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spheres, yet consisting not of anything of love or wisdom, but instead thereof, of their representatives, natural heart and light. The first result of these spheres in nature is the natural sun; from its activity proceed natural atmospheres successively more and more dense, and finally subsiding into the dead and inert substances and matters of nature, in which the activities of the sun's atmosphere find bases for their reaction. The spiritual atmospheres, being alive because consisting of love and wisdom, and therefore humanly alive, flow into the active though dead atmospheres of nature, and descending with them into the inert substances or matters, exercising their Divine energy for the Divine end, and producing natural forms representative of the living particulars of which these spiritual atmospheres consist: first, the lowest and least living, and then successively the higher and more living, until in the upward return creation reaches the highest finite degree, and then man exists in the Creator's likeness.
According to this order of creation, the lowest or the most imperfect organisms are the first created, then in successive gradations therefrom up to the highest created form, viz. the human, do all the varied organisms come into existence. This order, however, by no means involves the production of the higher from the lower, but the production of the higher in the lower. The lower must ever fail to produce from itself the higher, it can produce only its own likeness, otherwise what is higher in the succession would be a thing created out of nothing, a manifest absurdity. For instance, suppose in the order of creation fishes were brought into existence, and that birds were the next in succession. However necessary for the creation of birds the prior existence of fishes might be, though there might be many things in the fishes' nature that were requisite for the constitution of the birds as their successors in the course of creation, they could not have possessed any of those things which were to distinguish birds from themselves. Whence then could the distinctive organs and attributes of the birds be derived ? Human skill has not yet been able to invent a pair of wings to fly with, much less can it be thought that fishes could make themselves wings and fly away. They have in common with all other living things, vegetable and animal, the power of prolification by putting forth seed for development, but these germs can only multiply their own respective forms and natures. The spawn of fish can never be hatched into birds, for the simple reason that a fish is merely a fish, whereas a bird is something more. The Divine creative life flows down to be received. Its recipient must have organisms consisting of lower things than what it is receiving from above, and every reception of a higher thing is the creation of a new organism. The Divine in all its creations and in all their successions ever desires to create higher recipiencies having as the constant end in view the creation of man in its own image and likeness, even man in his highest state of development in the eternal heavens. It is this necessity for building up the nature of man from things most ultimate gradually to things more and more interior, that he may
receive the Divine gifts, and appropriate them as his own, and so be able to obey and love God of his own freewill—it is this that makes it impossible and undesirable that any class of beings should have been created angels of heaven, without having first begun to exist in the world of nature among material things as corporeal and sensual.
BRITISH AND FOREIGN.
The seventieth annual general meeting of this Society was held at the Society's House, 36 Bloomsbury Street, W.C., on Tuesday the 15th June. The chair was taken at seven o'clock by Dr. STOCKER. Notwithstanding the inclemency of the weather there was a very good muster of the subscribers and friends of the Society. The Rev. J. PRESLAND offered up prayer.
Messrs. F. HEWSON and S. L. TEED were appointed Scrutineers of the balloting lists for the new Committee.
The CHAIRMAN said :
Ladies and Gentlemen,-You will, I am sure, excuse my addressing you from this chair at great leng,h, since I do so in the place of one who, had health permitted him, ould have been far more able than myself, from increased years and more profound knowledge, to have done justice to the subject. I allude to Mr. Bateman, a man whom we all revere as having for years followed the proceedings of this Society with the utmost sympathy and interest. It is not my duty nor is it my intention to anticipate the Reports which will in due course be
mitted to you both by our worthy Treasurer and Secretary. These Reports will speak for themselves, and I think will carry conviction to all our minds that good and honest work has been done during the past year, and that the Committee have been able to show themselves worthy of the important post intrusted to them. I shall simply on this occasion direct your attention to a few facts in the general aspect of society and in the religious world, which afford scope for both deep and anxious thought. This night we meet to celebrate the seventieth anniversary of our Society, which has now reached the ripe age of threescore years and ten, but which yet retains its pristine vigour and manly bearing. It is a hundred years since Swedenborg gave his works to mankind, and it may be interesting to review for a few
minutes the changes which have marked the progress of a new dispensation. Europe was then in a state of comparative sleep, soon to awake to that desperate struggle which, however, paved the way for society as it exists at present. And France, the very country which was its principal scene, has now a fixed government with a Protestant at its head. Nor is this a simple case, for I believe I am right in saying that Thiers was a Lutheran. Germany is' now trying to arrange matters of religion with the Pope. Italy is free, and let us hope that Austria may also be the exponent of a civil and moral liberty which I am afraid she has hitherto been prevented from attaining. What a power exists at the present moment of interchanging ideas ! What a power of combination for all good purposes amongst all people does not now animate the world! For an illustration let us notice that this very year the centenary of the establishment of Sunday schools is being celebrated, and let us, moreover, remember that there can be but little doubt that this year will be one long remembered by succeeding generations as having witnessed the completion of the new translation of the Bible, which is announced as to be finished in the month of July, and to be placed in the hands of the general public in the following autumn. Now this translation, be it remembered, has not been accomplished simply by members of the Established Church, but the proof-sheets of it have even been sent out of our own country for friendly criticism and revision, for I remember a few days since the American Ambassador spoke very feelingly and touchingly as regards the action of the Revision Committees in this matter. Now I need not say that directly this new translation is published it must lead to a more critical examination of the Divine Word itself. To the natural mind of man there will be much in it that is unintelligible, and then by a diligent study, assisted by the writings of Swedenborg, what true strength may not be imparted! And to this end the Society may contribute by helping forward the sale of works about the real meaning of many obscure passages of Scripture. This year will also witness the inauguration of a monument on the Thames Embankment to William Tyndale, the site for which has already been obtained, and to him we owe the present translation of our Bible, for he translated portions of the Old Testament from the Hebrew, and the entire New Testament from the Greek, and it was to his dying wish that Bibles were given to churches chained to the reading-desks by iron chains. And for all he did for us he received strangulation and burning! The publication of a new translation of the Bible will be
event of great interest to all, but to no sect of Christians will it be viewed with greater solicitude than by members of the New Church. By some persons no doubt the new translation will be regarded with suspicion. They will say, If God's Word can be altered thus, why not merely to suit man's own convenience ? The principal consideration is that the original language should be rendered into English as faithfully as possible. I say as far as possible, since each language has to a certain extent a genius of its
own which it is impossible to reproduce. And hence the higher powers of the Established Church wisely require a correct knowledge of Greek before they will ordain candidates for the ministry. I may illustrate my meaning by a reference to the word pneuma, which, as we have it in our word pneumatics, means a breathing or breath, but which has been rendered a ghost, or "geist,” as in the expression the Holy Ghost instead of the Holy Influence. There is another word, the word eternal, which has been so prominently brought before the world by Canon Farrar. As Dr. Goulburn well said the other day, if you alter the word eternal (aeonion) in the phrase everlasting punishment, you must also alter it in respect of eternal happiness. During the past year we have to regret the loss of Mr. Watson, the Rev. Henry Wrightson, Mr. Allen, and Mr. Townsend Mayer, a journalist of
Mr. Watson was for years known to us both for his urbanity and zeal, which at all times commended themselves to our best feelings. Mr. Watson worked earnestly for many years towards the development of the Swedenborg Society, and, thanks to him, there is now in this room a table formerly used by Emanuel Swedenborg, and which, bought by Mr. Watson, has been presented to this Society. There is one person who is absent from us this evening from circumstances with which we are all familiar—Dr. Bayley. I am sure that no one more than myself, that none who have gone through a similar affliction, will fail to respect the cause of his absence this evening. But his heart is with us, and he has our sympathy. And I will conclude by only expressing the fervent hope that this Society may by the merciful help of our Lord carry out to the full the intentions of its original founders, and by so doing increase the love and veneration of all men for the book of books—the Bible.
The SECRETARY read the minutes of the last annual meeting, which were duly confirmed.
The SECRETARY next read the Report of the Committee for the year just ended as follows :
This year the Swedenborg Society has attained to the ripe age of threescore years and ten, an age which in the language of correspondence is equivalent to a period which is full and complete. Viewed in this light, may we not reasonably hope that as the past has been fruitful in good works the future will be so even more abundantly? The great changes which have taken place in the social, political, and religious worlds since the formation of the Society it is difficult to estimate. They have no doubt been designed either immediately or remotely to prepare the way for the descent of the truths of the New Dispensation into the minds of men. Through the instrumentality of this Society the truths themselves, happily, have taken hold to some extent upon the minds of men, and their influence is rapidly modifying the erroneous beliefs which have so long obstructed their reception. They are also satisfying the desires of the ardent truth-seeker, harmonizing in the mind of the rational man the book of Nature with the book of Revelation, comforting the wounded spirit, and giving
golden promise of the time, which it is prophesied shall come, when
1000 The “Index to the Arcana” has been thoroughly revised by Mr. Bruce, and as it forms but one volume uniform with those of the “Arcana,” it will probably prove to be a very useful work for presentation to such persons as are desirous of becoming acquainted with the higher forms of New Church truths expressed in brief but intelligible forms, which is eminently its characteristic. Several important errors were found in the Latin copy on comparing it with the MS. These have now been corrected under the careful supervision of Dr. Tafel, and the new Latin edition will shortly be published in conjunction, it is expected, with the American Swedenborg Society.
The distribution of the 10,000 copies of the Annotated Catalogue to clergymen has been completed, and the Committee are desirous that the clergymen of the various denominations who have not yet received copies shall be supplied with them during the coming year. The cost of printing and posting is about £4 per 1000, a comparatively small sum when it is considered that so many minds are reached by these means whose influence extends far and wide either personally or by sermons, lectures, and books. The Committee purpose with the next edition to devote a portion of the last two pages to supplying a list of the public libraries and other institutions which are in possession of the works or any portion of them. The Catalogue will then be of especial service for distribution at public lectures which may be delivered near such libraries or institutions. Nearly 33,000 of these Catalogues have now been circulated, and as each one has been personally received, your Committee is of opinion that no more effectual means of advertising the works could be employed.