At the Third General Assembly of the General Church of the New Jerusalem, held in Berlin (now Kitchener), Ontario, Canada, on June 30th, 1899, Bishop W. F. Pendleton delivered an address entitled The Principles of the Academy which was published as a pamphlet in 1909.

The body known as The Academy of the New Church had been organized in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on June 19th, 1876, for the purpose of propagating certain principles based on the theological writings of Emanuel Swedenborg. Although these principles were not generally recognized by the existing bodies of the New Church, they were seen by those who formed the Academy to be indispensable to the permanent establishment of the church. That they might become more widely known they were set forth at length in a serial publication called Words for the New Church, in New Church Life, a monthly magazine, and by other means that gained for them an increasing number of adherents, who were members of the General Church of Pennsylvania and its successor, the General Church of the Advent of the Lord.

The Academy was incorporated in the year 1877 for the purpose of propagating the Heavenly Doctrines of the New Jerusalem and establishing the New Church signified in the Apocalypse by the New Jerusalem, promoting education in all its various forms, educating young men for the ministry, publishing books, pamphlets and other printed matter, and establishing a library. At that time it was a reform movement within the body known as The General Convention of the New Jerusalem; but in 1890 it became a separate and independent body of the New Church, with its own priesthood and government, its own theological school, and a steadily developing system of New Church education for all grades.

In 1897, however, both the General Church of the Advent and the Academy as an ecclesiastical body were dissolved, and they were succeeded by The General Church of the New Jerusalem. The change was not a matter of substance, but merely of form and governmental policy. The new body espoused all the principles on which the Academy had been founded, and while the Academy ceased to be a church it remained as an educational institution, and by mutual agreement became the educational arm of the General Church.

The distinctive principles of the Academy had been widely discussed and expounded in the publications of the Academy, but they never had been gathered together and formulated in brief. This is what Bishop W. F. Pendleton did in his address to the Berlin Assembly, and his formulation met with unanimous acceptance by the members of the General Church. It still reflects the doctrinal position of that body, although it has been restated in a somewhat different form from time to time. It should be clearly understood, however, that at no time was there any intention of setting forth these principles as a dogmatic statement of faith, binding upon the conscience of the church. They always have been regarded as an expression of opinion generally held at the time, but open to modification as the church may progress in the understanding of the Heavenly Doctrine. In the General Church the Writings themselves are acknowledged as the only final authority in matters of religious faith. Indeed, this acknowledgment is what gave rise to the Academy movement, and it was because they were seen to be in accord with the plain teaching of the Writings that the principles of the Academy were accepted.

It is important that these principles be known and kept in mind by those who are responsible for making informative statements of the doctrinal beliefs of the church in the future; and it is with this in view that Bishop Pendletons address is being republished at this time.

Bishop of the General Church of the New Jerusalem
May 1, 1958




The body which is known under the name of The General Church of the New Jerusalem is founded upon the principles of the Academy of the New Church, and is an outgrowth of the Academy movement. It would seem useful and important, therefore, to set before the members of the church, at this time, a brief general statement of the doctrine and faith of the Academy. This doctrine and faith is substantially as follows:

1. The Lord has made His second coming in the Writings of the New Church, revealing Himself therein, in His own Divine Human, as the only God of heaven and earth. In those Writings, therefore, is contained the very essential Word, which is the Lord. From them the Lord speaks to His church, and the church acknowledges no other authority and no other law.

2. The old or former Christian Church is consummated and dead, with no hope of a resurrection; nor can there be a genuine church except with those who separate themselves from it and come to the Lord in His New Church. The New Church is to be distinct from the old, in faith and practice, in form and organization, in religious and social life.

3. The priesthood is the appointed means for the establishment of the church; it is not to be placed under external bond in the exercise of its function in the church.

4. Baptism is the door of introduction into the New Church on earth, and establishes consociation with those in the other world who are in the faith of the church.

5. The Holy Supper is the most holy act of the worship of the church; and the wine of the Holy Supper is the pure, fermented juice of the grape.

6. The marriage of conjugial love is between those who are of one mind, in the true faith and the true religion. A marriage of one in the faith of the church with one in a false faith, or in no faith, is heinous in the sight of heaven.

7. Any interference on the part of man with the law of offspring in marriage is an abomination.

8. The laws in the latter part of the work Conjugial Love, extending from no. 444 to 476, inclusive, are laws of order, given for the preservation of the conjugial.

9. The doctrine of the New Church is revealed from God out of the inmost heaven; the doctrine is, therefore, in itself a celestial doctrine, and the New Church in itself a celestial church, but the doctrine is accommodated to every state of reception from first to last, and the church consists of all who receive, from the wise even to the simple. Celestial perception is the perception of the truth that is within doctrine; there is no perception outside of doctrine.

10. Unanimity is a law inscribed upon the life of heaven, and ought to be inscribed upon the life of the church. Important action should not be taken without essential unanimity. A doubt gives occasion for delay, that there may be further time for consideration and reflection, in order to reach a common understanding.

11. A law is a use taking form, and uses are indicated by needs. Legislation is the giving of a proper form to present needs and uses; legislation other than this is unnecessary and hurtful.

12. The most fruitful field of evangelization is with the children of New Church parents. In order to occupy this fruitful field of work New Church schools are needed, that children may be kept in the sphere and environment of the church until they are able to think and act for themselves.

This exhibits in a general view the principles of the Academy, principles drawn from the Heavenly Doctrine and adapted to the needs of the church. But let us examine each a little more fully.

1. That the Divine Human of the Lord appears in the Writings--that the Writings are the Divine Human appearing to the New Church--has not been seen, or has been in doubt, or has been denied in the church at large, from the beginning to the present time: no body or organization of the church has acknowledged it, outside of the Academy sphere; and but few individuals have seen or admitted its truth. This fact in the history of the church gave the Academy a reason for existence, independent of other bodies of the church.

It is chief among the doctrines of the church that the Human of the Lord is Divine: and its first and chief application in the church is, that this Divine Human appears as Divine doctrine, in the Revelation made to the New Church. This Divine doctrine in the Writings is the Lord Himself appearing, and is what is meant by the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. The idea of the Lord in His second coming is that which consociates the church with heaven, and conjoins it with the Lord; but the idea must be a true idea, the Lord must be seen where He is, where He appears, where He manifests Himself, that is to say, He must be seen in His Word, as laid open by Himself in the Heavenly Doctrine of the New Jerusalem. In that doctrine man enters interiorly into the Word, and sees the Lord in His second coming. If the Lord be not seen in the Writings, man only is seen in them, human intelligence is loved and worshiped, and heaven is closed.

2. The New Church must be distinct and separate from the old, because they are distinct and separate in the world of spirits. For it is a law that the New Church in the natural world and the New Church in the world of spirits must be as one. It is necessary for the New Church in the natural world to see the Lord in His coming, to cast out from itself the falsities of the Old Church, to separate itself from the Old Church spirit and the Old Church life. Then will the church in the two worlds be united, the men of the New Church and the spirits of the New Church will dwell together as brethren, and both as one be taught and led by the Lord.

3. The priesthood is the instrumentality employed by the Lord for the establishment of the church. It is according to the appearance that priests are appointed and chosen by men, and this appearance is necessary for the sake of freedom and co-operation, and we may speak and act according to the appearance. But the real essential truth is that they are appointed by the Lord, chosen by Him, taught by Him, prepared by Him for the use of their office. No external bond is, therefore, to be placed upon the exercise of the priestly function, except where disorder or disturbance arises. The same law extends throughout the church, and to all its functions and functionaries.

4. Baptism is the gate of entrance into the New Church, appointed by the Lord Himself. By baptism a man becomes a member of the New Church in both worlds. Those only who have been baptized into the faith of the New Church should be considered as eligible to membership in the general bodies of the church.

5. The Holy Supper is the most holy act of worship, and is purely representative. Since it has been openly asserted and taught that the wine of the Holy Supper is not the fermented juice of the grape, it became necessary for the Academy to take a firm stand in favor of the administration of the genuine wine of the Holy Supper--the wine that is taught in Scripture, confirmed in history, approved by reason and common sense.

6. Marriage in the church is essential to the conjugial, and vital to the existence of the church; without it the church could not be established and preserved. For the conjugial life is the home life, and ii the church is not in the home it is not anywhere. The conjugial in the home is the pillar upon which the church rests and by which it is supported; take away this pillar, and the edifice is in ruins. The conjugial in the home consists in the husband and wife thinking together in the things of religion, and from this in other things. If they do not so think together they are not together in the spiritual world, their spirits do not dwell together in the same society, and they are internally in collision and conflict.

7. This is the reason that such marriages are accounted in heaven as heinous. Marriage is the seminary of the human race; in it is fulfilled the end of the creation of the universe, which is the angelic heaven. Marriage is the means provided by the Lord that the end of creation may be brought into effect; that men may exist and be multiplied upon the earth and heaven be provided with angels; that what is created may be preserved and perpetuated. Anything that operates against the end of creation is a sin against God, against heaven, and against society upon the earth. Such a sin is the prevention of birth in marriage. It is furthermore a sin against the conjugial itself; it is thus an abomination that is to be removed from the church for its safety and preservation.

8. The work Conjugial Love is a Divine revelation, given for the use of the New Church. All the truths ill this work, from be ginning to end, whether concerning marriage, its opposite, or the things intermediate, are laws of Divine wisdom, given of Divine mercy to heal and restore; to bring back and establish conjugial love, as the fundamental of the life of heaven in the church. To deny the Divinity of any part of the work Conjugial Love is a denial of the Lord Himself in His second coming.

9. It is necessary to have a true doctrine of the celestial church; first, for the sake of the light it casts upon the entire doctrine and life of the church; second, for the sake of a guard and protection against the various forms of a false celestialism that have from time to time appeared in the New Church. But any application of the doctrine of the celestial church to forms and organizations would be attended with danger to the church.

10. Unanimity, as a law of heaven, cannot be enforced; but where it exists it can be preserved. It is assumed that there is unanimity in that which is fundamental; it is the duty of those who lead to see that this unanimity be not violated, but that it be protected and fostered. A doubt may be considered as an indication of Providence that the time is not ripe for a given action; that there is need of further thought and reflection, in order to reach a more rational judgment. To look to unanimous action, and provide for it even by delay, does not mean that we are merely to substitute a unanimous vote for a majority vote in the decision of questions: if this were all, there would be but little gain. The weighty reasons for delay, looking to unanimity, are internal rather than external; these are in sum, that the habit may be formed in the body of thinking together from a common affection. This is a ruling principle in the choirs of heaven.

11. We cannot legislate concerning Divine revelation, any more than we can reason about it, whether it be true; nor is it wise to legislate on things that are contingent or remote. This principle, therefore, limits legislation to the consideration of present needs and uses, and the proper provision for them. The future and the things thereof belong to the Lord alone. It is a law of heaven that the work of man lies in that which is immediately before him.

12. From the beginning of the Academy movement it has been seen that an entire change in the policy of evangelization, or church extension, is necessary for the following reasons:

a. The teaching of Revelation that few adults of the consummated Christian Church will receive the Lord in His second coming, and enter interiorly into the doctrine and life of the New Church.

b. The experience of a hundred years, confirming the teaching of Revelation, making manifest the hopelessness of the expectation that many of the former church will turn to the Lord in His coming, and embrace the truth of Divine doctrine in understanding and heart.

c. The neglect in the organized New Church of the children born within its borders with the result that comparatively few of such children have remained in the church after reaching adult life.

d. It is the Lords Providence that children born of New Church parents should enter into the church in adult life; and it is reasonable to hope that this will take place, if the church co-operates with the Lord according to the revealed laws of order.

e. This most desirable result can be accomplished, provided that the Lord be acknowledged in His second coming; that the distinctiveness of the New Church and the death of the old, be seen; that there be marriage in the church, and the laws of order in marriage be observed; that the sphere of the church be in the home; that there be New Church day schools, and thus that the children be kept in the sphere of the church, in the home, in the school, and in their social life, until they reach adult age.

The Academy, therefore, decided to occupy this new field of evangelization, one which had been largely neglected; believing that from this source mainly the future members of the church will be provided; that it is the most fruitful field of the New Church for its increase in the Christian world; that by it will be provided in the future not only multiplication in numbers, but growth in quality, such as can come in no other way. It is the most fruitful field; it is the field which is nearest; it is with us in our very homes; let it also be with us daily in the sphere of a New Church school. This was the resolve of the Academy, a resolve that was put into practice with results that have justified our hopes, and are full of promise for the future. Let the church in the future, therefore, be faithful to the principles and practice of the church in the past.

We have now presented a general statement of the principles known as the principles of the Academy. These principles are one with the Divine doctrine, given by revelation to the New Church. They are largely applications of that doctrine to the life of the church, that the church may be armed to resist positive and actual dangers that threaten its existence; and that it may do positive and actual uses which have been neglected, but which are seen to be essential to the upbuilding of the church. The principles of the Academy, its faith and doctrine, are therefore essential and vital, and must be preserved and perpetuated.

It is clear, however, that what makes the church is not so much its doctrine as its spirit; for the essential of doctrine, the essential of faith, the essential of law, is the spirit that is in it; and while it may be said that doctrine makes the church, yet it is not the doctrine itself, but the spirit and life within it, that makes the church. It is so with the Academy. The most important principle of all, therefore, has not yet been stated, the principle that is within all, the truth that is within the doctrine of the Academy, the law that is within the law, which is the spirit of the law--this spirit of the Academy, the spirit of its doctrine and law, the spirit of its work from the beginning, is--the love of truth for its own sake. Whatever spirit other than this may have entered--however much individual men may have failed, even though some have stumbled and turned aside, and all have fallen short of the ideal--still, we may speak with a confident faith and say that this spirit, which is the spirit of truth, the spirit which makes the truth the all in all, was present in the initiament of the Academy, and gave character and quality to the teaching and work which followed; and we may speak with the same degree of confidence, that without this spirit, without this principle within the principles of the Academy, its confession of doctrine is a mere form, a mere letter, a mere body of faith without the life of faith.

The love of the truth for its own sake is the love of truth for the sake of the truth itself, and thus for the sake of the Lord, who is in the truth, and not for the sake of self and the world; a love that will lead a man to sacrifice himself for the sake of the truth, and not the truth for the sake of himself; a love that makes him willing to give up fame, reputation, gain, friends, even his own life, for the sake of the truth; that causes him to be regardless of consequences to himself, where it is necessary to uphold the standard of the truth. This is what is meant by the words of the Lord, He that findeth his life shall lose it, and he that loseth his life for My sake shall find it (Matt. 10:39).

If this love be in the church, and continue in it as its ruling principle, as its spirit and life, the church will have a spiritual internal from heaven, by which it will be enlightened and guided in the performance of its uses, and by which it will be protected from the spheres in which the spirit of the world rules; for no man will then come to it, or remain in it, who is not willing to sacrifice himself for the sake of the truth, who is not willing to die that the truth may live and prosper. Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.