College Letter No. III
August 15th, 1886
For Private use of Members of the Academy. Please read carefully, and, when read, return immediately to the undersigned.
No.__ Philadelphia, August 15th, 1886.
DEAR FRIEND:—The Decennial meeting, held from Monday, June 14th, till Saturday, June 19th, at Beach Haven, New Jersey, surpassed the expectations formed of it. The subjects discussed were of great importance, and many teachings, new and valuable in their application to the Academy, were presented. The social features were most enjoyable, and, like the other more serious elements, tended greatly to consolidate and strengthen our beloved Academy. It may safely be said that the Academy enters upon a new state with brighter prospects for its internal growth, in the life of spiritual use, than it has had in the past.
There were, altogether, seventy-seven members present, and three invited guests; five came from Canada, twelve from Pittsburgh, eight from Chicago, two from California, one from New Jersey, forty-three from Philadelphia, six from Brooklyn.
The number present is worthy of remark. "Seventy and seven is what is much more holy. . . . That the number seven is holy is from this, that the seventh day signifies the celestial man, the celestial Church, the celestial Kingdom, in the highest sense, the LORD Himself; hence the number seven, where it occurs in the Word, signifies holy, or sacred; and that holy, or sacred, is predicated of those, or according to those, things which are treated of; hence, also, the number seventy, which comprehends seven ages, for an age in the Word is ten years; when something most holy, or most sacred, was to be expressed, then it was said, 'seventy times seven.'" (A. C. 433.)
We cannot, in this letter, give a full description of the meeting held during the Decennial celebration. The transactions have been recorded, and when the record is completed a copy of it will probably be sent from member to member. The following was the
ORDER OF EXERCISES: top
Early morning service each day before breakfast.
8.00 P. M. The Council's Welcome to Visitors.
10.00 A.M. Inauguration of New Members.
12.00 M. Meeting of the Council.
8.00 P.M. Social.
10.00 A.M." The Crowning Church."Address by the Rev. F. W. Tuerk. Speeches.
8.00 P. M. "Conjugial Love Restored." (C. L. 534.) Address by the Rev. E. C. Bostock. Speeches.
10.00 A. M. "The Academy and its Uses." Address by the Rev. L. H. Tafel. Speeches.
8.00 P.M. "The Academy and its Uses." (Continued.) Address by the Rev. E. J. E. Schreck. Speeches.
10.00 A. M. "The Internal Church." Address by the Rev. W. F. Pendleton. Speeches.
8.00 P. M. "The Church Life." Address by Dr. G. R. Starkey. Speeches.
10.00 A. M. Decennial Address by the Chancellor.
Sermon by the Rev. F. W. Tuerk. Holy Supper.
During the celebration two Associates were introduced into the College, and three Candidates into the Academy.
ON the morning of Sunday, the 20th day of June, Mr. William G. Clendenon, an Associate member of the Academy, residing in Philadelphia, passed into the other world. On Tuesday evening, June 22d, a memorial meeting was called, at which forty members were present, including nine from other cities, whom the Decennial had called hither.
In his address the Chancellor said: "We have met in memory of one who was early connected with us, and has been with us heart and hand. In the Divine Providence he has been removed to the other world, where he will be further prepared for his future state—a state in accord with the life he had lived here, and from which he has but lately been removed. We cannot do better than learn of the Doctrine concerning the resurrection, so that we may, in thought, accompany him in his changes of state." The Chancellor here read from Arcana Clestia (n. 168-181).
"There are many points in this Doctrine of exceeding interest and importance. To one or two of these I wish to call your attention. In this description the rebirth is given as a picture of man's birth. As celestial angels are first present with the man who is being resuscitated, so are celestial angels present with man at his birth. These are angels of love—of love for man's salvation. The LORD manifests by these means His Infinite Love of saving souls. Those that love Him best are present at both occurrences. When man enters the other world he feels their sphere. As with man when entering this world, remains are stored up by the influence of these angels, so when he enters the other world. By remains thus stored up the LORD leads him unto salvation, if he can be saved. The sphere operating for the storing of these remains is not man's or angel's sphere, but it is the LORD's sphere, the Divine sphere of infinite love, manifesting itself thus wonderfully through finite agencies, who would take man up into association with themselves and lead him to conjunction with the LORD
"The second point to which your attention is called is this: that after man has been with the celestial angels the spiritual angels approach. So with man when in this world. He first receives the teaching of love from his mother's love, as expressed in her looks and embodied in her attitude and sphere. Instruction by speech follows afterward. In his earliest infancy celestial angels are with him, but in the states that follow the first, spiritual angels instruct and lead him, through the love and wisdom inflowing into them from the LORD, who alone teaches and leads men in this world and in the other.
"In regard to our friend, we can think of the inmost delight he is experiencing when coming into contact with the celestial angels, in whose sphere he will feel that love to which he was so sensitive. He ever seemed to be in the love of what is good, delighted with the truth that leads thereto.
"He was led directly from the Old Church into the Academy, which is founded on the acknowledgment of the Second Coming and on a life of the truths revealed therein. He will, therefore, be introduced into the sphere of those holding the principles of this body. He passed away while the Decennial meeting of our body was not yet concluded, and we may hope that as the sphere of our meeting went up to heaven, he passed upward with it, and that things in him would be stirred up by the celestial angels, who were rejoicing at the occasion of the reunion. And they are probably now rejoicing with us as we are here assembled in memory of this brother who is now in their charge—rejoicing in the warm glow of affection that emanates from our body, in response to the angelic sphere and called forth by the Decennial meeting, which has not passed.
"Thus, in the beginning of our new Decennial, has what was coming from heaven been conjoined with the response from our meeting. Now our brother is with those who went before, in greater joy than before, for he will tell them how that the LORD has come more fully down to us and made our sphere stronger and our life more full."
The Rev. L. H. Tafel, Councilor, remarked that besides the analogy between man's birth into this world, and his passage into the next, was that with the states which he passes through when born into the Church. "Among these states there is, first, a peaceful, happy state—that of innocence. Then comes the state of instruction in Doctrine. Then man is let into the natural, where he undergoes combats. From this there is again the ascent though the spiritual into the celestial.
"It was a peculiarity of Mr. Clendenon that he wondered at having had the good fortune of coming out of the Old Church straightway into the Academy. He said that he read so much of temptations, but that he did not know what they were. He seemed to have been in the first two states, and not to have been let into combats for a long time. When the combats came, they were so severe that it was evident he had required a long preparation. He succumbed mentally and physically. In the other world the combats will, no doubt, be continued to victory. His affectionate reception of the Doctrines here have laid a foundation which will help him greatly there.
"We shall have the benefit of his being added to the Academy group in the other world. This messenger will cause a more conscious connection between us, here, and the others, there. In the other world they continually desire to know news from the earth. So with the Academy. He is now, or will soon be, introduced to the Academy there, and, although he was unconscious on the day of the actual Decennial celebration, he will be able to tell something about it from what he had heard of it before. The use of the Decennial consists, in great part, in lifting us up to a higher, a heavenly sphere."
The Rev.W. F. Pendleton, Councilor, who was pastor of the Philadelphia First Society at the time that Mr. Clendenon came into the Church, gave the history of his reception of the Church. Speaking of him as a "simple" man, Mr. Pendleton gave definitions of a simple man as taught in the Writings, as being one who is single, not double, and as being one whose internal comes forth into the external. After commenting on his character, Mr. Pendleton said: "He has now passed into the Academy above, where he will be more and more associated with those with whom we hope we all are associated. The more that are added to that number, the better for us here, the more our uses will increase, and the more will we be strengthened. We are glad that he has gone where he will, doubtless, be considered, as he was here when he came among us ten years ago, as a strong re-enforcement."
The discussion of Mr. Clendenon's character was carried on by others. Mr. Walter C. Childs, Councilor, commenting upon the remarks concerning the simple, said that Mr. Clendenon's reception of the principles of the Academy proved the falsity of those who speak of the Academy's principles as "too complicated," as requiring "too deep an understanding" for the simple. They who thus speak would define "simple" as being "stubbornly unappreciative of truth." The simple good immediately receive the Truth, and rejoice over it. Being single-minded, they can quickly receive the Doctrine, and the Academy Doctrine is most simple.
At the conclusion of the remarks on Mr. Clendenon's character the Hebrew
mwlv wl[v, [in the original publication the Hebrew characters for "sh'lw shlwm" are included] was sung, to which the Chancellor added: "As the angels rejoice when one is added to their number, so let us rejoice that one has been taken away from us to be added to them, and also to the Church."
In the social converse which followed the memorial speeches, the subject of funerals was freely discussed. It was maintained that there is too much money expended for funerals which might be put to better uses—devoted to living interests. There is a false sentiment abroad concerning death and funerals, and New Churchmen, from fear of the world, give way to it and launch out into expense from which it frequently takes a long time to recover. The main item of expense is the casket. This is made very fine, is beautifully upholstered and otherwise decked out, because it is customary to have the corpse viewed before interment. This is not necessary—in fact, it is not a good custom. We ought to carry with us the picture of the living, not of the dead man. The effect of viewing the remains is unpleasant on adults and worse on children. In fact, it would be better not to have the body in the room at all in which the services are conducted. It is mixing the dead with the living. What is dead is profane and would profane worship. Decomposition having begun, brings evil spirits near, who delight in inflowing into such ultimates, and their presence destroys worship.
The coffin could be a simple, straight pine box, perhaps covered with white muslin. Then it can be accompanied to the grave by a few of the relations or friends, simply to see that the body is properly disposed of—thus doing away with the expense of numerous carriages.
A gentleman present, whose child had recently died, stated that he had acted in accordance with these ideas and that the funeral had cost twelve dollars and fifty cents. It would have cost somewhat less, but for a misunderstanding of the undertaker's. He thought the funeral of an adult need not cost more than twenty dollars.
WHILE preparing this letter, on July 1st, another passed from us to heaven: Dorothea, the infant daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John A. Wells, of Philadelphia, and a cousin of the last Academy infant (Walter C. Pitcairn) that has been taken into the immediate charge of the angels. Thus is the Academy's work of education brought into a more sensible conjunction with that of heaven.
THE schools of the Academy will re-open on the 15th day of September. Members of the Academy living at a distance have begun sending their boys and girls, and have by experience been confirmed in their conviction of the incalculable benefit thus conferred upon the children. The prospects are that the number of such pupils will be increased in the coming term.
THE Rev. J. R. Hibbard having resigned his office as Director of the Orphanage, the Rev. W. F. Pendleton, of the Council, has been appointed in his place. Mr. A. J. Tafel, 1101 Arch Street, Philadelphia, continues as Treasurer of the Orphanage.
Eugene J. E. Schreck