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as a soul in a body, and the Holy Spirit, as the action and proceeding influence of that all-perfect form. Can I express to you the rapturous emotion with which my mind opened to receive this truth? But no, I will not attempt it, lest even you should class me among enthusiasts deluded by their own sensations. But do you wonder that I considered this as an answer to my prayers ? It is now fourteen years since the period of which I am writing. In all that time I have made a practice of reading the works of Swedenborg. Many persons find fault with them for being voluminous, but that is one of their excellencies in my view. I am daily more powerfully convinced by an internal evidence, of their authenticity, and though I have only mentioned to you the principal doctrine of his creed, yet there is a variety of the most important information, and altogether forming a complete system.
29th March. So far, my dear friend, had I completed my promise, when I was seized with a severe ague, and confined to my chamber for three days; since then I have returned home, and am recovering. I regret not having been able to comply entirely with your request, by sending the sheet last Sunday: in the mean time I fear I am suffering in your opinion. In looking over what I have written, I am impressed with a fear that it is altogether a different kind of communication from what you ex. pected; but I am still more convinced, that I could not, in few words, give an explicit sketch of the system of Swedenborg. I did once lend you an “account of his life and writings,” of which I might have availed myself by forming an outline from it, but it would have required time, which you did not allow me; and why should I expect to succeed in convincing you by the same means which another had used in vain ? One reason which you kindly urged for my writing on this subject was, that you might be supplied with arguments to answer the ridicule which was thrown on it by people in general. My dear friend, it is hazardous to attempt, in some instances, to remove the prejudices of mankind; there are undoubtedly minds open to conviction, but they are not, generally, found among those who use the weapons of ridicule. And those who lightly asperse what they will not take the trouble to understand, are in danger of hating what they begin by contemning. I am willing, as an individual, to submit to the ridicule of those who feel the superiority of worldly wisdom, and while I do not oppose it, it can only amount to a smile, or witty sarcasm. Swedenborg was remarkable for the silence with which he passed from one country to an-, other, avoiding every thing which could look like the former of a sect :-when addressed on the subject of his writings, he always, except in a very few instances, when called upon in a serious manner for information, referred to his books. As to the circulation of these doctrines, I have no doubt of its being sufficiently rapid, and am willing to abide by the test of the sensible Gamaliel, who urged only that what was of God, could not be overturned. At the same time, my dear friend, I hope I have given you sufficient reason to justify to yourself, my adoption of the writings; and, as I am conscious that the best thing I could wish for you, would be, that you should become a receiver of them, I sincerely offer you the use of my books, or any information I can give. With fervent prayers for your happiness here and hereafter,
I remain, most affectionately, yours.
THE HALCYONISTS. The Editors of the Intellectual Repository, for April last, having expressed a wish that some account of this Sect should be given for the information of our English brethren, we shall devote a portion of the present number to that subject. The Manchester report for 1815, in the account of the Halcyonists, who were confounded with the New Church, gave some pain to the friends here, and produced a correspondence with our venerable friend of Manchester. The error as to the connexion between that Sect and the New Church, was corrected in a letter under date of January, 1817, which produced his reply of the 30th of April, in the same year. When the convention met at Philadelphia in April, 1817, it was found on inquiring of the New York friends, that the gentleman who had given the account of the New Church in America, together with the Halcyonists, was a Mr. L. from Scotland, the extent of whose journeyings, we understood, was between New York and Albany. He had never been seen or heard of in Philadelphia, and in fact knew little of the state of the New Church, in this country. Nothing gives more pain to the people of the United States, than the hasty accounts of travellers, whose short stay and limited means of knowledge, are calculated rather to mislead than to inform. Since the meeting of the convention, a conversation between the writer of this article and a friend in the western country, has added to our knowledge of the Halcyonists, and the whole is now stated in compliance with the request of the Editors of the Intellectual Repository.
Many years ago a Mr. Sergeant lodged in the same house with the friend above mentioned. In the course of the evening, the principles of the New Church were spoken of, and Mr. S. seemed so pleased with the account he received, that he proposed to the gentleman giving him the information, that they should commence the propagation of the doctrines by preaching. This was not agreed to--some time afterwards, Mr. S. taking up a portion of the system which had been thus explained to him, combined with it the doctrine of the annihilation of the wicked. This in fact was the opinion of the celebrated Dr. Watts, as to the children of unbelievers, dying in their infancy. Watts being fully convinced that all out of the church, would be finally condemned; and not being able to reconcile to his ideas of the Divine mercy, the eternal punishment of infants, who had died without actual transgression, and without an opportunity of hearing the glad tidings of the Gospel, took up the opinion that although all the children of believers would be saved, yet those of unbelievers would not partake of the resurrection, and would of course be annihilated. This sentiment Mr. Sergeant extended to all the wicked, without exception. He also alleged that he had had bis spiritual sight opened, and had seen a vision. Being a man of some eloquence, he began to preach, and soon formed a sect in the western country, under the name of the Halcyonists. Several active young men joined him, and became preachers, and for a time his proselytes appeared to increase. From the western country he went to New York, where a leading member of our society hearing him preach, was struck with the resemblance of some of his opinions to our doctrines, and believing Sergeant might be useful, with the most correct views patronised him, and lent him money to print his book of hymns. This friend coming to Philadelphia many years ago, gave to the society here an account of Mr. Sergeant and his opinions. The Philadelphia friends at once expressed their disapprobation of any connexion or intercourse with him, stating decidedly that he could not be in the doctrines. Mr. Sergeant and his adherents went on upon their own principles, held their meetings, and published their Conciliums as a separate and distinct people, without any connexion with the New Church. After a short time he left New York, and returned to the western country.Last winter the writer of this article was informed by another very respectable friend of the New Church, that he had lent some of our books to Mr. S. who professed an intention of reading them. Our friends in New York, being about to publish a periodical publication, for the purpose of disseminating the pure and unmixed truths of the New Jerusalem, gave it the title of the Halcyon Luminary. But it was not in the slightest degree connected with the Halcyonists, or their leader Mr. Sergeant.
As we are on the subject of information respecting America, our friends of the Intellectual Repository will permit us to correct a piece of misinformation in their ij. vol. p. 374. Where speaking of the Rev. Hugh White's Cosmogenia, they say, “ His style is frequently very unlike what in this country is deemed classical. This however, is no fault of his. He no doubt has written agreeable (meaning agreeably) to the ideas which prevail in America ; and it is evident from other authorities, that the English language has undergone a considerable change since its transplantation to the western hemisphere.” We regret to. see our friends of the New Church adopt these prejudices. The English language has undergone no such change with us. What is classical in England is equally so in America. Our friends should recollect that the author of the best grammar of the English language is an American. I mean Murray. We have indeed verbalized the noun 6 advocate,” which is in perfect analogy with the language. We also, with Shakspeare, use “ progress," as a verb, placing the accent on the last syllable, though he has it on the first. I know no other change. The celebrated Buffon in his Natural History, gravely states, that animals, (including men) by their transplantation to America, have undergone a diminution in size. A few years since, several young Americans dining in Paris, at a table where this point became a subject of conversation, very pleasantly stood up, and desired
their French friends to do the same. The Americans, without a single exception, greatly overtopping their companions, the point was at once settled by ocular proof against the opinion of the great naturalist. All these notions are either founded in prejudice, which every wise man will strive to eradicate from his mind, or are adopted from travellers, emphatically a 6 mendax genus," or from politicians, who are little better. In the New Church we must rise above these things. As to our worthy and learned friend, the Rev. Hugh White, he is a native of Scotland, and received his education in that country. If therefore, any thing be found in his phraseology unlike what in England is deemed classical, its origin should be sought for north of the Tweed. It is pity a work of so much merit as the Cosmogenia, should have appeared in so uncomely an external. It was printed in some country village in Virginia, probably by a person not accustomed to the use of types.
NEW CHURCH INTELLIGENCE. The delay which has taken place in the publication of this number of the Repository, has given us an opportunity of enlarging our intelligence to a greater extent than we should have been enabled to do, at the commencement of the month. The intelligence from the north, east, and west, is cheering beyond former example. Why does “ the south keep back !" Yet even here, private information gives us some small hopes, that the cir. cle will be completed, and the New Church will see the falfilment of the glorious prediction :-“ Fear not ; for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west: I will say to the north, give up; and to the south, keep not back : bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth.” The intelligence from Europe, from New England, and the western country, gives us full assurance that the seed has struck a deep root, and is spreading far and wide. Perhaps there never was a day in which so much interesting information of the progress of the New Church, could be presented to those who wait for the building of the walls of Jerusalem; or in which the mourners in Zion, could be more emboldened to