Billeder på siden

teachings, would show more regard to the memory of so famous a philosopher and so busy a citizen. It is true the Royal Academy of Sciences at Stockholm struck, many years ago, a medal in honour of one "in whom they greatly delighted;" but the token is probably seldom called to mind except when seen in the cabinet. In this age of scholarship one might suppose the educated youth of Sweden, by no means such sticklers for Lutheranism as their grandmothers, would have had their enthusiasm kindled by the academic glory of Swedenborg. One might picture them hastening in holiday troops to the scene which should preserve the fragrance of his footsteps. It is not So. The studious foreigner joyously seeks the haunt of one who lived centuries in advance of his age to find-not the sweet aroma of his memory, but a decaying repository of rags and filth!

Perhaps it may be interesting to some to read the following description of the place from a letter which I lately received from my

son :

"When in Stockholm I visited the scene of Swedenborg's residence, and was deeply grieved to witness the condition into which it has fallen. The house in which he lived some time in his earlier life, a wooden building, is now almost a wreck, and is used as a rag-shopso filthy that it is almost unapproachable. Another portion of the residence is in good condition, but has been altered, and the lower part converted into a carriage-house. This part almost adjoins the wooden building, and is, I believe, constructed of stone. Beyond these there is a space, and then we come to another house, larger, and built of stone, where, I was told, Swedenborg lived in the latter part of his life, and where, to use the words of the present owner, 'he rose to greater eminence.' There is also a summerhouse behind this part of the residence, a portion of the same property, which is full of pots, paints, and oils, and nearly tumbling down. The owner coolly remarked it was nothing to him, as he did not sympathize with the followers of Swedenborg, and he thought of pulling it down entirely. The yard around is in a most disorderly state.

"The property (of which I enclose a sketch from memory) is in the hands of three parties, thus appropriated :

"1. The wooden house, carriage-house, and yard.

"2. A space, once Swedenborg's garden, apparently intended for buildings.

"3. The stone house, summerhouse, and yard.

"The street in front is called Hornsgatan, 'gatan' being the Swedish for street.

"As near as I can remember there might be about an acre of ground altogether, of which the garden part in the centre would be more than half. The frontage to the street might be from fifty to seventy yards. Of course these measurements are merely rough guesses. "The parts first described, the wooden building and the carriage-house,



Referring to Mr. Hodson's pamphlet, I find the measurements supposed are larger, the frontage being estimated at about eighty yards.-R. A.

are perhaps hardly worth preserving. But the other parts, the stone house and the summerhouse behind, should, in my opinion, be at once secured. Indeed, I should think the whole property could be had for a reasonable sum. The owner of the best part seemed to be a work


"I was told that many persons, especially from England, went to inspect the place. I hope to go again next year, perhaps in the spring, and should be happy to procure any further particulars."

Will the New Churchmen of England and America allow this memorable spot to go to utter decay, and be entirely lost to posterity, who would probably most highly appreciate its possession? Will not the whole Church, and others, admirers of Swedenborg, at once throw down their "mites" or "mickles," and raise the needful sum to rescue the remains and in some measure effect their restoration?

This is evidently the moment when something must be done, or the opportunity may be hopelessly lost. ROBERT ABBOTT.


THE Chapel of the New Church College has at last been completed by the removal of the old wooden commandment tables belonging to the temporary church, and the construction of a reredos of white stone in character with the rest of the building. Some of our readers will remember the more recent steps that have been made towards completing the chapel as funds were forthcoming. When the building was first erected the sides of the gallery were opened to the staircases, and a great improvement was made by closing these with the present screen walls. Then came the provision of a new organ, the money being raised chiefly through the energy of Miss Bateman; then the closing of the arch on the north side of the chancel, turning the room behind into a laboratory; but for a long time the part of the chapel which should be the most ornamented, namely, the eastern wall, has been the plainest, presenting a dead wall-surface of upwards of thirty feet high from the floor to the underside of the round window in the face of the congregation, without any ornament but some Scripture texts of paper bands and the not very sightly commandment tables above alluded to. About two years ago a reredos fund was commenced. It did not progress rapidly till this summer, when Mrs. Bateman and the Misses Bateman took the matter up energetically, and sent out circulars inviting subscriptions, with such a measure of success that the Council were emboldened to give the order for the commencement of the works last July.

The eastern wall of the chapel overhangs the wall of the basement below some inches, and it was not safe to add a reredos without strengthening the foundations, which was done by the addition of two brick piers in the basement and a cross girder; and many of the stones

of the reredos being built through into the solid wall, it will act as an excellent buttress and support. It was no easy problem to ornament such a surface as the lofty eastern wall of the chapel presented without going to considerable expense; the pyramidical form seemed the best, and it has been chosen for the general outline. The reredos has been designed in the Gothic style of a late period, and it has been endeavoured to give to each part a symbolical character, so that the whole may exhibit representatively the leading doctrines of the New Church, and especially that all therein refers to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is of white stone, about 10 feet 3 inches wide and 22 feet high; the base consists of plain-wrought stone behind the communion-table, with columns projecting on each side to carry part of the work above. The next and principal stage immediately above the communion-table consists of a wide arch of ogee shape in the centre, on each side of which is a curtain looped back, and through which is seen a bas-relief representing the principal objects in the Jewish tabernacle; the ark of the covenant being in the centre, the candlestick with seven branches above, and the altar of incense and table of shewbread below. scarcely be said that these indicate that the writings of the New Church unveil the meaning of the ceremonies of the Jewish ritual, while the slab below, on which is written, "I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the ending, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty," shows that they all refer to the Lord (see the explanation of Rev. xv. 5, 6, in the "Apocalypse Explained," 948). Over the arch in the spandrils are two angels with extended wings, looking down upon and guarding as it were the opening, emblems of Divine Providence guarding and protecting the unveiling of interior truth in the world. This central compartment is crowned with a cornice, along which a sculptured vine is entwined, the well-known symbol of the Church producing truth. On each side of the central arch are two smaller niches, containing the tables with the ten commandments, and the words from Matt. xxii. 37-40, to show that it is the doctrine of the New Church that religion consists in keeping the commandments.

It need

In the centre of the highest compartment of the reredos, and resting on the cornice with the sculptured vine, is a statue of the Lord after Thorwaldsen, standing in an enriched canopy, on the spire of which are three crowns to show that the Trinity is in the Lord. Of all the numerous statues of Christ that Christian art has produced that of Thorwaldsen has been chosen as most giving the New Church idea of our Lord; it represents Him with hands extended, and seems to say, "Come unto Me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest," and may be taken to symbolize the incarnation of Divine Love. The canopy is supported on each side by rich buttresses and tracery, on which is written, "King of kings, and Lord of lords," and on the pinnacles on each side are angels with harps in their hands (Rev. xv. 2-4).

The reredos was designed by Mr. Alexander Payne, architect, of 4

Storey's Gate, St. James's Park, S.W., and has been ably carried out by Messrs. Martyn and Emms, sculptors, of Hales Road, Cheltenham. During its construction, the opportunity was taken of having the whole of the interior stonework of the chapel well cleaned. These works leave a sum to be met of about £60 beyond the subscriptions already received, and further aid will be most thankfully received by Miss Bateman or the Treasurer.


(To the Editor of the Intellectual Repository.)


SIR,-At the annual meeting of the Swedenborg Society in June 1877, Mr. H. R. Williams made a very judicious and much-required remark on the misuse of the word "Swedenborgian" in connection with the "New Church." I was surprised at the superficial (even flippant) style in which several good and respected speakers shut him up.

After long waiting for some better qualified writer to come forward, I venture to offer these few lines for earnest consideration on the part of the readers of the Intellectual Repository, who doubtless include most members of the "New Church;" for, instead of the matter being of slight moment, my experience among the highest as well as lower classes of the human community (for a quarter of a century) has afforded to me indisputable evidence of its extreme importance to the interests of the New Church.

It must be admitted how few are our numbers, and how difficult it is to fill our few small churches, even though the public are apt to run after able preachers of any sectarian denomination.

Now, there is too commonly in existence among New Churchmen (the sooner love of truth is proved by candid confession the better) a natural tendence to self-complacency and self-absorption in the plane of their own religious views and feelings, which tendency is apt to prevent due allowance for the erroneous ideas and feelings of others. Hence many cannot see and understand the excessive prejudice which still prevails among the various Christian denominations even against Swedenborg himself—much more against the doctrines of persons calling themselves "Swedenborgians." It must be allowed that there is already a great increase of those who have begun to feel some respect for Swedenborg's Writings or portions of his Writings; but of these there are comparatively few who even dream of becoming New Churchmen, while the bare idea of being a "Swedenborgian" is almost universally regarded with either ridicule or horror.

When from time to time during the last twenty-five years I have introduced highly educated and rational persons into our Church, and thus given them opportunity of hearing beautiful and convincing

sermons, I have been surprised to observe how little their prejudices (in favour of religious doctrines in which they had been educated) were changed by hearing the truth, though nearly all admitted that they received much food for thought. But-introduce the name of Swedenborg, and the influence of truth at once departed.

I have no hesitation in asserting that no ordinary outsider would be induced to enter a "Swedenborgian" place of worship, and hear an eminent "Swedenborgian" preacher, except with the feeling akin to visiting some rare monkey or new lion at the Zoological Gardens. Yet in some of the London papers occasional New Church advertisements are seen with the word " Swedenborgian " in brackets—a certain method of preventing the advent of many strangers or investigators. In fact the use of the word is calculated directly to obstruct and partially to neutralize progress already made.

In principle, any man's name associated with any special doctrines at once must constitute a mere "sect" in the eyes of the world. May I not appeal to certain injudicious leaders of the "New Church" no longer to degrade the visible nucleus of our Lord's Second Advent to such a position?

If New Churchmen themselves encourage the idea of a "Swedenborgian" sect, we cannot but expect that popular imagination (already in error) will be thus guided, and that our numerous enemies and satirists will seize the advantage.

An earnest suggestion may here not be out of place. "Milk for babes," offered with due judgment and expediency, presents a leading feature in the teaching of the Divine Word. It is easy to reason

from the Sacred Scriptures without ever naming Swedenborg. Many converts are thus made and greater success achieved outside than within the nominal "New Church." Such converts can be multiplied with comparative rapidity; and clear evidence has been afforded (as might be anticipated) that they will as a rule (after their judicious initiation) be ready and even eager to ignore prejudice and admit Swedenborg's Writings. Might it not be most advantageous for true "New Church" extension to put forward Swedenborg's name rather less prominently in notice from the pulpit (when strangers are present), in placards outside, and other advertisements to attract searchers after Truth among the public at large?

No man, I may add, can more venerate Swedenborg and his inspired Writings than myself. I remain, sir, yours faithfully,



SIR,-Permit me to correct a slight error in your article in the Intellectual Repository for October commenting upon a work on the "Nature and Origin of Evil." This work, written by request of the

« ForrigeFortsæt »