereby to judge of the ministerial function; for this may be effected by an appeal to the will and its passions rather than to the understanding; whereas all instruction ought to be directed to the understanding, because there reformation commences, and the new will is to be formed.
13. Because we believe that as a Minister is a shepherd or pastor, and the people the sheep or flock; and as the sheep are entrusted to the care of the shepherd, by the LORD, who is their Owner; it is an absurdity to say that the sheep have the right or power of choosing and dismissing their shepherd, and yet entrust themselves to his care and protection; for if they had the power of displacing him, it is plain they would be stronger than him; and if they are stronger than him, what occasion can they have for his protection? The right and power of protection against the wolf would in such case be in the sheep themselves, and not in the shepherd. But sheep, as such, are helpless; and the shepherd, as a man, is able to protect them: consequently the shepherd has more power and authority than the sheep, neither does he receive his power and authority from the sheep, but rather communicates his power and protection to the sheep.
14. Because we believe that it is agreeable to Divine Order and to the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg that there should be a distinction of ranks among mankind: whereas the doctrines of republicanism now circulating in the country at large seem to confound all ranks, and to place all men on a level, which we consider to be hostile to the peace and welfare of society, both in a religious and civil point of view.
15. Because we believe that however true it may be in some respects, that human nature is alike in all, yet all men have not equal rights, because all men are not equal in their degrees of reception of love and wisdom from the LORD. The head has an exclusive right to govern the body, and this right is a Divine right, because it is derived from the LORD through heaven, which is above the head, and not from the body which is beneath it, and subject to it. To say that all men have equal rights is to say that a society of men is not arranged according to the human form; or that all constitute the head, in which case there would be no trunk, no arms, no feet. But the truth is, some men by nature, or rather by Divine Providence and appointment, constitute the head, some the neck, some the breast, some the back, some the arms, some the legs, and some the feet. The uses which every one is qualified to perform to and for the whole determine the respective situation of each. And if the whole man be in order, the head will arrange every member according to wisdom, the members will voluntarily and freely subordinate themselves under the head, and thus the happiness of the whole will be ensured.
LONDON, April 12th, 1792=36."
The Priesthood of the New Church
A CHRONOLOGICAL LIST
CARL TH. ODHNER.
THE PRIESTHOOD OF THE NEW CHURCH IN GREAT BRITAIN. 1788-1888.
1. Robert Hindmarsh. (1788-1834.) Born 1759. "Ordained by the Divine Auspices of the LORD," June 1st, 1788. Minister at Salford, 1812-1824. Ordination recognized by the General Conference, 1818. President of Conference, 1815, 1818-1822, 1827, 1831, 1833. Removed to the spiritual world January 2d, 1835.
2. James Hindmarsh. (1788-1812.) Born 1731. Ordained by Robert Hindmarsh, June 1st, 1788. Minister of the Society in Great East Cheap, London, 1788-1794. President of the General Conference, 1793. Died at Keighley, Yorkshire, August 18th, 1812.
3. Samuel Smith. (1788-1790.) Ordained by Robert Hindmarsh, June 1st, 1788. Mentioned the last time in 1790.
4. Joseph Wright. (1790-1811.) Ordained by James Hindmarsh, April 7th, 1790. Minister at Keighley, 1790-1809. Died in 1811.
5. Manoah Sibly. (1790-1840.) Born 1757. Preacher to the Great East Cheap Society in 1788. Ordained by James Hindmarsh, April 7th, 1790. Pastor of the Society in Store Street, London, 1792, and of the same Society, in Cross Street, 1793-1800; in Cateaton Street, 1801, and in Friar Street, 1803-1840.
BY THE SAME AUTHOR
A BRIEF ACCOUNT
LIFE AND WORK OF EMANUEL SWEDENBORG
WITH A SKETCH OF HIS PERSONALITY
WITH A PORTRAIT OF SWEDENBORG, TAKEN FROM AN ORIGINAL PAINTING
41 pages, 5 x 7 inches.
Paper, 15 cents. Cloth 25 cents.
"It is well adapted for use in classes and Sunday schools." "With an excellent portrait."-New Church Review.
"A very entertaining part of the work is 'a visit to Emanuel Swedenborg'; which reveals the public, social, and domestic life of the seer, and closes the work, which is a very handy book."-New Church Pacific.
"We do not recall meeting anywhere so succinct and comprehensive an arrangement of the facts of Swedenborg's life as are here collected. We commend it to those who desire such a volume."-New Church Messenger.
"Several accounts of the 'Life and Work' of Emanuel Swedenborg have appeared in the past; but in none of them-so far as we know-have the important events and facts of the 'Life and Work' of the Instrument of the LORD'S Second Coming been set forth so clearly and satisfactorily as in the one recently published."-New Church Standard.
Academy Book Room.
Academy Church Music. This consists principally of the Psalms, with the internal sense, and a few other parts of WORD newly translated, to which music has been set by Mr. C. J. Whittington. Ten parts now ready. List and price of what has been published sent on application.
Benade, Rev. W. H. Conversations on Education. Cloth, 75 cents; postage, 7 cents.
Burnham, Rev. N. C. Discrete degrees in successive and simultaneous order. Cloth, $4.00; postage, 16 cents.
Consists of two parts. The first part treats of the growth and development of the degrees in man, from birth to adult life and during regeneration. The second part treats of the degrees in the LORD, their assumption and glorification. The whole illustrated by forty colored diagrams.
Lessons in Anatomy for Children of the New Church, in four parts. 1. The Eye. 11. The Ear and Nose. 111. The Tongue. IV. The Skin. Price, each part, 25 cents; postage, 3 cents.
These Lessons have been prepared in accordance with the teachings from the Heavenly Doctrines.
New Church Life. A monthly journal of 16 pages. Subscription price, $1.00 per annum, payable in advance.
Words for the New Church. Thirteen parts. Each part for sale separately. Price, 25 cents. Also bound in two volumes, $3.00.
Volume I contains: The Advent of the LORD, State of the Christian World, The New Church, Science and Philosophy in the New Church.
Volume II contains: The Conflict of the Ages.
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