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been adopted. It seems to us, however, that the statement with which it sets out hardly conveys a just idea of the case. We have reason to believe that much more is now done for the young people of the Church, and that they are taught to do much more for themselves, than at any former period. It may be true that they do not study the Writings so much as they should ; and any plan that may induce them to study them more, or help them to understand them better, deserves attention.)
(TO THE EDITOR OF THE INTELLECTUAL REPOSITORY.”)
DEAR SIR,Your readers may remember that about three or four years ago the Swedenborg Society raised certain funds for the translation into Icelandic of the “Angelic Wisdom concerning the Divine Love.” The translation was made by an Icelandic gentleman and scholar, assisted by Dr. Wilkinson, from whom the original suggestion came. I have great pleasure in forwarding for publication in the Repository the two letters enclosed, which will be perused with the greatest satisfaction, and with thankfulness to Divine Providence, by the original subscribers and the Committee of the Swedenborg Society.-Yours very truly,
AUGUSTUS CLISSOLD. 8 Victoria Gardens, Ladbroke Road,
Nottinghill, W., Sept. 6th, 1871. My LEAR DR. WILKINSON, I was very glad to hear from my wife that you had been pleased with your trip to Norway. I enclose an account of what I have heard of the reception of the Visdomur Englanna in Iceland, and I cannot tell you how glad I am that my countrymen like it the more the more they read it. I wish the young clergyman, Mr. Johnson's brotherin-law, of whom I speak, had not left London so soon (he went to Copenhagen last Saturday), or else I should have taken the liberty to introduce him to you, so that you might have heard from his own mouth what he told me. His testimony is all the more valuable in this respect, as he is not yet a disciple of Swedenborg. We had long talks about his doctrines, and he said that he would make closer acquaintance with him when he came home.
Swedenborg's works will be appreciated in Iceland, I am quite sure, because my countrymen are an intelligent people, without being preoccupied by German philosophy (evolutions out of inner consciousness) and materialistic speculations. The only obstacle to the general circulation of Swedenborg's books in Iceland will be the inability of the Icelanders to buy them. I hope to find time to call on you very soon.--Yours ever affectionately,
Jon A. HJALTALIN. 8 Victoria Gardens, Ladbroke Road,
Nottinghill, W., Sept. 6th, 1871. MY DEAR DR. WILKINSON,- I am very glad to be able to inform you that the good work done by Mr. Clissold and the Swedenborgian Society in publishing Swedenborg's Sapientia Angelica de Divino Amore is now bearing fruit among my countrymen, especially among the country clergymen and farmers, for they have not labelled their minds with “No admittance to spiritual truths, as is the case with some of the very few of my countrymen who have been educated at the University of Copenhagen. My countrymen are always slow in receiving new ideas. I was not therefore at all disappointed or surprised, though I did not hear anything about the reception of the doctrines of Swedenborg by the Icelanders for some time, after the above-mentioned book had been placed before them. Nevertheless I felt confident that ultimately it would be well received. And in this hope I was not disappointed, for this summer I have received letters from various parts of Iceland, in which the “Divine Lave” was spoken of in the most eulogistic terms. At the same time they asked me whether there were any possibility of “ Heaven and Hell” appearing in Icelandic, for “that book would be eagerly read by many of our countrymen,” says one of my correspondents.
Last month a young Icelandic clergyman was on a visit here in London. He was not acquainted with Swedenborg's writings himself, but he told me that he had travelled over the greatest part of Iceland last summer. “On these travels,” he said, “I was constantly assailed not only by my brother colleagues, but also by farmers and peasants, with questions concerning the doctrines of Swedenborg, whether I had read his book and what I thought of it. They seemed to have studied it profoundly, and to be quite in raptures with its contents. An old clergyman said to me, 'I have learned more from that book than from all the professors of the University, and I earnestly advise you to read it yourself, and you will prove the truth of my words. You may read it once or twice without much result, but if you persevere a new world of thought and revelation will open to you.""
I have not the least doubt of Swedenborg's writings being generally appreciated in Iceland, for the mind of my countrymen is a virgin soil, this book being the first philosophical work ever published in Icelandic. They are most of them of a meditative turn of mind, and fond of thinking in a: practical way, not in the abstract. I should, therefore, think there are few people more predisposed to the reception of Swedenborg's doctrines than the Icelanders.—I am, my dear Dr. Wilkinson, yours most sincerely,
Jon A. HJALTALIN. Dr. Garth Wilkinson.
NEW TRIALS BRING NEW DELIVERANCES.
WHEN I am from home, and there is no New Church Society where I happen to sojourn, I attend some other place of worship. For the loss of a congenial service I learn something of the present state of religious teaching. Sometimes I am instructed and cheered, sometimes saddened and sent away empty. Sometime since, in the parish church of a fashionable watering-place, I had the satisfaction of listening to a discourse that displayed a deeper insight into the spirituality of the Scriptures than is generally to be met with out of a New Church pulpit. The preacher, a venerable and earnest man, took his text from the Book of Joshua (iii. 4), “Ye have not passed this way heretofore.” He dwelt on the historical circumstances only so far as was required to bring out its religious meaning. The fact he wished to impress upon the minds of his hearers was this, that Israel, after their long wanderings and many and varying experiences, were now placed in new and trying circumstances. Before them was the swollen Jordan, which they had no means of crossing ; on the opposite shore stood the walled city of Jericho, which they had no means of taking ; beyond lay the land, whose warlike nations they had no means of subduing. In these circumstances of difficulty and perplexity, they were instructed that their success and their safety lay in their following the ark. “When ye see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests and Levites bearing it, then shall ye remove from your places and go after it, ... that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore.” As soon as the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water the Jordan divided, and the people passed over right against Jericho. How are these circumstances applicable to the Christian ? The journey of Israel was an ensample of the Christian life, the ark was a type of Christ. In the course of his earthly pilgrimage the Christian will pass through new states, and will have to encounter new difficulties, and endure new trials and temptations. He will often experience the truth of the words, “Ye have not passed this way heretofore.” And what is the means of his safety and his triumph Christ is to the Christian what the sacred ark was to the children of Israel. The ark was to them the symbol of the Divine presence, and through it therefore they had power and protection. Is the Christian brought to face some new difficulty which he has no human means of surmounting? The command to him is–Follow Christ. The grace and the example of Jesus are sufficient for us at all times, especially in times of difficulty and perplexity, of trial and temptation. Here is a principle to guide us in all our conduct, by following which we shall surmount all obstacles and overcome all temptations. In all periods and conditions of life circumstances will arise unlike any in which we have hitherto been placed. In youth almost every step in the way of life is new ; new views, new hopes, new feelings spring up within the breast, and with them new trials in which some fixed principle of action is required ; and the only means of security against the temptations which beset the path of the young are the grace and example of Christ. But every period of life is incident to trial, arising out of new circumstances which cannot be foreseen or prevented. In this world of change and uncertainty, reverse of fortune brings many into circumstances which they never anticipated, and for which they are totally unprepared. In this and in all other trials in which we have no previous experience to guide us, we have come to a trying part in life's journey which we have not passed heretofore ; but if we faithfully and confidently follow the ark, we shall be led in safety to our promised rest.
A LETTER TO THE REV. SAMUEL DAVIDSON, D.D., LL.D., in answer to his
Essay against the Johannine Authorship of the Fourth Gospel. By
DR. DAVIDSON's essay appeared in the Theological Review, No. xxx., for July 1870, where it occupies about thirty-four pages; the “ Answer" before us is in a pamphlet of forty-four pages. The comparative brevity of each bespeaks for them popular perusal. Both publications may be read by the student with advantage to his learning : the former for presenting in a critical way a fresh member of the general argument urged against John being the author of the gospel attributed to him ; and the latter, for being a critical examination of that member of the argument, proving, as we think, very satisfactorily, that it fails to sustain the view it advocates. “He
that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him" (Prov. xviii. 17). The controversy as to whether John was really the author of the gospel ascribed to him was forced into prominence during the concluding half of the last century and the beginning of the present by English Deists and German theologians. Those efforts to overturn an opinion which had for upwards of fifteen hundred years been held nearly undisturbed by the Christian world, excited the attention of educated churchmen; and they turned their scholarship in so many directions to the general subject, and handled the objections which had been urged with so much ability and learning, that they came to be regarded as possessing no weight of importance against the accepted anthenticity of the gospel, and this, so far as we know, is the normal state of the controversy up to the present time. Silence, indeed, has not been entirely imposed; the quietude induced has been occasionally broken ; the most recent instance being that presented by Dr. Davidson's essay. Dr. Davidson's method, as it appears from Mr. Bache's treatment of it, is to shew from a variety of literary points of view that John was not the author of the fourth gospel. First, From the asserted absence of the testimony of the ancient fathers on the subject. Second, That some of the fathers who do refer to it are not credible witnesses. Third, That the fathers who quote from this gospel, and thereby intimate their belief in its authenticity, do not give us verbatim citation, and therefore they do not furnish admissible evidence. Fourth, That a spurious gospel of Peter was used in the early Church, and there being then no canon of Scripture, we can have no certainty that the gospel attributed to John is his. F'isth, That the direct testimony of Irenæus is an imperfect and coloured recollection of his youth, and that, because he exaggerated, and was an uncritical and credulous man, his testimony cannot be accepted. Sixth, That no part of the New Testament was elevated into the rank of Holy Scripture until A.D 170, and that the writer of the Muratorian fragment, who wrote about this time, and who testifies to John being the author of the fourth gospel, is not to be credited, because he admitted other books into the canon which he looked upon as superstitious. Seventh, That the early Christians represent John to have been a reluctant writer, which may be taken as an intimation that he could not have been the author of the gospel ascribed to him. Eighth, That supposing John to have written the Apocalypse, it is a psychical inconsistency to believe that he wrote the gospel also. Ninth, That John never roundly asserts himself to have been the author of the book. Tenth, That the theology of the gospel ascribed to John knows nothing of Christ's birth from a Virgin, of his descent from David, of the Lord's Supper, of His second coming to judge the world, &c.
These, at first sight, seem a formidable list of objections, but each, with some others, is taken up by Mr. Bache, and handled with evident ability and skilful refutation. Those who take an interest in these questions of literary criticism will find in Mr. Bache's “Letter" a variety of scholarly and valuable arguments against the objections taken to the Johannine authorship of the fourth gospel, presented briefly in clear English, with a fair Christian temper.
David ELGINBROD. By GEORGE MACDONALD, LL.D.
Hurst & Blackett.
MR. MACDONALD is one of the many writers of the present day who, having to some considerable extent shaken off the fetters of established religious formulæ, venture to think for themselves : and hence his works have always
a certain charm of originality. In the volume under notice, while there are sentiments expressed and embodied from which the New Church reader may dissent, there is also much that will receive his cordial approbation.
Two ruling ideas are presented in it. One of these is the power of reaching the hearts of others, as channels for good and holy influences, possessed by individuals whose hearts and lives are penetrated and permeated by a vital belief and trust in God as a God of love. The second is the danger of spiritism, and the difficulty of deliverance from thraldom, and that only by an earnest seeking of Divine aid-of those who surrender themselves to the will of another, in the degree implied in some of the asserted phenomena of biology and mesmerism. This part of the tale may be considered highly instructive, when allowances are made for the licensed exaggerations of fiction ; only, it unfortunately happens that admonitions thus conveyed are seldom read by those to whom they are specially applicable.
The following extracts will be generally appreciated. —
“Is not salvation the uniting of all our nature into one harmonious whole-God first in us, ourselves last, and all in due order between? Something very much analogous to the change in Euphra takes place in a man when he learns that his beliefs must become acts; that his religious life and his human life are one ; that he must do the thing that he admires. The Ideal is the only absolute Real; and it must become the Real in the individual life as well, however impossible they may count it who never try it, or who do not trust in God to effect it, when they find themselves baffled in the attempt.” (p. 376.)
MESSRS. HARPER AND BROTHERS have commenced the publication of a series of books for girls, between the ages of eight and eighteen, by the author of “ John Halifax. Two have been published, “ Little Sunshine's Holiday,” and “ The Cousin from India." The first is a simple narrative of a journey to Scotland, and the experiences and exploits of a little girl of three years old. The other volume sketches the experience of a little girl of six, brought to England from India, where she had no training, and had been petted and spoiled by native nurses. She makes sad work in the wellordered English household, but is finally tamed, and becomes a thoughtful, conscientious child through the sickness and death of little Davie, whom she loves with a most absorbing affection.—N. J. Messenger.