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ages. This greatly enriches the book, and supplies the reader with a more enlarged view of the subject than could be offered by a single mind. In an introduction by Professor Hovey, this is said to be “a work almost egually adapted to meet the wants of scholars and of the people ; for on the one hand it is learned and exact, while on the other it is perspicuous and interesting.” It may therefore be recommended to students as well as to readers of the Scriptures. It is almost needless to say that the author confines his labours to the literal sense, including, however, doctrinal, ethical, and historical subjects, so far as they are expressed in discrepant statements; and in some of his statements and solutions, under the two first of these heads, the New Church student may not always be able entirely to concur. Still there is so much that he can cordially agree with, that he can afford to deduct the little that he cannot accept. Considering how worthy of encouragement is every earnest and intelligent attempt to roll away the reproach which the uncircumcised of all times have endeavoured to fasten on the Scriptures, and to remove honest doubts, we cannot but commend the work before us. ON MIRACLES, AND MODERN SPIRITUALISM. Three Essays. By ALFRED
RUSSEL WALLACE, Author of “ The Malay Archipelago," "Contributions to the Theory of Natural Selection, etc., etc. London : James Burns,
15 Southampton Row. 1875. This is in some important respects a disappointing book. Mr. Wallace is a man of more than ordinary intelligence, well-known in the scientific world ; and it is to his credit that he proclaims himself as one who, formerly a thorough and confirmed materialist, has now found a place in his mind for the conception of spiritual existence, and other agencies in the universe besides matter and force. For such a declaration, in the present temper
of scientific men, is tantamount to drawing down upon him the ridicule and supercilious pity of those leaders of the scientific world, who are supposed by their followers to have defined the limits of exact knowledge, and placed their veto upon everything which the “laws of nature" (25 known to them) do not explain. Therefore we commend our author that he has had the boldness to face the prejudices of his scientific fellows, and to proclaim that which he believes to be true.
Mr. Wallace begins by a critical examination of the arguments used by Hume, Lecky and others, against miracles—arguments which are generally received by sceptics as decisive and unanswerable. But it can only be to those who are desirous to be convinced that what is called the miraculous could not occur that those arguments are conclusive, they are accepted by one and another, and year after year, as standing and triumphant vindications of materialism, while no one has the boldness to look into them and see if they are the bulwarks they pretend to be, and Mr. Wallace has brought artillery upon them which we consider to have perforated them, and let the light of truth through the obstructive screen of darkness ; and here we consider the author has done good service. He shows that Hume gives a false definition of miracles, which begs the question of their possibility—that Hume states the fallacy that miracles are isolated facts, to which the entire course of human
testimony is opposed, and that he absolutely contradicts himself as to the amount and quality of the testimony in favour of miracles
. But unfortunately Mr. Wallace here qualifies his views, and herein he disappoints us. For he tells us more than once in rounded phrases what would lead us to gather that he is anxious that it should not be thought that he is a religious man. “I soon lost (after living from the age of fourteen with an elder brother of advanced liberal and philosophical opinions), and have never since regained all capacity of being affected in my judgments, either by clerical influence or religious prejudice" (p. vi.). Not that we would have it imagined that our author is an
irreligious man, or has not a religion of his own, but it is one which takes its rise from spirit-manifestations, and all the questionable phenomena associated with table-turning and spirit-rapping,--and not from the Bible as a source of truth, or from the Lord as a Saviour. We therefore cannot be surprised that he stigmatizes it as an “extraordinary assumption that a miracle, if real, can only come from God,” and supposes that such may“ be performed by any of the probably infinite number of intelligent beings who may exist between ourselves and the Deity” (pp. 12, 13).
Now, the present writer is not what is termed a spiritualist, nor has he seen any of the so-called spiritual phenomena, but from what he knows of the nature of spirit, derived from the consistent, philosophical, and luminous writings of Swedenborg, added to the immense amount of testimony brought forward in proof of the reality of the alleged phenomena, le is fully prepared to give his adhesion to their genuineness. The sarcasms of Professor Huxley, the doggedness of Professor Tyndall, and the utterly un philosophical scepticism
of Dr. Carpenter, are all alike, to him, curiosities of psychology, which hereafter will be used to point a moral and adorn a tale," and the amusingly inconclusive article by the latter in the Quarterly Review (October 1871) only shows to what shifts men are driven when the theories of a lifetime are invaded, and seem in danger of falling to pieces.
Admitting, then, the existence of spirits, and the presence of spiritual influences about us, doctrines familiar to all who receive the teachings of the New Jerusalem Church, we feel at once saddened and rejoiced-saddened to think that the imperfect and untrustworthy revelations of the “Spirits” should be taken as sufficient to found a new religion (p. 108), when we are acquainted with an infinitely more perfect and authorized system by which the utterances of the spirits themselves may be tested and corrected—and rejoiced, since it seems almost providential that at this juncture men should, by any means, be led into that very current which, properly guided, may bring so many to an acquaintance with the Heavenly Doctrines which fiil the writings of the Lord's servant Emanuel Swedenborg. With these writings our author would appear to be totally unacquainted, as not only does he omit to mention the name where it could with great propriety have been introduced, but he also makes positive statements which a knowledge of New Church doctrines would have shown him to be erroneous. Thus, with regard to the first proposition, when combating (p. 21) Mr. Lecky's statement that in certain stages of society "an accretion of miracles is invariably formed around every prominent person,” he might, with the greatest propriety, have alluded to Swedenborg as a man who, although he claimed to be in constant communication with the spiritual world, yet, so far from an accretion of miracles being formed round him, neither claimed nor is credited with any miraculous power beyond that communication. But Swedenborg is not once mentioned in the book, and we will now point out some passages in which Mr. Wallace makes statements which he would have known to be incorrect had he possessed any acquaintance with the doctrines of the New Jerusalem Church. Thus in the chapter “on the Moral Teachings of Spiritualism” he says (p. 108), “ The hypothesis of spiritualism is further remarkable as being associated with a theory of a future state of existence, which is the only one yet given to the world that can at all commend itself to the modern philosophical mind." This we know to be an utter fallacy-and that the system known to us all is not only the same in its nature, but far superior, as being amplified and philosophized in a manner we despair of the spirits ever arriving at in their communications. The addresses of the trance-medium, Mrs. Emma Hardinge, excellent as they appear to our author, are but poor imitations of the doctrines to be found everywhere in the writings of Swedenborg, which have a higher tone, and more trustworthy ring, than even the selected quotations on pp. 110-114. “Could the philosopher or man of science picture to himself a more perfect ideal of a future state than this ?” he asks, and we can only reply by regretting that such inquirers should be unacquainted with the mine of knowledge and wisdom which they would find at least equally to commend itself to them, if they would take the trouble to look for it and dig into it. Again (p. 114) he says, “It is palpable to every reader that these doctrines are essentially different in every detail from those taught and believed by any school of modern philosophers, or any sect of modern Christians." We would reply, to any modern philosophers, or modern Christians, Yes, excepting only Swedenborgians, to whom, in a purified and exalted form, they are familiar. So also (p. 115), “All popular religions, all received notions of a future state of existence, ignore one important side of human nature,”—he refers to mirth, wit, laughter and merriment. Do we not fully understand our teacher that all these, as part of the human nature here, must be part of our spiritual nature hereafter? Unquestionably, and this crucial point is admittedly one of Swedenborgian teaching-, so that to his conclusion that continuity has been pre-eminently the law of our mental development, and it rests with those who would abruptly sever this continuity to prove their case,” we can only reply, Then it does not rest with us, for this very continuity is an ESSENTIAL part of our faith, and no point is more often and more strongly insisted upon by Swedenborg than this philosophical fact,
But the difference between the teachings of spiritualism, the best of which have been collected and selected by our author, and the teachings of the New Church are well accounted for by a passage from the trance-medium (on p. 111). “Spirits” (she says) “only present you with the testimony of those who have advanced one step beyond humanity.” But we have the cheering conviction that the wisdom given to our Teacher had a far higher source, for not only does he instruct us in these matters much better than the spirits, but he also gives us light and knowledge on matters of more transcendent wisdom, of such a kind that we are persuaded that no man could speak the things which he speaks "unless God be with him.”
In concluding our notice of this suggestive volume, we must refer with some regret to the author's speculations upon the value of prayer, and the nature of its answer. He says, “ Prayer may be answered, although not directly by the Deity-nor does the answer wholly depend on the morality or the religion of the petitioner ; but as men who are both moral and religious, and are firm believers in a Divine response to prayer, will pray more frequently, more earnestly, and more disinterestedly, they will attract towards them a number of spiritual beings who sympathize with them, and who, when the necessary mediumistic power is present, will be able, as they are often willing, to answer the prayer” (p. 209). And he absolutely cites the case of Mr. Müller of Bristol in illustration of this theory! How great a fall is here ! “The spiritualist explains all this as a personal influence," and herein we see the fallacies and errors which those may fall into who begin their religion at the wrong end. But we wish better things of our author and such as he, and we trust that, having now so fully studied the phenomena of so-called spiritualism, he will be induced to examine the writings to which this paper bas referred. For these writings are neglected, not because they are worthy of such neglect, but through sheer ignorance of their value and importance. And as an incentive to a study of them we cannot do better than adapt a passage which the author uses (p. 117) with regard to an examination of spiritualism. “Those who will examine its literature will acknowledge its facts. Those who will not examine for them. selves should at least refrain from passing judgment on a matter of which they are confessedly and wilfully ignorant."
M, A. Oxos.
MAY MEETINGS. The month of May may enter with earnestness upon that is devoted to the anniversary assemblies increase of the Society's missions in of the several Christian institutions India and China which they have long which are devoted to the propagation of desired. The total income for the year Christianity, or the extension in various is £103,553, or, including the balance of ways of Christian works. The usual last year, £105,401. The expenditure place of assembly is Exeter Hall, though leaves in the Society's favour a balance other large halls are also brought into of over £3000. The Report dwells largely requisition. The usual interest seems on the Society's missions in Madagascar this year to have attended these assem- and India. To the former place a depublies, and the Reports presented have tation from the Society was sent out, and been mostly of a cheerful kind. We extended efforts of service have been give a brief notice of the more prominent arranged.
Of India the Report says, Missionary Societies.
“The Indian census lately taken has Church Missionary Society.The Re. shown that we have 200,000,000, port of this Society enters into particulars directly subject to the Crown; the prorespecting the several mission stations. tected states increase this number to From these it appears that at some of the 283,000,000, and the conviction is that, stations the Societies raised up are con- if the census could be made complete, it tributing largely to the support of the would show the population of India to work carried on in their localities. The exceed 300,000,000 of souls. What are following are the statistics of the mis. the 600 foreign missionaries and their sions Stations, 157 ; European clergy- 3000 native helpers among these masses men, 211; native and country-born of human beings. But we have learned clergymen, 154 ; number of communi. too much of the power of little things cants, 24,497. From the statement of in God's hands to doubt that He, who the accounts it appeared that the income knew the end from the beginning, will was not equal to that of last year. so sustain his servants, and so multiply "Encouraged by the unexampled liber- in their hands the bread of life, that in ality which placed in their hands a due time even this multitude shall be balance of £10,407 for the year 1873-74, fed by Him. . . Strange cases are the Committee, in strengthening and constantly met with of individuals who permitting expansion in their existing are secret believers in the Saviour; at missions, and also in entering on new times small communities are found to fields of labour, undertook an estimated whom the Word of God is a constant expenditure for the year just closed of study, and who, unobserved, are seeking between £172,000 and £173,000. The to guide their lives by its precepts. whole of this expenditure has been more Baptist Missionary Society. — This than met by the income of the year. Society reports that during the year From donations and legacies the com- 3546 persons have been baptized, viz., mittee have received £42,672, ls. 3d., in the East, excluding Santhalistan, 392; while their associations have exceeded of the Santhals, 1600 ; and in Africa, all previous returns by nearly £4000, the West Indies and Europe, 1554. having sent in this year the unpre. The mission staff has been increased by cedented sum of £131,668, 178., thus nine persons, two of whom have become making the total income of the Society pastors in Colombo and Bombay. The £174,340, 18s. 3d., and leaving in hand missions of the Society extend to India a surplus of £922, 4s. 9d.”
and China, the West Indies and several London Missionary Society. — The continental countries. In Norway Directors of this Society report that the further progress has been made, while ordinary receipts from subscriptions, in Rome the Committee has secured donations, and collections have con- suitable premises for the prosecution of tinued to increase, and have reached a Mr. Wall's most interesting work. The higher amount than in any former year. hall that has been built for Divine For six years running the income of the worship was opened on the 21st March, Society has exceeded £100,000; and they amidst many marks of the Divine feel that the time is come when they blessing. The church now consists of
ninety members. The income of the 5 in Ireland, and 5 in connection with Society has been £40,121—only £134 circuits in large towns. On these were less than that of last year, which in- employed 137 missionaries. In South cluded £3126 for the Famine Fund. Australia they had 16 stations, 7 of The expenditure has, however, exceeded which were missions with 8 missionaries; the income by £1143.
in Victoria and Tasmania, 26 stations, Wesleyan Missionary Society. — The 14 of which were missions with 14 Report of this Society stated that the missionaries ; in New South Wales, 15 steady increase of income (something stations and 17 missionaries ; in Queenslike £3000 a year for some years past) land, 5 stations with 5 missionaries; in had been more than maintained, a num Canada, 64 stations with 79 preachers; ber of legacies, lapsed annuities, &c., and in Africa, 4 stations with 7 mis
. bringing up the total receipts for the sionaries; making a total of 176 stations year to £184,039 ; of this sum £47,630 and 267 missionaries. The total income had been received from affiliated con- for the year was £46,706, being an inferences and mission districts. The dis- crease on any preceding year of £11,498. bursements were £179,946. A general The British and Foreign Bible Society. recapitulation of the several particulars The report stated that the receipts and ex. given in the Report showed that the penditure during the past year had been Society had-principal stations, called farger than the previous year. The Society circuits, throughout the world, 944; was founded in London in the year 1804, chapels and other preaching places, for the purpose of circulating the Holy 7047 ; ministers and assistant-mission. Scriptures, without note or comment, aries, including supernumeraries, 1224; throughout the world. The constitution other paid agents, as catechists, inter of the Society admits of the co-opera. preters, day-school teachers, etc., tion of all who are favourable to its 4840 ; unpaid agents, as Sunday-school object. At the beginning of the present teachers, 25,307; full church members, century it is probable that there were 174,834 ; on trial for church member not more than four or five millions of ship, 17,173 ; scholars, 267,692 ; print- copies of the Sacred Volume in all the ing establishments, 4.
world, existing in about fifty different United Methodist Free Churches' Home translations. Since the establishment and Foreign Missions. The Report of the British and Foreign Bible Society, stated that numerically all the foreign nearly seventy-four millions of copies of stations show an increase of 224 accre- the Word of God, in whole or in part, dited members, and 545 on trial, making have been circulated from its depôts
, the total number of church members while other kindred societies which have 6112 on foreign stations alone, which, sprung out of it, and have been aided added to the home circuits, give a total by it, have distributed about fifty-three of 67,371 members, with 6195 proba- millions of copies more ; so that during tioners. The financial increase on the the present century about one hundred year's income at home on behalf of mis- and twenty-seven millions of copies of sions has been £1617 in advance of last the Sacred Scriptures, in whole or in year, the total being £11,119. The ex- part, have been put into circulation by penditure has been £10,397. Some of Bible Societies alone in various parts of the increase in the receipts was due to a the world. The number of languages legacy and special gifts, and there was and dialects in which God's Word is an advance on the ordinary receipts of translated has been raised from fifty to £765, 18s. 2d. For the first time the upwards of two hundred, while in the juveniles have had a separate column of number of versions of the Scriptures, in their amounts, but they were not credited whole or in part, hitherto prepared with all the receipts coming from them, (there being sometimes more than one some circuits not having divided the version in the same language) is about amounts; but as far as they go they two hundred and sixty, the preparation show a sum of £2776, and there is every of which has been promoted, directly or prospect of the sum being annually in- indirectly, by the British and Foreign creased.
Bible Society. In above thirty inPrimitive Methodists. —This Society stances languages have bee has 67 home mission stations, 49 in time reduced to a written form. In England, 5 in Wales, and 6 in Scotland; addition to a circulation of English