Notes on This Issue       Editor       1987

Vol. CVII           January, 1987               No. 1
New Church Life

Rev. Donald L. Rose, Editor               Mr. Neil M. Buss, Business Manager


     Second-class Postage Paid at Bryn Athyn, PA      The sermon by Rev. Erik E. Sandstrom entitled "The Unity of God" was first preached in New Zealand at a time when New Church people there were deciding that they were ready to have a resident minister. As we go to press, Rev. Robin Childs is departing to take up work there with visits to Australia.
     This month we have the 299th birthday of Emanuel Swedenborg. We expect in the months ahead to have more material relating to Swedenborg than is usual, since we are approaching the tricentennial of his birth. The article on page 17 by Rev. Grant Odhner is an excellent beginning. One of the purposes of the book Swedenborg en France is to assess Swedenborg's influence upon such French literary figures as Balzac, George Sand and Baudelaire. We are indebted to Dr. Robert Gladish for providing a review of this book which to date only appears in the French language.
     It has been our custom in recent months to include in most issues fillers from this magazine 100 years ago and 50 years ago. This month we quote from a comment made a century ago on the matter of whether a New Church man is an optimist (p. 30). On page 32 we have a quote on the subject of "change" written for this magazine fifty years ago by George de Charms. Bishop de Charms is ninety-seven years old.
     In the survey of "favorite passages" no passage received as much attention as no. 8478 of the Arcana. Rev. Nathan Gladish singles out a portion of this most popular passage and encourages you to "read the rest in its original context." We are finding that this series has encouraged a number of people to read the passages that are discussed.
     The Charter Day address delivered by Rev. G. S. Childs last October seems particularly apt at the beginning of a new year. He suggests that we step back away from everyday states to view our situation. "Here we stand, a very few men and women, with a gift of incredible value. It is not ours; it is from the Lord alone."
     Last October 3-5, 1986, there was a gathering of Scandinavian New Church people in Denmark. We received a photograph of this gathering just in time to publish last month (p. 569) but we did not identify the gathering.
     The Council of the Clergy minutes by Rev. Alfred Acton (p. 33) will be continued next month.



UNITY OF GOD       Rev. ERIK E. SANDSTROM       1987

     "I am the way the truth, and the life" (John 14:6).

     All religions have the belief that God leads. Thus the words, "I am the way, the truth and the life" can apply to all people of all religions. For when God reveals Himself, it is called the Word of God. Every religion has something called the Word of God. In that Word, God shows the way, gives life, and teaches how to live. God can therefore reveal Himself to all people, and there can be one God for all the earth.
     But why is there not only one religion? There are many religions, and often they are in conflict. Is God Himself responsible for this conflict since all religions claim to worship Him?
     No, God is not the source of conflict. For the sun arises on the evil and on the good. Just as the sun shines on both a flower and on a thistle, so God gives life to all, both to evil and to good people. The sun shines both on a meadow and on a swamp. If is not the fault of the sunlight that a swamp gives off harmful gases. So also it is not the fault of God's life if an evil person turns his back on God.
     We can therefore see that God is not the origin of evil, but only of goodness and truth. But God is the origin of variety. For there is one God, and many religions. The variety of religions comes by reception. We can see that a garden receives the same light from the sun, yet there are many kinds of flowers. Also, there can be one orchestra with many different instruments all playing the same harmony or melody. And what would a garden be if it contained only one kind of flower? And an orchestra if it were composed of only one kind of instrument?
     Thus, although God gives of Himself the same for all, just as the sun shines the same for all, He is received differently. Nations and religions have many different names for the same God; they have many different religious practices in honor of the one only God.
     Can we see through these differences? Can we see an underlying unity of God? And what of Christ? Where does He belong?
     It was Christ who said, "I am the way, the truth and the life."
     Here Christ says four things. First He says, "I am." At another time, the Lord told the people, "Before Abraham was, I am." Jesus here claimed to be Jehovah, who said to Moses from the burning bush: "I am that I am. I am has sent you." The people were offended, and picked up stones to throw at Him (see John 8).
     At yet another occasion, He said, "Unless you believe that I am, you will die in your sins."


     Is it possible that Jesus and Jehovah are one and the same? Was He in fact the Creator Himself come down on earth?
     It does say in John, "He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not"(John 1:10). Our Lord Jesus Christ is making ample claims to being Jehovah.
     Secondly, He said "I am the way." Truth teaches us the way, and we follow Him, as He said, "Where I go you know, and the way you know." That way is revealed by the Lord.
     Thirdly, He said, I am the truth. The truth is revealed, and is the Word of God. Is Jesus the Word of God? Yes, He is the Word made flesh, dwelling among us. Jesus also said, "The words that I speak to you are spirit and they are life" (John 6:63). So Christ is the Word, the truth from His own mouth.
     And fourthly, He is life, the giver of all life, for He said, "I am the resurrection and the life; he that believes in Me, though he were dead yet shall he live."
     It is for these reasons that we turn to our Lord Jesus Christ in our worship. No one comes to the Father except through Him. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the only object of our adoration, as we learn from the example set by Thomas. For when he finally saw the risen Lord, he bowed before Him, and said, "My Lord and my God."
     How then do we reconcile so many different religions? How can there be one God over all? And what of Christ? Not all accept Christ, nor give Him Divine status.
     But God does not condemn anyone who lives sincerely by his or her religion. It is the life that counts. Faiths or religions may vary. But as long as anyone lives by his faith, then he loves the God of his religion. "If you love Me, keep My commandments." "He who keeps My commandments, it is he who loves Me."
     Have you ever noticed that you cannot keep the commandments just by having faith in them? What are you going to say: "Yes, I believe 'Thou shalt not steal,' and then go to the nearest shop and steal the first thing you see? What use is believing in the commandments if you do not obey them? Faith is not enough. Quoting a commandment is not enough. You have to prove it by obeying it in life.
     Yes, it is how you live that really counts. Life is faith in action. When we live by our faith, then we love the God of our religion.
     There are, of course, countless people who obey the commandments. But which is the foremost commandment?
     It is to love God. But as we just saw, God is loved by obeying His commandments. So what else?
     It is love toward the neighbor. You cannot claim to love God and then hate your neighbor.


And as we find out from the parable of the Good Samaritan, our neighbor is the person who actually benefits other people. We are to benefit others and love those who benefit others. We are to determine which people benefit others and which do not. Our love should go out to those who do well; and also we should learn to graciously receive benefits from others. We should also love those who are of no benefit, but by corrections and penalties. Such is the life of charity, or of faith in action.
     Can, then, all people worship the same God? Yes, by living well, and by benefitting their neighbor. Most people are the same in day-to-day living however their religions may vary.
     Can all religions become one religion? No, not in practice, but only in harmony, and if living is emphasized rather than faith. Faith divides, but life unites.
     And yet God is the origin of variety. There is one God, but many religions. We don't want an orchestra full of just bassoons! God intends variety and harmony, many instruments.
     But yes, we want one orchestra, with one musical score, and one Conductor. That means to say, yes, the human race wants one God, and one unified way of salvation. There is one God. He exists. The very fact that His existence cannot be proved may be all the proof we need for His existence.
     And His way of salvation is the same for all, and is centered on Christ. For Jesus Christ is our Lord and God. "In Him dwells the fulness of the Godhead bodily" (Col. 2:9). Jesus is Immanuel, God with us. He said after His resurrection from the grave, "All power is given unto Me in heaven and on the earth." Jesus is the omnipotent God, in the flesh.
     God is thus one Person. The trinity is in Him. There is no other Savior (see Isaiah 43:11). He is Jehovah, Jesus, Savior and Lord, and it is He who said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
     How then do we understand the unity of God in Christ? For Christ talked to the Father as though to someone else. And there was the voice from heaven on several occasions, saying, "This is My beloved Son." And on the cross, Jesus cried, "My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"
     Christianity has a serious problem in reconciling these two messages: one which says that God is one, and the other, that there are three Persons in the Trinity.
     But let us be perfectly honest with ourselves: have you never talked to yourself! Come now, surely you have conversed within yourself. And have you never heard the voice of your conscience, saying, "Don't do that," or "I shouldn't be doing this"?


     Yes, we all have a soul and a body. Christ did too. There was a communication going on between them. And in any case, where have Christians been for the last sixteen centuries since the Athanasian Creed was formulated? From that creed we extract the following gem of truth: "As soul and body are one man, so God and Man are one Christ."
     God and Man are one in Christ, just as soul and body are one. Christ's soul is the Father; the body itself is the Son. The "Son of God" thus means simply the body of God, or God's embodiment for revealing Himself on earth.
     How utterly simple! No mystic union beyond our comprehension here. Thus when Jesus said, "No one comes to the Father except through Me," He was saying that no one comes to the soul except through the body. That is of course a plain truth. But it is especially true with Jesus: for His "soul" was Jehovah, the Divine life itself, the Creator, the light itself. No one comes to that Divine life and light itself, for no one can see God and live! However, when these are embodied in Christ, then we can see them. We can come to the Father through the Son.
     God, who is invisible, has made Himself visible to the eye of reason, by embodying Himself on earth, and by making that body or Human to be also Divine. Christ's risen body was just as Divine as was His soul or Father already! Which was why Thomas was inspired to say what he did: "My Lord and my God."
     The Writings of the New Church have for over 200 years offered this vision of the Lord our God, by explaining the Scriptures in favor of God in one Person, namely Jesus Christ our Lord. The trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit survives intact, but in Him, in Christ, even as the fulness of the Godhead dwells in Christ, bodily.
     This vision is contrasted for us with the vision of an invisible God: an invisible God is like our sight in mid-ocean. Although it may be fascinating to watch the rise and fall of the waves, our eyesight soon is lost between sky and sea. We end up seeing nothing.
     To see a visible God, on the other hand, is to see Christ on the water, or in the air, as a Divine Person, or embodiment of Jehovah God. He reaches out His arms for our salvation (see TCR 757). He is our Father, our Heavenly Father as in the Lord's prayer. He is the Son, or bodily manifestation of God Himself on earth; He is the Holy Spirit, or spirit of truth, that is our daily inspiration to see the truth in the Word. He is God in one Person, blessed trinity.
     Besides Him there is no Savior. It is He who says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." Amen.

     LESSONS: Isaiah 43:8-13, John 14:1-1 1, TCR 787





     The seven days of creation, as told in the book of Genesis, are not an outline of events that shaped the natural universe. Rather, they depict the spiritual development of the regenerating person along the path of regeneration, a process involving seven general steps or stages.
     Through the creation story, people of the Ancient Church long ago passed down to us secrets about man's rebirth. Within that story are hidden levels of meaning that tell about the development of the churches and about the Lord Himself. The ancients loved to convey spiritual truths in allegorical and story form, such as we find in the first chapters of Genesis. The Writings, and in particular the Arcana Coelestia, give to modern man a rational explanation of the treasures hidden within the account of creation's beginnings.
     Often it is useful to have a kind of introduction to a work of the Writings which presents the main ideas in a summary form. What you are about to read is such an introduction to the first and part of the second chapter of the Arcana Coelestia. It is an attempt to form a bridge between the poetry of the literal story and the detailed exposition found in those opening pages of the Arcana. Many readers may note a similarity of this piece to the Writings put into verse, recently appearing in the Life. One of my hopes is to awaken new interest in a familiar story. Another is to lend a hand to those who have begun a reading of the Arcana, but who have not gotten much further than the present story because they were unable to sustain the interest needed to press on.
     When reflected upon, the concepts conveyed here are simple enough, but the implications for our spiritual life and future happiness are profound.
     Through the creation story, the very God of heaven and earth speaks to us, working to motivate us to take our next step along our own heaven-bound process of growth. May we hear Him knocking and open the door to Him.

     The Creation

In the Beginning

"In the beginning, God created the heavens."
With this phrase, the Lord sets forth His purpose:
To establish a heaven from the race of mankind.


"In My Father's house are many mansions;
If it were not so I would have told you,"
Says the Lord.

He created the earth also.
Life upon earth is the ordained way
Leading to our heavenly goal.
Here we are, from dust we are created.
As to our flesh, to dust we must return.
But this story of creation
Holds forth promise of something higher,
Of blessed realities to which we may attain.

The next verse reveals,

"The earth was a void and emptiness. "
What is meant by the void and empty earth?
Is it the condition of all men before they are reborn?
Could it apply even to ourselves?

When we pray to the Lord in secret,
We ask in earnest:
Is it I, Lord? Is it I?

The Lord through Jeremiah said:
"My people are foolish, they know Me not.
They are stupid children, having no understanding.
They are wise to do evil, and know not how to do good.
I looked to the earth, and behold, a void and emptiness;
And toward the heavens, and they had no light" (4:22, 23, 25).

The faces of our deep are steeped in the desires of self.
Thick darkness blankets our consciousness with falsehoods
Even while we profess the greatest truths.
Griefs and frustrations surround us,
We are held captive by our imaginations
If only to show us the old man must die.

While reflecting upon futility, what do darkened hearts hear?
Long forgotten loves yearn from deep within.
New possibilities begin to enter their minds!
Childlike longings stir from some presence Divine!
As a hen broods over her chicks,
So the Lord in His mercy prepares each heart
Which is willing to be awakened to life!

And God said, "Let there be light!"


And there was light!
It is in the midst of the greatest darkness
That man becomes aware
That what he knows of the good and true
Are distinctly more exalted and wonderful
Than the ways he knows to please himself.

As this first spiritual dawn brightens,
We remember the Lord and believe that He is true,
Not just on paper, or for someone else,
But for me!
One's first thought is, "Maybe the Lord can be real for me."
Then, "I think the Lord is really there."
And at last, "My Lord and my God!"

And God saw that the light was good.

The new awareness or revelation to the individual is good;
It is from God's mercy received.
A profound step has been taken.
But just a beginning is here made.
From His Providence the Lord works to ensure man's forward motion.
So the Lord separates within him the darkness from the light.
"And God called the light day, and the darkness He called night."

And that darkness progressed to morning and made the first day.
Again that darkness will bring its influence.
But now there is hope that the Lord Jesus Christ
Will bring light to lighten man's every new state of his life and experience.

What will be seen in the light of the second day?
What new state of life and mind?

And God said, Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let there he a distinguishing of the waters from the waters.

The blessing of the first light was believing
In a Presence higher than one's self,
In seeing that truth is true.

On this day the man begins to know himself.
In him also is a heaven and an earth.
God makes a distinction between waters under the expanse
And waters on high.


Revealed to us is a beginning to know that within us
Is a higher self: the internal man;
And a lower self: the external man.

Some may call it vision. Others idealism.
In practical terms we gain insight into our priorities.
We exist to be of use.
Marriages are holy.
Providence looks to eternal outcomes.
These are the waters above that strive to order our thoughts.
"And God called the expanse heaven."

We delight in the praise of others.
We enjoy our possessions . . .
And desire more.
Our senses seek their own fulfillment.
When we think on these things we see the waters below.
At this stage we have a new awareness.
We begin to prepare a new agenda for our lives.
The affection of truth draws us further
As that second day brightens our future possibilities.

This day, as does each, progresses from evening to morning.
Regeneration is a progression from earth to heaven.
In His mercy, the Lord connects the two realms;
He uses man's illusions and desires-
Call it "self-interest"-
To show him the beauty of goodness and truth.

Each day, however, turns from brightness to evening.
Further progress awaits those prepared
For the third day about to dawn.

And God said, Let the waters under heaven be gathered together. Then let the dry land appear; and it was so.

Indeed, all our conscious thoughts are waters under heaven.
The external man receives heavenly life,
As rain from waters above.
So all things we know of our heavenly way
Are registered with the facts of the memory.
These are the gathering of the seas.
And the dry land appearing is the earth of the natural mind.
"And God called the dry land earth,
And the gathering together of the waters He called seas;
And God saw that it was good."


The mind, so organized, is tilled to receive the seeds of the useful life.
On this third day, the Lord causes something tender to spring up.
A job well done-
From a principle of truth.
A troubled friend is given counsel-
From an understanding of charity.
An adulterous thought is swept out of the mind-
From a precept lived.
Next, a seed-bearing plant comes forth:
A use is spontaneously repeated.
And finally a tree bearing fruit is made:
A use done and enjoyed by others.

But imagine the streams and oceans
Whose currents carry no fish.
Think of forests of trees
Having no nests in their branches;
And of fields of green devoid of all creatures.
True, on this day great strides are made;
Sweet charity is accomplished from above.
Yet a shadow of self prevents greater life from appearing;
Clinging to man is a persuasion that he does it alone.

Still there is progress in each repentant heart.
And from his evening came a morning: the third day.

If man would be perfect, as Jesus has said,
"Go and sell all you have and give to the poor" (Matt. 19:21).
Perfection comes not from great achievement;
It comes from following the Lord's call:
To give up the belief that you are to be credited
With the good that you do.
From this day's darkness dawns brightness anew.
And God said, Let there he lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth; and it was so.

On this fourth day is a new beginning: a turning point.
It is as a new chapter in one's book of life.
God made two great lights:
The greater light to rule the day;
The lesser light to rule the night;
Together with the stars they lighten the earth.

Up until now, what was the nature of spiritual life?
Like a talented young soloist performing before an admiring audience.


The people applaud his virtuosity and his youth.
Well deserved is the praise he receives.
Yet little does he remember the toil and devotion of his tutors.
And little does he thank God from whom all uses flow.*
     * See AC 29

The wiser among his hearers know that his music comes
From developed skills and perfected technique.
They pray that humility may grow with his talent,
And as he matures, his music will flow from the heart.

On the first three days, says the Arcana,
Faith flows from knowledge and concepts of the understanding,
While on this day faith begins to flow from charity and love.
And so lights are set in the expanse of heaven.
In the expanse of the internal man are established spiritual warmth and light.*
These lights are for signs and seasons and for days and for years.
Luminaries of a new awareness that the Lord is here;
He has been and will be near man in all his states of life.
Man is assured that the Lord will give guidance
No matter what trials or blessings await him.
Surely, love could not grow,
Nor could the perception of truth,
Without these changes of state
And the Lord's direct care.
     * See AC 30

So on this fourth day, the source of life is known;

The origin of all talent, faith and usefulness is perceived.
The Lord Jesus Christ shines forth as the One from whom
We live and move and have our being.

To quote the words of Revelation:
"The Lord's being the source of all love was again
Represented by the greater light,
That is, the sun, at the transfiguration.
For His face shone as the sun.
And His garments became as white as the light" (AC 32; Matt. 17:2).

"And the evening and the morning were the fourth day."
Then God said, let the waters bring forth creeping things, living creatures; and let birds fly above the earth; and God saw that it was good.

Animate creatures are placed in the air and in the seas.
A higher order of creation is found among bodies of flesh,
With beating hearts and power of movement.


So man enters a higher order of his re-creation
And in a true sense begins to live for the first time.*
     * AC 39

In this stage, man is like our young musician
Who now looks to his tutors with heartfelt thanks,
Who performs now for his God as well as for his audience.
He now sees the hand of Providence stirring the hearts of his listeners.
And with gratitude he begins to sing praises to his God.

Ezekiel wrote:
"And it shall be that every living thing that moves,
Wherever the rivers go, will live.
There will be a very great multitude of fish,
Because these waters go there;
For they will be healed,
And everything will live wherever the river goes" (47:9).

These fish are knowledges of truth;
They are alive in the memory;
With delight they are recalled and readily put to use.

Again, the prophet wrote:
"I will plant the sprig of a lofty cedar,
And it will bring forth a branch and bear fruit;
And it will be a noble cedar,
And under it will dwell birds of every sort;
In the shade of its branches they will dwell" (17:23).

The birds that dwell in the shade of a great cedar,
These stand for the rational concepts
Enabling the mind to soar above mundane thoughts.
No longer does the man at this stage
Depend upon the explanations of others
To believe what he believes.
Now his mind is alive to confirm for himself
The beauty of the Heavenly Doctrines.

God blessed these creatures and said,
"Be fruitful and multiply,
And fill the waters in the seas;
And let birds be multiplied upon the earth."

The man of mature faith performs from the Lord great uses.
Even here on earth they multiply and grow.
Yet fulfillment here is limited.
Only when man arrives at shores of eternity


Will perception's growth
Approach its limitless potential.
And again there is progression from evening to morning.
Such is the regenerating man on the fifth day.
Within the sixth day wonderful things take place!

And God said, Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds; and it was so. And God made wild animals of the earth and beasts and everything that creeps along the ground according to their kinds; and God saw that it was good.
On day four, the sun, moon and stars of love and faith
Were set in the sky of man's spirit.
The next day, knowledge and perception were made alive.
The teeming fish and the flocking birds
Are living pictures of the understanding,
Where thanks to the Lord replaced thoughts of pride,
And where personal faith replaced dependence upon others.

It is now day six, wherein man's will is transformed.
The function of the understanding is to hear the Word;
The will's function is to do it.
With five days complete, the understanding hears,
Not only the letter, but the spirit of the law:
A law that shines with the glory of the spiritual sun.
The task now is to ensure that the will conforms in every respect.
The animals stand for the affections of the heart.
Created by the Lord, they return love to Him.

The work of this new day is to act from faith and love together.
With this accomplished, man is then rightly called
A spiritual man,
And an image of God.

So God said,
Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and they will have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the beasts, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.

Surely we all are men for we possess human faculties
Of understanding and of will.
But possessing these faculties alone
Does not give rise to true humanity.


Only the full and proper use of them
Makes a person truly human.

As we have progressed through these various stages,
The responsibility to respond to the Lord
Belongs to the individual alone.

But do not believe that we are all alone as we face
Each trial and temptation.
Yes, the Lord is there and is the source of all strength.
Yet He charges angelic spirits with the ministry
Of their kind presence with us.
The Lord grants them the office of guiding us
Away from hateful devils and satans.
And in this work, He shares His joy with the angels
Each time we repent of evil.
These angel guardians are those the one Lord refers to
As He announces: "Let us make man in our image."

"In the image of God He created him;
Male and female He created them.
And God blessed them, and God said unto them,
Be fruitful and multiply;
Fill the earth and subdue it."

Most Ancient man found the greatest delight in marriage.
To a marriage they would liken
Whatever could be likened to it.
The people of that day were internal men.
They knew about the inner workings of
The understanding and will.
To them the understanding was male.
The will was female.
And when the two acted as a one
A holy marriage within man took place;
Regeneration was accomplished for the spiritual man.

We are taught that the stages and states
Of man's rebirth,
Both the individual's as well as mankind's,
Divide into six.
These are the days of his creation.
From being no man at all,
Gradually he first becomes something
-But just a little-


Then a little something more,
Until the sixth day is reached.
Into an image of God he is formed.

"And God saw everything that He had made,
And behold, it was very good."

In six days God has labored to win the heart of man.
And the heavens and earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished His work which He had made, and rested on the seventh day.

On this last day man begins his final
Yet never-ending chapter in his book of life.
Faith and love united allows love to rule,
Not faith.
Now all warfare is accomplished;
At the end of the sixth day
All evil spirits go away and good ones succeed them.
Then man is led to heaven,
Into His heavenly paradise or Garden of Eden.
The celestial or heavenly man is the seventh day.
This man bases his actions on what pleases the Lord;
His own desires he completely sets aside.
So doing brings him the highest peace and contentment,
Meant by the sabbath day of rest.

No one but he who has experienced this peace
Can know the serenity of peace felt in the external man.
It is a peace that comes when conflicts
Caused by evil desires and false thoughts
Have come to an end.
Surpassing all earthly concepts of joy,
He experiences joy so sweet!
One like you and me is now an angel,*
A likeness of God!
     * AC 92

And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, for on that day He rested from all His work which God had created when making it.

These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when He created them, on the day in which Jehovah God made the earth and the heavens.




     (From the title page of True Christian Religion, written by command of the Lord (Docu. II 483).)

     "Whoever desires to be great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave." Matt. 20:26

     "Whoever humbles himself as [a] little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Matt. 18:4

A Great Man

     Both the world of our day and that of his day have regarded Emanuel Swedenborg as a great man. However they may have reckoned it, Swedenborg was once given the honor of having had the highest "I. Q." in history. This acclaim represents people's awareness of the amazing scope of his talents and knowledge, energy and ability to synthesize, digest, and present known facts. Most readers are familiar with Swedenborg's various credits, so I won't list them. The point here is that, regardless of how one viewed or views Swedenborg's revelations, he was a great man by worldly reckoning.
     Many people have sought and attained greatness: relatively few of these, one may imagine, have been able to withstand the spiritual pressures of greatness. (Swedenborg himself found that many famous people were in hell-religious leaders and reformers, kings, men of letters.) Yet every respectable person who has fairly examined the life and writings of Emanuel Swedenborg (about whom we have perhaps more information than we do about the great majority of famous people of his day) has vouched for his integrity. And this whether friend or foe of the New Church.
     Given the experiences and powers that were granted to Swedenborg, it is amazing that he remained so consistently humble and subservient to his task! Volume after volume of writing, published and unpublished, testify to this. His accumulated correspondence and personal diaries do so as well.
     In all of these writings and letters, Swedenborg remains honest and dignified. In his published writings he mentions himself comparatively infrequently. He does not exalt himself-either by boasting of his merits and experiences or by conspicuous self-depreciation. [Compare the apostle Paul in this regard: II Cor. 11:5-12: 13; cp. Spiritual Experiences (formerly Spiritual Diary) 4412f, 4561m.)


He consistently places the focus on the subject matter, the principles, the use at hand, and not upon himself. As Emerson wrote in Representative Men "[His] admirable writing is pure from all pertness or egotism."
     Nor did he seek fame, wealth, or glory. He published and distributed books at his own expense, and directed that any profit be donated toward "spreading the gospel." He lived simply. He published most of his books anonymously (though he did not otherwise try to hide his identity). It was not till his later writings, when his authorship was long known, that he put his name to them (viz. Conjugial Love in 1768).

The "Guru" Route

     Swedenborg could have built a following had he wanted to. There were people who became convinced of the truth of the Writings while he was still alive. This meant that some believed him to be a prophet. Could not Swedenborg have used this to selfish advantage? There were people who revered him and were thrilled just to be in his presence.
     Take for instance Rev. Thomas Hartley, one of the first receivers of the Writings. He sought out Swedenborg and made his acquaintance, and was deeply moved by the man. He came to believe that Swedenborg was "the most extraordinary Messenger from God to man . . . since the Apostolic age," and could "properly be called the Living Apostle of these days" (Docu. II 259, 8). In a few letters to Swedenborg written after their first meeting we sense that Hartley would have done almost anything for Swedenborg, He writes:

Most respected and beloved Sir,
     I consider myself most highly favored and I rejoice from my heart in having had the honor, which you lately granted me, of conversing with you; . . . [Y]our charity towards the neighbor, the heavenly benignity shining from your countenance, and your childlike simplicity, devoid of all vain show and egotism, are so great, and the treasure of wisdom possessed by you is so sweetly tempered with gentleness, that it did not inspire in me a feeling of awe, but one of love . . . . Believe me, O best of men, that by my intercourse with you I consider myself crowned with more than royal favors; for who among kings, if he is of a sane mind, would not gladly converse with an inhabitant of heaven, while here on earth? (Docu. 1:1)

     There is nothing at all amiss in this statement of honor and gratitude. (The writer does, in the next breath, give the credit to the Lord.) Nevertheless there is strong feeling there. And later in the letter Hartley offers to "prepare for [Swedenborg] a convenient place and house, either in town or in the country, and . . . [to] provide for everything that may conduce to [his] well being."


This was in the event that he should meet with persecution in Sweden.
     Swedenborg did not take up Hartley's offer. But he certainly could have capitalized on such favors had he wished.
     In Hartley's next letter he offers Swedenborg his service in these impassioned words:

If . . . you should at any time do me the honor . . . to make use of my services in any way whatsoever, you will find me a willing and delighted servant. Instruct me, exhort me, dispose of me in any way whatever; for . . . it will be the greatest pleasure to me to obey your admonitions and commands, and you will find me faithful to all my promises. But if you will not let me do this honor, it will be enough for me to remember you always above all others, to love you always; and to have had you for my teacher in Divine things (Docu. 1:3).

     Swedenborg clearly could have gathered a following of such supporters, and could have built quite a church for himself. But it was not the Lord's will, and so it was not Swedenborg's will.

Overcoming Self

     Of course, Swedenborg wasn't born a humble and good man: he became one through "overcoming" from the Lord. A little diary of his that we have (from the period of his life, around age fifty-five, when he was first being introduced to his mission) records his intense struggles with his intellectual pride and desire for recognition. In it we also see him wrestling with the tendency to regard himself as worthier than others, because of what the Lord was showing him.
     Quoting now from this diary or Journal of Dreams, as it is called (The context is extreme, prolonged temptation.):

     After this . . . it was as if it was said to me that I should find reasons to excuse myself; . . . or to attribute to myself the good I had done, or more properly, that had happened through me . . . . When . . . I was in my thoughts about these very subjects, and any one accounted me as a holy man and on account of this offered me dignity-as indeed happens among certain simple people that they not only venerate but even adore some supposedly holy man as a saint-I then found that in the earnestness which then possessed me, I desired to do him all the ill I could to the highest degree, in order that nothing at all of the sin should stick to him, and that with earnest prayers I ought to appease our Lord, in order that I might never have any part of so damning a sin to stick to me (70, 72).

     While I was in the spirit, I thought and sought how I might . . . attain the knowledge of how to avoid all that was impure; still I marked, notwithstanding, that the impure, on all occasions, put itself forward.


For instance, if anyone did not regard me according to the estimate of my own imagination, I discovered that I always thought to myself. "Ah! If you only knew what grace I have, you would act otherwise. . . .I prayed to God for His forgiveness. And then I asked that others might enjoy the same grace; which perhaps they had, or do receive (75).

     Saw a bookseller's shop. Thought immediately that my works would do more than other people's . . . . Still, pride, arrogance will push forth; may God control it, who has power in His hands (78).

     Had so much of the Lord's grace that when I would determine to keep my thoughts in purity I found I had inward joy, but still a torment in the body, which could not at all bear the heavenly joy of the soul: for I left myself most humbly in God's grace, to do with me according to His pleasure. God grant me humility that I may see my own weakness, uncleanness, and unworthiness (79).

     And grant this the Lord did! It is clear, both from this diary and his subsequent life, that Swedenborg "overcame" in these trials and emerged completely humble, before God and man.

The Necessity of Being "Nothing"

     The nature of Swedenborg's "call" required a deep humility. Even ordinary association with the spiritual world is fraught with great danger, particularly to those not "in truths from good," that is, in true faith in the Lord.* Swedenborg's association was even more dangerous. Not only was it more complete; it involved a mission that was opposed by the whole of hell.
     * See HH 249f: AC 784e, 5863, 9438, 10384; AE 1182:4f, 1183; De Verbo 27; SE 1622, 3060e, 3781, 5151; Docu. 217, 246; cp. AC 10751, HH 309, 456:3; DP 130-135, 321:3; AE 1155:3; De Verbo 29; SE 1677, 1752-1756, 2687, 2860, 3963.
     Spirits continually infested Swedenborg. They could induce on him countless kinds of persuasion and delusion, both psychological and sensory. They could pretend to be what they were not, and be where they were not (see SE 3060, 3869ff). They inflicted on him pain, sickness, physical shaking and trembling, and terrorized him in a myriad ways (see AR 531; SE 458f, 1864, 1934, 2972ff, 3086f, 3851, 4348, 4548, 5976, 5983, 5995, etc.). Even more subtle and dangerous, spirits also induced on him various attitudes, emotions, and thoughts, which appeared to him as his own (see SE 105, 927, 2936, 4243, 4348:2).
     In these ways evil spirits repeatedly tried to destroy Swedenborg, body and soul, and his work. He wrote: "I have been surrounded by evil spirits, even by the worst of them, sometimes by thousands, who have been allowed to pour out their venom and molest me in every way possible . . ." (AC 59; see also 5863; SE 1043, 3653, 3821).


     In all this he was protected by the Lord (ibid.). Still, this protection would have been impossible unless Swedenborg had given up trusting in himself and his own intellect.
     It was vital that Swedenborg be reduced to a state of true humility. The Lord could not otherwise have led him to experience the deeper realities of the human mind and the spiritual world. If he was to associate with different spirits and angels, and learn about them and from them, he had to realize his own vulnerability. He had to be completely willing to follow the Lord-in sensing from Him the truth or falsity of what was happening to him, of what he was seeing, feeling, hearing. Otherwise he would have been overwhelmed in that more subtle world.
     Another way of saying this is that Swedenborg had to be willing to acknowledge that of himself he was nothing. He tells us:

When it was granted me by the Lord to speak with spirits and angels, this interior truth was immediately disclosed to me. For I was told from heaven that, like others, I believed that I thought and willed from myself, when in fact there was nothing from myself, but if there was good it originated from the Lord, and if evil it originated from hell.

That this was so was demonstrated to me in a realistic manner by various thoughts and affections induced upon me, and I was enabled gradually to perceive it and to feel it. Therefore, as soon as any evil afterwards entered into my will or any falsity into my thought, I inquired into its source. This was disclosed to me, and I was also permitted to speak with those from whom it came, to refute them, and to compel them to withdraw and thus to retract their evil and their falsity and to keep it to themselves, and no longer to infuse any such thing into my thought. This has happened a thousand times; and in this state I have remained now for many years, and I continue in it still . . . .

Spirits who have newly arrived wonder at this state of mine, only seeing that I do not think and will anything from myself, and therefore that I am like an empty something. But I revealed the truth to them, adding that I also think even more interiorly and perceive whether what flows into my outward thought is from heaven or from hell; and that I reject what is from hell and accept what is from heaven, assuring them that still I seem to myself, just as they do, to think and to will from myself (DP 290).

From the Lord Alone

     The Lord could give to Swedenborg a perception of what to note and what to write only if he truly believed that he was nothing. Otherwise his own opinions, fears, and ambitions would have stood in the way. As it was, however, they did not.


In his last published work Swedenborg could write: "I affirm in truth . . . that from the first day of [my] call I have not received anything whatever pertaining to the doctrines of [the New] Church from any angel, but from the Lord alone while I have read the Word" (TCR 779).

     He could say this "in truth," because in all his experiences and instruction from angels, he did not listen either to the angels, the spirits, or even to his own mental response, but to the Lord's affirming perception: "What [camel from the Lord [was] written; what [came] from the angels [was] not" (AE 1183:2; see also DP 135; De Verbo 29; AR pref; so 1647, 4034).

Honor to the Instrument

     Now Swedenborg was and is nothing more than a mortal man. He had certainly done evils; of himself he was and is inclined to them, as he himself would confess.
     Acknowledging this, we must still love and respect Swedenborg the man. Such innocence! Such willingness to lay down the life of his own intelligence and his own desires! He made himself nothing that he might be a humble servant to the Lord Jesus Christ!
     And what person who has been really touched by the treasures of the New Word would not joyfully echo these words of Thomas Hartley to Swedenborg:

In speaking with you, every suspicion of flattery must be hushed. For what ground for flattery can there be when I attribute everything in you, however great and extraordinary it may be, to the Lord and not to yourself, and when I look on you as an instrument of His mercy and great kindness! But may I be permitted to offer honor and glory to the instrument-for this is well-pleasing to the Lord; and may I be permitted to tell you from a heart full of gratitude that I consider myself thrice blessed that your writings, by the Divine providence, have fallen into my hands? (Docu. 1:1)

MINISTERIAL APPOINTMENT       Editor       1987

     The Rev. Daniel Fitzpatrick has been appointed by the Bishop as acting pastor of the Stockholm Society in Sweden. This appointment was affirmed at a meeting in Stockholm on November 23, 1986.



       Rev. GEOFFREY S. CHILDS       1987

     October, 1986

     The New Church is called "the crown of all the churches that have hitherto existed on the earth" (TCR 786). This is because it will worship the one visible God, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will be the Divine Man "spreading forth His hands, and inviting to His arms" (TCR 787).
     In another number of the Writings, it is revealed that the "spiritual sense of the Word has been disclosed by the Lord through Swedenborg . . . and this sense is the very sanctuary of the Word; the Lord is in this sense with His Divine, and in the natural sense with His Human. Not an iota of this sense can be opened except by the Lord alone. This surpasses all the revelations that have hitherto been made since the creation of the world. Through this revelation a communication has been opened between men and angels of heaven . . ." (Inv. 44).
     Contrast the promise of these two passages with the realities of part of the world around us. Minor wars, with killing and cruelty, constantly break out here and there on earth. Thousands upon thousands have died of starvation in Africa. In inner cities of the United States there is poverty, drug addiction, constant intimidation. Millions of people search for inner happiness, and so many find desperation. Marriages which start with such promise so often end in divorce and heartache, with the children damaged and bruised.
     The Divine promises of the second coming, contrasted with the frightening permissions with so many, bring us the strongest challenge. They offer to us of the New Church a mission. And this is to share the Divine truths the Lord has given to us: to share them with those who are so needy and in despair. In the Writings-the Heavenly Doctrines-the Lord has given the "leaves of the tree for the healing of the nations" (Rev. 22:2). We cannot keep this to ourselves.
     Sometimes we have to step back from our present situation-away from everyday states-to get perspective on our position as people of the New Church. Here we stand, a very few men and women, with a gift of incredible value. It is not ours; it is from the Lord alone. But it is a gift which, if received, can change the inner course of the whole world. The Writings are this gift: the Lord talking right to each of us, explaining the many things He has to say to us that lead to inner liberation and peace. These Divine truths, if known to the world and accepted, would gradually disclose those hidden evils that cause wars and cruelty, and these could then, with the Lord's help, be shunned and removed. The spiritual reasons why marriages deteriorate and gradually fail can be seen and applied to gradually restore the conjugial to despairing states.


And so with other permissions of evil. The Lord has revealed cures.
     The founders of the Academy knew this. And one of their dreams, over 100 years ago, was to have the Academy itself serve as an instrument to spread the New Church. These were men of vision, who were willing to dream great dreams. Thus in the Academy charter, the first statement of purpose is this: "The Academy of the New Church shall be 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 . . . ." And then there follows: "promoting education in all its various forms, educating young men for the ministry, publishing books, pamphlets, and other printed matter, and establishing a library."
     We are here as givers and receivers of New Church education, thus trying to fulfill a charter purpose of the Academy. But such education is not an end in itself. It is a means to an end: to serve the greater neighbor-to serve mankind. The Lord asks us to do this; He asks us to help serve Him in the healing of mankind.
     But to meet this sweeping challenge, most of us need help as individuals-we need the help of the Lord in our own right. And here the Writings, resting upon the Old and New Testaments, can be of such value to us. For the Lord reveals inner, touching truths that can affect our inmost motives. Perhaps the first thing needed by each New Church person, student or adult, is humility. Not fake or falsely pious humility, but rather the clear recognition that we are vessels, and all true life flows into us from the Lord; that there is much in our hereditary that is conceited and arrogant. This needs to be admitted openly to the Lord, and shunned as an evil against Him. The New Church is not a sad or gloomy church; nevertheless, its first call is to humility and repentance. This is represented by John the Baptist, who prepared the way of the Lord. Was John's purpose to make it clear that religion is hard and always difficult? No. It was simply, directly to teach that evil in oneself must be shunned in order to bring the Lord to us. When the angel Gabriel announced that John would be born, he said: "your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth" (Luke 1:13, 14). Joy and gladness follow the shunning of conceit: we can perceive that to the Lord belong the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
     When John the Baptist as an adult first saw the Lord, he said: "Behold! the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29). After humility, after genuine repentance, the Lord comes to us as the "Lamb of God." He comes as innocence, secretly touching our hearts.


This brings gentleness with others, where before there was conceit or coldness. To the conjugial it brings tenderness, a stirring, moving love. It brings a sense of awareness of the innocence of little children, and a desire to protect and nourish this. It gives us the hope of a deeper innocence as we grow older: the hope of loving others more than even ourselves. The Lord can make this change in us!
     The foundation for this is true education, starting in infancy and continuing into adult life. Such education presents knowledges that are open to the Lord, open to the knowledge and acknowledgment of Him. And more importantly, such knowledges of the humanities, arts and sciences open the way to the love of the Lord.
     There are five fundamentals that summarize New Church education, and that lead each of us to the wedding feast at Cana. These are represented by the first five disciples called by the Lord, as recorded in the gospel of John. After John the Baptist saw the Lord returning from the wilderness, he called Him "the Lamb of God" (John 1:29). The next day John stood with two of His disciples, and looking at Jesus as He walked, he said (again): "Behold the Lamb of God!" These two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. The first of these was John the disciple, that young man whose trust in the Lord was so deep. John represents the first of all qualities the Lord would gift us with in childhood, after the innocence of infancy: and this is the love of the Lord. For He, the Lord, is the whole point and purpose of our life. And love for Him comes first. All education is to foster this love, to clothe it with genuine knowledges, to give it heart and thought reality.
     Andrew was with John, and was the second one called. He represents obedience, the willingness from love to obey the Lord's Word. Without obedience, there can be no continuing love of the Lord. But ideally in growth throughout childhood, such willingness to obey should come from within more and more: it should come from genuine love. And where necessary it should come from inner discipline, from self-compulsion. Andrew "found his own brother Simon, and said to him, 'We have found the Messiah'" (John 1:41). This was Simon Peter, whom the Lord called Cephas, or the rock. He is faith, the great motivating force of spiritually oriented education. He comes in youth as knowledges of the Word, learned and believed.
     But such initial faith is not enough. It is like a rock without the structure of a house built upon it. "The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, 'Follow Me'" (John 1:43). Literally the name Philip means one who loves horses, and spiritually, horses correspond to understanding. Faith is not living if it is simply historic, believed only on the say-so of teachers and ministers.


Rather, affirmatively, faith is there to be understood, because the Lord wants us to understand. So the motto over the temple in the new heaven reads: "now it is permitted to enter with the understanding into the mysteries of faith" (TCR 508). This is not negative reasoning, but rather affirmative thinking and understanding that reveal the beauty of the Lord's creation.
     It was Philip who found Nathanael, and told him "We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote: Jesus of Nazareth" (John 1:45). And when Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, He said: "Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile" (John 1:47). Nathanael's name means the given of God, the gift of God. He represents the goal quality of New Church education. This is the seeing for oneself that the Heavenly Doctrines are the Lord's truth (cf. AE 555:10). And this is a seeing that comes from a moral life, that has within it the qualities pictured in the first four disciples. It is a quality that is honest, "without guile." The New Church cannot continue-it will lose its spark and life-unless each student generation can for itself come to the vision pictured by Nathanael, and come to this vision in freedom. The Lord promised to Nathanael: "you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man" (John 1:51)
     Every subject taught in New Church education is capable of opening up this independent vision. There were six waterpots in Cana where these first five disciples and the Lord traveled. These water vessels are as the great disciplines or subject matters of education. They are there to be filled with the water of genuine knowledge, so done in the presence or sphere of the Lord. It is the Lord who can do the great miracle of the wedding feast of Cana: He can turn the water into wine, a wine that is better than any tasted before. For education in the light of the New Word reveals natural science and art as the ultimate and correspondent of spiritual truth and beauty: the spiritual wine is seen and tasted within natural fact and expression. The Lord does this, and it is marvelous in our eyes!
     What of the future of New Church education? The future is in the Lord's hands, but He looks to us for as-of-self initiative. And if the General Church evangelization program yields good results, then it is our dream that regional high schools will come into being. And that the college of the Academy will take step after step leading to the fruition of its great dream: to become a university, and a world-wide center of New Church learning. And there are steps beyond this, but they are now in the hazy distance!
     But with this growth, there would come hopefully small but vital changes within.


Courage and honesty would come to characterize the student body, fulfilling the Lord's words to Nathanael: students in whom "is no guile." Sports competition would be seen as delightful and leading to a healthy mind and body; but beyond competition would be sportsmanship and real friendship to worthy competitors. Highest of all would be a willingness to look to the Lord, and the best qualities He offers us: gentleness, humility rather than conceit, protection of the conjugial; and above all, looking to uses to mankind: to the creativity and imagination that makes uses come alive from the Lord. "For thus says the Lord of hosts: once more . . . I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of all nations, and I will fill this temple with glory, says the Lord of hosts. The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine, says the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace" (Haggai 2:6-9).
Swedenborg en France 1987

Swedenborg en France       Robert W. Gladish       1987

Swedenborg en France (1985) by Karl-Erik Sjoden

     It is regrettable that Dr. Sjoden's study, Swedenborg en France, is not likely to receive the attention on this side of the Atlantic that it merits. Until and unless it is translated from the French, its readership is certain to be limited-perhaps all the more reason for making its existence known to the readers of Life.
     Dr. Sjoden's monograph appears as one of a series of publications brought out under the general title "Stockholm Studies in the History of Literature," a series that included Prof. Inge Jonsson's Swedenborg's Korrespondenslara (Swedenborg's Doctrine of Correspondence) in 1970. The international flavor of this series is reflected in the fact that, while the majority of the monographs are published in Swedish, a high proportion appear in English and some in French and in German.
     In Swedenborg en France, Dr. Sjoden is trying to do two quite distinct things: to give a chronological account of the various translations of the Writings into French and of those people who were responsible for spreading Swedenborg's name and influence in France; and to assess Swedenborg's influence upon specific French literary figures-notably Balzac, George Sand, and Baudelaire. While each of these sections makes for stimulating-and even fascinating-reading, one cannot say that they blend particularly closely, and they will be treated separately here.


     The prime virtue of Sjoden's history of the development of French Swedenborgianism lies in the fact that he provides so thorough and systematic an account of the French involvement with Swedenborg and his works from the time that Swedenborg came to Paris in 1713 up to the most recent attempts to establish solid, self-perpetuating New Church societies in France. The key impetus for much of this study was the author's recovery and use of Edmond Chevrier's Histoire sommaire de la Nouvelle Eglise Chretienne, manuscript material that Chevrier bestowed upon the Swedenborg Society in London in the nineteenth century and which was unearthed only in 1964. As Sjoden pulls this material together, he provides even those readers well acquainted with French figures long associated with Swedenborg's works-Benedict Chastanier, Dom Antoine-Joseph Pernety, J. F. E. Le Boys des Guays, J. P. Meet, Frederic Portal, Jean-Jacques Bernard, Mme. de Saint-Amour, Abbe Oegger, to name some of the more notable ones-with significant new information about the relationships between these men and women. Perhaps even more valuable is Dr. Sjoden's ability to clarify the various threads and strands of these people's involvement in the other intellectual and social currents of the times. For some like Meet and Chastanier there were strong links with free-masonry, and other figures were attracted by Fourierism, spiritualism, and Magnetism.
     It is difficult in a short review to do justice to the sort of detail that the author provides about the gallery of fascinating people who appear in his book as it is to allude to the wealth of additional information he provides. But two facts stand out starkly in his discussion of various attempts to get Swedenborg's name and works before a wide French and Continental public. The early French "translators" of the Writings took various liberties with the Latin, a fact which makes Le Boys des Guays' later arduous and lonely work at translations faithful to the Latin texts so significant a contribution. Secondly, the Abrege des Ouvrages d'Emmanuel Swedenborg (Summary of Swedenborg's Works), which appeared in 1788, a work compiled by Daillant Delatouche, had a pervasive influence over a long period because it was to that work rather than to the texts of the Writings themselves that a significant number of those influenced by Swedenborg turned.
     It is at this point that one can make the readiest connection between the two segments of Dr. Sjoden's book, for Balzac was one of those who relied upon the Abrege for his novels that had "Swedenborgian" themes: Seraphita and Louis Lambert. At least this is the argument that Dr. Sjoden advances here and in previous studies on Balzac and Swedenborg.* The evidence strikes one as quite conclusive. As one of the major figures that the author considers in his "Three Examples of Literary Swedenborgianism," Balzac had a significant impact upon others' awareness of Swedenborg-figures such as Strindberg, for instance-despite the fact that Balzac himself never really accepted or adopted the doctrines in the Writings since he never knew them intimately or at first hand.
     * See my review of these pieces in New Philosophy, LXXVI (October, 1973), 498-510.


     It is equally clear that Le Boys des Guays' efforts to arouse George Sand's interest in Swedenborg were effective up to a point, but certainly they never had the intended result of converting her to the New Church. Like the earlier figure Oberlin, she was impressed but obviously stopped somewhere well this side of discipleship. And the other later literary personages who were drawn in various degrees to Swedenborg's name-Charles Baudelaire, Gerard de Nerval, Henri de Latouche-show little more, in Dr. Sjoden's view, than the indisputable influence that Swedenborg had on a wide variety of artists and intellectuals in the nineteenth century.
     What this reader ultimately finds most satisfactory about Dr. Sjoden's examination of two centuries of Swedenborgian influence in France is his own clear perception of the significant distinctions between the "swedenborgiens" and the "swedenborgistes"-those who found in the Writings a theology that provided them with a full and living religion, as opposed to those who grazed hither and yon amid the Writings for whatever took their fancy at that moment or for whatever could be turned to some specific advantage. Dr. Sjoden summarizes the matter this way:

     The vital point is not to confuse the religion of the New Jerusalem, accepted by profoundly religious men like Le Boys des Guays, with the esthetic doctrine of some writers who used Swedenborg's powerful reputation to "add an ornament to their own literary renown." as Eugene Rollet expressed himself on the subject of Balzac's Livre Mystique (p. 199, my translation).

     That apercu, of course, is not the theme of Dr. Sjoden's study, but it is the clear-sighted sort of overview that is in keeping with the quality of the many other observations he makes about Swedenborg and France.
     For those who still retain a modicum of skill in French-albeit as rusty as my own-I would recommend taking the plunge and, dictionary in hand or lap, doing a bit of their own grazing on the attractive field that Dr. Sjoden spreads before us. It is well worth the effort.
     Robert W. Gladish


NCL 100 YEARS AGO 1987

NCL 100 YEARS AGO       Editor       1987

     On page 1 of the January issue in 1887 we find a word about optimism.

A pessimist is "one who complains of everything as being for the worst." An optimist is "one who holds the opinion that all events are ordered for the best." Accepting Webster's definitions as correct, there can be no doubt of the position of the New Churchman. He is an optimist, and sees in even the darkest phases of life the guiding hand of Providence leading to a Divinely good end. This does not close his eyes to the depravity and obscurity that exist.

MINISTER'S FAVORITE PASSAGE (7)       Rev. Nathan Gladish       1987

     I would like to introduce here only a section of a favorite passage, Arcana Coelestia 8478:4, and I encourage you to read the rest in its original context.
     Throughout, the subject is trust. The overall treatment covers three different levels: first in relation to the wandering Israelites in the wilderness who are asked to trust that Jehovah will provide "manna" every morning; secondly in relation to the early Christians who are instructed by Jesus not to worry, but to "consider the lilies" and to "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness"; and thirdly in relation to each of us in the world of the 1980s who wishes to sense the universal nature of the Lord's Providence "in the most minute things of all."
     At one point, while discussing trust in terms of care for the morrow-what it is and is not, the type of people who have it and the type who do not-the passage treats of those who are not solicitous about the morrow, who trust in the Divine:

Unruffled is their spirit whether they obtain the objects of their desire or not; and they do not grieve over the loss of them, being content with their lot.

     Oh! to have such trust! My favorite section follows:

Be it known that the Divine Providence is universal, that is, in things the most minute; and that they who are in the stream of Providence are all the time carried along toward everything that is happy, whatever may be the appearance of the means; and that those are in the stream of Providence who put their trust in the Divine and attribute all things to Him; and that those are not in the stream of Providence who trust in themselves alone and attribute all things to themselves, because they are in the opposite, for they take away Providence from the Divine, and claim it for themselves.


known also that insofar as anyone is in the stream of Providence, so far he is in a state of peace; also that insofar as anyone is in a state of peace from the good of faith, so far he is in the Divine Providence. These alone know and believe that the Divine Providence of the Lord is in everything both in general and in particular, nay, is in the most minute things of all (Arcana Coelestia 8478:4).

     [Photo of Rev. Nathan Gladish]

     Perhaps the memories and the good feelings I associate with this passage make it one of my favorites. Sometimes when I read this a vivid picture comes to mind of one of many streams I have had the pleasure of seeing, hearing, smelling and tasting in the back country while camping and hiking. Those were days which included much contemplation of the Lord's Providence in a general way. Sometimes as I read, a marvelous orchestral piece of music will come to mind: a piece depicting in sound the majesty of a river flowing from its headwaters to the ocean. It emphasizes the point in the passage that the Lord is really with us the whole journey of life. And because of its comforting quality, this passage brings to mind times when my father or a friend would come put his hand on my shoulder, listen to my concerns and add some word of hope. (Perhaps this passage also stands out for me because it is one of the first passages in the Writings that I became familiar with, and one of the few passages of which I can recall the paragraph number from memory.)


     In another sense, this passage has become a general border or frame within which to develop a more complete picture of the Lord's Providence using other passages and ideas that "fit" this frame. Passages that come to my mind while reading this are AC 6574 with the statement, "Nothing whatever, not even the least thing, shall arise except good come from it." And AC 2338 speaking of being "cheered by hope" and remaining "steadfast in what is affirmative," as well as the passage which encourages us to "believe, as is really the case, that all good comes from the Lord and all evil from hell" (DP 320). Like all those, this favorite passage provides a general uplift and, along with that, a sense of perspective from the clear light of truth rationally presented-as it has been done for us uniquely in the Writings.
     This passage is alive for me. It seems to speak with comfort and inspiration to every state. Like a fountain of living water, it has been a continual source of refreshment.
     Rev. Nathan Gladish

NCL 50 YEARS AGO       Editor       1987

     Those who follow the daily reading plan (see December issue) will be interested to know that this magazine reviewed such a plan fifty years ago.
     It is reported in the January issue of 1937 that Bishop de Charms addressed a special men's meeting. His remarks on the subject of change fit well in the first issue of a new year.

We do not believe in a binding tradition for the New Church. Every generation must be free to meet its own problems in its own way. Changes must come. They are according to the law of life, and must be faced squarely and met with courage. Yet, while the past is not to be binding, it should not be ignored either . . . . Customs and modes are not in themselves essential, and they are bound to change. But they have been adopted to protect or to provide for things which are essential, and which do not change. If customs are discarded, it must be because they no longer perform this use. If other forms are chosen to replace them, it must be because we believe they will perform this use. In all change we should have clearly before our minds things that are essential, things that must be protected and preserved. As time passes, as one generation takes the place of another, we still see the forms and customs, but the reasons for their adoption are easily forgotten. This is the reason for taking counsel, that we may not unwittingly take a backward step, while supposing that we are going forward.



COUNCIL OF THE CLERGY MINUTES       Editor       1987

     March 3-8, 1986

     [Continued from the December 1986 issue]

Second Session-The Influence of Magic, a paper by Rev. Geoffrey H. Howard.

     Mr. Howard's paper, which is available from the Secretary upon request, discussed how magic was employed in the fallen churches of the past, how the Lord restrained the influences of the spheres of hell in the Israelitish Church, and how although the Lord's first coming brought judgment upon the hells, still magic influenced the declining Christian Church and the Reformed Church. He then noted that the spiritual spheres which feed modern revivalism relate to magic. Next, he turned to Heaven and Hell 580 to illustrate what has been revealed about magical arts. He cited six areas for consideration: 1. the abuses of correspondences, 2. abuses of the outmosts of Divine order, 3. communication and influx of thoughts and affections, 4. operation by fantasies, 5. spirits making projections of their presence beyond themselves and presenting the illusion of being everywhere other than in the body, and 6. pretenses, persuasion and lies. In conclusion, Mr. Howard stated, "This is a summary of the spiritual influences that originated in ancient times, and which for a time triumphed in bringing about the downfall of the human race. We hope to have shown that these influences are far from dead. They are active in our world today, even though the Lord through His subjugation of the hells has greatly reduced the intensity of their influence. However, given the right climate, and the right forms for enchantments to take place, these spheres will descend and seek to gain mastery.
     "The priests of the New Church have been entrusted with the solemn responsibility to go forth and proclaim the New Gospel, to continue on earth what the twelve disciples were commanded to do on the nineteenth day of June 1770, in the spiritual world.
     "The Lord has provided us with His final revelation of Divine truth. He has provided that there will henceforth be a greater spiritual light, and a greater freedom whereby men may see His truth. Let us go forth to do our work fully mindful of the powers which the hells can wield-the powers of magic. He has revealed the tactics of 'magicians' and 'sorcerers' so that we may see the subtle dangers. From seeing them we may avoid them, and also help our people to avoid them. Then may both priest and layman be led safely by the genuine truth of the Lord now revealed in its fullness."


     Discussion-After being thanked by a number of his colleagues, Mr. Howard was asked if he felt that current rock music was another way in which magic was being introduced to influence people today, especially our young people. Another speaker was reminded of some of the teachings presented in Words for the New Church, that the broad principles are what we are dealing with and that they have universal applications through each generation and through each of the various doctrines as they apply to the different churches throughout time, and that the realities of the spiritual world and the broad principles are always the unseen ones; they are not the obvious ones.
     Another thought was that deceit is the worst evil facing us and in essence that is what magic is, pretending something to be what it isn't. Another offered a speculative thought that possibly the slow growth of the church is a vastation for us, just as Gideon's army had to be reduced to a small number, and when they had victory it was obviously not because of the numbers but because of the Lord. Perhaps the same may be true for our group in its natural growth, that we must see that it is not we building the church, but the Lord. Another felt that the so-called sharing groups that he experienced at Maple Leaf Academy were a useful and orderly way in which people could share feelings and at the same time protect their freedom and not feel the pressure of having to share if they chose not to. On the other hand, he agreed that much of the modern music of today can be a detrimental influence on our young people. It's unfair to say that all of modern-day rock music is bad, but it might be as high as one out of three because of the repetition of phrases, the incantations and the gentle yet forceful interjection between generations which could seriously damage their spiritual growth. Another felt that in a way storytelling is magic because it captures the mind and holds its attention, but by the same token. the Word is full of repetition and story-telling. There must be a good connotation to this. Another pointed out the magic of faith-healing as an example, especially when we demand immediate results. We see this so often in the medical profession when we ask for results as quickly as possible for the relief of pain or whatever, and yet the Lord teaches over and over again that it takes time to heal. It may even take a lifetime for a person to change his ways until he finally achieves spiritual health. One clergyman was eager to learn how to stir people through his sermons and classes to "feel good," that is, to be touched by the Lord's Word. He does not want to use "magic" to bring this about. But what are the proper ways to touch people's hearts? Also, is there a role we priests should be playing to counteract the magic of the day, or is this beyond our responsibilities?


     Mr. Howard, in his closing remarks, said he had ignored the subject of pop music because he couldn't cover all aspects of his subject due to time limitations. He did agree that there are good uses of magic as long as they are leading to Divine ends. He also agreed that there was a usefulness in retreats where our laity can get together in an informal setting and exchange not only their thoughts but their feelings in a useful sphere. He said that as long as we can step aside and let the Lord's Word move people, we certainly are on safe ground, for then it is not we that touch the hearts of men, but the affection within the Lord's Word.

Third Session-Prayer, Physical Healing and the Church, paper by Rev. Donald L. Rose (paper available from Secretary upon request).

     Mr. Rose's paper, which was circulated in advance and not read at the session, began by citing the familiar phrase mens sana in corpore sano (a healthy mind in a healthy body) (cf. AC 3951, 4459, 5159, 5236, 6936, 8378). He continued: "In calling attention to the question of physical healing and the church, I have asked that the implications be weighed of a saying in AC 4208 concerning the descendants of Abraham. Their worship 'did not at all affect their souls, that is, did not make them blessed in the other life, but only prosperous in this world.' And AC 7996 speaks of the ancients at dinners and suppers from which they had 'health and long life' and 'intelligence and wisdom.' (Apropos of this, you are reminded of an article in NCL, March 1980, entitled 'Eating in Company' in which are two dozen references.)"
     Next the paper invited attention to the book Talking With God by G. D. Mack, which was first published in England in 1961 and has since gone through a number of reprints. Many excerpts from it were cited.
     The paper went on to discuss a new focus on instruction in prayer, and then turned to the subject of experience and instruction. Discussing prayer Mr. Rose noted, "It has been suggested that a teacher or minister who does not practice prayer himself cannot really teach about it. There may be something to this, but in general I disagree. I would grant that the individual's parental upbringing and past experience can mold some of his attitude to such things as prayer. We can be considerably influenced by attitudes of previous generations. But I think we are all capable of instruction quite apart from our personal predispositions."
     He then asked the question: "What effect does the person on one end of the spectrum have on the person on the other end?" The answer was that although you might say they have a moderating effect on each other, and you may be right, "I am suggesting that those on the far ends of the spectrum can easily not have a moderating effect on each other, but rather the opposite.


If one is perceived as extreme, it can easily reinforce the attitude of someone who has the opposite view. If someone noticeably prays for all manner of things (like the winning or losing of trivial games), does it not tend to make others a little disdainful of the whole subject of prayer? And if on the other hand one belittles prayer, one can be perceived as almost agnostic in attitude or heedless of what the Writings seem to say."
     Mr. Rose invited thought on whether physical health should be a prime focus in a religious context. Does focus on physical health have the potential of bringing the emphasis too much on this world?
     Next, attention was called to a book by Dr. Martin A. Larson entitled New Thought, A Modern Religious Approach. Published in 1985 by Philosophic Library (New York), this book is a phenomenon. The author met Doug Taylor twenty years ago and through him acquired many books of the Writings. He has obviously read them a lot. Frank Rose has visited the old gentleman a number of times, and he has contributed to the new church building now planned in Tucson! One might very well give this book the title: The Influence of Swedenborg on Modern Religious Thinking. The first forty-five pages of this book of over 400 pages are under the heading: "Swedenborg: The Fountainhead."
     "Those pages, of course, are filled with references to Swedenborg and the Writings, and then one finds that Swedenborg is mentioned many times in the rest of the book. The main reason I refer to it in the context of this paper is perfectly illustrated in the subtitle to the book, which is: 'The Philosophy of Health, Happiness and Prosperity.' Is the message of Swedenborg a philosophy of health, happiness and prosperity'! Happiness, certainly, but are the other two words appropriate?"
     After this review Mr. Rose's paper posed the question, "Has association with healing movements like Christian Science harmed or helped the growth of the New Church? Has it served as an attraction? Has it led to a mixing and watering down of the doctrines which in the long run has been detrimental to growth?"
     Next it discussed the positive value in prayer for others, asking, "Should we pray for material things?" and "Is the New Church approach to prayer different?" Finally the paper turned to healing, noting that "an obvious area for doctrinal discussion relating to physical healing is that of whether manifest miracles are done at this day. You know the teachings well on this and may wish to discuss it. What I would point out here is that just as the angels might seem a little heartless in AC 2380 in their lack of concern for 'bodily trouble,' the Writings seem to be rather severe on alleged miraculous healings.


     "Do 'miracle' healings have an uplifting effect on people? What has been the use of the countless miracles in the monasteries, whose walls are fitted with pictures, plates and gifts? Has anyone been made spiritual thereby? (See Invitation 46.) The same work goes on to ask in number 52, 'What have miracles taught concerning Christ? What concerning heaven and life eternal? Not a syllable.' Do miracles, instead of uplifting people, tend to make them natural? A wonder-worker named Simon achieved a number of miracles and made many of the early Christians think that it was by Divine power" (see TCR 378, Inv. 55).
     Mr. Rose concluded with some thoughts on our perspective on healing. "It is all very well, you might say, to dismiss in an instant miraculous healings. Taking a lofty, better-than-thou attitude toward those engaged in healing, or seeking it, might seem spiritually arrogant. Well, let's face it. When we are in trouble, we are all pretty much the same. Dr. Odhner put this absolutely beautifully when he said, 'In our hearts we all pray for health when it eludes us.'
     "That is from page 203 of his book Spirits and Men. I like to assume that those interested in this will be familiar with the last two chapters of that book. It is one of the important steps in doctrinal progress on this subject. I like, also, to make the assumption that the main passages on this subject are familiar to you."

     Discussion-Mr. Rose in his opening remarks noted that he was moved by a paper last year on the subject of prayer presented by Rev. Christopher R. J. Smith. He then asked, on the subject of healing, "If a Christian minister is charged to go forth and heal, are we as New Church ministers to accept the same charge?" Consider AC 2780 and what follows on miracles. He also turned our attention to a 1969 New Church Life editorial by Mr. Henderson where the question was asked, "is the General Church a praying church? A child without prayer is inconceivable, so don't erase piety and prayer." He also noted that one minister had recently said to him that he "believes the General Church is just learning how to pray." What are the implications of such a statement? With these introductory remarks and the paper before the council, discussion followed.
     In this discussion one colleague noted the quotation, "The Lord does not hear prayers when a person prays for himself." Another asked the question, "What benefits do we as a church offer? If we do not offer healing, is prayer a legitimate experience?" Referring back to the earlier paper on magic, one minister asked the question, "Is healing magic?" The Writings say that we should pray for understanding of the Word, and pray for the New Church to be established. Both these statements seem to relate to prayer for others as well as for oneself.


Editorial Pages 1987

Editorial Pages       Editor       1987


     There is a saying in no. 330 of Conjugial Love that eventually a husband ceases to see the natural beauty of his wife but rather sees her spiritual beauty and falls in love with her again. (Reliable Latinists support the rendering "falls in love with her again." Perhaps the best rendering now in print is, "sees her spiritual beauty and for this loves her anew.")
     Outward beauty obviously plays a part when one first falls in love. Sometimes external beauty has too much influence in a man's choice. (This is indicated in CL 49.) Beauty is, however, what the Writings call a "mediate good." "Take as an example conjugial love: the good which precedes and initiates is beauty, or agreement of manners . . . . These goods are the first mediate goods of conjugial love. Afterwards comes conjunction of minds, wherein the one wills as the other, and perceives delight in doing that which pleases the other" (AC 4145).
     The Writings say emphatically that in conjugial love there are myriads of delights. One of them is to have one's eyes opened to see one's wife's spiritual beauty. Another is to then see her natural beauty again but with new eyes. "He then recalls her natural beauty, but under another aspect" (CL 330).
     There is yet another delightful experience related to this, and that is meeting your partner in the other world. When wives see their husbands after death they readily know them, but husbands are rarely so quick to recognize their wives, because men have an exterior perception of love and women an interior perception (see CL 48a). There is an account in the Spiritual Diary of the amazing experience of a man who at first did not recognize his wife. It says, "A wife was beheld by her husband." Later it says, "the wife appeared in a resplendent form like an angel, and he regarded her with admiration; and at last even that form was taken away, and then he was astounded" (SD 4688).


     We welcome with admiration the fourth volume of the Arcana as translated by John Elliott. As this volume contains the beginning of the Gorand Man series we invite readers to compare the version they already have of AC 3624 with the following two renderings.


Let me now tell of and describe marvels which, so far as I know, have not as yet been known to anyone, nor has even the idea of them entered anyone's head-the marvel that the whole of heaven has been formed in such a way that it corresponds to the Lord, to His Divine Human; also the marvel that the human being has been formed in such a way that every single part of him corresponds to heaven, and through heaven to the Lord. This is a great mystery which is now to be revealed . . . .

I am now allowed to report and describe some remarkable things, which to my knowledge have never been recognized by anyone or even crossed anyone's mind-namely that heaven in its entirety is so formed that it is responsive to the Lord, to the divine-human, and that man is so formed that in every detail he is responsive to heaven and through heaven to the Lord. This is an immense mystery that must now be unveiled . . . .

     You may also wish to glance at the Latin, which reads as follows:

3624. Mirabilia nunc referre et describere licet, quae, quantum scio, nondum alicui nota sunt et ne quidem in alicujus mentem venerunt, quod nempe universum caelum ita formatum sit ut correspondeat Domino, Ipsius Divine Humane; et quod home ita formatus sit ut quoad omnia et singula apud eum, correspondeat caelo, et per caelum Domino; hoc est mysterium magnum quod nunc revelandum.

     The first rendering above is by John Elliott. The second is by Dr. George Dole, the 1984 publication entitled The Universal Human put out by Paulist Press. Both of the above are available from the General Church Book Center.
Editorial Pages 1987

Editorial Pages       Editor       1987

     We do not as yet have the figures for 1986, but our circulation total in 1985 was 1,705. Of these, 341 were sent free to libraries, clergy, new members, and 293 were paid for as gift subscriptions. Our total circulation in 1950 was 889. In 1955 it was 1,075. In 1965 it was 1,299, and in 1975 it was 1,626.



POETRY AND TYPOGRAPHY       Warren F. David       1987

Dear Editor,
     Correspondents have criticized the changing of the typography of passages from the Writings. I would simply observe that what is commonly considered to be the unadulterated truth of the new revelation is commonly presented in a straightjacket. Sentences are strung one after another and pushed into a format of lines that are precisely three and five eighths of an inch wide, with words hyphenated arbitrarily to achieve justified edges on both sides. The type is commonly limited to black Roman upper and lower case, with capitalization according to standard British or American style. Is this not changing the presentation of revelation to suit one's own whims? Why do we criticize someone who prefers to subordinate typographic style to clarity? If the resultant clarified text appears to be poetic, that is because of the ideas contained in it, not because it has been freed from justified margins.
     As regards poetry or not, none of the Psalms would qualify as poetry under some definitions because Hebrew poetry is made from juxtaposed ideas that complement each other rather than words that have similar sounds or accents. It is not surprising to me that ideas referring to good and ideas referring to truth also occur frequently in the Writings.
     Warren F. David,
          Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania

"CONJUGIAL"       Rev. Leon C. Le Van       1987

Dear Editor,
     The November number of New Church Life carries an article on the meaning and use of the word "conjugial" as applied to marriages. It asks in effect whether the church would not be better served by simply using the familiar expression "marriage love" instead of introducing a new word.
     "Marriage love" as popularly understood treats of married life on earth. But "conjugial love" treats not only of married life on earth but also of marriage love in its "origin and essence"-which means of its origin and essence in God.
     This is a new teaching. So new, in fact, that Swedenborg heard a voice from heaven declaring: "We are aware that no one on earth knows what true conjugial love is in its origin and essence" (CL 42).


     Webster's unabridged dictionary carries the word "conjugial" which it defines as: "used to distinguish the Swedenborgian conception of marriage as a spiritual union."
     Conjugial love is a spiritual love. It is received by spiritual husbands and wives from the Lord, in whom is its origin and essence. For that higher and more inclusive meaning, the word "conjugial" serves well, and the church, I believe, should feel reluctant to discourage its use.
     Rev. Leon C. Le Van,
          St. Petersburg, Florida

IS THERE A SHORTER WAY INTO THE PROMISED LAND?       Rev. Ray Silverman       1987

Dear Editor:
     Rev. Kent Junge's sermon, "The Risks of the Promised Land" (September 1986), was both delightful and profound. In addition to the wonderful humor, Rev. Junge: raises issues that are essential for us to consider.
     He calls us back to the story of the Children of Israel, only two years out of Egypt, at the edge of the Jordan River. This was their first opportunity to cross over into the promised land. Joshua and Caleb had told them that there would be giants in the land, but that the Children of Israel were well able to overcome them. "The Lord is with us," said Joshua. "Do not fear them"(Numbers 14:9). Is this, perhaps, a "shorter way" into the promised land?
     What about the forty-year journey in the wilderness? Haven't we come to believe that the forty-year journey is absolutely essential? That every person must undergo it? That forty years represents temptation and that temptation is essential before a person can enter heaven? (See AC 8179.) What could be the significance of the Children of Israel going into the promised land after only two years? As Rev. Junge puts it, would not this go "against the ancient law of eating our dessert before we have finished our vegetables"!?
     We know that temptations are essential for regeneration. We will indeed face them, just as the Children of Israel would indeed face the giants that infested the promised land. But to what extent will we enter into temptation? The Lord advised His disciples to "agree with thine adversary quickly" (Matthew 5:25). It refers to quickly noting an evil tendency arising in us, and shunning it as soon as possible. Caleb's words to the Children of Israel apply here: "Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it" (Numbers 13:30).


Even at the beginning of a temptation, even when we catch the first glimpse of some negative thought, or feel the first inkling of some uncharitable emotion, we are to shun it by "going up at once." If not, if we ignore these early warning signs, the temptation will totally consume us. The adversary will deliver us to the judge, the judge will send us to the jailer, the jailer will cast us into prison, "and thou shalt by no means come out thence till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing" (Matthew 5:26; cf. Luke 12:57-59). It is all for our own good. Sometimes we only learn what is best for us through long and bitter experience. It is for this reason that temptations, once entered into, continue even to despair. We must pay the uttermost farthing, go forty years. The Lord permits us to go through the total despair of temptation so that we might have a foretaste of hell and its horrors. And yet He desires that we learn from that experience-learn to call upon Him immediately, and not enter in at all. His last words to His disciples before His inevitable crucifixion were, "Pray that you might not enter into temptation" (Luke 22:40).
     Rev. Junge has opened up an important area for doctrinal investigation. The only other article I can find anywhere that touches on this subject is an essay by Bishop N. D. Pendleton called "The Avoidance of Temptation" (Selected Papers and Addresses, Lancaster Press: 1938, pp. 214-223). In that essay he notes that reconciliation with an adversary means to be "well-minded" toward others. He writes: ". . . here is a revealing of the only way in which an evil temptation may be avoided, namely, by a 'quick agreement with the adversary.' The spirit of such an agreement is to be 'well-minded,' or to have good will, in which case there is no imprisonment. A good man holds all others in good will . . . . Spiritual good will knows no enemy. It forgives every offence. Such a state of mind is invulnerable to evil attack. It draws its strength directly from the presence of the Lord . . . . It cannot be tempted" (pp. 221-222).
     In reflecting on the insights of Bishop Pendleton and Rev. Junge, I am beginning to see that there perhaps is a "shortcut" into the promised land. If we can detect the early warning signs of our negative states, shun them immediately, and then "go up at once" to well-mindedness, we shall overcome. It is not so much that we will not be tempted. We will still have giants to face, even in the promised land, but we will be "well-minded" toward them. Being able to smile and laugh at ourselves, at our own states of "temporary insanity," we shall send the inner giants scurrying off in all directions. We will not "enter into temptation." And we shall sit down in peace to enjoy the milk and honey of spiritual good will toward men. "If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, 'a land which flows with milk and honey.'"


     Let me again express my thanks to Rev. Kent Junge for a most delightful and thought-provoking article. He has opened up a most important area of study for our church. I would be interested in hearing from any readers who have experienced the "shorter way" into the promised land.
     Rev. Ray Silverman,
          Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

CATHOLICS AND PROTESTANTS       Janet McMaster       1987

Dear Editor:
     It really saddened me to see the excellent series "A Light Burden" end with what seems to me inaccurate and insensitive descriptions of the Protestant and Catholic Churches. These descriptions (October issue, p. 462) were valid at the time Swedenborg made them, but they are not accurate now. I have had quite a few experiences with Protestant and Catholic churches as well as having very good Protestant and Catholic friends. There are many open hearts and open minds. The Lord is working within them, and they are working for the Lord.
     In my dealings with Protestants and Catholics, I have been met with love and respect. There are times when we do not agree, but this does not mean that we do not have common ground and a common purpose. We have the Lord's Word and we want to live according to it. This gives us mutual respect for one another. My friends truly wish me well in my relationship with the Lord and my church.
     As a church I do not see that we are very willing to listen to the perspectives of others, nor do we seem to have much respect for other people's relationships with the Lord. We may think we do. But if we continue to bundle them all up under names that they identify with, and describe them using 200-year-old information-and we seem to do this often-we are not showing them much love or respect.
     Names are symbols. The name of a faith is often a symbol for an individual's relationship with the Lord. If we are going to comment on our neighbor's relationships with the Lord, we should make sure we are not bearing false witness or outdated witness. Swedenborg's information was true at that time. Even my friends say the same of their own churches of long ago. The Protestants and Catholics I have met can no longer be defined by the doctrines Swedenborg criticized. I find people have very personal understandings of the Lord which they feel they have received from their faiths.


     There are some differences between Protestants and Catholics. Generally I find Protestants more intellectual and questioning, and I find them more Bible-based. I find Catholics more affectional and trusting, and I find that they have a strong belief in spiritual realities. I also find that the big division in the Christian Church of my experience is no longer between Catholics and the Fundamentalists. There is a significant difference between these perspectives. But within all faiths there are many perspectives, and it is very difficult to categorize Christians today. I find it is essential not to think I know what they believe before they tell me.

     I realize my information about Protestants and Catholics is limited. I may live in a larger Christian community, but the Christian Church is very different in various parts of the world and even in North America. However, I have a hard time reconciling the lack of sensitivity our church seems to have regarding our most important allies. There is a lot of wrong in our world. Why do we take aim and fire at those very people who are trying to make a place in, their minds, hearts and lives for the Lord? Rather than separate ourselves from them we should be finding our common ground and giving each other support.
     I am sure the Protestants and Catholics being referred to are not the Protestants and Catholics I have met. The description does not fit. Perhaps this description may fit some, but if we use a name, all those who identify with that name will feel that they are being described. Out of love of our neighbors, we should always use their names with accuracy and sensitivity.
     Janet McMaster,
          Ottawa, Canada

BRYN ATHYN TABLEAUX       Editor       1987

     In recent years the Bryn Athyn Society has invited neighbors from surrounding communities to attend the live Christmas dramatizations or tableaux. The photograph on the opposite page appeared last month in the following local newspapers: The Globe, The Public Spirit, The Times Chronicle, and The Montgomery County Record.
     Total attendance at five performances on December 14th was 1,770.


     [Photo of scene from tableaux]



OAK ARBOR CHURCH-DETROIT       Editor       1987

     The Oak Arbor Church of the New Jerusalem (formerly the Detroit Society) dedicated its new chapel and school building over a festive weekend at the end of August.
     Some 180 members and friends from near and far attended the dedication ceremonies, which included a banquet Saturday night and the rite of dedication Sunday morning. There were also cocktail parties before the banquet and open houses afterwards at several of the homes on Olivewood Court, just down the street from the church.
     The main speakers at the banquet were Bishop King, who spoke on "The House of the Lord," and Rev. Geoffrey Childs, former pastor of the Detroit Society, who spoke on the past and future of the society. Rev. Walter Orthwein, as toastmaster, welcomed the guests and made a brief introductory speech, and Rev. Patrick Rose gave a toast to the church. At a gathering in the social hall after church on Sunday there was a toast to the church by Rev. Brian Keith, with a response by Rev. Douglas Taylor. Special music at the banquet and Sunday morning added greatly to the sphere.
     During the worship service on Sunday morning, Mr. Thomas Steen, vice chairman of the society, presented to the bishop as part of the rite of dedication a key to the new building.
     The Michigan congregation has been without a building of its own since it sold its former church on Long Lake Road in Troy in 1981. Both the worship services and school have been in rented quarters since that time.
     The Oak Arbor Church School, grades one through six, has an enrollment of 15 this year. Mrs. Karen Lehne and Miss Hayley Synnestvedt are the teachers.
     The new sanctuary seats approximately 150. It is located at the entrance to the society's 100-acre community property. Nine of the ten lots in the first section of the community to be developed now have homes on them, and next summer a new section will be opened for development when the present road is extended farther into the property. Condominiums will be built in the new section, and several new single-family lots will also be opened up in the new section.
     The Oak Arbor community is located in Oakland Township three miles north of the town of Rochester, a northern suburb of Detroit, in a beautiful rural area of rolling hills, woods and farm fields.
     Much loving care went into the design of the new building, and it meets the present need of the society ideally, providing a very attractive sanctuary and classrooms for the church school.


In the future, though, the society plans to build a larger permanent church more in the center of its community. When this will be depends upon the growth of the society. The present sanctuary is already nearly full on some Sundays.

     [Two photos of Oak Arbor Church]





     The announcement of the Assembly art show (June 3-7) is in the October issue (p. 443). The chairperson is Helen L. Lee, 1015 Jefferson Heights, Pittsburgh, PA 15235; phone (412) 373-0209.
     The Junior Art Show is for those under the age of nineteen. Work should be two-dimensional pictures 14" x 20" or less preferably. If it is larger, consult the chairperson. Each entrant may submit one piece which is to be accompanied by a quotation or reference from the Writings.
     Entry forms obtainable from Mrs. Lee. Entries are to be sent to: Nancy P. Ebert, Box 191, Bryn Athyn, PA 19009.


Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, 19009, U. S. A.
Information on public worship and doctrinal classes provided either regularly or occasionally may be obtained at the locations listed below. For details use the local phone number of the contact person mentioned or communicate with the Secretary of the General Church, Rev. L. R. Soneson, Cairncrest, Bryn Athyn, PA 19009, Phone (215) 947-4660.

     (U. S. A. addresses next month)


Mr. and Mrs. Barrie Ridgway, 68 Hilder St., Weston, Canberra, A. C. T. 2611.     

     SYDNEY, N.S.W.                                   
Rev. Erik E. Sandstrom, 22 Dudley Street, Penshurst, N.S.W. 2222. Phone: 57-1589.


Rev. Cristovao Rabelo Nobre, Rua Xavier does Passaros 151, Apt. 101 Piedale, Rio de Janeiro, RK 20740. Phone: 021-289-4292.




Mr. Thomas R. Fountain, 1115 Southglen Drive S. W., Calgary 13, Alberta T2W 0X2. Phone: 403-255-7283.

Mr. Daniel L. Horigan, 10524 82nd St., Edmonton, Alberta T6A 3M8. Phone: 403-469-0078.

     British Columbia:

Rev. William Clifford. 1536 94th Ave., Dawson Creek, V1G 1H1. Phone: (604) 782-3997.


Rev. Louis D. Synnestvedt, 58 Chapel Hill Drive, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada N2G 3W5.

Mr. and Mrs. Donald McMaster, 726 Edison Avenue, Apt. 33, Ottawa, Ontario K2C 3P8. Phone: (613) 729-6452.

Rev. Geoffrey Childs, 2 Lorraine Gardens, Islington, Ontario M9B 424 Phone: (416) 231-4958.


Mr. Denis de Chazal, 17 Baliantyne Ave. So., Montreal West, Quebec H4X 281. Phone: (514) 489-9861.


Mr. Jorgen Hauptmann, Strandvejen 22, Jyllinge, 4000 Roskilde. Phone: 03-389968.


Rev. Kenneth O. Stroh, 2 Christchurch Court, Colchester, Essex C03 3AU Phone: 0206-43712

Mr. and Mrs. R. Evans, 111 Howard Drive, Letchworth, Herts. Phone: Letchworth 4751.

Rev. Frederick Elphick, 21B Hayne Rd., Beckenham, Kent BR3 4JA. Phone: 01-658-6320.

Mrs. Neil Rowcliffe, 135 Bury Old Road, Heywood, Lanes. Phone: Heywood 68189.


Rev. Alain Nicolier, 21200 Beaune, France. Phone: (80) 22.47.88.


Mr. Ed Verschoor, Olmenlaan 7.3862 VG Nijkerk


Mrs. H. J. Keal, Secretary, 4 Derwent Crescent, Titirange, Auckland 7. Phone: 817-8203.


Mr. and Mrs. Klaus Bierman, Axel Flindersvei 3, Oslo 11. Phone: 28-3783.


Mr. and Mrs. N. Laidlaw, 35 Swanspring Ave., Edinburgh EH 10-6NA. Phone: 0 31-445- 2377.

Mrs. J. Clarkson, Hillview, Balmore, Nr. Torrance, Glasgow. Phone: Balmore 262.



Rev. Geoffrey Howard, 30 Perth Rd., Westville, Natal. 3630. Phone: 031-821 136.


Rev. Norman E. Riley, 8 Iris Lane, Irene, 1675 R. S. A., Phone: 012-632679.

Mrs. D. G. Liversage, Box 7088, Empangeni Rail, 3910, Natal, South Africa. Phone: 0351- 23241

     Mission in South Africa:
Superintendent-The Rev. Norman E. Riley (Address as above)


Contact Mr. Rolf Boley, Arvid Morners Vag 7, 161 59 Bromma. Phone: efter kl. 18.00, 08- 878280



INVISIBLE POLICE       Editor       1987


     Originally published in 1932 and 1935
Reprinted 1986
Softcover      postage Paid $6.50
General Church Book Center      Hours: Mon-Fri 9-12
Box 278                               or by appointment
Bryn Athyn. PA 19009                    Phone: (215) 947-3920


Notes on This Issue 1987

Notes on This Issue       Editor       1987

Vol. CVII     February, 1987     No. 2


     Notes on This Issue

     We might think that a letter to New Church Life is less substantial than an article. An article involves work. Letters can involve careful work too. The letter about church music represents considerable research. Consider the chart on page 85, which is part of the letter on music. Under each of the headings the "A" graph represents the music we usually use, and the "C" graph shows a surprising contrast with our festival music. That demonstration took some doing. ("B" represents a comparable hymn book from another church organization.)
     Kent Doering of Germany concludes an in-depth answer to a question about the "New Age" raised by another correspondent.
     A passage in the Writings describes an attitude that leads to insanity and one that leads to wisdom. Rev. Clark Echols of Denver, Colorado, tells why this is a favorite passage.
     New Church reader, can you be trusted with a compliment? Will it go to your head? Or will it encourage you in your efforts? You will find it in the winsome article by Mr. Alfred Mergen.
     Last month we had news from Detroit. This month a sprightly report from Glenview begins by describing the functions of individuals there. Rev. Eric Carsweil is said to be "Assistant pastor, head of Midwestern Academy, troubleshooter." In his sermon Rev. Carswell speaks of a cycle of behavior that can take hold in a marriage and spiral downward. "Each partner is holding the other responsible for an ever-increasing debt." He speaks of ways of developing a habit of forgiveness, some direct, some indirect.
     Rev. Kenneth Alden explores applications of several teachings from the Word to the issue of abortion. Rev. Alden serves in the Washington Society.




     "Forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors" (Luke 11:4).

     Every time we say the Lord's prayer we say these words. What do they mean? Does it mean that there is relationship between our being forgiven and how we forgive others? In the parable of the wicked servant, the king withdrew his forgiveness of a great debt when he learned that his servant had been unforgiving of a fellow servant's debt. We know the Golden Rule tells us that we should do to others as we would like them to do to us, but this is a little different. The truth is that the Lord has promised us that there is a direct relationship between what we do or think and what we will receive ourselves. He has promised us that the measure that we use will be measured to us again.
     Of course, this does not always appear to be the case in this world. It will most certainly occur in the other life. Those who desire the possessions of others will be surrounded by spirits like themselves. They will know the fear of being in constant danger of losing what they own. Those who desire to rule over others will be surrounded by others who want to dominate and make others obey by any method possible. Those who feel as if they are owed a lot by all around them will eternally be asked to give more than they want to. All the people who have doggedly chosen evil in this life will eternally be in hell surrounded by others who are evil like themselves. There will never be any true peace for them.

     In direct contrast, those who receive the desire to serve others through their life in this world will be surrounded by others who desire to serve them. Those who desire to give will receive. The Lord promised us that if we freely give we will freely receive. There is a direct relationship between what we choose to do and think in this world and what our lives will be like eternally.
     Each time we say the Lord's prayer there is a reminder of this quality of the Lord's order. Each time we say, "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors" we can reflect on our habits of forgiveness.
     Perhaps you can remember a recent time when you felt mistreated. You felt as if someone had taken advantage of you or that your needs had not been given due consideration. You perhaps unconsciously felt that someone owed you something and was not acknowledging that debt. This happens at work, with friends and children and with spouses-maybe especially with spouses. Whatever the situation is, we can feel as if we are owed more than we are receiving.


If this thought stays in a person's mind, we know quite well that he can sink into a black hell of self-pity, or perhaps brood angrily on some appropriate recourse. He thinks perhaps he should withhold something himself. If his wife isn't going to be any more than considerate, then why should he be civil himself! An idea starts to direct his thoughts and actions to enable him to get subtle, or even open, revenge. Many people know from unfortunate experience that if a cycle of this behavior takes hold in a marriage it can spiral down with almost no bottom. Each partner is holding the other responsible for an ever-increasing debt. Forgiveness does not exist, and life at home will get worse and worse, until only hatred and cold fills the mind of the husband and wife. In this state both partners know quite well what hell is like, and the thought of having to live with each other for years to come looks like an unbearable eternity of misery.
     We desperately need to develop habits of forgiveness if we are ever to sense the peace and vitality of heaven. Unfortunately, forgiveness doesn't seem to be well understood by many people. Traditional Christian doctrine suggests that a person could live a full life of consciously chosen evil and still be forgiven and received into heaven. This is not what the Lord meant by forgiveness. An evil life has consequences that are unavoidable. What, then, does forgiveness mean? Forgiving another does not mean that we should completely ignore what someone else has done to us. If we have been badly hurt by what someone has said or done, he will never learn the effect of his behavior if something doesn't help him see what it has meant to us. Likewise, forgiving another doesn't mean that we should artificially make everything all better. If a teenage son wrecks the family car doing something foolish, forgiving him doesn't mean that his dad should pay all the costs to have it repaired and that he will be allowed to resume using the car as if nothing had happened. Again, this would be sheltering the teenage son from the consequences of his foolish choice and might be the worst thing that could happen.
     A picture of the Lord's forgiveness can be seen in the parable of the prodigal son. That young man had demanded his share of inheritance and had been wasteful with it. He had lost all that he had been given. Eventually he recognized what a miserable place he had fallen to and decided to return home to be like one of his father's well-cared-for servants. His father greeted him joyfully and held a special feast to welcome him home. The father was deeply happy that his son had returned a much wiser and more humble young man. But note that the father was not planning to give him more of his possessions. When the eldest son complained about the feast, his father told him, "All I have is yours." The younger son had been given his inheritance and had wasted it.


All that remained was the inheritance of the eldest son, and his father had no intention of redividing that to benefit the younger brother. He was not going to pretend that the whole incident had never occurred. But he still wanted good things for his younger son. He wanted him to be wiser. He wanted him to live as happy a life as he could, given the choices the son had already made. He held no grudge against him. He could welcome the younger son back. He could forgive him for what he had done. Forgiveness, in this sense, means that he harbored no anger toward his son. In spite of all the foolish, evil and wasteful things that his son had done, the father still wanted good things for him.
     This parable images the Lord's forgiveness. He could never hold a grudge. He never has the idea in mind that "You really messed up here, so you're on your own. Get yourself out of trouble." We are told in the Heavenly Doctrines that the Lord can never be angry, that in fact He cannot even look sternly at us, so great is His love. In this sense, the Lord forgives us no matter what we do. But, as we well know, this doesn't mean that the Lord will prevent us from suffering the consequences of our bad choices. When we have chosen evil, consequences will come and our lives will be less happy for it. And throughout it all the Lord will constantly be there to try to lead us away from further evil, and will work to help us to benefit from the consequences. He will work to bring the best possible result out of what happened. If the prodigal son had been meant to suffer, he never should have been led to the idea of returning home to beg his father's forgiveness. The Lord constantly is leading us away from evil and to insights of wisdom like those that the prodigal son had as he was wasting away as a swine herder. The Lord wants good things for us-always. He never holds a grudge.
     We don't always sense this forgiveness, partially because in our inner thoughts it is too easy to think of Him as being rather like us and our imperfections. Because we have thoughts of giving up on trying to help people who aren't responsive enough, it is easy to picture the Lord abandoning us for some of the things we do to each other. The Lord never will abandon us. We may turn away from Him, but He will never turn from us. His mercy and grace is forever.
     The more we develop habits of forgiveness, the easier it will be for us to sense the Lord's forgiveness. So, how can we individually develop habits of forgiveness? There are several ways of working on it, some direct and some indirect. One direct way is to work on preventing grudges from entering our speech and action. We can also work on trying not to brood over apparent injustices or injuries. It seems that acknowledging an injustice or injury to ourselves and briefly recognizing how we are reacting to it is necessary to prevent it from unconsciously controlling us.


And as we recognize that we have been imposed upon, we can work on not imputing evil motives to the person who is the source of the problem. We tend to react very differently if we think someone has deliberately inconvenienced or injured us from what we would do when a person has done so due to absentmindedness. The angels whenever possible always assume the best, and excuse as much as possible. Perhaps this can be accomplished by trying to consider how the world might look to the person that has done us wrong. Perhaps if we try to walk in his shoes for a minute, we will see what happened in a very different light.
     A less direct way of developing habits of forgiveness is to recognize what you have done wrong and picture how the Lord would respond to you. If we can gain an image of the Lord's forgiveness in our lives, perhaps it will begin to affect our own behavior of forgiving. Perhaps if we develop the humility that recognizes what we have done wrong and seek forgiveness from the Lord, then we will be better able to forgive others. Remember the Lord told us that for every speck of dust we can be aware of in another's eye there is a beam of wood in our own eye that can be recognized. We can know our own spiritual state much better than we can possibly know another person's. The more clearly we recognize ourselves as being in need of forgiveness, the more likely we are to give it to others.
     Developing habits of forgiveness is essential if we are ever to sense the peace of heaven. As long as we hold onto angry or sad thoughts of being owed something that we are not receiving, something of hell will live in our minds and bring us misery. Forgiveness isn't easy though, We know this well. When we have been significantly hurt, it is so easy to brood over the pain and loss. It is so easy to nurse a grudge and imagine methods of getting even. The evil spirits of hell love to inspire these thoughts in us. The moment anything happens that could possibly be sensed as an injustice they are hard at work trying to stir up anger and discontent in our minds. But we know that we can defeat them with the Lord's aid. It won't happen with a single choice, but if we do our part to work on habits of forgiveness, the Lord will be with us, fighting against the evil spirits, and bringing angels around us with their sense of forgiveness. As we develop habits of genuine and constructive forgiveness, the life of heaven will more and more come into our lives, and we will sense its peace and joy. May we remember this idea when we say these words of the Lord's prayer, "Forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors." Amen.

     LESSONS: Luke 15:11-32, Matt. 18:21-35, TCR 409


     Before the Lord came into the world, scarcely anyone knew what the internal man is or what charity is, and this is why in so many places He taught brotherly love, that is, charity; and this constitutes the distinction between the Old Testament or Covenant and the New. That good ought to be done from charity to the adversary and the enemy the Lord taught in Matthew: "You have heard that it was said 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven" (5:43-45). And when Peter asked Him how often he should forgive one sinning against him, whether he should do so until seven times, He replied: "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven"(Matt. 18:21,22). And I have heard from heaven that the Lord forgives to everyone his sins, and never takes vengeance nor even imputes sin, because He is love itself and good itself; nevertheless, sins are not thereby washed away, for this can be done only by repentance. For when He told Peter to forgive until seventy times seven, what will not the Lord do?


     A PAPER

     A better title for the talk you are about to hear would perhaps be "The Path by Which the Lord in His Divine Providence Led This Person from the Old into the New Church." I could say briefly that at a certain time in my life I was exposed to the work Heaven and Hell which found in me a very responsive mind, and becoming a member of the New Church was the inevitable result. There are, however, a few particulars in the story that might be of interest to you who were born into the church. A brief outline of the religious experiences of my life would sound something like this:

     1.      Born and baptized Catholic
     2.      Brought up Methodist
     3.      Became member of the Presbyterian Church
     4.      Confirmed and married Lutheran
     5.      Became member of the Pentecostal Church, including baptism by total immersion
     6.      Became member of Presbyterian Church again, including serving as both Sunday School teacher and Sunday School superintendent
     7.      Became member of The General Church of the New Jerusalem.


     It sounds like the description of a church tramp if there ever was such a person. I think it could be safely said that much was gained from each of these experiences, with the possible exception of the first.
     I was born the first son of a good Catholic father and a good Methodist mother who duly took instruction and tried very hard to become a Catholic. You might ask, What chance has a child born into a situation such as this have of ever attaining to such a varied religious experience? Well, three factors contributed to my early emancipation from Catholicism. One was in the form of a militant old German Catholic priest who thought it his duty to tell young mothers (and especially those converted to Catholicism) just how to bring up their children in the proper respect for the church. The second factor was a mother with independent enough spirit to resent being told, and the third factor was in a father who resented having his beloved wife told. I was told that such words were never exchanged before or since between a Catholic priest and one of his flock when the inevitable clash took place. The result, of course, had the priest with the last word: excommunication I believe they call it, a pronouncement for which I will never cease to be grateful.
     Of my sojourn in the Methodist Church I have the most pleasant memories because it was there as a very impressionable child that I was taught the Bible stories and a reverence for the Word. I believe my early religious training to be second only to that provided by the New Church. Anyone who has read Bishop de Charms' Growth of the Mind can understand how valuable the learning of the Bible stories can be to a child for his future spiritual development, and for a basis upon which the Lord can develop in him a true conscience. There was no attempt made to interpret the Bible stories, and there was no attempt made to teach doctrine. Thus there was little chance for error to creep into my early concepts of religion.
     Where doctrine is not taught there is also little chance for spiritual advancement, and people either become merely social members of a church or drift away entirely, of which the latter was my lot. Church as I knew it then held nothing more for me so I drifted away and for a few years rarely attended.
     My first experience with the Presbyterian Church came in my middle teens. There was a little community Presbyterian church just around the corner from where we lived. It was very convenient and had a very nice young people's group which attracted most of the young people of the neighborhood. It seemed only natural to join this church with the rest of my friends. Although we attended worship services quite regularly, our chief interest was in the activities of the young people's society.


In summer we would go to the state hospital for the insane at Mendota almost every Sunday afternoon and play baseball with the less violent of the inmates. This was really a very interesting experience. In winter we had a dramatics group and we would make a circuit of most of the small towns in the Madison area and put on plays. You can guess from this brief description that things of doctrine were not stressed much in this particular church. One of the advantages of this lack of interest in doctrinal teaching outside the New Church is that there is less chance for people to learn and be confirmed in falsities.
     When I was 22 years of age and a student at the University of Wisconsin, I met the girl who is now my wife. After a whirlwind courtship of four years, we were married. She was born a Lutheran and since I had no church preference, it was only logical that I should adopt her faith. It was while a member of the Lutheran Church that I came in contact for the first time, at least consciously, with the doctrines of faith alone and the trinity as taught in the old church. It is true that the Methodists do have a false idea of the trinity but they do not stress the idea much, and so it does not become as firmly implanted in the mind. You who were born into the New Church have no doubt read in The True Christian Religion how strongly the Old Church doctrine on the trinity is condemned. We who have come from the old into the new understand quite clearly the reason for so complete a condemnation. The old doctrine divides the mind; it clings like a leech; it is one of the most difficult of the falsities to cast from the mind. Even though the new doctrine is much more logical to the newcomer, the old tends to influence the thought for quite some time after its falsity has been recognized.
     About two years after we were married, the Lutheran Church began to be insufficient for my spiritual needs and I started looking for something deeper. The Pentecostal Church was the next choice. Here, thought I, was real religion. What better proof of deep spiritual quality could there be than talking in tongues as the early disciples did. Well, I joined up and my wife dutifully but tearfully followed. The Pentecostals are great Bible students. They pride themselves in taking the Bible from cover to cover just as it stands. They teach that such external things as smoking, drinking, dancing, playing cards, going to shows and sometimes even laughing and having fun are sins. I do believe their ideas on external holiness are very good for certain types of people, but their insistence on a purely literal interpretation of the Bible can lead a serious-minded person into great dilemma, as you can well imagine.
     It was while wrestling with such a dilemma that a friend put a copy of Helen Keller's My Religion into my hands.


Reading it answered many questions in my troubled mind. The friend then gave me a missionary copy of Heaven and Its Wonders and Hell. Words cannot adequately express the effect the reading of that book had on my mind. It was that for which I had been subconsciously seeking for many years but could not have received until that precise time. You might wonder what impresses the newcomer to the Writings most. I believe it to be the positive explanation of the relation between the natural and the spiritual worlds. Heaven becomes real-as logical and necessary a part of life as the natural world. The Lord can be seen for the first time as truly a God of love with a Divine purpose in creation that can be understood by men. The newcomer is impressed also by the rationality of these teachings. Any person reading the Writings for the first time and with an open mind cannot help but be convinced by their truth.
     Both my wife and I became interested in the Writings, and I suppose this story should have ended now with our joining the New Church. But that was not to be for several years. We did not know at the time of any organized church based upon the Writings that was close enough to participate in. Because the Pentecostal Church could no longer be for us, and we needed a church home for our family, we joined the Protestant church nearest our home. It happened to be Presbyterian.
     We also participated each week in a group led by the friend who introduced us to the Writings, Mr. Dan Pedersen. We read the Writings together and had discussion periods afterwards. Mr. Pedersen had a missionary spirit which prompted him to try to contact persons in the Madison area who might be interested in the Writings. It was through his efforts that Mrs. Howell, then Jane Scalbom, came to meet with this group. It was through Jane's efforts that Rev. Ormond Odhner began to visit us, and it was through Rev. Odhner's patient efforts that the Mergens finally became members of the General Church.
     Before closing, I would like to tell of my impression of the people of the New Church as I have seen them. One should not engage in flattery. What I am about to say is not flattery, but it is a sincere expression bf the evaluation of my observations. In no other church have I come in contact with a more learned and wise clergy possessing also the quality of humility. In no other church have I found a laity as interested and well-informed in doctrine. In no other church have I seen wives and husbands as devoted to each other and to the uses of the home. My wife and I consider it both a privilege and a responsibility to have been accepted as members of this church, and we feel certain that our church wandering days are over.




     When I say "nothing wrong" I have two things in mind: I cannot believe, as some would have us think, that the term "conjugial" in years past has impeded a true understanding of what the Writings teach concerning a love which is now to descend from the Lord out of heaven and is to be restored among men such as it existed with the ancients (see CL 8 le); and further, I think one may justly argue that a lot of good may ensue from our using a term that is not common in everyday language.
     On the other hand, I would not claim that alternatives such as "marriage," "marital," or "married" would make for outright erroneous renderings into English of the Latin conjugialis. We could have "marriage love," "marital love," "married love," etc. And so the question to which I would address myself, is: Is the term "conjugial"-for "us" and for the rest of the world-better?
     And perhaps it is worthy of note in this context that the question we are discussing (and which has been discussed from time to time in the pages of New Church Life at least since 1906) does not even arise in some of the other Germanic languages, e.g. German and the Scandinavian languages: these languages do not have a term borrowed from the Latin and equivalent to "conjugial." Translators facing this situation have no choice. That, however, does not necessarily make them fortunate. It simply illustrates the idea that "conjugial" is not the only possible rendering of conjugialis. That rather those are fortunate who use the English language or the Romance languages I hope will be suggested in the following.
     My reflections are prompted by various comments in the pages of New Church Life that, beginning about 1979, have urged (or resisted) the abandonment of the term "conjugial" from our New Church vocabulary. I believe it was Rev. Frank Rose who first raised the issue, and Dr. Durban Odhner, a linguist, and others discussed it further. The latest entry was that of Rev. Kurt Nemitz in the November, 1986, issue. Now in stepping into the arena let me for brevity simply number the points I would like to make, skipping any linking ideas.
     1. The doctrine and the term. A number of people, in and outside the pages of the NCL, have argued that the term "conjugial," not being used in everyday language, creates an unnecessary difficulty in understanding the doctrine concerning marriage in the Writings. I suggest, however, that the real stumbling block is the doctrine itself. This doctrine is new and revolutionary.


Its whole burden is that true marriage is from the Lord out of heaven, therefore that a marriage to be genuine must have within it what conjoins internally, so that all external conjunctive aspects may then be blessed from within. This is alien to the general trend of our day as reflected in the media, in greeting cards, and in common jokes, etc. Is it not good rather than unfortunate that there is a new term to go with doctrines that are new and filled with heavenly beauty? And are not alternative terms interiorly defined by prevalent attitudes that are not from heaven? If a new bottle is available, shouldn't we use it for new wine?
     2. Swedenborg preferred "conjugialis" rather than "conjugalis." He had a choice. Conjugialis was an old word that had fallen out of use (one of my dictionaries traces it to Ovid, who died in the year 16 A.D.). Conjugalis was a better known and far more common term, but it does not have the same derivation as conjugialis, and therefore does not carry the same connotation. In general there is the difference between "yoking together" and "joining together."
     As others have pointed out, Swedenborg was very sensitive in his choice of words. There is evidence that in this he perceived a certain dictate as he wrote. In SD 1147, referring to angelic speech, he writes, for example: "The words into which the meaning flows are flowing . . . . Accordingly, I am not now allowed to write flumen but fluvium, and so in other cases" (both words meaning a river). Also, in a communication to his colleagues in the Council of the Clergy, Rev. D. L. Rose called our attention to Swedenborg's deliberate choice of zelotypia as the word needed in the discussion of jealousy. We may infer that the choice of the term conjugialis was not accidental. Is not "conjugial" with us a better equivalent for conjugialis than, for example, "marital"; and does not this latter word go well with conjugalis? (And of the three alternatives that have been suggested, "marital" is the truest adjective, and should probably have priority over the other two.)
     3. The term "conjugialis" used in negative contexts. Some recent writers, notably Rev. Frank Rose, have pointed out that the word conjugialis is also used negatively in the Writings (for ex. in CL 236 frigus conjugiale, "conjugial cold"); and Mr. Rose therefore raises the question as to whether we have been mistaken in the past in virtually identifying "conjugial love" with "love truly conjugial."
     While agreeing that this caution has merit, I nevertheless believe at the same time that the Writings as a rule do identify "conjugial love" with "love truly conjugial"; and I doubt that anyone in the past has felt jarred in coming across a reference to conjugial love in the iron age, thus to sensuous conjugial love, or to conjugial cold, or even to something conjugial with animals.


These are unusual applications of the term "conjugial." And would "marriage cold," "marital cold," "married cold" really read better than "conjugial cold"?
     There are many instances in the Writings where terms which in themselves have an altogether positive connotation are used in negative combinations. "Love," for example, whether with the Lord or His image, means what is outgoing and giving (see TCR 43). Yet we also read of "selfish love," "evil love," etc. Faith, properly speaking, is inseparable from truth, and therefore "false faith" is in a sense a contradiction of terms; and in "faith alone," faith has really ceased to be faith at all. In fact, our decadent age has abused or polluted nearly all beautiful words; therefore the Writings treat also of perverted concepts, and in so doing adopt relevant terms.
     They themselves give a striking example of this, to wit: "Those who are in good and truth have will and understanding, but those who are in evil and falsity have not will and understanding; but instead of will they have cupidity, and instead of understanding they have knowledge. For the truly human will is a receptacle of good, and the understanding a receptacle of truth; for which reason will cannot be predicated of evil, nor understanding of falsity, because they are opposites, and opposites destroy each other . . . . It is believed that the evil also have will and understanding, because they say that they will and that they understand. . ." (NJHD 33; see also AC 634 and 977, and AR 935-italics added). And this of course does not prevent the Writings from speaking of both "will" and "understanding" with very negative adjectives in front of them.
     4. The Writings, in a general WAY, do identify "amor conjugialis" with "amor ver conjugialis" ("conjugial love" with "love truly conjugial"). The chief support for this point I find in the title page itself of the work Conjugial Love, which reads: The Delights of Wisdom Relating to Conjugial Love After Which Follow the Pleasures of Insanity Relating to Scortatory Love. Here "conjugial love" comes out as the opposite of "scortatory love," and "the delights of wisdom" as opposite to "the pleasures of insanity"-and "all truth appears relatively to its opposite" (AC 7075e); moreover, "no one knows what is good without also knowing what is not good, nor what is true without knowing what is not true" (AC 5356). Here, therefore, the title of the book announces that the subject to be treated of is a love simply called "conjugial love," a love that is at once defined to the reader as one that is opposite to scortatory love, and this in the sphere of the delights of wisdom as opposed to the pleasures of insanity. In this the book is in step with a universal law, which may be called "the law of opposites," and reads: "If man shuns an evil as sin, he comes into the good that is opposite to the evil" (Life 70).


     Further illustrations of the point can be found in innumerable statements throughout the book, for example: "Conjugial love proceeds from the marriage of good and truth" (CL 61), or: "Conjugial love is like a parent, and all other loves [celestial, spiritual, and thence natural loves] are like its offsprings" (CL 65). Both these statements occur in the chapter titled "Love Truly Conjugial." Isn't there an identity here?

     These, then, are some reasons why I believe it is a good thing that the term "conjugial" for 200 years has been engraved on the mind of the church, and has gained for itself a deep affectional attachment in the contemplation of a love that is new to our age, and is to be restored among those who approach the Lord in His second advent and apply to themselves the doctrines that have now been revealed concerning it (see CL 81e).

MINISTER'S FAVORITE PASSAGE (8)       Rev. J. Clark Echols       1987

Arcana 2568 is a favorite passage of mine because it provides my thinking with a firm foundation and, at the same time, a feeling of full freedom. This passage gives us specific advice about how to make decisions on all levels of our life. The first step is to develop, over time, an attitude that the Word tells the truth. In all simplicity and innocence I accept what the Word says. I draw my point of view (my "doctrine") from it. This can be work, as we are a "sophisticated" culture. Our natural man has so many tools whereby to make decisions of all kinds-from daily financial things to long-term spiritual things. But I must always begin with the point of view of the Word. The second step is that insofar as I have this attitude, I have total freedom to use any of the many kinds of tools that come to hand-from my computer to my prayers. I enter fully, as if of myself, into my decision-making. This is a great blessing that is little understood by those who do not know the teachings of the Writings. While acting in this way, I can have full confidence that I am "going in the way of the Lord" for if I begin to stray, I am open to the Lord's instructions. Arcana 2568 says all this so clearly and so fully that I have used it myself and in my counseling of others to great effect.

     [4] There are two principles: one of which leads to all folly and insanity, and the other to all intelligence and wisdom. The former principle is to deny all things, or to say in the heart that we cannot believe them until we are convinced by what we can apprehend or perceive by the senses; this is the principle that leads to all folly and insanity, and is to be called the negative principle.


The other principle is to affirm the things which are of doctrine from the Word, or to think and believe within ourselves that they are true because the Lord has said them: this is the principle that leads to all intelligence and wisdom, and is to be called the affirmative principle.

     [5] The more they who think from the negative principle consult things rational, the more they consult memory-knowledges, and the more they consult things philosophical, the more do they cast and precipitate themselves into darkness, until at last they deny all things. The causes of this are that no one can apprehend higher things from lower ones, that is, spiritual and celestial things, still less Divine things, from lower ones, because they transcend all understanding, and moreover everything is then involved in negatives from that principle. On the other hand, they who think from an affirmative principle can confirm themselves by whatever things rational, by whatever memory-knowledges, and whatever things philosophic they have at command; for all these are to them things confirmatory, and give them a fuller idea of the matter.

     [Photo of Rev. J. Clark Echols]




     An Address with Application to the Subject of Abortion

     And God spoke . . . these words, saying: ". . . You shall not murder" (Exodus 20:1, 13).

     The Lord was not speaking just to the people of Israel when He said. "You shall not murder." He was speaking to all people of all time, for this is a Divine command. Nor was the Lord speaking only of shootings, stabbings, poisonings, and so forth, but of all forms of killing both natural and spiritual. Although we may not have opportunity to actually murder another person as to his body, we have many opportunities to commit murder in other ways. The Lord was giving this commandment to us when He said, "You shall not murder."
     In the natural sense of the Lord's Word, which is given for men in the world, the Lord was forbidding not only murder but also the inflicting wounds from which another may die. He was also forbidding us from maiming another person's body. In addition, the Lord was also forbidding us from inflicting deadly harm on another person's name or fame through slander or defamation, for a person's life in society depends upon his good reputation. If we destroy another person's name to the point that others will not associate with him, or do business with him, then we have destroyed his life in society. We have murdered him (see TCR 309, AE 1012:3).
     In the moral degree of the natural sense, "You shall not murder" means that the Lord forbids us from bearing enmity hatred, and revenge which breathe slaughter against the neighbor. Enmity, hatred and revenge are murder in intention, if not in act (see TCR 309, Life 67, AE 1012:3). They are real murder, for we are told that when a person defames another from enmity, hatred or revenge, he is just as guilty in the sight of the angels of heaven as if he had murdered another person as to his body (see AE 1012:3). So the Lord forbids not only murder but also being angry with our brother, saying "Raca," and saying "You fool," for anger, despising another, and hating all involve murder in intention (see Matt. 5:21-22, AE 746:18).
     In the next deeper level of the Word, the spiritual sense, which is the sense especially understood by the angels of the middle heaven, "You shall not murder" means that we must not practice any manner of killing or destroying the souls of men (see Life 67).


This includes not turning men away from God, religion, or Divine worship by insinuating scandalous thoughts, or by persuading people such that they come to be averse to God, religion, or Divine worship, or come to abhor these (see TCR 310, AE 1012:4).
     At the deepest level of meaning in the Word, which is the celestial sense, and which is especially understood by the angels of the highest heaven. "You shall not murder" forbids us from being rashly angry with the Lord. It forbids us from hating the Lord and wishing to blot out His name (see TCR 312, Life 67). It also forbids us from destroying good and truth, for this is to destroy what is Human itself (see AE 1013:2).
     All of these kinds and degrees of murder cohere and make a one, so much so that if a person wills to commit one kind of murder, he wills to commit the others as well. For example, if a person wills to kill another as to his body, after death he will wish to kill that person as to his soul, and will hate the Lord (see Life 67). Conversely, a person who wishes to destroy the Lord will turn to destroy those who are devoted to the Lord when he finds he cannot destroy the Lord. But when he finds that he cannot kill the spirit of a man either, he will try to destroy the faith and charity of that man so that the man will live in the "death" of hell (see TCR 313).
     The Heavenly Doctrines make it very clear that from birth we all have tendencies to evils of every kind, and tendencies to all forms of murder (see Life 68, AC 637:2). We can see something of these tendencies when we reflect on the delight we sometimes experience in hating others or imagining their destruction. With those in hell, the delight of hatred exceeds all other delights (see AE 1013:4). It is a delight in real murder. The people who are in hell hate good and truth. They hate heaven. They hate the Lord. None of this hatred appeared as murder, nor did it appear openly while they lived in the world, and yet it was concealed within, and actually burst forth after they laid aside their natural bodies and came into the spiritual world (see AE 1013:3). In fact, all who are in evils of life and in falsities therefrom are murderers, and they are seen to be such when they become spirits (see AE 1014:2).
     We incline to the very same forms of hatred and murder that break forth with evil people who enter the world of the spirit. If we cherish those evils to which we incline, they would just as surely break forth into open murder if our externals were removed, that is, if our front of appearing moral and upright were taken away by having the fear of losing our good name or our fear of the law removed (see TCR 309, AE 1012:3, AC 1010:2). This is a terrifying thought. Picture to yourself what would have happened if in your most intense state of anger all fear of punishment or all fear of losing your reputation for being a good person were suddenly removed.


This sometimes happens as we can see from people in the news who have lost all control and restraint. But this does not have to happen to ourselves.
     To prevent the possibility of ourselves bursting into open acts of murder, we must shun the evils from which they stem. In proportion as a person shuns murders, deadly hatreds, and revenges which breathe slaughter, in the same proportion the Lord enters with mercy and love (see AE 949:3). When we abstain from hatred, turn from it, flee from it, shun it as diabolical, then love, charity, mercy and clemency flow in (see AE 1017). Nor must we shun hatred alone, but all evils. For example, the Heavenly Doctrines say that avarice, the unrestrained love of riches, would kill for a trifle if laws did not hinder (see AC 4751). This evil must be shunned. The love of dominion from the love of self especially murders others at heart (see AC 2027:2, AE 1016:2). Those who are in this love regard the rest of the world as being so vile that they may be killed at pleasure (see AC 4818:4). This love of dominion must be shunned if we are to avoid murdering others at heart.
     So we must shun all evils because they are sins against the Lord. As we turn from them, we turn away from hell and turn toward heaven (see Life 68). By shunning enmity, hatred, revenge and other evils as sins, we become truly reconciled to our brother (see Matt. 5:24, Life 73). Even if outward bonds and fears were removed, we would run no danger of murdering other people, for the Lord would have removed the anger, hatred and revenge from which murder springs.
     Although killing is, in itself, an evil, there are occasions when killing is not contrary to charity. The Heavenly Doctrines teach that killing in self-defense and in defense of one's country is not contrary to charity (see TCR 407e, Char. 166, DP 252:2). It is allowable to defend one's country from an invading enemy (see DP 252, SD 1063). Even aggression is allowable when it is part of a defense from an invading enemy (see Char. 164). The Heavenly Doctrines compare the zeal of a good love to a burning fire into which evil rushes and is burned up (see CL 365). It is a very different fire from the fire of anger which lashes out in an uncontrolled rage. Killing is an evil, but the real, essential thing to shun is the enmity, hatred, revenge, and other evils from which it springs.

     *     *     *     *     *

     In most cases, society opposes itself to murder in its natural form. We have laws against killing the body of another. We have laws against maiming others. We have laws against destroying the name of others through slander.


Still, there are areas in which murder in the natural sense is not forbidden. Currently the laws of this country do not prevent the killing of an unborn child. This leads to great confusion as to whether the killing of an unborn child is murder or not, and to confusion as to whether it is a sin against God or not. Abortion has become common and readily available. We have great need for guidance from Divine revelation in this regard, lest we unwittingly favor what the Lord abhors, or worse, lest we confirm as allowable that which is an abomination to the Lord.
     Much of the confusion in our country over the issue of abortion centers on the question, "Is fetal life human?" The Old and New Testaments possessed by all Christians show that it is.
     In the book of Exodus, chapter twenty-one, it speaks of a case of two men fighting and injuring a pregnant woman so that she gives birth to her child prematurely. The law then states that if no harm follows, a fine is to be exacted. But if harm follows, then life is to be given for life (Ex. 21:22-23). Responsible scholars have shown that this law includes both harm to the mother and harm to the fetus when it speaks of harm following.1 Since the penalty for the loss of the fetus's life is the loss of the combatant's life, this Old Testament law regards fetal life as being on par with the life of a living adult. It is, therefore, considered to be human.
     In the New Testament, it may also be seen that fetal life is regarded as human. When Mary came to visit Elizabeth, John the Baptist leaped in his mother's womb in response to the Divine presence in Mary's womb (see Luke 1:41, 44). Only human life can respond to the Holy Spirit.
     Further, the Lord was conceived of the Holy Spirit, and so there was Divine Human life in Mary's womb from conception (see Matt. 1:20). Clearly, it can be seen from the Old and New Testaments that fetal life is human.
     The Heavenly Doctrines affirm these conclusions. They say that although the embryo does not live from its own distinct life, it nevertheless lives from the Lord's life. His life forms the embryo in the womb (see D. Wis. III, 5, 6). Fetal life, then, must be human, for the Lord's life is supremely Human.
     Nor is the Lord's life with the fetus the same as His life with plants or animals, for the Heavenly Doctrines teach that the inmost angels are present with infants in the womb (see AC 5052e). Animals and plants do not have this angelic presence with them, only humans.2 Further, the Heavenly Doctrines say that the Lord conjoins Himself with man in the womb from first conception, not after the second or first trimester (see D. Wis. III:1).
     Clearly, fetal life is human life, even if the fetus is not a conscious recipient of the Lord's life and would not, on that account, enjoy a conscious and independent life after death should it die before inhaling its first breath.3


Its life is nevertheless human.
     If murder in the natural sense includes maiming another's body or defaming his name, surely the destruction of fetal life involves some degree of murder. It is destroying human life. It is destroying the presence of the Lord's life with the fetus. It is notable that the first choice of devils in hell is to kill the Lord (see TCR 312).
     We can see further from the Heavenly Doctrines that the act of abortion is evil. The Lord compares regeneration or spiritual rebirth to the process of birth. Instead of the gestation and birth of a child there is the gestation and birth of the truths belonging to faith and the goods belonging to charity (see AC 9325). As we might expect, ending fetal life signifies something perverse with regard to the life of regeneration. The Heavenly Doctrines say that when the Word speaks of miscarriage (or in the Latin, ahortus) and barrenness, these signify in the spiritual sense perversions of good and truth and vastations and denials of good and truth (see AC 9325:4). When this is the signification and correspondence of miscarriage, how could an upright person willingly bring this about, that is, practice abortion, unless it were out of ignorance of the evil involved (cp. CL 486), as the result of some evil not of his own fault but due to prevailing falsities (cp. AC 4171, 9171), or out of self-defense?
     We live in a terrible moral climate with regard to the killing of unborn children. Thousands upon thousands of human lives are destroyed each year. Clearly the hells are at work among us. They are preying upon our loves of self and the world to practice and condone this form of murder out of hatred for others and out of love only for ourselves and our pleasures. They are propagating false ideas about the nature of this evil. They are spreading ignorance by checking the spread of the truth. There is great danger that we or our children will become numb to the seriousness of this evil. There is danger that we will come to accept it and regard it as allowable. For example, when a woman who cannot care for a child for financial or other reasons becomes pregnant, it is common to suppose that abortion is an option-and even a more acceptable one than putting the child up for adoption. If we come to accept this way of thinking when there are so many couples longing to adopt, it is like favoring the woman who stood before Solomon and said to divide the living child so that neither she nor the loving mother could have him (see I Kings 3:24-27).
     Even if, for some reason, we cannot see that abortion is a perversion, or that it involves the killing of human life, still it constitutes murder on account of its destruction of that which has an active potential of human life.


If we put considerations for ourselves or our worldly advantages ahead of our regard for the potential life of others, and choose to destroy their potential life rather than lay down our own ambitions, then we are acting out of hatred for others. Our motivation is key. Do we act from our own purposes, or the Lord's? Do we despise His life, or cherish it? The case is very different if a person must, having honestly and sincerely shunned selfish and worldly things, practice abortion out of self defense, for self-defense is not contrary to charity when it looks to serving the Lord's ends. When a person shuns and flees from what is selfish and worldly in motive and deed, he is expressing his willingness to lay down his life for his friends; and this willingness is the measure of whether we bear hatred toward others or love.

     *     *     *     *     *

     The Lord told us to shun murder because we incline to it. He told us to shun murder because it will destroy ourselves and others. Although we may be called upon to kill in self-defense, the act itself is abhorrent, and ought to be shunned. We must also shun the murder of a person's good name through defamation. We must especially shun the loves from which murder springs. In general, we need to flee from the loves of self and the world. In particular we need to flee from the love of dominion and avarice. And specifically, we must shun enmity, hatred, and revenge. We must shun all that opposes the Lord and the good and truth which are from Him if we are to keep ourselves from murder. We must do the same if we are to repent of any murders we have committed and be forgiven by the Lord. That forgiveness will be sure and complete for those who are willing to so reject former evils, no matter how severe. Hatred is the basic response to others that arises from our proprium, that is, our unregenerate self. We need to use firm, clear, basic truths in reply. We need to remove that hatred by the direct teaching of the Lord: "And God spoke . . . these words, saying: '. . . You shall not murder.'"


1 See John Warwick Montgomery, Slaughter of the innocents (Westchester, Illinois: Cornerstone Books. 1981), pp. 97-101.
2 Although the Writings say ". . . man is born an animal but becomes a man . . ." they are not referring to the entire man (see DLW 270; cf. TCR 296:2). Further, only the human soul receives immediate or direct influx from the Lord (see CL 183:5, AC 3646, 3747:2, D. Wis. VII:5, D. Love X:3) and this would be true of the soul which forms the body in the womb (see AC 6468e). Therefore, man is distinctly human from conception, in spite of being called an animal in certain contexts.
3 This is the subject of another discussion. In the meantime, see "Divine Providence and the Stillborn" by Rev. Ormond Odhner, NCL, LXXI (August 1951) 348 ff. See also D Wis. 111:5, AC 3887:2, 2621.




     1. The 92nd regular joint meeting of the Council of the Clergy and the Directors of the Corporation of the General Church of the New Jerusalem was held in Pendleton Hall, Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, on March 8, 1986, at 10 a.m.
     2. Attendance: Seventy-five men (fifty-five clergy, fifteen lay members and five invited guests)
     3. The minutes of the 91st meeting were accepted as published in New Church Life, August, 1985, pp. 354ff.
     4. A Memorial Resolution for Rev. Henry Heinrichs was read by Rev. Christopher Smith (see NCL, March 1986, p. 125) and a moment of silence was observed in his honor.
     5. The secretary of the Board of Directors, Mr. Stephen Pitcairn, then read the Joint Council their endorsement of the name of Rev. Peter M. Buss that was recommended to the Board of Directors by the Council of the Clergy for nomination as Executive Assistant Bishop at the Assembly in June of 1987. This was followed by a standing ovation. Mr. Buss responded expressing his deep-felt appreciation for the support from this body. If affirmed by the General Church Assembly in June of 1987, Mr. Buss said that he would continue seeking the Lord's enlightenment, and looked forward to working with the present executive bishop.
     6. The report of the secretary of the Council of the Clergy was accepted as published in New Church Life, December 1985, page 561.
     7. The report of the secretary of the General Church was accepted as published in New Church Life, December 1985, pages 545ff.
     8. The treasurer's report was given by Mr. Neil Buss. The following are excerpts:

1985 was a year of mixed results for the General Church from a financial point of view.
REVENUES-We experienced some major shifts in contribution patterns, which have implications for the church as a whole.
     While overall contributions from our donors remained almost constant, there was a significant shift by our major contributors away from the General Church itself to making gifts directly to societies. This has had an impact on the General Church and, although we were able to achieve a balanced budget in 1985, it seems that we may have to reassess our five-year plan in light of this development and others which I will mention.
Higher interest income, sales of certain publications, and other miscellaneous receipts above the levels budgeted, helped offset the effect of the contribution shift.


However, overall revenues were almost $22,000 less than those budgeted.
     EXPENSES-Society support of pastors' and teachers' salaries appeared better this Lear than budgeted. Nevertheless, this is really an appearance, and detailed analysis of the numbers shows that factors such as favorable exchange rates played a significant role. All school societies made their targets, and many others were successful. However, there were some societies or circles that fell substantially short. Collectively, the adverse impact on our budget amounted to a substantial sum.
     To put this in perspective, you probably recall that our five-year plan anticipated the employment of four new ministers in the five years. This collective shortfall will make it impossible to employ two of these men unless it is corrected or other uses are cut back. The reasons for society shortfalls were varied, and the Budget Committee of the board has considered each individual case. Where appropriate, we will be contacting the society representatives to try to assist them in correcting the situation as soon as possible, and perhaps, if these corrections cannot be effected, some difficult decisions will of necessity have to be made.
     I do, however, wish to make a strong plea to the pastors to be active in providing leadership when it comes to what could, or should, be paid for when issues are raised at your boards. Please do not let other items assume priority over the vital need to pay the agreed-upon share of the pastor's salary expense. Enthusiasm for the necessity for a new or expanded program, or a word processor, or whatever, needs to be balanced by the necessity to pay the pastor's salary first. After all, without the pastor where would these programs be? If, indeed, funds for these items can be provided over and above budgeted pastoral support, then that is fine. If not, the use of pastoral salary support must come first. The greater majority of pastors are aware of this, but it still needs to be said. Our salary scale structure, which provides for ministers and teachers, on a scale, regularly, from a central location, is entirely dependent on each individual society meeting its share of pastoral support. This system is based entirely on trust. We pay all of a society's salary expenses to its pastor and teachers and trust the society to meet its obligations.
     Virtually all other expenses were within budgeted amounts. However, moving expenses present us with a difficult problem. In 1985 we had one single move which has already cost in excess of $20,000 and we are still counting. This necessitated the withdrawal of $17,000 from our overall moving reserve which now has a balance of only $40,000. Two more such moves will eliminate all our reserves. Yet, many ministers are moving in the near future, and we simply must work together to reduce the costs to a minimum. Having personally moved my family internationally on three occasions, from South Africa to England, then back, and finally to the United States, I do appreciate the difficulties that seem inevitable.


There are many intangibles involved, and we want to minimize the inconvenience to the entire family, yet we all have to work within budgeting constraints.
Overall, the shifts in the direction of contributions, coupled with the failure of some societies to meet their budgets, plus our recent heavy reliance on the strength of the U.S. dollar, are going to necessitate a new look at our five-year plan. This is essential if the plan is to have any meaning, but there could still be some more expense areas which will need adjustment downward.
     I am sure that all of you here in this council are aware that we sold our pro stock in the fall of last year. The net cash effect of this transaction is that the NCIF is able to make an increase of 10% per annum in our income for the year 1986, on a one-time basis, thereafter reverting to increasing the payout of the fund by 5% each year.
     The board and administration have decided to use this entire increase in income to raise the level of ministers' and teachers' salaries. The Salary Committee has already met with treasurers of school societies and a meeting with all treasurers is to be held next month here in Bryn Athyn to see what overall percentage salary increase is possible. Whatever the final outcome, which will be decided at the May board meeting, I hope it will be substantially above the rate of inflation.
     This may seem paradoxical that I am urging fiscal responsibility while discussing a possible raise in pay above the normal, and in a way it is. But our point really is this: we want to separate the advantages of this single income windfall from our ordinary budgetary considerations and provide the whole benefit to salaries in order to upgrade them.
     It is simply a matter of priorities, and we feel that this is the number one priority at present. To achieve this will take very careful control of all other expense areas, but if we all do our part, this can be done.

     9. The Bishop then pointed out that reports from some of the following committees had been distributed in advance and were now available for discussion:

Board of Evangelization Committee
Budget Committee
Evangelization Committee
Housing and Mortgage Committee
Joint Benefits Committee
Joint Contribution Committee
Joint Financial Planning Committee
Editor of New Church Life
Orphanage Committee


Personnel Advisory Committee to the Bishop
General Church Press Committee
General Church Publication Committee
Real Estate Finance Committee
Religion Lessons Program
Retirement Board
Salary Committee
Sound Recording Committee
Sunday School Committee
Translation Committee

     10. The Bishop mentioned before adjourning that the secretary would be retiring from his post and would be replaced by Rev. Alfred Acton.
     Lorentz R. Soneson,


     The Swedenborg Foundation engaged some experts to look over their array of books being offered to the public and to make recommendations. One clear recommendation was to produce things for children and young people. Thereupon the Foundation approached an accomplished author, Anne Eliot Crompton, whose works include The Ice Trail and The Lifting Stone. She was asked to do a story about Johnny Appleseed and to bring something of Swedenborg and the Writings into it. The result was a most charming book entitled Johnny's Trail. It is now off the press, highly attractive and delightful to read. The cost is $6.95.
     Dr. Wilson Van Dusen is well-known to readers of New Church Life. His booklet entitled Uses is currently quite popular. He has now written a full commentary on Swedenborg's Journal of Dreams. This has been handsomely published by the Foundation ($8.95 a copy).
     Within a matter of weeks we will see the fine new book Window to Eternity by Bruce Henderson, yet another fine achievement by the Foundation.
     We would note that within days of the publication by General Church Press of The Golden Thread by G. S. Childs, it was being displayed on the shelves of the Foundation's bookstore at 139 East 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010.


Editorial Pages 1987

Editorial Pages       Editor       1987


     The saying in the Sermon on the Mount that we should "behold" or "look at" the birds of the air uses a stronger Greek word than the one more often used for "looking." The comparable saying in Luke uses yet another word, which is nicely rendered "consider."
     "Consider the ravens." God is feeding them. Look at the birds of the air. Your heavenly Father is feeding them. When you look and consider, you can observe that the birds are part of a great theater in which basic truths are being acted out or portrayed before our eyes.
     In the Writings we are invited to the realization that visible scenes demonstrate certain realities. Consider the severe cold in the forest that eventually takes the vitality of the bird who clings so perilously to branch and to life.

     It is well-known from the Word that faith apart from charity is dead; but I will explain the cause of its death. Its death is from cold. It dies from cold like a bird in a severe winter. First its sight fails, and at the same time its power to fly; and then its power to breathe; and finally it falls headlong from the tree into the snow and is buried (TCR 385).

     Faith is to have an object-the Lord in His Divine Human. Without an object "it is like a bird flying beyond the atmosphere into the ether, where, as in a vacuum, it ceases to breathe" (TCR 339).
     The flying bird without a place to rest (reminiscent of the dove in Genesis 8:9) pictures the truth that the spiritual world could not subsist without the natural world. It would be "like a bird perpetually flying in the air without any resting place" (Coronis 19). Love and wisdom without use are similarly pictured. Without use they are like "birds flying above a great ocean, which are at length exhausted" (TCR 67). "Charity and faith are only mental and perishable things unless they are determined to works and coexist in them when possible." Otherwise they are like "birds flying in the air without any resting-place on the earth, or like birds ready to lap, but having no nests" (TCR 375). "The internal man undergoing regeneration while the external man remains unregenerate may be compared to a bird hovering in the air, having no place to rest on dry ground but only in a swamp" (TCR 600).


     Look at the birds as they wash themselves, for regeneration itself is pictured in "the fondness of certain birds of plunging into water for the sake of washing and cleansing themselves, after which they return, like nightingales, to their songs" (TCR 687).
     Look at the bird and consider what it is to seek wisdom from God, for someone "who derives wisdom from God is like a bird flying aloft, which looks around upon all things in the gardens, woods and fields, and flies to those things that are of use to it" (TCR 69).
     "The spiritual man is an erect man, who with his head looks to heaven above him and about him, and treads the earth with the soles of his feet . . . . In himself he is actually like a dove as to gentleness, like an eagle as to the sight of his mind, like a flying bird of paradise as to progression in spiritual things, and like a peacock as to adornment from spiritual things . . . . These comparisons are made that they may be as looking glasses whereby the reader may more closely contemplate what the spiritual man is in itself . . . ." (Coronis 30).

YOU AND THE OPPOSITE SEX       Marcia G. Smith       1987

Dear Editor,
     The number of communications printed in a recent issue is a good indication of the quality and diversity of New Church Life these days. I have especially enjoyed Rev. Kent Junge's sermon on entering the promised land and John Odhner's series "A Light Burden." The evil spirits would much rather have us think that heaven is far off and very hard to get to.
     Reading Rev. Martin Pryke's booklet You and the Opposite Sex, and Rev. Douglas Taylor's review of it, stimulated me to reflect again on what is the best way to educate our young people. I have a few suggestions regarding the booklet.
     You and the Opposite Sex has much to recommend it. By drawing together our direct and derived doctrines and including references to the three Testaments it serves as a valuable guide. For instance, the section on pages 8-16 concerning the whys and wherefores of customs and courtesies of social life is clearly written without being preachy. The section on differences between the sexes (pp. 54-58) is as well stated as anything I've seen.


     However, I wonder about the overall tone as far as appealing to a wide variety of young people. Without being able to describe why very clearly, I sometimes felt that the tone was a little heavy. One reason for that may be the use of the editorial "we." Along with this, the author sometimes slips into speaking of young people as "we" (e.g. p. 5). Tone is particularly important since many of the topics raised in this booklet are sensitive and personal. Without making light of them, perhaps a little use of humor and anecdotes would help diffuse the tension and make the good advice go down more easily.
     Also, the difficulty of going through adolescence seems a little overstated. I don't mean it is an insignificant process, but I wonder whether if more adults felt confident about how to help adolescents, it wouldn't get so much bad press as being so hard. As one who taught seventh and eighth graders for three years, I am speaking from my own observation. Maybe this emphasis on the difficulty of adolescence is related to a general feeling that all of life is mostly difficult, what with shunning evils and all that. Yes, it's work, and we need the Lord's help. But it's not "long and dreary" all the time (as Jeremy Rose pointed out in "I Own Thy Sway").
     Which brings me to my point that this is an excellent book for adults to read so that they can discuss these matters more confidently with their own children. We could put a copy of this booklet in the hand of every New Church youngster, but that would not have nearly the impact of the counsel and support of a loving adult. Consider also that a young person will need plenty of this, years before they would be reading You and the Opposite Sex.
     The discussion of men's and women's roles left me with mixed feelings. I stand up and cheer to see re-emphasized the privileged and essential use that women can find as wives and mothers. Mr. Pryke is quite right that the role of affection has been undervalued in society. Yet I think that he doesn't give women enough latitude in their ability to serve in public uses. I agree that women have to be careful not to get caught up in the more masculine survival techniques used in many fields. Yet there is a need for women's contributions in many areas of life. I see women who treasure and guard their roles as wives and mothers first, but also find it valuable to be involved in society concerns (whether connected with a "job" or not).
     The last question I have regards the discussion about fornication with a mistress. I wonder whether it belongs in this book. We as adults have a hard enough time feeling exactly comfortable with this permission (not having the Lord's Divine perspective). Is it necessary or useful to present it to young people in this way? This seems like an area which adults could discuss with their own teenagers when it seems appropriate.


     Thanks to Mr. Pryke for his thorough and valuable work. I suggest it be recommended reading for parents and educators. Here is one last point that a good friend reminded me of as we were discussing this booklet and the need to support young people. Booklets like this address the need to communicate the Lord's truth. We also need to give them a strong foundation of affection. If we can give young people a sense of self-worth, especially in regard to the special things they have to offer as men and women, then they will have the confidence to bring these ideals into life.
     Marcia G. Smith,
          Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

MUSIC WE USE       Rev. John Odhner       1987

Dear Editor,
     It has been said that music is a universal language. We can communicate feelings with music that we cannot communicate in any other way, and we can often reach people with music whom we cannot reach with words alone. It is perhaps one of the easiest ways to bridge a cultural gap.
     On the other hand, music is a part of culture, and sometimes music can reinforce cultural differences and broaden the gaps between people. Some people are turned off by Mozart, and some by Bruce Springsteen; some do not appreciate the twang of country-western, and some have no ear for contemplative oriental music.
     The music we use in our church plays an important (though partially subliminal) role in communicating who we are and what we love and what our religion is all about.
     I was very interested in Jeremy Rose's comments on the words which accompany the music in our Liturgy. There seems to be a tension between two attitudes toward religion. For some people religion is a holy and special part of their lives. They express their special feelings about religion by using clothes, vocabulary, architecture and music which is special to the religious context. This is usually associated with tradition-oriented ritual. For other people religion is a very usual and ordinary part of their lives. They prefer ritual involving everyday clothes, words, settings, and music. Such ritual is generally more modern, more flexible, and sometimes even faddish or gimmicky. Both approaches have validity, and either one can be taken to an extreme.     Mr. Jeremy Rose, Mr. Grant Schnarr and Mr. Grant Odhner have commented on the words in our Liturgy.


I would like to make some similar observations about the music. I have noticed that even apart from the words, our music is different from that of many other churches. Some differences are obvious: we often sing in four-part harmony; we do not let musicians be seen; we avoid popular and modern styles of music; our music is often more difficult; and we use chants and antiphons.
     There are other differences which are not as obvious, which nevertheless have a great impact on the overall feeling of our services. I have compared our Liturgy with another Christian hymnal, Favorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Co., Wheaten, IL: 1980). Like our own Liturgy, this book contains mostly older, traditional hymns, mostly using archaic language. Many tunes are in both books. One might expect to find a fair amount of similarity between the two sets of hymns, but there are some interesting differences.

     1. We avoid dotted eighths with sixteenths.

     In Favorite Hymns of Praise, the dotted eighth followed by a sixteenth is a common rhythm, occurring in about 20% of the hymns. This rhythm is used in only one of our regular hymns* (p. 439, "O Praise Ye the Lord").
     * When I speak in this article of our "regular hymns." I include from our Liturgy the selections, doxologies, and hymns exclusive of the festival hymns. For this comparison, I did not count the anthems, antiphons, chants, or music from the offices. Obviously, I would have had different results if I had chosen a hymnal other than Favorite Hymns of Praise to compare with our Liturgy, or if I had taken into account the fact that some songs are sung much more frequently than others.

     2. We avoid 6/8 time.

     6/8 time is used in one third of the Favorite Hymns. Only one of our regular hymns is in 6/8 time (p. 465, "O'er the Silent Waters").

     3. We avoid syncopation.

     Many kinds of syncopation are used in Favorite Hymns. For example, an eighth-quarter-eighth syncopation is found in about 5% of the songs. None of the melodies in our regular hymns have this.

     4. We avoid choruses.

     Half the songs in Favorite Hymns have choruses. Only 5% of our regular hymns have them. Is there some reason why we don't like to sing the same thing twice?

     5. We use unvarying rhythms.

     Some of our hymns have no rhythmic variations, being nothing but quarter notes from the beginning to the end. In fact, not counting the last note in each line, 11% of our regular hymns are nothing but quarter notes. Less than 1% of Favorite Hymns falls into this category.


     6. We avoid simple harmony.

     Many of the Favorite Hymns have relatively simple harmonies. (I judged a song to have a simple harmony if more than half of the measure in the song had only one note in the bass. This gives a rough measure of how difficult the bass is to sing and how often the chords change in the song.) 57% of the Favorite Hymns have such simple harmony, while only 23% of our regular hymns do.

What Does It Mean?

     The above statistics are graphed below, where A represents our Liturgy, and B represents Favorite Hymns of Praise. All these factors (and others which I have not measured) add up to a significantly different style of music in our Liturgy than in Favorite Hymns. In general, our music is much less complex rhythmically, and more complex harmonically. We avoid the more joyful and bouncy rhythms, and the simple, more easily learned harmonies. Also, the lack of choruses makes it more difficult to learn the words, allowing less concentration on the music.
     One possible explanation for this is that we have in the past judged the Renaissance to be the apex of culture, not only in our language (King James Version) and our architecture (Bryn Athyn Cathedral), but also in our music, which tends to imitate the complex counterpoint and simple rhythms of Bach more than the complex rhythms and simple harmonies of (for example) Afro-American spirituals. Another possible explanation is that our worship is usually not joyful and simple because our orientation is more intellectual and rational than affectional. Of course, Bach's music can express a high degree of joy, but it is usually a more solemn joy than one would find in a charismatic church. In any case, my study of our style showed me a significant exception to the general style of our music.

Our Festival Hymns Are an Exception

     In every aspect of music I measured, our festival hymns use more complex rhythms and simpler harmonies. In the graph below, C represents our festival hymns. We find several dotted-eighth/sixteenth rhythms, two 6/8 time signatures, many more choruses, fewer hymns with unvarying rhythm, more songs with simple harmonies, and even one eighth-quarter-eighth syncopation (p. 538, "Joy to the World").
     Is this because at Christmastime and other festivals we allow ourselves a joy and simplicity that we avoid at other times? Is there a reason why we are more in tune with other churches at these times? Could this be a reason why our Christmas hymns are often the best-loved?


     In any case, although we find these qualities more in our festival hymns, we still find them less there than we find in Favorite Hymns year-round. Where we might find our Christmas hymns more simple and joyful than our other music, a visitor might find even our Christmas music noticeably more difficult and less joyful than what he is used to,

Where Is Our Music Going?

     As Mr. Rose and Mr. Schnarr said, our music is an important part of our evangelization. Our church has grown very slowly. This may be partly due to a lack of interest in spiritual things, but that is certainly not the only factor. A great deal of study recently has shown that most people will not change religions if the conversion requires a change of culture as well. In other words, if the process of joining the church involves accepting new forms of language, different dress, new ways of eating or different styles of music, then most people will not make the change. In fact, they will not even get close enough to the church to hear its real message. If we continue with only our present music, we will limit church growth not simply to people who are interested in spiritual things, but even to that small portion of spiritually aware people who can also accept our Renaissance-oriented cultural preferences.
     If you broadcast over shortwave radio, only people with shortwave receivers will hear you. To reach more people, you must broadcast over a wavelength that more people are tuned in to. As we develop music with a wider variety of styles, more people will perceive that we are on their wavelength and will tune in to what we are singing.
     Fortunately, we are not stagnant with our music. While the Liturgy has stayed exactly the same for twenty years, the church has been growing musically. Many individuals have been composing new music. Our church camps and the Laurel Song Book have brought other styles of music into the hearts of many of us. The New Church Music Festival offered us examples of many different kinds of New Church music, from classical to rock, from renaissance to new age. A new Liturgy is being produced by Rev. Alfred Acton's committee; Miss Maret Taylor is organizing a publication of original New Church compositions. As individuals and as a church we are learning and creating new songs which will help us express the message of the New Church in terms of the affections, culture and music of many other groups of people than those we are currently reaching. For as we grow in our ability to bridge cultural gaps through music and other means, our church will grow as well.
     Rev. John Odhner,
          Albuquerque, New Mexico


     Percent of hymns with dotted eighth and sixteenth rhythm
A. 1%
B. 33%
C. 13%

     Percent of hymns with 6/8 time signature
A.     1%
B.     20%
C.     5%

     Percent of hymns with eighth-quarter-eighth syncopation
A. 0%
B. 5%
C. 3%

     Percent of hymns with chorus
A. 5%
B. 50%
C. 33%

     Percent of hymns with unvarying rhythm
A. 11%
B. 1%
C. 3%

     Percent of hymns with simple harmonies
A. 23%
B. 59%
C. 33%



PROPER ATTITUDE MAKES A "LIGHT BURDEN"       S. Ward Heinrichs       1987


Dear Editor.
     John Odhner did a spectacular job with the "Light Burden" series. His style flows beautifully. Practically anyone from seventeen years old or older could easily leaf through the article and gain some fundamental and valuable knowledge.
     He arrested my attention from the very beginning when he said that many people complain: "'Why do we have to hear so much about shunning evils? Why not focus on more positive things?'" The author replies indirectly, "How could anyone be turned off by a concept that is so inspiring, hopeful, and indirectly powerful?" Of course! Shunning evils is not painful labor. In a way it is a delightful chore . . . sometimes. Clearly, the key is attitude. If you have the proper attitude and ask the Lord to help you, even the seamy business of getting rid of those evils in which we like to indulge seems possible, even probable.
     I could not have asked for this series to appear at a better time. My fiancee, who was recently baptized into the New Church, will find them wonderfully palatable, especially after diligently attempting to wade through translated eighteenth century Latin. We plan to discuss ways we can incorporate the "57 principles" into our converging lives.
     I agree with Hyland Johns. Someone needs to reprint "Light Burden" and distribute it everywhere!
     S. Ward Heinrichs,
          Kailua, Hawaii
NEW AGE 1987

NEW AGE       Kent O. Doering       1987

Dear Editor:
     In my last letter regarding the "New Age" (Nov. 1986 NCL), the differences in dualistic and monistic cosmology were reviewed; the thesis repeated that the human revolt against the human cruelty to human beings caused by dualism and its resultant alienation is a major contributing variable to the "New Age" movements; and ten questions were posed which would be presumptuous of me to answer.
     The letter also referred to De Geymueller's Swedenborg and the Supernatural World. That work gave me an invaluable philosophical guide as to where I should stand in relationship to the "New Age":

     It is my opinion that the concept of the "discrete degree" is the only means by which we can avoid both the Pantheism (of monism) as well as the absolute dualism or the creation out of nothing.1


     Thanks to the concept of "the discrete degree" which enables us to differentiate between God, the spirit, and matter, the philosophy of the Scandinavian thinker unites Monism and Pluralism, if we understand the latter to be a more perfect and developed dualism, and not something such as a philosophy which denies causal principle or the existence of a universe subjected universally to general laws. This is his main achievement.2

     And, it is to De Geymueller's credit that he pointed out that the Writings present a synthesis, as it were, between monistic and dualistic thought. For another example, take the definitions of eternity and infinity. In the first chapter of TCR infinity is defined to be both space-lessness (monistic), and unending space, or immensity as the TCR phrases it (dualism); eternity both timelessness and unending time.
     Putting it differently, animism-monism seems to be the prevalent form of thought in so-called primitive and first stage civilization cultures-that is, the Most Ancient and Ancient Churches; dualism, the prevalent mode in the Jewish and first Christian Churches. The New Church mode of thought initiated through the Writings seems to be a revealed synthesis of both modes.
     I may be digressing here, but 3rd century A.D. neo-platonist philosopher Plotinus attempted to synthesize monism and dualism, coming up with a cosmology that seems similar to the Writings. Unfortunately, the pull of Alexandrian Gnosticism was so strong that he ended up repostulating the old dualistic opposition of matter to the spirit, and even apologized that he had a physical body. While the Writings themselves do not postulate that opposition, certain dualistic schools of New Church exegesis do, and we can find a noticeable prejudice against thinking about, or worshiping, the Person of our Lord in His physically resurrected body, in whom is the essence, and from whom proceeds the use of redemption! We could call it neo-Plotinusism if you will.
     Being a little arbitrary and dualist either/or myself, I find De Geymueller's observations about a synthesis between monism and dualism useful in separating the New Age baby from the bathwater.
     The bathwater, so to speak, is rigid "out of the world, not in it" New Age dualism that we readily find in spiritism, esotericism, and some western adaptations of Eastern thought. There's a tragedy here.
     If New Age thinking is sparked by a genuine human revolution against alienating dualism and its bastard daughter of materialism, then the spiritist-esoteric path only uses fire to fight fire, and is only a lot more of the same old thing which so alienates us from the world, ourselves, our neighbor, and God in the first place-and can only result in increased alienation and quiet desperation, not less.


     Carrying this criticism over to Mrs. Dan Goodenough's original query, yes New Church people, or groups of them, can be "New Age" in this negative, esoteric sense. Indeed, there was a period in my own life when the only thing I cared for in the Writings was knowledge about, and hope for; happiness in the spiritual world. I ignored their other doctrines about Christ's Divine Humanity, moral life, repentance, and cosmology. Needless to say, I was miserable, and felt unfree to exercise any as-of-self determination at all at the mercy of fate and a hostile world.
     The more I fled from earthly reality into "knowledge about the spiritual world," the weaker and unhappier I was in this one. Some reflection and observation reveals that I wasn't the only unhappy New Church "New Age" esoteric around.
     This leads us to another characteristic of some New Age esoteric groupings which may be found in parts of the New Church. Increasing complexity of our culture leaves people feeling more confused, weaker, and unfree. Some turn to esoterics to overcome the feeling of powerlessness, but which really leaves them weaker.
     So weakened to the point of being unable to admit any weakness, many esoterics and others clamor for, and unquestioningly submit to, the dictates of a rigid hierarchy of gurus, "clears," and other "enlightened leaders." In turning over freedom and moral responsibility to their chosen overseers, they probably hope that their leaders will bend and shape them into "new men." Influenced by Plato's Education of Kings, there are some of these same elements in more radical "Benadism." I myself am as personally wary of the herioc, New Church Man idealism in radical Benadism as I am of the other New . . . Man movements which mark this century, be they Socialist, Italian, Spanish, German-Aryan, or Islamic. Or, in other words, that aspect of New . . . Man, unquestioning New Age subordination and subservience which frightens people away from the Opus Dei, Scientology, or Bhagwan, just might be frightening some people away from the General Church. One disaffected pundit I know put it quite succinctly: "Bryn Ashram."
     As painfully visible as these New Age problems are, I do see one antidote: returning to the singular focus on the paradox of the Divine Human that was held by the great theologian of the General Church, the late Bishop N. D. Pendleton, who clearly demonstrated that God is not only singularly transcendent to the created universe (in line with dualism), but that He is doubly immanent in it3 (in line with monism).
     But, let us leave dualistic New Age esotericism and move on into a broader New Age movement of which most are hardly aware, and which can be safely explored: a general movement in the sciences and humanities away from dualism toward a synthesis with monism, with results that are of extreme interest to the church.


Today's modern universities are hardly ivory-covered refuges of quiet contemplation, but battlefields of mind where different modes of logic and perceiving the world clash with each other, and paradoxical problems thrown up by nature, society, and new technologies.
     Scientists and social researchers are subjected to regular crises where they must re-evaluate their modes of logic and perceiving the world if they are to adequately probe the problems that they face. Here, the turmoil of modern science and the humanities pretty much replicates the kind of real crises that Swedenborg went through several times in his scientific career as he realized that his logic and methodology were inadequate to cope with the problems he faced.
     Excellent psychologist that he is, Dr. Geymueller precisely analyzes and describes these very real crises in Swedenborg's scientific life. Carefully studying his analysis, and then comparing that to the crises of modern science and humanities, reveals that the latter are replicating the pattern, that is, going through the same kind of epistemological crises that Swedenborg himself went through.
     The results have been interesting: people with basically monistic attitudes have moved toward pluralistic dualism, and vice versa, to arrive at a synthesis of both which sometimes approximates the Writings' apparent synthesis.
     For example: biologist turned psychologist Gregory Bateson, a monist, moved toward pluralism, Sirs Karl R. Popper, philosopher, and John C. Eccles, neuro-researcher, were dualists who moved toward monism. The former's Steps Towards an Ecology of Mind,4 and the latters' The Self and Its Brain-An Argument for Interactionis,5 are different in methodology, but reach many of the same conclusions. The books stand up to comparison to each other and even to Swedenborg's Animal Kingdom, Rational Psychology and Intercourse of the Soul and Body.
     Let's take physics: physics went through a crisis when the "either/or" logic of Cartesian-Newtonian dualism was inadequate for studying or explaining a lot of paradoxical problems in nature, say the properties of light or the behavior of electrons. Einstein was bold enough to apply Hegel's dialectics to the paradox of light and came up with a unique solution that worked. Since then, the New Physics has gone through repeated crises-to the point where physicists now use different logic and have a different way of viewing the world that is vastly different from dualism. The physicist's synthesis of dualism and monism will have far greater impact on our way of thinking and acting than we can all imagine. It will even impact on New Church exegesis.


For example, finding dualism inadequate to meet the paradox of apparently contradictory sets of teachings in the Writings regarding the Lord's resurrection body. I used Einstein's quantum logic to come up with a collation that works better for me. Anybody can replicate it. Just find out Einstein's solution and apply that to the obvious paradox in Doctrine of the Lord 35:10 for a start. The results are stunning to say the least. Try it yourself.
     The crises and revolution in thinking of the New Physics didn't cease with Einstein. Paul Davies' On the Edge of Infinity6 and God and the New Physics7 left me with a different understanding of Divine Love and Wisdom. Equally interesting is Fritjof Capra's The Tao of Physics8, which could give one a new approach to the doctrine of correspondences.
     On a broader base, human interaction with artificial intelligence-be it main frame units or home p.c.'s-is also forcing a new mode of thinking in "loops."
     Broader still are human responses to real social and environmental crises. The problems faced by alcoholics and people growing old in our culture have been adequately confronted and dealt with by such self-help groups as Alcoholics Anonymous and the Grey Panthers. Their organizations and programs of action do seem to be based on a pragmatic synthesis of dualism and monism, and they work.
     The environmental crisis we currently experience is also prompting people all over the world to question dualist assumptions and move toward new ways of perceiving the world. Globally, there is the increasing confrontation between western dualism and eastern monism. While the synthesis can be bubblegum spiritology, phony enlightenment, or weird fundamentalism, there are positive developments as well. It's not all L. Ron Hubbard or Rev. Moon.
     Specifically, Yoga, Tai-Chi, and Zen are all forms of monistic, soul-body discipline that have been lost to the west since the stoics disappeared. Their practice can help us overcome the western alienation of the soul from the body. Their benefits are obvious and immediate. For example, the Leboyer-Odent school of natural obstetrics heavily relies on monistic attitudes and techniques.
     There are many things in the New Age which can help us lead more aware and happier lives right now. We just have to look for them and try them out in a trial and error fashion.
     These new syntheses go by many names: Gestalt, Holistic, Natural-Organic, Interactionism, Continuum Thinking, Advanced General Systems Theory, New Physics, etcetera.


What they have in common with each other, and with the Writings, is a synthesis of dualism and monism.
     While some of these syntheses can get pretty bizarre, it is of interest to note that many of these New Age schools are approaching positions put forth in the Writings. Equally important, keeping an eye on their developments may give us new approaches to the Writings that were previously inaccessible.
     Getting back to De Geymueller, I found his distinctions between what the Writings teach and the substance of much New Age esotericism interesting and useful. Moreover, his rare philosophical breadth and depth, his sharp psychological insight into Swedenborg's prerevelatory crises have proven useful guides for exploring that which can be legitimately called "New Age."
     Perhaps with an eye on De Geymueller's guidebook, other readers may set off to explore the territory of New Age thinking.
     To prove the search is worth it, I close with three gems I stumbled across, the one from a leading anti-metaphysicist philosopher, the latter from a leading New Age clown:

     If by eternity is understood not endless temporal duration but timelessness, then he lives eternally who lives in the present (Wittgenstein).9

     Time is the world and eternity is God; horizontal is the world, vertical is God. Both meet at a point-that is where Jesus is crucified. Both meet, the horizontal and the vertical, at a point-that point is here and now (Bhagwan).10

     God is not a person. God is all that is the case. God is existence (Bhagwan).11

     I concur. God the Creator, the Divine Essence, is not a Person, and only becomes so in the Human Person of our Lord Jesus Christ, becomes and is a Person in the physical body and individuated consciousness of Christ (see Doctrine of the Lord 50).
     Kent O. Doering,
          Munich, Germany


1 De Geymueller, Henri, Swedenborg und die Ubersinnliche Welt, Deutshe Verlags Anstalt, Stuttgart, 1940; reprint Swedenborg Verlag, Zurich, pages 104-105. (My translation from the French-German translation probably varies from the French-English.)
2 Ibid., page 110
3 Pendleton, N. D.: (Collected Works-see bibliography), "Divine Human" and "Humanizing the Divine" (To my way of thinking, the most advanced papers on the Divine Human ever put forth in the General Church, and that in 1910 and 1925.)


4-8 See Recommended Bibliography
9 Wittgenstein, Ludwig: Tractatus-Logico-Philosophicuss, Routledge and Kegan Paul, Ltd., London, 1922, page 185, no. 6.4331
10 Rajneesh, Bhagwan Shree: The Hidden Harmony-Discourses on the Fragments of Heraclitus, Rajneesh Foundation, Poona, India 1976, pp. 48. 49
11 Ibid., page 169

     Selected Bibliography

1. De Geymueller, Baron Henri: Swedenborg und die Ubersinnliche Welt, German translation from the French, 1st Edition Deutschn Verlags Anstalt, Stuttgart, 1936; facsimile reprint: Swedenborg Verlag, Zuerich. I assume the title has been brought out in English: Swedenborg and the Supernatural World. I don't know if the English versionis still available. Considering its continued relevance, it should be.
2. Pendleton, N. D.: Selected Papers and Addresses, Academy of the New Church, Bryn Athyn, PA 1938. The following essays are highly relevant to the "New Age" question: VII."Natural Space" (1914)
     XL. "The Gordian Knot" (1922). Here, the great theologian of the General Church eloquently and precisely pinpoints the weaknesses of dualism which prompt rebellion and revolt.
     XIII. "Fundamentalism and Modernism as viewed in the New Church." A conservative but critical review of the weak and strong points of both "fundamentalism," a variation of dualism, and "modernism," a variation of monism as perceived both by Pendleton and De Geymueller, although I would disagree in spots.
     XVII. "Life and Its Recipients" (1933). Another clear exposition of New Church theories of the created universe and man's place in it.
3. Kirven, Robert: Swedenborg and the Revolt Against Deism, dissertation, University of Michigan Microfilms, date? I vaguely remember a review about it, but the title tells me the author may have a fundamental grasp of the socio-psycho-dynamic which I perceive is the primary variable contributing to the "New Age" movements.
4. Mannheim, Karl: Ideology and Utopia, an Introduction to the Sociology of Knowledge, International Library of Psychology, Philosophy, and Scientific Method, New York, NY, 1936; reprinted by Harcourt, Brace, and Co., New York, NY. Of primary interest because of its methodology, and because the 20th century ideologies and utopias analyzed could also be seen as mutual covariables of the various New Age movements, that is, ideologies and utopias influence New Age movements, and vice versa.
5. Cohn, Norman: The Pursuit of the Millennium (Copy lent out, no publication date available to me now.) An excellent historical description of late medieval gnostic "New Age" movements and their degeneration into antinomian, chiliastic fury.
6. Fromm, Eric: Escape from Freedom, New York, Farrar and Rinehart, Inc., 1941. An excellent      analysis of various social-psychological factors contributing to the most destructive gnostic, millenarian movement ever: "The Thousand year Empire of Germany," a hodgepodge mixture of nationalism, anti-communism, conservative deism, fundamentalism.


New Age gnostic mysticism, and yes, even a touch of bastardized Swedenborgianism. (Such "Swedenborgians" even tried to convert "The Leader," thinking he was "preordained by 'providence' to instaurate the rule of the New Church on earth.") Relevant because the same factors seem to be contributing variables in the pathogenesis of some current New Age movements.
7. Wilson, Colin: The Occult, Great Britain, Hodder and Stoughton, Ltd., 1971. A lively and well-written history and compendium of the New Age occultism in the west put together by England's most capable spokesman of New Age occultism. How he treats of Swedenborg in the context of this book is extremely revealing as to just where the borders a re between the New Church and the New Occult.
8. Davies, Paul: God and the New Physics, Touchstone Books, 1984, New York, NY. Describes how "The New Physics" itself is a revolt against dualism and the crisis of cosmology it necessarily entails. Extremely interesting because the New Physics seems to replicate the kind of scientific crises that De Geymueller describes Swedenborg as having gone through. It makes us ask a lot of questions.
9. Capra, Fritjof: The Tao of Physics, Wildwood House, Great Britain. An excellent description of physics in crisis and how many physicists are turning to Asian monistic systems for an adequate cosmology. Excellently shows the considering that D. T. Suzuki was introducing Zen to the west while he was parallels between the New Physics and Eastern monistic mysticism. And, introducing Swedenborg to the east, we get a better look at Zen through Capra. Lastly, Capra did a bang-up job of verbalizing Einstein's solution to the paradox of light, so that we can apply that to the paradox described in 35:10 and rethink how we think about the Lord's resurrection body!
10. Capra, Fritjof: The Turning Point, Simon and Schuster, New York, NY, 1982. An excellent description of a different kind of broad-based "New Age" thinking that you're more apt to find at Stanford and M.I.T. than in darkened drawing rooms. I read it with serendipity.
11. Hofstadter, Douglas: Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid Harvester Press, London, 1979. Good reading and challenging. The new cosmology bible of computer freaks. Again, dealing with "loops" in programming forces programmers to think in ways not unlike Zen discipline. Non-mystic, but "new age" all the way.
12. Turkle, Sherry: The Second Self-Computers and the Human Spirit, Touchstone Books. New York. NY, 1984. A critical-rational psychologist like Fromm. Dr. Turkle takes a look at the computer "new age" mentality.
13. Davies, Paul: On the Edge of Infinity, Dent, London, 198?. An excellent and captivating description of black holes and naked singularities with lots of religious and philosophical implications.
14. Bateson, Gregory: Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropology, Psychiatry, and Epistemology, Chandler, 1972. An excellent attempt by the founder of interactionist psychology to approach the problem of mind from different angles. Monistic moving toward dualism.
15. Popper, Karl R. and Eccles, John C.: The Self and Its Brain-An Argument for Interactionism, Springer Verlag, Heidelberg, Berlin, London, New York, 1977. Heavy going philosophy, but rewarding as two Nobel prize winners approach the problem of understanding human consciousness in relationship to the brain. They move away from the classical Cartesian dualism toward a pluralistic interactionism.


Church News 1987

Church News       Marvin Stevens & Valerie Reuter       1987


     Many people in the Glenview Society are involved in "making the mare go." There are the obvious uses performed by: ministers, members of the Board of Trustees, teachers, committee heads, and volunteers for special events. There are also the behind-the-scenes people: those who quietly involve themselves in unofficial "good works." Altogether, almost everyone in our society contributes something-in time, money, or just physical presence. We are a cohesive, happy and healthy society.
     To give readers of New Church Life an idea of what goes on in the Glenview Society, and who does what, please bear with us while we list names and uses.

Brian Keith-Pastor, teacher, head honcho, morale builder
Eric Carswell-Assistant pastor, head of Midwestern Academy, troubleshooter
Grant Schnarr-Assistant pastor, head of evangelization projects, pastor of the Chicago Group, general publicity cheerleader
Gordon McClarren-Immanuel Church School principal, head optimist
Loretta Hugo-Head librarian, friend to all
Donna Carswell-Sunday School director, understander of little kids
Ken Cole-Treasurer, optimist, hard worker
Thelma Henderson-Controller, bookkeeper par excellence
Bruce Reuter-Vice chairman of Board of Trustees, mover and shaker
Naomi Smith-Contributions Committee head, pleasant arm twister
Kent Fuller-Park Dwellings head, soft-hearted tough guy
Annabel Junge-Book Room head, super saleswoman
Jenny Edmonds/Sandy Monhollen-School committee, liaison ladies
Lin Hanson-Radio committee, legal eagle with a heart
Dan Woodard-WMWA radio station manager, Swedenborgian disc jockey
Roxanne Junge-Theta Alpha president, diligent and creative
Michel Odhner/Laurie Barry-Women's Guild presidents, two bright guiding lights
Woody Alan-Park Commissioner, persistent, hard-working but not unsung
Barbara Synnestvedt-Park News editor, snappily snoopy
Don Edmonds-Buildings manager, liaison to students, and all-around good guy
Russell Rose-ICS Boys Club head, a good scout
Kerry Rose-ICS Girls Club head, thornless den mother
Dave Bullis-Social Committee-cooks up big funds
Al Nelson-MANC board vice president, funds looker-after
Bob Brickman-Extension Committee head, witty welcomer

     All of these people have done outstanding jobs in 1986. We applaud and appreciate all of them. Many, many thanks too to the unsung people who do the tough jobs of putting on special, social, cultural and moneymaking activities during the year. 1986 has been an exciting, productive and fun-filled year.
     1986 was also a year of "building and completions": we finished the addition to the "Little Manse," completed the new Swedenborg Center book room, completed the sale of all lots on Burnham Court, completed the move of the Chicago New Church group to the No Exit Cafe for Sunday services, remodeled the church courtyard, and under the tireless leadership of Woody Alan relandscaped many areas of the Park resulting in even more beautiful church grounds.


     Our evangelization efforts continued apace: Radio station WMWA has received numerous accolades from the area citizenry. We have at least 100 hardcore listeners per week. Our society appeared twice on Chicago television-both times in very upbeat presentations. We have also had several articles, with photos, in our local newspapers.
     MANC had a super-successful trip to Glenkirk Farms in Missouri last spring. The students watched, and sometimes participated in, many of the farm chores at the Klippenstein ranch. They also had an awards banquet in May and more recently held a very successful dinner/faculty "roast" to earn money to refurbish their recreation room.
     Theta Alpha and Women's Guild continued to carry on their many uses. In addition to their monthly meetings, each group saw that its many church and society duties were efficiently carried out, helping to keep life running smoothly in the Park.
     We have three full-time ministers who do a wonderful job of meeting the many needs of all the people who make up our society. They meet regularly with ministers of other denominations in the area. This has resulted not only in mutual respect, but has fostered a really good image of our society in the eyes of the community as a whole. We offer our buildings and grounds each July to Congregation B'Nai Jehushua Beth Elohim for their special worship services. Our society received a lovely flower arrangement from Immanuel Lutheran Church in honor of our New Church Day on June 19th.
     Besides two regular church services each Sunday, plus special services throughout the year, we have been up to our cerebellums in day and evening classes and gatherings for adults. Our elementary school and MANC, although small in numbers, nourish with excellent teaching and exciting projects.
     We celebrated three golden wedding anniversaries in 1986: Marvin and Bruna Stevens, June1st; Harold and Jean Cranch, June 20th, and Raymond and Ruth Kuhn, September 12th. The society toasted them after church and presented each couple with a book of the Writings.
     The football, basketball, Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons are now upon us. Our society social calendar hums with activities. We have a steady stream of visitors from other New Church societies, and we would enjoy welcoming even more. And, as 1986 heads toward history, we look forward to another typical Glenview Society super year.
     Marvin Stevens,
     Valerie Reuter



Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, 19009, U. S. A.
Only USA Addresses
Information on public worship and doctrinal classes provided either regularly or occasionally may be obtained at the locations listed below. For details use the local phone number of the contact person mentioned or communicate with the Secretary of the General Church, Rev. L. R. Soneson, Cairncrest, Bryn Athyn, PA 19009, Phone (215) 947-4660.



Dr. R. Shepard, 4537 Dolly Ridge Road, Birmingham, AL 35243. Phone: (205) 967-3442.


Mr. Hubert Rydstrom, 3640 E. Piccadilly Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85018. Phone: (602) 955-2290.

Rev. Frank S. Rose, 2536 N. Stewart Ave., Tucson, AZ 85716. Phone: (602) 327-2612.


Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Holmes, Rt. 6, Box 447, Batesville, AR 72501. (501) 251-2383


Rev. Michael Gladish, 5022 Carolyn Way, La Crescenta, CA 91214. Phone:(213) 249-5031.

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Ripley, 2310 N. Cirby Way, Roseville, CA 95678. Phone: (916) 782-7837

Rev. Nathan Gladish, 7911 Canary Way, San Diego, CA 92123. Phone: (619) 268-0379. Office: (619) 571-8599.

Rev. Mark Carlson, 4638 Royal Garden Place, San Jose, CA 95136. Phone: (408) 224-8521.


Mr. and Mrs. William Reinstra, 708 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, CO 80829. Phone: (303) 685-9519.

Rev. Clark Echols, 3371 W. 94th Ave., Westminster, CO 80030. Phone (303) 429-1239


Rev. Paul Schorran, 21 Crestwood Rd., Stratford, CT 06497


Mrs. Justin Hyatt, 417 Delaware Ave., McDaniel Crest, Wilmington, DE 19803. Phone: (302) 478-4213.

     District of Columbia see Mitchellville. Maryland.


Rev. Daniel Heinrichs, 15101 N. W. Fifth Ave., Miami, FL 33169. Phone: (305) 687-1337.


Mr. W. H. Eubanks, Rt. #2, S. Lee St., Americus, GA 31709. Phone: (912) 924-9221.

Rev. Christopher Bown, 3795 Montford Drive, Chamblee, GA 30341. Phone: (Home) (404) 457-4726. (Office) (404) 452-0518.


(Idaho-Oregon border) Mr. Harold Rand, 1705 Whitley Dr., Fruitland, ID 83619. Phone: (208) 452-3181.



Rev. Brian Keith, 73 Park Dr., Glenview, IL 60025. Phone: (312) 724-0120.

Mr. John Aymer, 380 Oak Lane, Decatur, IL 62562. Phone: (217) 875-3215.

Rev. Brian Keith, 73 Park Dr., Glenview, IL 60025. Phone: (312) 724-0120.

Contact Rev. Stephen Cole in Cincinnati, Ohio, or Mr. James Wood, R. R. 1, Lapel, IN 46051. Phone (317) 534-3546


Mr. Henry Bruser, Jr., 1652 Ormandy Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70808. Phone: (504) 921-3089.

Rev. Gene Barry, Middle and Winter Station, Bath, ME 04530.


Rev. Donald Rogers, #12 Pawleys Ct., S. Belmont, Baltimore, MD 21236. Phone: (301) 882- 2640.

Rev. Lawson Smith, 3805 Enterprise Rd., Mitchellville, MD 20716. Phone: (301) 262-2349.


Rev. Grant Odhner, 4 Park Ave., Natick, MA 01760. Phone: (617) 651-1127.


Rev. Walter Orthwein, 395 Olivewood Court, Rochester, MI 48064. Phone: (313) 656-1267.

Mr. Christopher Clark, 5853 Smithfield, East Lansing, MI 48823. Phone: (517) 351-2880.


Rev. Michael Cowley, 3153 McKight Road #340, White Bear Lake, MN 55110. (612) 770-9242


Mr. and Mrs. Paul Johnson, 103 S. Greenwood, Columbia, MO 65201. Phone: (314) 442-3475.

Mr. Glen Klippenstein, Glenkirk Farms, Maysville, MO 64469. Phone: (816) 449-2167.

     New Jersey-New York:

Mrs. Fred E. Munich, 474 S. Maple Ave., Glen Rock, NJ 07452. Phone: (201) 445-1141.

     New Mexico:

Mrs. Howard Leach, 4215 12th NW, Albuquerque, NM 87107. Phone: (505) 344-6735.

     North Carolina:

Mr. John deMaine, 3509 Highridge Rd., Matthews, NC 28105. Phone: (704) 845-4058.


Rev. Stephen Cole, 6431 Mayflower Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45237. Phone: (513) 631-1210.

Mr. Alan Childs, 19680 Beachcliff Blvd., Rocky River, OH 44116. Phone: (216) 333-4413.

Mr. Hubert Heinrichs, 8372 Todd Street Rd., Sunbury. OH 43074. Phone: (614) 524-2738.


Mrs. Louise Tennis, 3546 S. Marion, Tulsa, OK 74135. Phone: (918) 742-8495.

     Oregon-Idaho Border.-Se Idaho, Fruitland.


Rev. Kurt Asplundh, Box 277, Bryn Athyn, PA 19009. Phone: (215) 947-3665.

Mrs. Paul Murray, 5648 Zuck Rd., Erie, PA 16506. Phone: (814) 833-0962.

Rev. Ragnar Boyesen, 126 Iron Bridge Rd., Sarver, PA 16055. Phone: Office (412) 353-2220 or Home 295-9855


Rev. Jeremy Simons, RD 2, Box 217-A, Kempton, PA 19529. Phone: (Home) (215) 756-4301; (Office) (215) 756-6140.

Mr. Richard Kintner, Box 172, Paupack, PA 18451. Phone: (717) 857-0688.

Rev. Ray Silverman, 299 Le Roi Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15208. Phone: (Church) (412) 731-1061.

     South Carolina:- see North Carolina.

     South Dakota:

Contact Linda Klippenstein, 537 Albany, Hot Springs, SD 57745 Phone: (605) 745-6629


Mrs. Charles Grubb, 604 Highland Ave., Austin, TX 78703. Phone: (512) 472-3575.

Mr. Fred Dunlap, 13410 Castleton, Dallas, TX 75234-5117. Phone: (214) 247-7775.

Dr. James Carter, 30 Williamsburg Ln., Houston, TX 77024. Phone: (713) 456-4057.


Rev. Kent Junge, 14812 N. E. 75th Street, Redmond, WA 98033. Phone: (206) 881-1955.


Mrs. Charles Howell, 3912 Plymouth Circle, Madison, WI 53705. Phone: (608) 233-0209.


     July 5-11, 1987

     Open to boys and girls who will have completed 8th or 9th grade. Contact William C. Fehon, Box 278, Bryn Athyn, PA 19009. Phone: (215) 947-4200

LARGE PRINT       Editor       1987

     Some who receive regular sermon mailings find the print a little hard on their eyes. We have good news from Mr. and Mrs. A. M. Nickel, Box 39, Hot Springs, SD 57747. They have the equipment to transform the sermons into large print. More information on this will be forthcoming.

1987 WOMEN'S RENEWAL WEEKEND       Editor       1987

     The date is April 10-12, and the place is Lutherlyn, Pennsylvania (near Pittsburgh). The cost is $45. The registrar is Shareen Blair, 341 Central Drive, Mars, PA 16046; phone (412) 776-6643. The full notice will appear in the spring issue of Theta Alpha Journal.


Title Unspecified 1987

Title Unspecified       Editor       1987

"Who am I?"
"What is the purpose of life?"
"Where do my feelings and thoughts come from?"
"What is mental health and how can I sustain it?

     The Golden Thread: Spiritual and Mental Health
explores such questions in the light of revelation.

     Soft-cover postage paid $8.65
General Church Book Center
Box 278
Bryn Athyn, PA 19009

     Hours: Mon-Fri 9-12
or by appointment
Phone: (215) 947-3920


Notes on This Issue 1987

Notes on This Issue       Editor       1987

Vol. CVII     March, 1987     No. 3


     Notes on This Issue

     Shortly before Palm Sunday the apostle John addressed a question to the Lord and received an unexpected answer. This makes the focus of the sermon in this issue by Rev. Daniel Fitzpatrick who now serves in Stockholm, Sweden.
     As this issue reaches most of our readers, the assembly will be less than three months away. It is becoming clear that an outstanding event awaits us. As you look at the day-by-day events (p. 131-135) picture yourself taking part.

     [logo of 30th General Assembly - 1987]

     It makes an editor's day when a visitor like Bishop Pendleton pays a call, typescript in hand, such as this month's article, "Friendship in Marriage."
     We are Indebted to Leon Rhodes for his review of the commentary on the Journal of Dreams. Here is a book with much to offer to the student of Swedenborg, and with an appeal to many who thus far know little or nothing about Swedenborg.
     A service of particular value is being rendered to us by Charis Cole in her two-part series on books dealing with the difference between men and women. The findings of these recent books are of great interest to people who wish to be aware of the latest research while seeing the teachings of the Writings on this subject. If you wish to read one of the books and have difficulty finding it, contact the editor.




     "Now John answered Him, saying, 'Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out devils in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us.' But Jesus said, 'Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me. For he who is not against us is on our side. For whoever gives you a cup of cold water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.'" (Mark 9:38-41).

     During His public ministry on earth, the Lord often taught His disciples to be humble. He repeatedly tried to make clear to them that they were not to think of themselves as greater than others. Instead they were to be as servants to their fellow men. (See Matthew 20:26, 27; Luke 22:26, 27.) The Lord Himself set an example for them with these words: ". . . whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave, just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give His life [as] a ransom for many" (Matt. 20:26-28).
     A clear example of the Lord teaching humility to His disciples is recorded in our reading from Mark's gospel. The conversation between the disciple John and the Lord took place shortly before Palm Sunday. The disciples had been with the Lord now for more than two years. They had personally witnessed many of His miracles. They themselves had also been allowed to heal many infirm people in the Lord's name. But in this they were not alone. John remarked that they had met someone who did not follow them but who was casting out devils in Jesus' name. Since this man did not follow them, they had forbidden him to continue acting in the Lord's name.
     Jesus immediately rebuked John and the other disciples. He pointed out that others also were capable of healing in His name, and that they were not to be forbidden to do so. As it turned out, the disciples were but a few of those who healed and did miracles in the Lord's name. Jesus' healing power was granted to all who genuinely believed in Him. Only those who had a sincere faith in the Lord could heal others, or be healed themselves. Jesus therefore closed His teaching here by saying, "For whoever gives you a cup of cold water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward" (Mark 9:4 1).


By these words the Lord meant that if anyone instructs another in truths from a love for the truth, he will by no means lose his reward; that is, he will by no means lose the rewarding delight that comes from helping another see the truth as truth for himself. (See AC 5120:4, AE 695:11, 960:12.)
     The Lord's message here is clear and simple: His saving power operates in all people and for all people. All men can be saved, because all men have the essentials of religion provided for them by the Lord Himself. Moreover, no church-including the New Church-possesses the only spiritual map which shows the way to heaven. In our zeal to become truly Christian and to share our faith with others, let us never forget the essential spirit of charity which makes all religion genuine. Let us within ourselves guard against the attitude which John had: "Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because He does not follow us" (Mark 9:38).
     We should not despise or ignore the sincere efforts of those of other faiths to bring at least something of the Lord's truth to people that we could perhaps never reach. There are, of course, false prophets and false Christs who teach things other than the Lord's Word and call this religion. We need to be watchful for these charlatans and courageously declare them imposters so that they may not lead others astray. But those who are not working against us may be on our side, just as the disciples-although chosen by the Lord Himself-were not the only people capable of healing in His name. The attitude that others cannot be truly religious or be capable of salvation unless they agree with and follow what we believe is full of selfish pride-and it is also false. What is more important to us: that someone is saved through the effort of those outside of our own church, or that they are led to the Lord by us? Would we rather let others perish from falsity than allow those whose faith differs from our own become instrumental in their salvation? No church ever saved anyone. No church ever could save anyone. The Lord alone can save.
     John believed-as did the other disciples-that they were the only ones who truly had the power to heal and to cast out demons in Jesus' name. The Lord, on the other hand, taught them that all who sincerely work in His name were to be respected.
     Perhaps this attitude seems foreign to us. Perhaps not. Do we ever find ourselves criticizing or degrading the work of others-especially those outside our own church-who are trying to make religion a part of their daily life? Do we ever imagine that those of other faiths are destined for a lower place in the Lord's heavenly kingdom than we are? Do we ever think of other people's religion or faith as spiritually inferior to our own, even if they sincerely believe in their religion and seem to benefit from doing so?


     The Lord would not have spoken these words unless they could teach us something about ourselves and our attitudes right now. Do we see anything of this perverse pride within our own efforts to reach out to those of other faiths? Do we feel resentful when the efforts of those of other faiths succeed? All of these are symptoms of the attitude which John's words portray: "Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us."
     The Lord Himself in His Word plainly teaches that there are certain essential general principles which are common to all religions (see DP 325ff). He Himself provides that all people may acknowledge God and learn to turn from evils of life. These two-an acknowledgment of God and the shunning of evil-constitute the heart of all religion. All who shun what is evil because God says to do so will have a place in the Lord's kingdom when they leave this world (see DP 326:8, 9, HH 318). All those who live by moral law because God commands it will come into heaven (see AE 195:2). It is a foolish heresy, therefore, to believe that only those born within the church can be saved (see DP 330:5). And it is a cruel heresy that any of the human race are condemned by predestination (see DP 330:8).
     The Lord does not look down on the efforts of anyone who attempts to bring His truths to others. Neither should we. Certainly we should not compromise our faith and principles simply for the sake of getting along with others. We can accommodate our faith to each situation and seek ways of cooperating with them. This will require study of, and reflection on, the Lord's teachings, so that we can apply them from a spirit of charity rather than simply from our own personal judgment. In many areas of life we must work alongside those of other faiths, and we should acknowledge that the Lord uses all men's efforts to follow Him, and leads these people to become as useful as possible in leading others to Him and His ways. We poison our own efforts to reach out to others when our pride prevents us from appreciating and cooperating with others in spreading the knowledge of the Lord in His Second Coming. The New Christian Church is indeed the crown of all the churches. But that crown must rest on a head, and this in turn must rest on a body with arms and legs that can do something useful. Otherwise the crown becomes a powerless symbol.
     Our humility and willingness to help and to serve others-even those outside of our own faith-is essential to the growth and the future of the Lord's heavenly kingdom within ourselves and in the world around us.


And so the Lord's words to His disciples nearly 2,000 years ago still hold true for us in this modern world. Jesus said: ". . . whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave, just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give His life [as] a ransom for many." Amen.

     LESSONS: Mark 9:33-41, DP 322:4, 326:9               

     Divine Providence 322:4, 326:9

     It is of the Lord's Divine Providence that every nation has some religion; and the primary thing in every religion is to acknowledge that there is a God, otherwise it is not called a religion; and every nation that lives according to its religion, that is, that refrains from doing evil because it is contrary to its god, receives something of the spiritual in its natural. When one hears some gentile say that he is unwilling to do this or that evil because it is contrary to his god, does he not say to himself, Is not this man saved? it seems as if it could not be otherwise. Sound reason declares this to him. On the other hand, when he hears a Christian say, I make no account of this or that evil; why is it said to be contrary to God? does he not say to himself, Is this man saved? it seems impossible. Sound reason declares this also.

     These are the general principles of all religions whereby everyone can be saved. To acknowledge God and to refrain from doing evil because it is against God are the two things that make a religion to be a religion; and if one of these is lacking it cannot be called a religion, for to acknowledge God and to do evil is a contradiction; also to do good and not acknowledge God; for one is not possible without the other. The Lord provides that there shall be some religion nearly everywhere, and that there shall be these two things in every religion. The Lord also provides that everyone who acknowledges God and refrains from doing evil because it is against God should have a place in heaven. For heaven in the complex resembles a single man whose life or soul is the Lord. In that heavenly man are all things that are in a natural man, with a difference like that between heavenly and natural things.




     In this age of marital discontent and no-fault divorce we should frequently reflect not only on the Divine purpose in marriage, but also on those aspects of marriage which support the marital covenant. Every human relationship has its internal and its externals. Nowhere is this more convincingly illustrated than in the teaching of the Writings concerning friendship in marriage.
     For the most part we think of friendship in terms of those relationships which arise out of mutual interests and personal compatibility. So it is that we speak of a friend as one in whom we have confidence and as one in whose presence we delight. Our interest here, however, is in the potential for friendship which exists in marriage. Concerning this the Writings say that with those who are in love truly conjugial, friendship increases (see CL 214). To this they add: This friendship differs greatly from the friendship of every other love, for it is full (ibid.).
     As understood in the New Church, marriage is not merely a civil contract between a man and a woman who agree to live together as husband and wife. As we understand it, marriage is a covenant which as bridegroom and bride we make with the Lord. As in any contract or covenant there are two basic elements, namely, offer and acceptance. The offer is the Lord's, for it is He who gives the promise of a love which is truly conjugial to those who approach Him in marriage. The acceptance, on the other hand, is the declared intention of the bridegroom and bride to "love, honor and cherish" each other "according to the ordinance of God" (Liturgy). Note well, however, that the Lord's promise is at all times contingent upon the response of the husband and wife A to the terms of the covenant.
     Although contracted with the best of intentions, once first states have passed, many marriages begin to suffer from various strains. Unless alleviated, these strains lead to stress which, in turn, frequently leads to irreconcilable differences. It is this which accounts for the alarming divorce rate which besets society at this day. But what of marriages within the New Church? How do those who were once convinced that they were destined to become conjugial partners cope with the gradual deterioration of their marriage? There is no one answer to this. Every marriage has its own problems and each couple must cope with them in their own way. One thing is certain, however: friendship is the basis of marriage, and there are times when in every marriage this aspect of the marital relationship needs to be encouraged and cultivated.


What I am speaking of here is the need to rekindle the delight which as partners we originally found in the presence of the other. This can be done if in our hearts we will that it should be so, but our will must be strengthened and confirmed by doing things together. There is power in ultimates, and the ultimates of marriage are all the activities of the home which as husband and wife it is our privilege to share.
     In reflecting on the subject of friendship, bear in mind that all marriages begin in this way. During courtship and the first states of marriage there is nothing that each desires more than the delight which they find in being together. As noted above, this does not always apply after the honeymoon is over. So it is that the Writings carefully distinguish between the friendship which precedes marriage and that which is proper to marriage. The former is said to be like the love of the sex which following the first states of marriage "passes away" (CL 214). The reason for this is that all too frequently the friendship which precedes marriage is a natural love which does not interiorly look to what is eternal, and therefore cannot withstand the heat that is generated by personal differences when first states give way to the routine of daily existence. Like the seed which fell upon stony ground, first states cannot bring forth fruit in life where there is no depth of earth, that is, where there is no depth of conviction in regard to the Divine purpose in marriage (see Matt. 13:3-8).
     We are not to assume, however, that every problem in marriage arises out of a conflict of personalities or incompatible backgrounds (see CL 234-260 concerning the causes of colds, separations and divorces in marriage). It may well be that one of the most common mistakes that partners make is to take each other for granted. There is a limit to what one partner may rightfully expect of the other. Once the solicitous concern that each partner originally felt for the other begins to wane, it is an indication that something important is lacking. Although what is lacking may be regarded as an external, it is well to bear in mind that externals are important. If nothing else, externals serve as reflections of what is internal. This is the reason why the Writings speak of friendship as the face of conjugial love, and also as a garment. It is as a face because it reflects the state of that love, and it is a garment because it clothes the conjugial (see CL 214).               
     What is lacking when partners take each other for granted is those demonstrations of concern and affection which were so much in evidence during courtship and the first states of marriage. This is particularly true of the masculine mind which readily reverts into a preoccupation with the persistent demands of the forensic uses of life.


This is understandable, but when a husband becomes so absorbed in his business or professional life that it poses a threat to his marriage, the time has come when he should reconsider his priorities. Sympathetic as a wife may be, there are limits to her endurance. The husband who does not understand this places his marriage in jeopardy.
     On the other side of the coin there is the woman who, once she becomes a wife, is no longer concerned with making herself attractive to her husband. After all, a woman is created to inspire in her husband a love of the things which pertain to marriage (see CL 161, 223). This involves externals as well as what is internal, and not the least of these is the attention that a wife gives in presenting herself to her husband as an attractive person. To some this may seem to be a trivial observation, but it is not. Whatever concerns the relationship between husband and wife is in itself important, and in order to understand the nature of this relationship one should read what is said in CL 223-224.
     Whatever else may be said concerning friendship in marriage, one thing is certain: the most reliable indication of the state of any marriage is the delight which as husband and wife we find in the presence of the other. When this is wanting, it is time to engage in some self- examination. Of internals, as such, we cannot judge with assurance, but insofar as externals are reflections of what is internal we can enter with some perception into the state and quality of our marriage. Friendship in marriage cannot be forced, but as any other love which is from the Lord, it can be cherished and cultivated


     Through the ages women have been considered inferior to men because men, with a few notable exceptions, wielded more power. Men have tended to think of women as sex objects or to put them on pedestals. They seem to love a woman not for herself, but because of her admiration and support of themselves.
     But a woman wants to be loved for her mind and heart. She wants her opinions, insights, intelligence and abilities to be respected. She wants to be respected as herself, not as the sometimes almost invisible other half of her husband.
     While women have proved that they are superior to men in many areas and usually having done better than boys in elementary and high school, it is hard for men, especially young men, to accept this because of their pride of self-intelligence.


They like to feel superior, and do not like to compete with women or be outdone by them. So some tend to ignore women's ideas or to be contemptuous of them.
     For these reasons many women have been trying to prove that they are the equals of men; some women take it a step further insisting that not only are they the equals, but they hotly contend that there are no differences between the sexes aside from some superficial external things such as the sex organs. Any undeniable differences they attribute to environment and upbringing. This view is almost universally accepted in our day. Even many men welcome the idea as this relieves them of being responsible, financially or otherwise, for the welfare of women and the family.
     Anyone who questions the essential sameness of men and women these days may be accused of bigotry and this despite the overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary, especially the new science of the brain which makes it clear that the sexes are intrinsically different even from conception.
     People who recognize that there is a difference know that the questions men ask are: "What is it? and How does it work?" The questions women ask are: "How does it apply to people? How does it help them and bring them together? But in talking about skills we should keep in mind that although they sometimes apply to almost all of one sex, we are usually talking about averages. If a man is less proficient than many women in a skill that is considered masculine, this does not mean that he is not masculine. It simply means that that man's interests lie elsewhere. For example, he may not be interested in motors but rather in the how and why of the brain. And of course there are great varieties in both men's and women's native intelligence.
     Three recent books on this subject express ideas that are extremely important for the New Church to consider. One is Sex and the Brain by Jo Durden-Smith and Diane deSimone (husband and wife team); the next is In a Different Voice by Carol Gilligan; the last is Sexual Suicide and its new revision, Men and Marriage, by George Gilder. The ideas in these books, especially the first and last, overlap and fit together.
     Let's start with Sex and the Brain. In this book the authors have brought together the findings of many scientists, several of them women. It is not at all religiously oriented but rather attributes its finding about sex to the evolutionary process.
     These scientists didn't start out to prove the differences between the sexes, but just kept running into them. And as they investigated, it became ever more obvious that the body and sex organs are not separate and incidental to the brain but are formed at the behest of the brain (we would say the soul) to serve it.


Maleness and femaleness are determined not by environment, but at conception by genetic inheritance and reinforced throughout gestation by male or female hormones.
     Doctors and scientists discovered that the two halves of the brain are unlike and that men's two hemispheres are organized and work together differently than a woman's two hemispheres, and that the placement and distribution of the brain functions in the male and female brains are not the same. They not only function diversely, but they do not look alike, because in females the posterior end of the corpus callosum (the bundle of fibers that connect the two hemispheres) is much wider and larger than it is in males (chapter 4).
     They learned these things as a by-product of surgical techniques. During operations surgeons can activate various sections of the brain while the patient is awake to try to avoid cutting into vital areas. They sometimes cut through the corpus callosum to prevent seizure in certain patients. Scientists then experimented with these patients so they could see how they responded to questions and how they carried out tasks with only one or the other hemisphere in use (chapter 4).
     They found that in girls and women the left hemisphere is more developed and there is greater communication between the two hemispheres of the brain. This gives girls the advantage in verbal and written communication skills-for example, verbal memory, fluency, and reading (chapter 4).
     The brains of boys and men, on the other hand, are more compartmentalized and, from very early stages in life, they mainly use their right hemispheres. This gives them an advantage in visual-spatial skills such as reading maps and mazes, rotating objects in their minds and locating three-dimensional objects in two-dimensional representations (page 59). And they have superior abilities in many of the scientific fields such as those that require concentration and abstract reasoning, like mathematics, physics, and engineering (chapter 4).
     These authors are not saying that women can't understand the truths that men have discovered. They can, and some understand better than many men. They can also pick and choose and accept or reject these ideas and apply them as they wish.
     The idea that men are better at mathematics was confirmed by a search for gifted students. The scientist, Camilla Benbow, working with the Johns Hopkins Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) conducted talent searches to find gifted seventh and eighth graders. In six years she and SMPY found about ten thousand children with natural aptitudes in math.


They were very surprised to find out that there were many more boys than girls in this group and the boys scored much higher than the girls. On no occasion did a girl come first on a test (pages 79 and 80).
     They tried to find some environmental reason. But they could find none. Even girls who had women mathematical role models and were specially taught and encouraged didn't do noticeably better than the other girls (page 80).
     While men are responsible for the vast majority of inventions and scientific breakthroughs, women are gifted in other areas. We have mentioned the skills necessary for communication. They are also "almost invariably better at reading body language and the emotional content of faces. They more often make use of context and are good at picking up information that is incidental to a task and also more distractible" (Quest magazine, Oct. 1980, "Male and Female. Why?" by Jo Durden-Smith). They have diffuse awareness-that is, they can cook, talk to their husbands, answer the telephone, and still be aware of what the children are doing. (Men usually aren't so good at this.) Further, women are "extremely sensitive to the presence and variations of sound. They have better fine motor coordination" (ibid.). In short, they have all the skills necessary to be the nurturers, the communicators, and the ones who cement relationships.
     These differences start in infancy. Scientists notice that boy babies more often respond to three-dimensional objects, lights, and colors, while girl infants respond more often to faces. Boys are more curious, play more with random objects and take them apart. Girls vocalize more, and are more sensitive to sounds and comforted by speech (page 60).
     In fact these differences start at conception. Scientists have known for a long time that every cell in a normal man is masculine and every cell in a normal woman is feminine. A girl receives one X chromosome from her mother and an X from the father. A boy receives one Y chromosome from his father and one X from his mother. So each normal masculine cell contains an X and a Y chromosome, and each normal female cell contains two Xs (chapter 6).
     But there are exceptions. Some men have an X and two Ys. These men are taller, more aggressive, and have greater visual-spatial abilities than other men. XXY men are less aggressive but have normal visual-spatial skills. Some women have only the one X from their mother. They are very gentle and love children, but they do not develop sexually and are retarded in visual-spatial skills (chapter 6).
     Sex hormones also play a big part in the differences of men and women.


The male fetus develops male gonads and they secrete the hormone testosterone which, together with the Y chromosome, is responsible for a man's much greater aggression and sex drive. It is also in large measure responsible for the masculinization of the brain and for the flight-fight response. It improves persistence and attention (chapter 7).
     Because of their far greater aggression, young men, deprived of the love and discipline of the home, are far more likely to get into crime. Men commit almost all violent and sex crimes, and in this last area do things that women almost never do. Gilder supports this.
     As far as women go, they are more hormonally complicated than men and far less anti-social. The two main sex hormones of women are progesterone and estradiol. The former, when given externally, calms a patient, and the latter promotes a feeling of well-being. The changing balance of these two is responsible for the early stages of mothering, preparation for breast feeding and also for the way women respond to stress. Their chemistry is different (chapter 7).
     Women feel more stressed by emotional problems relating to family and friends. They don't go into overdrive the way that a man does. They are more apt to get depressed.
     Men are more likely to be stressed by on-the-job problems, and because of their hormones and aggression, they are more at risk for the bad effects of heart trouble, increased blood pressure, heart rate, and blood clots (chapter 7).
     All these problems are less likely to develop if men are married and loved. To a lesser degree this is also true of women (page 143). This book tells us that "the sexes are differently made, differently programmed, differently wired with a different chemistry"(page 138), and that the different qualities of men and women were bred into our brains and biology for the survival of the human race by evolution for over hundreds of thousands of generations (page 17).
     The men's strength and ability to react quickly to stress enabled them to hunt and protect the family. The women's more gentle nature benefited the tribe by care of the children and emotional responsiveness. They were and still are the nurturers and the glue that keeps society and the family together. They have the skills necessary to channel men's aggression, to care for the children, and smooth human relationships (pp. 71, 72, and 142.)
     These authors tell us that we cannot ignore our biology or go against it with impunity. Each sex must work with its nature, not fight against it. If men and women refuse to recognize their differences and compete rather than love each other and collaborate, we will be hurtled into a future without marriage, family, and love, and reproduction will be taken over by science and industry (page 277).


     Women should give men the love and support they need. Men should grant women special respect as potential and actual mothers, recognize their special talents and see to it that society is flexible enough to provide women full opportunity to exercise these talents in the work place (pp. 275, 276, and 277).

     The second book is In a Different Voice by Carol Gilligan, a psychology professor. In teaching psychology to both men and women she came to see that men and women think and speak in a different voice.
     She made a study to find the differences in how the sexes feel about morals, identity, conflict, choice, caring relationships, rights, success, responsibility, and so on. She interviewed 144 men, women and children from ten years old to sixty, trying to match up the men and women and boys and girls by age and education. The women were professionals (P 3). She found that women like to be interdependent and define themselves by personal relationships-husbands, children, and friends rather than by their professions as the men do (p. 159). They fear the breaking up of these relationships. They are mainly concerned with taking responsibility for others, taking care of others, and not hurting them (chapter 1, p. 17).
     It is interesting that these highly successful professional women felt vaguely dissatisfied with their work because they felt it was not helping others as much as they had thought it would. Men, on the other hand, think more impersonally. They think from truth, logic, laws, and reason, and solve problems by means of these. Women solve problems by means of communication and caring. They think that they can solve all problems and get people to understand and cooperate just by talking to them. Gilligan points out that this method is just as good and often more successful than the men's way (chapter 1).
     Again, when men were asked what is morality they talked about right and wrong and justice and truth and defined it as obeying the laws (pp. 18, 20, and 49). But when women were asked the same question they talked about caring for and not hurting people (p. 17, also Chapter I). If they had been religiously oriented, I think they would have mentioned the ten commandments.
     This difference between men and women starts early. When boys at play disagree about the rules of the game they stop and all of them, even the poorer, players, discuss, with pleasure, the rules until they come to an agreement. They then go back to the game. But girls, when they have a disagreement about rules, usually quit and do something else. They care more about friendship than rules (p. 9).
     Men like to feel independent and self-sufficient. They are afraid of intimate relationships and revealing their emotions.


Intimacy appears mysterious and dangerous to them (p. 40). In fact, George Vaillant, a professor that Gilligan quotes, found that the hardest thing for his students to do was to describe their wives. These were well-adjusted men who acknowledged that they loved their wives and found them very important to their lives (p. 154). Women, of course, can tell you volumes about their husbands. We see the same phenomena in the Writings. CL 48a says that when partners meet in the spiritual world, husbands rarely know their wives, but wives readily know their husbands. Individual achievement is what fires men's imaginations. They like to make a big splash (p. 163). They work for their own glory or the glory of God, and in so doing often tend to forget to pay attention to the people they love most (p. 155).
     This book mentions two other important differences. One is that men are much more aggressive and their stories show more violence, often in connection with intimacy. The other is that men wholeheartedly like to compete and win. But, although many women like to compete, the fear of success kept cropping up in their interviews and they tended to connect it with danger. Sometimes they feared that success might hurt their popularity, but more often the problem was empathy and concern for the one who is beaten. Men do not worry so much about their own or the other's feelings (pp. 15, 40, and 42).
     We see here that women's logic is sometimes unstructured and confused, and even somewhat unsatisfactory to the women themselves. They didn't know how to integrate both caring and self-sacrifice for others with their own needs. They were troubled because caring and responsibility in one area seemed to hurt people in other areas (p. 134).
     These women would have been less confused if they had defined what they meant by caring and hurting and made distinctions between long-term welfare of others and short-term pleasure. They should have looked to God's laws and to men's structure, truth, and logic.
     This book includes men and their ideas but it is primarily about women, written by a woman from a woman's point of view to show that a woman's way of thinking and feeling is not an aberration but different from that of men and every bit as valid as man's, and often much more effective.
     Carol Gilligan is not saying that men do not love others or that women can't reason. She is telling us where each sex is coming from and where their hearts lie, not their separate abilities. And she shows that neither the masculine or the feminine way is best. It is the two ways working together that is best (chapter 6).
     This book is a wonderful confirmation of the Writings, backing up our teaching that women think and operate from affection and men from understanding.

     [To be concluded]



MINISTER'S FAVORITE PASSAGE (9)       Rev. Christopher R. J. Smith       1987

     In the union of His Human Essence with His Divine Essence the Lord had in view the conjunction of Himself with the human race, and that this was His end, and this His love, which was such that the salvation of the human race, as beheld in the union of Himself with His Father, was to Him the inmost joy (AC 2034:3).                    

     To read the whole of AC 2034 is to get a "bird's eye view" of people in this world and in the next, to see the pathetic condition the human race brought on itself, and what the Lord had to do in order to clear up the appalling mess!
     By His life on earth, we know the Lord suffered indescribable abuse and pain. Imagine facing the combined venom of hell, the giant monster, along with desertion by one's friends! How can we ever find the appropriate gratitude to give Him for overcoming His own horror at seeing what we, the human race, had done? For what He suffered, it is good to know that He was sustained by a feeling of joy-joy at the prospect of seeing us put back on our feet to Live with love in our hearts.
     It touches something within me to learn that the Lord sensed "inmost joy" for what He did. Although this something is still out of my reach and sight, it lets me know that any personal struggle to leave "Egypt," to endure the "wilderness," to fight the "Canaanites," to live with "hard sayings," is all worthwhile.               
     Knowing about the Lord's joy, to me, is like hearing the melody and words of a song that suddenly catches one's interest. But the tune comes and goes, as if carried on an undulating breeze. With ears alert, following it to its source, though, is not too hard. Then comes the moment when we may find ourselves unabashedly joining the chorus as it swells in sound to express the joy in one's heart for just being alive-alive in the way the Lord has predestined for each of us.
     To be truly, joyfully alive, is that not the meaning of salvation, the whole purpose of the Advent?
     Rev. Christopher R. J. Smith


     [Photo of Rev. Christopher R. J. Smith]

BEATITUDES       JAY C. SMITH       1987

     The Lord went up into a high mountain and taught His disciples. They were to build a new church. For this church, the Lord would prepare a new heavenly kingdom (see Matt. 5:1-12).
     A beatitude is a blessing which comes to a man when he joins good with truth from the Lord in some useful work. In the beatitudes is found a general statement of the instructions given to His disciples in regard to their attitude toward the task.
     Following is a brief sketch by Emanuel Swedenborg which deals with the spiritual import of the beatitudes:


     1. The poor in spirit are those who recognize that the spiritual power required for this task will come from the Lord only in the form of good and truth. Through the use of this power they will be blessed with a task well done.
     2. To mourn is to grieve because good is lacking in this work and this state becomes recognized. With a fresh influx of good, or love, there comes a new state of mind bringing greater understanding and comfort to the worker.
     3. The meek are those who humbly seek what is real and substantial in forming the new church. The earth corresponds to the church in which each man's life is rooted. A life so rooted grows as a tree and produces fruits, or uses. In this way, each individual becomes a church in unit, or a cell from which the church, in whole, is built.
     4. Hungering and thirsting after righteousness is the state of the inner man, when the good for which he hungers and the truth for which he thirsts are joined in a useful and righteous life work.
     5. To be merciful signifies to do good to the needy from the principle of love. By this action the merciful man, from the Lord's mercy, will gain spiritual enlightenment.          
     6. The pure in heart are those who from Divine love will do good. To have understanding of Divine wisdom means to see God. Love is the substance and wisdom is the form.
     7. Peacemakers are those who, without design, practice charity and in this way bring about a state of peace and security among men. This is the Lord's way for His children to find peace.
     8. Righteousness comes into man's life with the influx of love and wisdom. This influx generates a change of state and a regeneration of mind. Those who resist this change are led to hate and to persecute those who are being changed.
     9. With truth flowing into man's understanding he gains perception. With perception he can appreciate the plan or order of the Lord's new kingdom. Falsity is the antithesis of truth and, when harbored, destroys order.
     10. It is the Lord's Divine Providence to build and to govern anew heavenly kingdom. It is man's end to enjoy a place in this kingdom, providing that from freedom and in accordance with reason he wills to live under its order.

     While the decalogue is a declaration of the order of life, the beatitudes proclaim the blessings enjoyed by a life so lived.
     Thus taught the Lord to His disciples and to us from a high mountain.


Emanuel Swedenborg's Journal of Dreams 1987

Emanuel Swedenborg's Journal of Dreams       Leon S. Rhodes       1987

Emanuel Swedenborg's Journal of Dreams, commentary by Wilson Van Dusen, Swedenborg Foundation, 1986. Paper, pp. 194. Price $8.95.

     Most of us who accept the Writings given through Emanuel Swedenborg as a Divinely inspired revelation are content with the rather simple statement that after his preparation as a scientist, the Lord opened Swedenborg's spiritual eyes, thereby introducing him to the spiritual truths which constitute the promised Second Coming. There may be good reasons to look more carefully at what was involved in Swedenborg's unique conversion whereby we, as New Churchmen, are permitted to enter with understanding into the mysteries of heaven.
     The Swedenborg Foundation's newly published book, Emanuel Swedenborg's Journal of Dreams, presented with the commentaries of psychologist Wilson Van Dusen, offers us a vastly more sensitive understanding of the crisis period 1743-1744 so lightly represented in the phrase, "The Lord opened his spiritual eyes." It is a monumental work, perhaps not for everyone, and its publication is a highly significant conclusion to the amazing events without which we could scarcely appreciate the incomprehensible transformation leading to the Second Coming.
     The story of the Journal of Dreams itself is a moving example of the workings of Providence, and the first chapter of Van Dusen's book explains how this very private diary, surely not intended for other eyes, lay undiscovered-even concealed-for more than a century, then published apologetically to the bewilderment of his followers and perhaps the glee of his enemies. Those who have read the Journal in an earlier edition can easily understand the embarrassment and bewilderment caused by this handwritten 104-page octave notebook, and this writer does not hesitate to acknowledge the tremendous debt to Dr. Van Dusen in setting the Journal into a perspective that not only called upon the commentator's experience and expertise as a clinical psychologist, but also on a gigantic and painstaking study that testifies to his belief that this is a work of incalculable importance in the understanding of the Writings themselves!
     Very briefly-for those who have not read the Journal previously-it is comprised of fragmentary notes written between July, 1743 and May, 1744, beginning with insignificant notations as Swedenborg began a journey but then developing in a most astonishing manner as he explored an inner world through some sixty-nine experiences that, although classified as "dreams," represent progressive openings of the revelator's spiritual eyes until he was "transformed from scientist to seer."


These were notes to himself rather than to the reader, and often he attempted to interpret the dramatic, grotesque and sometimes ecstatic visions during the night. But Swedenborg was puzzled, and Van Dusen points out his errors of interpretation. The psychologist's commentary takes a long, careful and thoughtful look at an "intimate view of spiritual discovery."
     The reader who begins this valuable book must be patient and should be aware that its subject matter is unique in many ways. In reading this paperback, 194 pages, now available in most of the New Church book centers, he will be carefully conducted through the journal itself, frequently noting differences in the translation from the Swedish original, but well over half of the book's content consists of Dr. Van Dusen's observations and evaluations. It is especially valuable that the recognized scholar, Van Dusen, meticulously set Swedenborg's brief and enigmatic notes in the context of the work in which Swedenborg the scientist was engaged during his waking hours, often adding meaning to the otherwise strange symbols. He also anticipates Swedenborg's role as revelator, and includes significant relationships to other understandings of dreams and the realm of spiritual experiences, the work of mystics and yoga as well as Dr. Van Dusen's own impressive analysis of the subconscious.
     This reviewer believes that the New Church reader will find a new understanding of the Writings, of the New Church and its doctrine, and of that unprecedented transformation from a proud and honored scientist to the humble servant of the Lord.
     Leon S. Rhodes

NCL 50 YEARS AGO       Editor       1987

     The March issue in 1937 notes that the magazine The Greater World has reviewed Louis Pendleton's book The Invisible Police. The review says, "As the story unfolds, it becomes more and more interesting, and . . . shows how Evil is always overruled, silently but unfailingly, by Good." The new printing of this book is advertised on p. 52 of the January issue this year.
     Also in the March issue of 1937 is a quotation from The Atlantic Monthly of December, 1936, in which Mr. John A. Chamberlin writes: "As a lawyer, I have had the usual experience of examining written testimony, and of testing the reliability of witnesses. Mr. Swedenborg convinces me that his experiences were real. He explains many difficult passages of the Bible; he answers my questions about eternal life."


Editorial Pages 1987

Editorial Pages       Editor       1987


     Does It Matter?

     As we get nearer to the 300th anniversary of Swedenborg's birth we will see more attention to Swedenborg the man than we are accustomed to. Some might say that on a given subject the truth as stated in the Writings is all we need and that there is little point in knowing what Swedenborg previously thought on the matter. One sympathizes with such a view, but we find occasionally within the Writings themselves a reference to Swedenborg's previous opinion.
     Since it is there in the Writings we expect that there is a reason and a use to be served. Let us take the opinion that Swedenborg once held on whether an angel or spirit knows what someone is thinking.
     "Before the way was opened to me to speak with spirits, I was of the opinion that no spirit nor angel could ever know or perceive my thoughts, because they were within me . . ." (AC 5855). "Before I had been instructed by living experience, I had supposed, as others do, that no spirit could possibly know the things in my memory and in my thought, but that they were solely in my possession, and were hidden" (AC 2488). This matter of the immediate reality of the spiritual world is tremendously difficult for a person to accept. Even when Swedenborg had actually experienced it repeatedly he could see how easy it would be to fall back into his previous opinion. In the Spiritual Diary it is said, "From these things it may be concluded with what difficulty man can be led to believe that he is ruled by the Lord through spirits, and with what difficulty he recedes from the opinion that he lives his own life from himself apart from spirits. I formerly perceived, after speaking for some months with spirits, that if I were remitted into my former state, I could have fallen into the opinion that these things were phantasies" (SD 2951).
     One of the uses of such references is to combine with the emphatic statement the sympathetic observation that it is hard to take in. Another use seems to be part of a general function of the Writings to define themselves, for the Writings contain within their pages evidence of how they came into being. Swedenborg's own part, as it is described in the Writings themselves, is a good subject for attention at an anniversary time.


     A striking example of references in the Writings to Swedenborg's previous views is the following from the Arcana: "Before my sight was opened, the idea I cherished concerning the countless things that appear in the other life differed but little from that of others . . ." (1533).
     Another example is the following from Divine Providence: "I was told from heaven that, like others, I believed that I thought and that I willed from myself, yet in fact nothing was from myself, but if good it was from the Lord, and if evil it was from hell" (290).

     DR. KINTNER'S BOOK     

     In the January issue of 1985 we featured a long article by Dr. William R. Kintner entitled, "Written with the Finger of God." It was introduced as follows:

     This article outlines a proposal for writing a history of the Jewish people from Abram to Christ based on the Old Testament and utilizing the inspired insights of Emanuel Swedenborg, particularly his detailed exposition of Genesis and Exodus contained in the Arcana Coelestia or Heavenly Secrets. The rationale for the proposed research and subsequent book follows:

     If you have not read this you are encouraged to do so, and may write for a copy. The work has progressed, and a more expanded outline has been circulated to a number of people. We wish success to this ambitious project.
     We would call attention to the lead article in a prestigious quarterly magazine, World Affairs. The spring issue of 1986 opens with a piece by William R. Kintner entitled "The Elements of Peace." This is a substantial article in a journal that is read by some leading figures in the field of foreign policy. The New Church reader takes special pleasure in reading this, for he realizes that the opening paragraph contains a paraphrase from the Writings. It includes the following sentence. "Peace for the individual is like a balmy day in spring which disposes human minds to receive delights and pleasantness from the objects which appear before the eyes and the fragrances in the air." (Compare such passages as Arcana Coelestia 5662.)



IN ITSELF       Patricia K. Rose       1987

Dear Reader,
     What if the Lord told you that it is all right to do an action that you believe is evil? This sounds like a ridiculous hypothesis, doesn't it? Surely we have enough confidence in the Lord to know that He wouldn't tell us to do something that's intrinsically evil. We would have to assume that we were wrong about its being evil, rather than that He erred in approving it.
     So why do sincere New Churchmen say that it is an evil to kill an enemy in war when the Lord tells us it is "not contrary to charity"? The usual answer is, "The person may be doing it from a good motive even though the action is evil."
     Since it is an often repeated teaching of the Writings that every action derives its quality from the motive or intention of the person doing it, how can an action have a quality different from the person's motive? In other words, can an action be in itself-apart from the doer-evil? CL 527 speaks to this very question: ". . . the action of man in itself is such as the affection of his will is which produces it . . . . [B]y evil deeds are meant the deeds of an evil will of whatever quality they may outwardly appear. . .by good deeds are meant the deeds of a good will, although outwardly they appear similar to the works of an evil man" (emphasis added). AC 4839 tells us, "all that . . . which does not spring or flow forth from. . .an intention or end of evil, though it sometimes appears like evil, yet is not so, provided the end is not evil, for the end qualifies every deed" (emphasis added). The end qualifies every deed. As AC 10623 puts it, "evils and falsities have no existence except in subjects, which are men." Killing, in itself, is not evil! That's why it is proper to translate the fifth commandment, Thou shall not murder.
     In an article by that name ("Thou Shall Not Murder"-February 1987 issue) the author stated that "killing is, in itself, an evil." The idea is quite prevalent in the church and I'm sure that Mr. Alden speaks for many people. I'm wondering whether it would be acceptable to refer to acts such as defensive killing as "repugnant" (or as Mr. Alden says, "abhorrent") rather than evil. This conveys the feeling of how distasteful it is to kill another person, without imputing evil to the act.


Add to this "a prayerful wish that it be not so" (AC 3909e), and we have a healthy attitude to defensive killing.
     Since the end qualifies every deed, and therefore no action can have quality different from the motive of the doer, we must also rethink our concept of what permission is. Abortion, among many other acts, has been termed in the church a permission, regardless of the motive behind the action-and this in spite of teachings such as, ". . . good pleasures, leaves and permissions are circumstanced according to subjects, when many think, speak or do the same thing; one acts from permission, another from leave, a third from good pleasure, for each and all things are from an end" (SD 2296e). Aren't we disregarding teachings when we say that if a woman has an abortion because pregnancy endangers her life, and she really wants the baby, this permission? If her motives are good if she acted out of self-defense, Mr. Alden put it-how can her action be from permission? I believe it cannot. Apply the above teaching to those who have abortions: "acts from permission, another from leave, a third from good pleasure. Abortion in itself is not evil, though we may find it repugnant and abhorrent.
     Can we tell whether an action we are considering is of permission? SD 89! A tells us, "He who is led by the Lord perceives in the single things he does whether it is a permission, whether it is given by leave, and whether it is well pleasing: in a word, whether it is thus to be done." It is the person who decides to have the abortion that gives it quality, and there is undoubtedly a wide range of motives.

     *     *     *     *     *

     I would also like to take the opportunity to comment on Rev. Eric Carswell's sermon "Forgiving Others" (Feb. issue). I found it extremely helpful. What I appreciate most about it is the balance he achieved in discussing forgiveness. He told us, "Forgiving another does not mean that we should completely ignore what someone else has done to us." But by very effectively using the parable of the prodigal son he showed us what attitude is charitable toward those who have hurt us: don't hold grudges; don't plan revenge; don't brood over the action; don't impute evil motives; wish well to the offender. This also illustrates how we are to love our enemies. I found the suggestions simple and uncomplicated but put in a way that, for me at least, shone new light on the perennial question of how to forgive. A useful sermon!
     Patricia K. Rose,
          Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania



CATHOLICS AND PROTESTANTS       Rev. Grant R. Schnarr       1987

Dear Editor,
     In the January issue Janet McMaster expressed concern that we may, at times, put down Catholics and Protestants. I don't think any minister or layman, in his right mind, would ever say that people from other religions are bad or wrong. The Writings don't say that either. I too have met plenty of good Catholics and Protestants. They come to our church every week expressing dissatisfaction with their former religion. They are good people, but they themselves say that the dogma, doctrine, beliefs of their own former church were not good. And this is the point Writings make.
     I am deeply concerned with the idea that the Writings are out-of-date. The essential truths about the danger of faith alone, works alone, what those organizations who hold these beliefs stand for, is true today and will be true 10,000 years from now. If the Writings can really be said to be out-of-date, then what might we say about the Old and New Testaments? The Lord said, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away" (Mark 13:31). This is as true for the Writings as it is for the Sacred Scriptures.
     Personally, I believe that what the Writings say about those who hold the doctrine of faith alone can be seen more clearly today than in Swedenborg's time. People confirmed in this doctrine call us anti-Christ, non-Biblical, non-Christian, because we do not hold to the doctrine of salvation by faith alone. More open conversation with our Christian friends will increase our understanding of this question and will better equip us to perform a use to the world.
     Rev. Grant R. Schnarr,
          Glenview, Illinois

FRIENDSHIP       Richard Linquist       1987

Dear Editor,
     Sunlight performed its miracle of enlivening the choir hall of our cathedral one afternoon about ten years ago. Standing under the gently curved beam of the balcony was a solidly built man of about fifty-five years of age. Radiating a peaceful happiness as if his soul were uplifted by the rising curved wood above him, he stood there for about twenty minutes. I became more aware of his inner serenity as we spoke about the delicate and precise balance of curved lines which created the beauty which so affected him. For, he was, as it were, in heaven.


     Like an angel, he looked at me with clear, warm, respectful eyes. He seemed to accept me without searching for faults, as when a grandparent looks with the wisdom of love, touching the good parts within his or her grandchild. You know what I mean, but can you guess what shaped his life? He related to me that he had recently retired after serving for twenty-five years as a guard in a prison.     
     Enlightenment then entered my mind. For compared to a prison's hard, lifeless surfaces and confining bars, our choir hall must have appeared heavenly to him. Further, in the jungle of violent emotions in which he had lived, he seemed to know about the nourishing strength of hope contained in a compassionate, respectful gaze.
     Walking the path of reformation with its spiritual discipline is not unlike walking through and out of the long, complex passages of a prison. Yet we know that the Lord guides the very footsteps of those who follow Him. Indeed, those who are able to assemble in Bryn Athyn this June, I believe, would feel His love shared among us there.
     For those assembled whose souls do dwell comfortably, at home within the protective walls of ". . . the Lord's church on earth, which is the New Jerusalem . . ." (TCR 188) there may be a happy discovery. While listening to a lecture, socializing or walking alone over Bryn Athyn's lovely landscape, a New Churchman might sense that he is in a spiritually sunlit hall wherein an angelic choir is singing, to warm and nourish its congregation.
     Let's be awake to His love, like children in the early morning looking for someone to take care of them.
     Richard Linquist,
          Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania

NEW AGE AND OTHERS       Michael A. Nash       1987

Dear Editor,     
     The Lord is the "True Light that lightens every man that comes into the world." The saying in Matthew, chapter five, "Ye are the light of the world" refers to the Lord's light in those who receive. This is the "city that is set on a hill [mountain] and cannot be hid." This is the true New Church, which may also be called "the salt of the earth."
     When in the infinite mercy of the Lord we are brought into such a state of life, the true church is seen in us. "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven" (Matt. 5:16).


The works done as if by ourselves but from Him alone lead others to glorify the Lord. But if the salt loses its savor our light becomes darkness.
     The quality of life in a person shapes the understanding. He who obeys what he knows is on the path that leads to heaven and to a gate of the Holy City, the true church, and this despite all errors of ignorance alone. But he who disobeys what he is led to see and understand is in the way of destruction. His evils destroy the few genuine truths he may have.
     The so-called "New Thought" movement and the so-called "New Agers" seem to be modern Gnostics who say much about "enlightenment" and "illumination" but deny the Lord as the Divine Man who is the Lord Jesus Christ who suffered, died, rose again and now reigns in His glorified Divine Human.
     I appreciate Kent Doering's letter in the November issue of New Church Life, and I think all in the church, indeed all real Christians, should be concerned about this "New Age" movement. I think many ardent "Fundamentalists" will be seen as brothers and sisters in the true New Church whenever they are led of the Lord's mercy to see what the Writings given through Swedenborg really teach.
     If I may end this letter on a personal note, a number of years ago I was totally given to the farthest out "isms." I even accepted the insanity called "anarchism"! Since the Lord mercifully delivered me and led me to be His disciple, I speak not in anger or bitterness to anyone caught up in such insanities now. Rather I speak from love and desire that we all humble ourselves with thanksgiving and glory at the things the Lord has done for us. I pray that we can receive from Him alone the strength to keep the words of His testimony, and individually to enter the use and uses to which He would ordain us.
     Michael A. Nash,
          Gassville, Arkansas
HYMNS 1987

HYMNS       Barrie Ridgway       1987

Dear Editor,
     I read with interest Jeremy Rose's article "I Own Thy Sway" (August NCL), and the consequent correspondence in the November issue.
     Maybe there are some hymns we can do without and many of Jeremy Rose's criticisms relating to archaic language and inverted sentence structure are valid. However, whilst I appreciate the point he is making, I do not think it is of real concern.


The identical criticisms may be also leveled at much of English literature and poetry but that does not make them any less relevant.
     What does seem to be of concern, however, is that Jeremy Rose wishes to modernize our hymns because he says they "are not adequate for my religious needs." He says that he is in a blues band and that he would like our hymns to be more acceptable to newcomers including a blues bandleader. Similarly, Grant Schnarr is concerned that our hymns do not go down very well in a cafe. It is this unacceptability of our hymns by some sections of the non-New Church population that seems to be the real issue.
     If we are embarrassed over our hymns maybe we should also consider modernizing the whole service. After all, the hymns must surely be a minor difference to a newcomer in comparison with the doctrines of the New Word. Why not, therefore, replace the hymns with modern songs, the organ with guitars, tambourines and cymbals, dispense with priestly robes, attend service in casual or sporting attire, have chatty little sermons, an informal order of service and so on? Newcomers would be most appreciative. Or would they? Recently the British Broadcasting Corporation attempted to discontinue broadcasting old-fashioned evensong services. The reaction against such a move was such that the broadcasts were reinstated.
     My view is that we should preserve the unique sphere and integrity of our services, including our "archaic" hymns. Maybe there is a need to sift out some which are difficult to sing or which are songs rather than hymns. Possibly in the process the lovely wedding hymn "O perfect Love! all human thought transcending" could be returned to the Liturgy. I would also suggest that we include in our Liturgy many of the lovely and age-old hymns sung in the "old" churches. An example of one of these would be "Praise my soul, the King of Heaven" by Henry Lyte. But in including them, please let us stick to the original words and tunes. I think we have changed some of these in the past. Serious consideration should also be given to deleting hymn number 3 as this is sung to the tune of the British National Anthem.
     But please, let us not modernize the hymns we sing. They are, after all, songs of praise to the Lord.
     Barrie Ridgway,
          Canberra, Australia



VERSIONS OF THE WORD       Richard L. Goerwitz       1987

Dear Editor,
     An anonymous writer advocated in a letter last July that we keep the Old King James Bible as our standard version of the Word. In it, the writer made the dubious assertion that recent interest in modern translations is largely a matter of laziness, i.e. an unwillingness to expend some small effort at understanding the Old King James. This represents, I think, a serious misunderstanding of why many of us advocate the use of modern translations-one I would like to take the time here to address. One great irony of this letter is that, in the name of defending the old Authorized Version, the writer unwittingly provides us with an example of how easily its archaic language can be misunderstood.
     Back in the early seventeenth century, the English nominative singular second person pronoun was "thou." Over time, "thou" was lost, and "you"-originally an oblique plural form-gradually usurped its functions. Today "you" serves the same function as "thou" did back when the Old King James was written. The point is that "you" now means roughly the same thing as "thou" did four hundred years ago.
     What astonishes me is that for many people-our anonymous author included-the word "thou" has been given an almost sacred connotation. It is a special word they say when speaking with or about God. Use of "you" in its place engenders discomfort, if not anxiety. Strangely, the word "thou" never had such overtones when it was used in everyday speech. As I mentioned, it was simply the standard second person singular pronoun. Why some people are so defensive about its use is therefore quite beyond my power to understand. They call it "reverent" or "respectful." The fact is that the word had none of these inherent qualities while the Old King James translators were alive. Those who read these overtones into it are thus, in effect, misunderstanding the very version they wish so strongly to defend.
     If such subtle shifts in meaning deceive even its most ardent defenders, one can imagine what they do to young or ill-educated readers of the Old King James. Since the Word was meant to be adapted to children and the simple, many people feel that these difficulties make the New King James Version a better choice as our standard version of the Word. Admittedly, the New King James is not always as euphonious or pleasing as the Old King James. Nor does it have so strong a hold on our affections. The Word, however, is not meant to be a literary masterpiece. Nor is it meant simply to conjure up fond memories (frequently confused with remains). It is meant to be a repository of truth which constantly challenges us, and leads us into new insights about God and His will concerning our lives.


This function, many feel, would better be served by a newer, more accurate and lucid version of the Word.
     To conclude, then, people may hold various opinions of the relative accuracy or lucidity of the various translations in question. This is to be expected. It saddens me, however, to see the motives of those in favor of change reduced to simplicities like "laziness" or an irrational desire to deprive people of a book they have come dearly to love. Ultimately, it is our feeling that what we are doing is doctrinally warranted that causes us to take the position that we have. If our anonymous author, and others of his ilk, are to have any input into this ongoing debate it is these doctrinal questions-not accusations of indolence-that must be aired and discussed.
     Richard L. Goerwitz, III,
          Chicago, Illinois


     The 1987 meetings of the Council of the Clergy will be held this year immediately prior to the assembly. They will be considerably shorter than usual, the first session taking place on Sunday evening, May 31st. They will conclude on Tuesday, June 2nd, and the Joint Council will meet on Wednesday afternoon, June 3rd.


     As noted on the opposite page, the assembly begins on Wednesday evening, June 3rd. That is also graduation day, the exercises to be held in the Field House at 9:30 a.m. This will be the first time air conditioning will be available for graduation if it is needed.



ASSEMBLY DAY BY DAY       Editor       1987

     We look now to the 30th General Assembly of the General Church of the New Jerusalem. The excellent booklet which you will have received says: "June is a beautiful time of year to visit Bryn Athyn-not only for an Assembly, but to enjoy the Cathedral, the Glencairn Museum, the Academy campus, old friends, and new. And it is hardly ever as hot as it was at the last Assembly! Even if it is that hot we have good news. Our official sessions, to be held in the Asplundh Field House, will be air-conditioned."
     Visitors to Bryn Athyn for this occasion will come places far and near. In looking ahead to those few days, we already have a sense of how much we have to be grateful for at this point in our history. We have a sense of challenges ahead, a sense of need for the Lord's guidance and for strength from Him to carry forward the uses which He gives us to see.

     30th General Assembly-June 3-7, 1987

     Schedule of Events

     WEDNESDAY (June 3)

     12:15 p.m.-Civic and Social Club luncheon available
     1:00-5:00 p.m.-Visitor registration
     1:30-5:30 p.m.-Swim Club open for high school and college
     2:00 p.m.-Joint Council (Pendleton Hall)

     6:30 p.m.-Supper (Society Building)
     8:00 p.m.-Session #1 (Asplundh Field House)
               Worship-Rev. Lorentz Soneson
               Episcopal address, "Jacob-Natural Life"-Rt. Rev. Louis B. King
     9:00 p.m.-Jacob pageant-Rev. Kurt H. Asplundh (east of the Field House)
               Open houses (Cairnrun area)
               College age to thirty open house (Robert H. Asplundh)
     9:30 p.m.-High school party (Donald Kistner)


     THURSDAY (June 4)

     8:00 a.m.-Breakfast (Society Building)
     9:30 a.m.-Session #2 (Asplundh Field House)
          Worship-Rt. Rev. Louis B. King
          Business report
          Confirmation vote on Executive Assistant Bishop
     10:30 a.m.-Speaker-Rev. Douglas M. Taylor, Evangelization report
     11:30 a.m.-Response to confirmation vote-Rt. Rev. Peter M. Buss

     12:15 p.m.-Luncheon (Society Building)
     1:30 p.m.-Swim Club open for high school and college
     2:00-5:30 p.m.-Deka reunion (Glenn Hall)
     2:00-4:00 p.m.-Tours
          Miscellaneous Meetings:
          2:00 p.m.-Religion Lessons-Rev. Alfred Acton (Bryn Athyn Church Conference Room)
          2:00 p.m.-Parents and friends of developmentally disabled and especially challenged people-Rev. Kurt H. Asplundh (Bryn Athyn Church School Library)
          2:00 p.m.-New Church singles network-Marcia Smith (Bryn Athyn Church School 8th grade classroom)
          3:30-5:30 p.m.-Swim club open for all members and Assembly registrants
          4:00 p.m.-Glencairn concert

     6:30 p.m.-Supper (Society Building)
     8:00 p.m.-Session #3 (Asplundh Field House)
          Worship-Rev. Ragnar Boyesen
          Speaker-Rev. Christopher Bown, "Ministering to the Lord's Brethren"
          High school social (College Social Center)
     10:30 p.m.-Vesper Service-Rev. Willard Heinrichs (Pendleton Hall)


     FRIDAY (June 5)

     8:00 a.m.-Breakfast (Society Building)
     9:30 a.m.-Session #4 (Asplundh Field House)
          Worship-Rev. Daniel W. Heinrichs
          Speaker-Rev. Thomas Kline "Discipleship"
     11:15 a.m.-Assembly photo (east of Field House)

     12:15 p.m.-Luncheon (Society Building)
     1:00 p.m.-Golf at Philmont Country Club south course (Shotgun start)
     1:30-3:30 p.m.-Swim Club open for high school and college
Miscellaneous Meetings:
     2:00 p.m.-Music Festival '88 brainstorming-Rev. Alfred Acton (Bryn Athyn Church Conference Room)
     2:00 p.m.-Home Elementary School Education-Rev. J. Clark Echols, Jr. (Bryn Athyn Church School Curriculum Center)
     3:00-5:00 p.m.-Glencairn Museum gallery tours with music
     3:30-5:30 p.m.-Swim club open for all members and Assembly registrants

     6:30 p.m.-Supper (Society Building)
     8:00 p.m.-Session #5 (Asplundh Field House)
          Worship-Rev. Erik Sandstrom
          Speaker-Rt. Rev. Peter M. Buss, "Healing of the Nations"
     9:30 p.m.-High school social (College Social Center)
     9:00-11:00 p.m.-Cathedral lighting
     10:30 p.m.-Vesper Service-Rev. Allison Nicholson (Pendleton Hall)


     SATURDAY (June 6)
     7:30-8:45 a.m.-Continental breakfast and open house (Glencairn)
     8:00 a.m.-Breakfast (Society Building)
     9:30 a.m.-Session #6 (Asplundh Field House)
          Worship-Rev. Geoffrey S. Childs
          Speaker-Rev. Daniel Goodenough, "Expectations"
     11:15 a.m.-Rain date for Assembly photo

     12:15 p.m.-Luncheon (Society Building)
     12:30 p.m.-Sons luncheon (Pendleton Hall)
     12:30 p.m.-Theta Alpha luncheon (Assembly Hall)
     1:30-3:30 p.m.-Swim Club open for young people
     3:00 p.m.-New library dedication-garden parties after dedication
     3:45 p.m.-New Liturgy music sing-along

     7:00 p.m.-Banquet (Society Building)
          Toastmaster-Rev. N. Bruce Rogers
          Rev. Fred Elphick, "Good as the Goal"
          Rev. Christopher R. J. Smith, "Truth as the Means"
          Rev. Walter Orthwein, "Need for Doctrinal Study"
     9:30 p.m.-Band party for the young at heart (Asplundh Field House)
     9:00-11:00 p.m.-Cathedral lighting
          Open houses (Dale Road area)


     SUNDAY (June 7)

     6:30 a.m.-Sunrise service-Rev. Mark Carlson (Cairncrest lawn)
     8:00 a.m.-Breakfast (Society Building)
     9:00 a.m.-Adult service and Holy Supper-Rev. Kurt H. Asplundh (Cathedral)
     9:30 a.m.-Family service-Rev. Frank Rose (Pendleton Hall)
     11:00 a.m.-Adult service and Holy Supper-Rev. Kurt H. Asplundh (Cathedral)
     10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon-Pick up leftovers (Society Building). No official luncheon

     Times and locations for social events that are listed are tentative.

ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE       Editor       1987

     Mr. King Wille is chairman of this committee, and Mr. Dirk Junge is assistant chairman. The full committee membership is listed at the beginning of the brochure that has been mailed to all members.
     The fall issue of New Church Home has an interview with Mr. King Wille. One of the questions posed to him begins as follows:

     "King, you are the Chairman of the coming 30th General Assembly, a huge job. Would you tell us something of the . . ." (New Church Home, page 47).

     [Photo of Paula and King Wille with daughter and newly baptized granddaughter (Photograph courtesy of New Church Home)]





     "Sunrise" will take place June 8-12, 1987, at Mt. Misery, NJ (1 hr. from B.A.). The name "Sunrise" represents the overall theme of restoration and renewal. Each day will have a particular theme: Mon. "Commitment," Tues. "Love," Wed. "Wisdom," and Thurs. "Use." Worship, small group sharing, and celebration will be integral parts of the experience. Costs: college age $75, individuals $125, couples who have additional outside costs in order to attend, $200 ($100 each). To apply or for further information, contact Beryl and Paul Simonetti, Box 162, B.A., 19009.
     The camp will be under the leadership of Frank and Louise Rose and staff. Michael A. Brown, co-director


Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, 19009, U. S. A.
Information on public worship and doctrinal classes provided either regularly or occasionally may be obtained at the locations listed below. For details use the local phone number of the contact person mentioned or communicate with the Secretary of the General Church, Rev. L. R. Soneson, Cairncrest, Bryn Athyn, PA 19009, Phone (215) 947-4660.

     (U. S. A. addresses next month)


Mr. and Mrs. Barrie Ridgway, 68 Hilder St., Weston, Canberra, A. C. T. 2611.     

     SYDNEY, N.S.W.                                   
Rev. Erik E. Sandstrom, 22 Dudley Street, Penshurst, N.S.W. 2222. Phone: 57-1589.


Rev. Cristovao Rabelo Nobre, Rua Xavier does Passaros 151, Apt. 101 Piedale, Rio de Janeiro, RK 20740. Phone: 021-289-4292.




Mr. Thomas R. Fountain, 1115 Southglen Drive S. W., Calgary 13, Alberta T2W 0X2. Phone: 403-255-7283.

Mr. Daniel L. Horigan, 10524 82nd St., Edmonton, Alberta T6A 3M8. Phone: 403-469-0078.

     British Columbia:

Rev. William Clifford. 1536 94th Ave., Dawson Creek, V1G 1H1. Phone: (604) 782-3997.


Rev. Louis D. Synnestvedt, 58 Chapel Hill Drive, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada N2G 3W5.

Mr. and Mrs. Donald McMaster, 726 Edison Avenue, Apt. 33, Ottawa, Ontario K2C 3P8. Phone: (613) 729-6452.

Rev. Geoffrey Childs, 2 Lorraine Gardens, Islington, Ontario M9B 424 Phone: (416) 231-4958.


Mr. Denis de Chazal, 17 Baliantyne Ave. So., Montreal West, Quebec H4X 281. Phone: (514) 489-9861.


Mr. Jorgen Hauptmann, Strandvejen 22, Jyllinge, 4000 Roskilde. Phone: 03-389968.


Rev. Kenneth O. Stroh, 2 Christchurch Court, Colchester, Essex C03 3AU Phone: 0206-43712

Mr. and Mrs. R. Evans, 111 Howard Drive, Letchworth, Herts. Phone: Letchworth 4751.

Rev. Frederick Elphick, 21B Hayne Rd., Beckenham, Kent BR3 4JA. Phone: 01-658-6320.

Mrs. Neil Rowcliffe, 135 Bury Old Road, Heywood, Lanes. Phone: Heywood 68189.


Rev. Alain Nicolier, 21200 Beaune, France. Phone: (80) 22.47.88.


Mr. Ed Verschoor, Olmenlaan 7.3862 VG Nijkerk


Mrs. H. J. Keal, Secretary, 4 Derwent Crescent, Titirange, Auckland 7. Phone: 817-8203.


Mr. and Mrs. Klaus Bierman, Axel Flindersvei 3, Oslo 11. Phone: 28-3783.


Mr. and Mrs. N. Laidlaw, 35 Swanspring Ave., Edinburgh EH 10-6NA. Phone: 0 31-445- 2377.

Mrs. J. Clarkson, Hillview, Balmore, Nr. Torrance, Glasgow. Phone: Balmore 262.



Rev. Geoffrey Howard, 30 Perth Rd., Westville, Natal. 3630. Phone: 031-821 136.


Rev. Norman E. Riley, 8 Iris Lane, Irene, 1675 R. S. A., Phone: 012-632679.

Mrs. D. G. Liversage, Box 7088, Empangeni Rail, 3910, Natal, South Africa. Phone: 0351- 23241

     Mission in South Africa:
Superintendent-The Rev. Norman E. Riley (Address as above)


Contact Rev. Daniel Fitzpatrick, Aladdinsvagen 27, S-161 38 Bromma. Phone: (08) 26 79 85.



JOHNNY'S TRAIL       Editor       1987




     Anne Eliot Crompton

     Published by Swedenborg Foundation
A children's story based on an episode in the life of Johnny Appleseed which demonstrates his religious beliefs and his philosophy of life. It also includes a short summary about Johnny Appleseed and about Emanuel Swedenborg.

     Hardcover      Postage paid $7.65

     General Church Book Center      Hours: Mon-Fri 9-12
Box 278                               or by appointment
Bryn Athyn. PA 19009                    Phone: (215) 947-3920


Notes on This Issue 1987

Notes on This Issue       Editor       1987

Vol. CVII          April, 1987          No. 4


     Notes on This Issue

     "In the rending of the veil, we see a summary of all that the Lord came this magazine has published on this particular text in more than a to do." This outstanding sermon by Rev. Lawson Smith is the first one hundred years. (The sermon in March of 1934 might be considered an exception, but it does not address the subject of the veil.)
     Who can deny that competition is "a pervasive force in our lives from earliest childhood"? Although this subject has a particular interest for those involved in education, the thoughtful treatment of it in this issue by Mrs. Simonetti has applications beyond the field of education and is likely to initiate considerable discussion.     
     When you see Rev. Geoffrey Howard at the assembly in June you might say, "Yes, C.L. 229 is a favorite of mine too" (see p. 156).
     We thank a benevolent intermediary for obtaining a copy of the talk given this year in Toronto by Mr. Ivan Scott and for getting permission to publish it (p. 162)
     Fifty years ago this month a man who could personally remember the formation of the General Church spoke of government by influx and said that each generation must come to see how this applies in its own time (p. 167).
     In his welcome letter entitled "Isolated" Mr. John Kane suggests that he may be "the only New Church man in Spain." We will tell him about an item on page 37 of the spring Theta Alpha Journal which says, "I have a pen friend in Spain who is a recent and enthusiastic convert to the New Church . . . . I gave him ten years' accumulation of New Church Life and Theta Alpha Journal. He says this is what brought him to reading the Writings . . . . In our travels both Life and Journal have followed us and have been read from cover to cover, over and over again. So it is when one is an isolated member."
     Charis Cole concludes her book excerpts in this issue relaying the views of yet another author for us to evaluate.




     "And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom" (Matt. 27:51).

     The tearing of the veil is the first event recorded after Jesus yielded up the spirit. It looks backward to the horror just preceding, but also forward to the Lord's victory. The destructiveness of it fits with the darkness over the whole land and the earthquake, as a sign of the tragic state of the Jewish Church at that time. But when the veil was torn apart, then for the first time there was access to the inmost sanctuary of the temple. This access symbolizes the fulfillment of the Lord's purpose in coming into the world. The tearing of the veil represents the removal of the last separation between the Lord's Human and His Divine, and at the same time, the removal of the last barrier between the human race and the Lord. So as we think of the wonderful things involved in these few words of the Scriptures, we can better appreciate the Lord's purpose in coming, and see the fulfillment of His love on Easter.
     The temple at Jerusalem was a magnificent building, made of enormous stones and adorned with gold. Herod the Great, the one who tried to kill the Lord when He was an infant, built the temple to win favor with the Jews. It took forty-six years to complete, and it was the pride of the Jewish people.
     It consisted of three parts: the inmost sanctuary, called the Holy of Holies; the middle section, called the Holy Place; and the court. It was modeled after the Tabernacle, according to the design given by the Lord to Moses on Mount Sinai.
     The Holy of Holies was always in complete darkness. Inside was the ark, within which were the two tables of stone, called "the Testimony." No one was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies except on one day of the year, the day of atonement, when the high priest, after special preparation, went in amidst a thick cloud of incense.
     The veil hung in front of the ark, separating the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place. In the Holy Place there were windows, and three special furnishings: the table of the bread of the Lord's presence, the seven branched lampstand, and the altar of incense. The Holy Place is where Zacharias was offering incense at the time when the angel Gabriel came to him (see Luke 1:8-11).


     Another curtain separated the Holy Place from the court, where all the people would pray at the time of incense. In the court was the laver, a great basin of water for ritual purifications, and the altar of burnt offering. The court was the part of the temple that the Lord purged of the money-changers a few days before His crucifixion and resurrection.
     In the highest sense, the temple stands for the Lord Himself in His Divine Human. Jesus said, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." "But He was speaking of the temple of His body" (John 3:19, 21; AE 220). The temple represented His Human mind and body, and how from Himself He accommodates to the minds of everyone, whether we are natural, spiritual or celestial.
     The veil hanging between the Holy of Holies and the Holy Place was made of four colors woven together: a blue purple, a red purple or crimson, double-dyed scarlet, and fine, white linen. On it, embroidered in gold, were cherubim. In a good sense, this beautiful curtain represents the conjunction of the inmost and middle heavens. Since the celestial heaved is especially in love to the Lord, and the spiritual heaven is especially in the love of the truth, this veil also stands for the marriage of good and truth, the marriage of a good life with a sight of truth from the Lord's Word. The red colors stand for the goods, and the blue and white colors stand for the truths, beautifully woven together into a single fabric (see AC 9670).
     This veil also stands for the conjunction of the Lord with mankind, because it stood in front of the ark, representing the Lord. The Lord presents Himself to us in His Word-this is the veil, in the Word, goodness and truth are beautifully woven together. As we on our part learn and apply the truth to our lives, the Lord inspires us with the love of what is good (see AC 2576).
     Now we can see that the tearing of the veil in two, in the negative sense, represented the destruction of our conjunction with the Lord, by the destruction of His Word. The human race, and the Jewish Church in particular as the last church before the Lord's coming, destroyed the Word. They made it of no effect by their traditions. They blotted out its true meaning by false interpretations, so that it had no power to reform men's lives, or to show them the Lord. This same destruction of the Word is also represented by the soldiers tearing up the Lord's outer garments, by the rocks being rent, and by all the abuse they did to the Lord's body, even to the crucifixion (see AC 9093, 1839).
     There is also another aspect to the meaning of the veil: it stands for appearances of truth (see AC 2576). On the one hand, appearances of truth are good. They are simply how the truth appears to us-how the Lord presents Himself to us in such a way that we can see Him.


No one, not even the highest angel, can rise above appearances of truth to see the Lord as He is in Himself, or behold the infinite, Divine Truth. We all need appearances of truth, so the Lord has carefully provided such appearances in His Word, accommodated to every human state. In every appearance in the Word, if we are willing to look, we can always see a more interior truth, leading us closer to the Lord Himself.
     On the other hand, appearances are capable of being misinterpreted, deliberately or accidentally. This was especially true before the Lord Himself came into the world. Before His advent, people depended on various representations of Him to get an idea of God. All the burnt offerings and sacrifices and the tabernacle itself were representations of the Lord. All the statutes of worship and even the code of civil judgments in the Israelitish Church interiorly signified things about the Lord. Everything looked forward to the Lord who was going to come. But such cloudy foreshadowings of the Lord could easily be perverted (see AC 4772, Coro. 42-43, 52-54).
     In the negative sense, then, the veil stands for appearances hiding the Lord from view, as the veil hid the ark. In one sense this was good, because people who did not want to see the Lord were protected from seeing Him and then deliberately turning their backs. The Lord Himself, when He came, spoke in parables, so that seeing they would see and not perceive (see Matt. 13:13; AE 400). This protection of the evil from deliberate profanation is represented by the cherubim on the veil. The Lord on the cross said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34-emphasis added).
     The Jewish Church, under the influence of the hells, twisted those appearances to completely blot out the sight of the Lord in His Word. It was as though, having torn the Word itself to shreds, they then used those twisted shreds to make a curtain of falsities, hiding from men the way to the Lord and to heaven (see AE 400).
     By such falsity, the hells attacked the Lord Himself. In Him the veil stands for appearances that separated His Human mind from the Divine. Perhaps the most important of these was the appearance that the human race could not be saved-that the Lord's Divine love and purpose could not be fulfilled. Because of that appearance, it sometimes seemed as though the Divine had left Him alone, as when He cried out on the cross, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Matt. 27:46).
     But the Lord parted that veil of appearances. He dispelled the falsities of the hells both for Himself and for mankind by the same acts.
     The Lord opened that veil for the human race by coming into the world and revealing Himself to us.


In fact, the word "revelation" means "unveiling," or pulling back the veil as it had been in the beginning. In His life on earth, the Lord showed that He is a God who loves mankind, and that love to the Lord and charity to the neighbor are the most important things in His kingdom. The Lord fulfilled all the things in the Old Testament from beginning to end, and thus showed what they really mean. The Lord restored the power of the Old Testament by dispelling the falsities that had hidden the truth there. As the angel came down from heaven and rolled away the stone from the door of the tomb so that everyone could see that the Lord was risen, so the Lord removed the false doctrine that hid Him from our view (see AC 4772, AE 400).
     In fact, Jesus's own death was part of the means of tearing away the veil that blocked mankind's view of Him. We are told, "The Lord was willing to suffer death and rise again the third day . . . [so] that He might put off everything human which He derived from the mother, and put on a Divine Human. For the whole human which the Lord took from the mother He rejected from Himself by temptations, and lastly by death; and by putting on a Human from the Divine itself which was within Him, He glorified Himself, that is, made His Human Divine" (AE 899:14 -Emphasis added). If the Lord had not died at all, He would have remained merely a natural man-as indeed He was, even to the eyes of His disciples who knew Him best, until His resurrection. By shedding the merely natural body, He made it plain that He was not just an extraordinary man, but the Son of God. The natural body was thus one of the last veils to be torn apart, so that we could see the Lord Himself (see AC 2576:2-"body"),
     For the Lord Himself, the tearing of the veil represented that He had finally risen above the appearances that separated His Human from the Divine. From top to bottom, the veil was torn in two: from the inmost, most subtle lies of the hells, down to the outmost urge to cling to the natural life of the body, the appearances were dispersed. He could see that the human race was set free, and that those who were willing could now be saved and be conjoined with Him. They could see Him in His Divine Humanity, and could follow Him, and be led to heaven.
     To unite the Human with the Divine meant to unite the Divine truth to the Divine Good. When the Lord came into the world, He made Himself the Divine Truth. He was the Word made flesh, the Word fulfilled. He taught the way, the truth and the life. By the power of the Divine truth, He fought against the false appearances by which the hells attacked Him, as when He quoted the Word to refute the tempter in the wilderness. By the truth, He set people free from spiritual and natural disease. On Palm Sunday He rode into Jerusalem as the King of glory, and every detail of that magnificent procession signified that all truths were set in order and subordinated under His view.


     But when He departed from the world and rose to heaven, He made Himself the Divine Good. Even as to His Human, the Lord is pure Divine Love and mercy, which in itself is utterly beyond our comprehension, yet from which flows all truths. This Divine Love is the Holy of Holies, and from it comes the Lord's Holy Spirit, the Divine Truth, to enlighten and save us. And we can see now, as never before, that every teaching in the Lord's Word comes from His love, and leads us to Him (see AC 9670, 2576).
     It was as though the Lord was entering through the veil into the Holy of Holies. He united the Divine Love with the Divine Truth in Himself. In so doing, He gave us, too, a way to be conjoined with the Divine itself, the Divine Love, and so be drawn up to heaven by the strong force of His love. This way to approach Him is through His Divine Human, now revealed to us. In the Lord, we see our Father, and hear His voice. He teaches us with Divine power and authority the way to live our lives. The veil that hid Him from us is gone, if we wish to approach Him.
     So in the rending of the veil, we see a summary of all that the Lord came to do. Because the church had torn apart the Word-meant to be the means of our conjunction with the Lord-and had hung up in its place a veil of falsity, the Lord came into the world to reveal or unveil Himself again. He parted the veils of appearances in the religious observances and laws of the Ancient and Jewish Churches to show their real essence: love to the Lord, charity toward the neighbor, and faith in Him from love. He underwent temptations, induced by the hells through false appearances, and eventually parted those veils to enter into the Holy of Holies, uniting the Human with the Divine in Himself. In this way, He opened the way for us too to see Him and approach Him and be conjoined with Him in love and faith.
     On Easter morning, the Lord rose with Divine majesty and power. He told His disciples, "All authority is given to Me in heaven and on earth" (Matt. 28:18). But the only reason the Lord wanted this power for His Human was so that He could save the human race and be conjoined with us. So the very last words of the gospel of Matthew-the climax, the goal to which everything leads-are the Lord's words, "And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:20-emphasis added; cf. AC 2034). Amen.

     LESSONS: Matt. 27:45-54, 28:1-10, AC 2576:2-5 (parts)

     [Lesson on following page]


     Lesson from Arcana Coelestia 2576     
     Rational truths are like a covering or garment for spiritual truths. The case is that the inmost things in man belong to his soul, while the more exterior belong to his body. Man's inmost parts consist in goods and truths from which the soul has its life, or else the soul would not be a soul. Those which are more exterior, however, derive their life from the soul, and each one of them is like a body, or what amounts to the same, a covering or garment. This becomes clear in particular from the things that are seen in the next life, for example, from angels when these are presented to view. The interior things in them shine from their faces, while the exterior are represented both in their bodies and in the clothes"; they are wearing, so completely that anyone there may recognize the character of those angels simply from the clothes they are wearing . . . It is similar in the case of angels who have been seen and whose faces and clothing are described in the Word, such as those in the Lord's tomb . . . Nor does this apply only to angels but also to everything else, even inanimate objects, mentioned in the Word. Their exteriors are a covering or garment-as with the Ark of the Covenant, and the tent surrounding it. "The Ark" there, which was inmost, represented the Lord Himself, for the Testimony belonged there, while "the tent" outside of it represented the Lord's kingdom. Every single one of "the coverings" there, that is, the veils and screens, represented the exterior celestial and spiritual things within the Lord's kingdom, that is to say, within the three heavens . . .
     The Tabernacle had three veils, the first, which made a division between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies; the second, which is called a screen serving as a door into the tent; the third, which is called a screen serving as a gate into the court. The first of these, the veil itself, which was a screen in front of the Ark, represented the most immediate and inmost appearances of rational good and truth, which occur among the angels of the third heaven . . .
     This shows what is meant by the veil of the temple being torn in two (Matt. 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45)-namely that once all appearances had been dispelled, the Lord entered into the Divine Itself, and at the same time He opened a means of access to the Divine Itself through His Human that had been made Divine.


CROSS 1987

CROSS       OLIN DYGERT       1987

     I, like most of us-or, rather, many of us-was brought up with the idea that the cross truly represented Christianity, and maybe it should-but I have my doubts.
     It's certain that the cross represents the death of Jesus. There can be no doubt of that. And possibly it also is intended to illuminate the atonement. It may do that too. To stay away from an argument, let's say it does.
     But it seems to me that the words: "He is risen!" come a lot closer to what Christianity is all about than "it is finished." True, when that was said, it meant, I think, that the agony of the passion was finished-nothing more. Certainly He knew that He would rise again in less than three days. If you doubt that, you throw out most of Christianity right off the bat.
     The cross certainly doesn't represent the resurrection. I don't know what should. The resurrection was certainly more important than the death-though it wouldn't be possible to have the latter without the first. That's a foregone conclusion. But Christianity doesn't stop with either or both. It continues.
     God now became a trinity-after the resurrection. He wasn't before. Remember, the Holy Ghost was not yet, because Christ was not yet glorified. The glorification took place only after He had risen.     
     In that instant, in the twinkling of an eye, He now became Father, Son and Holy Ghost-the trinity!-God, with a human body, which, incidentally, He took with Him when He ascended. No getting around that, unless you choose to disbelieve the Gospels. And some do! or, at least try to explain it away.
     What I'm getting at is that after the resurrection, a much better symbol than the cross would be an equilateral triangle: God at the center, and the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit as sides. They are all equal, none is superior and none is inferior. They all make God. Or, put it this way if you prefer: God is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
     And who is God? Well, Paul put his finger right on it when he said Jesus is Lord! In other words. to a non-Jew, such as myself, Jesus is God. Not was God; is God!
     So, for me, a truer and better symbol of Christianity is the triangle, with the name "Jesus" written therein. At the center, Creator, Redeemer and Savior, at whose name every knee should bend.
     The Divine Human. The Center of the triangle, God Himself!



VICTORY!       Rev. J. CLARK ECHOLS       1987

     Suggested reading: John 20 and True Christian Religion 109

     The crucifixion took place on a stark hill outside of Jerusalem. Such public displays brutalized the Jews into submission. Indeed, those of His followers who watched were devastated. They saw no point, no victory, but only the end of all they had worked for. Peter had even called Jesus "the Christ," the predicted Savior-a knowledge he could have received only by observing how the invisible God he worshiped was displayed in the words and acts of Jesus. And now this man Jesus was dying. It seemed that it was all over. We're told that they didn't then remember the prophecies. Their grief must have clouded their minds to what Jesus had told them, that He would rise on the third day.
     What was the purpose of this, the greatest of all miracles-to rise from the dead by His own power? There was a Divine plan, established at the beginning. Its steps were set out, and Jesus followed them all. He fulfilled the plan just as He fulfilled all the prophecies.
     He came to earth and assumed a body with a Divine soul within so that through His words and works He could successfully reduce the hells to order, and restore mankind's spiritual freedom. This genuine truth shines forth in all of the New Testament and makes understandable everything that happened. If the apostles had seen this clearly they wouldn't have doubted.
     With the defeat of the last hells during His passion on the cross, Jesus completed the purification of His mind; He released Himself from the limitations of mere finite thought and desire. The hells had nothing more that they could attack in Him. Jesus had made His own mind, His spirit, and the essence of His character and personality one with the Divine that was within Him. Thus He was one with the Father. He was no longer subject to the doubts and desires of His mortal flesh. He would no longer pray for strength as if to another person. And so He rose from the tomb. The tomb was empty because Jesus replaced His finite body with a Divine one-the Divine Human-glorifying Himself, including that which corresponded to His Divine body. Thus the mortal body was not in the tomb.
     Is not this the obvious outcome of all that went before? Is not this the fulfillment of the Divine plan? The unique process of the incarnation, His teaching techniques, His power over nature and His power to heal and give life, the struggles with temptations, His acquiescence in the crucifixion, and the empty tomb-these are all evidence of the Divine plan at work-the plan for the spiritual salvation of mankind to eternity.


     The evidence we have is twofold. First we have the Old and New Testaments and the Writings. Therein we find the data. Second is the capabilities and faculties of our mind. How could the people of the day be so blind? Because the Lord now "enlightens the internal spiritual man and the external natural man at the same time"! (TCR 109). He now has the eyes to see us, communicate with us, as He couldn't before. He can hear our prayers, smell the fragrance of the sphere of our worship, and He can touch our hearts and minds. Using His Divine strength He can lift us up out of the pit. This truly fulfills the Divine plan for salvation. He no longer walks the earth, but He has acquired the ability, through His glorified Divine body, to reach us. He is no longer invisible. He is now our visible God.
     This genuine truth is displayed in the New Testament by doubting Thomas. Thomas wouldn't believe, he said, until he had touched Jesus. He was expecting a physical resurrection, perhaps with Jesus continuing His earthly work. But he was wrong on two counts. First, it would have been better, Jesus said, to have believed without the necessity of an external sign. And, second, Jesus was not returning to the limitations of a physical, mortal body. Upon seeing Jesus, Thomas became open to the enlightenment Jesus offered. Thomas then understood and knew what Jesus had given him: Jesus was now "My Lord and my God!"
     We are urged by this to believe what our minds and hearts tell us to be true. The Lord will reveal Himself to us when we turn to Him, when we cease seeking merely external evidence for His existence and trust the enlightenment He offers us from within. It is a merely natural kind of trust in the Lord that is based only on physical evidence. It is a merely natural kind of love for the Lord that is based on His physical presence. It is a merely natural kind of knowledge of our Lord that is based solely upon His mortal body. He asks us now to rise above merely natural things to spiritual, eternal things. He wants us to have a spiritual view of our life. By His work He has offered this view to us, so that we may see His Divine plan in its fullness. He works from within, and raises us up to see Him in His glorified Divine Human.
     He need not be physically present to do this miracle. By means of the glorification, and through the inspired accounts of the New Testament, He is present with us today in a far greater and more powerful way than merely physically. His Divine Human reaches us from within ourselves, while His revealed Word impresses itself upon us from without. When these two come together, we find strength on all levels of our consciousness. We are able to touch Him as surely as Thomas could, and we can, with full understanding and confidence, proclaim Him our Lord and God.


     The goal to which the Divine plan looked is then accomplished. It had not been set from the beginning only to end with the ascension of Christ to the right hand of God. The plan looked from the beginning to eternity. The Lord God Jesus Christ reigns today in your heart. The plan is for the salvation of mankind to all eternity. We can understand that plan, as it works for all humanity and as it works for each of us. It is now up to us to avail ourselves of His plan for our salvation, which is His-and our-final victory!


     What meaning does the word "competition" have for you? Do you think of a game? A contest' Rivalry? Winning or losing? Success in business? An incentive to excellence? There is no doubt that competition has its uses. A game well-played for the fun of it, competitive striving for excellence of all kinds, even the ambition of a selfish person which leads him to be of service to his fellow man, all can serve good purposes (see CL 17:4, AC 3993:9, SD 2796). Seeing these useful aspects, we may be willing to accept without question the forms of competition found in the society around us even though some of these forms have destructive qualities.
     Competition is a pervasive force in our lives from earliest childhood. Is there a child who hasn't proclaimed himself "King of the Castle" or who hasn't defended himself with some variation of "Mine is better than yours!"? We encourage a young person to think in terms of competition and to rate himself in comparison with others when we assign a numerical grade to his performance in many areas, and sometimes announce his rank in class. This implies to him that his value as a person is related to his test scores. We may protest that this is not so, but we cannot avoid the fact that an evaluation in comparison with others has been made.
     We have become so accustomed to thinking of things in terms of competition-of winning and losing-that we divide people up into winners and losers whether that is appropriate or not. Roy Blount, Jr., in an article in a special sports supplement of the New York Times Magazine (Sept. 29. 1985), "Winning: Why We Keep Score," cites 220 books in print whose titles begin with the word "Winning," and ponders how many others might contain the word "win," such as Choose to Win, Act Like a Winner, and other similar titles. He also notes our fear of losing or being taken advantage of, and our need always to be on the defensive, when he quotes the following advertisement for Puma shoes: "Attack.


Because if you're not the predator, you're the prey."
     How are we affected by this environment? We may believe that we are aware of the uses and abuses of competition, and that we can use this knowledge as a guide to appropriate action. What we may not realize is the extent and subtlety of the sphere of competition that surrounds us, and how much our attitudes concerning ourselves and other people may be influenced by assumptions we have made without being aware of doing so.
     Consider a person who has been examining himself and has found that he wants to dominate others and that he feels contempt for them. He sees this situation as one in which he wants to win in competition with others and put them in a losing position. He sincerely desires to change this. One way he can see to remove himself from his evils is to shun winning and to cultivate the habit of losing. He feels that in order to become a better person he must change love for himself into hate for himself-to abase himself not only before the Lord but also before his fellow man, and in this way to turn his arrogance into humility. In the past he has put himself before others; now he must put others before himself. What he does not see is that contempt for others and contempt for self are different sides of the same coin. When we put ourselves in a subservient position the focus may remain on self. This may lead to a false humility. How satisfying it is to think we have succeeded in conquering our desire to rule others! This is what Eric Hoffer had in mind when he said, "Humility is but the substitution of one pride for another." And we may not realize that in abandoning our lives to the rule of others, in becoming submissive to an inappropriate authority, we are giving others the opportunity to commit the very sins we are trying to shun in ourselves. We will look in vain for a formula which tries to tell us when we are in a suitable place of reasonable concern for self somewhere on a narrow path between the chasms of self-love and self-abasement.
     To find what we are looking for, we have to remove ourselves entirely from the mind-set of competition. We need to look at the situation again, this time within a framework of cooperation and mutual concern. Is it necessary to have winners and losers? In a society in which each person is a functioning contributor to the welfare of all, there are no losers. Consider this quote: "Heavenly love is loving for their own sakes the useful and good functions which a person performs for his church, for his country, for the human community, and for his fellow citizen. This is actually loving God and loving the neighbor, since all useful and good functions come from the Lord and are, further, the neighbor we are supposed to love" (HH 557).


Here each individual self is included with all others as a part of the whole. Mutual love and charity take form when we cooperate with each other.
     As another example of what happens when we stress competition, consider the effects of putting usefulness and charitable acts into a framework of rivalry. If we feel competitive about giving, we cannot take any joy in receiving what others would like to give to us, because the more we receive, the more we must give to stay even. Keeping score and being sure that every favor is returned immediately can be an exhausting process. We are making the assumption that we need to prove that we have greater concern for others than for ourselves. We strive to be more useful than others so that we can be sure we contribute more to society than they do.
     We give selfless service when we want to give to others without considering our own position. We cannot do this if we are concentrating on outdoing others or if we are concentrating on self-sacrificer. Charity is present when we desire to do things for others, not when we sacrifice for them. If we think of ourselves as sacrificing, we are focusing on ourselves and the merit of what we are doing. Forgetfulness of self eludes us unless we give up competition and consider others with self rather than attempting to consider others instead of self. "Heavenly joy . . . is the delight of doing something that is useful to ourselves and to others . . ." (CL 5). Charity does not always require one person to give up something in order for another to benefit. If the emphasis changes from "What do I have that I can deprive myself of and give unselfishly to I you?" to "What can we do together for the benefit of each other?", we are following the commandment "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Then we become allies instead of adversaries, and the desire for keeping score of good deeds vanishes.     
     Often we have no real need to compare ourselves with others. In the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:10-14) the Pharisee compares himself favorably to the lax collector. "God, I thank you that I am not like other men-extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all I possess." The tax collector, without making comparisons, says "God be merciful to me, a sinner!" We don't need to compare ourselves with others in order to see the good in them or to appreciate what they offer to us, or, for that matter, to take pleasure in what we can offer to them. If we cannot remove ourselves from the competitive way of looking at things, we cannot even begin to learn how to give others what we have to offer without considering our own reward. Only when we can transform our attitudes to include ourselves and our neighbors in the same context-to be conjoined with them-will we be able to offer our skills, our resources, our ideas and our love to them.


Then we will also be able to receive with joy the good things that others choose to give to us. The inward of each is the joy of the other. Neither is possible without giving and receiving.

It is the essential of love not to love self but to love others, and to be conjoined with others by love. It is the essential of love, moreover, to be loved by others, for thus conjunction is effected (DLW 47).

     We may feel that this is all very well in a heavenly society, but how do we accomplish necessary tasks on earth? How can a student be motivated? In many areas we seem to need the incentive of competition in order to get things done. However, we need to evaluate our competitive activities carefully. Is the main interest in the development of a knowledge or skill which can be used for the benefit of others, or in feeling superior to or contemptuous of those we are competing with? Does an emphasis on winning and losing lead to contempt for the loser? The Writings emphasize in many places the destructiveness of contempt and of despising others in comparison with oneself (see AC 2219:5, 2327:3, 2057:4, 7370).
     We need to be aware of the possible consequences of the choices we make in these matters. When we choose to work within a competitive framework rather than a cooperative one, we may be choosing a direction that will lead to contempt of others rather than charity toward them. When we use competition for motivation, we must be looking toward the eventual goal of charity and cooperation.


     AC 3993:9 "If anyone loves himself more than others, and from this love studies to excel others in moral and civic life, in memory-knowledges and doctrinal things, and to be exalted to dignities and wealth in pre-eminence to others, and yet acknowledges and adores God, performs kind offices to his neighbor from the heart, and does what is just and fair from conscience, the evil of this love of self is one with which good and truth can be mingled . . . But the man who loves himself above others, and from this love despises others in comparison with himself, and hates those who do not honor and as it were adore him, and therefore feels a consequent delight of hatred in revenge and cruelty, the evil of such a love as this is one with which good and truth cannot be mingled, for they are contraries."



MINISTER'S FAVORITE PASSAGE (10)       Rev. Geoffrey H. Howard       1987

     That for those who desire love truly conjugial, the Lord provides similitudes; and if not given on earth, He provides them in the heavens. The reason is because all marriages of love truly conjugial are provided by the Lord. That they are from Him may be seen above (nos. 130, 131). As to how they are provided in the heavens, this I have heard described by angels as follows: The Lord's Divine Providence is most singular and most universal in regard to marriages and in marriages, because all the delights of heaven stream from the delights of conjugial love, as sweet waters from the vein of a fountain. Therefore it is provided that conjugial pairs be born and that, under the Lord's auspices, they be continually educated for their marriage, neither the boy nor the girl knowing it. Then when the due time has passed, she, now a marriageable maid, and he, now a young man ripe for marriage, meet somewhere as if by fate, see each other, and at once know as by a kind of instinct that they are mates; and within themselves as though from some dictate, they think, the young man, She is mine, and the maid, He is mine. Then, after this thought has been seated for some time in the mind of each, they deliberately speak to each other and betroth themselves. It is said, as if by fate, instinct, and dictate, though what is meant is by Divine providence, because when this is unknown, it so appears; for the Lord opens their internal similitudes that they may see themselves (CL 229).

     This passage affected me deeply from the time I first read it in my later youth. I was affected by the beauty and innocence described in the process of angelic courtship. I have been similarly affected by its power ever since.
     In trying to ascertain why I feel particularly drawn to this passage, I would cite the following reasons.
     It describes a process which is profoundly sublime and transcendent. It seems elusive until one has actually experienced it and has been led into the state of consent and betrothal. Paramount in the mind of every young person is surely the question, What is it like to fall in love? How will I know when I have met the person I want to marry? This passage addresses itself to these very questions. It reveals that it is not a matter of fate, but rather the effect of the Lord's Providence, for it is He who guides and moderates our affections.
     What an incredible thing it is to know that the Lord is there, leading a young man and a young woman to find each other "as if by fate"! This passage shows how clearly the Providence of His leadership operates in the heavens. But what is more remarkable is that the description given accords with what we may be given to feel on earth, with those who have "asked of the Lord a legitimate and lovely partnership with one, and who spurn and reject wandering lusts as an offence to their nostrils" (CL 49).


If we hold the ideals which the Lord has set before us as sacred and inviolate, our perception of heavenly values may become more keen. This then allows the same process as described in heaven to take place here on this earth.
     The Lord has also revealed the whole doctrine of similitudes, a doctrine which must be rationally consulted. The understanding of similitudes simply provides us with a form against which our feelings of attraction can be evaluated.
     What a wonderful opportunity the Lord has placed before us. He has provided the means whereby we may be led to find our partner with a relative degree of surety. He has given us a revealed code that enables us to recognize the quality of the affections and feelings by which we are stirred. He has given us the opportunity to place ourselves into the stream of His Providence in making this sacred decision, to enter into the eternal covenant of marriage.
     Rev. Geoffrey H. Howard

     [Photo of Rev. Geoffrey H. Howard]




     Certain questions have occupied me since age 15, when I went to work at the local Catholic hospital, and intensely so in the five years during which I've been teaching and participating in an East Lansing Christian Church (United Church of Christ). I have been privileged to worship with and accompany some wonderful people on our spiritual journeys together. I have met and conversed with many leaders in the Catholic and Protestant movements, and have observed two recurring topics of concern, interest, study, and questions, and a very rich literature that addresses these. These literatures draw to some degree from Swedenborg's Writings. They overlap, and seem to be opening the way for the Writings to be received if they are made truly accessible. The two topics, that life has stages of psychological and spiritual development, and that ancient myths and stories (including those of the Old Testament) describe these stages.

Stage Theories of Development

     There is a growing awareness that life has stages, patterns and developmental issues that extend on into adulthood, that we don't just grow up and grow old. Both teachers of religion and behavioral scientists in a number of fields of study-sociology, psychology, human ecology, adult education, psychiatry, applied theology-have described the adult cycle, and are noticing that similar questions about meaning seem to arise for individuals in their search for a satisfying life.
     Jean Piaget, Eric Erickson, Laurence Kohlberg in succession have elaborated theories of cognitive, emotional and moral development that are studied widely. The more recent work of Drs. James W. Fowler and Sam Keen has extended these concepts powerfully into the area of faith development and spiritual growth. Their research makes it clear that people confront developmental crises and a search for meaning in these areas regardless of their background or their intention to do so. Scott Peck alludes to this in his book The Road Less Travelled, where he describes the unavoidable progressive disillusionment of life. The only way to stay the same is to lie to ourselves (which many of us do, of course).
     How people traverse these crises depends in part on what they understand to be the meaning of the crises. Fowler and Keen offer much insight about the life cycle, and you will feel familiar with their insights about what the issues of meaning are.


Sam Keen is most famous for his first book To a Dancing God (Harper and Row, 1970), but his definitive piece is The Passionate Life: Stages of Loving (Harper and Row, 1983).
     He describes, with anecdotes, history, mythology, and developmental theory, first the more familiar stages of Child, Rebel and Adult, and then the last two, the Outlaw Self and the Lover's Spirit, which are rich with new images drawing on ancient wisdom and the best of his observation of himself and others. For each stage he describes primary motivations and modes of loving, virtues that characterize health. For the Lover's Spirit these are: "Empathy; radical trust; forgiveness; second innocence, joyful acceptance of the actual; the ability to suffer voluntarily (an end to neurotic suffering); wise foolishness . . . the unification of consciousness, compassion and conscience" (p. 264).
     For the Outlaw Self he remarks, "the ancient maps that chart the stages of human life recognize that midway we must begin a long process of purification and repentance. Before we enter paradise, we must spend a season in purgatory" (p. 146).
     Finally, he describes the perversions we fall into if at a given stage we forego the journey and try to stay where we are: "The promise of youth is perverted and we remain perpetual adolescents if we do not take the risk of rebellion or get stuck in an antagonistic posture. This leads to different forms of arrested development: resentment, hostility, the blame game, passive dependency, sentimentality, niceness (do we know anyone like this?), incurable romanticism and idealism, the playboy and playgirl game" (p. 264).
     Jim Fowler takes us into the religious experience with extensive interviews and his own background in Christianity as a seminary professor. For each of his six stages he describes the form of logic, the form of world coherence, role-taking ability, locus of authority, bounds of social awareness, form of moral judgment, and the role of symbols. His definitive work is entitled Stages of Faith: The Psychology of Human Development and the Quest for Meaning (Harper and Row, 1981).
     I am particularly fond of thinking about the move from stage three to stage four and beyond. Phrases describing stage three, that of synthetic conventional faith, include: chooser, joiner, pleaser; self identifies with groups of choice (family, church, job); conflicts resolved by setting a hierarchy of loyalties; prejudices strong, loyalties firm; desire to fit in and follow what "they say"; conventional, obedient, chameleon.
     Stage four: the critic, engaged in "making peace with the self at a cost": masks are removed, personal faith chosen, positions taken, commitments made, ability to make autonomous decisions develops.
     Most institutions, including churches, appeal to and rely on people at stage three to maintain them. How does one design an institution that encourages its members to transcend it?


The Writings address the transition in great depth; and yet so much energy in the institution goes into maintaining familiar patterns.
     The works of both of these men extend the view that one who is open to life's lessons is drawn strongly by forces within and beyond us to a way of living that is empowered by love, that looks to a Divine Source for that love and the light to guide us to Him.
     These are both popular writers whom I use in my teaching to illustrate these points, and to carry us into further teachings from the Word as a map for our journey, and a revelation that this journey is possible because the Lord has been on this path before us; and so into the nature of redemption, and His Divine Humanity; how the Lord was transformed by His journey in this life in order that we too may be.

Myths, Stories, and Inner Meaning

     There is a great interest and excitement about the value of the story to convey deeper psychological and spiritual truth. A tremendous literature has developed which aims at uncovering ancient wisdom about the human drama in the mythologies and in the stories of the Old Testament. The authors I notice being read and talked about most are three mutual friends, all Episcopalian priests, also qualified Jungian analysts: Robert Johnson, Morton Kelsey and John Sanford. Sanford in the introduction to the Understanding Masculine Psychology (1977) by Robert Johnson: "A myth stands in relationship to mankind in general as a dream does to the individual. A dream shows the individual an important psychological truth about himself. A myth shows an important psychological truth that applies to mankind as a whole" (p. 2).
     Toward the end of He, an analysis of Parsifal and the Holy Grail Johnson tells the secret of the Grail: "The object of life is not happiness, but to serve God or the Grail. All of the Grail involvements are to serve: God. If one understands this and drops his idiotic (sic) notion that the meaning of life is personal happiness, then one will be flooded with happiness" (p. 76).
     It is Carl Jung and his followers who have pursued this line of study, and have made popular a new language for talking about the psyche and the meaning of religion. Jung was influenced by Swedenborg's work. Superficial reading of Jung may lead one to think he was not Christian, but this is not so. Rev. Wallace B. Clift, in Jung and Christianity: The Challenge of Reconciliation (1983), summarizes his research on Jung: "The future of Christianity, as he [Jung] saw it, lies in the realization of the Christ within each person. That is surely the meaning of the Holy Spirit understood as present in each person.


     "The Christ experience is, in his psychological language, the encounter with the self. It is not a matter of making out of each person a 'God,' but on the contrary, realizing that within each person lies the potentiality of responding to God by bringing that encounter into consciousness.
     This is our task. The challenge for Christianity lies in its opportunity to provide us with the framework of symbolic meaning within which we can carry out our task. It was Jung's (almost despairing) hope that the Christian community would take up this challenge" (p. 157).
     I often give He and She by Robert Johnson to people to read because they're short (80 pp.), and are dramatic examples of familiar ancient myths that clearly address deeper issues of growth than the "letter" reveals-issues that people want to know about. This is another example of a way to join people "where they are" and establish a common language for sharing deeper meanings. The Lord taught people in this manner.
     I experience people having an ardent desire to know about the Lord, about repentance, regeneration, the nature of the soul, the nature of love and of the Word. There is no lack of interest. Read some of this literature and you will rejoice in the earnest quest for meaning which so many share. Notice the integrity of scholarship and appreciate the areas where the truths we have been blessed to receive would be a welcome gift to others.

     Other books I've found valuable.

By Sam Keen and James W. Fowler:
     Life Maps: Conversations on the Journal of Faith. 235 pp.
By Robert Johnson:
     She: Understanding Feminine Psychology, 71 pp.
     We: Understanding the Psychology of Romantic Love, 201 pp.

By Morton Kelsey:
     Caring: How We Can Love One Another, 192 pp.
     Discernment: A Study in Ecstasy and Evil, 144 pp.
     The Other Side of Silence: A Guide to Christian Meditation, 308 pp.
     Companions on the Inner Way: The Art of Spiritual Guidance, 209 pp.
(With Barbara Kelsey) Sacrament of Sexuality: The Spirituality and Psychology of Sex, 288 pp.

By John Sanford:
     Dreams: God's Forgotten Language, 216 pp.
     The Man Who Wrestled with God
     Soul: The Tragic Hero
     Evil: The Shadow Side of Reality
     Invisible Partners



READING       IVAN SCOTT       1987

     A Paper Given to the Toronto Forward Sons, January 16, 1987

     Published in Memory of Robert Scott

     Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Or perhaps I should say, Mr. Chairperson. I confess to being a little confused about such things these days. Whatever your proper title, I hope you realize how risky it is to give me this spot at the first meeting in a brand-new year. Think of the implications! We have 1987 in front of us like a clean sheet so I'm free to write anything on it that catches my fancy. Suppose we start, say, with the letter "R."
     This could stand for Resolutions, a most appropriate subject for the beginning of a new year. There are many around we could choose from; making and-quite likely-breaking them is such a popular pastime. If keeping resolutions is a problem we could look at the word Resolve, which is distinctly related but has a little more clout to it. It leaves less room for maneuvering. To resolve to do something is a firmer commitment, generally, than making New Year's resolutions.
     On a different tack, we could consider the word Religion-surely a suitable subject in our context. In his Rules of Life Swedenborg says, "All religion has relation to life, and the life of religion is to do good." Most people in the world around us tend to be wary of the word "religion"-and with just cause, because, for the most part; what has been presented to them as "religion" has not served them well. One way of viewing our responsibility and challenge is to help put vitality and lifer back into the meaning of this term. While we naturally think of adding new meaning to the concept of religion in the world around us, we must: also recognize that we are not immune from the need to add to its: meaning in our own lives. We do this only through the process reformation and regeneration, two other words that, incidentally, also begin with the letter "R."
     Despite appearances at this stage, I have no particular fascination with the letter "R." So far as I know, it has no special significance even though we are told that, "all things in the Word both in general and in particular, nay, the very smallest particulars down to the most minute iota, signify and enfold within them spiritual and heavenly things . . . (AC 2). In the Doctrine of the Holy Scripture, number 3, we find an equally explicit statement: "The style of the Word is such that there is a holiness in every sentence, and in every word, and in some places in even the very letters."


This is not to suggest that the sentences, words, and letters by themselves are holy; rather, through correspondence they are the containant of the internal sense, which is most holy since this sense is from the Lord Himself and, indeed, is both Light and Life and is the Lord Himself.
     Let me come to the final word I will specifically pick out that begins with the letter "R": Reading; in particular, reading the Word.
     This is a most practical subject and one of considerable importance to the New Church. Its importance can be seen from the fact that the Lord is the Word, and going to the Word is, therefore, going to the Lord Himself. Going to the Word, of course, means reading the Word, and reading it requires understanding it in ways that are meaningful; in turn, this leads to a sense of appreciation and wonder which encourages us and gives us an impetus to apply and follow its teachings in our lives.
     Think of the accommodation provided by the Lord in this process. Throughout there is freedom on our part; there is no pressure or compulsion; we can decide how little or how much we will partake of this opportunity; we can approach it with a mind that is open, partly open, or open only a smidgen. And we can do it through a process-reading and reflecting-that is completely natural and commonplace in our everyday lives. It is, one must conclude, an invitation and an accommodation that fully reflects the Lord's love and His appreciation for our inherent foibles and hangups.
     The New Church is sometimes characterized as a reading church. We encouraged by our clergy, for example, to turn to the Word for confirmation of doctrine especially when, from time to time, uncertainties appear. This is not always easy to do because, unless we are particularly well-read, it is not easy to find passages that respond directly to the question at hand. We quickly come face to face with a fuller realization that the Writings and the Old and New Testaments are, indeed,     so comprehensive that we can easily get lost in them. Thus there is a tendency to fall into the habit of relying on the consensus of others or the inherent enlightenment of the clergy. If we do this, we become a follower rather than a contributor. The risk in this habit is that, whatever the source of our perception and understanding, we alone as individuals are accountable for what we agree to accept as the basis for our understanding and decisions. It would seem sensible, then, to make the Word the prime source of this basis and to treat other sources, friends as well as the clergy, as supplements which can further illustrate what has been originally drawn from that source.
     One of the questions that currently exists in our church organization is the question of growth. How much emphasis should it have, and how should we go about bringing information about our doctrines to others?


     At a deeper level this touches the question about the fundamental role the New Church at this stage. There are various ways this question can be put. One of these is to ask whether the church specific use as the heart and lungs of the church universal should be stressed (implying, it would seem, concentration on doctrinal understanding, development, and application so this use can be performed more and more effectively), of whether spreading a knowledge of the church should take precedence: In short, is a protective stance or an outgoing stance the one to adopt for 1987/88/89. etc.?
     While it should be abundantly clear that the choices should not be seen as mutually exclusive, it should also be clear that the emphasis put on either should not, in any way, put the other at risk. And therein lies a practical dilemma for us. It is possible to go to the Word to draw some support for either position. Going to the Word for each of us is, course, an important action, but in doing so we should keep clearly in mind that the Word is not inconsistent in the least degree. When we see things there that give this appearance, it is essential that we acknowledge that it is our own limited understanding that makes it seem so, and that patience and continued reading and meditation with humility will, when the Lord finds us ready, yield a perspective that brings differences into reasonable harmony.
     There is a treasure beyond any comparison offered by the Lord through the Word. But there is also protection so the holiness of the Word will not be profaned. This protection is not only for the Word, also for us-to preserve the possibility for reformation and regeneration, for we have strong inherent tendencies to misdirect and misuse the gifts the Lord provides for us. These tendencies are at least as equally there in those who are members of the New Church as they are for those who are not associated with it. In the Old and New Testaments, this protection lies primarily in the sense of the letter which, by itself, is dead but, when seen through the light of the internal sense, is powerfully alive. The importance of this protection is emphasized in TCR 208 where it says, "Henceforth the spiritual sense of the Word will be given only to such as are in genuine truths from the Lord." As a consequence, "in order that no one may enter into the spiritual sense and pervert the genuine truth which belongs to that sense, guards are set up by the Lord, which are meant in the Word by "cherubim."
     Being addressed to the intellectual mind, the Writings have another kind of protection. Who has not found, perhaps frequently, passages in the Writings that seem obscure and well beyond your capacity to understand? Sometimes, after reading, you ask yourself just what it is you have read, and have to admit you don't know-that perhaps you been reading merely words, not ideas.


The language of the Writings, too, seems calculated to make regular reading difficult. It is the language of rational philosophy and is not everyone's cup of tea. To me this seems to be an outward form of protection for, if we see the Writings as part of the triune Word where truth is presented in a more form, we can also see the potential for its more immediate misuse misapplication. Because truths are presented in a more explicit in the Writings, there is great power close to the surface, and it follows that the Lord would provide some degree of protection from its being absorbed with little effort or for ulterior motives.
     Despite the difficulties all of us experience on occasion in regular reading, there are many passages which can and will come through with simple clarity and meaning, and with direct application to our lives. This allows us to see another dimension to the provision the Lord has made. If you approach reading as you would the Lord Himself, with humility and readiness to be instructed, then you will see in those passages which are well beyond your present capacity to absorb, something of a wonderful insight that you will want to pursue and understand at another time. Thus the construction of the Writings in particular invites you to return again and again to follow up on those insights that you can actually sense are there but which, for the present, are at the peripherals of your mind. The construction of the Writings, then, can be seen as assisting progressive understanding and appreciation rather than having them yield their wisdom en masse, so to speak. And, as familiarity grows with an awareness of correspondences, which are so much a part of the Writings, you will find when reading the Old and New Testaments that, gradually, the stories in the sense of the letter reflect a new quality because the internal sense will show through more and more frequently.
     It is because the Writings are a gold mine of relevant and useful information on that we should be strong supporters of New Church education; for a formal educational process that takes into account realities and subjects current thought processes to the analysis of the doctrines has to be only the most valuable gift we can give our young people, not only for their eternal well-being but also for their life as citizens of this world. And the same can be true for ourselves as adults if we carry this educational parallel a step further. Think of your life in this world as an educational preparation for your eventual use and role in the other life. Then think of yourself further as a graduate from the formal educational process and as having been automatically enrolled in an adult educational class. Periodic formal instruction and guidance is given by our ministers during Sunday services, and tutorial classes might be compared to doctrinal classes, where there can be more give-and-take in the instruction process.


The key, however, to final graduation with marks lies principally in how well and thoroughly you do homework-that is, your own reading from the Word. And your own life is the laboratory in which your knowledge and understanding are tested and applied.
     Although our first responsibility is to develop our own capacity to understand and apply the teachings from the Word so that we can perform uses to the fullest possible extent, it can sometimes seem that our own efforts are infinitesimal compared to what is needed. Even the whole New Church represents such a tiny portion of the world's population that its influence may seem, at best, to be minor. Numerically, this is clearly true. And discouragement of this kind would be justified if only our own efforts were involved. Our efforts, though, are only a focal point through which the Lord can operate and cause much greater effects than we realize. In the Doctrine of Life, number 114, we find this encouraging quotation: "Christian charity, with everyone, consists in faithfully performing what belongs to his calling, for by this, if he shuns evils as sins, he every day is doing goods, and is himself his own use in the general body. In this way also the common good is cared for, and good of each person in particular." In this way also the common good is cared for. The common good, then, is affected by what each of us does or doesn't do individually. And what we do is conditioned by what we know and understand, and consequently come to love.
     In encouraging reading from the Word, it is not so much the quantity I wish to emphasize but, rather, the quality. No one should be put off by past-or future-difficulties, nor by any discouragement about one's own inadequacies. To learn and absorb, humility is a necessary ingredient. This willingness to be instructed will then gradually become an eagerness to learn. Progress will not be measured on any quantitative basis, but by changes of state which, at any given stage, may be imperceptible.
     Number 258 of Divine Love and Wisdom says, "Every man is born into a capacity to understand truths even to the inmost degree in which the angels of the third heaven are . . . ." Although universal, this capacity" to learn truths, or perhaps the way it is exercised and developed, will vary widely. When reading the Word, some people may absorb a little and pause to apply what they learn to life as they go along. Through such one-to-one applications, these people may be building a wonderful ability to recognize truth directly. Others will learn at a much quicker pace and appear to acquire a more comprehensive understanding.


Approaching the Word with a willingness to be instructed, both are a being led by the Lord in accordance with their respective Divine endowments. Further in the same number of Divine Love and Wisdom we find this cautionary note: "The reason why man does not become rational to the height that he might is that love, which is of the will, cannot be raised in the same manner as wisdom, which is of the understanding. Love . . . is raised only by fleeing from evils as sins, and then by goods of charity, which are uses . . . ." Consequently, the number goes on, "when love, which is of the will, is not at the same time raised, wisdom, which is of the understanding, however it may have ascended, falls back again to its own love." While it may possibly soar-and even legitimately and usefully soar-the flight of the understanding must eventually come to rest at its home base, its ruling love.
     The crucible, then, is love, which is raised "only by fleeing from evils "as sins." But you can flee from sins only if you recognize them. So we read in DLW 401 that, "Love or the will is unable to effect anything by its human form without a marriage with wisdom or the understanding." Both, then, are essential, and can be thought of as reading and learning from the Word with conscious efforts to apply to life what is learned. There is a wonderful statement that you will recognize which, to my mind, captures the essence of this relationship: "There is a knowledge of the way from a walking in it, and there is a walking of the way from a knowledge of it."
     The idea that reading from the Word could be a key ingredient both in our personal lives and in the growth and extension of the New Church is by no means new. If valid-and I am convinced that it is valid-it would not be inappropriate to make it part of our New Year's resolutions this year, next year, and every year after. It is, admittedly, likely to be a slow method for achieving personal and church goals. But, I feel it is a sure method, and I commend it wholeheartedly.

NCL 50 YEARS AGO       Editor       1987

     In the April issue of 1937 we read of the celebration of the fortieth anniversary of the General Church. Rev. Charles E. Doering was called upon to describe the formation of the organization as he recalled it. He spoke of a concept of government by influx, not by command, and his final thought was "that each generation, as it comes along, will need to see these principles in their application to the affairs of the church at the time-see the distinction there is between government by influx and government by command. For the church, if it is to continue to be a spiritual church, must be ruled by the idea of the former, and not the latter."




     (Part II)

     The last book, Men and Marriage (Sexual Suicide updated),* by George Gilder tells us that home is the most important institution in society. It is where we express our individuality, cultivate our children, and make love (page 168). "Woman has not only the central position in the home but in all civilized society because of her role in procreation and the ties between mother and child." Women "assume charge of . . . the domestic values of the community; its moral, aesthetic, religious, nurturant, social and sexual concerns. These are the ultimate goals of human life" (S page 259), and so valuable that they are above the market place. In fact, it is an evil to try to sell a baby, a body or a religious blessing. ". . . the success or failure of civilization depends on how well women, by the way they manage their sexual life, can transmit these values to men to whom they come less naturally" (S page 259). This helps us see that a married woman should put her husband and the family first and before work in the market place. If she has small children, it is important that she should be home much of the time to take care of them.
     * For convenience in references we will use "S" for Sexual Suicide and "M" for Men and Marriage.

     And the life of a stay-at-home wife and mother is not just boring drudgery as many have been telling us. She has far more freedom to read and keep up with friendships and get involved in community activities than an employed man or woman. She has the satisfaction of knowing that raising children is the most important of all jobs, as children are our commitment to the future. Any who think that this does not take hard work, intelligence, and creativity is much mistaken (S pp. 255 and 256, M pp. 167 and 168).
     Women make sacrifices to tie themselves down to their families, but it is men who make the greatest sacrifice. "The man renounces his dream of short-term sexual freedom and self-fulfillment . . . in order to serve a woman and family for a lifetime. It is the traumatic act of giving up his most profound yearning, his bent for the hunt and the chase, the motorbike and the open road . . . this combination of lust and wanderlust is the very life force that drives him through his youth. He surrenders it with pain" (M p. 171), not fully realizing that this will bring him deeper happiness and sexual pleasure (M p. 13).


"This male sacrifice, no less than the woman's work in the home, is essential to civilization" (M p. 171). Men have to work hard. They can seldom support their families on a forty-hour week. As young men they must give up "the desire to be an athlete, a poet, a death-defying ranger, or mountaineer, and settle down to become a functionary defined by a single job" (M p. 172).
     It is men who are willing to give to their jobs time and single-minded devotion. Without this the world would dissolve into chaos and famine. "All the accomplishments of civilization spring from obsessions of men . . . to improve the world and save it from plagues, famine, ecological decline, and the threat of nuclear holocaust" (M pp. 172 and 173).
     The job, even when not obviously useful to society, affirms a man's masculinity. The money he brings into the family makes it possible for his wife to care for his children. It makes him an essential part of the family. Women often do not understand how important these things are to a man. She wonders why it is so important to him that he, not she, bring in the money. But money is society's report card on his worth. He sees that she is undeniably essential to the family because of her part in giving birth to and nurturing the children. He is not so sure of his own worth. Taking care of the children and doing the housework do not reinforce a man's feeling of worth as the masculine role of hunting and protecting the family once did, and as succeeding in a career does today (M chapters 1 and 3, S ch. 13).
     This picture of men and women working together for God, the future, and the good of the family and society is quite opposite to the agenda of the intelligentsia, the social scientists, the media and feminist organizations. Their program is not just a benign plan to obtain equal wages for women and to counteract generations of women being brutalized and subdued by men. It is a program to destroy religion, marriage and the family.
     Although lately the anti-male rhetoric has died down, American culture has soaked up the sexual liberalism. The sexual liberals tell us that, now that we have the pill, the main use of sex is an erotic pleasure that all are entitled to, rather than part of the love and commitment that gives children a secure place in which to grow (M preface ix and xi).
     They have reduced manhood into "androgynous mush" (M preface xi). They claim masculinity and femininity are obsolete, and that the sex roles can be interchanged. They deny men's greater drive to produce in the work place. They encourage young women to compete vigorously with men for jobs. By the time these women realize that they want marriage and children, it is often too late. Heterosexual monogamy is no longer considered the only normal way of life, and other sexual arrangements are acceptable as alternate lifestyles.


The sexual liberals claim that the traditional family is dead since there are so many broken homes (M preface).
     All these attitudes are pushing young mothers into a hectic, up-tight lifestyle of both job and family, and are stripping men of all the things that affirm their masculinity and self-worth (M preface and chapter 7).
     Many women, because they are not receiving the affection and reassurance they need from their men, don't realize how much a man needs his feelings of masculinity affirmed by society and his wife and, if not married, by female friends and relations.
     What evidence do we have that men are more aggressive and more at risk for violent mental aberrations than women? What evidence do we have that they need masculine outlets and are suffering from women leaving the home displacing them in the market place and denying sex differences and thus their masculinity? According to Gilder, there is mountains of it. Crime and violence and the unwillingness of young men to work have been rapidly on the rise since unisex and the "new morality" came into style. "Men commit over 90% of major crimes of: violence. They comprise 94% of our drunken drivers, 70% of suicides, 91% of offenders against family and children. More specifically, the chief perpetrators are single men. Single men comprise between 80 to 90 percent of most of the categories of social pathology. Single men are ten times more likely than married to go to the hospital for chronic diseases, and twenty times more likely to be admitted into institutions for the mentally ill (M chapter 6).
     On the average they make less money than any other group in society, and are less likely to be employed than single women. Single men are also less responsible about their bills, their driving, and other personal conduct, as any insurance actuary will tell you. "Together with the disintegration of the family, they constitute our leading social problem" (S p. 6, M chapter 6).
     Women claimed that once women got into the public life, it would be more ordered and peaceful. But what do we see? Broken marriages, increasing incidences of divorce, desertion, neglected and battered wives "and children, illegitimacy, venereal diseases, drugs, and alcohol (S p. 5).
     Masculinity is also threatened by the school system where boys and girls are thrown together. In elementary school boys are out-performed by the girls, who develop more rapidly and who, on the average, are better at sitting still, fine motor controls (writing and hand work), reading, and memorizing, including arithmetic facts. They come to think of school as feminine. They harass studious boys as grinds, and since they don't like to compete with girls (especially when they show up badly) they tend to put in as little school work as possible (M chapter 11).


     Boys and girls obviously do not belong in the same classrooms. This is especially true in high school since, as Gilder points out, we cannot overemphasize the differences in teenage girls and boys. A boy's glands are pumping sex hormones into his system, and his body is bursting with new feelings and drives. "His body is not evolving like a girl's. It is launching an insurrection. It demands to be satisfied now by external action" (M p. 26). In the classroom the sexes have each other uppermost in their minds. The brighter boys show off for the girls, and the slower boys feel humiliated by their inadequacies and would like to drop out (M chapter 11).
     The boys are much noisier and harder to control than the girls. What they need is discipline and challenge. In a mixed class both sexes suffer. An all-girl class could be less distracted and better able to learn. Both sexes could learn the things that were of importance and interest to themselves (M chapter 11).
     Sports also should be separate. Sports are one of the most precious rituals of young men (M p. 120). This is spoiled if girls are competing in the same programs with the boys. Sports teaches cooperation, the importance of loyalty, struggle, toughness and self-sacrifice for a noble cause. This affirms their masculinity and helps boys learn to discipline their aggressiveness. Although girls need exercise and enjoy sports, it is not at all the same thing for them, and it is not nearly so important. They need an altogether different program (chapter 11).
     In every early culture and society, boys and girls were separated up to the last two years before marriageable age. In the U.S.A. before the 20th century, parochial and prep schools were segregated. But today, boys and girls mingle together from kindergarten through college. The result is perfectly predictable. Sexual activity occurs at an increasingly younger age (M p. 116).
     Isn't it time for the men of the world to take a stand against unisex, help affirm boys' masculinity with masculine studies and pursuits, gear elementary and high school curriculums more towards interests and abilities, and take more steps to make sure that boys get into suitable jobs and professions? And, I add, shouldn't we stop pushing girls toward masculine jobs and professions?
     While people like Gilder are reminding us that God created us male and female with complementary natures, we in the New Church, instead of blazing new trails in the light of our doctrine, seem to be marching along ten paces behind the agnostic and atheistic world accepting a little of media philosophy here and a little there and then trying to squash our doctrines into media molds.


But this does not work.
     Both Men and Marriage and Sex and the Brain are telling us that sex is not an added accessory, but intrinsic to our nature and at the core of our being. They stress that love between man and woman, and procreation, are the center of human life. Therefore it is essential for the sexes to affirm their differences and their need for each other, rather than try to do away with them. They help us see that women must give up wishing to be autonomous and independent of men. They confirm the teachings in Conjugial Love, and help us see that these teachings are Divine Truth, not the opinions of a man biased by the eighteenth century.
     These books tell us that women need men to bring in truth and run the world, and men need women to channel their aggressive drive, and bear and nurture their children. The Writings put it in a different way.
     "The Lord has taken the beauty and grace of life from man and transcribed them into woman. Hence, without reunion with his beauty and grace in woman, a man is stern, austere, dry, and unlovely; nor is he wise save for himself alone . . . . But when man is united with his beauty and grace of life in his wife, he becomes agreeable, pleasant, animated, and lovely, and thus wise" (CL 56).
     CL 88 tells us that wisdom cannot exist with a man except by the love of growing wise. But when a man loves himself on account of the wisdom he has acquired, it is an evil love-the pride of self-intelligence. So the Lord transferred man's love of his own wisdom into woman so man would not love himself but his wife, who converts his love of himself into love for her.
     ". . . the Lord wills that the male man shall act from freedom according to reason, and that his freedom which has regard to his inclinations and his affections is therefore moderated from within by the Lord Himself, and from without by means of his wife" (CL 208).
     ". . . this sphere [of conjugial level is received by the female sex and through this sex is transferred into the male sex" (CL 223). Even love of infants is primarily received by women and transferred to men through women (see CL 393).
     "The male was created that he might become wisdom from the love of growing wise" (CL 66).
     ". . . the church is formed by the Lord with man and through the man with the wife" (CL 63).
     What is this love of a husband's wisdom? A woman loves her husband's wisdom by appealing to his affections, by standing by him. She admires his ideals, aspirations, and ideas, and receives them and cherishes them just as she receives the natural seed into her womb and carries the baby and gives it birth.


It is the way she enables him to love her, respect her insights and her love of religion and her intuitions about the feelings of others. She cannot do this by praising other men's knowledge or wisdom (even ministers), or by competing with him in the job market, challenging his ideas, and, in general, letting him know that she doesn't really need his counsel, his protection, or support.
     Does this mean that a wife has to accept everything a husband brings her? Certainly not. She can pick and choose, and should stand up for the things she thinks are right and object to what she sees as destructive to the family and the marriage.
     Although husbands respond better when approached through their affections, men would do well to approach their wives through their understanding. Women come to conclusions more intuitively and quickly than men, and are impatient to get on with the show; but a man likes to think things through before he acts. When he has made up his mind, he shouldn't expect his wife to go along just because she is his wife. He would get much more cooperation if he would explain how he made his decision and show that he has studied the matter.
     To some women it seems like a put-down to be the love of their husband's wisdom. Is she nothing in her own right? But then none of us is really autonomous or something in our own right. We all depend on each other, on spirits and angels for thoughts and ideas, and on the Lord for life itself. And why shouldn't we serve our husbands by loving their wisdom? Aren't we all born to serve? Is the baby greater than the mother because she cares for him, or the patients greater than the doctor because he serves them? What do parents or psychologists do? What do ministers do? Ministers lead to the good of life by teaching truth. The Lord does it through leading men's and women's affections. What higher use can there be than leading husband and children to the good of life through their affections?

ASSEMBLY REGISTRATION       Editor       1987

     The assembly begins on June 3rd. Register by mail using the form inside the back cover of the assembly booklet. If you need another form write to:

     30th General Assembly
     P.O. Box 30
     Bryn Athyn, PA 19009




     We have been asked, "What do you mean by 'Family Farm'?" We took for granted that everyone knew.
     Family farming is not just a way of making a living; it is a way of living.
     There is something very special about planting and nurturing that which has been planted, and waiting and praying that the Lord will add His blessing; and waiting some more and hustling while we wait, doing the fencing, making hay, caring for the cattle, and hoping that the rain will come at the right time, and that the grasshoppers and other enemies of the crop will not.
     If we irrigate, we go out to check if the water has reached the lower end of the field; if not, we walk up the rows and take out whatever is blocking it. And we have to reset the water twice a day to get the right amount on all the crops.
     Then in the fall we wait some more. We try to judge when is the right time to stop the water. And we talk to the Lord a lot. Will it ripen before frost? Are the blackbirds taking too much? The deer and raccoons are taking their share.
     And then there are our farm animals. There is a time for birth, and the new life is so wonderful-to see how they respond to good care. We have tried to breed to the best seed stock and hope for the kind of animals that will grow best on the feed we have here. We need cows that can nurse calves and bring forth a healthy product, one that is rich in a balance of vitamins and minerals. And we are even now producing this animal with less fat by crossing with those kinds of animals.
     Our Creator is very wise and knew what we needed and put out a balance of lands, some for cultivation, and a lot for pasture. When animals graze the natural grass, they take the right nutrients and put them up in their meat so we can use it. Just think of the work the cow does so we do not have to go out and eat all that grass to get the right amount of nutrients; and it tastes so good as well as helping to digest the rest of our foods.
     When God said in Genesis 1:28 for man to have dominion over fowl, fish, and every living thing that moveth on the earth, He gave us a responsibility that we need to heed. And there are only a few of us left to do this job. The big farmers are there mainly to mine the soil for the "now" profit, and not to nurture the soil so it will stay productive.


In other words, they take out without thought of putting back in to rebuild.

     [Drawing of The Family Farm -An American Heritage?]

     Could it be that there is a correlation to the church universal and the church specific? They are both needed. But the specific has something extra to dig deeper to understand the meaning of the whole.
     It seems a lifetime of doing what we feel was useful in the Lord's view is not much understood.

CHARITY IN HUSBANDMEN       Editor       1987

     Husbandmen, or farmers and vinedressers, if they look to the Lord and shun evils as sins, and do their work sincerely, justly, and faithfully, become charities, as to their spirits, and after death, when they become spirits, they are in a form of charity; and that form is the human form, in which all are after death. Husbandmen such as these rise early in the morning, arrange their work, apply themselves with energy to their labor, are indefatigable in their work, and rejoice in it. When their work is done, they are economical, sober, and vigilant. At home with their families they act justly; abroad, among others, with sincerity. They regard the civil laws of justice, like those of the Decalogue, as Divine, and obey them. They love their fields and their vineyards, because of their produce; and love the fruits of them because they are blessings, and render thanks to the Lord, and so look to the Lord continually (Doctrine of Charity 169).


NO WAY 1987

NO WAY       F. B. NICHOLLS       1987

     One of the most important requirements of my job is the ability to say "No"-firmly, fairly and frequently. It is, of course, quite possible to give a firm and final indication of non-cooperation by the use of the monosyllabic "No" or such variations as "never," "not likely," "not on your nelly," "get lost," or "drop dead."
     But there is no need to add insult to injury. The declinature can be achieved without offence but with regret, as in such phrases as "I am afraid not" or "I regret I am unable to agree." And for special customers it is sometimes advisable to indicate a measure of special consideration, thus: "It is not our policy to participate in transactions of this kind and we regret that, despite our long-standing business relationship, we are unable to make an exception in your case," (although it does mean using 31 words instead of 1!).
     My Roget's Thesaurus lists any number of negatives and refusals, ranging from the polite to the rude and ribald, and from the defensive to the offensive, but not including Eliza Doolittle's show-stopping effort in "Pygmalion." Strangely enough, it only refers obliquely to what is perhaps the most common colloquial negative in use today-"No Way," (presumably a contraction of "There is no way I can agree to this").
     Apart from business decisions, there are plenty of personal judgments where we ought to say "no" or "no way"-no to drugs, no to violence, no to illicit sex, no to the temptation to steal, cheat, lie, gamble, blaspheme or commit adultery. There is no way the church can agree to these evils, and it is no way for us to go.
     Our conscience and the Bible tell us which way we should go, and give us many indications of paths we should not follow. Balaam's ass realized (despite three beatings) that the forbidden way was no way for her to go. There is no way that we should be less wise than a mere ass.

     [Reprinted from the February issue of Lifeline.]


Editorial Pages 1987

Editorial Pages       Editor       1987


     In reading the sermon this month about the veil of the temple, readers may think of the vision of a temple seen in heaven and the words "Nunc Licet" (now it is permitted), for before the shrine of that temple was a veil, now raised or "drawn back" (TCR 508). The meaning of the open veil is that the Word is laid open, and associated with this is another detail: a sword "turning hither and thither."
     We rightly think of the sword on the east of Eden (Gen. 3:24) as a protection lest one "enter into the mysteries of faith" from self-intelligence, or should approach them apart from love (see AC 308, AE 1088:5). We should not, however, feel that the sword is there to keep us out! Now it is permitted to enter, and we should be heartened by the knowledge that the Lord does the protecting, and that we need not be fearful of harm if the externals of the Word are seen differently by different people.
     "The literal sense can be turned hither and thither, that is, can be explained according to everyone's apprehension, without its internal being hurt or violated; for no harm ensues from the literal sense being understood differently by different people" (AR 239). The waving sword which Swedenborg beheld "signified that this sense can be turned in any direction, provided it is done in adaptation to some truth." There is a delightful saying in the little fragment called Conversations with Angels. "Truths do not falsify the Word wherever it is read." And then we read, "Thus the sense of the letter of the Word can be turned hither and thither, by the man who is in truths of doctrine and in the good of life." (See page 536 of Posthumous Theological Works.)
     Evidently we are not to confirm falsities, but should feel invited to confirm truths in various ways. "It is allowable (licet) to confirm the truths of the church by reason or by the understanding, as much as it pleases, and also by various things in nature; and in proportion as truths are so confirmed, they become rooted and shine. It is also allowable to confirm truths by the Word, wherever it pleases, and also to apply for this purpose many things from the Word; and then the Word is not falsified thereby" (Invitation to the New Church 51).

     Further references: TCR 208, 260, AC 3399, 9509, AE 131, 277.



LEXICON TO THE LATIN TEXT       Editor       1987

     More than a dozen years of work has gone into a resource entitled:

     A Lexicon to the Latin Text
     of the Theological Writings
     of Emanuel Swedenborg

     This is edited by Dr. John Chadwick and produced by the Swedenborg Society in London. We have recently received the seventh installment of this monumental work which aims to include every Latin word used by Swedenborg in his theological works. Part VII consists of 117 pages devoted to words beginning with R through those beginning with St. Those who are interested in some history of this undertaking should consult the July (1985) issue of this magazine where sample pages are reproduced.
     The publication of this installment brings us to a point where we can see the completion of the entire work in the fairly near future. We congratulate Dr. Chadwick and all those involved in this undertaking. Note: The July issue of 1985 also outlines the various glossaries and dictionaries of the Writings that have been produced in the past.

SWEDENBORG SYMPOSIUM '88       Editor       1987

     A celebration of Emanuel Swedenborg's tricentennial is planned for Sunday through Tuesday, February 7-9, 1988, in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania. Swedenborg's wide-ranging thought, in relationship to his culture and ours, will be examined in such fields of inquiry as:

     Theoretical Science           Theology                History
     Applied Science               Philosophy                Psychology
     Medicine                     Social Science           Literature
     The Arts

     Call for Papers. Original contributions tracing Swedenborg's influence in any of these areas are invited for oral presentation at the symposium. Deadline for abstracts is May 1, 1987.

     For further information and registration forms, contact:
Dr. Jane Kintner Williams-Hogan
The Academy of the New Church College
P.O. Box 278, Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania 19009
215-947-4200 ext. 301



ISOLATED       John Kane       1987

     Reading the Lay Participation Committee's Report on Bryn Athyn in NCL of November 1986 (just received) I am surprised to find some Bryn Athyn residents were found to be "isolated." I am isolated too. So far as I can discover I am the only New Church man in Spain. (The Canary Islands have been a province of Spain since the 15th century.)
     Since I am unable to visit people in Bryn Athyn I propose that a pen friendship might help. For this I offer myself. I am 64 years old, a grandfather, and I have been reading the Writings since I was 42. I visited Bryn Athyn once in 1980 when the Rev. Bob Junge and his family most kindly entertained my wife and myself during the celebrations of New Church Day.
     If anyone responds to this I would add that, apart from personal details of family and background which are obviously interesting, my own interest and object of discussion is religion and in particular the Writings and the New Church. Do not send a photograph; let us keep correspondence to a meeting of the minds.
     John Kane,
          Villa Patricia,
          Ctra. de Atalaya, 33,
          Santa Brigida, Las Palmas,
          Canary Islands, Spain

WRITINGS ON COMPUTER       Mrs. Eva Sandstrom (Mrs. David) Lexie       1987

Dear Editor,
     Readers of New Church Life may be interested to know of a project that is under way at the Academy of the New Church. A committee under the chairmanship of Dr. Charles Ebert is working to make Swedenborg's Theological Writings accessible by computer. This promises to be an extremely valuable research tool for ministers, teachers, translators and students of the Writings everywhere.
     The project, know as STAIRS (Swedenborgian Theological Automated Information Retrieval System), has three main goals.
     The first and most immediate goal is to provide an electronic concordance. Software is being developed for use on a personal computer; the aim is to make the resulting package available at a reasonable price for anyone interested.


The concordance would allow a person to search for any word or combination of words throughout the Writings. The person could then view any or all occurrences of that phrase in context.
     The second and third goals, to be developed later, are to provide a tool for sharing and comparing research among scholars, and to provide an aid to translators. The possibilities in both these areas are very exciting.
      For the "pilot" phase of this project, the text of Conjugial Love in both Latin and English has been scanned and transferred to computer readable format. It is expected that the rest of the Writings will be added later. Unfortunately, this process of machine-scanning is not as foolproof as one might hope. An accurate text is essential to the success of the project. Therefore the scanned material must all be printed out, proofread, and corrected.
     This part of the project is being done by volunteers. Any readers willing to help by proofreading a twenty-page section of the Writings would be most gratefully welcomed! No knowledge of computers is necessary; only a good grasp of English and an eye for detail. Volunteers can contact me at the address or phone number below.
     The committee hopes to have a working sample of the electronic concordance on Conjugial Love in time for the upcoming General Church Assembly.

     Eva Sandstrom (Mrs. David) Lexie
          3245 Kathy Lane
          Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006
          (215) 947-6683

INCLUSIVE LANGUAGE       Rev. Mark R. Carlson       1987

     Dear Editor,
     I was recently reading over old copies of New Church Life and came across an article by Rene Heilman (1985, p. 85) that I had not seen before. I wish to respond, hoping that better late than never is true.
     Rene makes the point that language shapes our conceptualization of reality, and this I think we all know is true. She invites us to use "inclusive language" in our articles and in our sermons, and this is an invitation I think we may consider. I see no good reason why half the population of the world should be only subliminally and tangentially addressed in our communications. In fact, I am aware of many reasons why this is unhealthy, and none of them have to do with the politics of women's liberation. Studies of human communication indicate that indirect and tangential communication between individuals creates tension and often contributes to a variety of mental illnesses.


Whether or not similar consequences follow when indirect communication is used by organizations I do not know, but one thing is certain: it is communication which distances the communicators, and this we do not need at a time when the church is seeking so desperately to fill needs and to grow.
     Rene has demonstrated with her article that inclusive language can be used gracefully. We don't need to go to violent extremes which draw attention to the mechanics of communication and thus becoming poor communication. I refer to such unhappy contortions as "s/he" and John Sabol's "fresh persons" (NCL, 1985, p. 175). But a gentle substitution of "people" for masculine pronouns or for the word "man" goes a long way. Our repeated use of the word "man" in articles, classes, and sermons becomes very awkward very quickly, draws attention away from the essential message, and may give newcomers the impression that this church is for men. I have wondered how women feel about this issue, and I am particularly concerned for college-educated newcomers who are not used to being assaulted by prolonged and heavy doses of exclusive language.
     Whether we like it or not, the language we use does say something about who we are; it is a correspondence of our state. We easily accept this notion when it comes to profanity and foul language, but it is equally true of the more subtle flavors and feeling tones in our communication. Our congregations are not likely to be attacked by a sudden outbreak of profanity from the pulpit. But "the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made."
     Rev. Mark R. Carlson,
          San Jose, California

DECLARATIONS FROM "THE FRONTIER"       Glenn Carley       1987

     Dear Editor,
     The "Frontier" New Church man and woman is my own idiosyncratic term to describe a sub group or sub society of New Church life. It really has to do with the expressions of New Churchmanship which, for simplicity's sake, can be grouped into two categories: those who align themselves to a spiritual community form (i.e., discussion groups, circle or society proper) and those who do not. This leads me to define the forms of expression of the sub group which does not align itself with a traditional, or community-oriented, form of worship. I suppose that this expression of Frontier New Churchmanship actually ranges from those who have abdicated their understanding of the Writings (although I have never met one of these) to those who are deeply committed to the beauty and struggle of understanding the Writings' application to their own lives and to the lives of those around them.


     I wish to declare myself on the continuum of those individuals who are deeply committed. Specifically, for me, the forms of expression have taken on an intensely personal application. These include prayer, home worship, periodic attendance at a society church, periodic attendance at a Catholic church, long discussions with other spiritual frontiersmen/women who may not use the form of the Writings as their guide, but who certainly know the substance. This latter group, like all of us frontier-dwellers and society-dwellers alike, share an intense commitment to apply what they believe in the context of their own specific uses. This, of course, is the common denominator of all men and women who are acting spiritually.
     The metaphor which is a little tongue-in-cheek, yet which works best for me, is that I often think of myself as a frontiersman out in the wilderness, stretched out beside a campfire, underneath the stars. With the Word and my copy of C.L. slung over the branch of a tree, I feel strangely protected, yet self-sufficient. My periodic forages back into town (i.e., to church) are a frontiersman's way of stocking up on spiritual flour, water and jawbreakers-and I am deeply appreciative of those sermons of life, so long as I have the true freedom to heuristically discover their application in the context of my own use. Sometimes when I come into town I feel like an intruder and sometimes I feel intruded upon, but this only speaks to spheres and the existence of separate and distinct expressions of worship. There does exist a separate and distinct blend of New Churchman which should be identified. Maybe it is my own experience, and maybe people who live in the woods attract other people who live in the woods, but it strikes me that there are a lot of frontier men and women underneath the stars.
     Before I leave this metaphor, I would like to say that one of the most valuable supplies I took from town is a sermon by Rev. Walter Orthwein entitled "Peace Within, War Without" (February 13, 1983). It is taken from Exodus 7:10-"So Joshua did as Moses had said to him and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron and Hur went up to the top of the hill." (Rev. Orthwein includes AC 9278:2, Matt. 23:1-7, 13-15, 23-28, 33-37e as part of the lesson.)
     Fundamentally, the lesson is about the "two sides" (p. 3) of religion: the "mystical and the practical . . . and how errors arise when people emphasize one at the expense of the other." It is about Moses on the hilltop representing the interior things of worship, of love to the Lord, and Joshua in the valley representing "truth in act" or "truth fighting" (p. 2).


     For the sake of heuristic definition then, the frontier' man is a New Church valley-dweller (most of the time) either by conscious choice or through the (apparent) choices of disorder, or perhaps by disgruntlement with the natural expressions of the traditional New Church-maybe all three.
     This brings me full circle to the purpose of my "Declarations from the Frontier."

     1. I suggest that New Church societies-and by this I mean the collective momentum of thought along a natural plane-often do not have the flexibility of allowing individual minds the freedom to context of their own particular use or life situation. (I note that this is heuristically discover the application of the truths of the Word in the nothing new, and that at one time or another we have all criticized our need to "come down from the hilltop" and apply truths to life.)
     2. I further suggest that frontier New Church men and women (who represent the individual momentum of thought along a natural plane) appear to allow their own vanity, social shyness and self-pride to contribute to the danger of being absorbed by the external or natural spheres of their own particular use or life situation. (I note that this also is nothing new, and that if you allow yourself to become too self-sufficient, there is a tendency to become swallowed up by deliberations and rationalizations of the natural mind (in action). Conversely, we have all criticized the need to "come up from the valley" and apply life to truths.)
     3. Hence, it strikes me that while the church specific is moving rapidly toward outreach and evangelization, it is an oversight that there is perhaps no open dialogue between the New Church planners and New Church people who live in the "valley," and so, among those whom the planners are attempting to evangelize.
     4. It is with this in mind that, in a public forum, I wish to come "up from the valley" and declare myself heart and soul as a frontier New Churchman. I am willing to come to "town" to talk, and I invite interested minds to our home in the valley.
     5. Quite selfishly, I would also like to use this forum to announce that on August 16, 1986, I was married in the valley to Mary Molinaro-a most extraordinary frontier woman.
     Glenn Carley,
          Bolton, Ontario, Canada




     Applications for assistance from the above fund to enable male Canadian students to attend The Academy of the New Church at Athyn, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., for the school year 1987-88 should be received by one of the pastors listed below by June 30, 1987. The amount of the grant per student has been lowered, because at present there are more applicants than funds available. It has also been necessary to set an absolute deadline for applications in order to apportion the grants evenly, and to meet the deadline for immigration forms regarding student financing.
     Before filing their applications, students should first obtain their acceptance by the Academy immediately, as dormitory space is limited.
     Any of the pastors listed below will be happy to give any further information or help that may be necessary.

Rev. Geoffrey S. Childs      Rev. Louis Synnestvedt
2 Lorraine Gardens           58 Chapel Hill Drive. R.R. 2
Islington, Ont. M9B 424      Kitchener, Ont. N2G 3W5

Rev. Glenn Alden
9013 - 8th Street
Dawson Creek, B.C. V1G 1H1
Title Unspecified 1987

Title Unspecified       Editor       1987

     [Photo of Sunrise Chapel, Tucson's new church building, dedicated on March 14, 1987]





Sept. 8     Tues. 8:00 a.m.-Academy Faculty opening service and address
                    10:00 a.m.-Registration begins with Secondary Schools local students
               5:30 pm.-Barbecue for dorm students and parents
               8:15 p.m.-Orientation for all new College students (Social Center)

          Wed.      8:00 a.m.-12:00 noon-Registration of all Theological School
               Dorm students arrive (secondary students by 8:00 p.m.)
               10:45-2:00 p.m.-College orientation for all new students and College students
     10      Thurs. 8:00 a.m.-Opening exercises for secondary schools followed by
                    7:30 p.m.-Cathedral worship service for students, faculty, parents classes
               8:05-College classes begin
               11:00 a.m.-College and Theological School Convocation
Oct.     23     Charter Day:
                8:00 a.m.-Ann. Meeting of ANC Corporation (Pitcairn Hall)
                10:30 a.m.-Charter Day service (Cathedral)
                9:00 p.m.-Charter Day dance (Field House)
Nov. 18-20      Wed.-Fri.      College registration for Winter Term
     24      Sat.      6:30 p.m.-Charter Day banquet (Society Building)
     25      Wed.      Fall Term ends for College after exams and scheduled student work
               12:30 p.m.-Secondary Schools Fall Term ends and Thanksgiving recess begins
     30      Mon.      Secondary School dormitory students return by 8:00 p.m.
Dec.     1      Tues. Winter Term begins in Secondary Schools
     6      Sun.      College dormitory students return by 8:00 p.m.
     7      Mon.      Winter Term begins in College
     18      Fri.      Christmas recess begins for all schools at 12:20 p.m.


Jan.     3      Sun.      Dormitory students return (Secondary School by 8:00 p.m.)
     4      Mon.      Classes resume in all schools
     15      Mon.      Presidents' Birthday observance
     24-26 Wed.-Fri.      College registration for Spring Term
Mar.     1     Tues.     Deadline for College applications
     10      Thurs. College Winter Term ends*
     11      Fri.      Secondary Schools Winter Term ends. Spring recess begins for
                Secondary Schools after scheduled exams and student work*
     20      Sun.      Dormitory students return (Secondary Schools by 8:00 p.m.)
     21      Mon.      Spring Term begins in all schools
Apr.     1     Fri.      Good Friday holiday for all schools
     4      Mon.      Easter Monday holiday for Secondary Schools
May     13     Fri.      7:45 p.m.-Joint Meeting of Faculty and Corporation (Heilman Hall)
     14      Sat.      Semi-annual Meeting of Academy Corporation (Pitcairn Hall)
     30      Mon.      Memorial Day holiday
June     9      Thurs. Spring Term ends
               8:30 p.m.-Graduation dance (Field House)
     11      Sat.      9:30 a.m.-Commencement (Field House)

     *See Catalog or Handbook for holiday regulations.



SWEDENBORG FOUNDATION       Editor       1987

     The Swedenborg Foundation announces two openings for professionals to interact with the public, gain support for the work of the foundation, and communicate information about Swedenborg and Swedenborgian thought.
     Executive Director. Candidates must demonstrate expertise in administration, fund-raising, and effective interpersonal relationships. Experience in publishing and marketing information materials is desirable.
     Bookstore Supervisor. Candidates must have experience in ordering, inventory control, display, and promotion of books and films. Background in philosophy, arts, and humanities is desirable in addition to knowledge of Swedenborg's writings.
     Interested individuals should send a resume to the president, Mr. John Seekamp, 109 Bay Avenue, Huntington, NY 11743.

MINISTERIAL CHANGE       Editor       1987

     Rev. Michael D. Gladish has been called to become pastor of the Olivet Society of Toronto, Canada, effective July 1, 1987.

ANNIVERSARY COMING       Editor       1987

     In July of this year we will see the two hundredth anniversary of first New Church service of worship, a service at which there was both the first administration of the holy supper and the first New Church baptism. Mr. Robert Hindmarsh was the first person to be baptized into the New Church, he and four others being baptized on July 31, 1787.
     Readers are well aware that next January will see the 300th anniversary of Swedenborg's birth. One of the events of 1988 is advertised on page 178 of this issue. A tricentennial newsletter continues to be published by Mr. Leon S. Rhodes.
     The first New Church ordination took place on June 1, 1788.



MAPLE LEAF ACADEMY 1987       Rev. Terry Schnarr       1987


     Come and have fun at Maple, and learn too! The cool, pleasant breezes off Wood Lake at Caribou Lodge will blow all your cares and anxieties away. The heat and warmth of a blazing sun in a clear blue sky will warm your soul while you learn, and the gurgling refreshment of sliding down the rock falls will give you a feeling of being carried along by the Lord's Providence. Old friends and new friends alike will share the delights of experiencing the New Church.
     Dates for this year will be from Thursday, June 18th to Friday, June 26th. For applications write to Mr. Frank Raymond, 10 Clay Court, Islington, Ontario, M9A 4S3, Canada.
     Rev. Terry Schnarr


Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, 19009, U. S. A.
Only USA Addresses
Information on public worship and doctrinal classes provided either regularly or occasionally may be obtained at the locations listed below. For details use the local phone number of the contact person mentioned or communicate with the Secretary of the General Church, Rev. L. R. Soneson, Cairncrest, Bryn Athyn, PA 19009, Phone (215) 947-4660.



Dr. R. Shepard, 4537 Dolly Ridge Road, Birmingham, AL 35243. Phone:(205) 967-3442.


Mr. Hubert Rydstrom, 3640 E. Piccadilly Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85018. Phone: (602) 955-2290.


Rev. Frank S. Rose, 2536 N. Stewart Ave., Tucson, AZ 85716. Phone: (602) 327-2612.


Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Holmes, Rt. 6, Box 447, Batesville, AR 72501. (501) 251-2383


Rev. Michael Gladish, 5022 Carolyn Way, La Crescenta, CA 91214. Phone: (213) 249-5031.

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Ripley, 2310 N. Cirby Way, Roseville, CA 95678. Phone: (916) 782-7837

Rev. Nathan Gladish, 7911 Canary Way, San Diego, CA 92123. Phone: (619) 268-0379. Office: (619) 571-8599.

Rev. Mark Carlson, 4638 Royal Garden Place, San Jose, CA 95136. Phone: (408) 224-8521.


Mr. and Mrs. William Reinstra, 708 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, CO 80829. Phone: (303) 685-9519.

Rev. Clark Echols, 3371 W. 94th Ave., Westminster, CO 80030. Phone (303) 429-1239



Rev. Paul Schorran, 21 Crestwood Rd., Stratford, CT 06497


Mrs. Justin Hyatt, 417 Delaware Ave., McDaniel Crest, Wilmington, DE 19803. Phone: (302) 478-4213.

     District of Columbia see Mitchellville. Maryland.


Rev. Daniel Heinrichs, 15101 N. W. Fifth Ave., Miami, FL 33169. Phone: (305) 687-1337.


Mr. W. H. Eubanks, Rt. #2, S. Lee St., Americus, GA 31709. Phone: (912) 924-9221.

Rev. Christopher Bown, 3795 Montford Drive, Chamblee, GA 30341. Phone: (Home) (404) 457-4726. (Office) (404) 452-0518.


(Idaho-Oregon border) Mr. Harold Rand, 1705 Whitley Dr., Fruitland, ID 83619. Phone: (208) 452-3181.


Rev. Grant Schnarr, 73A Park Dr., Glenview, IL 60025. Phone: (312) 729-0130 (home) (312) 724-6130 (office).

Mr. John Aymer, 380 Oak Lane, Decatur, IL 62562. Phone: (217) 875-3215.

Rev. Brian Keith, 73 Park Dr., Glenview, IL 60025. Phone: (312) 724-0120.

Contact Rev. Stephen Cole in Cincinnati, Ohio, or Mr. James Wood, R. R. 1, Lapel, IN 46051. Phone (317) 534-3546


Mr. Henry Bruser, Jr., 1652 Ormandy Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70808. Phone: (504) 921-3089.


Rev. Gene Barry, Middle and Winter Station, Bath, ME 04530.


Rev. Donald Rogers, #12 Pawleys Ct., S. Belmont, Baltimore, MD 21236. Phone: (301) 882- 2640.

Rev. Lawson Smith, 3805 Enterprise Rd., Mitchellville, MD 20716. Phone: (301) 262-2349.


Rev. Grant Odhner, 4 Park Ave., Natick, MA 01760. Phone: (617) 651-1127.


Rev. Walter Orthwein, 395 Olivewood Court, Rochester, MI 48064. Phone: (313) 656-1267.


Mr. Christopher Clark, 5853 Smithfield, East Lansing, MI 48823. Phone: (517) 351-2880.


Rev. Michael Cowley, 3153 McKight Road #340, White Bear Lake, MN 55110. (612) 770-9242


Mr. and Mrs. Paul Johnson, 103 S. Greenwood, Columbia, MO 65201. Phone: (314) 442-3475.

Mr. Glen Klippenstein, Glenkirk Farms, Maysville, MO 64469. Phone: (816) 449-2167.

     New Jersey-New York:

Mrs. Fred E. Munich, 474 S. Maple Ave., Glen Rock, NJ 07452. Phone: (201) 445-1141.

     New Mexico:

Mrs. Howard Leach, 4215 12th NW, Albuquerque, NM 87107. Phone: (505) 344-6735.

     North Carolina:

Mr. John deMaine, 3509 Highridge Rd., Matthews, NC 28105. Phone: (704) 845-4058.


Rev. Stephen Cole, 6431 Mayflower Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45237. Phone: (513) 631-1210.

Mr. Alan Childs, 19680 Beachcliff Blvd., Rocky River, OH 44116. Phone: (216) 333-4413.

Mr. Hubert Heinrichs, 8372 Todd Street Rd., Sunbury. OH 43074. Phone: (614) 524-2738.


Mrs. Louise Tennis, 3546 S. Marion, Tulsa, OK 74135. Phone: (918) 742-8495.

     Oregon-Idaho Border.-Se Idaho, Fruitland.


Rev. Kurt Asplundh, Box 277, Bryn Athyn, PA 19009. Phone: (215) 947-3665.

Mrs. Paul Murray, 5648 Zuck Rd., Erie, PA 16506. Phone: (814) 833-0962.

Rev. Ragnar Boyesen, 126 Iron Bridge Rd., Sarver, PA 16055. Phone: Office (412) 353-2220 or Home 295-9855

Rev. Jeremy Simons, RD 2, Box 217-A, Kempton, PA 19529. Phone: (Home) (215) 756-4301; (Office) (215) 756-6140.

Mr. Richard Kintner, Box 172, Paupack, PA 18451. Phone: (717) 857-0688.

Rev. Ray Silverman, 299 Le Roi Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15208. Phone: (Church) (412) 731-1061.

     South Carolina:- see North Carolina.

     South Dakota:

Contact Linda Klippenstein, 537 Albany, Hot Springs, SD 57745 Phone: (605) 745-6629


Mrs. Charles Grubb, 604 Highland Ave., Austin, TX 78703. Phone: (512) 472-3575.

Mr. Fred Dunlap, 13410 Castleton, Dallas, TX 75234-5117. Phone: (214) 247-7775.

Dr. James Carter, 30 Williamsburg Ln., Houston, TX 77024. Phone: (713) 456-4057.


Rev. Kent Junge, 14812 N. E. 75th Street, Redmond, WA 98033. Phone: (206) 881-1955.


Mrs. Charles Howell, 3912 Plymouth Circle, Madison, WI 53705. Phone: (608) 233-0209.


Swedenborg's Journal of Dreams 1987

Swedenborg's Journal of Dreams       Editor       1987


     Journal of Dreams



     Commentary by Wilson Van Dusen


     Swedenborg Foundation, Inc.

     Softcover               Postage paid $9.65

Available from
General Church Book Center           Hours: Mon-Fri 9-12
Box 278                              or by appointment
Bryn Athyn. PA 19009               Phone: (215) 947-3920


Notes on This Issue 1987

Notes on This Issue       Editor       1987

Vol. CVII     May, 1987     No. 5


     Notes on This Issue

     Rev. Michael Gladish, whose sermon appears on the opposite page, now serves in Los Angeles. He will become pastor of the Olivet Society in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in July.
     The series "Favorite Passages" was begun last July, at which time we noted that the idea of gathering favorite passages came from Rev. Wendel Barnett. His own favorite with his reasons appears this month (p. 202).
     We are disappointed to learn that Mr. Norman Heldon will not be coming to the assembly. If you look at the news from Australia in the issues of this magazine for at least thirty years you will see his name. He has also long been a lively writer for such publications as the General Church Courier in Australia. We are delighted to be publishing in this issue an unusual piece sent by Mr. Heldon entitled "Spiritual Spectacles."
     Do not mix up the 200th anniversary of the birthday of the church (p. 200) with the 300th anniversary of Swedenborg's birth (p. 199). We are pleased to have the two items from England relative to these occasions.
     "No one is forbidden to enjoy the pleasures of the body and its senses . . . ." This is from no. 995 of Arcana Coelestia, which goes on to list pleasures including those of friendship, "the pleasures of hearing, or of the sweetness of singing and music; the pleasures of sight, or of beauties, which are manifold, as those of becoming dress . . . of beautiful gardens, and the like, which are delightful from harmony of form and color, the pleasures of smell, or of fragrant odors; the pleasure of taste, or of the flavors and benefits of food and drink." Mr. Leon Rhodes expands on this in his article "How Blessed We Are!" (p. 218).
     Please notice that the deadline for ordering special Wedgwood plates is coming extremely soon. It is May 31st. See the note on page 226. Write to The Australian Tricentenary 1988 Committee, 4 Shirley Road, Roseville, NSW 2069, Australia [or for information phone Mr. Leon Rhodes in Bryn Athyn at (215) 947-1153]. The cost is $33.00 per plate.

NEW ZEALAND CAMP       Editor       1987

     You are invited to attend a Family Camp to be held at Willow Park Christian Camp Centre, Eastern Beach, Auckland, from 2 January 1988 to 9 January 1988. Booking should be received by 1 October 1987 addressed to Brian Akrigg, 1/10 Mountain Road, Panmure, Auckland 6, New Zealand.

     Camp charges approximately      NZ$16 per day      Adults
                                   NZ$13 per day      Children 10-15 and Students
                                        Concessions for families




     "Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, 'Rise up and walk? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins"-He said to the man who was paralyzed-"I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house." And immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. And they were all amazed . . . (Luke 5:23-26).

     The word "sin" can mean many different things as it is used in its original Hebrew or Greek, but the main idea is that of missing the mark or failing in one's purpose. More than evil, which might be defined as any wrong or disorderly thing as it is in itself, sin involves a conscious and deliberate choice in which one sees the good as a goal toward which he should aim and yet allows himself to be turned away from that good and drawn aside into evil.
     There are many ways in which this can happen, and the decision is not always made in the full awareness of its consequences. In fact, it might be fair to say that no decision to commit a sin is based on full knowledge and understanding of its consequences since these are always negative and no intelligent person would wish harm to himself! Still, people choose what they want to know and what they are willing to hear, so they deliberately include or exclude information that could make their lives better. Jesus said, "The truth shall make you free," and yet there is a freedom even to accept or reject the truth. Jesus also said, "Whoever commits sin is the servant of sin," so He taught the self-limiting effects of bad judgments, whatever the cause (John 8).
     And sins are committed for many reasons: some of us, although we see the good for which we should be striving, feel the pressure of other concerns, perhaps selfish, perhaps worldly, perhaps due to fears or limitations from previous experience, that draw us away from achieving that good. Some of us, seeing the good, nevertheless have insufficient wisdom or knowledge to pursue it, so we fail because we simply lack ability or power. Then, too, sometimes we forget, and being caught up in issues of this or that particular worldly concern, we "omit the weightier matters of the law, [namely] judgment, mercy and faith," becoming like the scribes, Pharisees and hypocrites of Matthew 23. We may be carried away by the heat or passion of the moment even though we know better under normal circumstances; so the Lord taught that we should avoid temptation in order to avoid sin and its consequences.


     But suppose we err; suppose we miss the mark and become guilty of sin; what then? How much sin can we get away with and still get to" heaven?
     This question, asked perhaps facetiously, has merit if for no other reason than that it brings out the essential quality of sin and offers opportunity to explore how it is that the Lord Jesus Christ forgives sins as described in the New Testament. On the one hand, anyone can see that not all sins are forgiven since many people do end up in hell, but on the other hand everyone should know that a failure to be forgiven is not the Lord's fault for if it were up to Him alone all would be forgiven and everybody would go to heaven, no "ifs," "ands," or "buts." The issue revolves around cooperation between God and man, and the axis of amnesty, so to speak, is the determination of will or love.
     First of all, we need to understand that a sin is not just a mistake. It is a mistake all right, but more than that it is an offense against the good of charity or love. What is a sin to one person may not be a sin to another. And what isn't a deliberate sin at first although it is evil in its effects can become a sin for the person responsible if on learning that he has offended he makes no effort to correct the mistake or amend his ways. Jesus told the Pharisees, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, 'We see.' Therefore your sin remains" (John 9:41).
     To sin, fundamentally, is to have an attitude of indifference toward what is good, and to sin against God is to have that attitude toward Him. It is not so much a deed done as it is a statement of intent within the deed. This is why in the end only God or the sinner himself can make a judgment convicting of sin: only God or the sinner himself can know the real intent of any deed. And this is also why the Lord alone can forgive sins: not even the remorseful sinner can really change his own attitude or loves, for to do so would be to fight against himself and to be what he is not. But if a person turns to the Lord, asks for His help and begins to cooperate with Him by doing what he knows to be right whether he likes it or not, gradually the Lord will inspire in that person a new attitude free of the burden of sin and all its limitations.
     This is what was represented in the miracle the Lord performed in healing the paralyzed man (in our lesson from Luke 5). Think for a moment of the image: here was a great crowd of the learned and respected in Israel gathering around the Lord to hear Him teach. "And behold, men brought on a bed a man who was paralyzed. And they sought to bring him in and lay him before Him." But the crowd was too great, so at first they couldn't find a way in to the Lord. What is being represented spiritually here?


     It is a beautiful and telling picture! The Pharisees and teachers of Israel, as so often was the case, represented the falsities of a church in its corrupted state. They are the very reason, along with the deliberate evils of the people, that the Lord came into the world, and in teaching them He was correcting them. But there is more: these individual representatives of religious falsity in the church also represent the religious falsities in our own minds. And it is vital to understand that what cripples and paralyzes us in spiritual life is exactly that-falsity. Furthermore, in coming to the Lord we invariably face a whole crowd, a whole multitude of falsities that form a barrier to our approach and communion with Him. Somehow these falsities must be overcome before there can be any healing touch.
     So what happened in the story? The men, his friends, let this fellow down through the roof even as he lay on his bed, and so placed him before the Lord. How strange! Of course in the literal sense this shows their determination, at whatever cost, to help this poor soul succeed (I imagine the owner of the house could not have been too pleased to see his tile roof torn up), but again there is more: because the roof of any building is the highest part and the building, especially a home, represents the human mind or spirit (the dwelling place of the soul), the roof represents the highest faculties or qualities of the mind. And these are the good qualities, the celestial qualities as distinguished from the qualities of thought, truth or understanding which distinguish the lower parts of the mind just as walls, doors and other features distinguish rooms in a home. And the "men" who were so intent to aid their friend represent the truths which can aid good will and good intention to overcome the resisting power of falsities even though they may seem to present an impenetrable barrier.
     Now isn't this a typical situation? We know where the Lord is, and we know that we need His help to be freed from the crippling limitations of our past-our selfishness, our pride, our worldliness, our fears and guilts and other "hang-ups" but because of the great crowd of falsities still obstructing our path we cannot seem to get to the Lord and we feel paralyzed. We see that we are condemned if left to ourselves and there is a real threat of despair. But fortunately we all have friends, male friends representing the truths of the Word which, although they may not be able to penetrate these falsities and break a way through them nevertheless can aid the determined will to overcome and surmount them. So the Lord will be able to inspire a new confidence and a new way of life as He says, "Man, your sins are forgiven you," and we suddenly find that we have the power to get up out of the spiritual "bed" we have been lying in, that is, the state we have confirmed by our past life and experiences, and instead of letting it carry us, we begin to carry it even to "our own house," that is, our own freely chosen state which, being free of slavery to sin, now includes the glorifying praise of God who has redeemed us.


     How much sin can we get away with? To the extent that sinning is an attitude of disregard for good the answer is none! Breaking even one of the commandments with deliberate intent, or trying to justify it when it is exposed as wrong, amounts to the same thing as breaking all the commandments in spirit because it shows that there is no respect for the Authority behind them, the ultimate good, i.e., God.
     On the other hand, how many sins can we commit and still be forgiven? Even if they are conscious and deliberate at a given point in time, if in the end we are willing to turn and be turned back to the Lord there are never so many that they can't be forgiven. What is done is done, it can't be changed, but there is a sense in which it also ceases to, exist: really all that ever remains of an event in the past is the effect influence it has on the present, and that effect or influence can be changed; it can be overcome.
     Now, this morning, we have a real opportunity to come before the Lord in sharing His holy supper. As we do so we may-and should-be conscious of at least some sins that we have committed in the past and we should be confirmed in our determination to receive the Lord's healing Word. But even now we may find ourselves wondering if it is possible really to find and hear and see the Lord. if it is possible really to get close enough to receive that miracle of total forgiveness. Truths confront falsities in our minds; we hesitate; the obstacles seem overwhelming; too much out of our own experience stands in the way. Oh, well, maybe some other time . . . .
     But what better time will there be? There will always be obstacles; doubts and falsities will always be there to block our path; and, finally, if we ever did feel fully worthy to come before the Lord, surely that would be a sign of our unworthiness, our unwillingness to receive from Him according to our need. Rather, at some point we need to confess our utter dependence on Him and to lay our case before Him regardless of our reservations and fears. We need to make a commitment in faith that the Lord can do what we ourselves cannot, namely, give us a new heart, a new mind and new way of life free of all the limitations of the past, free to walk, run and climb the highest mountain, free to be what we really want to be and to go back home changed, never to return to the old confined life.
     Why not let this be the day? Amen.

     LESSONS: Genesis 4:1-15 ("Sin lies at the door" in offending against charity or good.); Luke 5:17-26; Arcana Coelestia 363-365)



CELEBRATION OF SWEDENBORG'S 300th BIRTHDAY       Norman Ryder       1987


     The following is taken from a publicity brochure sent out recently in England to the church societies of the British Conference. The writer is Rev. Norman Ryder, President of the General Conference of the New Church.

     The New Church is based foursquare on the theology in Emanuel Swedenborg's books, because we believe that it is a theology revealed by our Lord God through one person for the sake of all people everywhere. And as this one person was born 300 years ago on 29 January, we are taking the opportunity which it gives us to thank our Lord for the life of use which Emanuel Swedenborg lived.
     In particular, we shall be thanking our Lord for the renewed gospel that we know through what Swedenborg witnessed and then wrote about: the gospel that the Lord God Jesus Christ reigns, whose kingdom shall be for ever and ever.
     The whole basis of the New Church is linked with this claim. Do we accept Swedenborg's claim that he experienced life in the spiritual world? If not, his claim that he witnessed the 2nd Coming of our Lord is false. Do we accept his teaching that Jesus Christ glorified is the only God? If not, then how can He reign for ever and ever?
     Do we accept the theology that the 2nd Coming has taken place in the spiritual world? If it didn't, there is no renewed gospel. Do we accept Swedenborg's explanation of how to understand the Word of the Lord? If not, there is nothing to confirm the wisdom of our celebrations.
     Thus our celebrations are not being held to venerate a man who was born 300 years ago, nor just to brush the dust off his books: our "celebrations are a witness to the whole of our New Church faith.
     This is why we invite you to join in our celebrations of the 300th birthday of Emanuel Swedenborg, and to join us in thanking our Lord Jesus Christ for the great work which He accomplished during the lifetime of this man who described himself near the end of his life as "Servant of the Lord Jesus Christ."
     Norman Ryder,
          President of the General Conference of the New Church



INVITATION FROM LONDON       John Elliott       1987

     To All Members of the New Church

     You are invited to celebrate the two-hundredth birthday of church.
     For two centuries now, people have treasured the teachings given to the world through Emanuel Swedenborg, and have relied on these to guide them in their relationships with the Lord, with one another, and with the world. So it is time for us who belong to the religious tradition, communion, or fellowship of the New Church to celebrate.
     Bicentenary celebrations are already being planned in London by the congregation at Greenhill (known until recently as the North Finchley Society of the New Church); and these celebrations will be held over the weekend of Friday 31 July to Sunday 2 August 1987.
     But why this particular weekend, and why has Greenhill New Church taken it upon itself to arrange such festivities? In a nutshell, because (as Robert Hindmarsh says in his Rise and Progress of the New Church) the first congregation calling itself "the New Church upon earth" held its inaugural service on 31 July 1787, and Greenhill is the direct descendant of that congregation.
     This inaugural service was held in the house of Thomas Wright, watchmaker to King George the third, and from this was formed the first official society of the New Church, so to speak. Early in 1788 the group of worshippers were able to rent a chapel in Great East Cheap, and the following year they called "a General Conference of the readers of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg . . . not of one society only, but of the New Church in general." Thus Greenhill New Church today is not only the direct descendant of the first recognized New Church congregation, but also of the hosts of the first national assembly of New Church people. It seems right, therefore, that we-the members at Greenhill-should be the ones to initiate these two-hundredth anniversary celebrations.     
     And what form will those celebrations take?
     First, at 7:00 p.m. on Friday 31 July-exactly two hundred years after our forefathers gathered at Thomas Wright's home-we shall assemble at Greenhill for a service of thanksgiving. As was the case in 1787 on that last evening in July, so now the central part of the service will be a celebration of the Lord's Holy Supper (the chalice used two centuries ago is still used today). But as some people may find it difficult to reach Greenhill by 7:00 because of rush hour traffic in London, we propose to begin with a period of reflection on what we are celebrating, followed by the service proper at 7:30. Light refreshments will follow the service.


     Then on Saturday there is to be a reception at the Guildhall in the city of London, very near Thomas Wright's home at 6 The Poultry. This will be preceded by a walkabout, beginning at 2:30, to identify some of the places associated with Swedenborg himself, and also places where New Church people met and worshipped in the city in those early days of the church. The reception itself in the crypt of the Guildhall will begin at 4:00 p.m. It will be an occasion principally to meet together as New Church members-at least one person, we hope, from each society, circle, or group in the United Kingdom will be present, as well as members from abroad. The evening will go on to about 10:00 p.m., during which time we shall have the pleasure of listening to speakers from various New Church bodies. Midway through the evening there will be a buffet supper. There will also be a display or exhibition of interesting New Church photos, documents, objects, etc.
     Please note that the city of London authority from whom we are hiring the Guildhall crypt has set a definite limit of 250 persons who may attend. It will be necessary therefore for us to issue tickets, and admission will be by ticket only. Please make sure you get your ticket without delay by applying to Rev. John Elliott or Rev. D. Duckworth at Greenhill New Church, 177 Leicester Road, New Barnet, Herts EN5 5BB (L10 each, L5 for those under 16 years of age. Please make your cheques payable to GREENHILL NEW CHURCH and Crossed and Co).
     The weekend's festivities will end with the Sunday morning service at 11:00 a.m. at Greenhill. Having given thanks to the Lord on the Friday evening, and having rejoined together on Saturday for all that has been good in the past two hundred years, we shall come together on Sunday in faith and hope that our Lord will bless His church in the years ahead.
     Members of Greenhill hope that at the gatherings in London there will be people from every branch of the New Church-not only from societies of the General Conference to which Greenhill is linked, but also from the General Church in the United Kingdom, from congregations in Europe, and from all our brethren of different "traditions" in other parts of the world. The event in July 1787 is said to have taken place "at the particular request" of James Glen, who subsequently went to Pennsylvania, taking his New Churchmanship with him; we trust therefore that our friends in America will be well represented at our bicentenary celebrations. The churches in Africa and Australasia likewise trace their origins back to the church here in the United Kingdom. So wherever you are in the world it is a time to celebrate. Join us if you can in London this summer; and also organize, if possible, thanksgiving services in your own areas.
     John Elliott



MINISTER'S FAVORITE PASSAGE (11)       Rev. Wendel R. Barnett       1987

     If you were asked to choose one "favorite" passage from all the books of the Writings, what criterion would you use in your selection? Whatever your standard of measure I can imagine that usefulness, to yourself and others, would be at the center of your decision. The following passage is one of the most useful excerpts from the Writings in responding to a number of life's questions, but especially to the query "How do I know which church is teaching the truth?"

     They who are in the affection of truth for the sake of truth and of life, consequently for the sake of the Lord's kingdom, have indeed faith in the doctrinal things of the church; but still they search the Word for no other end than the truth, from which their faith and their conscience are formed. If anyone tells them that they ought to stay in the doctrinal things of the church in which they were born, they reflect that if they had been born in Judaism, Socinianism, Quakerism, Christian Gentiiism, or even out of the church, the same would have been told them; and that it is everywhere said, Here is the church! here is the church! here are truths and nowhere else! And this being the case the Word should be searched with devout prayer to the Lord for enlightenment. Such do not disturb anyone within the church, nor do they ever condemn others, knowing that everyone who is a church lives from his faith (AC 5432:5, italics mine).

     This teaching is full of hope and mercy for the human race-hope for the potential of being enlightened by the Lord concerning what is true, and mercy for those who "live" from the faith of the church they are in. No one, we are taught, "is forbidden to search the Scriptures from the affection of knowing whether the doctrinal things of the church within which he was born are true; for in no other way can he be enlightened" (AC 6047:3).
     It is by means of this searching of the Word "with devout prayer to the Lord for enlightenment" that we take an essential step in making the church our own, and that we come into the affirmative from the Word that the doctrinal things of the New Church are truths of faith. Unless this examining and searching of the Word takes place, our faith tends to be from others and not from the Lord.

     They who have arrived at maturity, and still more they who have arrived at old age, and have not viewed with their own eyes the truths of the church, which are called doctrinal things, and seen whether they are true, and then been willing to live according to them, retain them merely as they do all other memory-knowledges; they are in their natural memory only, and thence on their lips; and when they utter them, they utter them not from their interior man or from the heart, but only from the exterior man and from the mouth.


When a person is in this state he cannot possibly believe that the truths of the church are true, although it seems to him that he so believes. The reason why it seems to him that he believes them to be true is that he relies on others, and has confirmed in himself the teaching of others (AC 5432:2).

     Whether a person is born within or outside of a New Church organization, the process for making the New Church his own is the same. "First, there must be learned the doctrinal things of the church, and then the Word must be examined to see whether these are true" (AC 6047:2).

     [For] the doctrinal things of the church . . . are not true because the heads of the church have said so and their followers confirm it, because in this way the doctrinal things of all churches and religions would have to be called true, merely because they exist in the country and people hold them from their birth; and in this wise not only would the doctrinal things of Papists and also of Quakers be true, but also those of Jews and even of Mohammedans, because their leaders have said so and their followers confirm it. This shows that the Word must be searched, and there it must be seen whether the doctrinal things are true. When this is done from the affection of truth, then the person is enlightened by the Lord so as to perceive, without knowing whence, what is true; and he is confirmed therein in accordance with the good in which he is. If these truths disagree with the doctrinal things, let him take heed not to disturb the church (AC 6047:2).

     This is an idea that distinguishes the New Christian Church from the church that preceded the Lord's second coming. To the person who says, "I do not understand," we do not say, "this is just the reason for believing" (Faith 1). Instead, we direct him back to the Lord in His Word until he sees from the Lord that a thing is true. Those who read the Word in enlightenment from the Lord, and who are thus in the affection of truth, receive a spiritual idea that "inwardly tells them that what they hear or read is true, or is not true" (Faith 5).
     As individual seekers of truth we should not be discouraged in our effort to know what is true in order that we might one day say with conviction, "I believe." We need not become frustrated by the clamoring voices that cry out, "Here is the church! here is the church! here are the truths and nowhere else!" (AC. 5432:5). Simultaneously, we can be enlightened concerning what is true and can come into the affirmative concerning the Word itself (see AC 6047:3, 2568). Simply put, we are to search the Word for no other end than the truth, with a devout prayer to the Lord for enlightenment (see AC 5432:5).


     "If anyone should think within himself, or say to someone else, 'Who is able to have the internal acknowledgment of truth which is faith? not I,' let me tell him how he may have it: Shun evils as sins, and come to the Lord, and you will have as much of it as you desire" (Faith 12).
     Rev. Wendel R. Barnett

     [Photo of Rev. Wendel R. Barnett]
NCL 50 and 100 YEARS AGO 1987

NCL 50 and 100 YEARS AGO       Editor       1987

     "The coming General Assembly is the main topic of conversation the Society. Judging from the interest shown, the casual observer would think that we had little time for other matters." This is quoted from the: May issue, 1937 in the news from Pittsburgh where an assembly was soon to be held.
     In May of 1887 the following was announced in this magazine: "The Academy of the New Church had bought property in Philadelphia, affording generous accommodations for its various uses, and it is now: able to have all its schools together."



COUNCIL OF THE CLERGY MEETINGS       Rev. Alfred Acton       1987

     March 3-8, 1986

     [Continued from the January 1987 issue]

     Fourth Session-Love First, a paper by Rev. John L. Odhner (circulated to the Council of the Clergy in advance and available from the Secretary on request. The following is an abridgement of the paper by the Secretary.)
     Mr. Odhner began by asking, "is there a balance between doctrine and love? Are some sermons unbalanced, emphasizing one truth to the exclusion of others? Is the lack of balance in the listener rather than the sermon? Is it perhaps simply a matter of poor writing-that certain words such as 'doctrine' or 'love' get repeated too often? Or is it simply way things should be-a healthy variety of different emphases?
     He continued, "I have wondered how we should accommodate our preaching to different states of regeneration. Specifically, how do we fill the needs of people who are in a state of reformation as compared with those who are in a state of regeneration?
     "Will those in a state of reformation be more interested in doctrine, while the regenerate are more interested in love? Is this something we can observe in our congregations? Should we consciously gear our accommodation in one direction or the other?
     "I suggest that we should not be seeking a balance between two extremes in this case, because good and truth are at the same end of the scale, not opposite ends. We are in a balance between good and evil-each is pulling us a different way. The more we approach one, the farther we get from the other. But that is not the case with good and truth. They pull toward each other, not away from each other-the more we come to truth, the closer we draw to good, and vice versa.
     "The conjunction of good and truth is one of the two essentials of the New     Church. Whether we are speaking about heaven, marriage, the Word, regeneration, the church, the Lord's glorification, or human activities, the topic is always the conjunction of good and truth.
     "People who are basically selfish are not going to care whether the truths they have are genuine or not. Nor is it very important for the simple to know which is prior and which is posterior, provided they live in charity (cf. AC 3995.2). But for the wise it does matter. The internal man, and heaven, are opened by none other than genuine truths. Only genuine truths can open the internal sense to man. Only genuine truths can give birth to love truly conjugial.


Only genuine truths can give us a clear vision of the Lord in His Divine Human. Genuine truths are part of the heritage and destiny of the New Church. So for those who are wise, or who wish to be wise, it is important to know the genuine truth about which comes first.
     "One of the reasons why it is important to know which comes first is that faith-alone preachers often confuse the issue by putting great emphasis on repentance, love and good works, and then at the end the sermon they may say. 'If you want this kind of love, all you have to do is come forward now and confess your faith in Jesus, and you will become a new person.'
     "The problem is not how much or little they talk about love, but how and why they talk about love.               
     "Another reason why it matters whether the truths we have are genuine is because of the danger of overemphasizing apparent truths. The wise, however, will not think from appearances, because apparent truths can become fallacies or falsities when they are taken as real truths. Genuine truth, on the other hand, serves as a lamp to enlighten confusing or apparently contradictory passages. And genuine truths are much more powerful and useful than apparent truths for fighting evil and giving form to genuine good.
     "Another danger in emphasizing appearances is that states of love may be destroyed. Further, it is the doctrine of charity, rather than the doctrine of faith, which unites the church. One question that might be asked is, 'Isn't good alone just as dangerous as faith alone?' There is difference between teaching 'good first' and teaching 'good alone.' Recognizing the flame as the source of the light does not do away with the light. Ironically, it is not by putting good first, but by putting truth first, that we are likely to fall into good alone, because putting faith first tends to separate good and truth, but putting charity first conjoins them. "There are, of course, many answers to the question. 'How do good and truth make one?' Some answers: By temptations. By influx of one into the other. By a life according to truths. By shunning evils as sins. The answer I want to focus on is this: Good and truth make one when good is in the first place.
     "If we emphasize the genuine truth that charity is in the first place what kind of results might we get? I would say that when we teaching charity comes first we may see the following happen: 1) We are teaching a genuine truth rather than an appearance. We therefore reduce the danger of confirming the appearance and creating a fallacy or falsity. 2) We help give people increased enlightenment and understanding of the Word, since these depend on the acknowledgment that charity is in the first place. 3) We facilitate the conjunction of good and truth, since they can be conjoined only when good is in the first place.


Consequently, by putting charity first, we will have better 'balance' in our preaching. 4) We bring greater unity to the church, since making charity the primary thing is what unifies the church. 5) We can more easily accommodate to both the simple and the wise at the same time, since it is in matters of life and love that the internal sense makes one with the literal sense of the Word.
     "In short, the more we give charity the proper priority over faith, and the more we acknowledge that charity is first, even in the beginning, the more we will encourage a desire for both doctrine and a life according to doctrine."
     Mr. Odhner introduced discussion of his paper by noting several stories from the Word which illustrate his essential message that love must be dominant within the church. In discussion the following points were made: We need to consider, in terms of evangelization, a doctrine of friendliness. We need to think about the love within ourselves, and preach from the state of love in us and in the church. We are blessed to be a part of the Lord's New Church, especially the General Church. Among these blessings is our ability to share feelings, one with another, as to the life of good. In this context is our present creed really valuable, or is it simply a dry recitation of beliefs? In considering this subject, think of the story of Jacob and Esau and their struggles. Is this the state the church now is going through?
     Mr. Odhner was thanked for calling attention to this essential doctrine of our church which we all need to have in focus. One minister at the Academy, after reading his paper, has been working on seeing its direct application to teaching. Another Academy teacher noted that when love is first we are able to see the distinction between an appearance of truth and genuine truth in the Writings.
     In concluding, Mr. Odhner thanked those who commented on his paper and observed that he himself likes truth that is charity rather than truth from knowledges.

Fifth Session-Demonstration of Translations by Rev. Frank Rose.

     Mr. Rose used this session to demonstrate how much the church needs new translations of the Writings by taking the current standard editions of the Swedenborg Foundation and the Swedenborg Society and demonstrating when each edition was translated. The point was clearly made. Comments on Mr. Rose's presentation included real concern for new translations in current English. The church cannot expect to grow without the Word in readable form. Much of the focus in the council in recent years has been on translation of the Old and New Testaments.


However, the translation of the Writings is still the primary mission of the New Church, and we must focus more attention on this need.
     It was also pointed out that our problems in translation are even greater in other languages as regards both re-translation and first translations.

Sixth Session-Introduction to the Betrothal State, paper by Rev. Erik Sandstrom.

     Mr. Sandstrom's presentation to the council was in response to the paper on betrothal presented at the previous set of meetings by Rev. Alfred Acton. Although Mr. Sandstrom did not see himself at variance with Mr. Acton when it comes to end or purpose, he does see the rite of betrothal as a necessary introduction to the state of betrothal. In his opinion, all rites and sacraments introduce states and are not confirmatory of states.
     Mr. Sandstrom's presentation was not discussed by the council due to the lateness of the hour.

Seventh Session-Marriage in the Church, paper by Rev. Louis Synnestvedt.

     Mr. Synnestvedt wished to call the council's attention to the very serious issue of marriage within the church. The Writings characterize, marriage between people of different religions as "heinous" (AC 8998). How does the church apply this teaching? Much discussion focused on the positive presentation by Mr. Synnestvedt with varying suggestions as regards application. Marriage within the church is a desired goal which ought to be taught as the ideal. It was noted that Conjugial Love 226 states that there are marriages on earth in which one of the partners has conjugial love while the other does not love the things of the church. Although such a marriage is "heinous" in the eyes of heaven it is not "heinous" in the eyes of the world, nor is it impossible for love truly conjugial to exist in such a relationship. Nevertheless, such a relationship is clearly not the ideal. Ministers of the church must focus on counseling prior to marriage, and as teachers of youth must stress the reality of the need for two people to be of the same religion if they are to enjoy love truly conjugial. One minister suggested we take a positive approach to this problem using the phrase, "I would like to marry you if I can." We should not use membership in the church as a criterion for performing a service, but we should counsel and be aware if we are supporting what is less than ideal.


     In his concluding remarks, Mr. Synnestvedt asked his colleagues to strive for consistency in their approach to this important issue. Let's not force a couple into a ritual or sacrament such as confirmation of baptism they are not ready for. Instead, let us counsel clearly and with courage.

Eighth Session-Thoughts on the Word Revealed, paper by Rev. Erik E. Sandstrom.

     Mr. Sandstrom's paper focused on the general subject of the Writings as the Word. In what sense do we see the Writings to be the revealed Word of God? Are they the internal sense of the Word? Are they the Heavenly Doctrine? Or are they the Word in fullness?
     Much discussion ensued from Mr. Sandstrom's paper, which touched on an essential matter of doctrine in the church. The General Church has been debating this issue for many, many years, and will probably continue to do so with differing points of view for years to come.
     One minister, responding to the paper, stated his position. "The Writings are not the internal sense of the Word; they are not doctrine; they are the Word in fullness." Another minister noted that he has yet to see a passage to say that the Writings are not the internal sense, and so in his opinion it is valid to say they are.
     One speaker noted that the words "internal sense" and "spiritual sense" have different meanings, and that although we cannot look for an internal sense" to the Writings they clearly have a "spiritual sense."
     Yet another speaker identified the spiritual sense with the doctrine of genuine truth. Still another speaker noted that the spiritual sense can be seen only with the doctrine of genuine truth, knowledge of correspondences, and enlightenment.
     The real issue is on what degree of Divine Truth do the Writings rest? In closing remarks, Mr. Sandstrom agreed that the books are not the internal sense, that the cup and the wine are not the same, but that they are one as word and idea.

Ninth Session-Sense of the Letter of the Word, paper by Rev. Stephen Cole.

     Mr. Cole's paper carried on the discussion of the nature of the Word, specifically looking at what the term "the sense of the letter" means. Discussion on Mr. Cole's paper followed, noting distinctions between the literal sense and the sense of the letter. Another comment discussed the definition of the word "sense" as sometimes implying sensation or impact.


The impact of the letter, then, would be the sense of the letter. The sense of the letter is the basis for the internal sense or the imagery upon which the internal sense can rest.

Tenth Session-Cults paper by Rev. Grant Schnarr.

     Mr. Schnarr's paper was concerned with accusations against the New Church that it is a cult. How do we as New Church people respond to such accusations? Clearly, the New Church is not a cult, but what is our defense when so accused?
     Mr. Schnarr, following discussion of his paper, agreed to produce a pamphlet answering the cult question. This pamphlet is now available. (See also New Church Life 1986, p. 202.)

Eleventh Session-Nomination of an Assistant Bishop

     A procedure was followed, and eventually the Council of the voted unanimous support of the nomination of Rev. Peter M. Buss as Assistant Bishop for the General Church. This nomination will be presented at the coming assembly.

Twelfth Session-Reports

     The Liturgy Committee. Rev. Alfred Acton, chairman of the Liturgy Revision Committee, asked for detailed reactions to a set of offices presented to the council. He also requested any input available concerning hymns in the current Liturgy, and noted that work on the music is underway. Discussion followed on the nature of the Liturgy with varying comments concerning possible changes.
     Report on the Agenda. The report on the agenda was received from Rev. William C. Clifford with some work reported as completed and others yet to be done.
     President of the Academy. The President of the Academy, Rev. M. Buss, reported from the Academy noting the colloquium planned for 1988 in recognition of the 300th tricentennial of Swedenborg's birth. Mr. Buss sees the Academy ready to serve the church and wants to be advised of ways in which it can accept that mission more fully.
     Library. A new library has been designed, and bids are now being taken for its construction. De Charms Hall also is in process of renovations, and the Academy is further planning to prepare for parking on the lower Glencairn lawn.
     Rev. Christopher Smith will become a part of the Academy faculty in September 1986, and he is most welcome.
     Mr. Buss was happy to note that outcome surveys from students show that the teaching of religion in the Academy is very well received.


Of all courses cited, courses in religion are always highly ranked. Discussion of Mr. Buss's report followed.
     Word Committee. Rev. N. Bruce Rogers presented a list of emendations to the New King James Version prepared by the Word Committee over the past year, and answered several questions in response to his report.
     Theological School. Rev. Robert Junge reported his hope to extend Theological School training perhaps into Ghana and South Africa, and noted that copies of the current curriculum are available on request.
     Evangelization Committee. Rev. Douglas Taylor noted work now underway by the Evangelization Committee. It was clear from his report that much work is now being done in this field which is well established in the church.
     Rev. Alfred Acton


     Sunrise Camp for Adults, New Jersey-June 8-12 (See NCL p. 138.)

     Maple Leaf Camp, Canada-June 18-26 (See NCL p. 189.)

     Academy of the New Church Summer Camp, Bryn Athyn-July 5-11 (See NCL p. 99.)

     Pine Needles Camp, Connecticut-July 9-12

     Family Laurel, Western Pennsylvania. There will be two camps, the first from Sunday. July 19 through Saturday, July 25th. The second is from Sunday, July 26 through Saturday, August 1st. Each camp is limited to 148 persons. Contact: John Rose (412) 661-6844.

     Among local camps we have heard of is one in Atlanta for teens from August 5-9th. "All young people in grades 6-10 and with a definite interest, in the New Church are welcome."




     My name is Waugh: W-A-U-G-H, though I'd prefer W.A.R., since I resolved to wage war on falsity and ignorance, two of the world's greatest enemies.
     For many years I had been an optometrist and optician. I'm also a book-lover, and often browse through secondhand book shops, hoping to find unusual gems of literature. Glancing at titles, I pick books at random, open them anywhere and read a little. Many a good book was found that way. One day I selected one called Divine Love and Wisdom. These words riveted my attention:

Thought from the eye closes the understanding, but thought from the understanding opens the eye.

     No doubt I felt their impact because of my work with the eye and vision I read on and on and on.
     Near me someone coughed. The shopkeeper smiled as he said, "I usually close at 5."
     "Oh sorry," I said, "but I'11 take this book. Do you have any more by-er-Swedenborg?"
     "Yes, I do have a couple."
     Now I have a complete set of Swedenborg's works. Wishing to study them carefully, and having no family ties, I sought and found a job that gave me plenty of spare time. My duties as caretaker of a city building were over by 8 a.m. I then went to my room at the top to read and notes all day. This continued for about three years, and I found great delight in these teachings, which I recognized as a New Christian revelation from God.
     One morning, however, before I sat down at my desk, I looked through my window at the thousands of city workers arriving. Streaming from the entrance of the nearby railway stations, they fanned out in various directions to shops and offices. Very purposeful? Yes, they knew where they were going, in a workaday sense, yet how many thought about their spiritual destinations? How many followed the light and the path of God? From the dark railway tunnel they came, into the bright morning. I found myself wishing for them the uplifting experience I'd felt, leaving the dark tunnel of spiritual ignorance to revel in the bright sunshine of heaven, as it seemed to me.


     What loves ruled in the hearts of these people, and what were they working for? Homes, families, cars, boats, holidays? Nothing wrong with that of course, but the higher loves of the Lord, of use, of good and truth, the real things, the true ideals, more valuable than fine gold, as the Word says-how many sought that wealth?
     Here was I, with my cherished books, each one inviting me to open it; it was like opening a casket of rich jewels-and so they were, these truths, riches from heaven. Had I become a spiritual miser, gloating over my wealth every day and not making use of it? No, I'd gladly share it, but how? That was the problem.
     That morning I read for only a few minutes, then sat thinking,
     The idea that came seemed wild, fanciful, an impossible dream. Yet I kept working on it.
     Finally, "Why not?" I cried, slapping my thigh excitedly.
     I have said that I was an optometrist and optician. I had studied the eye and vision to help those whose sight was affected: natural sight-the "eyes-difficulties with vision-spectacles. Ah, but now I was dealing with spiritual sight, the sight of the mind, the understanding. Natural sight, spiritual sight; there was correspondence between them; what one did for the body the other did for the mind. If problems with natural sight could be remedied by natural spectacles, what kind of spectacles would improve spiritual vision? Spiritual spectacles?     
     The answer lay also in correspondences, I thought-in choosing the right material for my spiritual lenses. Why, of course, precious stones corresponded to spiritual truths, so I must find a transparent precious stone suitable for grinding.
     Now began the real work. Most equipment available was too imprecise; I had to make my own, a difficult and expensive task. I made a more intense study of the lens system of the eye, which, by the way, resembles a camera in the way its main parts are arranged. I'm afraid that if I talked about the ganglionic layer of the retina, the optic disk, tolerances relating to diameter of lenses, radii of curvature and so on, you would be bored stiff. But you will understand when I speak of arduous research and experiment, sleepless nights, heartaches, the temptation to give up completely.
     Suddenly, however, there came that magical moment, a surge of joy when I knew I had succeeded. I felt like an explorer who had battled across deserts and found a paradise. What I was sure I now held in my hands was a pair of spectacles that, fantastic as it may seem, would show in front of the wearer's eyes the words of a heavenly truth. With trembling fingers I put them on. In striking clarity these words appeared:


     Who would have charity must first shun evils as sins.

     I was sobered somewhat by the realisation that this was a sharp comment on my present state, and a warning. But indeed, was it really so, I thought, that the truth one saw would be the very one needed by that person at that time?
     The prospect was exciting, the possibilities tremendous. Surely any sane person would embrace these wonderful truths! If the stones could be mined cheaply, with mass production the spectacles could be on sale everywhere. People would line up to buy them.
     Now, how to begin using my magic spectacles to help others? I liked to think of them as magic, though it's not true of course. Where to find the right kind of people on whom to try them out? Finally I thought of the Sydney Domain Park. There on Sunday afternoons crowds go to hear speakers push their ideas on flat tax, yoga, vegetarianism, communism, new kinds of Utopias, and so on. I might find a group, even one or two; for suitable guinea pigs. I went on the following Sunday.
     In this park there are great grassy stretches and many shady trees. The art gallery sedately graces the southern side, while to the north the great city buildings loom on Sundays like temporarily deserted beehives. I was early, but plenty of people were already there, some having picnic lunches as they waited for the speakers. I tried to look inconspicuous while doing some unashamed eavesdropping. It was only small talk I heard till I approached a large tree, under which two young men and two girls were in animated conversation. Unseen, I was thrilled with what I heard.
     One of the young men was speaking.
     "Cogito ergo sum, said Descartes. 'I think, therefore I am.' One of Professor Cummings' favorite quotes, I believe, Jim?"
     "Yes, John, but I don't think we need philosophers to assure us that we exist."
     "Ah, sweet mystery of life," said one of the girls.
     "That's just it, Judy," said John. "What is life? What's behind the flesh and bones? What's the purpose of life, if any? Mysteries I'd like solved."
     "And in a hurry," commented Jim. "I asked Cummings that last question. He said my chief aim was to get my degree."
     "Seeing we're asking all the important questions," said Judy, "what about life after death? Is there or isn't there? What do you say, Marcia?"
     "I like to think there is, Judy. What a waste life would be otherwise."
     "Perhaps if we strike the right speaker, we'll get a few answers this afternoon," said John.
     "Let me toss one more question into the ring," said Marcia. "Most people seem to accept this permissive society, but I want to believe in romantic love.


Was I born a hundred years too late?"
     It seemed an opportune time for me to appear. I apologized for listening and introduced myself.
     "I'm interested in all your questions," I said. "They strike at the very heart of things. I believe I can help you; that is, if you will assist by testing an invention of mine."
     I produced the spectacles.
     "These spectacles have a marvelous quality, but rather than tell you about it, I'd like you to find out for yourselves. Will you try them on?" I said, offering them to John.
     John accepted them, but with a dubious look.
     "Not a joke, or a trick?" he queried with a grin.
     But with his friends urging him, John put them on. After he focused his eyes, his grin gave way to a look of surprise and pleasure.
     "What do you see, John?" cried Marcia.
     "I see words," he said, "in big clear capital letters. These: 'For the Lord is life. Man has no life except from the Lord.'"
     He took the spectacles off.
     "Amazing," he said. "An answer to my question too." Then, looking at me, "The Lord-meaning God?"
     "Yes, John. There is only one God, who created all things, for He alone is life."
     Jim was already fitting the spectacles. He was quiet for at least a minute. A minute is a long time when you're waiting.
     "Don't keep us in suspense," called Judy.
     "O.K., listen to this," he replied. "'God created man so that there could be a heaven from the human race.'"
     "That sort of rings true to me," said Jim, "and if it is, that's the chief aim in life. Right?"
     "Do you know, he added, "I had that feeling that I was looking through a window into heaven itself."
     "If there's a heaven, there's life after death, said Judy.
     "There sure is. Judy," I said, delighted with the success of my venture.
     "There's no death really. Going into the next world is like passing from one room into another."
     "My turn please," said an eager Marcia.
     I helped her put them on, with a little adjustment.
     "I'll read it straight away" she promised. "Well, here we go. 'There is a love truly conjugial, which is so rare at this day that it is not known what it is, or scarcely that it is. The origin of this love is from the marriage of good and truth.' That's terrific," cried Marcia, taking the spectacles off. "Those words are just the right ones for me."


     "I'd like the last bit explained a little more clearly," Judy commented.
     "I feel," said John, "that what we've seen is true. Strangely, it's as if I'd known it all along."
     "I've often thought," said Judy, "that God surely wouldn't leave us in the dark forever-that is, if! Where, Mr. Waugh, do these messages come from?"
     I was about to explain when we became aware that one of the speakers had set up his stand quite close. No doubt he'd seen us as the nucleus of an audience.
     Here was a big man, both ways, with a mane of flowing wavy grey hair. As we soon discovered, his voice matched his size.
     "Ladies and gentlemen," he boomed.
     People thirty metres away turned to listen. Some came to join us.
     "Ladies and gentlemen," he repeated, "my subject is Humanism. Although I dislike the word 'religion' we might well call Humanism the religion of the thinking or rational man."
     "Today," he went on, "we no longer assume that there are such things I as supernatural forces."
     "We can proudly call Humanism materialistic, because life and mind have arisen by evolutionary processes without aid from a supernatural power or life force."
     "I don't agree." It was John objecting.
     The man was evidently used to heckling, and ploughed straight on. Maybe he thrived on opposition.
     "Let me tell you why the Humanist is an unbeliever. He knows that man is alone in the universe, that there is no God and no afterlife."
     Jim interjected. He had a strong voice too. "Hey, sir. But if there is a God, and how can humanists prove otherwise, what you say is just a load of codswallop."
     A flicker of anger crossed the speaker's face.
     "I argue," he cried, "that life can be explained, or that there is a potentiality of explaining it, in a physical or material way, just as we explain thunderstorms, rainbows, motor cars, laser beams. Living things are composed only of matter. How can we believe that they have a non-material property that vanishes at death? Naturally," he added, with a smile, "being nonexistent, it cannot be weighed or measured; and therefore lies outside science. Scientific thinking demands that we verify all principles by observation and logical processes. Therefore . . . ."
     "Mr. Speaker!" Marcia exploded with indignation. "If you accept as true and real only what you can see, taste, touch, weigh or measure, you could not believe in love; and what is more real than love?"


     Judy chimed in. "You describe a world without purpose. Life itself would be meaningless."
     He glared. "What we call direction or purpose," he cried, "can also be explained in physical terms. Man is just a link in a chain, his origin no more mysterious than that of dogs, worms, fleas, bacteria or viruses. Because of this we scoff at the idea of a supernatural element in creation.
     Some viruses are simply a protein and a nucleic acid. Neither is alive, but when combined they are the virus. Who can believe that there is some omnipresent vital principle lying in wait ready to jump in when the contents of two test tubes are mixed?"
     He finished with a triumphant flourish, as if to say, "Demolish that argument, if you can."
     "Rubbish" said John. "Merely superficial reasoning, and that's being
     The crowd showed their enjoyment of the argument.
     The speaker jabbed a finger angrily at John. "The trouble with some people is that they haven't learned to think."
     "Exactly your own problem," cried Jim. "Here," he added, suddenly snatching the spec'acles from me, "look through these and you'll see something to make you think."
     "Jim," I protested, "perhaps it's not wise . . . ."
     It was too late. Confused apparently by the turn of events, the fellow had obediently put the spectacles on. The effect was dramatic, startling. His face contorted with rage; he ripped the spectacles off, threw them and jumped on them till the delicate frames and my beautiful, engineered lenses where crushed into tiny pieces. I could have wept.
     The speaker then swiftly folded his stand and marched off to the jeers some of the crowd, who seemed amused, but on our side evidently.
     Jim, miserable and contrite, began to apologize.
     I patted his shoulder consolingly. "Never mind, Jim," I said, "I'll another pair."
     On reflection later, however, I decided against that. The spectacles might fall into the wrong hands again, heavenly truths ridiculed, even profaned. I destroyed all my equipment and my formulae. My missionary efforts must take another direction.
     Still, to end on a happy note, the four young people, married couples now, became my firm friends. We spent many happy hours discussing the wonderful New Revelation.
     One day Marcia remarked, "Mr. Waugh, I'd dearly love to know what the Domain speaker saw through your spectacles."
     I would myself.




     We still encounter a few charming people who express their best wishes by a friendly "Bless you," and even more who consider this the proper reaction to a sneeze. It is our custom to ask the blessing before meals, and our services and church rites are beautifully summed up with the minister's blessing. But are we sure what is meant by a blessing? I would like to offer a somewhat new idea of how blessed we are.
     It is appropriate, first, to note that we do have teachings in the Writings about what is meant by a blessing. "And I will bless them bless thee . . . and in thee shall all the families of the ground be blessed" (Gen. 12:3) is Jehovah's promise to Abram, signifying that all happiness comes to those who acknowledge the Lord from the heart (see AC 1422).
     It is not always clear what is involved in a blessing for we sometimes feel that we can at least try to "bless" those we love. Our priests bless us on important occasions, yet we well know that all blessings are from the Lord. Many children were taught that they should include in their prayers: "Bless Mommy and Daddy" as well as others held in high esteem such as the pet dog or cat. It is less clear how these well-meant expressions bring about any good thing for those we bless, except in the very true sense that we pray for the Lord to bestow a blessing. But how does the Lord bless us?
     In the Genesis creation story, after God created every living creature, it is said that He blessed them, commanding that they "be fruitful and multiply." Then, after God created man in His own image, male and female, it is again said that He blessed them, and the command to be fruitful and multiply is repeated. And finally, concluding the work of creation, it is said that God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it.
     In AC 1422 it is further said that those who bless the Lord "are most certainly blessed by the Lord, that is, they are gifted with those things which constitute blessing, namely celestial good, spiritual good, natural good, worldly good, and bodily good." It is this idea of blessings "in which there is happiness" which deserves our attention.
     It would be allowable to say, then, that blessings can be felt as happiness-that is, that we sense or are conscious of joy or pleasure when we are blessed. With this concept in mind, we will be more aware of the Lord's great blessings if we pay attention to the myriad ways in which He allows us to feel delights.


     We are so created that we can be conscious of things around us. Our senses are provided by the Lord as the means whereby we can experience pleasant effects from His creation. Each of the senses performs this use with exquisite subtlety. We see, hear, feel, taste, and smell the around us in such a way that we are conscious of it-we live by responding to the input from our senses. The messages of these senses, obviously, are not always pleasing to us. They present horrors to our eyes, pain to our touch, discord to our ears, and offensive smells and tastes to our noses and mouths, but these are not blessings from the Lord.
     In order to explore this idea, let's begin with the sense of sight. It is much too simple to just accept the idea that we see things-that the vibrations of light waves stimulate the rods and cones of our retina, causing a flow of impulses along the optic nerve to receivers in the brain. This process has nothing to do with "blessing." The mechanics-no beautiful matter how marvelous-are precisely the same whether what we see is a beautiful sunrise or a foul swamp. It is not in the vibrations associated with light frequencies, the stimulation of the eye or the brain that we are in any way blessed. Indeed, the entire series of events is comparable to the process involved in photography, yet the camera is totally indifferent to beauty or ugliness.
     When it is said that the Lord blesses us by bestowing on us the power of sight, His blessing is really in that amazing and incomprehensible response to physical stimuli which results in a sense of pleasure. It is He who builds into our minds the ability to see beauty in the sunrise. In my photographic collection I have a picture that I took on the edge of the Gorand Canyon when I saw a small ground squirrel peering over the rim in this awesome part of creation. Perhaps the little creature saw what might be possibly edible or was watching an enemy. He might have been vaguely aware that that vast chasm was an obstacle and that he should not be careless. But it is unlikely that he had any consciousness of the incredibly beautiful view.
     It is highly unlikely that the creatures of the animal kingdom see beauty. They have little reason to look into the starry heavens or to marvel at a crystal. If they notice the magnificent colors of a blossom, it is of little importance if it does not identify something edible. Even those few creatures which do collect pretty pebbles for their nests are not blessed with the recognition of great beauty. And one reason we know this is so is that we as human beings have no such recognition when we are still infants. The baby cannot be moved by the beauty of a landscape or of a distant mountain, and it takes a rather precocious child to recognize certain types of beauty that adults appreciate-a Bach Fugue, Chippendale chair, Limoges china or the Sistine Chapel.


     Beyond this, the fact is that in the adult human there is amazing blindness to much that is beautiful. Most people walk unseeing past countless beauties, or will not be aware of a beautiful work of art. The marvelous blessing with which the Lord has endowed our sense of sight is not automatic. Yet there is much in the blessing of sight that we cannot explain. How is it that we look at a tiny infant with such wonder? Though not everyone is conscious of it, how do we explain the mystery of seeing beauty? The eye of the young man sees beauty in the face of his beloved far beyond what can be analyzed. And, if he is blessed, he will see very real beauty in his wife's face even after she is wrinkled and aged. It is the Lord who enables us to be aware of beauty-beauty that can bring us joy-and this is the blessing of sight!
     We do not really know why it is that we are delighted by the sight of a beautiful butterfly or bird, a beautiful girl or a handsome horse, or why nearly all baby animals have something appealing about them-even baby turtles and polar bears. The eye and its assorted attachments have nothing to do with this, nor do the visual receptors of the brain. It just happens that the Lord has blessed us far beyond merely enabling us to see things around us.
     And the same applies to hearing. The mechanisms of the ear with its tiny mallet, anvil and stirrup, the cochlea, and the auditory nerve chain translate vibrations in the air (or in our headbone itself) in such a way that we hear something, but there is no simple explanation as to why this can give us great pleasure. Leaving out the even more incomprehensible feature of hearing which accepts minute vibrations and recognizes them as words which convey ideas, we can be delighted by pleasant sounds ranging from the babble of water and the murmur of the breezes to the utterly delightful sounds of an infant, of birds, or of a kitten.
     But what about music? Incredible! Just how the instruments of our auditory system can count the 240 vibrations per second and identify it as "middle C" is mind-boggling. And it can be middle C played by a violin, a horn, an organ, or that finest instrument-the human voice. And then we differentiate between the middle C of the soprano or a tenor, of one voice or a chorus, and have been blessed with an ability to respond with ecstasy to Wagner's "Evening Star" or Madam Butterfly's lament, and to the pure excitement of Verdi's "Requiem." Leaving out the mysterious factor which enables an adolescent to find pleasure in some mighty strange noises or the peculiarity whereby modern musicians offer discord and cacophony as music, the sense of hearing provides a large segment of the human race with its greatest source of pure delight-and with such variety!! The Soldier's Chorus, The Moldau, the Choral movement of Beethoven's Ninth, Sullivan's "We Sail the Ocean Blue," or the quiet strumming of a ukelele in the moonlight! Ah, we are blessed indeed!


     No matter how separate they may be, much of taste and smell can be linked (as, indeed, they are), and it is interesting to see that taste has been categorized into sweet, sour, salty, and bitter, with the "taste buds" skillfully blending the combinations. (Swedenborg wrote of the senses in ways that make much more sense than the modern encyclopedia.) Again, we'll choose not to get distracted by the contributions of sight and touch to our enjoyment (or dislike) of food, and will simply avoid the intricacies of why one person likes tofu and sauerkraut while others can't stand ginger or coconut. The fact remains that in our sense of taste we have been richly blessed.
     It seems very unlikely that the Lord was not aware of the marvelous delights available in food and drink. I am certain that He knew that soft-shelled crabs can be delightful, and even that He knew all along that lemon juice, garlic and butter would turn the humble shrimp into something out of this world.
     It isn't easy to say whether human beings are alone in really enjoying taste and smell as a form of blessing. If you watch the seals being fed at Disney World (and I highly recommend it), there is not much evidence that they really notice much about the taste of the fish thrown to them for diving through a hoop. Yet most of us have preferences such as liking red snapper more than blue fish, salmon more than swordfish. I have often wondered if birds taste. I know that fried chicken or roast turkey do taste, but when I see the sparrows gulping bird seed, I wonder if they ever say to themselves, "This is delicious!" Does the pelican who dives into the water in a spectacular maneuver really care whether it is a mullet or a herring that he gulps and swallows? And swallows-do they prefer gnats to mosquitoes? And, if so, why?
     It seems undeniable that we humans have our lives greatly enriched by fine food. The art of cooking and preparing food is among the most valued of skills, and a fine meal elegantly prepared, a crisp salad with well-made dressing and perhaps a souffle dessert is something we can consider a blessing-well worth saying the blessing before we start.
     And there are no taste buds or nerves which are "enjoy" mechanisms. The "This is superb" or "This meat seems a little past its prime" is hardly calculable as mere vibrations of nerve endings. There are no "butterscotch," "bacon" or "breadstick" taste buds.
     Take a moment and ponder the fact that we have been blessed to understand what is meant by a few simple words: a fresh, ripe strawberry, newly baked bread, steamed mussels in wine, peanut butter with honey, blue cheese on a cracker or fruit cake with hard sauce.


(I've often wondered why it has been provided that even though an apple, grape or orange will spoil in a few days, they get along very well in the form of fruit cake for a couple of weeks. Strange!)
     Without even mentioning olfactory delights (things that smell good), just consider the whole realm of the fragrance of flowers, of new-mown hay, of some perfumes, and the inexplicable aura of a tiny baby. Even though often classified as bothersome, there's something I've always enjoyed when I get a whiff of a skunk in the woods; and the barnyard smells are a lot better than people usually admit.
     It would be inappropriate to get sidetracked by the fact that the animal kingdom appreciates and utilizes the sense of smell to a far greater extent than we do-not merely the bloodhound or hunting dog, but a highly complex and somewhat delicate role of this particular sense in seeking and identifying food, seeking and identifying a mate, or the first defense of some animals to protect them from predators.
     In considering the fifth sense, touch, we do not find it the same type of source of pleasure except by getting involved in the "touchy" subject of sex. It is probably true that the profound enjoyments in procreation are what is referred to in the first chapter of Genesis, verses 27 and 28, where; "God created man in his own image, male and female . . . and God, blessed them and said unto them be fruitful and multiply." The Writings declare that the sense of touch is especially centered in conjugial, delights, and it seems fairly clear that this is almost unique to the human lovemaking attraction.
     Not that the entire animal kingdom is indifferent to the mating; instinct, but it has notable differences. For one thing, it is difficult for most humans to comprehend quite how the head-on collisions of male mountain goats are related to sexual enjoyment, though there must be something to it. While the ewe is merely a spectator, this astonishing display is a sort of foreplay that we must somehow suspect the rams find at least exhilarating. Quite probably there may be something comparable in the salmon's determination to swim up against incredible obstacles to the spawning waters, and there are suspicious similarities between the ritual gyrations of mating cranes and some young people dancing.
     In general, however, the sense of touch is a blessing of a different nature, and these need not conflict with innumerable ways in which we can experience delight in the texture of a warm puppy, a silk shawl, velvet, leather or fine wood. Think of the feeling of a cool breeze in hot weather, or refreshing cold water, as well as the warmth of a good fire, a hot cup of coffee-and especially a child's touching his favorite stuffed animal or blanket. Some may share my own enjoyment of a freshly shelled horse chestnut, or even mud between your toes in the summertime.


     The point in this totally inadequate list of ways in which we find a special enjoyment and awareness or sense of pleasure in each of the five senses is not to attempt to catalogue the endless blessings with which we have been endowed by our loving Creator, but is possibly to encourage all of us to be more conscious of these blessings. They are given to us unceasingly, in endless variety, but for most of our lives we let them drift by without appreciation.
     The Lord's blessings flow continually, but it is up to us to be conscious of them, to make that little extra effort to notice the Lord's gifts. We should notice not only the beautiful sunrise or sunset, but also the beauty of a clear sky with scattered clouds or even the soft grey of fog and the grandeur of a summer storm. We can tune our ears to the sounds of nature or the music of children at play; we can thank the Giver for the magnificence of music produced by His endowment of the composer, for the dedication of the members of the orchestra, and even for the ingenuity of the inventor and manufacturer of our record player or the array of people who make broadcasting possible. We can remind ourselves when we get that heavenly whiff of newly baked bread that there is an amazing series of steps involved from the planting of grain to this moment-and these are not accidents. The Lord knew this would be a blessing!
     And every day we can turn our attention more fully to the touch of a child's hand, a friend's embrace, or the profound exchange in a handshake. We may even use these familiar blessings of our senses to raise our minds to the higher levels which they represent on a spiritual plane. We can remind ourselves that our Maker placed us in an endlessly beautiful world not by accident, but in order that we can realize more and more that He created us to receive His boundless blessings.


What the New Church Means to Me. Compiled by Rev. Grant R. Schnarr, The Swedenborg Center, 12 pages

     "That did it for me. I've been a member of the New Church ever since."
     The above sentence is quoted from page 4 of a new pamphlet brought out by The Swedenborg Center in Glenview "in cooperation with the General Church of the New Jerusalem, Bryn Athyn, PA."


This is not just another pamphlet. It has a freshness and a warm appeal that makes it very special. It flows so naturally. Is Grant Schnarr some kind of genius? Well, he had this sure-winner material handed to him on a platter. Do we give him credit for putting it all together? I'll say we do.
     The pamphlet consists almost entirely of quotations from newcomers to the New Church, but is assembled with flair, and the whole package is pleasing and promises to be most valuable. New Church people and their friends will lead this in a few minutes and will feel good about it and will get it into the hands of others.
     Let's sample a few of these quotations beginning with someone who found the Writings in a public library:

     I thought to myself that maybe these old, musty books would contain some old, musty, basic truth. Well, it was truth but certainly not musty. It was old in the sense that truth is eternal, but it made all things new to me . . . . Here were things I had always believed in my heart but no organized religion ever taught me.

     One of the newcomers describes previously held views and says, "Swedenborg cleared that all up for me." Another says, "I really couldn't accept that I was saved by simply having faith. I knew there must be more than this. And so I kept my mind open and continued to search for the missing piece of the puzzle in my life." You will be, interested to read the context of the following quotation: "The difference in the traditional Christian belief and the New Church belief in this regard is like the difference between night and day."
     If one gives too many quotations it would be tantamount to a reprint of the entire short pamphlet. Let these few more, then, suffice:

     The first book of Swedenborg's I actually remember going through and really studying is Conjugial Love . . . . It's fascinating to me that one of the most modern treatments of marriage and one which makes the most sense was written back in the eighteenth century.

     I've read several of the books of Swedenborg. The book Conjugial Love is very special to me. It is a textbook on marriage, heavenly marriage.

     What is really wonderful about the Writings of Swedenborg is that they unveil the mysteries of religion for the common man.

     After searching for the truth for many years, finding the Writings of Swedenborg was like finding the final piece to a very complicated puzzle.      D.L.R.




     We're funny folks, we people. We look at the sky and the universe and admit it must have been put together by a creator. We admit that such a creator must of necessity be the Lord-or, if you prefer, the Supreme Being, or God.
     Some of us go one step further and become Christians. That is, we testify that God, some 2,000 years ago, visited this earth in the form of a human being-that He, focusing Himself, as it were, in a man, came on this earth that we might be more easily convinced of His existence and might better understand just what He expects of us-and also what He had in mind for us, both now and in the next life.
     Those of us who admit to being Christians also claim to have a reasonable knowledge of just what this God-Man, whom we know as Jesus Christ, taught-while He was one of us-here on this planet.
     But, we're funny people, us folks. We admit there is a God, we say. And, as Christians we witness that Jesus was, in fact, God incarnate-or good living as a man-on this earth. We worship Him too, or at least go to His house once in a while and there go through the motions of worship. We testify too that He was, and is, the Logos, or all knowledge, reason and order-or, the Word, as laid down in the Gospel of John.
     We, if we are Christians, say we believe what we read in the Gospel as set forth in the New Testament. The trouble is, we say it with our lips but not our mind or our heart. We read where in Luke 23:43 He promised the thief beside Him on the cross that: "I tell you truly, this very day you shall be with Me in paradise." We know He said that, we Christians.
     Yet, we're funny folks, we humans. We say we believe Him-yet how many today really believe in a life after this one? Or, if we do faintly see that it might just possibly be true, and that there is a life after this, we still, in our minds and in our hearts, deny that such a life shall be real life-just like this one, only oh, so much better!
     It's almost as if we call Christ a liar-not with our lips-horrors, no! But more important, with our hearts and minds.
     Now we can admit that He made a flower, for example, and we aren't a bit surprised that He didn't stop with just the creation of such an elegant object; we take it for granted that that creation also includes nectar and fragrance-and it does!
     Then why, oh why, do we deny that the spiritual world won't be just like this, only better?-with sky and trees and green grass and hills and lakes and everything else that here we take for granted as being part of the place where we live.


Why do we deny that there we will still be folks-people, if you please-just as we are here?
     Now Christ called us-those of us who believe in Him-friends. And, how would you treat a friend if you were giving him something-especially a thing as important as another life? You would give him life, wouldn't you? Real life, not an imitation one; one more real than this. Of course you would! Indeed He asked, "Which of you, if his son ask bread, would give him a stone? Or, if for a fish, would give him a serpent?"
     And then, didn't He assure you that if you know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more would your Father in heaven give good things to them that ask Him? Of course He did!
     So, my friend, there is a life other than this. You will be a live person-not a translucent ghost. You will walk and you'll talk and laugh; you'll sleep and you'll awaken. You'll eat and you'll drink and you'll work and you'll play. You will be exactly the same person you are right now-except you'll never have aches and pains, and you'll never, never die again.
     Remember this-you have been promised this life, not in a distant future but today-not by a human friend, but by God Himself-and He offers not a stone when He has promised you paradise! God does not lie!


     [Photo included]

     6.5" (16cm) diam.

     Hand applied white bas relief decoration. Laurel border.
Gold inscription "300th Anniversary"
Ribbon "Emanuel Swedenborg
(illustration smaller than actual size)

     This piece of fine pottery will be a unique memento of the celebrations in 1988 to mark the Tricentenary of the birth, on 29th January 1688, of Emanuel Swedenborg, the renowned Swedish scientist, philosopher, and theologian. The high relief decoration on this plate is to be meticulously sculpured and painstakingly hand applied by skilled Wedgwood craftsmen, using exactly the same traditional methods developed by Josiah Wedgwood. 'Potter to Her Majesty', in 1774. It is of considerable interest that one of the first sculptors to work with Wedgwood was John Flaxman, an early subscriber to the teachings found in the theological writings of Swedenborg.


Editorial Pages 1987

Editorial Pages       Editor       1987

     THE ASCENSION (An Application)

     The final verses of the gospel of Luke portray the Lord leading the disciples up the slopes of the Mount of Olives to Bethany and there Lifting up His hands to bless them. And while He blessed them, "He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen."
     What the disciples experienced on what may be called "Ascension Day" filled them with joy. We may relate this to matters of our own experience, just as we relate the Lord's rising from the dead to something that can happen in the mind of the regenerate "every day" (see AC 2405:7).
     It might be a little far-fetched, but let us consider the word "if" as it occurs in an allusion to the ascension. ". . . if you see the Son of Man ascend where He was before" (John 6:62). This "if" had to do with the validity of the claim to have come down from heaven. People had murmured, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, I have come down from heaven?" (John 6:42).
     We would interject here a crucial "if" in the story of Elijah. If Elisha actually saw him go up he would receive spiritual power, but if he did not see him go up he would not (2 Kings 2:10).
     If they should see the Lord ascend, then, surely there need not be dispute over the claim that He "came down." If you see the Son of Man ascend . . . . "The Son of Man" means the Lord as to Divine truth, and the coming of the Son of Man refers to the eventual revelation of Divine truth (see AC 4334:7). To "prove" to someone else that the Writings are Divine truth, we might be inclined to show them some of the passages in which this claim is made. But if that person does not see it as Divine truth the claim will be in doubt. If he sees it, there is not only acceptance but joy.
     In Arcana Caelestia 9807 it is shown that the ascent and descent of the "Son of Man" has to do with the Divine truth in the heaven which "comes down." The same passage explains the coming of the Lord as "the revelation of truth Divine" and shows that the prediction in Luke 18 of the coming of the "Son of Man" means that "when truth Divine shall be revealed from heaven, it will not be believed."


     In various ways disbelief of the Writings was portrayed for the angels by the representation of a paper or a book that descended from heaven (see CL 533, 534, TCR 848). In one such representation a paper seemed to lose its beauty and luster as it descended, and when it actually reached the earth only a few of the simple saw it. Then the paper was borne aloft, and as it ascended it shone with light, a light capable of dispelling spiritual darkness (see TCR 624).
     Is it not true that there is one all-important "if" when we introduce a person to the Writings He may reject them or show indifference or politely grant that they are interesting. If he does not see for himself that they are a Divine revelation, our arguments to this effect will hardly affect him.
     The same applies to those brought up in the church. The individual accepts the New Church not because of what others say, but because he has himself seen something to be so. He has seen that the wisdom contained in the Writings rises above mere human wisdom. It is a humbling experience, but it is a joyful one. It is something we can witness repeatedly in the reading of the Writings, and then we are as the disciples who "returned to Jerusalem with great joy."

ARE THE, WRITINGS POETRY?       Sylvia Shaw       1987

Dear Editor,
     A fascinating debate has been going on in the pages of NCL. When Rev. Le Van presented passages from the Writings in a poetic format, he sparked off a controversy: (1) Are the Writings poetry? (2) If not, is it harmful to impose such a form on them?
     Are the Writings poetry?
     That depends entirely on one's definition of poetry. In her letter to the editor, Miss Lyris Hyatt points out that poetry cannot be defined. At first I found that observation puzzling, since every dictionary gives a definition: e.g., "Metrical writing," or "writing that formulates a concentrated imaginative awareness of experience in language chosen and arranged to create a specific emotional response through meaning sound, and rhythm," or, "a quality that stirs the imagination, a quality of spontaneity and grace."


The first two criteria, as offered by Webster's Seventh Collegiate Dictionary, would seem to settle the issue: the Writings cannot be considered poetry since meter, sound and rhythm were not Swedenborg's concerns when writing. But what of the third criterion? Certainly a number of the memorable relations "stir the imagination" with their quality of Divine spontaneity and grace.
     I turned to Charles Blinderman, professor of English and etymology at Clark University, and asked him to define poetry. In lieu of a distinct definition, he pointed out that the term is derived from the Greek, "poiein," which means "to make." To the ancient Greeks this meant "a making" of anything. To this day the term continues to be used in this broad fashion in medicine, in terminology that describes the body's making of blood, tissue, etc. poiein: to make. In the same spirit, the poet Shelley defined poetry as "anything written." Most poets, however, view the matter less broadly.
     Wordsworth insisted that it is the subject matter that determines whether a written work is poetic or not. Coleridge, on the other hand, insisted that meter, not subject matter, makes poetry.
     The more I looked into the matter, the more I was inclined to agree, at least in part, with Miss Hyatt. I've decided that poetry can be defined, but not absolutely. Given the range of possibilities between Wordsworth's concept and Coleridge's, the matter seems purely subjective. So, rather than attempt to resolve an issue which cannot be settled with absolute authority, I will offer instead one more viewpoint: that of a Swedenborgian" pioneer in American literature.
     Sampson Reed stands today as one of the most obscure figures in American literature. Yet his numerous essays, and one work in particular, helped shape New England transcendentalism. Through his direct influence on Emerson, he gave the movement its key notion of correspondence. And as an extension of that concept, he gave American literature a view of poetry that was both new and liberating, a view which Emerson was to advocate and which Walt Whitman would implement with stunning results. Reed discusses his poetic theory most fully in an interesting little book, Growth of the Mind. But for a more concise statement, one has only to read a letter he wrote as a young man to Theophilus Parsons, a Harvard classmate and fellow New Churchman.

     May 31, 1823

Dear Theophilus,
     . . . If you keep the Word before you as essential poetry, I think you must know where to look for everything else, as instinctively as animals know the point of compass. The different kinds of poetry as they have been classified by writers on the subject are something that know very little about-but I should think that the natural mind had made divisions here, as elsewhere, many of which would disappear before a single view of goodness and truth united.


Whether Lyric, Pastoral, Heroic or what not-poetry can have but one essence, level but one form, nature. There may be infinite variety in the time, but they all require articulation and sound. I can see no rhymes in nature, and hardly blank verse, but a happy assemblage of living objects, not in straight lines and at fixed distance, but springing up in God's own order, which by its apparent want of design, leaves on the heart an image of its essential innocence and humility . . . .

     So are the Writings poetry? Shelley would probably say yes; they are written material. Wordsworth would certainly agree that they deal with elevated and important subject matter. Thus, by his own definition, he would probably accord them the status of poetry. Coleridge would look for meter; finding expositional prose, he would therefore cast a nay vote. And Sampson Reed would search for truths expressed through natural imagery. Finding these in abundance, he would imbibe every word with the zest of a lover of poetry. And doubtless, he would applaud Rev. Le Van's work, since the form emphasizes one of Reed central beliefs: that the revealed Word of God is poetry in its highest form.
     But what if the Writings are not poetry? Is it harmful to impose such form on them?
     That is an issue worthy of another long debate. Personally, I that the same truth can be presented under many different guises. So can see no harm in giving the Writings a poetic format, provided wording remains unaltered. But I suspect there is no absolute. And that's a problem for some of us, since we mortals tend to cling absolutes. We like solid definitions and guidelines. Yet don't the Writings themselves emphasize that we apprehend form and substance in subjective manner? I am struck by the following passage:

     . . . when the Lord shows Himself as present in any society, He appears there in accordance with the quality of good in which the society is, thus not the same in one society as in another. This diversity is not in the Lord, but in the angels who behold Him from their own good, thus in accordance with that good. They are even affected by His appearance in accordance with the quality of their love . . . (HH 55).

     Perhaps like the Lord, poetry cannot be seen in the same manner by all. Perhaps like everything else in the universe, it too is governed by laws of subjectivity.
     Sylvia Shaw,
          Sulton, Massach




     I was interested in Jeremy Rose's article "I Own Thy Sway" in the August issue. It was very sweeping and no doubt the author wrote in this way in order to draw attention to a number of shortcomings in our liturgical setup and the very restricted choice of hymns if we stick to the General Church selection. However, we must not be carried away by his assumptions, some of which are doubtful and misleading.
     Modern educationalists are continually asserting that today's youth is intellectually superior to the youth of yesterday. This is a fallacy. The young brain of today may be filled with much more information than that of yesteryear, but it is by no means any better equipped to deal with it. The mere title of Jeremy's article and his explanation of it is sufficient to prove this. My young brain of some fifty-odd years ago, had it been puzzled by such an expression, would have resorted to a dictionary! Websters gives three major meanings to the word "sway." The second section states "governing power, rule, dominance." Surely to own the Lord's sway is to acknowledge the ruling power of His Providence. It is as simple as that. AC 8478 puts the whole thing in a nutshell, and speaks of how we should strive to place ourselves in the "stream of providence." It is a number that all New Church people should read frequently and on which they should ponder well. Has Jeremy really been so confused or is he only pretending?
     The criticism of Oliver Wendell Holmes' beautiful hymn "Lord of all being throned afar" is quite unjustified, as the statement "throned afar" is balanced at the end of the same verse by "yet to each loving heart how near"-a beautiful expression of the duality of the Lord-of the Divine and the Human. The Lord has indeed called us "friends"(John 15:15) but He has not called us buddies! We can never be conjoined to Him as man to man. He is Divine and human and the Divine must be treated with respect and awe. The Divine of the Lord is certainly "throned afar."
     There is a trend in the old churches to place Jesus on the same plane as ourselves and I have seen it taught that each one of us is a "spark of the Divine. This is obviously untenable in the light of the doctrine of degrees. Let us be sure that in the New Church we do not help to perpetuate such a heresy. There is and always will be a discrete degree between the finite and the infinite, between the human and the Divine, except in the glorified Lord, the only essential One.
     The grouping of all the negative aspects of the hymns is misleading. The decalogue is couched in generally negative terms, but it does not-or at least it should not-lead us to a negative approach to life.


We have to realize that the numerical approach does not count at all in the assessment of spiritual values, and all representation must be arrived at by the appraisal of quality and not quantity. Ever since the first advent, theologians have used the subtle process of endeavoring to persuade Christians of the plurality of persons in the Godhead by stressing the fact that most of the passages in the New Testament indicate that the plurality of persons is real, whereas one clear statement such as "I and My Father are one" (John 10:30) sends the whole concept of a plurality of persons crashing to the ground like a house built of playing cards.
     Granted we need some revision and updating of our hymns and liturgical system, and I understand this has been in the capable hands of Rev. Alfred Acton and his colleagues for some considerable time, and is progressing unhurriedly as such things should. Let us not attack the matter with innovative impetuosity and, in our hurry to get rid of some dubious material, maybe "throw out the baby with the bathwater"! The term "archaic" is much abused, and if we dispensed with all that the current generation considers to be archaic, our worship would lose much of its worth and meaning. Many of the hymns that were written more than a century ago have more spiritual quality about them than most of those written in recent times. Hymn no. 82, which Jeremy quotes at the end of his article to support his appeal, was written more than 150 years ago!
     Wake up, Young America! and realize that the most priceless legacy you have inherited from the Old World is the beauty and expressiveness of the English language, which, because of its vagaries and eccentricities, can provide degrees and nuances of expression virtually unobtainable by any other current linguistic medium. God forbid that it should be pruned and manipulated in order to make it assimilable without any conscious effort. It is hard to believe that it would present any special difficulties to a black man as indicated in the article. At the Australian New Church Convocation held at Menicks in 1981 the contingent of black people from South Africa showed a linguistic capability that put us white people to shame.
     It is to be hoped that our new repertoire will be greatly expanded but will still be dominated by the tried favourites of the last century or so, with a liberal sprinkling of carefully selected modern creations and soupcon of archaic expression to serve as an anchor in those times when holy men-who were uncluttered by the trivial technical sensualities of the present day-meditated long and earnestly on the wondrous attributes of their God.


     Rather than worry so much about changing the style of our language, should we not be more concerned about educating our young people to become more appreciative and familiar with it, and channel literature into our schools which will encourage the maintenance of the high literary standards of the 19th and 20th centuries?
     Chris Horner,
          N.S.W., Australia

MR. MERGEN'S ARTICLE       V. Carmond Odhner       1987

     Would it be vain for me to say that never before have I read such a well-written moving article on such a subject as Al Mergen's in the Feb., 1987 NCL?
     V. Carmond Odhner,
          Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania

MORE ON CATHOLICS AND PROTESTANTS       Janet McMaster       1987

     Firstly, I would like to clear up any confusion that may have resulted by a deletion in my letter "Catholics and Protestants" in the January New Church Life. I had meant to say "I do not find as great a difference between Catholics (and Protestants as I do between the Mainline churches) and the Fundamentalists." The deletion is in parentheses. I do want this in because I have had very different experiences with these two groups. It's a matter of flexibility, the Mainliners being very open-perhaps a little too open-and the Fundamentalists being quite the opposite. However, I do respect their concerns as I have many of them myself.
     Now to respond to Grant Schnarr's concern about the impression he received that I felt these descriptions of the churches were "out of date." He used the Old and New Testament to make his point. So I will use them as well. The Jewish Church presented in the Old Testament changed as it was being written about. The Christian Church in the New Testament is very different from the Christian Church described by Swedenborg 200 years ago. So I do not see why the Christian Church could not have changed again, leaving behind descriptions of their former spiritual states as pictures of both the relationships of the church and the individual with God-spiritual states any organization can fall into.


I knew I was "monastic" when I first came to Ottawa, using my understandings of the Writings for my own "self-image" rather than finding ways to put them into practice. I still, and I am sure always will, fight states of "faith alone" as I become irritated with my children when they interrupt my study of the Word and the Writings.
     However, I will state again that I do not find that the churches and individuals I have come to know fit these pictures. I could write pages of examples of efforts of Christian communities to bring the Lord into their hearts, minds, and lives as well as extend the Lord's love to other people outside of their communities. They speak in terms of meeting spiritual needs by means of meeting physical needs. They want to extend hands of love to those who think God has forgotten them-or to those who have forgotten that God loves them, or have forgotten God altogether.
     I think we find what we look for. Grant Schnarr needs to find those people who are discontent, because his use is in presenting new truth and a developed Christian community. I have always tended to find people who have grown toward the Lord within the context of their churches. We do not really have a "developed Christian community" to take the place of what Christians have in place. So I see a purpose in recognizing what is of the Lord in the Christian communities around me and supporting this.
     The sermon "Evangelization and Pride" by Daniel Fitzpatrick puts into words much of my experience with my fellow Christians. I really do feel they are with me and not against me in my relationship with the Lord-and I need them very much.
     Janet McMaster,
          Ottawa, Canada

FAVORITE PASSAGE       David Gladish       1987

Dear Editor,
     I enjoyed Rev. Nathan Gladish's comments on AC 8478 [Life, Jan. '87], and it wasn't long before I came to the same number in working on a rewrite of the Clowes Gospels. Under the rubric of "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow" (Matt. 6:34) Clowes gives (in part) the following, which is my own favorite part of the same number:

     People who trust the Divinity . . . care about the next day, and yet they do not, for they do not think about the next day with concern, much less with anxiety.


Their minds are in balance whether they get what they want or not, and they do not grieve over losing what they want. They are content with their lot. If they get rich, they do not put their hearts into their wealth. If they get promoted, they do not see themselves as more deserving than others. They are not sad if they become poor, nor mentally depressed if their condition is humble, for they know that everything leads to a happy state in eternity for people who trust in the Divinity, and whatever happens to them in a time frame still leads to that eternal state. Note that Divine Providence is everywhere-that is, in the smallest details of everything-and people in the stream of Providence are carried continually toward happy conditions for them, whatever the means might seem like. And people who trust the Divinity and attribute everything to Him are in the stream of Providence. People who trust only in themselves and attribute everything to themselves are not in the stream of Providence, for they are in the opposite condition, since they take Providence away from the Divinity and claim it for themselves.
     David Gladish,
          St. James, Michigan

IN ITSELF       Charis P. Cole       1987

     A letter in the March issue entitled "In Itself" tells us that an act is to be called "good" or "bad" solely according to the motive of the doer. This is a matter of semantics. We may speak of good works or a good action either with reference to the doer's motive or with reference to the effect of the action and whether or not it is against God's laws. The Writings use it both ways (e.g., No. 8 of Doctrine of Charity).
     It is, however, important to be able to separate the acts from the loves or motives behind them in both our speech and thoughts, because the Lord forbids us to judge motives-a person good or bad-but requires us to judge acts. We must fight and condemn evil acts regardless of the motives of those who do them.
     Charis P. Cole,
          Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania

MINISTERIAL ANNOUNCEMENT       Louis B. King       1987

     Rev. Frederick M. Chapin has been called to serve as Acting Pastor of the Baltimore Society, by episcopal appointment, effective July 1, 1987. He will also serve as visiting pastor to Wilmington and Virginia.
     Louis B. King,


Church News 1987

Church News       Greta M. Lyman       1987


     Four and a half years ago the church in Tucson was seemingly going nowhere-just hanging on-a faithful few for Sunday worship, the same faithful few for Women's Guild, the same faithful few for Friday suppers-just hanging on.
     Then the Lord, by way of Bryn Athyn, sent us a man-Rev. Frank Rose and his lovely wife Louise, and things began to stir. His enthusiasm (courageous, contagious and boundless) soon had us wakened from our apathy-caught up in his dreams, soon to be our dreams. The weekend of March 13, 14, and 15, 1987 saw the culmination of those dreams-the dedication of Sunrise Chapel.
     Friday, March 13th, the first event of our weekend celebration was a barbecue held at the Fellowship Hall with some 100 attending. On Saturday, March 14th, 10:00 a.m. services for the children were held in the chapel. The dedication services were held at 11:00 a.m. with 150 attending. Barbara Carlson and Elsie Waddell removed the covering from the stone, and Irma Waddell, as the oldest member of the congregation (92) then placed the repository atop the stone. This repository was made by her grandson Alex Waddell. The dedication anthem was composed by Donald Dillard, organist from the San Francisco church, and sung by the Masterworks Chamber Singers, Elizabeth Rose soloist. Bishop King dedicated the building. The program continued with a solo by Seid Waddell playing "The Holy City" on his violin. Kenneth Lee presented a gold key of the church to Bishop King. A luncheon followed in the Fellowship Hall.
     Saturday evening, a dedication banquet attended by 104 people was held at the Aztec Inn with Louise Rose as toastmistress. There were speeches Bishop King and Mr. Neil Buss, and comments by Rev. Harold Cranch and Rev. Douglas Taylor telling of the early days of the church in Tucson. We also heard brief talks from several members from different parts of Arizona outside Tucson. Barbara Carlson, a founding member of the Tucson Society and treasurer, gave a short talk. Barbara Hickman, our own "little ray of sunshine" and a newcomer, told us what it was like to be a member when there have been only good times. Kenneth Lee and Rev. Rose also spoke to us. A benediction by Bishop King brought the program to a close.
     Sunday worship service ended our three-day celebration, fittingly presented by Rev. Douglas Taylor, the first resident pastor of the Tucson church. A final luncheon was held in the Fellowship Hall, and with many hugs and tears of joy and "Please come back," we said "Goodbye."
     Many long hours went into the building of our beautiful new church. At the first "brainstorming" session (Frank's term) we decided on a name for a new church-not if, but when. We all knew what the new name would be long before we could even think of the possibility of having a new building. Frank knew and believed; ergo we knew, we believed. All ideas, suggestions and such were presented at congregational meetings mostly held on Sunday afternoons after church. We discuss voted on, accepted, discarded, etc., on down the line-everything from top priority to the least tiny bit of decoration. We were all involved. It is our chapel-dedicated to the worship of the Lord Jesus Christ.
     Greta M. Lyman





Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, 19009, U. S. A.
Information on public worship and doctrinal classes provided either regularly or occasionally may be obtained at the locations listed below. For details use the local phone number of the contact person mentioned or communicate with the Secretary of the General Church, Rev. L. R. Soneson, Cairncrest, Bryn Athyn, PA 19009, Phone (215) 947-4660.

     (U. S. A. addresses next month)


Mr. and Mrs. Barrie Ridgway, 68 Hilder St., Weston, Canberra, A. C. T. 2611.     
     SYDNEY, N.S.W.                                   
Rev. Erik E. Sandstrom, 22 Dudley Street, Penshurst, N.S.W. 2222. Phone: 57-1589.


Rev. Cristovao Rabelo Nobre, Rua Lina Teixeira, 109, ap. 101, Rocha, CEP 20.970., Rio de Janeiro. Phone: (021) 201-8455.



Mr. Thomas R. Fountain, 1115 Southglen Drive S. W., Calgary 13, Alberta T2W 0X2. Phone: 403-255-7283.

Mr. Daniel L. Horigan, 10524 82nd St., Edmonton, Alberta T6A 3M8. Phone: 403-469-0078.

     British Columbia:

Rev. Glenn G. Alden, Dawson Creek Church, 9013 8th St., Dawson Creek, B. C., Canada V1G 3N3.


Rev. Louis D. Synnestvedt, 58 Chapel Hill Drive, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada N2G 3W5.

Mr. and Mrs. Donald McMaster, 726 Edison Avenue, Apt. 33, Ottawa, Ontario K2C 3P8. Phone: (613) 729-6452.

Rev. Geoffrey Childs, 2 Lorraine Gardens, Islington, Ontario M9B 424 Phone: (416) 231-4958.


Mr. Denis de Chazal, 17 Baliantyne Ave. So., Montreal West, Quebec H4X 281. Phone: (514) 489-9861.


Mr. Jorgen Hauptmann, Strandvejen 22, Jyllinge, 4000 Roskilde. Phone: 03-389968.



Rev. Kenneth O. Stroh, 2 Christchurch Court, Colchester, Essex C03 3AU Phone: 0206-43712

Mr. and Mrs. R. Evans, 24 Berkeley, Letchworth, Herts. SG6 2HA. Phone: 0462-684751.

Rev. Frederick Elphick, 21B Hayne Rd., Beckenham, Kent BR3 4JA. Phone: 01-658-6320.

Mrs. Neil Rowcliffe, 135 Bury Old Road, Heywood, Lanes. Phone: Heywood 68189.


Rev. Alain Nicolier, 21200 Beaune, France. Phone: (80) 22.47.88.


Mr. Ed Verschoor, Olmenlaan 17, 3862 VG Nijkerk


Mrs. H. J. Keal, Secretary, 4 Derwent Crescent, Titirange, Auckland 7. Phone: 817-8203.


Mr. and Mrs. Klaus Bierman, Axel Flindersvei 3, Oslo 11. Phone: 28-3783.


Mr. and Mrs. N. Laidlaw, 35 Swanspring Ave., Edinburgh EH 10-6NA. Phone: 0 31-445- 2377.

Mrs. J. Clarkson, Hillview, Balmore, Nr. Torrance, Glasgow. Phone: Balmore 262.



Rev. Geoffrey Howard, 30 Perth Rd., Westville, Natal. 3630. Phone: 031-821 136.


Rev. Norman E. Riley, 8 Iris Lane, Irene, 1675 R. S. A., Phone: 012-632679.

Mrs. D. G. Liversage, Box 7088, Empangeni Rail, 3910, Natal, South Africa. Phone: 0351- 23241

     Mission in South Africa:
Superintendent-The Rev. Norman E. Riley (Address as above)


Contact Rev. Daniel Fitzpatrick, Aladdinsvagen 27, S-161 38 Bromma. Phone: (08) 26 79 85.


     "One Heart" is sixty minutes of original music composed and performed by the Childs sisters (Heather Childs, Marcy Cole Childs, and Karen Childs Elder), known to many for their performances at the New Church Music Festival and in many of our societies. Many of the church's young people contributed their talents to these sons of inspiration and faith. To order, send $8.00 (includes postage) to Karen Elder, 384 Olivewood Court, Rochester, MI 48064. Phone (313) 652-4744. The tape is also available at the General church Book Center at Cairncrest in Bryn Athyn.

     CHRYSALIS-The excellent Spring issue of this new magazine is devoted to the subject of "Angels." We hope to review this soon.


Now is the time to order Graduation Gifts 1987

Now is the time to order Graduation Gifts       Editor       1987

Arcana Caelestia, New Translation, Vols. 1-4          each      $10.70
Golden Thread, G. Childs                              7.95
Providence and Free Will, D. Goodenough                    5.95

Invisible Police                                   5.80
Life of the Lord                                   8.00
Glorification                                        7.00
Selected Papers and Addresses                         7.00
Tabernacle of Israel                                   9.00

     Ever popular:
The Writings, S. F. Edition (green)                    each     6.50
Compendium of Swedenborg's Theological Works               5.00

     Available on any book:
Gold letter imprinting, average price                         6.00
Gift wrapping                                        No charge

     Postage, per book                                   .70

     General Church Book Center      Hours: Mon-Fri 9-12
Box 278                               or by appointment
Bryn Athyn. PA 19009                    Phone: (215) 947-3920

     Two publications coming:
The popular "Light Burden" series which appeared in our pages last year is coming out as a pamphlet, thanks to Mr. Hyland Johns.

     The new book by Mr. Bruce Henderson, Window to Eternity, will probably be published by the time you receive this issue.


Notes on This Issue 1987

Notes on This Issue       Editor       1987

Vol. CVII     June, 1987      No. 6


     Notes on This Issue
As we enjoy a General Assembly and celebrate New Church Day, we take to heart the words George de Charms spoke half a century ago (p. 277).
     From Brazil we have especially interesting information on the translation, publication and distribution of books of the Writings in Portuguese.
     We congratulate Arcana Press of Tokyo on the publication of a book of fifty-two sermons in Japanese (see p. 267).
     A reader in France responds to the February article relating to abortion (p. 285).
     The doctoral dissertation of Jane Williams-Hogan had to do with the rise and development of the New Church in England. No one is better qualified to review this than Rev. Claud Presland, and he has overcome; physical disabilities to provide this important review.
     At least 255 people were present at the dedication ceremony of the "Sowers Chapel" in Sarver (Freeport), Pennsylvania on April 16, 1987. See the photographs on page 282.
     The New Church is currently alive and well in Chicago. We have the story and a couple of photographs taken in the now-famous "No Exit" cafe (p. 270).
     With this issue we are encouraging young readers to take an interest in this magazine and are accordingly publishing the letter of Mr. Chris Clark of Michigan (p. 262) and a series beginning on page 264.
     Some figures on baptisms, weddings, etc. reported in our pages during the first six months of 1987 appear on page 291.
     Your attention is called to an insertion accompanying this issue relating to the publication The New Philosophy.

     ANNOUNCEMENT: The Carmel Church School would like to announce an opening in 1988 for the position of Principal that includes home room teaching in the upper elementary grades. Anyone interested, please contact the pastor at the earliest date possible:

Rev. Louis Synnestvedt          
58 Chapel Hill Drive
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada N2G 3W5
Phone (519) 893-7460



TREASURE THAT IS FOUND       Editor       1987

     The opening words in the issue of this magazine that came out exactly a century ago are as follows:

     As the nineteenth of June falls this year on Sunday, what a grand occasion this is for all our churches to observe the day appropriately!

     The editorial notes invited readers to take to heart on New Church day a sermon about a man finding treasure hidden in a field and selling all that he has to buy that field (Matthew 13:44).
     The sermon spoke of the New Church as it was a hundred years ago and called it "feeble and small."
     "The Church is indeed as yet in its infancy, but it is a living, heavenly organism, and will grow to maturity even if it takes ever so long; . . . The influence of its truths is already perceived in all quarters of the world. There are a few minds in almost every country who receive the heavenly truths of the New Jerusalem. Although scattered far apart, yet they are centers into which the heavenly life can flow, and serve as part of the heart and lungs by which the surrounding parts can be supplied with life-blood and strength.
     "By the effort of the New Church institutions of learning, and the "voluminous publication of the Heavenly Doctrines, this inestimable treasure is now laid open . . .
     "No man can make or invent this treasure . . . Swedenborg has not made the internal sense of the Word and the Heavenly Doctrines for the Church himself, or out of himself; he has found them. The Lord, who made them, caused him to see them while He showed them to him; and He has commissioned him to make them known to the world for the use of the New Church. This Swedenborg often testifies in the Writings.
     "If we desire to make this treasure really our own so that it remains with us a treasure in heaven to all eternity, we must do as our text teaches: we must sell all that we have and buy the field . . . If we have acquired this treasure, and it has become our own, it is worth more to us than the whole world and all its treasures." (New Church Life, June 1887)




     "Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went the Pharisee's house, and sat down to eat" (Luke 7:36).

     In the work True Christian Religion we read the following familiar words: "The Lord from eternity, who is Jehovah, came into the world to conquer the hells and to glorify His human; and without this no mortal could have been saved; and those are saved who believe in Him" (TCR 2).
     Familiar words indeed to any New Church person, but how do they apply to your life now-today? In this way: the Lord's chief purpose in all His dealings with you is to reveal to you your secret sins-every last one of them-and then to help you conquer them. In addition, He wills to glorify Himself in your eyes. He wishes to impart to you such a profound love for Himself that you will never, ever, want to leave Him and return to your old way of living.
     That may be too heavy a commitment to consider at this time. We may not yet feel ready to bare our souls, as it were, in His presence. Like Simon the Pharisee we invite the Lord to dinner. We seek after a casual exchange of ideas without expecting or even wanting a more intimate relationship with Him.
     Perhaps when we sit in church and listen to the Word being read, we think to ourselves, "This is interesting, but I wonder what it has to do with my life." We may even believe at the time, as Simon did, that the Lord is somehow unaware of our affections and thoughts.
     It's not what Simon says or does that seems so bad. It's what he doesn't do, or rather isn't able to do for lack of feeling and commitment. Whatever Simon's interior motives were in inviting the Lord to dine with him, and we are not to judge that, it is clear he did not act from love. In fact, in his frigid, arms-length treatment of Jesus, he had extended to the Lord less courtesy than he would have given a perfect stranger.
     For this he was rebuked, although mildly. "And Jesus answered and said to him, 'Simon I have something to say to you.' And he said, 'Teacher, say it.' 'There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to pay, he freely forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him more?'" (verses 40-42)
     Please note the tone in Simon's response: "I suppose the one whom He forgave more," he said.


     I suppose! Is that all the enthusiasm this pathetic heart could muster? "I suppose!"-as if the Lord had just wasted His breath in uttering an obvious truth of no great importance, when in fact the Lord's parable pictured Simon's own sick state of mind.
     The fifty denarii (about $10.00) owed by the one debtor pictures the low esteem in which Simon held the Lord. It also symbolizes how insignificant we often feel our own debt to be to the Lord.
     Oh yes, we owe the Lord something-an occasional trip to church, some of our leftover wealth, a prayer of thanks now and then when things go well for us; but we don't owe Him all that much.
     But consider the facts: He created us. He decided that we should exist in the first place and He keeps us alive every moment. Every single talent which we possess and every atom of intelligence we acquire comes from Him alone. More amazing still, He puts up with us! He overlooks the myriad hellish things we instigate, as well as the continual little deceits we employ to cover our tracks. And most astonishing of all, He who is perfect, without sin, came down into this world-this vale of tears-and allowed Himself to be treated like a dog by wicked men in order to show us the nature of ourselves. At the same time He revealed the miracle of returning perfect love, forgiveness, and mercy for all the evil that people do to each other. Through His perfect example He gives us eternal hope in what we might yet become through His help! Ah! That is a debt! That a debt the magnitude of which we shall never to all eternity begin to comprehend.
     In the light of such an overwhelming debt, the five hundred denarii (about $100.00) seems not nearly enough. It symbolizes first of all the debt owed by the sinning woman who came to Simon's house; and to such a poor wretch it must have sounded like a fortune. Consider also, however, that it represents ten times the other debt and so pictures our full recognition of complete dependence upon the Lord.
     At any rate, the love exhibited by this woman tells the story. What a love it turned out to be when contrasted with Simon's coolness! "Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon: 'Do you see this woman? I entered your house, you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed my feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little'" (Luke 7:44-47).
     If love is the answer, as so many in our world glibly state, then why is there so little of it? How can we get more of it?


What will convince us to leave Simon's seat of aloof complacency and exchange such dead emotions for the adoration felt by a woman on bended knee?
     We must follow her footsteps and try to understand the spiritual significance of her actions as we go. But where is she at first? There is only Simon!
     The very first thing we must all understand is that religion as theory or as intellectual belief will never be enough. Simon pictures the understanding in the house of the human mind. There is another force within our minds-a deeper, more powerful one. Somehow, some way, it must be reckoned with, for it is we-our very selves. If it remains hidden, we remain hidden. If it remains unchanged and unregenerate, then we remain such to eternity. It is in fact the will, the dwelling place of our secret loves and ambitions.
     The will, to be sure, is a sinner. Its past life is full of corruption, and yet the Lord is waiting to deal with us even on this plane of our life. He fears it not, for He has seen every dark corner of it. What is left but for us to admit to ourselves and before Him that this ugly part of us exists and must be cleansed: "Yes, Lord, I am such a person. I'm a liar. I'm an adulterer. I'm a cheat. I am a hateful, spiteful person. I admit it! But I've heard that, although You hate sin, You still love sinners. I've heard You will overlook any past sin if only one turns to You in humility and with a penitent heart. I am grateful for that. I have suffered so long with a sense of guilt and depression. Now I would be set free. So here I stand before You, Lord, in the presence of all these accusing evil spirits who say that I shouldn't be here at all. Here, accept this token of my love and gratitude."
     As the woman stood behind the Lord with all critical eyes on her, something happened to her. I'm sure she did not expect it to happen, but it did. She lost her "cool," spiritually speaking. She fell down at the Lord's feet and wept uncontrollably, kissing His feet and wiping them with the hairs of her head. Only after she had gained her composure did she follow through with the task she had set for herself by anointing His feet with the precious oil.
     Is it not just so with all genuine acts of repentance? To turn away from evil is to come face to face with Goodness Itself. The perception of contrast between His perfection and our depravity causes a flood of overwhelming emotions to well up within us-shame, fear, frailty, adoration, and gratitude. The tears of bitter disappointment in ourselves are mixed with tears of tremendous relief and joy at discovering One who loves us in spite of ourselves. And both are wiped away by the spiritual hairs of our head-by the complete submission of all our intelligence to His leading.


     It is recorded that the woman did not cease to hold onto the feet of Jesus and kiss them "most tenderly." The Lord's feet symbolize the presence of His Divine Love even on the most sensual plane of human life. They picture His willingness to come near to us in our fallen state and walk with us through all our gross trials and errors. What could cause us to love Him more than the realization that He was willing to be where we are and even give up His life so that we might have eternal happiness?
     It is a beautiful conclusion to this grand chapter from the Lord's life, Luke, chapter 7! For this final episode which occurred toward evening, touchingly pictures the way the Lord regenerates that last stronghold of the human mind which would keep Him away-the human will.     
     He will nor force His way into that realm of our lives. As pictured in the story of how He healed the centurion's servant, He rejoices when He finds a person willing to obey His commandments even though the heart and inner thoughts remain distant from Him. Such a person will be able to enter the natural heaven and find order and happiness there.
     Still, He encourages us to come closer. For those who have suffered the Lord to show them the relative death of their own understanding, there will be the miraculous awakening into a perception of spiritual I truths symbolized by the widow's son who was raised from the dead. The Lord will reveal a whole universe of spiritual affections and delights far above anything ever dreamed about in the life of the body. After death we will be admitted into the spiritual heaven where we will speak eloquently of things never heard of or seen before on earth, even as the little boy spoke and glorified God as soon as he was raised.
     Yet, from the Lord's loving perspective, even this exalted state is not near enough to Him. For those who are willing to lose their very lives in order to find celestial life itself, there awaits a peace and inner joy which passes all thought. To be sure, it is a peace which can only be given as the conceit and dominion of the ego is crucified and put to rest forever; but it is infinitely worth the sacrifice. As Jesus said to the woman: "Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you. Go in peace," or as the Greek actually says: "Keep going continually into peace!"
     "The Lord from eternity, who is Jehovah, came into the world to conquer the hells and to glorify His human; and without this no mortal could have been saved; and those are saved who believe in Him" (TCR 2).
     "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of Him who brings good tidings, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation!" (Isaiah 52:7) Amen.

     LESSONS: Luke 7:36-50: Isaiah 52:1-12; Life 44, 51, 52


New Church in a Disenchanted World: A Study of the Formation and Development of the General Conference of the New Church in Great Britain 1987

New Church in a Disenchanted World: A Study of the Formation and Development of the General Conference of the New Church in Great Britain       Rev. C. H. Presland       1987

An unpublished study (with indices, etc., 739 pp.), A New Church in a Disenchanted World: A Study of the Formation and Development of the General Conference of the New Church in Great Britain. A "Dissertation in Sociology" successfully presented to the University of Pennsylvania as part of her requirements for her doctorate; by Jane Williams-Hogan, of the staff of the Academy of the New Church.

     [Please note that where, in this script, numbers appear within brackets, with no further explanation, they refer to page numbers of Dr. Williams-Hogan's typescript as microfilmed. I have tried to keep my comments intelligible to the many who have no access to the typescript.]

     I am grateful for the invitation from your Rt. Rev. Peter Buss to review this fascinating work. I am a bit timid about doing so, for it is the work of a professional sociologist, a field of which I know virtually nothing, and explores early New Church history, where I am a bit happier, in a new and challenging fashion. But Dr. Williams-Hogan is a good friend-my own copy of this work bears in her hand a personal inscription which makes me glad-and she will know and understand when, as I shall do, I challenge her thinking about this Conference, at whose annual meeting she was a so-welcome guest a couple of years ago. My copy reached me by air, because she had heard that a minor health problem had laid me low and she thought her work might cheer a speedy convalescence. She is too modest! This is no bedside reading, but a scholarly and fresh work needing care and time, and an affirmative mind, adequately to appreciate it.
     After her return home, and the birth of her son, and the frantic rush to meet the dateline of the university, she wrote back to us and, in a longish letter, said: "Please know that my affections and thoughts are with all of you . . . and if ever there is anything I can do to promote the well-being of Conference, don't hesitate to ask me, because I care." Because she cares, as we all ought to care for one another whatever our organizational affiliation in this New Church, I am, I say, timid about this review, for I care too: I rather doubt that I can do justice to a work which breaks new ground and, for that reason, in my view should have a permanent format and a wider readership if at all possible. This is too valuable to rest in a handful of copies in typescript. And in its present form it shows signs of the haste in which it finally arrived, just in time, in the hands of the university which gladly accepted it and conferred its doctorate upon Jane. It might be useful, should a permanent presentation become possible, if one of us over here could be invited to comment from a British viewpoint on some of the externals.


Why, e.g., "John Augustus Tulk, Esquire," "Henry Servante, Esquire" but "Mr. J. W. Salmon" (508, 562, 528, et al.)? The O.E.D. defines "esquire": "a title allowed by courtesy to all who are regarded as gentlemen." Is Dr. Williams-Hogan curtsying to British class-consciousness? We wouldn't! [I will admit to one obscure example of pedantry in our history where we did make in printed records such a distinction, to the great annoyance of the individual concerned, but is a one-off buried in the past.*] There are several such externals needing tidying up, and spelling and punctuation errors abound. These things are ephemeral, products of bravely working all hours to meet a dateline, and need no more comment. They do not affect the real study.
     * Conference Year Boo, 1928, Min. 1961/63
     The real study divides itself into three main sections, with first a useful introductory chapter and at the end some fascinating, not entirely convincing, statistics such as that in Lancashire in the early days 0.6% of New Church folk were aristocrats but in London 5.08 were. Pages 29 to 272 cover "Swedenborg the Man"; pages 274 to 497 handle "The New Revelation and the 18th Century Context"; and pages 499 to the end go into "The Process of Institutionalization." It will be recognized that the first two sections, very fresh and very competent in approach and on occasion very perceptive indeed, cover ground to a large extent covered in other New Church literature. But note well they cover it in a different fashion-dare I say in sometimes a feminine fashion? Is it untrue to Conjugial Love with its majestic doctrine of the sexes to suppose that a woman will see and write in a feminine fashion? I like, e.g., "In searching so high, Swedenborg expressed confidence, awe and fear. His confidence came from his profound fidelity to the truth which he let guide him. That men with less fidelity perhaps could not follow him disturbed him less than remaining faithful to the pursuit of truth itself. In this quest not only did he rigorously learn all that men had discovered in whatever area was of immediate concern to him, but he seems to have had such familiarity with his own mind that he could sense within it any deviation from the path of truth . . . ." (190). "While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light" (John 12:36). I appreciate also the care with which Dr. Williams-Hogan traces, e.g., the development of Swedenborg from secular scholarship to becoming "the revelator," the servant of the Lord Jesus Christ; how excellent that she does not lift the classic lives of Swedenborg down from the shelves and quote from them, a tendency I fear with all of us who can so easily use secondary and not primary sources. She quotes Robsahm, Cuno and such folk, and makes it clear when she is doing so, but she rightly relies upon the words of Swedenborg as the authority. Robsahm puts words into Swedenborg's mouth-Dr. Williams-Hogan does not slip into the trap of making those words Swedenborg's own.


Her scholarship is careful, but I am not so happy about her resting evidence that Swedenborg's "spiritual vision was restored before his death," after his stroke in 1771, on his letter to Wesley (268). How sure are we about all this link with Wesley?* I am more certain that the Coronis is a work which, whenever it left Swedenborg's hands at the time around his stroke, evidences his strength even then of spiritual vision.
     * Presland, New Church Magazine, April-June 1972, p. 38

     *     *     *     *

     But I am in danger of writing at too great length. These first two sections, with all their joy in reading and such fascination, treat of things known to all branches of this New Church, common scholarship; many of us could enjoy writing at length about them. It is the final section, I suspect, which led Mr. Buss to ask an Englishman to write this review; for the history of The General Conference of the New Church is central here. [Note please that capital T in our legal title, and fault Dr. Williams-Hogan, and a lot of Conference folk as well, for getting it wrong!](l0) I must concentrate on this section, and not in doing so, please, be thought to underestimate the earlier sections.
     This final section is, I suspect, unique in New Church historical scholarship. It has a most careful analysis of the formation of The General Conference in one chapter; in the next, a sociologist's statement of Weber's "Theory of Institutionalization" and, the thought occurs, if the work goes into print it would be useful to give fuller information about Weber and why we church people should hear him. More background information for the many who have missed out in this field? And so I, as a Conference man and proud of it, must inevitably talk at some length now, both siding with Dr. Williams-Hogan and going against her, about our origins. I find myself slipping into the "you," the General Church, and "we," the Conference, idiom. Please be sure that this does not make me stand apart from brethren for whom I have great respect and affection and with whom I would fain stand shoulder to shoulder. This is no more than a convenient form of shorthand, so to speak. There is within the Conference great care for the General Church-witness how we in our ministry so frequently invite your ministers resident in England to be our guests at our Ministers' Summer School-and we know that concern to be reciprocated. Neither of us, surely, would question the loyalty of the other to the faith, but we do no good by hiding the fact that we do not always agree. So long as the essentials are firm, there is room for variety and discussion amongst all those who think from the Heavenly Doctrines. Of course I have noted Dr. Williams-Hogan expressing herself in terminology I myself would not use (e.g., p. 27, note 40) although such is the width within the Conference, there are amongst us those who might.


And her dissertation stops, as it had to, almost at the beginning of our history. If her work were to get embalmed as a thesis for a university that would not worry me if it were to find, as I hope it will, a readership, even though small, within the New Church worldwide, that would worry me. Half a story never tells the fullness of truth. A picture of a birth does not show the full-grown adult. And remember, ere we go further, that the Conference, when the General Church became an independent body, was 100 years old, which certainly gave you the benefit of hindsight. Of course we have made mistakes. None of us would deny it.
     Dr. Williams-Hogan heard me and others say so, and she understands. But her understanding may not always come out strongly in her writing, although in places it is warmly there. Read the last words in her concluding chapter, with which she puts down her pen: "these choices foreclosed for Conference the possibility of adapting to the broad and dramatic changes which accompanied industrialization, which were taking place in Great Britain during the nineteenth century. These changes would lead to a major reorientation of the place of religion in English society. The institutional forms chosen by Conference during this period did not create the kind of tools necessary for the success of a radical and rational religion in an increasingly secularizing society. Thus, in spite of its astounding survival after the difficult period of its foundation, it did not develop an institutional structure comparable to the scope of its vision, and although it grew it never really flourished, and the genuine potential of this religious vision has yet to be truly tested." (See also 582 et al.)
     In short, like Topsy we "just grow'd"? Perhaps there is an element of truth here. When a handful of people up and down the country are caught up high by belief in a new revelation of heaven's truth, organizationally surely they are bound to go adrift. (What else was it in the case of the General Church of the Advent of the Lord?) There was indeed in the earliest days of the Conference, in the 1790s, confusion as to where the Lord was leading; but there was no doubt but that the Lord in His Second Coming was leading. Perhaps we should ask, as we might about an unregenerate man becoming an angel, whether the Lord can use a neonate unformed growth, yet to find its feet, in such a way that it can become a force for His kingdom. Was it not so with the first Christian Church when "the Lord filled all the apostles with His Spirit, but each took a portion according to the character of his special perception and each exercised it according to his ability"? (TCR 154).
     Can it be otherwise in the beginning of a church? Dr. Williams-Hogan must have a bishop from the beginning! Is it realistic? "Hindmarsh drew his understanding for the need of a centralized, hierarchical church structure, led by a priestly class, from the Writings themselves.


However, sociological wisdom would also suggest that the most appropriate form in a rational society is the bureaucratic form" (678). "When the majority party of the New Church met in Birmingham, in 1793, they organized a form of church government that was both democratic and decentralized, and in rejecting episcopacy they also rejected, perhaps unwittingly, a strong and independent Conference" (584). There are only nine names given of those there in 1793. Three of them were ministers but two of the three of doubtful validity as New Church ministers (but how to evaluate so early in our history?). They no more rejected a future episcopacy, I guess, than they foresaw the future which in Divine Providence is shielded from all of us. I am not prepared to argue from doctrine for what they said in 1793 when they were feeling their way, nor am I prepared to forget that in heaven "there are infinite varieties and diversities" (HH 405) and we must be careful how we look at these matters. None of us supposes that by sitting around a table and composing a rule book to set up a neat external order which we may call -:: a "chosen institutional form" in Dr. Williams-Hogan's terminology, that we have efficiently created a machine, "the kind of tools" in her phrase, by which the Lord is certain to bring results we can measure: "success." Influx never works that way. "Natural influx, which is called physical influx, is not possible, but only spiritual influx; that is, nothing can flow from the natural world into heaven, but the reverse. From this it is evident how it is to be understood that the influx and operation of the Divine of the Lord takes place . . ." (AC 10299; cf AC 8513, 10719). The truth is that where men and women come together to seek the Lord in His Word now opened in His Second Advent and to live by what they learn, external order will follow as the Lord, through that Word they are using, gives them to see what has to be. (What else again was it in the case of the General Church of the New Jerusalem?) Order follows from truth; truth does not flow from order.
     So again Dr. Williams-Hogan writes: "In spite of the fact that Conference grew throughout the 19th century, it did not really expand beyond the locations in which it had been established during the first 40 years of the century" (679). Well, yes, but (and, please, I am not trying to quibble but rather to point a thought) the General Church in England, despite the hindsight available to it and despite the order it has, after 100 years here is in precisely the same position, without its schools and with just the two societies, both of which developed from Conference roots. Are there deeper factors at work in a country long and still dominated by a state church? The vastation processes have long been, and still are, quite terrifyingly powerful (see TCR 4).
     Dr. Williams-Hogan says our potentiality has yet to be truly tested.


Precisely what does this mean? Are we ever outside temptation? Are organizations tested and tempted or are we, the people of the organizations? I confess to being confused here. I could, if I wanted, declare how over the years I see myself as being tested, tempted, but it would be a dangerous thing to start doing; I cannot see how a trust corporation, an inadequate kind of tool perhaps, gets tested.

     *     *     *     *

     Or are we saying that if we belong to the wrong kind of organization we are bound to fail? The Conference as I know it today is utterly different from that which drew me to its theological school in 1937, and what it was then was utterly different from the Conference Dr. Williams-Hogan has so admirably put into history. I think what remains for me most usefully to do is to write a sketch, which can hardly be short but must strive to be, of this "British Conference" from its beginning to this day. Only so I think can Dr. Williams-Hogan's work be set into perspective.
     Swedenborg died in 1772. By 1773 an Anglican clergyman, John Clowes of Manchester, had become convinced of New Church teaching but all his life managed, to my mind incredibly, to remain an Anglican priest always, a "non-separatist," as we say. His influence was great in Lancashire, perhaps sometimes overestimated by our historians, yet led largely to a separate New Church organization there in which, understandably perhaps, his way of thinking was always at least respected. In London, more or less at the same time, led by Robert Hindmarsh, again in my view often overestimated by historians, a group utterly determined on "separatism" developed, and called in 1789 the first "conference" of believers. The first New Church place of worship ever erected for the New Church, in Birmingham and dedicated on New Church Day in 1791, owed little to either. The next year Manchester built in Peter Street (and "Jerusalem Place" still stands there today) and was led by William Cowherd, a curate of John Clowes, who soon left us to found his own organization, "Bible Christians," which reckoned itself truer to New Church teaching than any of us.* The first building we put up, not our first place of worship, in London was opened in Cross Street in 1797. Hindmarsh made a lead plaque to go into the foundation stone and that plaque I cherish today in my study.** The New Church started to grow; the nonseparatists tended to disappear; they settled for annual meetings in Hawkstone, Shropshire, led by John Clowes most often and, just occasionally, members of the separatist church, would go to join them.***
     * New Church Life Feb. 1929; Presland, New Church Herald 25/4/70; and Lifeline April 1982; History of Bible Christian Church, Salford, 180-1909 by W. E. A. Axon.
     ** Hindmarsh Rise and Progress, p. 170. Presland, Lifeline May 1978
     *** A. E. Beibly-His Book, p. 133; Hawkstone minutes in Conference archives; Heap, Lifeline May 1982, p. 8
     Dr. Williams-Hogan becomes very aware in her thesis that the Clowes influence in Manchester and the Hindmarsh influence in London could not become one; in this situation it is that she sees the inevitable seeds of collapse.


Certainly that was so; but, as she notes, in effect we made a new beginning at our Conference in 1815(603). The Lord can lead us to a new beginning-it happened here, with us, as in a different fashion it happened with you. "Behold, I make all things new!" I do not believe that Conference now is the same Topsy that "just grow'd" right back in our beginning. We are about to hold our 180th annual meeting, each of them recorded in the 179 printed year books, that you can find in my study, consecutive every summer since the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Through many vicissitudes we have preached the gospel that the Lord God Jesus Christ reigns. True, we are smaller now than once we were; but we have our faith.
     From 1815 a time of great activity ensued. A hymn book was needed-"the friends requested me to compose a volume of hymns for the New Church. In about three months I presented them with a volume of better than three hundred hymns . . ."*-books of worship, ordinations of ministers who had an ex officio seat in the annual meeting of conference (577), and who formed themselves into a council always to guide and lead. In 1810 the Swedenborg Society was founded, and association between us and that independent society was always close, because it was almost entirely our people who founded it and worked for it; indeed, the present Swedenborg House was purchased to be also the home and the office of Conference, with a separate library, a separate strong room, and a hall dedicated "to the glory of the one and only God, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, in the advancement of His kingdom and the church on earth" (605).** A Society of Immanuelites, whose identity has eluded all our historians I believe, produced in 1808 the first bound volume containing only the books of the Word. Two copies only I know to be extant, one in Australia and the other, which we used in united worship in 1970's World Assembly, in the Conference archives. The Society of Gentlemen in London-for there was also one in Manchester and another in New York-whose membership does not elude us, commenced the Intellectual Repository, continuing uninterrupted to this day as The New Church Magazine, in 1812, and also for a short time The New Magazine of Knowledge.*** In 1865 we opened our college to train children and to train our ministers, and it flourishes still (613). We, like you, built our day schools and have had to let them go, which like you we regret.**** Our year books tell the story of how we have helped the church overseas, especially in South Africa and West Africa, and in Ghana too at one time, but also in India and in Burma and in Europe.***** In these changing times, our centers have tended to become our college, and "Purley Chase"-a then derelict mansion left to us in 1950; by British law, a charity must sell such a mansion if, in the eyes of the Charity Commission, it would be a hindrance to keep it.


How we fought the civil servants who wanted that we should sell, while our people set to work to convert the place into a serviceable condition within the year's grace we secured! What a blessing the restored Purley has been and is to us-and with what joy we lend it to you for your summer school year after year. "The genuine potential of this vision has yet to be tested," says Dr. Williams-Hogan of the Conference of which she writes, and I smile and answer, "But how do you measure such testing? Have we not been tested and tempted? How to count the heads in heaven?" "The Lord seeth not as man seeth for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart" (I Sam. 16,17).

     * New-Church in Birmingham, E. J. E. Schreck, p. 14, re. Joseph Proud
     ** Swedenborg Hall dedication by Rev. W. A. Presland; notes in family papers; Marchant correspondence in Conference archives
     *** Duckworth, New Church Magazine, Jan.-March 1969, p. 1
     **** R. R. Gladish, Bryn Athyn, 3 volumes on New Church Education
     ***** Oversas Missions Committee reports, Conference Year books, say 1920-1970
     We in Conference are timid about any man-made slogan as I know Dr. Williams-Hogan will be, and we have always been reluctant to try to define in our own words what a true New Church faith must be. There is no such thing as a "Conference position." That may be our strength, and our weakness. For us, each must seek the Lord's position. In 1822 we had a Conference Deed which gave us legal status, and in that had a Statement of Faith which left much to be desired. In 1872 we for legal purposes wrote Articles of Association and a constitution which, rather typical of the times, tended to dictate what we must do almost down to the last detail and, seeking order, kidnapped freedom and reason. In 1972 we rewrote that in the pursuit of reason and of freedom and, it may be, became a bit less tidy. Dr. Williams-Hogan (609) comments that our constitution still permits an individual to belong to a local society without of necessity belonging to Conference itself; yes, but we came up against British law when we sought the very thing she obviously would like to see and we had to accept a middle way. Note please that no individual can in law vote in Conference matters unless he has been enrolled by our long-term president as a member of the Conference. And we all must annually sign our Declaration of Faith as we enter into our Conference:

I believe that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is the only God of Heaven and Earth, and that in Him is the Divine Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I believe in the necessity of a life according to the precepts of the Decalogue. And I believe in the Word of God, or Holy Scriptures, and in the Heavenly Doctrines of the New Jerusalem drawn therefrom and contained in the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.

     What in the past seemed to us to be a basic minimum took these words in 1892 when there was of course deep controversy between you and us; strangely, the word "Theological" then was first used in this context because of the strife about Conjugial Love.


Conference, knowing that Swedenborg wrote to Dr. Beyer saying that C.L. treated "not of theology but of morals," seems to have sought there to keep all honest options open! (I guess that few in Conference now even know of the 1892 decisions and I doubt that any of us attaches that thought to the Declaration of Faith. We all stand to hear it read and none of us speaks until we have signed.)

     *     *     *     *

     Enough of our history. I long to write more! Jane Williams-Hogan knows so much of it, but it was not her task to write of it; she had to make an end at about the place where we made our beginning; she had to tell a story of what was but a prologue. What she has told is fine, and springs from a warm heart looking out through percipient eyes. But she is not writing about the New Church organization to which I belong and in which, with all its limitations inevitable in any man-made group, I have found the means through which the Lord can touch me in His Word and I can function in striving to lead others of His children to His feet through His opening of His Word in His Second Advent. And in candor let me say I have looked frequently at you and wondered whether the grass is greener on the other side. I do not know." But, with all our vicissitudes, our sadnesses and our gladness, the grass is green wherever the Lord's sun shines and rain descends. "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters: He restoreth my soul." Shall we not, brethren, all unite in knowing these things to be true? There are so many things in the New Church within the Conference to make us concerned today, and there are things which make us want to sing the Hallelujah Chorus! Yes, Dr. Williams-Hogan-to whom our affection-is right in her sociology and in her doctrine, if not in all her facts: there was no future for that New Church of which she writes. I sit here, remembering that the first John Presland walked into the Great Eastcheap Church, probably in 1790, and listened to James Hindmarsh and declared, "I have never heard the pure truth until now." (Bad theology! None of us can receive a pure truth!-see AC 3207.) No, no future for that organization. Has the Lord led us from that to something which has a future? If not, who and what am I and the many who think and live in Conference today? As we all have so often said, and said as one company in the World Assembly in London in 1970, THE LORD GOD JESUS CHRIST REIGNS.
     Rev. C. H. Presland


     [Scanner's note: a footnote #11 was listed but not indicated in the text: 11J. O. Booth, "The cultural factor in the New Church," New Church Magazine, 1978, Summer, pp. 46-50

     Mr. Presland, ordained 1941, served churches in Lancashire and Cheshire. He came to London as Secretary to Conference (then seen as a pastoral function) 1950-1973, and served also in pastorates there. He retired in 1982. He married Margaret Newall. They have two daughters, and a son who recently resigned from the Bank of England and entered the Conference theological college. On ordination, he will be the fifth Conference minister on his mother's side and the fifth on his father's side.


     "He that sat upon the throne said, Behold I make all things new; and He said to me, Write, because these words are true and faithful, signifies the Lord confirming all things concerning the New Heaven and concerning the New Church after the Last Judgment had been completed." (Apocalypse Revealed: contents of Rev. 21:5 before no. 876).
     At the second advent all the former churches came to an end. They had fulfilled their appointed use in relation to what took place at the second advent.
     The ages in which the letter of the Old Testament and the New Testament applied had likewise served their purpose. This may be seen from what is written in the Apocalypse Explained number 948, "The reason why the Word is interiorly revealed, that is, as to its spiritual sense, before the church is fully devastated is that a New Church will then be established into which those of the former church are invited.


And interior Divine truth is revealed for the New Church . . . . The case herein is similar to what took place at the end of the Jewish Church; for at its end, which was when the Lord came into the world, the interior Word was opened; for the Lord, when He was in the world, revealed interior Divine truths which were to be serviceable to the New Church to be established by Him, and also were serviceable. At this day also, for similar reasons, the interior Word is opened, and Divine truths still more interior are revealed therefrom for the use of the New Church, which will be called the New Jerusalem."
     The revelation made to each of those ages was serviceable to the church of that age. The revelation given by the Lord in His Divine Human, by means of Swedenborg, is therefore the Word serviceable for this age. "He that sat upon the throne said, "Behold I make all things new."
     The spiritual sense of the Old Testament was what was taking place spiritually in relation to the preparation of Jehovah taking to Himself the Human in order that He might come into the world as the Redeemer. While He was in the world, He performed the work of redemption and also glorified His Human, the Human that is from Jehovah. This is what is dealt with in the spiritual things of the New Testament in the gospels, while what is contained in the Apocalypse, "treats of the last state of the church in the heavens and on earth, and then of the Last Judgment, and after this of the New Church, which is the New Jerusalem" (Apocalypse Revealed 2).
     "The last phase of the Christian Church is night itself, in which the former churches came to an end" (True Christian Religion 760).
     "'Behold I make all things new.' . . . the Lord confirming all things concerning the New Heaven and concerning the New Church."
     ". . . unless the Lord had come into the world no one could have been saved. The case is similar today; therefore unless the Lord comes again into the world in the Divine Truth, which is the Word, no one can be saved" (TCR 3).
     The Word in which the Lord has come is the revelation of the second advent, commonly referred to as "the Writings." "New wine must be put into new wineskins" (Mark 2:22).
     All that is found in the letter from the former testaments is new, since its origin is from Him who has made all things new. This is also true in relation to the passages from the books not listed in those which are said to be the Word of the Old and New Testaments (see Arcana Coelestia 10325 or New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine 266). That they are quoted as part of the Word is not a contradiction of what is said in those numbers. They are part of the Word because they have been given by the Lord at His second advent.


     It is the letter of this Word which is now the basis, containant and support of the spiritual and celestial senses from the Lord in His Divine Human.
     This was the reason why the Lord sent out His twelve disciples into the whole spiritual world to preach the new gospel. By the disciples are meant all the goods and trues proceeding from the Divine Human. It is not without significance, therefore, that the sending out of the twelve is mentioned in three places in the True Christian Religion. The first is where the subject is God the Creator (number 4). The second is where the subject is the Lord the Redeemer (number 108). The final passage is found at the end of the subject of The Consummation of the Age, the coming of the Lord, and the New Heaven and the New Church (number 791).
     The first is in relation to the period covered by the Old Testament, the second that of the New Testament, while the third was when all was complete. "'Behold I make all things new' signifies the Lord confirming all things concerning the New Heaven and concerning the New Church after the Last Judgment had been completed."
     The Divine Truth from the Divine Human found its ultimate in the revelation penned by Swedenborg: in this are all things from first to last.
     "The church exists from the Word, and its quality with man is according to his understanding of the Word" (TCR 243).
     Man can know what is written in the letter of the Word-it is there for all to read-and yet not be in an understanding of the Word. The understanding here mentioned is the forming of the understanding in the internal of man out of the truths of the internal sense. This is the reason why it is said in number 208, "Hereafter the spiritual sense of the Word will be made known only to those who are in genuine truths from the Lord."
     That this refers to the Word in which the statement occurs may be seen from the fact that the spiritual sense of the former testaments has been disclosed, which is there for all to read. The genuine truth, however, is when man sees that what the Word teaches applies to the life of his will, and then the shunning of evils which are of the will.
     The Word teaches that, "the spiritual sense of the Word is not that which shines from the sense of the letter when anyone searches the Word and explains it to prove some dogma of the church. This may be called the literal and ecclesiastical sense of the Word; but the spiritual sense is not apparent in the sense of the letter; it is interiorly within it, as the soul is in the body, or the thought of the understanding is in the eye, or as the affection of love is in the countenance" (TCR 194).
     All that belongs to the external uses of the church are therefore found in the letter of the Word.


The spiritual sense is that which is opened to man when he reads the Word for the sake of his regeneration: the life that is within him. When this is the case he is then able to be enlightened by the Lord (see TCR 231).
     In many places in the letter of the Word we read that the natural sense is for man and the spiritual sense for the angels. We also read that every man has an internal and an external. The internal man is what is called the spiritual man because it is in the light of heaven, while the external man is what is called the natural man because it is in the light of the world. If the internal is not opened to the light of heaven, which is spiritual, man remains purely natural. (See the New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine on "The Internal and the External Man.") The work of the church is to lead men to an internal understanding of the Word and thereby to the Lord. With regard to matters relating to its external worship in its rites, rituals and ceremonies, these are given in the letter of the Word of the New Age.
     That there are two sacraments, baptism and the holy supper, may be seen from what is written concerning these in the True Christian Religion.
     With regard to betrothal and marriage we have what is written in the work Conjugial Love.
     That inauguration into the priesthood in this age is by laying on of hands may be seen from Divine Love and Wisdom 220: "External things of the body that are of worship are: 1. Regularly attending places of worship; 2. Listening to sermons; 3. Singing devoutly, and saying prayers kneeling; 4. Partaking of the sacrament of the Supper. Then at home: 1. Saying prayers morning and evening, also at dinners and suppers; 2. Talking with other people about charity and faith, and about God, heaven, eternal life, and salvation; 3. Also, in the case of priests, preaching, as well as teaching privately; 4. and with everyone, instructing children and servants in such matters; 5. Reading the Word and books of instruction and piety" (Charity 173).

MINISTER'S FAVORITE PASSAGE (12)       Rev. Ray Silverman       1987

     My favorite passage varies from day to day. It depends upon my state, and upon what I have been reading most recently. Sometimes passages about true freedom and Divine Providence are uppermost in my mind. At other times I may be focusing on shunning evils and looking to the good. Often a simple text from the letter of the Word such as, "Enter not into temptation" may be running through my mind all day, even all week.


But I must admit that my central focus remains conjugial love and the wonderful promise of eternal marriage. So my favorite passage would be one that contains that promise in its fullest expression. For me, conjugial love has been the doorway into the New Church, and the truth that leads to all truth. The more I have learned about it, and the more I have striven to enter into its blessings, the more I have discovered that it is truly the precious jewel of life and the repository of the Christian religion.
     Therefore, I would say that my favorite passage is:

     Love truly conjugial regarded in itself is a union of souls, a conjunction of minds and an effort to conjunction in bosoms and thence in the body . . . The states of this love are innocence, peace, tranquility, inmost friendship, complete trust, and the mutual desire of mind and heart to do the other every good. From all these [come] blessedness, happiness, delight, and pleasure. Then, from the eternal fruition of these [comes] heavenly joy (CL 179, 180, Headings).

     [Photos of Rev. Ray Silverman]



LETTER TO A YOUNG RELATIVE       Chris Clark       1987

Dear Teresa.
     Your question "What do you believe and how did you come to believe it?" is a challenging one to answer. Think of this letter as a "response" to your request, rather than a complete answer.
     The central doctrines of my faith are consistent with those of Roman Catholicism and modern Christianity: God is one; God is a Person; Christ is Divine; the Bible is a Divinely inspired revelation; Christ lived and died to set us free; evil is real; heaven and hell are real; each person is endowed with a free will, and our actions, good and bad, can have eternal consequences; Divine Providence governs the universe at the broadest level and even in the most minute particulars, working continually to bring the greatest possible good out of what humans freely choose to do.
     I believe that children are born in a state of innocence and that infants reflect the unadulterated love of God. But we humans are hereditarily inclined to evils of every kind, and thus, like the Children of Israel during the Exodus, we need the laws, commandments, and the social and religious teachings, revelations, and support to shun evils as sins and to repent, reform our lives and wills, and begin to act from love rather than from selfish motives. This is the purpose of life on earth: for each man and woman to form his or her own character, through a lifetime of free choices, such that the mature and fully human person becomes one who acts from love and a desire to be of genuine use to the neighbor. As a Dutch theologian said: "We are not human in order to become Christians; we are Christians in order to become human."
     I joined the Swedenborgian religion (technically, The General Church of the New Jerusalem, or The New Church) about twelve years ago, after ten years of learning about the religion through my wife, Tryn, who was born and raised Swedenborgian. So, you see, my transition from the Roman Catholicism in which I was raised to membership in the New Church was a gradual process. I've said to other Catholic and formerly Catholic friends that I don't feel that I've rejected the Catholic Church and her teachings so much as graduated to a new level of understanding of the life of religion. Where Catholicism tells me that there is a heaven and a hell, the New Church shows me in detail what life in heaven and hell is like. Where Catholicism tells me to shun evils as sins and to repent, the New Church shows me how sins corrode and distort the human spirit and how repentance and regeneration work, as life-long psychological and spiritual developmental processes.


Where mainline Christian churches teach that Christ is Divine, became incarnate, lived, died, and rose from the dead to save the human race, the New Church teaches me how this great work was accomplished simultaneously and continually in our natural world and in the spiritual world. In short, for me, the teachings of the New Church add a layer of rational sense, insight, and understanding to many of the teachings of Catholicism that I accepted on faith or as mysteries during my thirty years as a Catholic.
     Like Catholicism, the New Church is a doctrinal church, by which I mean that the specifics of what members ought to believe are important to the church. The doctrines of the New Church are derived primarily from the thirty volumes of theological writings by the eighteenth century scientist, theologian, and philosopher, Emanuel Swedenborg. His theological writings have the status of a Divinely inspired exegesis of the continuous internal sense of the Old and New Testaments. Some of his writings also describe his experiences of being simultaneously conscious in this natural world and in the spiritual world. Swedenborg's writings and the doctrines of the New Church are described in the enclosed books and pamphlets (which you may keep).
     As I said at the outset, this is but a sketch of what I believe, what my church teaches, and how both came to be. As with every religion, the test of the quality of its teachings is in the living of them, individually and collectively. For me, the teachings of the New Church are a continual challenge and a consolation. The challenge is to learn, to understand, and to act from these truths, and the consolation comes from the striving, from the sense that it all makes, and from the love of God that I feel when I am living a good life. My most dramatic testimonial about the power of my religion in my life has to do with how I am able to deal with and make sense of the death of my son, Martin, eight years ago. Believing what I believe about children in heaven and about Divine Providence has helped me immeasurably with the grief and pain that accompany my loss. I've enclosed a copy of the lyrics of a song that I wrote, "Children in Heaven," that says it all.
     I hope that all of this is helpful to you in the short run for your Comparative Religions course and also in the longer run, as you locate and confirm what you believe about the "big questions" and how best to live into the "big answers."
          Chris Clark



SERIES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE       Editor       1987

     The series beginning this month is addressed to the following question, which we are deliberately putting in a negative way:

Are the Writings dry, boring, uninteresting, abstract, complicated?

     We could make it a much more positive and upbeat question, like "Could you find real joy in reading the Writings?" That would not be a bad way of expressing it, but the negative phrasing is to make it clear that we want to reach people who have had the experience of finding the Writings dry, boring, uninteresting, etc. Many of the readers of this magazine delight in reading the Writings. After all, the magazine has for more than a hundred years been "devoted to the teachings revealed through Emanuel Swedenborg." (See the phrase at the top of our table of contents.) We hope these readers will understand why we are addressing this question.
     How can we possibly handle this? If you have already experienced the boredom, and if you have already found the dryness, how on earth is someone going to tell you that you have not? If you have found mushrooms to be tasteless, is someone going to prove to you otherwise?
     Maybe somebody could suggest that you try cooking the mushrooms differently or eating them with a special sauce. But the fact remains that some people love mushrooms, and some people definitely do not. Fortunately we are not dealing with something as restricted as a taste for one kind of food. [It is worth mentioning that quite often people change their reactions to certain foods. Swedenborg's Spiritual Diary mentions the fact that when people discover that a certain food is wholesome and good for them they can find after a while that it is not so disagreeable to their taste and eventually find it "even agreeable" (SD 4117). Furthermore there are taste preferences that change without any effort. A nineteen-year-old somehow found himself liking mushrooms and has enjoyed them ever since, and he used to say in his early teens that he "hated" them.]
     In addressing the question before us, the example of one specific food is not good enough. A much better comparison would be a person who has spent all his life in some oriental country and who says, "I find Western foods tasteless." Stop and think about what you might say to someone who said that he found foods of the West to be dry and uninteresting and tasteless. You might say, "Have you tried Italian food or ice cream? Have you tried French cuisine? Have you tried this or that kind of fish? etc. Isn't it true that the bigger the generalization the more hopeful one is of finding happy exceptions that have not yet been discovered by the person making the generalization?


     If someone says, "Mathematics is boring," we might faintly hope that there is a branch of math that he might find more appealing. It might be easier dealing with someone who says, "History is boring," because we know of so many different things to suggest under the general topic of history. And if someone says, "School is boring," or "Education is boring," or "Reading is boring," we have a suspicion that this is not the final word. "Yes, you have found some reading or some education uninteresting, but have you ever tried . . . ."
     Something we would not say is: "Hey, stop being bored. Don't you know that school is really interesting? You ought to be ashamed of yourself." Saying something like that just would not help. Let's get to an example now that might be helpful in the question before us. The example will be the Word of the Old and New Testaments, and since we are using a world-wide example, we will use the term "the Bible."

     The Bible and Readers All Over the World

     The Bible has been translated into hundreds of languages on this earth. It has been a global bestseller for a long, long time. While millions upon millions of people know about it, and while it must rank with the most widely read books on the face of the earth, there are still many who have not read it. Is it boring? How confidently could you say to a person who has never opened it, "Try the Bible. You'll find it interesting"? Think about what might happen. If a person decides that maybe he will give the New Testament a try, he opens to the first chapter, and the first experience he has is to read a list of' names. Is a list of names interesting? Wouldn't it be tragic if he read less than one page and then said, "Well, I tried the New Testament and found it dry and uninteresting." He missed out on more than 95% of what he was evaluating. No one who knows the New Testament would say that a list of names is typical of its contents!
     If the person starts at the beginning of the Bible he will encounter lists of names in Genesis. And what if he decided to look at the very last book of the Bible to sample that? Might he not be baffled by the book of Revelation and then sincerely decide that the Bible is not something he could read with interest? Picture a person holding a Bible in his hands and saying, "All right, I'll spend a few minutes seeing what this is like." He opens it at random. If he opens toward the middle he may open to one of the Prophets, Will it be one of those uplifting passages in Isaiah? Or will it be a passage that in its literal sense is extremely hard to follow? It could even be a passage he would point out to you, and you might not be able to follow it very well yourself.


(There are parts of the Prophets that are "scarcely intelligible except in the internal sense"-Arcana Coelestia 66. Suppose he opens to the book of Exodus. The story part should interest him, but a high percentage of that book is about measurements and about ritual precepts that might seem dry and without evident application to daily life. This is even more so of the book of Numbers or the book of Leviticus.
     Is the style of the Bible as interesting as that of other books? Experience bears out what the Writings say about the way people may feel when they look at it. It "appears like a common writing, in a style that is strange, and neither so sublime nor so brilliant as apparently are the writings of the day." (This comment from the first page of the book called Doctrine of the Sacred Scripture is taken up also in other places in the Writings, where we are told that one could easily fall into a mistaken view of the Word. Someone might easily actually fall into contempt for what he reads and say uncomplimentary things about it. A reader might say, "What's this? What is that? Can this be Divine? Could God, whose wisdom is infinite, speak like this? Where is the holiness, except from some religious notion? . . ." (See True Christian Religion 189 and AE 1065.)
     If someone talked like that in an exasperated tone of voice we would realize that it isn't enough simply to say, "Try reading the Bible; I just know you will find it interesting and uplifting." We would feel bad if we just told a person to start reading and then the experience was such that the person put off ever reading the Bible again. We would, therefore, be careful in trying to encourage the new reader. We might make a few selections for him. A very good choice might be to get the person to read some of the sayings of Jesus. This could be an excellent start, but even then there is still some chance that he will find some discouragement in reading, because he might read sayings (such as some in Matthew 24) which have a strangeness comparable to the book of Revelation. He might read, "The stars will fall from heaven." He might read, "if your right eye offends you, pluck it out and cast it from you."

     The Disciples and the Sayings of Jesus

     The disciples themselves, who left everything to follow the Lord, sometimes found certain sayings impossible for them to understand. They really wondered why He spoke in parables which were hard to fathom (Matt. 13:10). And once they said to each other, "What is this that He says?" (John 16:17). Another time they were afraid to ask Him about a saying they could not grasp (Mark 9:32). But we notice that when crowds of people were put off by a very puzzling saying, the disciples elected not to turn away. Some exclaimed, "This is a hard saying; who can hear it?"


Jesus invited them to lift their minds, "My words are spirit, and they are life" (John 6:63). However, from that time onward many who had been followers gave up and walked no more with Him. Jesus said to the twelve: "Will you also go away?" The answer came: "To whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life" (verse 68)
     One of the things we see so dramatically here is that some of the words of Jesus were so stirring and meaningful to those fishermen that they would not turn away even in the face of "hard sayings" or things they could not understand.
     When Jesus spoke, His words had a powerful effect on people of all kinds and brought to them a real gladness. "The common people heard Him gladly" (Mark 12:37). Two of His followers remarked how their hearts burned within them "while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the scriptures" (Luke 24:32).

     The sayings of Jesus, like the Bible as a whole, may be regarded by different people in different ways, but the significant thing in the history of this planet and in individual lives is that they have really turned on the lights in the minds of men and have stirred millions of hearts, bringing comfort, inspiration and strength. They have also been read by young and old with true delight.
     Could this be true of the Writings?

     [To be continued]


     We have received from Mr. Tatsuya Nagashima a copy of a 473-page book, published by Arcana Press in Tokyo. The title on the cover is Promise of Delight, which is given in English as well as in Japanese.
     This handsome book consists of fifty-two sermons, one for each Sunday of the year. The first sermon is by Brian Keith, the title of which is also the title of this book.
     One who cannot read Japanese can at least read the titles of the sermons and the names of those who wrote them. We are pleased to see that there are a few of the sermons of George de Charms. There are several by Kurt Asplundh and by Peter Buss. On page 283 is a sermon entitled "If I Be Lifted Up" by Louis B. King. On page 301 is a sermon entitled "Thy Will Be Done" by Hugo Odhner. On page 412 is one called "The Testimony of Truth" by Willard Pendleton. Among other sermon writers included in this volume are Mark Carlson, Frederick Schnarr, Daniel Heinrichs, Robert Junge, and Harold Cranch.



CHICAGO NEW CHURCH       Rev. Grant R. Schnarr       1987

     In October of 1983 I was leafing through some lists of people who had ordered books from the Swedenborg Center in the Chicago area. There were hundreds of them. The question that hounded me at that time was how can we get these people to come to our church? Many things had been tried, with some success here and there, but there seemed to be some important factor missing from the puzzle.
     I made contact with a few of these people. One was a jazz musician, Bill Brimfield, from Evanston, who had been reading the Writings for 20 years. He wanted to come to church but had no transportation. I offered him a ride for a while but this became very tiresome. Just for a long-shot I wrote to about five people in his area who had bought books from us, with whom I had a little contact, asking them if they'd be willing to give Bill a ride once in a while. I threw in, as a P.S., "And maybe we could get a discussion group going in your area."
     I received one reply. A surveyor from Chicago, Maynard Riley, said that he might be able to give Bill a ride some time, but he really liked the idea of a discussion group. Well, that started the wheels turning, the sparks flying. "Of course, of course," I said to myself, "people would be much more willing to get together in the comfort of their own homes to talk to people who were just like themselves, inquirers into this 'Swedenborg' material." So I sent about 200 letters inviting people to meet at Bill Brimfield's one-bedroom apartment the following Tuesday night-with Bill's permission of course.
     I met Bill early at his home that Tuesday. We had a good talk. I remember staring out the window watching the cars go by, waiting for someone, anyone, to show up and discuss these teachings with us. I was ready to go into another line of work at about 10. At 10:30 I thought about a landscaping job at the church, maybe work with Don Edmonds on school buildings. At 10:45 one person did show up and we had a great discussion. He was from an Eastern background, so much of our discussion was a debate, but it was enough for hope to return. He, Bill and I met for a couple of weeks but then he lost interest. Maynard Riley never did show up.
     Well, just about that time remarkable things began to happen. A jolly young man with an incredible sense of humor called me from Lake Forest. He had found the Writings in the library there and was ecstatic to find out there was a church based on those teachings. When he read the part about the Second Coming in TCR he thought he was the only one who knew about this and he was going to start a church by himself.


He was Rex Knauer. At the same time, a young man who had just moved from Miami called, looking for some more books of Swedenborg. He was given Heaven and Hell by a friend, and later found the Arcana in another friend's father's garage! His name was Steve Simon. Just about this time Maynard Riley finally began to show up at the discussion groups, along with John Teschky, a student from Oakton Community College, and there we had it-the Evanston Discussion Group.
     I thought this was such a great idea I started discussion groups in Oak Park, in Addison, in Elgin. The one in Oak Park never got off the ground. The one in Elgin had a couple dedicated church members, but it wasn't growing and was so far away that I couldn't justify continuing it. The one in Addison started with seven people and soon picked up to twelve in attendance. It was larger than the Evanston group, but 2/3 of them were spiritualists. I'd take people from Evanston with me to do battle every other week. We kept preaching religion. Either they were going to accept the religious aspects or leave. The spiritualists left. The group folded. We managed to salvage one member of that group-who was not a spiritualist-and incorporated him into the Chicago group. That was John Tyner, a magazine editor.
     What can I say about that year of discussions in Evanston? They were deep. They were more intellectual than many of the discussions which take place in theological school. The camaraderie was wonderful. As Rex put it, "it was like I had known these people for years." Steve remembers, "It was as if the Lord had come down and given us these teachings and left again. And it was our job to teach them to all who would listen. We felt like disciples." Personally, it was quite moving to see such a profound faith in the Writings that these young men showed. We had our ups and downs, sometimes some deep downs, but the brotherhood was always there.
     About a year later we decided to open up the group to New Church people in the area and also anyone else who cared to join us. We incorporated a family-like worship service before our discussions. Maynard Riley offered his apartment by the lake every other Sunday afternoon for a 5 o'clock worship service, followed by a potluck supper, then by a discussion. The discussions were led by the members themselves, and only occasionally by the minister.
     The group went from five or six to about 20 one Sunday. The members of the group were so taken aback by this that we had to have a special meeting to calm down fears. After the curiosity of the New Church people was quenched the group settled down to about 14 a service. My wife Cathy began to join us, as well as Carolyn Alan, Kay Nicholson, Joel Smith, Judi Steiner and several others.


I mention these because they became a critical part of the development of the group.

     [Photos of scenes from No Exit Cafe and Bishop King and his wife Freya, Rev. Grant Schnarr and his wife Cathy]


     We met at Maynard's for about a year. We changed our name to the Chicago Group. Several people joined the group over this time, friends of the regulars. Several key people left the group also, for job opportunities out of state or schooling. It was in a state of flux. At one time the group shrank down to about 12 and we were wondering exactly where this thing was leading. But at the same time a leadership core began to emerge which was completely dedicated to growth, had a vision and the energy to carry it out. I have "ever seen people work so hard and care so much for the church as these people did. It was a moving time for me. It seemed so ironic to me that the group was shrinking yet the energy, the dream, the cause, was just beginning to be born.
     We formed a board of directors, wrote bylaws, started a membership book, started a biweekly newsletter, created our own introductory pamphlet, our own worship book containing the simpler songs in the Liturgy. Maynard was probably the only person in Chicago with a full-size altar and podium in his living room. We had greeters, a sunshine committee, even a song leader. While at Maynard's we focused almost exclusively on the young adults of the Immanuel Church as potential members, with some success. But our overall plan was to consolidate and prepare for a move to a public place and begin a well thought out and orchestrated publicity campaign.
     It was just about the time we were looking for a public place that I had attended the church planning seminar put on by the Fuller Institute in California. They had said to look for several things: 1. Rent something non-threatening such as a restaurant, bookstore, room at a bank. 2. Rent something accessible to the public. 3. Rent something well-known. And that is why We came up with the idea of the No Exit Cafe. Besides Carolyn Alan knowing the owners, it had all of those qualities, and the idea of a church meeting in a Cafe seemed so unique it was bound to draw attention It was first on our list and it seemed to fall into our hands.
     Beyond this, there was the problem of freeing up more time for me to be able to preach on Sunday mornings each week. If this project was going to have any success it needed to be backed up with plenty of manpower. I remember well the long ministers' meeting between Brian Keith, Eric Carswell and me which started early afternoon and went straight through supper into the evening. We talked of risk, of sacrifice. We went over schedules time and again, cutting here, adding there. It felt as if we were planning a heroic venture-either that or a foolish blunder. At that time there were only 12 members but we were willing to risk my time out there to give it the best possible opportunity for success.


Brian and Eric made great sacrifices for this and continue to today.
     When we moved into the cafe it was a bit awkward moving from a home into a public place with large windows looking out to the street. The casual atmosphere of a family-type worship service followed us there though. Some people wore the traditional church outfits, others wore more informal but decent clothes. But the service itself actually became more formal and continued to be very reverent. It was a good mix for drawing people who had become disenchanted with their former churches. They could worship in sincerity without all the formality. Sermons were and still are completely and unequivocally New Church. It seems the harder one preaches the more come to listen and return. There are no "chatty little sermons" in the cafe regardless of how many newcomers are there.
     Well, to make a long story short, we began the advertising campaign in the fall. The group exploded in growth. We went from about 16 a service at the end of the spring to currently averaging over 40. Although one third of the membership at any given time is from Glenview-and that is so important for balance-the rest are new blood. Over 100 visitors have come to church so far this year and almost 40 have returned for more. Our newsletter list shot up from 30 to over 100. Our list of members and friends is fast approaching 100. The Chicago Tribune was so impressed with our ads that they did a feature story on the church. They were impressed by the testimonies that this is a religion that makes sense. I think that says something about our ads.
     The most important part of this whole project, though, is something that cannot be accurately measured nor adequately communicated. It is in the faces and words of these new people. It is such a joy to watch them accept the Writings into their lives. And that is what makes this campaign so worthwhile, what it has done for them, not for us. One says, "The Writings have given me a God I can understand, a God I can trust." Another says, "I open this book [TCR] and here it is, the absolute truth staring me right in the face." Another says, "These are things I've always known were true. And they are all laid out for me here."
     I can't really report much more than that, because we are right in the middle of it all this very moment. We do know that we have gotten the word out to hundreds. We know that many more will visit our church. We can't tell how many new visitors will continue with us, or whether such dramatic growth will continue in the future. But regardless of what happens next we've given it everything we have-all our hopes, our dreams, our effort. And because of that the New Church is currently alive and well in Chicago, Illinois.
     Rev. Grant R. Schnarr



GENERAL CHURCH OF THE NEW JERUSALEM IN CANADA       Rev. Geoffrey Childs       1987

     Report of the Bishop's Representative

     Spring 1987

     1986 and 1987 bring new pastors to the major societies and circle of the General Church in Canada. A continuity of pastoral background in Canada is assured by the two assistants in Ontario, and by the fact that Rev. Louis Synnestvedt, the new pastor in Caryndale, served for a number of years as assistant in Toronto. Nevertheless, this past year is one of major change.
     It was felt that 1986/87 would be a good time to review the status of uses and needs in Canada, and to look ahead for new possibilities of growth. To try to meet this challenge, "Canada Seminar I" was held in Toronto on February 27th and 28th, 1987. There had been a planning meeting for this seminar held on November 1st, 1986 in Toronto, where a number of laymen and pastors worked out an agenda for "Canada Seminar I."
     The first session on Friday evening was devoted to two areas of use organizational growth of the church in Canada, and then western Canada uses and growth. Bishop Buss started the organizational growth section, speaking on the three major uses of the church: worship and instruction, evangelization, and New Church education. Each of these looks to the same end-the good of charity. There is a harmony in all of these uses if we see them in balance, but they become fractional if we over-stress one aspect. It is the good of charity that unites all three, leading to the Lord. Evangelization and education bring people to the door of the church. They introduce a new dream of a way of life. The church offers the promise from the Lord that heredity can be improved; that we can become more and more one with the new heaven. The talents of the workers in the church are needed, each of us looking to the areas of our gifts from the Lord.
     The Rev. Geoffrey Childs continued with the subject of organizational growth, highlighting the major responsibilities of the General Church in Canada: pastoral service, evangelization, and New Church education. Caring oversight and promotion of these three uses looks to the fulfilling of the highest purpose of the General Church in Canada: a unity in spiritual uses that reflects a Gorand Man of our country in the Lord's eyes. The vital need for east-west communication was stressed, with many different ways that this can come to reality: representative and episcopal visits across Canada, lay visiting when in west or east, assemblies in Canada and regional gatherings, Canadian ministers' meetings, across-Canada seminars; even pen pals, children to children, adults to adults.


There is a potential unity in the church in Canada, and we need each other!
     Western Canada uses and growth: Mary Alden spoke first, for herself and Glenn, who had been called back home for a resurrection service. They mentioned the unity they felt so strongly of the General Church in Canada at the National Assembly in Caryndale in May, 1986, and how this became less visible when they got out west. But still, they feel the real support of the GCIC, financial and moral. People in the west are excited about being New Church Canadians. The loss of a visiting Bishop's Representative will be keenly felt. It has been a key element in keeping in touch.
     The church attendance in Dawson Creek is up: a new generation of children is coming along. Silver Valley is getting bimonthly doctrinal classes, with good attendance and discussion, and the services in Crooked Creek receive strong support. The Mowberly Lake New Church summer camp for families has proved popular, and it is a wonderful time for worship and mutual education. They hope for a longer camp this coming summer. The large group of children in Dawson Creek awakened in Mary and Glenn the possibility of starting a New Church elementary school there; this is in the very first stages of consideration, with only a few people discussing the possibility. But the dream has an exciting potential. By the time this presentation was finished, it was nearly 10:00 p.m., so we recessed for the night, to return at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday.
     Tom Fountain started that Saturday morning session speaking about the church groups in Calgary and Edmonton. He spoke of the years of services and classes held in each city, and the recent Life After Death lectures and their large turnouts. Tom and Ev spoke of appreciation for visits by eastern Canada pastors, as well as the faithful services of Bill Clifford and now Glenn Alden.
     Norman and Margaret Dyck spoke of the church group in Crooked Creek, and of the need for special attention to the young people. Norman stressed the importance and use of close and friendly cooperation with the General Convention in Canada.
     Naomi Scott, born and raised in the Crooked Creek area, spoke of the history of the church group in Crooked Creek, getting some background facts from Lavina, her mother. She mentioned things she particularly appreciated as a child: slides to go with the minister's religion lesson talks, pen pals with other New Church children. She stressed what a turning point attending Maple Leaf summer camp can be.


Before going, religion was not considered "cool." Afterwards, students had been strongly touched by the camp, and wished to attend ANC. Naomi stressed that visits from eastern pastors were important highs for spiritual life. And she spoke of the need to develop New Church social life for young people to strengthen each other in ideals, hopes and friendship. Naomi and Norman and Margaret stressed the need for education for conjugial love, for its ideals. The vision and practical guides were so strongly needed.
     The second portion of Saturday morning consisted of a presentation by Gordon Jorgenson, using an overhead projector, on the pastoral needs and hopes of the isolated New Church (General Church) people in Canada. Gordon had given a dramatic and very effective presentation on this subject at the November 1, 1986 pre-planning meeting. On this morning of February 28th, he presented a survey questionnaire for our consideration, to find out from the isolated adults, young people, and perhaps children too, what uses they feel are being well met, and where there could be improvements and even new uses. A children's magazine was suggested, and maybe even a young people's magazine. Pen pals also was an idea mentioned. This survey will be finalized and circulated, with a previous or accompanying letter explaining why this is being done. One aspect Gordon stressed for the isolated was: How can the isolated serve the church, and what uses can they do?
     The final section on Saturday morning was a presentation on evangelization, with the report given by Erik Sanderson. He read a report for the occasion by Rev. Terry Schnarr, who stressed the need to incorporate evangelization into all the uses of the church. We should be aware of enquirers, and provide a warm and welcoming sphere in all our services. He stressed the use of special study groups to meet needs of different groups and categories. Erik Sanderson then spoke on the tremendous reading obstacle for newcomers-the Writings often seem so difficult. An easily understandable level has to be found; we've got to get our beautiful teachings out there! We give our students a lot of knowledge, but still often they are not able to meet people and tell them about the Writings. What is the matter? We've got to bring them into our homes and our hearts. Michael Gladish spoke of different ways of making outsiders really feel welcome. Experience has been that when complex ideas are expressed in clear, precise language, it is good for everyone. This is not watering down, but distilling.
     We then broke for lunch and relaxing visiting, to resume our final sessions at 1:30 p.m. First on the afternoon agenda was the Principal of the Carmel Church School, Karl Parker, who spoke on New Church elementary education in Canada.


Karl spoke of the need for a renewal of the vision of New Church schools, of our very essential purposes as revealed by the Lord. How can we encourage our "brightest and best" young people to become New Church teachers? He stressed the use of a long-range overview of school staffing needs, and that a joint planning committee for staffing needs between the Olivet Day School in Toronto and the Carmel Church School in Caryndale, and other New Church schools, would help forestall crises. Identifying future needs and mapping strategy would promote uses. He spoke of the benefit of a separate I endowment fund for our schools to protect from fluctuating financial circumstances and their harmful effect on school uses. He felt too that we should seek new students, for numbers perfect the whole if the numbers have harmony with our uses.
     The next section was on New Church high school planning, a committee of Rev. Louis Synnestvedt, Ralph Heinrichs and Kathi Miller. Their research led them affirmatively to a middle school concept, including grades 8, 9 and 10. Studies from as early as 1926 lead in this direction-beautiful researches into the doctrines and their specific applications to the middle school concept by Bishop George de Charms, Bishop Elmo Acton, and Rev. Martin Pryke. It is hoped that the substance of these studies can be given and discussed in our societies. Statistically, the numbers are there for starting an 8th and 9th grade school in 1993/94 in Caryndale, with an 8th to 10th starting the following year. The enrollment should average above 20 pupils. Facilities would be needed, and a three-stage plan for this was outlined, culminating in a possible full high school in the year 2000. GCIC support would be needed to establish such a middle school, and hopefully GCIC students from outside Caryndale would eventually be drawn into attendance. But the first need is for the vision of the use.
     The final section of the afternoon was a report on young people's needs by Rev. Andy Dibb. The basic problem, he feels, is a degree of apathy-on the part of teenagers, of clergy, and of parents: that peer pressure in high school turns away from the church, and especially that there is a lack of meaningful religious experience by young people; that there is a ministerial inadequacy in this field, and program inadequacy.
     There are things we can do to counter these difficulties. We can promote a "counter peer pressure." High school weekends serve this purpose well, especially if they have a strong religious orientation. Maple Leaf is an invaluable plus in this direction. But we need to provide our young people with a more meaningful religious experience. The teenage years are among the most idealistic times of a person's life. As a church organization, we could feed that idealism in a very meaningful way. What can we do to strengthen the affirmation of Divine truth?


Young people should be included in society uses, as ushers, chancel girls, members of pastor's councils. We should give ministers the time and money to attend youth ministry seminars and courses. Parents and interested adults need to get involved, in promoting social and sports activities. We need increased close pastoral contact with students.
     By this time, in the late afternoon, we were all a bit exhilarated and exhausted. These were intense but very close sessions, with love of the church tangibly present. Bishop Buss spoke, toward the end, of planning carefully and of defining with optimism our future course. His presence added a great deal to the seminar.
     Rev. Geoffrey Childs,
          Bishop's Representative in Canada

NCL 50 YEARS AGO       Editor       1987

     The final page in the June issue of 1937 outlines the program for the sixteenth General Assembly. The first session was to be held at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, June 30th, the order of business to be the selection of a Bishop. That Bishop, of course, was to be the Rt. Rev. George de Charms. The June issue has a sermon by Bishop de Charms from the concluding lines of which we select the following.

     "Our minds are weighted down with false conceptions . . . If, in moments of exaltation, or worship, we catch a glimpse of heaven's truth, we easily fall back into our natural state, and the vision fades from view. Yet the Lord has come indeed. He is present in the Heavenly Doctrine. If, by persistent effort, we will turn our faces to the Light now given, seeking Him where He may be found, He will open our eyes to behold His Human Glorified. He will illumine for us the path of life. He will give us intelligence and wisdom from His Word, and the power thence to obey His Law, that we may come into conjunction with Him, and into consociation with the angels, that His kingdom may be established in our hearts.
     "Herein lies the hope of the world and the bright promise of the future. This is the faith of the New Church. If we cling to it, and live it, making it the central object of our thought and love, it will sustain us through every trial and temptation, and will bring to eventual fulfillment, both in us and in the world, that Divine end of happiness toward which the Lord in His mercy has been leading, even from the dawn of creation."




     for the year ending December 31, 1986


     During the year 1986 the number of persons comprising the membership of the Corporation increased to 767. There were 55 new members of which 13 were men and 42 were women. There were 13 deaths of members.


     The bylaws of the Corporation provide for election of thirty directors, ten of whom are elected each year for terms of three years. The board presently consists of twenty-eight directors. At the 1986 annual meeting, ten directors were elected for terms expiring in 1989. Their present directors, with the dates their terms expire, are as follows:

1987      Asplundh, E. Boyd           1988      Hyatt, Garry
1987      Blair, Brian G.               1987      Johns, Hyland R., Jr.
1988      Blair, Kenneth B.           1987      Junge, James F.
1989      Buick, William W.           1989      Klippenstein, Glen
1987      Buss, Neil M.                    1989      Kuhl, Denis M.
1988      Coffin, Philip D.           1987      Leeper, Thomas N.
1988      Cooper, Thomas R.           1989      Merrell, Robert D.
1989      Evans, Roy B.                    1989      Orchard, Basil C. L.
1987      Frost, John A.               1989      Pitcairn, Lachlan
1988      Genzlinger, Dale B.           1989      Pitcairn, Stephen
1988      Gladish, Donald P.           1988      Schrock, W. Roger M.
1989      Heilman, J. Daniel           1989      Simons, S. Brian
1988      Heldon, Murray F.           1987      Smith, Robert A.
1987      Henderson, Albert D.           1988      Wyncoll, John H.

     Ex Officio members of the board:
Asplundh, Kurt H.
King, Louis B.

     Lifetime Honorary Members of the board:
de Charms, George
Pendleton, Willard D.



     The Corporation has five officers, each of whom is elected yearly for a term of one year. Those elected at the board meeting of March 7, 1986, were:

Vice President           Kurt H. Asplundh
Secretary               Stephen Pitcairn
Treasurer               Neil M. Buss
Assistant Treasurer      Bruce A. Fuller
Controller                Ian K. Henderson


     The 1986 annual Corporation meeting was held at Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, on March 7, 1986, this being the only Corporation meeting held during the year. The President, Bishop King, presided, and there were 125 members in attendance. Reports were received from the nominating committee, treasurer, secretary, and the election for directors was held.
     Mr. Gary Tennis, chairman of the committee appointed to study ways of increasing lay participation in the uses of the Church, reported on the work of the committee since his first full report at the 1984 annual meeting. His report concentrated on meetings and activities in the Bryn
Athyn Society.
     Rev. Douglas Taylor reported that his committee was considering the use of video film in the work of evangelization. He said that he had been in contact with Josephine Davis who had been producing films for television for various charitable causes such as the handicapped, and he showed one of her films on the handicapped as an example of her work. He said his committee would like to work with video if there were funds available in the budget.


     During the year there were five regular meetings of the Board of Directors. At the organizational meeting following the annual meeting, the incumbent officers were reelected and standard resolutions pertaining to corporate business were approved.
     At various meetings throughout the year, Neil Buss reported on the activities of the Real Estate Finance committee. The committee is providing assistance for church building projects in the Tucson, Twin Cities, San Diego, Freeport and Transvaal Societies and Circles. The committee is also working with the Kempton Society in their expansion plans and with the Durban Society in their 33-acre development called Glencairn Park.


     A five-year plan for the Real Estate Finance Fund was approved by the board. The plan projects receipts to the fund to cover grants and loans of $1.3 million over the five-year period. This ambitious plan will enable the completion of three society developments and also assist six societies in constructing church buildings.
     Mr. Walter Childs, the Development Officer, continued his work on developing the planned-giving program and guidelines. The effect of the new tax laws on the program is under study. In commenting on the annual fund drive, Mr. Childs reported that there was a shortfall in contributions as compared to the budget. Most of the shortfall was due to contributors reducing or eliminating their regular support of the annual fund and increasing their support to their local societies. The Development Office goals for 1986 were: (1) to encourage expanded support of the annual fund; (2) continue to work closely with those wishing to make planned gifts; (3) assist society and circle treasurers seeking help in maximizing contributions to their local society; and (4) present needs of the church clearly to as many New Churchmen as possible.
     The treasurer, Neil Buss, made several reports during the year on the financial condition of the church and presented the annual budget in March. He also presented several requests for mortgages by ministers, which were acted upon favorably by the board.
     Mr. Hyland Johns, chairman of the Personnel Advisory committee, gave updated reports on the work of his committee at each board meeting during the year. The committee works closely with the Bishop and his representatives in assisting in the Pastoral Development Reviews. This committee is also developing resources for encouraging and helping ministers in the field of their own personal and professional development. The area of communication is particularly important as the church moves into transition over the next five years with a new executive bishop and the committee is seeking ways of strengthening the communication contact within the church. At the March meeting, in an executive session, Bishop King presented the name of Rev. Peter M. Buss before the Board of Directors as the nominee for the office of Assistant Bishop. He said that the name came with the unanimous support of the Council of the Clergy. The Board of Directors expressed their unanimous full support and affirmation for the nomination of Rev. Peter M. Buss for the office of Assistant Bishop of the General Church of the New Jerusalem.
     Bishop King reported at several meetings on pastoral moves and career changes, and reviewed the number of ministers who are expected to be graduating from the Theological School over the next five years.


He also reported that he had asked Rev. Alfred Acton to be chairman of a committee to study organizational relationships between the General Church incorporated and the other organizations affiliated with the General Church. He said that the committee should consider organizational questions that might face the General Church in coming years, proposing policies that will take care of these questions in the spirit and according to the principles of government that have served the General Church in the past.
     Reports and recommendations were heard from the Salary Committee, Board Evangelization Committee, Budget Committee and New Church Press committee with the necessary action being taken.
     Respectfully submitted,
          Stephen Pitcairn,


     The Reverend Donald Rogers has been called to serve as Acting Pastor of the Los Angeles Society, by episcopal appointment, effective July 1st, 1987.
     The Reverend Stephen Cole has been called to serve as Assistant to the Pastor in Detroit, by episcopal appointment, effective July 1st, 1987. Mr. Cole will also do some travel work on behalf of the General Church.
     The Reverend Patrick Rose has been called to serve as Acting Pastor of the Cincinnati Society, resident in Cincinnati, effective July 1st, 1987. Mr. Rose will continue to serve as visiting pastor to the North Ohio Circle.
     Dzin Kwak and Thomas Rose have been recognized by the Bishop as Candidates for the priesthood of the New Church.
IT IS SO 1987

IT IS SO       Editor       1987

     To learn is to perceive interiorly in one's self that it is so.
          Apocalypse Revealed 618


Title Unspecified 1987

Title Unspecified       Editor       1987

     [Two photos of The Sower's Chapel, Sarver, PA, dedicated April 16, 1987]


Editorial Pages 1987

Editorial Pages       Editor       1987



     The title of this editorial comes from a letter Swedenborg wrote just after the publication of True Christian Religion, the last work to be published in his lifetime. Our focus will be on this one letter, because it is a unique and fascinating document having to do with the Writings, the New Church and some specific questions. Swedenborg finished writing TCR on the 19th of June, 1770 in Sweden.
     It was almost exactly a year later that the actual publication took place involving a lot of work by Swedenborg with the printers in Amsterdam. From there Swedenborg wrote this notable letter to an influential man in Germany. He informed him that the book was "finally just received from the press" and that two copies were being sent to this duke the same day. He urged attention to this book, "for it contains pure truths revealed from heaven."
     Later in the letter is a striking paragraph, which will remind readers of number 779 of TCR, but which contains added details.

     Our Lord and Savior had foretold both in the Gospels and in the book of Revelation that He would come into the world again and establish a New Church; and because He cannot now come into the world in person, it was necessary for Him to do this by means of a man who could not only grasp the doctrines of this church with his understanding but also publish them in print. And because the Lord prepared me from childhood for this, therefore He showed Himself in person before me and set me on this task. This took place in the year 1743; and after this He opened the sight of my spirit for me, and thus introduced me into the spiritual world, and granted me to see the heavens and the wonders there, as well as the hells, and also to speak with angels and spirits, all this now for 27 consecutive years. I swear to the truth of this. It is only for the sake of the New Church mentioned above that this has been done with me.

     The New Church was the purpose, and in this candid letter Swedenborg speaks of his calling and of his preparation from childhood. The duke had evidently asked him whether others might also speak with angels, and it is interesting to note Swedenborg's response that attempting to contact the other world is "extremely dangerous."
     There had been a request for the Arcana Coelestia, and from Swedenborg's letter we discover that by June of 1771 all copies of this work had been sold out in England and in Holland.


We see how enterprising Swedenborg was willing to be in getting the Writings into the hands of interested people. He offered to buy a couple of sets of the Arcana from individuals in Sweden to send to this man in Germany. (A series of articles in New Church Life in 1964 demonstrated an astonishing amount of book promotion and missionary work done by Swedenborg himself.)
     The final line in this letter mentions prayer, as Swedenborg commends a man to "pray for help to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." And so ends a letter written by Swedenborg in the middle of June in the year 1771, a letter in which he invites a reception of True Christian Religion, a book containing "pure truths disclosed from heaven."


     The duke to whom this letter was written was Ludwig 1X (1719-90) the Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt. Much of the letter is printed in Vol. I of Posthumous Theological Works, p. 590. To read it in its entirety see Letters and Memorials of Swedenborg by Dr. Alfred Acton, p. 738, or Small Theological Works and Letters (published by the Swedenborg Society in 1975), or Tafel's Documents, Vol II. p. 386.

     For some scholars the most interesting aspect of the letter is its relationship with TCR 779. To facilitate a comparison we are including here the Latin of that part of the letter and then the Latin of the similar words in TCR:

     Praedixerat Dominus noster Salvator tam apud Evangelistas quam in Apocalypsi quod itcrum in mundum venturus sit, et Novam Eccleasiam instauraturus, et quia non potest in Persona adhuc in mundum venire, necessum fuit, ut id per hominem qui hujus Ecclesia doctrinalia non solum intellectu posset percipere, sed etiam illa typis evulgare, facturus sit; et quia Dominus a pueritia me ad hoc praeparavit, ideo coram me Ipsius servo Se in Persona manifestavit, et ad hoc munus misit; hoc factum est anno 1743; et post hoc aperuit mihi visum spiritus mei, et sic me in mundum spiritualem intromisit, et dedit mihi videre coelos et mirabilia ibi, tum etiam inferna, et quoque loqui com angelis et spiritbus; et hoc nunc contineter per 27 annos. Quod ita sit, testor in veritate, quod ita mecum factum sit, est solummodo propeter Novam Ecclesiam, de qua nunc supra.
     Swedenborg's letter of June 18, 1771

     Quoniam Dominus non in Persons se manifestare potest, ut nunc supra ostensum est, et tamen praedixit Se venturum esse, et novam ecclesiam, quae est Nova Hierosolyma, conditurum, sequitur, quod id per hominem, qui hujus ecclesiae doctrines non solum intellectu recipere, sed etiam illas typis evulgare potest, factnrrrs sit. Quod Dominus coram Me Ipsius servo Se manifestaverit, ct miserit ad hoc munus, et quod post hoc aperuerit visum spiritus mel, et sie me in mundum spiritualem intromiserit, et dederit videre caelos et inferna, et quoque loqui cum angelis et spiritibus, et hoc nunc continenter per plures annos, testor in veritate.
     Vera Christiana Religio 779



YOU SHALL NOT MURDER . . . EVER?!       Kathy Nicolier       1987

Dear Editor,
     In the February issue of New Church Life I read the thought-provoking address by Rev. Kenneth Alden. The subject of abortion as well as artificial insemination and birth control is an ongoing controversy in the whole of the Christian world. I think we all agree that killing in any form is unlawful, whether it be spiritual or natural, and Rev. Alden so clearly shows how even altering another's life is indeed against the fifth commandment.
     I ask that we all take a moment to reflect on how we all stretch that commandment and bend it to our present needs and justify murder. It is done every day by millions of people and all with the best of reasons. We must first of all be clear on just who has the right to give and take life. Legally it varies in different countries. In France it is the medical profession held by law to defend life under all circumstances. In Italy the parents have this right. There are certain Christian denominations who believe they should not interfere in any way by artificial means in the life or death process, but there again we could say that it is the parents who choose. In all cases human prudence steps in and reacts. Can we know if it is of Providence or permission? We can be sure that the Lord does not intend for us to suffer needlessly, and where there is suffering He will transform it to part of our purification, providing we are looking to Him.
     Now let us take this same principle to our attitudes toward war and national defense, and the extremely high tolerance level that exists toward killings among the so-called God-trusting nations.
     Who determines the life and death of individuals in this case? The government officials who are being paid to handle these affairs, or the individuals by "executing" orders to kill, or the Lord by giving us permission to kill all those who do not live according to our concept of life? Once again, I highly doubt that it is in Providence to kill all those who are in our way for any reason-be it with parents in the case of an unwanted child or a country with an unwanted enemy!
     If the Lord thought it important enough to make it a law not to kill, He must have His reasons, and it is up to us to find out why, or just obey because He said so-like a child toward his parents. And we must be clear as individuals and a church that justifying wars and killings, not to mention the high level of human torturing and sufferings involved in this dirty condition, are out of permission, not Providence.
     As a church who teaches love to the Lord, country, neighbor and self, whose teachings are based on the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, can we permit ourselves to defend principles that go directly against the fifth commandment?


I suppose we can because I see it being done everywhere, but we are not acting as instruments of the Lord in spreading peace and His kingdom on earth. Our goal should be to help preserve spiritual health and balance by asking ourselves just how we can love our enemy, do good to them that spitefully hurt us, and respect the commandments at the same time. I suspect that it is not impossible, or the Lord would not have instructed us so. I sincerely believe that there would be change if each one of us were to pray and ask the Lord, "How can I help to restore a state of spiritual balance by love to our enemy while respecting Your ten commandments? Show me the way, Lord." I know the Lord will respond to a sincere heart. And among all of us some good ideas are certain to arise. Our trap has been in accepting killing the enemy as a reasonable solution which prevents us from searching further. But in light of all the teachings in the Word it is evident that it is unlawful. Let us allow that light to shine and not hide it under a basket, and especially remember the words of Christ that the lukewarm will be spat out of His mouth. We are called as a church with the leaves that are for the healing of the nations. That is the responsibility of the New Church.
     This is a subject that will cause much talk among us and that is its purpose. Unless we look at this problem together and openly we are denying its existence and thereby giving it a large space to creep in and grow. I have many ideas about how we can combat the enemy, and I'm sure you all do as well. We need to put them all together and work on it. What's your idea and how can we most efficiently work together with the Lord in preparing the church as His bride?
     Kathy Nicolier,
          Beaune, France

ALL RESTLESSNESS AND ALL PEACE       Editor       1987

     All restlessness arises from evil and falsity, and all peace arises from good and truth.
     Arcana Coelestia 3170


Church News 1987

Church News       Various       1987


     Since 1984 the Sociedade Religiosa "A Nova Jerusalem" in Rio de Janeiro has given its attention to two areas of great importance in the field of evangelization. The first of them is the Sunday School which at present includes ten children divided into two age groups. The subjects are selected and prepared beforehand in fascicles by a group of teachers under the supervision of the Rev. Cristovao Nobre. Since 1983 they have already had several series from Exodus, Genesis, Luke, Joshua and, at the present, I Samuel. The way the classes have progressed through this method has been remarkable, not only due to the interest arising with the children, but also because of the participation of their parents. Most of them are involved in the classes and studies through weekly family meetings with their children.
     The second area regarded of equal importance is the publication and distribution of the Writings. During the last three years more than 700 books have been distributed, either sold or donated to libraries. At the end of 1985, the society partook in an event which gathered more than forty entities, many of which were esoteric. The church found there an excellent opportunity to distribute information through pamphlets, sermons and extracts of the Heavenly Doctrines to up to 1,000 people. Sixty of them bought the Writings, and contacts were established with some of them who are now receiving the magazine A Nova Igreja. This magazine contains a sermon and part of the Writings, including a chapter of the Arcana, which is being translated gradually.
     Nevertheless, our society still needs to find means to distribute the many other books which were printed more than twenty years ago, as there was not a minister or someone else at that time who could dedicate himself to this task. The result was that many bindings became faded or marred, making it difficult to sell them through regular bookstores. After Rev. Andrew Heilman came to train another minister, the society began to have conditions to face things properly. However, in order to accomplish this work, we would have to create an official and independent organization, since a church cannot sell anything according to the law.
     Thanks to the Lord's help, the society was able to establish, on June 19th, 1986, the Edirora e Livraria Swedenborg. Ltda (or Swedenborg, Publisher and Bookstore), which we hope, in a very near future, will have its own location. Meanwhile it is functioning in the same building as the church, serving only as a distribution office. Twenty-three members of the society provided the capital and are still giving their support for the first expenditures and for its definitive establishment some day in the future. In spite of it having owners, the Edirora actually belongs to the church's uses, since it was decided by vote that its capital should be given to the church uses in case of failure; and, when it will get profits, they will support costs of evangelization, like a Bible study course by mail, and some time in the future, a New Church elementary school.
     During this time, some people have been working on several translations of the Writings, as Apocalypse Revealed, by Rev. Jose L. Figueiredo (in the vigor of his 82nd year); Heaven and Hell, second edition (the first was printed in 1920 by Rev. Levindo C. de La Fayette), revised by the couple Eloah and Raymundo Castro; Arcana Caelestia and Doctrine of the Lord by Rev. Cristovao Nobre; and, recently, Earths in Universe, by Rogerio Dalcin who lives in Bryn Athyn.


But it is only through the fund for publication of the Writings in Portuguese, donated by John Pitcairn in 1915 to the General Church for this use, that these books are being published. Apocalypse Revealed and Heaven and Hell are being printed professionally, 1,000 copies of each. They will be distributed in a suitable way through the Edirora, and it is expected that their sales will be relatively quick and able to cover the costs of future editions. As to the Arcana, Doctrine of the Lord and Earths in Universe, they are to be printed by mimeo until we have a definitive form, and are being included in the magazine sent to the readers of the Writings in Brazil. Beginning in March, Rev. Cristovao Nobre will take several trips to some of the large cities at the center and south of the country so that the Writings can be put into bookstores and be available to people who (perhaps 95% of them) will hear about Swedenborg for the first time.
     For the Swedenborg tricentenary, we plan the publication of a Swedenborg biography which is being translated and for which permission to publish in Portuguese has been requested. Also a pamphlet is being printed to announce the new editions, which will reach more people than our magazine does, in a simpler and more direct way.
     It is a great joy for us to let our brothers of the New Church in the world know what has been done in our society.
     Eloah Castro and Patricia Santoro


     Summer in Australia is the king season-the season of lying on beaches and listening to the crickets, when the sound of cicadas and sometimes the smell of bush fires fill the air, and Christmas is spent in the sticky, sometimes aching, heat.
     Last summer-January, 1986-the Australian Academy held its third: Family Weekend. The first Family Weekend, held in 1984, was just that-a "first." The second, held in 1985, showed that it could be done again. The third established the Australian Academy Family Weekend as an institution.
     The site for the Family Weekend was Camp Wanawong, a small but adequate church camp that merges with the thick Australian bush south of Sydney. The accommodation and function rooms were constructed of rough brick and timber to blend with the bush setting-"nuts and berries" style architecture it is called. There were about 50 campers and visitors.
     The educational section of the weekend occurred during Saturday morning. The topic was on the uses performed by angels in heaven. Specifically, the uses performed by those angels occupying the eyes, ears, nose and mouth of the Gorand Man were investigated.
     To apply the knowledge that they had gained, Rev. Sandstrom helped the children to develop a series of pantomimes that illustrated how various angels might do their work.
     After practising the pantomimes was finished, some of the adults gave presentations on the uses they perform here on earth. John Hicks talked about what an architect does. In explaining that an architect designs buildings and supervises their construction, he showed how a building begins as an idea in the architect's head and how the architect communicates his idea to others by means of drawings. Rhonda Hall gave a presentation on what it is like to be a medical receptionist. With the help of some of the children she acted out a typical day in a doctor's surgery. Brian Horner talked about what an engineer does-specifically, an engineer concerned with water supply and sewerage. During his talk he used chemicals to demonstrate how dirty water could be made clean.


     Norman Heldon entertained everyone with a presentation about poetry. To illustrate a point concerning the poem "Humpty Dumpty" he caused a very large egg to fall from a high wall and to break into pieces. You can imagine the squeals of delight when it was discovered that Humpty was made of chocolate! And, of course, nobody cared that he couldn't be put together again.
     Evening worship was held outside in the balmy night air with the aid of candies. Once the children were tucked in and settled in bed, the adults got together for a doctrinal discussion.
     The third Australian Family Weekend was well organized and planned, providing a full program of educational activities for children as well as recreation in a lovely Australian setting. The Australian Academy is to be congratulated for its hard work that allowed things to run so smoothly--in particular. Erik and Lynn-Del Sandstrom, Owen Heldon, Sylvia Hicks, Patricia; Walsh and Rhonda Hall.
     John Hicks

The following is taken from the April issue of the Courier. It describes the 1987 "Camp Wanawong" in Australia.

     The sessions were given by not only ministers but also laymen, on appropriate subjects, and were most stimulating and sometimes fun. They were intellectual and affectional studies, with questions and responses from the congregation. We can be grateful for the men who minister to us and to those who support this use.
     When it comes to the children's pantomime, it's hard to adequately describe. The little ones and not so little ones were impressive in their costumes and in their performance as they acted out memorable relations in the Writings. The sphere of innocence was powerful.
     It was a real treat to have two Childses with us-Rev. Geoffrey and Rev. Robin. They contributed greatly to the spiritual food, and also to the entertainment. The three ministers. Rev. Erik E. and the Childses, were quite a trio! You should know that the President-elect of the Academy bested everyone in swimming underwater, although Robin and Erik made a good showing.
     This was a very hospitable camp.
          Kay Lockhart

SWEDENBORG FOUNDATION       Editor       1987

     The Swedenborg Foundation announces two openings for professionals to interact with the public, gain support for the work of the foundation, and communicate information about Swedenborg and Swedenborgian thought.
     Executive Director. Candidates must demonstrate expertise in administration, fund-raising, and effective interpersonal relationships. Experience in publishing and marketing information materials is desirable.
     Bookstore Supervisor. Candidates must have experience in ordering, inventory control, display, and promotion of books and films. Background in philosophy, arts, and humanities is desirable in addition to knowledge of Swedenborg's writings.
     Interested individuals should send a resume to: Swedenborg Foundation, 139 E. 23rd St., New York, NY 10010.



SIX MONTH STATISTICS       Editor       1987


     We have reported ninety-eight baptisms so far this year. (Last year it was ninety-two). Fourteen of these were adult baptisms. We have reported fifteen betrothals, twenty-three weddings, and thirteen confirmations.


View from Within 1987

View from Within       Editor       1987

A Compendium of
Theological Thought
compiled and translated by
GF Dole

     Softcover          postage paid $6.50

     Available from
General Church Book Center
Box 278
Bryn Athyn, PA 19009

     Hours: Mon-Fri 9-12
or by appointment
Phone: (215) 947-3920


Notes on This Issue 1987

Notes on This Issue       Editor       1987

Vol. CVII     July, 1987     No. 7


     Notes on This Issue

     Talk to someone who was at the General Assembly, and you will notice that the word "success" comes up. The whole undertaking seems to have been a resounding success. We have an account of the business meeting in this issue and we look forward to publishing a number of assembly ingredients is the months ahead. Total registration at the assembly was 1,585, which makes it the biggest in our history.
     During the assembly the Rt. Rev. Peter M. Buss was affirmed as Assistant Bishop of the General Church. We are pleased to have a photograph on page 302 of four bishops of the General Church.
     The "favorite passage" this month chosen by Rev. Brian Keith has to do with the lowest and most difficult moments of our lives. The passage strikes a responsive chord, being so true to life and so encouraging.
     We have a policy of not printing a sermon by a minister who had a sermon printed in our pages the previous year. We are not inflexible in this, however, and we did not mind being prevailed upon to make an exception in the case of the sermon by Wendel Barnett. A number of people who heard the sermon in the Bryn Athyn cathedral felt that this was one of particular importance. Lazarus is shown in the sermon to represent "a larger group of the human race."

MINISTERIAL ANNOUNCEMENT       Editor       1987

     The Rev. Louis D. Synnestvedt has been elected Executive Vice-President of the General Church in Canada effective July 1st, succeeding the Rev. Geoffrey S. Childs who takes up his post as President of the Academy of the New Church.




     "There was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at the gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table" (Luke 16:20, 21).

     The parable of the rich man and Lazarus conveys a message that people of varied circumstances have identified with through the centuries. We might ask how many historical accounts, honored novels and ancient legends have been based on themes of selfishness, thoughtlessness, greed and apathy while comparing those with much to those who suffer greatly with little or nothing. One's heart instinctively goes out to the impoverished, the diseased, the starving and the helpless as they are reduced to begging at the gates of the uncaring rich.
     On the surface, the account of the rich man and Lazarus seems to focus on the apparent inequities of life. We are inclined to ask, How could such indifference exist? Where were those who could have come to the aid of Lazarus to correct this apparent injustice of God's Providence? After all, Lazarus wasn't asking for much, merely the crumbs from the rich man's table. And yet, despite this meager request, Lazarus was left with only the dogs to come to his assistance and to care for his wounds.
     As the Lord unfolds this story before us, He reveals that both men died, Lazarus resting in heaven in the bosom of Abraham and the rich man in perpetual torment in Hades. We are reminded at this point that our resurrection into the other world takes place immediately after death and that there are then eternal consequences for the intentions that are central to one's thoughts and actions in this life. There is a life after death and a place or state called heaven and another called hell. These places are real, and Swedenborg saw people by the hundreds entering both of these spiritual realms on a daily basis. After a lifetime of free choices in this world, men and women do determine what they love the most, and after death they seek out others whose loves reflect their after death own. But this parable does more than teach us a few things about the life
     Indeed, a moment's reflection would suggest also that the Lord's message was not simply a comparison of the financially well-to-do with those who have become impoverished due to the circumstances of life. Nor was this narrative taught in order that people might become contemptuous of the wealthy and thus abhor riches.


Furthermore, it is difficult to logically conceive of a system of Divine justice in which all beggars go to heaven and all who possess wealth go to hell (see HH 357). After all, wealth, in many respects, is a relative thing. For example, for the sake of illustration imagine for a moment being in the presence of a starving Ethiopian family where the father is devoid of any Ethiopian means to provide his loved ones with shelter and clothing and the mother is no longer capable of giving her children any form of nourishment. Under such circumstances it is difficult to conceive of anyone in our affluent society describing themselves as "poor" or "needy."
     And so we conclude that by the "rich man" and the "beggar" another kind of wealth and poverty was being symbolized. After reading Scriptural passages such as "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" (Matt. 19:24), and "Blessed are the poor . . . for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:3, Luke 6:20, 21), it might at first appear that poverty is the way to heaven and that condemnation is the price one will have to pay for possessing riches. But we read that, "those who make a distinction in regard to heaven between the rich and the poor do not understand the Word. In its interiors the Word is spiritual, but in the letter it is natural; consequently, those who understand the Word only in accordance with its literal sense, and not according to any spiritual sense, err in many respects, especially about the rich and the poor" (Ibid.)
     In order to appreciate what we are being taught in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, it is essential that we enter into a more interior comprehension of the terms used. As we heard in our third lesson, by the rich man is meant the man within the church who is wealthy because of the knowledges of good and truth he possesses from the Word. This individual has the Word; he has quite possibly received a religious education and as a result he dines sumptuously whenever he so chooses. His table is full of spiritual truths, the purpose of which is to perform uses for others by doing them every good whenever the opportunity is presented. He is a wealthy man for he knows the purpose of creation. He is capable of distinguishing right from wrong, and he has a vision of what it is to love the Lord and the neighbor as oneself. As a result of the instruction he has received and the studies he has made, his God is more clearly visible and thus more understandable. He is a rich man, for he finds himself in a position to be of immense service to others, sitting before a feast of Divine delicacies while clothed in garments of genuine good and truth.
     Lazarus, on the other hand, was poor, a beggar whose attire was drab and whose health was compromised from disease and a lack of proper nourishment.


Lazarus was without all things, a man in need, who recognized his shortcomings and desired to be fed with crumbs of spiritual sustenance from the rich man's table. But instead of being cared for and fed, Lazarus was neglected and allowed to die without having been given the attention he required from the one who could have given so much. Lest we misinterpret, it is important at this point to recall that it is the spiritual sense that is the essential of the Word and not the message of the letter alone. Therefore, the Word of the Lord's second coming teaches us the true meaning of charity and warns against giving away all our worldly means, thereby impoverishing ourselves and jeopardizing our families. But would a few crumbs have "impoverished" the rich man? The New Word also teaches that our acts of benevolent charity should be performed with a discriminating mind. It is an evil act to provide murderers, thieves, and the slothful with means for perpetuating these evils. Acts of charity are to be performed in light of the Word which teaches that man is to love his neighbor from truth and that good, in its fullness, cannot be done apart from an understanding of what is genuinely true.
     Lazarus was not just a beggar, however, for he represented a larger group of the human race: people who have a need to be fed the truths of genuine faith. Lazarus is many kinds of people. We are instructed that Lazarus can be people within the church who are "in little good" because of their ignorance of the truth, who yet desire to be educated from the Word (see AC 9231). Such a man is incapable of digesting large quantities or varieties of food. At first he needs to be fed with care, small amounts of food being offered and ingested until his strength has increased and his body prepared to assimilate a more substantial form of nourishment. The message is clear. Spiritual truth, like natural food, has to be accommodated, that is, it has to be prepared and served keeping in mind at all times the state of those who are to be fed. Adult instruction to an infantile mind is of little use, and use is, after all, the end to which we all look as we offer instruction and counsel to our fellow man. To an infant, baby food is palatable, digestible and nourishing, but to an adult such food would be entirely inadequate. On the other hand, a turkey drumstick would be of little use to a tiny baby despite its intrinsic nutritional value.
     Priests, teachers, parents and friends who are sought out for advice or are led to instruct the young would do well to remember the importance of the accommodation of truth as we are instructed in the following: "Truth in a form not accommodated . . . transcends [or goes above] the understanding, and that which transcends the understanding is not received, and that which is not received does not flow into any faith, thus neither into the life of faith, which is the life of heaven" (AC 8922).


Unless spiritual truths are presented in such a way that they might be received, they cannot result in the life of charity to which they look.
     Another group of people represented by Lazarus, a far larger group, are those not in possession of the threefold Word (see SS 40:3). In this case Lazarus signifies the gentile as well as those throughout Christendom who are in a gentile state and who therefore wish to be instructed in truth from their desire to do good. What man blessed with the knowledges of Divine truth contained in the Word wouldn't aspire to discover whatever orderly means is available to share of his treasure with those who are longing to eat and who would be happy to receive even the crumbs which might be offered? Such hunger for the truth sometimes seems rare even within the church, but is this the case or is it perhaps that the truth hasn't been served in such a way as to make it appetizing or digestible?
     The Lord, as the perfect Revelator and Master Teacher, has given His Word in a form of Divine Wisdom. As given, the Word is a gourmet's delight. His accommodation is without flaw, and yet there are many who would critique His Word as if their unwillingness to heed or comprehend its message is somehow His fault. This is not the state of Lazarus. Lazarus does not lie at the gates of the rich man in order to criticize or find fault, but wishes only to receive that portion of the feast that he is capable of benefiting from.
     Lazarus is to be found throughout society. Wherever we go there are men and women who would be happy for the tidbits that fall from our dinner table, for we do eat sumptuously whenever we so choose. Sermons, special classes, private instruction, personal conversations, and especially the opportunity to read and understand the Word of the Lord's second coming, enrich our lives with information and inspiration unavailable to the average person. More importantly perhaps, these knowledges of truth possess a power for healing the open wounds of Lazarus and the people he represents.
     The challenge to every New Churchman is whether he will dine alone, leaving Lazarus to be cared for by the dogs, or will open his gates to those who truly hunger, making it possible for them to be nursed back to health on genuine truths of faith. The dogs in the parable are men and women who have a desire to do what is good, but without the genuine truths to lead them. By themselves they can lick the wounds of the outer man, but they have little of the Lord's truth required to heal the spiritual disease, pain, isolation and fear that festers within. These people and their organizations, which could certainly be listed by the hundreds, should not be condemned offhand. Their efforts to be of service often come from sincere hearts, even though their founding principles and methods often do not seem valid when viewed and judged in light of the threefold Word.


These organizations, born from the religious and psychological upheaval of our times, attempt to provide man-made formulas for happiness and the improvement of one's life-and indeed they often do provide a paradigm by which the outside of the cup is cleansed, but unfortunately unless the rich man shares of his bounty, Lazarus still dies the death of a rejected beggar filled with wounds unseen by the "dogs," that is, by those who are in the love of doing good but who do not possess the spiritual light that should lead them. Only the Lord can remove the evils of the interior man and He can enter our lives only as we learn, understand, live and are enlightened by the teachings of His Word. However, as we know, "man is born not for the sake of himself but for the sake of others" (TCR 406, AC 6933-6938). The riches we have been given along with the magnificent garments and the feast spread before us is for our welfare, but unless we seek the means for sharing it with those who truly hunger, unless we find the ways to offer this sumptuous feast to others in such a way that it can be received, should we not expect the same for our church as happened to the rich man? Are we not obliged by our conscience to manifest these things (influx)? "What is the use of knowing unless what is known to one be also known to others?" (Ibid.)
     The affection for truth is implanted within all people, and that affection remains as long as Providence allows for one's existence on this planet to continue. This hungering for truth is evidenced by the millions of books sold each year on the subjects of how to improve one's marriage, the life after death and what it is like, how to find happiness, what it is to love oneself in a proper way, the use of exercise and recreation, how to care for one's children, the purpose of existence, and so forth. Indeed, is there any subject of interest in the world that wouldn't benefit from an exposure to the light of the Word from which we dine everyday? The need is evident, not only in our country but throughout the world. It is time for the New Church to take its place and to accept its responsibility in communicating the truths it has at its disposal, accommodating this information to satisfy the requests of Lazarus in all his forms.
     The people of this church are fortunate beyond words to have been offered a seat at the rich man's table. We lead healthier and happier lives as a consequence of this Divine leading, for we can all imagine what it would be like to be cast down at the gates of the rich man's house, looking in without even a crumb of truth to guide us. Many of us have stood in that very position, and had it not been for the thoughtfulness and generosity of the "rich" people in our lives, who have shared of their marriages, their moral virtues, their civic duties, and their uncompromising principles, we would not be in the church today.


How grateful we should be, and are, to the many men and women in our lives who have given of their wealth.
     The visible God, the Second Coming, the Doctrine of the Sacred Scripture, Divine Providence, the means of creation, the life of charity, conjugial love and its eternal perspective, our knowledge of the life after death with its many potential blessings, the means of salvation and the church universal, all of this we have in order that we might know it, live it and give it away, "for there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at the gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table." Amen.

     LESSONS Isaiah 35; Luke 16:19-31; AC 9231:2,3; 10227:20 MINISTER'S FAVORITE PASSAGE (13) 1987

MINISTER'S FAVORITE PASSAGE (13)       Rev. Brian W. Keith       1987

     One of my favorite numbers is the following:

     "Were there no graves in Egypt that you have taken us to die in the wilderness?" . . . . That these are words of despair is evident. Moreover those who are in despair, which is the last of temptation, think such things, and then they are as it were on the slope, or are as it were sinking down toward hell. But at this time such thought does no harm whatever, nor do the angels pay any attention to it, for everyone's power is limited, and when the temptation arrives at the furthest limit of his power, the person cannot sustain anything more, but sinks down. But then, when he is on the downhill course, he is raised by the Lord and thus liberated from despair, and is then for the most part brought into a clear state of hope and of the consequent consolation, and also into good fortune (AC 8165).

     This number is taken from the story of the Israelites leaving Egypt. They thought they had escaped, but were facing a huge body of water. Turning, they saw the Egyptian army coming for them. They were trapped and knew they would be slaughtered, so they wailed to Moses.
     The spiritual meaning is wonderfully evident in the letter-a description of the low point in temptations when we feel trapped by our personal hells from which we are trying to escape.
     When we experience despair, feeling that we cannot overcome our evils, we are prone to complain and feel bitter. But the Lord does not hold that against us. He knows that our strength is very limited. In His Providence He allows our evils to push us to the brink that we might know in our hearts just how powerless we are.


[Photo of Rev. Brian W. Keith] And then, when we are certain all is lost, we are at last willing to let the Lord save us, rather than think all depends on our efforts. So gradually a sense of hope, consolation, and even good fortune can come to us. (See the entire of the chapter for how the Lord saved the Israelites, describing the life-cycle of temptations.)
     How comforting it is to know that even when we may think all is hopeless, the Lord does not give up on us! In fact, when we think that we have not been doing very well in our spiritual struggles, it could well be a time of preparation for our salvation. The low points in life are not indications of failure, but of the potential for real spiritual growth.
     States of desperation and hopelessness will come in the process of regeneration, but the Lord can and will lead us through them to a promised land.
     Rev. Brian W. Keith


Title Unspecified 1987

Title Unspecified       Editor       1987

     [Photograph of the four living bishops - the Rt. Revs. Peter M. Buss, Louis B. King, Willard D. Pendleton, and George de Charms.]

     Pictured above, with the newly elected Assistant Bishop of the General Church, are the three men who have led the church during the last fifty years.
     At no other time in the history of the General Church have so many accumulative years of church leadership been portrayed in a single photograph.
     Bishop George de Charms was the Executive Bishop from 1938 to 1962, Bishop Willard D. Pendleton from 1962 to 1976, and Bishop Louis B. King from 1976 to the present.



STATE OF MIND       JAY C. SMITH       1987

     We have been to the moon and back. Now where do we go? In this task, so ably done, we have gained a vast store of scientific knowledge but have not been able to escape from our human problems at home, which are increasing. This is the dilemma which now holds our attention.
     Man lives in two worlds, natural and spiritual. In his natural world his natural mind functions to serve his natural ends. In his spiritual world his spiritual mind functions to serve his spiritual ends. These two minds, jointly, serve one man but their functions are discrete.
     Now that man has been to the moon, let him discover the spiritual world in which his inner mind lives and operates. He will find that this world has a spiritual sun or source of spiritual energy which radiates and flows into man's inner mind as love and wisdom and gives him life, corresponding to the light and heat radiating from our natural sun. If this is true, it follows that such an operation must have order or laws governing its operation. It is indeed true. Also, man must retain his free will and rational approach to succeed in his exploration. It is only through a knowledge of the order of this spiritual life energy that man will be able to change his present state of mind and solve the dilemma which he now faces.
     This dilemma is not new but has confronted nation after nation for several thousands of years. In Biblical language a nation signifies a "good church" that observes spiritual laws. The first law of the nation is that "You shall acknowledge God and resist evils because they are against God." This is religion.

     1. The story of Adam and Eve pictures the Most Ancient Church. It had acknowledged God, resisted evils, and was living affluently in the Garden of Eden. When Adam failed to resist evils he denied God and lost his garden.
     2. The story of Noah and the ark pictures the second Ancient Church or nation. Noah, a good man, acknowledged God and built the ark and thus resisted the flood of evils. Noah's church prospered and grew. However, in its affluence it yielded to the temptation of self worship. It started to build its own tower to heaven out of burned bricks or falsities in the place of nature's stones or truths. This nation became confused and was scattered over the face of the earth.
     3. Following these two symbolic records of the prenatal and postnatal churches we have the historical record of Abraham and the church or nation which came from him.


When Abraham and Sarah, who were older people, resisted their complacency and acknowledged God, they were honored as the parents of a great church and many nations which were to follow. The sons of Jacob, who followed Abraham and Isaac, yielded to temptation and sold their young innocent brother Joseph into slavery. They thereby failed to resist evil, lost their freedom, and became slaves in Egypt.
     4. A new state of mind was given to Moses, who, as a small child, was rescued from the river in an ark of grass by Pharaoh's daughter and was reared and trained in the royal palace. Moses, who acknowledged God, proceeded to rescue his nation from slavery, trained them in the law, and welded them into a strong nation. This nation, with its new state of mind, grew and prospered until in the affluence of King Solomon's reign they, through indulgence, lost their sense of order, and finally, failing to acknowledge God, came under the rule of the Roman empire. This was a dark period in history, for Rome's natural power was void of all spiritual order, and civilization was starting to crumble. However, there was an innocent child born, whom wise men, following the star of the east, found in Bethlehem. This innocent child, our Lord Jesus, brought to man a new state of mind or concept of order.
     5. This new state of mind has made room for faith, which is an affection for truth, from heaven from the Lord, and has enabled man to discover and explore the now western world. Also, it has enabled him to conceive and build many great institutions, churches, nations, cities, and industrial empires. However, God's end is to build a heaven from the human race. If in the building and operating of these great institutions we fail to acknowledge God's end our institutions will fail.
     6. Our God, revealed to us in the Divine Human, the Lord Jesus Christ, can be approached only person to person. The institutions which we have built are only tools and should not be used for sanctuaries in which to hide.
     7. We are facing a new age, and as free and rational persons we have a choice to make. Shall we continue to worship our opulence and eminence, which will bring us to insanity and hell on earth, or shall we acknowledge our God in person, and resist evils, which will clear our state of mind for an influx of spiritual energy which flows through heaven from the Lord? This energy is infinite and eternal and is available for every good use.

     The order for our age is found in the two great commandments. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (Matt. 22:36-39).



SERIES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE (2)       Editor       1987

     Some People Who Delighted in the Writings

     In the first article of this series we talked about changing tastes in foods. It does happen that people come to prize certain foods as especially delicious which previously did not appeal to them. Let us assume that for you right now the Writings are like food that might be nourishing and good for you, but which definitely do not seem like something you would read with the greatest delight.
     Consider for a while now some actual accounts of people for whom the reading of the Writings was a tremendous joy. One might even say that the existence of the New Church is the outcome of a sense of joy which people felt when they opened a book of the Writings, for when the Writings were first printed we could not say there was a New Church. There had to be people who for some reason began to read and who understood and who felt a kind of joy.

     The First Known Reader

     The first person we know to have read anything of the Writings was an Englishman. His name was Stephen Penny. It was in 1749 when only one book of the Writings had been published. Penny was a man who wished that he could find delight and instruction in the Old Testament, but since he saw only stories he felt no delight in sensing an application to life. Since he had this wish, imagine the effect on him when he read on the very first page of the Arcana Coelestia that these days "the Old Testament is but little cared for." He went on to read that the stories of the Old Testament inwardly are alive with truth about the Lord. Penny wrote to the printer in London that he had obtained this first volume of the Arcana from, and he remarked on "the extraordinary degree of pleasure the reading of it has given me." He wanted to make sure that when the next volume came out he could get a copy and keep on reading. And so we may say that the story of readers of the Writings begins with a man who experienced an "extraordinary degree of pleasure."

     Two Men Who Wrote Letters to Swedenborg

     Let us take two more examples of people who read the Writings while Swedenborg was still writing them, and in each case let us note what they said in letters written directly to Swedenborg.
     On March 18, 1766, a college teacher by the name of Beyer wrote to Swedenborg to tell him that a feeling was growing stronger in him every day to read all the books of the Writings.


(This was long after Penny's day, when some twenty volumes of the Writings had been published.) Here is what Dr. Beyer said in his letter to Swedenborg about these Writings.

I have succeeded in getting most of them into my hands and have also had the opportunity to read a great part of them. I refrain from describing to you the joy I have often experienced, and how the glorious truths are beginning to shine before me; also how, in accordance with my wishes, I should not rest until I had read all the writings over and over again, were I not prevented by my daily occupations and engagements.

     There can be no doubt about Dr. Beyer's joy in the Writings. He actually lost his job as a theology instructor and suffered considerably as a direct result of his declared loyalty to the Writings. But he continued to read them for the rest of his life.
     In 1769 Swedenborg received a letter from a man in London by the name of Thomas Hartley. Without going into the story, let one part of this letter speak for itself.

I consider myself thrice blessed that your writings by the Divine Providence have fallen into my hands, for from them, as from a living fountain, I have drawn so many things, as well for instruction and edification as for my great delight, and I have been freed by them from so many fears, and from so many errors, doubts, and opinions which held my mind in perplexity and bondage that I seem to myself sometimes as if transferred among the angels.

     The experience of these three men is different from our own. As you look at what Hartley said you realize that his previous frustrating and troubling experiences had a lot to do with the good feelings that came when he finally found the Writings. We are not saying that the experience of these three men proves that everybody will read with the same feelings. We merely take note for now that one man spoke of "pleasure, another of "joy" and another of "great delight."

     (To be continued)

     Note: The three accounts above come from Tafel's Documents Vol II, pages 498 and 238 and Volume I page 4.



GENERAL CHURCH WORD COMMITTEE       N. Bruce Rogers       1987

     Annual Report


     The task of the Word Committee continued to be consideration of alternative readings to the New King James Version of books of the Word and extending the list of suggested emendations.
     The committee met five times in 1986. Of the number of suggestions considered, it adopted twenty-seven additional suggested emended readings, bringing the total to one hundred and twenty-one so far adopted by the end of the year. A list containing 102 of these suggested emendations was made available to the Council of the Clergy at its annual meetings in March of the past year, and a further, updated list will be made available to members of the council at its next meetings in June, 1987.

     Again, no decision has been made regarding a date for publication of this list for use by the church at large. The list grows slowly, because each suggested emendation requires careful, painstaking doctrinal and linguistic research and consideration before it can be adopted. Furthermore, a number of suggestions are researched that are then not considered certain enough or significant enough to be included in the final list. Most of these are, however, duly preserved, with commentary and a record of the research done on them, in their own separate list. All of this requires hours and hours of scholarly and technical work.
     Current members of the committee include the Rev. Messrs. Alfred Acton, Andrew J. Heilman, Prescott A. Rogers, Donald L. Rose, Frederick L. Schnarr, Lorentz R. Soneson, and candidate Jonathan S. Rose.
     The committee remains interested in receiving further suggestions for alternative readings to the New King James Version. We prefer that these suggestions be accompanied by a statement explaining the reasons for the suggested changes, lest we fail to note the significance. In order to prevent the list of suggested emendations from growing cumbersomely long, the committee maintains a policy of adding only suggested emendations that seem sufficiently important to warrant a change. In making this determination, the committee considers both linguistic and doctrinal arguments. Our aim continues to be a proper understanding of the literal sense in its own context and in relation to the Heavenly Doctrines.
     N. Bruce Rogers,




     Annual Report


     Thanks to the efforts of several dedicated people, the work of this committee continued to progress. Our task is to produce new and reliable editions of Latin manuscripts unpublished by Swedenborg but generally included in his theological works; to provide new translations of the Writings into current standard English; and to undertake such other related activities or projects that support these two goals and advance the work of editing and translating. Our funding continued to be generally adequate for us to carry on our primary projects. More is needed, however, to enable us to provide for more consultants and to increase the man-hours we can give to this work. Because of the painstaking care required, the work progresses slowly-more slowly than any of us would wish-and the only way to speed completion of our projects and to extend the number of projects we can accomplish is to find means of devoting more people's time to them.
     Experientiae Spirituales (formerly Diarium Spirituale). Preparation of a new Latin edition of this work, Spiritual Experiences, formerly published under the title Spiritual Diary remained our primary project. Unpublished by Swedenborg himself, it was published in the main only once before, by Dr. Immanuel Tafel in the last century. Since that time, it has become clear that Dr. Tafel missed some material considered by the author as part of this work, and a new, scholarly edition is much needed as a basis for new translations which may be considerably more accurate than the ones now hitherto or currently available.
     Edited by Dr. J. Durban Odhner, volume I appeared in 1983, published by the Academy of the New Church. Volume II was completed in 1985 and is still in process of publication, owing mainly to delays in obtaining adequate assistance for proofreading, correcting, typesetting footnotes, and similar tasks. No one so far has been found to do the final "paste-up." Dr. Odhner devoted a good deal of his time this past year to furthering publication of this volume, including the preliminary layout, progressing about halfway through the second volume. Initial editing of Volumes III and IV has been completed, but the edited text still awaits review by consultants before these volumes can be finally revised and readied for publication. We have experienced serious difficulty in finding suitable consultants with sufficient time to carry on this aspect of the work.


Volume IV will be the last to contain the actual text of the work. Fifth and sixth volumes are also planned, which will contain Swedenborg's indexes to the work, as well as an appendix. Some initial work has already been done on the index material.
     It is clear that the committee must do something to provide Dr. Odhner with the assistance he needs. Dr. Odhner has been assisted in recent years by Mr. Jonathan S. Rose, and Mr. Rose was able to give some further assistance in the summer, both as a consultant and in furthering publication of Volume II. Since Mr. Rose is also pursuing a doctoral degree, however, and in the summer months was engaged in other projects as well, he consequently had limited time to give. Dr. Odhner also had some assistance in the summer from Mrs. Kirsten Gyllenhaal and Mr. Michael V. David, who spent the majority of their time proofreading and correcting available galleys for Volume II, but it became necessary for Mrs. Gyllenhaal to take other employment in the fall, and Mr. David has likewise been engaged in other activities. Mrs. Chara C. Daum was then employed to continue with this work, which she did part-time, engaged again primarily in furthering publication of Volume II-photo typesetting, printing galleys, making corrections, and the like. What is needed is more consultant time, which Mrs. Daum may be able to give once publication of Volume II has been completed. More time will be needed than she can give, however, in order to catch up with the point Dr. Odhner has reached in his initial editing; and this in turn will require a greater expenditure of funds in order to provide the necessary employment, since publication tasks have been supported separately by the Academy Publication Committee.
     De Verbo. A new Latin edition of this work, prepared by the Rev. N. Bruce Rogers, continues to await publication until it can be published with De Ultimo Judicio (posthumous) and other companion material found in the same Codex (Codex 12).
     The Word of the Lord. A new English translation of De Verbo, also prepared by Mr. Rogers, likewise continues to await publication until it can be published with The Last Judgment (posthumous) and other companion material from Codex 12.
     De Ultimo Judicio (posthumous). The primary editing of this new Latin edition, first by the Rev. Prescott A. Rogers and then by Mr. B. Erikson Odhner, was completed three years ago. Mr. Odhner then reviewed the material in 1985 and this past summer Mr. Rogers proceeded with his own review as consultant to Mr. Odhner. The final revision is now complete through about three quarters of the text. Decisions still remain to be made over the placement of certain paragraphs and the handling of some other, miscellaneous material in the same codex (Codex 12).


Discovery of Swedenborg's system of pagination in this Codex and replacement into an appendix of certain interpolated paragraphs that do not properly belong to this work will require renumbering of paragraphs (not numbered by the author) according to the new order of the material.
     The Last Judgment (posthumous) Mr. B. Erikson Odhner had previously drafted a new English translation of most of this work, this past summer he transferred it to computer diskettes for processing. He then proceeded to revise this draft, progressing about three quarters of the text. This portion is now ready for review by his consultant, Mr. Prescott Rogers. As with the Latin edition, still remain to be made over the placement of certain paragraphs, the handling of some other miscellaneous material in the same Codex, and subsequent renumbering of paragraphs according to the new order the material.
     Conjugial Love. The Rev. N. Bruce Rogers continued with his new English translation. Assisting him are Mrs. Chara C. Daum as Latin consultant, and Prof. Robert W. Gladish and Mrs. Kirsten R. Rogers as English readers. Mr. Rogers spent most of the summer revising the first four chapters of his translation after review by his consultant and readers, and then continued on with his draft translation through chapter eight ("The Conjunction of Souls and Minds by Marriage"), completing about a third of the work. Mrs. Daum, Prof. Gladish and Mrs. Rogers also completed their review of chapters five and six, in preparation for Mr. Rogers' final revision.
     The Old and New Testaments in Latin According to the Writings: This collection of verses as quoted in the Writings remained in a state of suspension, owing to limitations in funding and a lack of personnel to carry on the project.
     Swedenborg Lexicon. Compiled and edited by Dr. John Chadwick of England, this valuable Lexicon to the Latin Text of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg is being published in installments by the Swedenborg Society. Mr. Jonathan Rose continued to assist by verifying quotations and references and proofreading the text, this past summer reviewing pages 15 to 21 of "Su," all, that he received from Dr. Chadwick this year.
     Selected Memorable Relations. As previously reported, several years ago Mrs. Lisa H. Cooper prepared nineteen simplified translations for the young of nineteen selected memorable relations. Nine have been reviewed by consultants. This past summer Mr. Jonathan Rose reviewed two more in preparation for final revision by Mrs. Cooper.


     Parallel Passages in the Writings. This project remains nearly completed. The goal was to discover all those passages in the Writings which were either copied or rewritten by Swedenborg from one work to another. The first installment of this work, edited by Miss Marcia Smith, was published in 1982 by the Academy of the New Church. Final editing of the entire work is in the hands of Mr. Edward Gyllenhaal. Mr. Gyllenhaal has transferred the lists to computer diskette, and this past year he continued with his revision in preparation for publication. Thanks to a generous special contribution for this purpose, we already have the funds to publish the completed work as soon as it is ready.
     "Translator's Corner." Edited by Dr. J. Durban Odhner, this special feature appears occasionally in The New Philosophy. It did not appear, however, in 1986.
     Computerizing the Translation Committee. Mr. Jonathan Rose continued his research into computers and word processors with a view to the most efficient and effective means of interacting with the photo typesetting equipment of the General Church Press. The General Church Press is now able to electronically transcribe text from IBM diskettes written with the WordPerfect word processing program (produced by the Word Perfect Corporation). Thanks to a generous special contribution, Dr. Odhner was provided with an IBM computer and Word Perfect software in 1985. At the end of this year, the committee was able to provide Mr. Erikson Odhner with an IBM compatible computer and Word Perfect software as well. In addition, Mr. Rose reports that Mr. Geoffrey Odhner and one of his brothers have used computers to initiate the typesetting process for two thirds of Volume II of Experientiae Spirituales. It remains to be seen how this will affect the efficiency of production.
     Producing new editions and translations of the Writings is a very satisfying endeavor. New editions look as an important goal to serving as a basis for newer and better translations, and new translations in turn look to serving the church in communicating the Heavenly Doctrines more clearly and more invitingly to a modern readership. We are spurred on by the potential usefulness of our work-to the worship of the church, to instructional and educational programs in which these books may be used, to evangelization efforts and activities, to private and public reading. Through these means we may help to occasion and promote the continued descent of the New Jerusalem on earth.
     N. Bruce Rogers,





     Mentioned in last year's report was the manuscript submitted by Rev. Geoffrey S. Childs entitled The Golden Thread-Spiritual and Mental Health. This has now been reproduced and is available through our General Church book centers. Also produced in 1986 was a short story for preschool children by Edna Schnarr entitled A Garden for Sarah. Funds are now available for re-issuing the following publications:

     The Wedding Garment by Louis Pendleton
     In the King's Service by Gertrude Diem
     The Golden Heart Stories by Amena Pendleton

     Hopefully these reprints will be available in the summer of 1987 from the General Church Press.
     A Readers' Guide has been updated by Rev. Daniel Fitzpatrick and is now on a computer for continual updating. Copies of this 60-page pamphlet are available on request. They are photocopied and inserted in the old Readers' Guide cover. This has reviews of books and pamphlets of general interest, graded by subject and level of comprehension.
     Plans for the future include a revision of the General Church Handbook, last revised by the Secretary of the General Church in 1976, and also a biography of Swedenborg in time for the 300th anniversary. This manuscript is promised the Publication Committee based on the material written by Rt. Rev. Alfred Acton in his Introduction to the Word Explained.
     Manuscripts to be considered for publication should be forwarded to the Chairman at Cairncrest, Box 278, Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania 19009.
     Lorentz R. Soneson,


     Applications are being considered for the position of Curator/Verger for the Bryn Athyn Cathedral as the present Curator will retire as of February 1988. Inquiries or applications with resume and salary requirements should be sent to: Bryn Athyn Business Office, P.O. Box 277, Bryn Athyn, PA 19009.







     Prior to the business meeting on June 4th, 1987 at the 30th General Assembly Bishop King read selections from New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine in the section entitled "Civil and Ecclesiastical Government."
     The minutes that were published in New Church Life from the 29th General Assembly were approved.
     Greetings were read by the Bishop from Rev. Ian Arnold, in Australia; Rev. Norman Rider, President of Conference in England; and from Neville Jarvis in Australia.
     The Bishop announced that there were books on the seats from the Development Office describing the Leonard E. Gyllenhaal Fund and that these were to be taken home.
     The Bishop then called on the Secretary of the General Church to offer a nomination for Assistant Bishop as follows:

     As Secretary of the General Church, it is my honored privilege to present to you at this session of the Thirtieth General Assembly of the General Church of the New Jerusalem the name of the Right Rev. Peter M. Buss as the priest the Council of the Clergy deem best qualified at this time to serve in the office of Assistant Bishop of the General Church of the New Jerusalem. After careful consideration the priesthood of this church are satisfied that Bishop Buss has the intellectual qualifications and doctrinal knowledge as well as the pastoral and educational experience to meet the needs of both the clergy and laity of the General Church of the New Jerusalem as Assistant Bishop, and that he has the ability to give whatever assistance the Executive Bishop of our church may need. The name of Bishop Buss to be Assistant Bishop is before you.

     This was seconded by the Secretary of the Corporation of the General Church, Mr. Stephen Pitcairn, with these words:

     The Council of the Clergy has named Bishop Peter M. Buss as its choice for the office of Assistant Bishop of the General Church of the New Jerusalem, and the Board of Directors, at a meeting held March 7, 1986, has wholeheartedly supported this choice of Bishop Peter M. Buss as Assistant Bishop.
     As Secretary of the General Church of the New Jerusalem, a corporation, I have the honor to second the nomination of Bishop Peter M. Buss as Assistant Bishop of the General Church of the New Jerusalem.


     A motion then was made from the floor by Mr. Alexander Lindsay that there be no written ballot and that the Secretary be instructed to cast a unanimous vote for the one nomination. However, after a short discussion this motion was defeated and written ballots were distributed. In addition, it was moved and passed that those sending in absentee ballots be permitted to include them in the final balloting. While the ballots were being counted, Bishop King read some statistics regarding changes in the status of the General Church since the last General Assembly. He reported the following:

     Six churches were dedicated, twenty-eight homes and three other buildings.
     Two circles were recognized as societies.
     Six groups were recognized as circles.
     There were three hundred seventy-three new members received; of these one hundred and twenty were baptized as adults.
     There were ten ordinations into the first degree of the priesthood; ten ordinations into the second degree; and one ordination into the third degree.

     Furthermore Bishop King emphasized the importance of the Leonard E. Gyllenhaal Fund to continue growth and development in the three areas of General Church schools, evangelization, more readable translations of the Writings, and the publication of these translations, and to assist in the financial autonomy of our districts, societies and circles. The current plan is to achieve a total of $8,000,000 in endowment: $2,000,000 for districts, societies, and circles; %1,000,000 to support translation and publication; $2,000,000 to enhance and develop evangelization programs; and $3,000,000 to assist societies in carrying on the uses of New Church education. He explained that for every dollar contributed an additional $4.00 will be placed in the endowment fund from the Glencairn and Cairncrest Foundations. That means we need to raise only 1.6 million dollars from individuals to meet our goal. It was reported that over $400,000 of this has already been contributed to get the fund going. The Bishop also emphasized that unless we help financially and every other way to continue New Church education that the General Church will not survive, and also that we need adequate translations for our own children and for newcomers. Fortunately, we are blessed at the present time with some fine translators to do the work.
     The Bishop also announced that he plans to grant permission for all first degree ministers to perform both sacraments, baptism and the Holy Supper, starting June 19th of this year.


     Bishop King announced that the Rev. Alfred Acton will take on chairmanship of the Translation Committee and he gave public acknowledgment to Rev. N. Bruce Rogers for the fine work he has done in the past as chairman of this committee. Mr. Rogers will now be leaving most of his teaching work load to become a full-time General Church translator. The Bishop also reported that studies are in progress regarding women on boards and will be reported on at next year's Council of the Clergy meetings.
     Bishop King also wanted to publicly acknowledge and thank the wives of our ministers for the important role they have been keeping in the work of spreading the church and maintaining our different societies and circles. A round of applause by those attending the assembly acknowledged their role.
     The Bishop also mentioned that he had appointed Rev. Kurt Asplundh as the chairman of a committee to investigate the subject of the physically and mentally handicapped in our church to find ways to assist them and utilize their skills.
     The question was raised as to whether more copies of the New King James Version bound in red, with only the books of the Word, would be made available to the public. There were 100 copies made and distributed in some of our societies during this period of trial. The Bishop asked those interested to speak to the Secretary of the General Church for a consensus and the possibility of making more books available.
     Bishop King also said that he has asked Bishop Peter Buss to focus on the two areas of evangelization and education starting this summer. He then thanked Rev. Douglas Taylor who has been evangelization director for the church for the past ten years and will now be turning over this leadership to Bishop Buss. He then invited Mr. Taylor to give a report on evangelization at this time.
     Mr. Taylor invited those who are interested in receiving the Missionary Memo to sign up and they will be sent copies. He explained also that the appointment of Mr. King Wille to assist in the administrative work of the Evangelization Committee was a wise and useful move. Mr. Taylor also mentioned that the video program has been actively launched, and a library is now available to those interested in receiving tapes on the series, "Death and Dying." He said the TV producer, Jo Davis, who completed the Caryndale document is currently working on seven more and that two of those films, the Caryndale one and one on Divine Providence, would be shown during the assembly.
     Rev. Terry Schnarr, who is conducting the evangelization program out of the Toronto Society spoke to the Assembly of their activities.


He explained how their bookstore has had over 83,000 people visiting it in the last three years and nearly 6,000 books have been purchased, and less than 5% of these purchasers are in the church. Mr. Schnarr also said he has conducted nineteen lectures across Canada to inquirers about the church, where about 1,800 people have attended in total. Their names are placed on mailing lists for future notification of lectures as well as articles and sermons. At present there are 2,200 people on their mailing list who have been receiving sermons in the last seven years. Another program for evangelization was the sending out of 30,000 copies of a volume of the Arcana to ministers and libraries in Canada. Only 1,000 of these were returned, many for legitimate reasons.
     Mr. Taylor then introduced Rev. Grant Schnarr who has been conducting a missionary program out of the Glenview Society in Chicago. Starting with a handful of people responding to ads in local papers, Mr. Schnarr said interested people have been attending classes and services in a restaurant known as "No Exit" on Sunday mornings. There have been about a total of 130 who have visited so far and Mr. Schnarr hopes that it will eventually become a General Church Society. They have recently applied and received circle status. He explained that they have services with hymns, prayers, recitations and sermons. Some of the ritual is less formal (the minister does not wear a robe), but it in no way detracts from the reverence in their sphere of worship. Mr. Schnarr's enthusiasm for spreading the church was obviously a key factor in this fastest growing group in the church. He explained that we are the disciples and that we should set our mind to the task. He said the church is more than doctrine. It is the life according to it, and this can be exemplified in our gatherings for worship and social life. Even if the project dwindles to nothing Mr. Schnarr felt that we can safely say "We tried," and that's extremely important in our mission of evangelization.
     In his closing remarks Mr. Taylor thanked his speakers and emphasized again that personal contact is the best form of evangelization. We must use our experience and knowledge to date in spreading the Lord's church.
     The Bishop invited response from the assembly for any questions or discussion of any subject before the church at this time. Mr. Alexander Lindsay from the Freeport Group outside of Pittsburgh described their delight in establishing a new chapel just recently. Mr. Peter Klippenstein described their new chapel in South Dakota and pleaded with the assembly to exercise their skills of listening and friendliness when contacting the neighbor about the church.     
     Bishop King then invited Mr. Robert Beiswenger, the Judge Elections, to give his report.


He said they tallied 571 votes for the affirmation of Bishop Buss as the Executive Bishop and 14 against and 6 abstaining. When Bishop Buss and his wife were invited into the assembly the congregation rose and sang "Here's to Our Friends." Bishop King announced that the overwhelming vote was confirming his new position and he invited Bishop Buss to respond. In moving words, Bishop Buss described his delight in the opportunity to assist our current bishop, especially in the roles of evangelization and education. He sees these two uses as similar and yet in many ways different. Teaching our young in our formal school system is a different approach from appealing to adults on a rational level, yet the goals are the same. He reminded us that churches grow in individuals, and as long as we protect and look to the individual freedom while sharing our doctrines we are carrying out the Lord's charge of spreading His church to the world.
     Before adjourning, Bishop King expressed his deep appreciation for Mr. Stephen Pitcairn who has served as Secretary to the General Church Corporate Board of Directors for thirty years and is now asking to be relieved of this important role. Bishop King said that Mr. Pitcairn performed an amazing service to the church, especially in legal matters and numerous other administrative details that are so necessary for proper maintenance of a church organization. The assembly responded with loud ovation for Mr. Pitcairn's three decades of service.
     The business meeting was then adjourned.
          Lorentz Soneson,

NCL 50 YEARS AGO       Editor       1987

     At the Sixteenth General Assembly in 1937 Bishop de Charms presented an overview of the history of the General Church. This overview is printed in the July issue of that year. In its conclusion Bishop de Charms states that "we face with confidence the unseen morrow, praying that the Lord, despite human weakness and the recurrence of proprial states, may bless our labors in His name, and provide each day, out of the storehouse of His Word, what is needful to our spiritual life."




     "A man's country is his neighbor in a higher degree than a society or an individual" (AC 6819-6821).

     The more things change the more they stay the same. In past history patriotism has always been one of the virtues. In essence patriotism is "love of country." We of the New Church know the two good and the two bad loves. Patriotism or love of country is a particular love of the neighbor.
     The True Christian Religion 305e tells us that "In the widest sense, by the fourth commandment is meant to love our country, because it feeds and protects us; therefore country or fatherland is named from father." In Arcana Coelestia 6821 we also find that "mother" in the natural sense signifies one's country. AC 8900e ratifies this by saying: Our country is our mother in the natural sense, as the church is in the spiritual sense.
     If the Concordance lists over 21 references to the word "country, love of country or patriotism must be important to every concerned New Church person. It cannot be ignored or watered down.
     The Writings tell us in TCR 414 that our country is a neighbor more than our society, because our country consists of many societies. Therefore our patriotism, or love of country, is of a more extensive and higher kind. If we truly love our country we then also love the public welfare or the common good. Our country is our neighbor because it resembles our parents. We were born in our country and our country has fed and still feeds us and it continues to protect us, as it has always done.
     We are bound from love to do good to our country according to its needs. The Writings state that these needs are divided into two needs, natural and spiritual. Natural needs regard civil life and order and which carry out the points of purpose as stated in The Preamble to the U.S. Constitution.
     All who understand history will quickly agree that every man is bound to love his country, and not only as he loves himself, but with even a greater love. The Writings confirm this and also tell us that this law is inscribed on every human heart. This is easily proven from that universal maxim which states: "If ruin threatens one's country from an enemy or any other source, it is noble to die for it, and glorious for a soldier to shed his blood for its defense."


     Every upright man will subscribe to this! Only a coward will defer the fighting that is at times necessary and let his sons in their time do the fighting while the cowardly father appeases the enemy in his time but he fails to solve the problem.
     This maxim also expresses the emphasis on how greatly our country should be loved. In our confused, troubled, and permissive times there are some who are not heeding this maxim and are losing faith in "the last great hope on earth," words which President Abraham Lincoln used in describing these United States, words which still apply.
     Those who study the Writings will also know that those who love their country and render it good service from good-will will love the Lord's kingdom, for it will be their country after death. In AC 6821 we read: "Our country is the neighbor above a society, because it is in the place of a parent. For there a man is born; it feeds him and guards him from injuries. Our country is to be benefited from love according to its necessities, which chiefly regard its sustenance, its civil life, and spiritual life. He who loves his country, and from good-will benefits it, in the other life loves the Lord's kingdom; for there the Lord's kingdom is his country."
     Since we live in a time of vastation, it is especially important for us to understand what true love, and its various forms such as patriotism, is. We are surrounded with so much false liberalism and permissiveness that we tend to forget. Please note strongly what Doctrine of Charity 86 states: "Even if I cannot love my country on account of its spiritual good, I can do so with regard to its moral and civil good, so far as this is not dependent upon its spiritual good, even if that country hates me. Thus I must not in hatred regard it as an enemy, nor as a stranger, but must still love it, doing it no injury, but consulting its good insofar as it is good for it."
     And Doctrine of Charity 85 has the point "Hence our country is to be loved in a higher degree [than other kingdoms]."
     As the Ancients have always accepted the concept that one's country was to be loved, so today we must come to appreciate patriotism. For to fight and die for one's country was the greatest love. Let us reflect on the heroes of the past, who gave their most precious gift-their lives. Let us realize that by their sacrifices we are here today. Thus we will deeply honor the virtue of patriotism.



VISION CONTINUES       Carol Skinner Lawson       1987

     Be Part of It

     What a scene . . . people of all ages in cheerful summer clothes are mingling with obvious delight on a shady outdoor terrace. A few autumn color leaves get crunched on the warm flagstones by the crowd. A pleasant conversational buzz bums above-it is almost orchestral- as ideas are exchanged. I catch the phrases "whole-person development," "the brain-mind connection," "near-death experience, "transpersonal psychology," "what Swedenborg says," and "Swedenborg 101."
     Scholarly academic accents-European, Far-Eastern, and Australian-resonate in the conversational melee. I also hear, "Fantastic!" and other bright exclamation points put out with teen- and college-age vitality. What an enchanting end-of-the-summer scene. How I animated the engagement of mind and spirit!
     Suddenly, I recognize the event, of course! It is 1988, the last week of August, at a lovely country resort just outside New York City. Scholars, people from church groups, physical and biological scientists, agnostics and inquirers, psychologists, members of professional organizations, and so forth-a great mix of thoughtful people from throughout the world, representing 1988-have come together for a world conference. There is a symposium and series of workshops. Sponsors are the Swedenborg Foundation and several public-interest and professional organizations. The common denominator is Emanuel Swedenborg, eighteenth-century scientist and theologian.
     All of these people have come together because of their interest in what Swedenborg has to say to those who grapple with questions of faith and science in the post-modern world. Tonight there will be a final dinner party where one of the scientists will give the results of the scholarly symposium; workshop leaders will respond with how these ideas affect near-death, transpersonal psychology, and other humanistic studies. Tomorrow, the Swedenborg Foundation, at its newly renovated offices and library in New York City, will host an open house where the symposium and workshop participants will say their farewells to each other.
     Today many people are finding Swedenborg's work relevant, three hundred years after his birth. Thus the theme for the Swedenborg Foundation's tricentennial program, which will culminate in the 1988 world conference described in the imagery above, is The Vision Continues. The Foundation's program includes a number of events taking place throughout 1988, as well as the production of new information materials to support these events. These are:


     - The 1988 World Conference in the New York City area, a program in which scientists and scholars will speak and lead interested participants. The conference will emphasize holistic thought and bridge-building between various disciplines. Several organizations will be invited to sponsor workshops on related studies.
     - A Swedenborg Film Festival to be held in this country and abroad at universities, public libraries, medical centers, hospices, nature centers, etc., throughout the 1988 year. The viewings will often be followed by discussion periods. Sponsors will be the universities, public libraries, and other centers where the Swedenborg Foundation films will be shown, made possible by small grants from local New Church societies and groups. Information on the Film Festival has already been sent out to New Church groups in the U.S. and abroad.
     - A new motion picture, Swedenborg, Scientist, is now in the research phase and planned for release at the 1988 World Conference.
     - A traveling museum exhibit, Swedenborg, Scientist, will be shown at approximately six major science and air museums throughout 1988.
     - New pamphlets on Swedenborg Scientist and on the work of the Swedenborg Foundation are now being written. These will be suitable as handouts for the Film Festival at the science and air museum exhibits in the U.S. and at other Swedenborg tricentennial celebrations being planned by other groups throughout the world.
     - A comprehensive Swedenborg Pictorial Anthology is now in press. There will be an opportunity shortly for New Church people to place pre-publication orders.

     In forming the above program, the Swedenborg Foundation has contacted all Swedenborgian organizations worldwide, and obtained suggestions from many people. These church groups have been encouraged to join the Foundation in using the theme The Vision Continues together with the symbol designed by Paul Maring, Messenger Art Director, as shown above. Although we are strictly a publishing house and not connected officially to any New Church organizations, the Foundation will, nevertheless, do everything possible to support-with copies of the tricentennial symbol, the Foundation films, a special tricentennial press release heading, and the new pamphlets-the Swedenborg Tricentennial events being sponsored by New Church groups throughout the world.
     We will be making further announcements as plans progress.
          Carol Skinner Lawson,
          Chairman, Tricentennial Committee,
          The Swedenborg Foundation




     On May 9th, 1987, the General Church of the New Jerusalem and the Academy of the New Church received on loan from the University of Stockholm Library two original manuscripts of the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg-marking the first time in history that any major manuscripts of the New Word have reached the western hemisphere. Now on display at the Glencairn Museum, they will be transferred to the new Academy Library building when it is ready.
     Actually, all the originals presently domiciled at the University Library are the property of the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences, but were moved there because of the better conditions for preserving old books. The Swedish Academy is in the process of renovating its library at the present time, and the scientific collections, probably including all the Swedenborg manuscripts, will be moved back in a few years.
     In January 1986, when I was invited by the Scandinavian Swedenborg Society to speak at the House of Nobles for their celebration of Swedenborg's 298th birthday, I was accompanied by my spouse, Carroll, who had received a grant from the Carpenter Fund to acquaint herself with the people and collections connected with Swedenborgiana in Sweden and at the same time to acquaint them with the impressive plans of the Academy for a new Swedenborg library. She was also asked by Bishop King to convey a letter requesting the loan of an original manuscript of the Writings to whoever was concerned. Carroll presented this letter to Mr. Inge Jonsson, Vice President of the University of Stockholm.
     After more than a year of waiting and some additional correspondence back and forth, the word finally arrived from Stockholm that we were welcome to borrow the manuscripts as requested.
     I was privileged to be asked by President Buss to serve as courier to bring these precious books back from Sweden. It was, of course, both delightful and frightening to face this great responsibility. On May 6th, after a pleasant luncheon offered by the Head Librarian, Mr. Lars-Erik Sanner, to me together with librarians Mr. Strand and Miss Backman (and the Rev. Olle Hern, who had accompanied me), I selected two books from the shelves of the vault, and packed them.
     The first of the two manuscripts was Volume II of the Arcana Coelestia, containing the explanation of Genesis Chapters 16 to 21 (paragraphs 1886 to 2759), first draft. This Volume is Codex 10 of the Royal Academy's collection (see Hyde's Bibliography no. 550; Tafel's Documents 11.2, pp. 841, 974).


It is bound up with pages of different sizes, as one sees immediately, and this is because the original leaves of the Arcana Coelestia seem not to have been bound into volumes:

     The whole of this original draught of the Arcana Coelestia was unbound when it was conveyed to the Academy of Sciences by Swedenborg's heirs. It is described in their catalogue (Document 304) thus: "Theological Writings, no. 14.-Three large parcels, in which, according to their superscriptions, is contained the first systematic composition of the Arcana Coelestia and the Apocalypsis Revelata." The sheets belonging to the Arcana Coelestia were bound by A. Nordenskjold in fifteen substantial volumes (Documents II:2, p. 841).

     Of course, there is no Volume I manuscript of the Arcana, for its only draft was the one Swedenborg personally placed in the hands of the printer, Mr. John Lewis, while he was still in London. He always sent the final drafts, after Volume I, to the printer from Sweden, but they were never returned.
     This second volume of the Arcana is the thinnest of eight in the set published by Swedenborg between 1749 and 1756. It has the distinction of being the only book of the New Word that the author had translated into English and so published. It is also the only one of the volumes which was sold in installments, six of them, chapter by chapter. These went for a mere eightpence or ninepence each! (The proceeds went "toward the charge of the propagation of the gospel.")
     The second of the two manuscripts is Volume II:1 manuscript of the work Spiritual Experiences (formerly called The Spiritual Diary, Swedenborgii Diarium, and Memorabilia; see Experientiae Spirituales Vol. I, ANC 1983, pp. iv to xi). This contains paragraphs 3428 to 5001,and constitutes part of Codex 3 of the Royal Academy's collection (see Hyde's Bibliography nos. 896 and 2163; Tafel's Documents II:2, pp. 837, 978).
     Originally, Codex 3, numbering from 3428 to 6096, was in one parchment volume. This volume (together with a number of other manuscripts) was brought to England by a Mr. C. B. Wadstrom and underwent a series of bizarre adventures which R. L. Tafel, with marked understatement, describes as "a curious history, the particulars of which are related in Document 309 (pp. 810 to 817)" (11.2, p. 837). However, it was rebound, out of misplaced courtesy (perhaps it had come back from Dr. J. F. I. Tafel in Germany in a rather sorry condition), into two morocco volumes like this one by the Swedenborg Society, just before they returned it to the Royal Academy of Sciences in about 1845. And it was rebound erroneously also from the point of view of chronology: for the break should have been after n. 4544, allowing for the insertion of the small octave volume hitherto known as the "Diarium Minus" ("Minor Diary," Codex 95) which Swedenborg had numbered from 4545 to 4715 and which belongs chronologically before the continuation Codex 3 that again begins with n. 4545 and goes on to 6096.


[Two photos of Dr. Odhner receives the manuscripts in Stockholm and presents them to Rev. Martin Pryke in Bryn Athyn]


While requesting a manuscript of Arcana Coelestia, Bishops King and Buss added a note of keen interest in the second volume of Spiritual Experiences because it is presently being edited by myself, and certain things are difficult to make out from the photolithograph copies of the manuscript. I was therefore very pleased that Mr. Sanner obligingly offered us this tome and, in fact, Volume 11:2 manuscript as well. However, I felt that one Arcana volume and this half of the Experientiae Spirituales volume was enough to carry on one trip.
     It should be noted that the work Spiritual Experiences was written over a period of many years, starting in the year 1745 and continuing some time after April 29, 1765-only seven years before Swedenborg's death. That it constitutes an integral part of the Revelation of the Lord's Second Coming is therefore a matter beyond any reasonable doubt. (For details concerning the dating of Experientiae Spirituales in its entirety, see Vol. I referred to above, pp. xiv to xvi.)


     Since use is "the central purpose of a good human life by the faithful performance of the duties of his office, profession, calling, or occupation" (Rev. C. Giles), then the Writings are an important tool, for the Writings provide instruction on how we should prioritize various uses, and what we should esteem as the highest functions that our lives can fulfill.
     Therefore, the Writings are not just a basis of a religious system, but they are an invaluable guide for modern-day society. Man can only be guided so far as the literal sense. He knows that he should follow the Lord and love the neighbor above himself, but it does not say how this can be accomplished in everyday life. He knows he should "lay down his life for his friend," but this presents a semantic dilemma-who really is his friend, and what does laying down his life imply? These are essential but puzzling problems for those who are trying to live a good life by the literal sense of the Word.
     Many in the Christian world believe that they are serving the Lord to the fullest extent by going out, as commanded in the New Testament, and "baptizing all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ"-hence the evangelical fervor.


But many of these fail to have any longer a sense of the objectivity of truth: that we can know and understand, and that it is not wrong to have questions and doubts. They esteem uncertainty as a sign of "weakness of faith" and not the inquisitiveness of a rational man.
     Hence, the evangelical movement is definitely one of conformity to fundamental principles, though investigation within those boundaries is encouraged. It is admirable that they are trying to live their religion; according to the truths that they have, but often their motives can be faulty. Even so, since true use is fulfilled through our attitude toward our daily obligations, they might truly be serving one of the highest uses. But still they are basically unapproachable as a result of their rigid fundamentalism. In our evangelism efforts, we have to bear in mind that we must present the Writings as a "marketable product." One of the essential teachings that should be presented first is the doctrine of the Trinity. All things will fall into place if a true idea is accepted. If asked, "What do Swedenborgians believe?" try replying that "Just as a man has a soul, mind, and body, that is how we should think of the Lord." Also, to the question, "What form of religion is that?" a solid reply is "advanced Christianity."
     Once the Trinity is understood and the process of the Lord's glorification, then they will begin to apply it to their world. The newcomer will discover that the Writings give the technology of the spirit and repentance; why there is suffering in the world; how the whole world is a kingdom of uses, made for man's use, so that man may be useful; that the natural world is not inherently evil, yet man is and must be regenerated; and that man will go through temptations-that sin is not just "separation from God" but willing evil.
     An interesting parallel can be made of the application of the Writings versus the evolution of technologies, as Si Goodmen described: "1) an experimental rarity, often an entrepreneurial discovery; 2) an exotic tool or toy used by a small group of experts; 3) products that are well known and manufactured in modest quantity, but direct use is in limited and industrial or other institutional environments; 4) widespread production and availability, with direct use, requiring little or modest training," in a broad domain by a sizeable minority of the population; and 5) the technology has become a part of the fabric and infrastructure of daily life, and its absence is often more noticeable than its presence." The parallels to both regeneration and the growth of the church can be easily made.


     I heard once that 70% of America's workers were unsatisfied with their jobs. Just think how more productive our country could be if we all served willingly and cheerfully!! Maybe this is the solution to the economic woes.
     The Writings give the technology of spiritual development, and state that the essence of our development and life is in our use. Hence, we have use of the technology-that of the Writings, and the technology of use-the application of truth in our lives.


     Glenview, Illinois

     September 25-27, 1987

     Friday, 7:00 p.m. - Sunday, 10:30 a.m.

     Come share your insights, strengths, and hopes on the subject of "Thy Will Be Done." How do you practice this in your everyday life in regard to the church, your family, your job, and yourself?

     Lovely accommodations in a beautiful setting at Divine Word Inter-Conference Center in Techny, Illinois, about three miles north Glenview.

Guest speaker:      Louise Rose
Staff:                Fran Blaesing, Marie Odhner, Jacquie Chapman, Audrey Grant, Cindy Edmonds, Dawn Caldwell, Josie Smith.
Price:                $60.00 covers comfortable lodging, food, and mailing costs (limited number of $10.00 scholarships available upon request).
Registrar:           Mrs. Audrey Grant
                         2344 Dewes Street
                         Glenview, Illinois 60025

     Reservation with $20.00 deposit must be received by September 10th. Limited enrollment. Check payable to Mrs. Audrey Grant. Call Fran Blaesing at (312) 272-3724 if any questions.
     You are welcome to join us at the first Midwest weekend for rest, reflection, spiritual growth, and fellowship.


Editorial Pages 1987

Editorial Pages       Editor       1987


     The first baptisms into the New Church took place two hundred years ago this month. In our lifetime there seems to be no more suitable time to call attention to this event. We look back at the publications of a hundred years ago and find that people were giving this attention. A writer in the Morning Light called it a matter "of great interest to the New Church at large" that "the sacraments of Baptism and the Holy Supper were solemnized for the first time in the New Church" in July of 1787 (Morning Light, July 1887, p. 285). In the Intellectual Repository of July 1887 we read, "On the 31st of July, 1787, the external worship of the New Church was solemnly introduced upon earth in the presence of sixteen members, at the house of Mr. Thomas Wright" (p. 237).
     Five people were baptized into the New Church in that home in London two hundred years ago. The first one was Robert Hindmarsh. Hindmarsh first heard of Swedenborg when he was 19 years old, and he first held a copy of the Writings in his hands at the age of 23. (Some of the story is told in a fairly recent editorial of this magazine, June 1982, p. 265.) Hindmarsh was 28 when he was baptized into the New Church. During the years that followed, this gentleman made New Church history, and at the age of 65 he began to write New Church history, beginning a book entitled, Rise and Progress of the New Jerusalem Church in England, America, and Other Parts. A subtitle of the 500-page book is "Particularly Its External Manifestation by Public Worship, Preaching, and the Administration of the Sacraments, with Other Ordinances of the Church."
     On page 58 of this book Hindmarsh speaks of that first New Church service of worship. "The Society, having thus made solemn preparation for what they conceived to be an event of great importance and interest to all who should thereafter be admitted as actual and visible members of the Lord's New Church on earth, proceeded to appoint a day for carrying their intentions into effect . . . . The 31st of July was fixed upon for that purpose. The proceedings of that day, as entered in the Society's Book, are thus recorded."
     The recorded proceedings show that after the Holy Supper "Robert Hindmarsh was called; and the Faith of the New Heaven and the New Church from Emanuel Swedenborg's Universal Theology, being read to him, he was questioned whether he firmly believed the same, and was desirous of being Baptized into that Faith.


On his answering in the affirmative, he was marked with the sign of the Cross on his Forehead and Breast, and Baptised in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
     When the five had been baptized, the proceedings closed with the reading of the Glorification for the Lord's Advent in no. 625 of True Christian Religion. This was followed by the Lord's prayer and a benediction.
     Hindmarsh continues: "Such was the commencement of the New Church in its External and Visible Form, in the city of London . . . . We had confidence in the divine promises, and firmly believed that the Church, now begun in much weakness and imperfection, is yet destined to become, in the Lord's appointed time, the Crown and Glory of all the Churches that have hitherto existed on this earthly globe. We therefore did what we conceived to be a duty imposed upon us, as the first Society in the known world, that was disposed to bring into ultimate effect the true worship of the Lord . . . ."


     Congratulations to the Evangelization Committee for making available free of any charge a new Pamphlet Reading Guide. First of all it lists pamphlets (with prices) under subjects. You can choose from a dozen pamphlets on life after death and from more than a dozen on the spiritual sense of the Word. There are four under Providence and permission.
     Then the same pamphlets are listed with information on their length and contents. Take one of the titles as an example. A Great Revelation by Basil Later is a 26-page booklet that costs one dollar and is described as follows:

     A sincere and compelling account of how a "searcher" came to discover Swedenborg, followed by well-chosen selections from the Writings. This is a good, well-written introductory piece; especially for a thoughtful person with a real interest in the deeper things of religion. Could also be used later after shorter pieces have been read.

     The guide lists separately an impressive array of pamphlets produced in Glenview. It would be a rare person who has read the majority of these pamphlets, and you may very well want to order some for your own interests, but above all, think about how you could put these pamphlets to use. What ones would you like to have on hand in case you are faced with an opportunity to help someone who is looking for something? Send for the Pamphlet Reading Guide to The Evangelization Committee, Cairncrest, Box 278, Bryn Athyn, PA 19009.


     We would mention a 50-page booklet published this year and not yet listed among available pieces of literature. Rev. Jan H. Weiss has written and is distributing for a $5.00 contribution a nicely bound booklet entitled Sexuality and the Word of God. There are more passages in the Bible than one might expect which say puzzling and even troubling things about the sexes. Verse 12 of the 19th chapter of Matthew talks about eunuchs and those who have "made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake." Readers of the Bible, unaware of the spiritual sense, must wonder about such things. Mr. Weiss explains them in a patient manner, always encouraging a spiritual application of sayings in the Word.
     In a section headed "The Story of the Garden of Eden Correctly. Understood" we are shown that: "Woman was not the first to become evil. She did not tempt man to do evil. The Lord did not punish women for this 'first sin' with the pain of childbearing. It is not God's will that men rule over women. The book of Genesis does not teach such ideas."
     Because the Epistles of Paul have condescending passages about women and about marriage, it is important to this booklet to address the question of what books belong in the Word. We learn that "the New Testament canon was finally settled on April 8, 1564 by dogmatic decree, and proclaimed as divine doctrine by the Pope."
     In a section called "Practical Implications" the writer says, "A father may think his wife is below him because of what he believes the Word teaches or because he learned this from his parents. For whatever reason a mother is degraded, such behavior has a bad influence on the marriage and on the children. It creates a chain of causes and effects that needs to be broken. So I am writing this book to communicate to every father and mother and child that women are equal to men. They are on the same level as men . . . Just because they are different from men does not make them unequal."
     The author invites people to write to him at New Church Outreach, P.O. Box 7066, Industry, CA 91744.



CHURCH GROWTH       Will Smith       1987

Dear Editor,
     Ivan Scott's paper given to the Sons in January 1987 and printed in New Church Life, April 1987, makes some good points and asks a few questions to which I would like to respond.
     The first question concerns church growth. Should we concentrate our efforts on bringing new people to the church, or should we put our efforts into more personal study of the Word, and living a life of use according to the truth?
     I don't see why either of these should in any way exclude the other. By meeting potential newcomers to the church and discussing our doctrines with them, we can actually improve our own understanding of the Word.
     Some of the new members that I know have done a great deal of "reading," including some of the more difficult to understand manuscripts. What is more important is that they also appear to have a very real love of the Writings.
     Now, my question is, are they yet a part of the church specific, and if they are, isn't the church specific stronger for their presence, and isn't our conjunction with heaven that much better? I think so.
     The Lord is constantly leading us by degrees away from evil and toward Him. Even people who don't have the Word can be conjoined to the Lord through the Word if they acknowledge God and live a life of charity (see Heaven and Hell 308).
     There must be a great many people who have been led by the Lord to a point where, if they encounter the Writings, they can immediately see them as truth.
     We don't have to sell people something they don't want, and we don't have to water it down in order for them to accept it. If they are ready, they will accept it.
     Also, there is the question of profanation. It seems to me that there is not a real danger to the church from profanation, but it is more of a personal danger. We also know that the Lord doesn't lead people into faith and charity unless they can be kept in them for their whole life (see DP 232).


     There is a danger of negative comments about the church, but this isn't always bad. I know of one person who has become interested in the church through negative comments.
     I can hardly think of a greater use that we can perform than to make the Writings available to people who are ready for them, who are in fact searching for them.
     We know that when we study the Word, there is a conjunction between us and heaven and that this conjunction is reciprocal. We can't actually see it, but perhaps we can feel it in our hearts.
     Will Smith,
          Glenview, Illinois

JUDGING ACTS       Patricia K. Rose       1987

Dear Editor,
     In her response to my letter "In Itself" (March issue), a reader sums up my ideas as, "an act is to be called 'good' or 'bad' solely according to the motive of the doer," pointing out that an action can also be called good quite apart from the motive behind it. Yes, I was speaking of what its quality is, not what it appears to be, although I didn't discount the latter.
     I took the suggestion and reread Doctrine of charity 8, reading even further. No. 40 expresses both our views: "The evil equally with the good can do good. He can assist another, can do him many good services, from good will, from kindness, from friendship, from compassion. These, however, are not charity with him who does them, but with him to whom they are done. In outward appearance it is charity." Two of the numbers I originally quoted state plainly that the action's quality comes from the motive in spite of how it appears.
     A matter of concern is the comment that in judging others it is important to be able to separate acts from motives, "because the Lord forbids us to judge motives . . . but requires us to judge acts." This is a belief commonly held in the church.
     Are there teachings that tell us to judge acts and not motives? I am aware of ones that tell us we are to judge people even as to their intention as reflected in their acts. One such passage even talks about not separating the act from the will when we judge: "This much is known, that nothing is done in or through the body except from the will through the thought; and because both of these act, it must necessarily be that each and all things of the will and thought are present in the action. They cannot be separated; consequently, from a man's deeds or works others judge of the thought of his will, which is called his intention" (DLW 215).


Obviously we can't make this evaluation about someone we don't know at all-it requires some knowledge of the person. The more knowledge, the better the judgment, hopefully. HH 499 refers to this in reference to those who are evil but pretend good: "With such an end contained in the good that they seek and do, their good is evidently not good but is infected with evil, however good it may appear in outward form to those not acquainted with their interiors" (emphasis added).
     AE 185 also speaks of not judging acts but intentions: ". . . for it is the spirit in man that intends and thinks. Without this life in works they would be only motions like those of automatons. For this reason the wise do not look at the works but at the life that is in the works, namely, at the intention. This is especially true of the angels who are with man."
     True Christian Religion 226:5 enlightens us on the importance of doctrine to help us understand the Lord's warning, Judge not that ye be not judged: "Without doctrine one might be led to conclude from this that he ought not to judge an evil man to be evil; but according to doctrine it is lawful to judge, but justly, for the Lord says: 'Judge righteous judgment' (John 7:24)."
     I have trouble picturing why the Lord sanctions such an extreme judgment of another as stated in CL 523: "If you are in internals such as you appear in externals you will be saved or condemned." (Of course, the "if" is important here because we could be absolutely wrong about the person, as noted in SD 4425, 4426.) Apparently the reason for judging at all is so that we will know how to relate to the person, because the Lord does tell us, ". . . it is the part of Christian prudence to examine well the quality of a man's life and to exercise charity according to it" (AC 6704). Since charity should be done differently to good and evil states in people (see AC 6703-6712), obviously we have to be able to distinguish between them. This does not mean that we need to categorize as fundamentally good or evil the people we know. What we can do when we see that a person seems to have a problem in a certain area of his life (e.g., with dishonesty, dominating, contempt for others) is try to help him recognize the tendency, the point being not to punish him but to evoke the good that is obscured or threatened.
     We all know that before we can help others remove their "motes," we have to look first for "beams" in our own eyes and work on removing them. AC 1909:2 tells us how to start going about that. We don't have to be regenerated before we can help others in this way-we regenerate to eternity. If we are shunning our own evils, we will I have a desire to help the neighbor in his spiritual journey.


     Is it wrong, then, to judge a person's intention? Should we only judge acts? Evidently not. But there's a strong caveat: Judge righteous judgment. If we are working on our own evils, and react to the evils of others not from hatred and revenge but from a real desire to help, we will be living the kind of life the Lord has prescribed for us. That doesn't mean we have to do something about everything that seems evil to us. Involved in the judgment is to know when to try to help and when to ignore the problem as not having to do with us-and to accept it when a person doesn't want our help.

     *     *     *     *

     A question was raised that I think is very important to consider. If intentions are the key to actions, what about things like euthanasia-mercy killing? If the intention is good, how can euthanasia be wrong? This is where the teaching (DLW 215) that both the will and the thought are present in intention is vital. Someone may convince himself that he would be sparing another in pain from further suffering for a good motive. But he has to try to justify it because intellectually he suspects it would be wrong (understanding as well as will).
     He could ask himself, "Is my mercy greater than the Lord's?" Also, "Can I really question the Lord's omniscience and Providence and decide when someone should die?"
     Just as spiritual temptations do not cease until they have performed their use (see AC 8179), so also must life continue until the person is prepared to "enter" the other world (see SD 5003). Even the Lord when He was on earth and His soul was "exceedingly sorrowful, even to death" wanted to be removed from the situation. When we entertain the thought of euthanasia or are in the despair of spiritual temptation, we can respond as He did: "nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will."
     So, along with the idea that a person's intention or motive is what gives all his actions their quality, we have to remember that thought from the will through the understanding makes up every intention. It is not charity alone nor faith alone that should determine our actions, but charity and faith conjoined.
     Patricia K. Rose,
          Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania



OAK LEAF CAMP       Editor       1987


     You are cordially invited to attend Oak Leaf Camp in Oxford, Wisconsin (near Madison), August 8 and 9, 1987. To register contact Joel Smith, 32 Park Drive, Glenview, IL 60025, phone (312) 998-5674 or Warren Brown, Rt. 2, Box I-F, Elroy, WI 53929, phone (608) 462-8123.



A LIGHT BURDEN        Rev. John Odhner       1987

     This is taken from the "Light Burden" pamphlet by John Odhner adapted from the recent series in this magazine.


     Easier Ways to Shun Evils
Most of the people I talk to in this church seem to realize that shunning evils plays a very important part in one's spiritual growth. Of course, it is one of the fundamental doctrines of the church, and I guess we ministers tend to talk about it fairly often. Sometimes I hear people complain, "Why do we have to hear so much about shunning evils? Why not focus on more positive things?"
     This kind of complaint makes me reflective, and a little sad. I ask myself, "How could anyone be turned off by a concept that is so inspiring, hopeful, and excitingly powerful?" I wonder whether we possibly have paid too much attention to the bare fact that we ought to shun evils, and not enough attention to the encouraging instructions on how to shun evils.


Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, 19009, U. S. A.
Only USA Addresses
Information on public worship and doctrinal classes provided either regularly or occasionally may be obtained at the locations listed below. For details use the local phone number of the contact person mentioned or communicate with the Secretary of the General Church, Rev. L. R. Soneson, Cairncrest, Bryn Athyn, PA 19009, Phone (215) 947-4660.



Dr. R. Shepard, 4537 Dolly Ridge Road, Birmingham, AL 35243. Phone:(205) 967-3442.


Mr. Hubert Rydstrom, 3640 E. Piccadilly Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85018. Phone: (602) 955-2290.


Rev. Frank S. Rose, 2536 N. Stewart Ave., Tucson, AZ 85716. Phone: (602) 327-2612.


Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Holmes, Rt. 6, Box 447, Batesville, AR 72501. (501) 251-2383


Rev. Donald Rogers, 5022 Carolyn Way, La Crescenta, CA 91214. Phone: (818) 249-5031.

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Ripley, 2310 N. Cirby Way, Roseville, CA 95678. Phone: (916) 782-7837

Rev. Nathan Gladish, 7911 Canary Way, San Diego, CA 92123. Phone: (619) 268-0379. Office: (619) 571-8599.

Rev. Mark Carlson, 4638 Royal Garden Place, San Jose, CA 95136. Phone: (408) 224-8521.


Mr. and Mrs. William Reinstra, 708 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, CO 80829. Phone: (303) 685-9519.

Rev. Clark Echols, 3371 W. 94th Ave., Westminster, CO 80030. Phone (303) 429-1239



Rev. Paul Schorran, 21 Crestwood Rd., Stratford, CT 06497


Mrs. Justin Hyatt, 417 Delaware Ave., McDaniel Crest, Wilmington, DE 19803. Phone: (302) 478-4213.

     District of Columbia see Mitchellville. Maryland.


Rev. Daniel Heinrichs, 15101 N. W. Fifth Ave., Miami, FL 33169. Phone: (305) 687-1337.


Mr. W. H. Eubanks, Rt. #2, S. Lee St., Americus, GA 31709. Phone: (912) 924-9221.

Rev. Christopher Bown, 3795 Montford Drive, Chamblee, GA 30341. Phone: (Home) (404) 457-4726. (Office) (404) 452-0518.


(Idaho-Oregon border) Mr. Harold Rand, 1705 Whitley Dr., Fruitland, ID 83619. Phone: (208) 452-3181.


Rev. Grant Schnarr, 73A Park Dr., Glenview, IL 60025. Phone: (312) 729-0130 (home) (312) 724-6130 (office).

Mr. John Aymer, 380 Oak Lane, Decatur, IL 62562. Phone: (217) 875-3215.

Rev. Brian Keith, 73 Park Dr., Glenview, IL 60025. Phone: (312) 724-0120.

Contact Mr. James Wood, R. R. 1, Lapel, IN 46051. Phone (317) 534-3546


Mr. Henry Bruser, Jr., 1652 Ormandy Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70808. Phone: (504) 921-3089.


Rev. Gene Barry, Middle and Winter Station, Bath, ME 04530.


Rev. Frederick Chapin, #12 Pawleys Ct., S. Belmont, Baltimore, MD 21236. Phone: (301) 682- 3397.

Rev. Lawson Smith, 3805 Enterprise Rd., Mitchellville, MD 20716. Phone: (301) 262-2349.


Rev. Grant Odhner, 4 Park Ave., Natick, MA 01760. Phone: (617) 651-1127.


Rev. Walter Orthwein, 395 Olivewood Court, Rochester, MI 48064. Phone: (313) 656-1267.


Mr. Christopher Clark, 5853 Smithfield, East Lansing, MI 48823. Phone: (517) 351-2880.


Rev. Michael Cowley, 3153 McKight Road #340, White Bear Lake, MN 55110. (612) 770-9242


Mr. and Mrs. Paul Johnson, 103 S. Greenwood, Columbia, MO 65201. Phone: (314) 442-3475.

Mr. Glen Klippenstein, Glenkirk Farms, Maysville, MO 64469. Phone: (816) 449-2167.

     New Jersey-New York:

Mrs. Fred E. Munich, 474 S. Maple Ave., Glen Rock, NJ 07452. Phone: (201) 445-1141.

     New Mexico:

Mrs. Howard Leach, 4215 12th NW, Albuquerque, NM 87107. Phone: (505) 344-6735.

     North Carolina:

Mr. John deMaine, 3509 Highridge Rd., Matthews, NC 28105. Phone: (704) 845-4058.


Rev. Stephen Cole, 6431 Mayflower Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45237. Phone: (513) 631-1210.

Mr. Alan Childs, 19680 Beachcliff Blvd., Rocky River, OH 44116. Phone: (216) 333-4413.

Mr. Hubert Heinrichs, 8372 Todd Street Rd., Sunbury. OH 43074. Phone: (614) 524-2738.


Mrs. Louise Tennis, 3546 S. Marion, Tulsa, OK 74135. Phone: (918) 742-8495.

     Oregon-Idaho Border.-Se Idaho, Fruitland.


Rev. Kurt Asplundh, Box 277, Bryn Athyn, PA 19009. Phone: (215) 947-3665.

Mrs. Paul Murray, 5648 Zuck Rd., Erie, PA 16506. Phone: (814) 833-0962.

Rev. Ragnar Boyesen, 126 Iron Bridge Rd., Sarver, PA 16055. Phone: Office (412) 353-2220 or Home 295-9855

Rev. Jeremy Simons, RD 2, Box 217-A, Kempton, PA 19529. Phone: (Home) (215) 756-4301; (Office) (215) 756-6140.

Mr. Richard Kintner, Box 172, Paupack, PA 18451. Phone: (717) 857-0688.

Rev. Ray Silverman, 299 Le Roi Road., Pittsburgh, PA 15208. Phone: (Church) (412) 731-1061.

     South Carolina:- see North Carolina.

     South Dakota:

Contact Linda Klippenstein, 537 Albany, Hot Springs, SD 57745 Phone: (605) 745-6629


Mrs. Charles Grubb, 604 Highland Ave., Austin, TX 78703. Phone: (512) 472-3575.

Mr. Fred Dunlap, 13410 Castleton, Dallas, TX 75234-5117. Phone: (214) 247-7775.

Dr. James Carter, 30 Williamsburg Ln., Houston, TX 77024. Phone: (713) 456-4057.


Rev. Kent Junge, 14812 N. E. 75th Street, Redmond, WA 98033. Phone: (206) 881-1955.


Mrs. Charles Howell, 3912 Plymouth Circle, Madison, WI 53705. Phone: (608) 233-0209.








by the Rev. Frank S. Rose
General Church Publication Committee
Postpaid $3.20

     General Church Book Center           Hours: Mon-Fri 9-12
Box 278                              or by appointment
Bryn Athyn. PA 19009               Phone: (215) 947-3920


Notes on This Issue 1987

Notes on This Issue       Editor       1987

Vol. CVII     August, 1987          No. 8


     Notes on This Issue

     We feature this month the address given at the General Assembly in June by Rev. Daniel Goodenough. Other assembly material will be published in the months ahead. The series for young people will be discontinued for a few months as we have a plentiful supply of material just now including series of interest to young people. We were hoping in this issue to print the page of addresses of hospitality committees of various church centers. Space would not permit this, but we would note that the Bryn Athyn Hospitality Committee is now headed by Mrs. Edward Cranch, Box 465, Bryn Athyn, PA 19009 (phone 947-1211). If no answer, phone G. Anne Synnestvedt (947-3725).
     We will be presenting two reviews of the book The Golden Thread, which is currently selling very well. The review in this issue is from the point of view of a professional psychologist. The next issue of the magazine Chrysalis will be devoted to the subject of gardens and architecture. The review this month is on the issue devoted to the subject of angels.
     Two of the people who visited Bryn Athyn for the assembly came from Ghana in West Africa. See the letter on p. 381. The address of the New Church in Ghana is: Assembly of the New Church, P.O. Box 450, Tema, Ghana, West Africa.
     Fifty years ago this month the editor of New Church Life printed his annual report and noted that much of the contents of this magazine was addressed to the adult mind, but he went on to make the following comment:

     Yet I believe that our young people of the high school age and older will usually find something to interest them in a number of the Life if encouraged to read it.
     The hope is that in their freedom they will gradually find it delightful to go to church, to attend doctrinal classes, and other public meetings, to support the uses of the church in various ways and perchance to read New Church Life. I can now recall that, in attending church as a boy, the service and sermon were not as prominent in my mind as the prospect of meeting other boys and girls after church. It has been said that "the love of the church with the young begins in the love of pleasure"-the pleasure of social life. I am sure that many of our young people find pleasure in scanning the news columns of the Life, if only to see whether a new engagement is announced therein. By degrees, through the love of pleasure as a beginning, they enter into the delight of the higher uses of the church.




     Address to 30th General Assembly

     "But what will you do in the end?" So asked Jeremiah the prophet (5:31). What will be our future? How can we know what are reasonable expectations for the months, years and generations ahead?
     We should think about Jeremiah's question. Where do most of our expectations come from? One major input is surely from our upbringing and treatment by others. Those who know by experience that they are loved at home, and that people in school and society will treat them fairly and honestly, are likely to have high expectations for their lives, eternal as well as earthly. How you treat your neighbor will in some little way affect what he expects in his future. When home and education and other experiences do not convey a sense of being loved, or of direction from a Divine light, one's expectations are lower, more "realistic" we might say. Life is seen more as a struggle against people out to take you. An older generation brought up on the Great Depression and world wars sees hard work, self-sacrifice, and service as the human norm; life has hardship, struggle and some pain. A younger generation surrounded by material pleasures and balm for the natural man is conditioned by the experience of having needs met (and quickly too), and may be inclined to see life and religion in terms of finding happiness. Heaven can almost become a smorgasbord of delights to savor and enjoy. If the pursuit of happiness is the reason for our existence then it also will become our expectation.
     A second major element in our expectations is probably our will or inner love: what we decide we want will gradually shape our expectations of what we will get. Unless we think wisely, probably most of our expectations for the future will come from some combination of past experience and what we choose to want from life. The person used to success comes to expect it and is disappointed when his efforts aren't crowned with success, while one familiar with failure learns to expect more failure and may not believe in his abilities. But our experience and will are limited and do not give reliable forecasts of our future, especially the distant future.
     Thoughtful study of other people, other societies, and other ages should add realism to our expectations. Are we of all people throughout the history of all mankind entitled to radically different prospects for the future? How quickly can we expect human nature to change? History lends a somewhat sobering perspective to human expectations.


History can also encourage us when we're tempted to see life as getting worse and worse in every way. History shows both the bad and the good, and should impress us with the need to be realistic in our expectations, to be ready for surprise and change.
     But history is just human experience, and by itself offers no goal or clear picture of the future. While history is a necessary component of realistic expectations, all human inputs about our future are fallible. Past experiences, our earnest desires, knowledge of other people and ages explain reality only as we choose to see it, and human expectations have so often been deluded precisely because of the lack of Divine input. The crucial ingredient in our expectations for the future is not something we can manipulate, but an understanding of the eternal order that we cannot change.
     It is interesting how the first Christians understood this. Overwhelmed with a sense of the Lord's love and power, they marveled at the cosmic change that somehow had taken place through the incarnation of the Word of God in Christ Jesus, and in His triumph as Son of God: over death and all principalities and powers. How He overcame death and evil they didn't grasp, but somehow a world of pain, indifference and cruelty, dominated by material and sensual ends and sin and selfishness and slavery and death and hopelessness, was changed by the Lord into a world of love, mercy, forgiveness, and eternal life. Basing their expectations not on the cross but on the Lord's teachings and His life and resurrection, the first Christians saw life not without pain, but as essentially joyful because love is joyful. The ideal of love and the promise of resurrection made "all things new."
     The key to their confidence was the concept of repentance as a gift given them from God. Think about that: repentance as a gift from God to us. Literally, repentance first meant changing the mind. Realists about worldly pain and sorrow, these people became optimists about the future because they saw eternal value coming from their struggles, even from their shedding of blood. And if we can use repentance as a gift from the Lord to us, we can share their joyful but realistic optimism for the future.
     What destroyed this joy and confidence was the failure of repentance and the rise of original sin doctrine. Augustine's emphasis on the Fall of man replaced optimism with a growing pessimism and gloom. For centuries and even to today many religious people have felt duty-bound to see human life through dark gray glasses, through which it is clear the majority will go to the hell they deserve and the saved will be few. Dare I suggest that something of Augustine's expectations for mankind has been known in the New Church?


Certainly an emphasis on the Fall in New Church doctrinal studies and general discussion goes far beyond the treatments in the Writings. Though they discuss particular falls, the Heavenly Doctrines ignore the Fall as a single momentous event and explain the human predicament in much less simple and more interesting and realistic terms than the leftover Christian heritage that we start off just plain bad. We cannot have true expectations in the New Church without freeing ourselves from Augustinian glasses darkened by an instantaneous Fall that still curses us with almost overwhelming darkness.
     Not that simple promises of heavenly joy are the answer. We have study to do and new thinking, about freedom and evil, about hereditary tendencies and remains, about how humans change for good or for bad. These doctrines point to our real future. Past experience is not a valid indicator of what to expect, nor will our own desires, even good desires, tell us the future. The Word of God will not foretell the future, but it will show us how to think when we look to the future, and will test our assumptions and our wishes.
     As we look in the Lord's Word, we may at first be most struck by the future's unpredictability. How suddenly changes can take place! Think of Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Elijah, or many others. Who could have dreamed such dramatic changes might transform one's life? The Lord often has in mind experiences, tests and uses far different from what we expect. The Lord's disciples must know how to tell when He is leading us, and be ready to follow Him wherever this is.
     Look at the ups and downs of Peter, who from his confession of the Lord's Divinity stood for the rock upon which the church would be built, yet was soon after rebuked-"Get behind Me, Satan . . . for you are not mindful of the things of God but the things of men" (Matt. 16:13-23). Led by the Lord to Gethsemane, he couldn't stay awake, and a few hours later he three times denied his Lord whom he had just promised never, ever to forsake. The first apostle to enter the Lord's tomb, Peter became the first leader of the Christians, preached the first sermon after the miracle of Pentecost, and risked life to preach Jesus' resurrection in defiance of the Sanhedrin. Not Paul but Peter was the first Christian to grasp that this new church was meant for all human beings, not just for Jews. And after a generation of preaching midst conflicts and dangers and pains of which we see but a few shadows, this one-time Galilean fisherman was executed in Nero's Rome, evidently crucified upside down because he felt himself unworthy to die the same death as his Lord. If the people described in the Word of God are any indication, we may expect the Lord's work for us to include many things we do not expect or think ourselves fitted for or capable of. Many here today can confirm this from experience.


     Judging from the letter of the Word, the need to stay obedient to the Lord through surprising changes should be part of our expectations. We should be ready for sudden changes and resolve to remain in the Lord's love and wisdom. And the Writings show that the unexpected in the next life is as prominent as here. (But probably not in hell. Hellish states have their dramatics, but come to be pretty dull once you realize you can't beat the system.)
     On the other hand, the letter of the Word treats mostly of external, natural things, and while these can change as suddenly as the Lord healed a paralytic, internals do not change so fast. The spiritual elements in people change slowly and imperceptibly, like a tree growing. The Heavenly Doctrines show why expectations of sudden or miraculous change in our internals is unrealistic. Our internals are spiritual and organic, and sudden changes uprooting our loves would leave us lifeless and without freedom. "Such progressions and derivations with the man who is being regenerated are perpetual, from his infancy even to the last hour of his life in the world, and also afterward even to eternity; and yet he can never be so regenerated that he can in any way be said to be perfect; for there are things to be regenerated that are innumerable, . . . both in the rational and in the natural, and every one of them has shoots without limit, that is, progressions and derivations toward interior things and inward things. Man knows nothing at all of this . . ." (AC 5122:3). We may wish unregenerate affections in ourselves and others would sooner disappear. But internals change slowly.
     No, not a dramatic message for our internals, but suggestive of what we can expect for internal states in ourselves and others. Our spiritual life should change continually, but we kid ourselves if we expect some shortcut or breakthrough to bring sudden and lasting change in our inner loves. Instantaneous spiritual perfection, called the fiery flying serpent in the church, is the product of faith alone. This or that help may inspire us, grant peace of mind, renew our stability and confidence, but our essential loves, and thus our character, change only with persistent repentance, organically like a fruitful orchard growing from a field at first dry and wild with rocks and brush. Especially in marriage realistic expectations require us to understand how internals change.
     Rather than a heaven on earth, realistic expectations will prepare for a great diversity of human states in the church. The New Church has always known conflict and disagreement, and so did the primitive Christians from the very beginning. Moses faced the same. We don't enjoy such states, but they should not surprise us. Judging from what the Lord reveals about ourselves, a realistic prospect is not to disharmonies, but to learn to handle disagreement, conflict of interest and disunity with fairness and charity.


When opponents treat each other with respect, and refuse to attack persons or to manipulate or politicize, and instead listen and give and cooperate for goals of use, then their underlying common purpose surfaces and binds them together. And listening to views that conflict with our own shows us our limits. Why should we fear to disagree with each other openly, honestly, fairly? The masculine in the church needs debate. The church's future depends not on avoiding conflict, but on how justly and fairly we learn to deal with internal diversity. And this is our problem, not just the bishops'.
     So in externals we may expect surprises more abrupt than are comfortable for the contented material life. But in internals we should gear for the long haul, the slow development, the spiritual improvement that we may not notice unless we reflect, and even then with uncertainty. And this means that our outlook should be to the long term, however caught up we are in short-term planning for immediate uses or fun this weekend. If our expectations do not look to the eternal, they will tell us nothing of real value. The Divine Providence looks always to eternal good, and so should we, evaluating goals of quick success in light of our long-term hopes. This is not easy to do when we want to win now, make money now, be popular now, feel good now. Hear Pascal over 300 years ago: "Nothing is so important to man as his own state, nothing is so formidable to him as eternity; and thus it is not natural that there should be men indifferent to the loss of their existence, and to the perils of everlasting suffering. They are quite different with regard to all other things. They are afraid of mere trifles; they foresee them; they feel them. And this same man who spends so many days and nights in rage and despair for the loss of office, or for some imaginary insult to his honor, is the very one who knows without anxiety and without emotion that he will lose all by death. It is a monstrous thing to see in the same heart and the same time this sensibility to trifles and this strange insensibility to the greatest objects" (Pensees, 194).
     Does this concern for permanent consequences put us at variance with the spirit of our age that insists on finding immediate answers? What if it does? Impatience is a corporeal affection, an affection of the body. What would we choose as guide to our future, the instant analysis dear to speedy communication, or the Word of God given for eternity? In the words of Jeremiah, "The Lord is good to those who wait for Him . . . . It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth . . ." (Lam. 3:25-27). A major ingredient of our expectations should be patience, waiting for the light we seek from the Word of God. But the Word of God won't direct our thought unless we see what it says. And don't let the priest do all your looking for you-if you want the Lord's light you have to go to the Word yourself.


     This is no criticism of short-term goals and planning. Proper care for the morrow means planning for the future as well as we can foresee it; "for it is not against order for anyone to look out for himself and his own" (AC 8478). But we live in a balance between the present and the eternal, and as we evaluate what we think we need now may we keep our focus on eternity.
     What expectations, we may well ask, can we realistically have for the New Jerusalem, descending from God out of heaven? This subject could easily occupy the whole morning, or a whole General Assembly. Let me here make only a few observations.

     Perhaps most striking is the absence from the Writings of any specific outlines about the exact natural progression of the New Church on earth. In contrast to full discussion of churches past and present, the Writings just do not say how long the church will be in the wilderness of slow growth among a few. At times Swedenborg seems to have been optimistic that Christian leaders would receive the clear light of the truths he was revealing; like others who as adults accepted the Lord in His Second Coming Swedenborg thought many would welcome such wonderful truths. But near the end of his work he was more cautious and steadfastly refused to predict, other than to say that after the publication of True Christian Religion "the Lord our Savior will operate mediately as well as immediately to establish the New Church" (Letter 18 to Beyer).
     Both in the published Writings and in private correspondence, moreover, he stressed the crucial role of the New Christian Heaven in the growth of the New Jerusalem on earth. Growth on earth is linked with the states of the New Heaven. Strongly defending the Heavenly Doctrines in the years of the Gothenburg Trial, Swedenborg saw more and more that their real opponent was faith alone. The three harmful spheres described in TCR 619 also tell us much. These spheres reject the Lord's Divinity, bring on lethargy or boredom about one God and true regeneration, and separate faith from the life of religion. "Spheres of spiritual truth in the spiritual world are as yet few," and the negative spheres in our world, so obnoxious to angels, cannot be dispersed "as long as the dragon is on the earth" (TCR 619). Many such passages show that the principal struggles the young New Church should expect will be against faith alone and its offshoots.
     Perhaps this is why Brief Exposition offers surprisingly high expectations for Catholics in the New Jerusalem. Because they think of the Lord as Divine and see repentance, good works and life as essential to salvation, and because faith-alone falsities are hidden behind their elaborate external rituals, Roman Catholics may enter into the New Jerusalem more easily than many Protestants (see BE 105-108).


Though easy applications of this teaching do not come to mind, these expectations should at least affect our approach and what doctrines we focus on.
     Many more intriguing expectations the Writings suggest for the New Jerusalem, in many scattered passages, especially in Apocalypse Revealed. You have to read and think about them to see them. Look especially at the perils and protection of the woman clothed with the sun. Yet no overall picture of how growth will take place. The angels were as uncertain as Swedenborg about this. They had "slender hope for the men of the Christian Church," but high expectations "of some nation far distant from the Christian world, and therefore removed from infesters." China? Japan? Korea? America? Most indications suggest the angels meant Africans. But remember that the angels did not know, and the essence of their hope for the future was that since the Last Judgment all humans everywhere are spiritually freed from slavery and captivity to false doctrines. Spiritual equilibrium, freedom, and balance have been restored to all people, because the spiritual world has been cleared of all those false heavens and external societies that for centuries inflowed into people on earth and held their affections bound to the traditional faith of parents and society.
     The principal expectation that the Word shows the New Church is freedom, the restored human capability of considering religious ideas on their own merits, and freely practicing or rejecting them. This freedom is frightening because of its abuses-just read the paper-but according to the Writings it is our principal expectation as a church. Our challenge is how to present the Heavenly Doctrines to individuals young and old, both in and out of the church, so that they may be seriously considered in states of freedom.
     Maybe this should concern us more than just what peoples to target. The Lord said to preach the Gospel everywhere. I submit we still lack a clear understanding of the remnant, or of how the teachings about Gentiles fit together with the hopeful messages to the states of Christians in Apocalypse Revealed, Chapters 2 and 3. Experience suggests our prospects in an increasingly unbelieving Europe are poor; moderate and steady in North America and some Third World areas; and most hopeful among some Africans. But the Swedes and French need Divine truth as desperately as Americans. May our motive for evangelization not be our prospects for success, but the cogency of the message. Whether we are inspired by successes or discouraged by spiritual indifference, the importance of the Lord's truths and not their popularity is what should impel us to talk about them, with many people. All good evangelists have known this. Look at Paul in Athens (Acts 17:16-34).


And if we don't know people with whom we should be talking, maybe that is the place to begin. For the essential element of this age is a new freedom of mind and spirit, and we should more and more know how to operate in that environment.
     Though the Word says much more about expectations for the church, we should consider the most important arena of future prospects-the individual's spiritual life. Unless New Church people progress spiritually as the Lord directs in our own lives and regeneration, evangelization success will attract numbers to a church declining as did First Christianity, like the crowds of easy converts that trooped to the church of Constantine.
     Clearly the teachings that should frame and define our individual futures are the doctrines of repentance and regeneration. "Truly, truly say to you, unless a person is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3). "REPENTANCE IS THE FIRST OF THE CHURCH IN A PERSON . . . . There are many things which in early life prepare a person for the church and introduce him into it; but what causes the church to be in him are acts of repentance" (TCR 5:10). In the infancy of Christianity the Apostles everywhere preached "repentance and faith in the Lord God the Savior" (TCR 4). The better we understand what repentance and regeneration really are, through study, reflection and practice in life, the more accurately will we see our individual futures.
     What do these doctrines tell us about ourselves? That we may anticipate an arduous and difficult life fighting through painful temptations against our almost hopelessly evil selves? That we should expect lives of joy and contentment even on earth because the Lord wants us happy and provides beautiful goods and truths to lift us to Him? At different times we can probably identify with either of these extremes, but neither by itself is realistic.
     The fact is that we are in freedom, in balance between good and evil, at liberty to incline either way. And the Lord continually restores us to this balance after our painful bouts against self-will and conceit, as also after states of unselfish joy we know did not originate with ourselves. When we fail and when we are given to love others as ourselves, we can know that the abiding constant will be a return to balance between the warm light and the dark cold. Confused or inspired today, spiritually we face tomorrow a new state of balance and challenge for which past answers will not be enough. Yesterday's anger or pride or mistakes will not prejudice our future any more than will past good works. However low we fall, the Lord can lift us up, and usually soon if we so choose; and however high He may lift us, we are soon free to turn back. We are kept by the Lord in balance, free to continue establishing our character through our choice of habits, and equally free to change direction in mid-course and follow some new good or evil way.


We may feel more when good delights us than when we weaken and fail, and freedom requires that we do not perceive the precise limits of our free will, but the Lord tells us that whatever our perception, He guards our freedom of will as the pupil of one's eye (DP 97). If the actions of others limit our free choice, yet within there remains a balance, some choice of good or we can make tomorrow if not right this minute.
     So may we learn from doctrine. But by itself knowledge will not do the job. Partly this is because we need the wisdom of practical experience that comes from actually living by doctrine, but even more because in the long run, as we live so will we understand. We won't believe what the Word says about our future unless we live according to it. If we live repentance, then we are acting freely and daily experiencing the balance between good and evil. By shunning evils in our lives and regenerating actually, we more and more come to recognize that evil is from hell and belongs there, not in us; and that good is not from ourselves but the Lord, a ready gift when we turn from absorption with self and the world. The life of repentance and regeneration shows us that despite evil tendencies, we are not inherently evil, and that whatever of good may sometimes bless us, we have no good from our own natures. The life of regeneration shows us we are in equilibrium. Balance between good and evil remains our essential expectation throughout this life. After death the balances will be different because our character will be formed, but freedom and balance will be at the core of our lives to eternity.
     This is not the answer given by faith alone. Faith alone sees mankind as incurably evil and incapable of freely acting to improve one's spiritual state. By no good works can a person affect his state of condemnation. God alone chooses to forgive by grace through faith only. Though faith offers some hope for those who think they have faith, it offers an overwhelmingly pessimistic view of human expectations, because it sees even the forgiven sinner as remaining inherently depraved and sinful, even if now forgiven and saved. Faith alone built on Augustinian permission contributed to the feeling among many generations of Christians that not a whole lot of good can be expected from life here. Evil seemed stronger than good.
     But faith alone carries its own seeds of destruction. When enough people lived by it, and so failed to experience a sense of sin through their own shunning of evils, inside themselves they gradually stopped believing they were evil. You won't believe in evil unless you see it and shun it in yourself, whatever the church says about it.


Being saved by faith alone, if you really live that way, leads to ignorance and denial of evil. And so finally the Augustinian gray glasses were discarded, add out of late Christianity there grew the notion that man is good, and that evil is not anything in human beings, but faulty organization of society, to be cured by proper education and social change. I think it no coincidence that Jean Jacques Rousseau, the first great prophet of the goodness of man and the badness of society, grew up in Geneva, the former citadel of faith-alone theology. What an irony! The optimism and confidence in human progress that resulted were as unrealistic as was Christian pessimism based on the Fall.
     But unless in our lives we confront evils and seek the Lord's goods, are as prone to false optimism and unrealistic hopes as secular humanists. After all, we have the most beautiful ideals ever known to humankind. In dozens of ways our contemporaries assure us that the ideas, the right programs and techniques, or the right therapy will do the trick and our dreams will be fulfilled-as if the shunning of evil is a small sideshow and not the main event. Let us thank the Lord for all helps can get, and use them. But fresh insights, even new ways of evangelizing and good New Church education, should not raise up false expectations. People are not soul-less machines just waiting for spiritual natural truths to go out and live well and cooperate. People are free, in balance between good and evil. We need the right instructions, but mostly we need to make wise decisions and live well.
     So we anticipate a future of good decisions and bad decisions made, by people who are in balance. This is a less comforting prospect than we would like. It is but human to seek security, to remove uncertainties, to search for assurance. Certainly a leading goal of our times has been to make life predictable, and it is easy to hope for the same assurance in our spiritual lives that has come to be expected in our material lives. Confidence about the future is almost becoming our inherent right. Will this last? Fundamental uncertainties about natural life have been human lot throughout history, and remain such today for the majority of humans. And it may well happen that dangers to human health will fundamentally shake the modern prejudice that at least in physical life we can count on predictability.
     But whatever our degree of security in natural life, the Writings show that a full sense of security in our spiritual life is not good for us (DP 340:4; BE 93, 114). Talk with those who know with the profoundest certainty that they are saved. What effect does this knowledge have them? How much does it open them to consider new truths and basic changes of life? In fact throughout history those most confident of spiritual security have done the most damage to others. Look at South Africa. Look at the Mideast.


[I speak here of the great human harm brought to others by those who from religious doctrine rest assured that God is on their side and that their opponents are spiritually inferior: the heritage of Calvinism in South Africa, Shiite fanaticism in the Mideast. Perhaps I should have mentioned Northern Ireland. History has many more examples.]
     Every religious person thinks he would like assurance of his spiritual place. This problem soon confronted the early Christians, and in finding methods to give people the spiritual assurance they craved, the Church turned itself into a Babylon that claimed the key to salvation for the hands of the priests. Excessive concern with the question, Are my sins forgiven, rather than the question of how to live as the Lord teaches, was the opening wedge of a hellish campaign against the life of repentance that alone leads to heaven. The results of that subtle campaign were confession and priestly absolution, penance and then faith alone, not to mention the sacrificial blood atonement and three separate Persons in God. Is the New Church exempt from similar possibilities? The Writings say the primitive Christians "never could have conceived" that such perversions could result (TCR 638). What assurance can we have? Only that if we closely follow the Lord in our teaching and living, He will guide us away from danger, and lift us when we fall.
     If we stop to reflect, it is easy to see why uncertainty about our future is necessary for human life. Sure knowledge of the future would destroy the human itself, because we would not be free. To plan for the future, to hope and predict and provide-to expect-is supremely human, and it is in organizing our lives with a view to the future that we choose in freedom what we wish to be. But knowledge of the future would remove this free activity, and we are taught that with sure foreknowledge we would either deny God or make ourselves God (DP 178-9, 182-3). We are also taught that most people long to know the future; "but this longing derives its origin from love of evil. It is therefore taken away from those who believe in the Divine Providence; and there is given them a trust that the Lord is disposing their lot. Consequently they do not desire to know it beforehand lest they should in any way set themselves against the Divine Providence" (DP 179). Plan and predict, provide and hope we should, yet our central expectation is freedom, being balanced between good and evil.
     Reading over passages about the future, the reader is struck with how forcefully the Writings urge us not to worry about it-not that we shouldn't plan, but that we should see the future as not assured, because humans-including ourselves-are free. How often our great plans-not just our stupid plans but the really good ideas too-go completely astray and produce nothing! But the Lord is wary lest we feel we can shape the future the way we want it.


His underlying purpose in our rebirth begins with our sense of humility and impotence-that we may acknowledge all good and truth are from Him and remain His in us. Our own prudence, the grand wisdom issuing from our egos, is nothing, void (DP 191-2 13). This is often why our great schemes-including the good ones-may come to nought: some good could result, but our apparent ability to control the future might reinforce the human conceit that power belongs to our own intelligence. "No one can be reformed by himself by means of his own prudence, but only by the Lord by means of His Divine Providence"(DP 202:2). We should not be surprised to read, "Those who are in faith rarely obtain the objects of their desire while they desire them, but yet, if it be for their good, they obtain them afterwards, when not thinking of them" (SD 3538). The Lord does want us happy, but He knows the key to this is not our getting what we want, but learning the humility to accept Him as the only source of every good. That is the real point of regeneration and the key to human contentment.
     The Epistle of James speaks to the same point: "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit'; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.' But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil" (4:13-16). The uncertainty of the future is healthier for us than thinking our own wits will control what happens.
     Marriage is a good example. Think of the many, many unpredictable unknowns a young couple commit themselves to-some probably, would decide not to marry if they foreknew them. Yet these very same things, unforeseen, can be the occasion for stronger love and enormous spiritual growth if the couple learns the humility to follow the Lord's principles even in situations they didn't expect. Often in life your greatest opportunities come when you face unforeseen challenges. Life is full of so many things that no one could ever predict for you. But the things we don't know should make us more willing to be led by the Lord. Of course we should try to plan wisely, but we should know also that the future belongs more to the Lord and the actions of others than to our own prudence.
     So why do our best-laid plans and intentions sometimes come to nought? Often we think it's from someone else's fault, but listen to this: "The Divine Providence operates so secretly that scarcely anyone knows of its existence . . . . Man's own prudence is continually raising [the head of the serpent, which is self-love], and the Divine Providence is continually putting it down.


If man felt this he would be enraged and exasperated against God, and would perish; but while he does not feel this he may be enraged and exasperated against men, and against himself, and also against fortune, without perishing. Hence . . . the Lord continually leads man in freedom . . ." (DP 211; see also AE 1159:5). It won't explain all our misfortunes, but think about it. Certainly we should try our best, but the passage shows that the essence of a wise effort is acknowledging that good and truth are not our own but from God. Sometimes when we don't accept that, events have a way of bringing the reality home.
     So we should expect real ups and downs in our spiritual and natural fortunes. These are more normal than the calm and happy stability we may aim for. Jeremiah once regretted that he was born. Human regeneration follows the pattern of the Lord's glorification, and the Writings tell us that spiritual progress is not possible without alternating states of temptation and conjunction with God; and in the temptation or emptying out state, God appears to be absent; we will not feel His closest presence and operation in us (TCR 105, 126). We know He's not gone, but in spiritual emptiness we will not feel the help He is secretly giving from within. For the inner purpose of temptation is to replace our confidence in self with confidence in the Lord.
     "The temptations in which a person is victorious entail the belief that all others are more worthy than he, and that he is more like those in hell than those in heaven, for ideas such as these present themselves to him in temptations. When therefore after temptations he enters into thoughts contrary to these, it is a sign that he has not been victorious . . ." (AC 2273:2; see also AC 2694). What does this say about feeling good about ourselves? No, we should not hate ourselves either. The Lord loves us and provides signs for our hope, yet happiness and use come from accepting that we are but vessels of life. A love of self, when subordinated, is useful, but our goal and expectation should be less to feel good about ourselves than to trust in our Savior and to do the goods for others that He leads us into.
     We know from doctrine that for those who trust in the Divine rather than in themselves, everything advances "towards a happy state to eternity, and . . . whatever happens to them in time still conduces thereto" (AC 8478:3; see also 8480:3). And from regeneration we should come to feel this increasingly. Yet we can expect many times when this beautiful truth will seem remote from reality, because we remain in freedom, in balance between good and evil. Only if we become celestial beings may we expect to have no fear of hell (AC 3519:4).
     But would we really want it any other way? Would we enjoy the assurances and security that our natural mind longs for?


The Writings show why ignorance of the future allows us to be human and to enjoy all the delight we have from choosing freely (DP 178-9). The first great Christian theologian, Irenaeus, understood this: "The harder we strive, so much is it the more valuable; while so much the more valuable it is, so much the more should we esteem it. And indeed those things are not esteemed so highly which come spontaneously as those which are reached by much anxious care. Since, then, this power has been conferred upon us, both the Lord has taught and the apostle has enjoined us the more to love God, that we may reach this [prize] for ourselves by striving after it. For otherwise, no doubt, this our good would be irrational, because not the result of trial. Moreover, the faculty of seeing would not appear to be so desirable unless we had known what a loss it were to be devoid of sight . . . ; light, also, by contrasting it with darkness; and life with death. Just in the same way is the heavenly kingdom honorable to those who have known the earthly one" (Against Heresies 4.37:7; see also 4.37:6). Whatever eastern religions tell us about the virtues of passive acceptance, the delight of life comes from effort and striving into an uncertain future. The Lord's greatest blessing is leaving us in balance, because true joy lies in effort.          
     Finally, an appeal to the young, young in age and young in heart. As you grow and decide for yourselves your spiritual direction, as you marry and settle into uses of all kinds, if you choose to live by the ideals of these Heavenly Doctrines, give serious thought to where you should locate. Reflect seriously about putting yourself geographically into a situation where you are in an equilibrium that matches the spiritual equilibrium you will be in. Should you and your family live in a church community, a smaller society, or in so-called isolation? Think about the spiritual implications of where you may live. Most of us need contact with other New Church people, to discuss and test our thinking, to change our own and others' lives, to reassure and strengthen each other. This assembly testifies in abundance to the need New Church people feel to share and discuss, to challenge and correct, to confirm and build up. Though such uses can come in isolation, in living alone the equilibrium can be weighted in favor of the ideals of alien systems of life.
     A community or large society, on the other hand, may seem to weight the balance in the opposite direction-so strongly in fact that we may lose sight of the actual spiritual equilibrium in which the New Church now stands, in the world and in ourselves. With its treasury of spiritual riches of worship, classes, discussions, meetings, programs, not to mention social life and even sports and dramatics, the large society can be so warm and intellectually overpowering that as we fit into well-structured activities and traditions we are not so much choosing our life of religion as simply going with the flow.


Following the path of least resistance within the organized church may be less dangerous than going with the flow of the loves of self and the world, but it can have the drawback of making us think being New Church means less than it does, and of raising unrealistic expectations. Who does not feel New Church when surrounded by a group of soul-mates? But it is the decision we make freely from our own sight of the Lord's purposes that makes us His vessels. The strength and warmth and light of a large community should be our priceless oasis, but if you never leave the oasis you can forget the real character of the equilibrium in which we live today. In fact the New Church is in the wilderness, among a few, and we should experience this in our lives if we are to help the church. The powerful ideals of monastic separation from the world in the long run did not protect the first Christian Church from evils, but rather discouraged the life of religion in the world.
     In many ways the smaller society, like the small discussion class, would seem to reflect most exactly our spiritual equilibrium. The centers we especially need today are small centers. Yes, those in isolation can find effective ways to maintain balance and keep the Lord's light and leading strong. And those of us in communities and large societies can find the means, if we want to, of developing relations with non-New Church people and so of living in the equilibrium in which the New Church stands today. But participating in a small society forces people to think for themselves and make decisions, to take stands and make statements with their lives, and by this the church in individuals and at large may grow and see itself truly in balance. The uncertain futures of small societies and schools matches the uncertainty in our expectations because their lack of structure and tradition offers more balance for free decision. I urge that the small society or circle is the natural and most fitting setting for the growth of the New Church today, because it most closely matches the equilibrium we are in-offering enough New Church strength to progress, and enough challenges, problems, questions and adventures to compel us to look beyond ourselves, confront the deep needs of a post-Christian culture, and communicate heavenly treasures to the world's spiritually empty.
     If you are young, in age or in heart, seriously consider living in such a location, not encompassed by family and friends, but not alone either. Consider it not just for convenience or worldly reasons, but for the spiritual growth of the church in yourself and in others. If you want a field to grow, scatter seed broadly.




     It's all very well to have a strong belief in the life after death. We know intellectually and believe in our hearts that life is eternal. This acknowledgment changes the way we think about ourselves and the life that we lead. But how does it actually affect our emotional thinking and acting when we face death ourselves, or the death of a loved one?
     There are physical, mental and spiritual states involved which have to be recognized and sorted through. Most of us do not spend very much time thinking about this and preparing for this state before we are actually faced with the reality. Why should we? It's not even very emotionally healthful to dwell on the subject. Life has enough problems without borrowing the troubles of death and dying before it is necessary. In fact, thinking about dying involves taking more responsibility for living and we tend to avoid that! And we do not want to face the emotional factors involved. But perhaps we can help others and help prepare ourselves by some discussion of the mechanics and the effects.
     Looking at our gardens in the spring, before the Lord has sent the leaves to sprout and cover up all the bare bones of the garden, we dream of how beautiful it will be. And if we get busy and prune and clear away the debris that winter has strewn about, the garden will be more beautiful and easier to care for in the summer. When a loved one leaves this life, it is useful and cathartic to clear up the odds and ends left behind; to see that our emotions as well as their personal effects are put in order, so that our memories of them are clear and unclouded.
     As each of our children left home, the first thing I always did was to clean up his/her room. Putting away their clothes and belongings and making the bed fresh prepared for their return or for others to use, and eased my feeling of loss at their leaving.
     We face death in so many ways and so many forms. The first time we consciously focus on death has long-reaching effects. This is why when there is a child or children involved, say in the death of a parent or sibling, we should be very careful to give them special affection, support and instruction. Even when the one dying is not apparently so close, I such as in the case of a friend, a removed relative or even a pet, special care should be given to allow the right kind of grief to be recognized and comforted. Sometimes a child is ignored as adults receive the first thoughts of relatives and friends. Sometimes people fear to tell a child about the death of a loved one, not realizing that as children are closer to heaven, they can accept more easily the idea of someone going to heaven, and they in turn can help our more worldly attitudes.


     It is a particularly difficult time for parents when a child dies or is killed by some accident. There tends to be guilt and jealousy involved. One parent may feel guilty that it was somehow his fault that the child has died. One parent may feel that the other did not love, or does not miss, the child as much as the other. It is particularly necessary for parents to comfort and cling to each other at this time, and for friends and relatives to give love and comfort impartially! We each mourn our loved ones in different ways, and go through states of grief and despair at different times, so it is especially necessary to exercise charity and patience with each other at this time.
     A sudden death has the paralyzing and numbing effect of shock, which sometimes carries us through the first trauma. As friends rush in to help in all physical and emotional ways possible, we feel as if it is all unreal and that we will soon wake from the nightmare. And then the backlash of emotion is often worse-the pain is so great when the anesthetic has worn off. This is a time when wise and caring friends return with gentle support and give the bereaved person an opportunity to talk out his grief. This is a phase too many of us forget. Too many of us are unskilled in listening to our friends let their grief come out. This is a phase of comfort we should learn how to give. How many of us have had the feeling that we want to talk about our loved one, but no one seems to want to listen? We may feel we should not burden others with our grief, which seems somehow selfish, so we cover it up and it becomes hard rock in our breast.
     Perhaps hardest of all deaths to bear is the slow one-the sure knowledge that parent or child or friend has been given a death notice, a few months to live because of some fatal disease. It is hard to wait for old people to die, to watch them sink into the despair of uselessness. Here, the inevitability of death does not contain sharp grief, but it does require patience and subordination to the Lord's will. We cling to the faith that will take this one in His Own good time. But to watch a child or young adult, or person still in the prime of usefulness, slowly succumbing to the inroads of fatal disease exercises our submission to the Lord's Providence to the limit "Why? How? What for?" we cry. And beyond inner cry of our hearts, how can we best comfort our friend, our child, our loved one? We feel so helpless.
     One way we can help is to face the inevitable squarely. Not all people to talk about death, particularly their own. But many do want to about this wonderful trip into the unknown that they are about to take, and we should never deny them this relief, this pleasure, because of our own discomfort. Yet we do. We fear to talk about death directly to one about to die, or to one just having experienced death of a loved one, for many reasons.


We excuse ourselves by saying we do not want to depress our friend. We want to encourage happy and affirmative thoughts-affirmative to life! But what is more affirmative to life than eternal life? And what do people like to talk about more than about themselves? Perhaps they have special plans for their family that they would like to outline. Perhaps they would like to reminisce about past events in their life. It is amazing how little interest in general we have about each other's lives. A person comes back from a wonderful trip and after a few questions about his experiences, our attention wanders and the subject turns to happenings closer to home! People need to be able to express doubts and concerns about the life after death without soporific assurances! While we should not rush in with didactic expressions of authoritarian faith, we should be sensitive to the concern and need of friends in this time of special preparation. Just because we do not believe in deathbed repentance does not mean that people are not given the time, when they have sure knowledge of the imminent death of the body, to reorganize their thinking, prioritize their values and so make special preparation for the life after death.
     "[Man] is kept continually in the possibility of repentance and conversion, for the Lord is continually present with every man and urgent to be received . . . ." (TCR 720). To "put one's affairs in order" is a comforting and satisfying action for many. For further doctrine on repentance and self-examination see TCR 529-532 and other numbers.
     In thoughts of how we can best help our friends through their time of grief and pain, we can forget our own sense of loss. This is the only way to face death trauma. With all our belief in the other world, the death of a loved one is a special loss to us, no matter how strong our belief that we shall meet again. There is physical pain involved and while we must endure it, we do not need to deny it. We pray with the Lord as in the garden of Gethsemane, "Father if it is Your will, remove this cup from Me; nevertheless not My will but Yours be done" (Luke 22:42).
NCL 100 YEARS AGO 1987

NCL 100 YEARS AGO       Editor       1987

     In August of 1887 it was reported that a library in New Zealand had on application been supplied with forty volumes of "New Church Works."
     Now in 1987 two New Church ministers are active in that country.




A Prophecy of Worship in the Church

     The tabernacle of David is referred to by name in the following words from the Book of Amos. "'On that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, and repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old, that they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the gentiles who are called by My name,' says the Lord who does this thing" (Amos 9:11, 12 NKJV).
     These words of Amos were prophetic of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ and its holy worship, which was to be celestial, that is springing from and expressive of love (see PP, AC 10545:7, 10248:8). As a prophecy, they looked to the future, but, in speaking of the tabernacle of David, they drew from the long-forgotten past, for they referred to the worship of the Lord established by King David when the ark of the covenant came to rest at Jerusalem (see 2 Samuel 6:17). A just appreciation of the prophecy must therefore involve a knowledge of what form this worship took and what distinguished it from preceding forms of worship. It must also answer the question of why the tabernacle of David and not the tabernacle of Moses was chosen by the Lord for this prophecy of His church and its worship. And, finally, it must show how the answers to these questions bear upon worship in the church at this day. In seeking to understand the prophecy, we begin, therefore, with a brief review of the history of worship as described in the Old Testament.
     In Most Ancient times, men worshipped the Lord in the tents or tabernacles that also served them as homes (AC 414:3). This practice persisted into ancient times. Thus, it is not surprising that the Lord appeared to Abraham by the terebinth trees of Mamre, as he was sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day (see Genesis 18:1). Indeed. the very terms for tabernacle or tent are used in the Word to represent the I celestial and holy things of love that are at the heart of all genuine worship (see AC 414:3). And when people began to profane their own tents by profane kinds of worship, a communal tabernacle was built (ibid.). So also, communal tabernacle worship was established by Moses in the wilderness at the Lord's command (Exodus 25 et seq.). In this sense, the Old Testament speaks of three tabernacles: the tabernacle of meeting; the tabernacle of Moses (commonly called the tabernacle of Israel); and the tabernacle of David.


     The Tabernacle of Meeting

     This was a provisional structure set up by Moses outside the camp of the Children of Israel in the wilderness to serve as the meeting place of God with man while the larger tabernacle was being built. The people would stand in the doors of their tents and watch while Moses went out to it. When he entered in to speak with the Lord, and the pillar of cloud descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle, "all the people rose and worshiped, each man in his tent door" (Exodus 33:7-10).

     The Tabernacle of Moses

     This, commonly called the tabernacle of Israel, was the portable sanctuary, built according to the Divine design revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai to house the ark of the covenant, the sacred repository containing the two tables of stone on which were inscribed the ten commandments. Both its structure and contents are described in great detail in the book of Exodus (chapters 25-28 and 3640). This tabernacle was set up in the centre of the camp, with all the tribes arranged in a prescribed order around it (see Numbers 2). The worship consisted primarily in animal sacrifices of various kinds.
     The significance of the tabernacle of Moses and its worship is dealt with extensively in Bishop George de Charms' book The Tabernacle of Israel. Bishop de Charms points out that this tabernacle represented "the dwelling place of God with man, and the medium of his conjunction with the Divine" (page 6). It "represents the human mind built according to Divine plan that it may serve as a 'tent of meeting' [of the Lord with man]" (p. 7). And because it thus represented what is essentially human, the tabernacle of Moses also represented the Lord's church, His kingdom in the heavens and, inmostly, "the Human of the Lord, the temple of His body" (p. 7). Truly, as Bishop de Charms writes: "The truth involved in the building of the tabernacle is infinite in scope" (p. 8).
     In the context of the present article, two points should be especially noted about the tabernacle of Moses: firstly, it existed to house the ark of the covenant. Without the ark, the tabernacle lost its primary reason for existing, for the ark represented the presence of the Lord (see AC 2576:2). From its mercy seat, the golden slab that served as its lid, the Lord spoke to His people (see Exodus 25:22). When the ark was in the tabernacle"s holy of holies, the glory of God was present in His house, as when Moses finished the work of building the tabernacle and "the cloud covered the tabernacle . . . and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle . . . because the cloud rested above it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle" (Exodus 40:34, 35).


     The second point to be noted is that the animal sacrifices, in which the worship in the tabernacle of Moses chiefly consisted, were permitted, not willed, by the Lord (see AC 2180:7). They were permitted lest the Children of Israel fall into the infernal practice of human sacrifice, which was very prevalent among the surrounding nations (see AC 1241). And the various animal sacrifices could represent the spiritual things of genuine worship (see AC 10022).
     Throughout the years in the wilderness and during the conquest of the land of Canaan, the tabernacle of Moses, with the ark of the covenant reposing in its holy of holies, served, despite their frequent backslidings into idolatry, as the centre of worship for the Children of Israel. But, in the time of Eli, who was both priest and judge, disaster struck. Faced with military defeat at the hands of the Philistines, the elders of Israel persuaded the wicked and dissolute sons of Eli to allow the ark to be carried into battle (see 1 Samuel 4:1-5). The Philistines were victorious and the ark was captured (verses 10, 11). And although the tabernacle of Moses remained as a centre of worship for nearly another 150 years, and animal sacrifices continued to be offered in its court, the ark of the covenant never returned to this tabernacle.
     The significance of this loss was expressed by Eli's daughter-in-law, who was carrying her husband's child. When she heard the news that the ark was captured and that both her husband and father-in-law were dead, she gave birth. Before dying herself, she named the child Ichabod, meaning inglorious; for she said: "The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured" (1 Samuel 4: 19-22).
     The Philistines kept the ark for just seven months. Its presence resulted in the destruction of their chief idol and brought them nothing but disease and death. Overcome with fear, they sent the ark back to Israel with a trespass offering. It came first to Beth Shemesh, where seventy men died because they looked into the ark (see 1 Samuel 6: 1-19). "Then the men of Kirjath Jearim came and took the ark of the Lord, I and brought it into the house of Abinadab on the hill, and consecrated Eleazar his son to keep the ark of the Lord. So it was that the ark remained in Kirjath Jearim a long time . . . ." (I Samuel 7:1, 2). In fact, it appears to have stayed there for close to a hundred years-throughout Samuel's judgeship, the forty-two years of Saul's reign and during the initial years of David's kingship. Throughout all these long years, the Lord no longer spoke to His people from between the cherubim. Truly, the glory had departed from Israel.

     The Restoration of the Ark and the Tabernacle of David

     It was King David, representing the Lord as to Divine truth (see AC 4391:4), who restored the ark to its central role in the worship of Israel (see 2 Samuel 6).


But he did not return it to the tabernacle of Moses. (That tabernacle was still at Gibeon and remained there as the center of sacrificial worship even following the restoration of the ark, until it was taken down and stored in the temple in the days of Solomon.) Instead, David brought the ark to Jerusalem, his new capital city on the sides of Mount Zion, where he set up a new tabernacle to house it (see 2 Samuel 6:1-17). In rejecting the tabernacle of Moses as a resting place for the ark at this time, and in setting up the new tabernacle (the tabernacle of David) at Jerusalem, David was merely following the Lord's command, as expressed in the psalm: "For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation: This is my resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it" (Psalm 132:13, 14). By Zion and Jerusalem are signified the Lord's church (see AE 850:2).
     When the ark was brought back to Jerusalem, "David and all the house of Israel played music before the Lord on all kinds of instruments made of fir wood, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on sistrums, and on cymbals . . . . So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet." "Then David danced before the Lord with all his might . . . leaping and whirling before the Lord" (2 Sam. 6:5, 14, 15, 16).
     The music and shouting, the dancing and rejoicing, with which the ark was brought to Jerusalem did not end when it arrived at its destination. The book of Chronicles tells us that David "appointed some of the Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord, to commemorate, to thank, and to praise the Lord God of Israel. He also appointed Levites to play on stringed instruments, harps, cymbals and trumpets in a permanent daily ministry of thanksgiving and praise (see 1 Chronicles 16:4-6, 37).
     Here in the tabernacle of David were undoubtedly first sung many of the psalms that appear in the book of Psalms; for the Levites-Asaph, Heman and the sons of Korah-who are named in the book of Chronicles as participating in the ministry of this tabernacle are also named as the authors of many of the psalms, along with King David himself, who had something of a priestly function (see AC 8770). The Hebrew name for the book of Psalms means "Songs of Praise," and indeed we are told that the "psalms of David are nothing but songs, for they were played and sung" (AR 279:2). It is likely that they poured forth in spontaneous inspired singing before the Lord. and were written down, even while they were being sung, by the "commemorators" David had appointed for this task.
     It is clear that, as regards external forms at least, worship in the tabernacle of David differed markedly from that of the tabernacle of Moses.


Instead of the emphasis on animal sacrifices and blood, there was emphasis on the sacrifices of praise. Clearly, this new form of worship needs to be examined more closely, but before doing so, two principles should be noted.
     The first is that the essential thing of worship is not its external form but is the adoration of the Lord from the heart, and that this is impossible unless there is charity, or love to the neighbor (see AC 1150).
     So Jesus taught: "And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses" (Mark 11:25). And again: "Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother and then come and offer your gift" (Matthew 5:23, 24). Again we are told that "the Lord cannot be worshiped except from charity" (AC 440). External worship without this internal is nothing; indeed, it is lifeless (see AC 1094, 1102).
     Thus, the validity of worship does not depend on external forms, no matter how appropriate these may be. Indeed, we are told that those "err who believe that they can make themselves receptive of influx [from the Lord] by prayers, adorations and the externals of worship; these things are of no effect unless man abstains from thinking and doing evils, and by truths from the Word leads himself, as of himself, to things good in respect to life" (AE 248:4). All true worship is from love (see AE 1151), and, as the Lord taught: "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me"(John 14:21).
     Finally, "all true worship consists in adoration of the Lord, adoration of the Lord in humiliation, and humiliation in one's acknowledgment that in himself there is nothing living, and nothing good, but that all within him is dead, yea, cadaverous, and in the acknowledgment that everything living and everything good is from the Lord. The more a man acknowledges these things, not with the mouth but with the heart, the more he is in humiliation; and consequently the more he is in adoration, that is, in true worship, and the more he is in love and charity, and the more in happiness" (AC 1153:2).
     The second principle relates specifically to the externals of worship, that is, to the activities and attitudes in which the living internals of true worship are brought into and terminated in the life of the body. The principle is this: that "all affections, whatsoever they are, have corresponding gestures in the body. Into these gestures the body is borne and falls of itself, when man is interiorly in the affection" (AE 77; see also AC 5323).
     The example given is "humiliation that springs from the heart in presence of the Divine," and its effect, which is "total prostration."


"Humiliation before a man produces a bowing down, according to the estimation of him; but in presence of the Divine it produces total prostration, especially when man thinks that the Divine in respect of power and wisdom is everything, and man in comparison is nothing, or that from the Divine is all good and from man nothing but evil" (AE 77).
     This principle means that the Lord has provided a very specific "gesture" of the body for every interior affection of worship. Moreover, the benefits that are inherent in these interior affections cannot be received fully in the absence of the corresponding bodily "gesture," for "power and strength reside in ultimates" (AC 9836:2). We are told that "each and all things advance from the first or inmost successively to their ultimates, and there rest; also prior or interior things have a connection with ultimates in successive order. Wherefore, if the ultimates are removed, the interior things also are dispersed" (AC 9216:3).
     It follows that the precious state of "humiliation that springs from the heart in presence of the Divine" can "rest" only in "total prostration," because that is the gesture that the affection spontaneously produces. If another gesture is substituted-perhaps the related gesture of kneeling-the affection of humiliation that springs from the heart in presence of the Divine must be dispersed, to be replaced, perhaps, by a lesser blessing.
     This principle has been elaborated at length because it bears strongly on the question of what is appropriate to worship in the church at the present day, which is one of the concerns of this study. It is emphasized in the context of the worship in the tabernacle of David because in that worship, as described in the Word, the Lord provided most of the specific bodily gestures that the inmost affections of true worship produce and in which they can rest. For the principle is universal, applying not only to deepest humiliation and its attendant total prostration, but to every other worshipful affection and its attendant "gesture" that is named.
     It is in this, specifically, that the worship in the tabernacle of David is prophetic of worship in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. And although that tabernacle and its worship lasted for only a brief forty years, the prophecy of Amos was a promise it would be restored.

     Worship in the Tabernacle of David

     The external "gestures" that accompanied worship in the tabernacle of David included bowing, kneeling and total prostration; standing, praying with upraised hands, and blessing; singing and playing on musical instruments; joyful shouting and the clapping of hands; and dancing before the Lord.


There was spontaneity of prayer, thanksgiving and praise. How do we know this? The book of Psalms tells us, and the assumption is that it means what it says. Although it is not possible within the context of this study to give each of the "gestures" named the attention it deserves, each requires at least brief consideration.
     Kneeling and bowing down, total prostration. "Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker" (Psalm 95:6). In the original Hebrew, three verbs are employed in this text, which mean (in reverse order) to bend the knee, to bend the body, and to totally prostrate oneself (translated here as worship"). It has been shown that these gestures are the spontaneous effects of the various degrees of humiliation.
     Standing, praying with upraised hands, and blessing. "Behold, bless the Lord all you servants of the Lord, who by night stand in the house of the Lord! Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord. The Lord who made heaven and earth bless you from Zion!" (Psalm 134). We are told that "by standing before God is signified to hear and do what He commands, as he who stands before a king" (AR 336). Lifting the hands toward heaven "signifies directing attention to heaven and the approach of heaven" (AC 7568). "To bless the Lord is to sing to Him, to proclaim the good tidings of His salvation, to preach His wisdom and power, and thus to confess and acknowledge the Lord from the heart. They who do this cannot but be blessed by the Lord, that is, be gifted with those things that belong to blessing, namely, with celestial, spiritual, natural, worldly, and corporeal good" (AC 1422:2).
     Singing and playing on musical instruments; joyful shouting and the clapping of hands. "Praise the Lord with the harp; make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings. Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully with a shout of joy" (Psalm 33:2, 3). "O clap your hands all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph!" (Psalm 47:1). We are told that "every affection of the heart . . . produces singing, and consequently what is connected with singing" (AC 418). "Joy of heart, when it is in fullness, expresses itself in song . . . it pours itself forth in singing" (AE 326). Clapping with the hands "expresses joy in the goods and truths triumph that express living confession or acknowledgment from faith that are from the Lord with man because these make joy for man" (AE 405). And "the exaltation of joy from its fullness" produces shouts of (see AE 326, AC 5323:3).
     Dancing before the Lord; spontaneity in prayer, thanksgiving and praise. "Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. Let them praise His name with the dance" (Psalm 149:2, 3). We are told that "joys of the heart or interior joys burst forth in the body into various acts, as into songs, and also into dances" (AC 8339).


The words "burst forth" surely imply great spontaneity.

     When "David danced before the Lord with all his might . . . Michal, Saul's daughter, looked through a window and saw David leaping and whirling before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart." When she later reproached him for acting "shamelessly," David replied: "It was before the Lord, who chose me instead of your father and all his house to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel. Therefore I will play music before the Lord. And I will be even more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight" (2 Samuel 6:14-22).
     David admitted that his worship was "undignified," but he knew that human standards of dignity were not to be the criterion of acceptable worship in the house of the Lord. It is clear, for example, that the dancing in the tabernacle of David would not have been tastefully choreographed with the aim of presenting what the world or even the worshipers themselves regarded as dignified. And as with the dancing, so with all the other "gestures" of worship in that tabernacle as they "burst forth" spontaneously from "joys of the heart." Self-dignity was forgotten, self-consciousness swept away, in an overwhelming glorification of the Lord.
     Such is the worship that the Lord desires. He desires it not for His own sake but "for the sake of man and his salvation; for he who worships the Lord and gives glory to the Lord is in humiliation; and what is his own departs from the man who is in humiliation; and insofar as this departs, so far the Divine is received" (AC 10646:3).
     That the Divine-the Lord Jesus Christ Himself with all of His power to heal, to restore and to save-may be received is the purpose and end of all worship. For the Lord wills to give Himself to every living creature that all men might be saved (see AC 6478). So He taught those who followed Him in the world: "Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom"(Luke 12:32). It is for this cause and no other that we are enjoined to worship the Lord, to "enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise" (Psalm 100:4). And it is for this cause and no other that the Lord promised to "raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, and repair its damages;" to "raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old" (Amos 9:11).

     The Tabernacle of David and Worship in the Church Today

     When the Lord was in the world, we are told, he abrogated all the blood sacrifices of which worship in the tabernacle of Moses chiefly consisted, replacing them with the two sacraments of baptism and the holy supper (see AC 4904).


But the "sacrifices of praise" of which worship in the tabernacle of David chiefly consisted were never abrogated. This has profound implications for the forms of worship in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
     Nevertheless, there are strong reasons for leaving each reader free to draw his or her own conclusions from what has been presented. Worship has to do with the way in which we relate to the Lord, and that should not be made the subject of argument or controversy. For this reason, and others, only the following observations are offered.
     Clearly, the worship that most of us are familiar and comfortable with at the present day approximates only in part the kind of worship that existed in the tabernacle of David and that has been held up in this study as approaching the ideal. On the other hand, we are told that in the heavens there are innumerable differences in worship (see AC 1155) and that such variety contributes to perfection (see HH 56). Moreover, "worship of the Lord from charity can never differ, howsoever the externals are varied" (AC 1083:3).
     One thing is certain. Changes in worship, even when seen to be desirable, are not to be made suddenly, or without regard to the hold that familiar forms may have on the worshippers' affections. For we are told that "the holy state of worship that has been inrooted from infancy is of such a nature that it cannot endure violence, but only a gentle and kindly bending" (AC 1992:4).
     In this lies concealed one of the miracles of the Lord's Divine mercy. For so great is His longing to bless men with the fruits of true worship that He will accept gentile, yes, even idolatrous worship as a means to disposing the worshipper's will for salvation (see AC 2598, 6289). For the Lord regards even a falsity as like truth if the man allows himself interiorly to be kept by the Lord in good. With such, a falsity is called an apparent falsity only, because it proceeds from good (see AR 625).
     Finally, it is hoped that this study of the tabernacle of David and its worship may lead to increased tolerance for certain expressive and spontaneous forms of worship that do not conform to what some may have until now regarded as the limits of acceptability. Yes, many of us would be uncomfortable in a service in which the worshipers literally, like King David, danced before the Lord with all their might. But that does not mean that such worship should be condemned or the worshipers dismissed as shallow or insincere. Certainly, we ought never to make fun of the worship of others.
     When all is said and done, worship-even its external forms-is not ours. It belongs to the Lord who has provided it for our salvation. Because it is the Lord's it holds promise of endless perfection.


It may be that one day-perhaps sooner than we expect-the New Church will include congregations in which such familiar externals of worship as kneeling, singing, and the use of musical instruments will be joined by the other elements of Davidic worship: total prostration, praying with upraised hands, clapping and even dancing with joyful shouts of "Hallelujah!" and "Amen!"
     For "the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father is seeking such to worship Him" (John 4:23). For "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God" (Revelation 21:3).


     I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe that He is Jehovah and Messiah, the Creator and Redeemer, Father, Son and Holy Spirit in one. I believe that He came into the world at a time when all mankind would have been lost had He not. I believe that by combats with the hells and by glorifying His Human He restored order to the spiritual world; He made visible the Father, meaning His Own Divine Love; and He made salvation once more possible for all those who turn to Him and walk in His ways. I believe that He has made His second coming in a the theological writings given by means of Emanuel Swedenborg.
     I believe that the Lord is the only life, the only love and the only wisdom. I believe that we have no life, love or wisdom of our own, but are only receptacles of His life; and for that reason we are truly alive when we turn from evil and follow Him. I believe that the Word is His believe that a life according to the Lord's commandments is the life of voice, teaching us that we need to follow Him and how to do so. I heaven, a life of joy in being useful to others. I also believe in the power of prayer.
     As for my purpose in entering the ministry, it is my desire to feed the Lord's sheep-to teach the truth of the Lord's Word and to lead by truth to Him. It is my desire to work in the Lord's harvest-to proclaim the good news of His second coming. And it is my desire to feed the Lord's sheep and to work in His harvest not only through preaching, teaching and pastoral work, but also by translating.
     Lord, be with me, I pray, as I walk upon this path, and remove from me those things which are obstacles to You.



MINISTER'S FAVORITE PASSAGE (14)       Rev. Erik E. Sandstrom       1987

De Verbo 6 is my current favourite, because to me it is the Writings explaining themselves as nowhere else in any single number.
     De Verbo is "Concerning the Sacred Scripture, or the Word of the Lord from Experience," written in 1762, published posthumously.
     De Verbo 4 clarifies the difference between the three heavens, that there "is no ratio between them." "The heavens are distinct."
     Swedenborg vainly tried to retain what the angels had talked about "when I returned into my natural state, in which every man is in the world. I then wished to bring it [the conversation with angels in their heavens] forth from the former memory, and describe it, but I could I not; it was impossible" (Ibid.).
     Swedenborg was frustrated: he could speak as an angel among angels, but he could not remember a thing they spoke about when he returned into his natural state. How then did the Writings get written? For they are natural paper and print!
     The "inexpressible ideas of angels" have given rise to a belief in the New Church that the Writings have an as yet to be explained "internal sense" of their own. For Swedenborg "heard things unutterable and inexpressible, as we read happened with Paul" (De Verbo 6; cf 2 Corinthians 12:4). Swedenborg (and Paul too) heard angelic conversations on "the arcana concerning the Lord, redemption, regeneration, providence and other similar things" (Ibid.).
     And then he could not remember a thing! But we know the Writings do contain such arcana. So how could Swedenborg express inexpressible arcana from angels? The Divine Love and Wisdom is entitled "Angelic Wisdom Concerning . . .", so obviously Swedenborg "succeeded. How? For it is impossible to express what angels talk about.
     Here is my favorite passage:

     . . . after which it was given me to understand that I could not utter nor describe them by any spiritual or celestial expression, but that nevertheless they could be described even to their rational comprehension by words of natural language. And it was told me that there is not any Divine arcanum which may not be perceived, and even expressed naturally, although more generally and imperfectly (De Verbo 6).

     The Lord Himself has done it in the Writings. Everything came directly from the Lord's own mouth, inspiring natural terminology drawn from Swedenborg's memory, so as to express all possible arcana in print. De Verbo 4 plus Apocalypse Revealed 36 make it clear that nothing from angels ever made it into print. But the "inexpressible contents of angels' conversations" have been expressed by the Lord in print.


     That is the miracle surpassing all miracles effecting communication between angels and men (see Inv. 43, 44). Since there is nothing beyond expression by the Lord, the Writings have no internal sense; yet we too will be astounded by the way the angels see the same things we see in the Writings.
     The Writings therefore are the very essential Word of the Lord in His Second Coming:

     [The angelic arcana] could be described even to their rational comprehension by words of natural language . . . . There is not any Divine arcanum which may not be perceived and expressed naturally, although more generally and imperfectly (De Verbo 6).

     [Photo of Rev. Erik E. Sandstrom]



SERIES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE (3)       Rev. DONALD L. ROSE       1987

     We have been discussing the subject of reading the Writings, not just with mild interest but with real delight. Last month we talked about three of the earliest readers of the Writings and showed what a pleasure it was for them to read them. Let us illustrate this a little more. One of the great stories of a man finding the Writings and delighting in them is the story of John Clowes. This is of special importance, because this brilliant man was determined to make it possible for others to find the delight that he found, and he did more work translating the Writings from Latin into English than anyone else has done.
     In 1773 (the year after Swedenborg died) Clowes was given a copy of True Christian Religion. He set it aside and did not look at it for a long time. The actual story of how he came to read it is told on a single page in The Swedenborg Epic (p. 496). If you do not already know the story, you have something to look forward to. In this article we just want to focus on how he felt when he started to read. Here is what he says:

     The delight produced in my mind by the first perusal of the work entitled Vera Christiana Religio no language could fully express. . . It seemed as if a continual blaze of re-creating light had been poured forth on my delighted understanding.

     Although the story of John Clowes is inspiring it may seem remote from your own experience. Let us look at one more of the very first readers of the Writings and see if we can relate more readily to his testimony. Major General Christian Tuxen lived in Denmark, which is where he met Swedenborg at a port where sailing ships to England often stopped. Tuxen was a fascinating gentleman who had among other assignments to spy on Russian affairs for the Danish government. Before he became a "secret agent" as well as a military general he had an eventful life in which religious interest had its ups and downs. Here is part of his testimony:

     In my childhood and youth I was religiously brought up by my parents, who never set me any evil example. My tutor having compelled me to learn by heart and without judgment the whole of the orthodox system of divinity, I was at that time more afraid of God than of the Devil, and when I went to the University I abhorred going to church, and hated even the very name of it. In my youth I was of a lively and gay disposition . . . I could never approve of the general explanation of the articles of faith.
     Once as I was walking in the street, the idea started into my mind, "When I die, I shall be annihilated!"


     Tuxen had been attracted to arguments that are negative to religion. There were arguments against the Bible which Tuxen later found to be "resolved and refuted by the explanation of the internal sense of the Word, in the writings of our late great friend." The great friend, of course, was Swedenborg. The testimony continues:

I confess, when I first began to read his works, and just cast my eye on the following passage, that a horse signifies the understanding of the Word, that I found myself as it were repelled, and not very well pleased: but afterwards when I read his works in series from the beginning with attention, though I found many things which surpassed my understanding and knowledge, yet happily I recollected at the same time the answer of Socrates to the other Athenian philosophers, who asked his opinion on the writings of Heraclitus.

     Socrates had said that he did not understand Heraclitus everywhere but what he did understand was so excellent and good that he did not doubt but the rest which he understood not was equally so. This thought really helped Tuxen in reading the Writings. He calls it an encouragement:

This encouraged me to read more and more, and what I understood I found for my own advantage; and it appears to me that no system of divinity is more worthy of the dignity of God, or more consolatory to man and by the Divine help I will always retain this thought in my mind, until I can be convinced that any part thereof is either contrary to the Word and Scripture of God, or to sound reason.

     The above is taken from Tafel's Documents (p. 1148). We hope to continue this theme in a later issue.

AS IF THEY DID NOT HEAR       Editor       1987

     I have seen good spirits talking together about truths, and the good who were present listened eagerly to the conversation, but the evil who were present paid no attention to it, as if they did not hear it (Heaven and Hell 479).