College Letter No. I
March 30th, 1886
For Private use of Members of the Academy. Please read carefully, and, when read, return immediately to the undersigned.
No.__ Philadelphia, March 30th, 1886.
DEAR FRIEND:—The Council of the Academy of the New Church has intrusted to the College the use of corresponding with the members of the Academy at large, and transmitting to them intelligence concerning the uses and operations, internal and external, of the Academy.
This is a most important use, and one marking a step forward in the development of the Academy's organization and usefulness.
The Council, as the governing body, sets forth the principles and laws of the Academy. The College was created to put them into practice. Slowly has the College been assuming an organic form. At first it existed in potency only; then it came into actuality, but remained unorganized and without external uses; then a use arose new in the Academy-the caring for the fatherless-and the Council intrusted it to the College.
This was the first function requiring its organization. And now, as the Council consigns to the College the use of communicating with the members of the body at large, we are forcibly reminded of the principles underlying the organization of the Academy, which the Chancellor has frequently delivered in general meetings, and it may be useful briefly to recall them.
The Academy of the New Church, being in a human form, has, even in its external order, a governing body, the Council, which constitutes its head; an ultimate body, the Associate members, which constitute the extremities; and an intermediate body, the College, which constitutes the trunk.
Inquiring into the functions of the organs lying in the trunk, we find that these organs elaborate the food (which has been selected and received through the head) into blood, purify it, and distribute it into every part part of the body, and all this under the government of the head. The functions of the College must correspond to these. The blood corresponds to various things. One important and, at the present time, practical correspondence is given in True Christian Religion (n. 403), where we learn that as the blood is in man so are riches in the community. It follows that as the College develops more and more, the finances will gradually be committed to its care, and the great importance of finances is plainly taught in the Writings, and very succinctly in the comparison with the blood in man. What could the body do without blood?
Our beginning this series of letters is, we believe, a first step toward the performance of the functions just indicated. By informing the members of the Academy from time to time, as occasion may demand, of the workings of the Academy within and without, we are confident that the interest in these workings will be sustained, as they cannot be where members learn nothing about them. And we look for a hearty ultimation of this interest in sympathy and in contributions of "riches." All members of the Academy and every one of them should consider it a solemn obligation to the LORD to reciprocate His love and bounty by contributing to the uses of this form of His New Church, according as He has blessed them.
The Treasurer of the Academy states that although the contributions for the year 1885 amounted to more than those for the year 1884, covering all the expenses incurred during the year, yet there was a great decrease in the number of contributors, there being more than one-third the number less in 1885 than in 1884, although the number of members has increased. This should not be. Every member should feel it his privilege, if not his duty, to give something, no matter how little. Every one should show his interest in the work by contributing something, be it ever so little. It is a fundamental principle in the human economy that every least part contribute its share to the common good. The part that does not, from the very nature of the case dies. In the Gospel the widow cast into the treasury the apparently pitiful sum of two mites (about three and a half cents), yet was her act seen and commended by the LORD.
No less important than contributions in money are contributions in sympathy, in love and affection, in thoughts that are true and wise. It is therefore suggested to all to whom these letters come, that they reply to them, and thus co-operate with the College in maintaining interest in the Academy, and that in all places where two or more members reside, they should meet upon receipt of these letters for the purpose of having them read and of replying to them.
Whenever anything occurs which members consider of interest to the Academy and its work, it might be embodied in the reply. In this way the whole body will be consolidated, will grow in strength, and its uses will increase in number and fruitfulness.
In the outset of this its new use, the College desires to recall to the mind of members the principle which the Academy has adhered to from the beginning, and of which we find the correspondence in the life of man. What appears to the sight of our fellow-men is the outward form and the outward expression and operation. The internal workings of the various parts of mind and body, innumerable as these are, stand revealed to none. How the brain performs its functions, how the heart and lungs perform theirs, the organs of digestion and those of generation theirs; how the ultimates hind together and hold in connection the internals, and give them the necessary firm support; how these ultimates are incited to action by the nerves, are nourished by the influent blood, and, on the other hand, how by means of the nerves they convey sensations to the brain, and by the veins return the blood laden with nutrient particles absorbed from the circumambient atmosphere,—all this lies concealed from the gaze of man. So, has the Council held, from the time of the organization of the Academy, should it be with this body. Its publications, devotional, instructive, polemic; its educational institutions; its orphanage; all its outward uses, may freely be spread before the world at large, and the New Church world in particular. But its internal concerns—the constitution of its body, its membership, particulars of its government, its ceremonies, its meetings and feasts, its documents—all that goes on within the Academy or pertains to its internal operations, is for the knowledge of members only, and should not be communicated to others. Not for reasons of secrecy, but because they are the private concerns of a public body. As the Chancellor has said repeatedly, there are certain privacies of the family which in an orderly state of society properly remain privacies.
The occasion of this first letter is the memorial meeting held upon the departure, to the other world, of Dr. E. A. Farrington and Mr. Charles P. Stuart.
Over forty of the members of the Academy assembled in the parlor of Dr. Starkey's house on the evening of December 20th, 1885. Portraits of our two departed brethren graced the mantel. The Chancellor opened the meeting by reading from the Word of the Old Testament. This was followed by the LORD's prayer. The Rev. J. R. Hibbard, Councillor, then read from the Word of the New Testament (John xiv). The Chancellor read the Memorable Relation concerning the meeting of the two angels, who, while they lived in the world, had been joined together in an interior friendship. (T.C.R. 386.) The reading concluded, we sang the Hebrew anthem, mwlv wl[v, [in the original publication the Hebrew characters for "sh'lw shlwm" are included] "Oh! Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem," whereupon the Chancellor addressed us somewhat as follows:
"The LORD, in His merciful Providence, has withdrawn from our natural sight two valued members of our body—one, well tried in counsel and act, in wisdom and life; the other, well prepared for counsel and act, though young in years and in the mere beginning of his career. In thinking over these events, there came to me strongly the thought of the interior affection, and the picture of the meeting, of the two angels, who approached each other to manifest the depth of their love; and then these things presented themselves in respect to the Academy: The members of the Academy are joined together in the love of one common end and use—the establishment of the LORD's spiritual kingdom; they are conjoined in the faith in the Second Coming of the LORD and united in the power of external uses, in the doing of what the LORD has commanded. They have every ground and reason to cherish a warm affection for what the LORD has given to each, that he may partake of the common good. As we have read, a common love and use brings together even those who dwell in different quarters of the heavens. They must come together, for inmostly in them is the LORD's common love, by which they are in bonds to each other.
"As I was thinking of these things, there came to me, as it were, a voice from the Divine Captain of the Host, saying: 'Close your ranks. One of your number has fallen; so close your ranks and go forward!' Let this word be heard—shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand, let us go forward, so as to be in a state to receive the power to do the work on earth which has been given to Michael to do in Heaven. 'Close your ranks.' love your fellow-member with an interior affection, warmly, justly. Think of them as one, in all that the LORD has taught as from His own mouth. Let the conception of the Truth bind mind to mind in bonds that cannot be broken. Put your hands, with one accord, to the work before you.
"The simile is a true one, for the LORD is the 'LORD of Hosts,' 'JEHOVAH TSEBAOTH;' He is the Infinite LORD of the armies of Heaven. The armies of Heaven are now marshaled under Michael to, overcome the Dragon. The men of the New Church are of the Church militant. There are those who cry 'Peace! Peace!' But there is no peace, unless it be within, in the union of those who love the LORD and the neighbor. The peace that is within sends the soldier forth to battle; not to take life, but as the LORD came, to give life. So let this small band go forth—not to destroy, but to bring that which shall establish forever the peace which passes understanding. As we have just heard, we shall be bound and tied more closely to those taken to the other world. The heavens have need of them, the Church, has need of them in heaven, and if we place ourselves in correspondence with them, we shall be bound to them in interior affection and they to us; and they will be the LORD's messengers to accomplish the LORD's will and help to bind us in the bonds which bind heaven and earth now, that the LORD has come to establish a Church that shall never sink into night, but which shall increase in glory forever.
"In this sense, to 'close our ranks' means to come into closer affection and thought for the sake of the ends, purposes, and uses which the LORD has given us. Let us be in very deed so closely ranged that they may find here an ultimate for more interior and heavenly life, and that the will of the LORD may be done more fully on earth as it is done in heaven. As the LORD said, when in His Human before His ascension: 'Do this in remembrance of me,' so let us do this in remembrance of the LORD's Mercy and Love; which He has manifested to our brethren. 'The LORD has given, the LORD has taken away; blessed be the Name of the LORD.' They have done the LORD's will here and they will do it more fully in the presence of the Divine.
"The LORD has mercifully removed those who have accomplished their duty and who could no longer in this world carry on the more interior work for which they were prepared, but who needed the life of heaven, which is more full and complete.
"But they still need the life of this earth to stay their feet. Here on this ground they must stand, where formerly their life was planted. Here will they stand to all eternity; and they are delighted to rest here—never are they so perfectly full of happiness as when the LORD's love flows down to men on earth. The best and highest of the angels love most the elevation of man; most mercifully they come to man, because here are they most needed.
"We must preserve this memorial for our brethren; they must not pass away from our love. Let this love come forth in the doing of what they love best; let this love bind us all into one, open us all to the reception of the Divine Love, and give us the courage to stand as men, upright before the LORD, ready to hear, willing to obey, the Divine Command to go and do what we have received from Him to do."
The Chancellor was followed by the Rev. J. R. Hibbard, Councillor, who said:
"In the Most Ancient Church, and also in the Ancient, they lived in families and tribes, each descended from one common ancestor. All these families or tribes held the same central idea of the LORD, though each with the variations produced by its quality. As they passed on into the Spiritual World they formed societies in heaven. Many societies are now composed of them, with hardly the loss of one of a family.
"Though this is different now, the tribes and families are ever united to each other by spiritual relationships, which are more enduring, internal, and full than natural relationships. Now the Church will come more and more into the condition of spiritual tribes and families. As they pass on, it will be more and more the case that the members of such relationships will form societies of the new heaven.
"In the formation of the Academy, it came in spiritual quality nearer to the family relationship; and the members of it are more nearly related than the members of any spiritual tribe that has existed since the times of the Most Ancient Church.
"It has been to me a subject of thought and affection that the Academy has two families—one here on earth and one above, not far from us—indeed, much nearer than we sometimes think. While we feel keenly the departure of our members, we should take more and more into consideration that they are only a higher chapter of our family. We should feel sensibly that there is a society forming from our Academy. Varieties there doubtless are-there are other New Church societies-but there is no other Academy.
"We should cultivate a spirit of unity, of oneness among our members—not from personalities, but because we believe the same things in the same way. First we must do this among ourselves. We should avoid everything like disunion, acerbity of feeling; also anything separating or having the appearance of unpleasantness. All such infestations are as irritating as a burr in one's stocking.
"We have a great deal to encourage us. If we look to the LORD, the
Academy will grow."
The Rev. W, F. Pendleton, Councillor, then arose to mention a few points in Dr. Farrington's character. One was his strong love of order in the Church. He had been together with Dr. Farrington in the dark days, as well as the bright ones—the dark days through which they passed some ten or twelve years ago; days in which they did not know where their friends were, because they did not know where the LORD was. In the movement taking them from Cherry Street to Broad Street, Dr. Farrington went along. At first he objected to the movement as contrary to order, but afterward he was influenced by an interpretation of a law of Charity. But by that very movement, in the Divine Providence of the LORD, they were taught where the LORD was to be found, Dr. Farrington with the rest of them. Their followed the reaction with its inevitable conflict; the Doctor was the first who came back to ideas of order. "At one time we talked every day upon the one subject, and the result was very useful to us. If others there had come as he did, to make inquiries, the result might have been different with them; the very ones who should have come to inquire stayed away. May they yet see it.
"Dr. Farrington's life is familiar to us all in his stanchness in the Church; in his belief in the Second Coming. He is gone—apparently—but in reality he is not away. Our Doctrines are of the most consoling character. From them we learn that those who go do not leave us. The LORD said, 'If I be lifted up from the earth I will draw all men to me.' He was lifted up: glorified; He took upon Himself the Divine Omnipotence. Man's and also the Church's regeneration is an image of this glorification. The Church must be lifted up that it may have power on earth. This is one way the LORD uses to lift up the Church: by taking one away from the earth. Taking away one is not a loss of membership but an increase, because the Church in the Spiritual World is first to be formed. Great use will come to us from the entrance beyond of such as have ultimated their work here; because thus there is given a basis for a new operation which is needed. It is necessary that some should be taken away, in order that the formation may go on in the other world, that the Church may grow here.
"As to Charley Stuart, I have not had so intimate an acquaintance of him, but a remark he made as a boy indicated the character of the man to come. His grandfather read something in the Messenger which was teeming with false teaching. After he had finished the article, Charley said: 'Grandpa, I think that ought to be answered.' His grandpa responded: 'I think so, too.' And that has been the spirit Charley has shown ever since."
The Rev. L. H. Tafel, Councillor, who had been detained at the church by a German Doctrinal Class, arrived somewhat late, hearing, as he said, but part of Dr. Hibbard's remarks about the Societies in the other world, but he had listened with much interest to Mr. Pendleton in regard to the Church in the other world.
"There would have been no Academy here had there been none there. There is the great Academy, much larger than here, and that Academy is the centre of all the interior movements in the Church in the various countries. Every one is a full member of it who has ultimated the principles of the Academy, and such a one will at once find his place in the centre of a society of the New Church in the other world. So Dr. Farrington is already welcomed, and we shall feel the influence of his work there, which serves as a means of bringing us into more close communion with the Spiritual World. In the Doctor's studies it was his endeavor to subordinate all his knowledges to the Divine Truth. This he showed in his lectures on Anatomy. The voice of the world had no weight as compared with it. This quality made his lectures so valuable. Every fact that opposed Revelation was put away as an appearance and a fallacy.
"In this quality Charley was distinctly grounded. He was very humble in his idea of his own regeneration; he was never satisfied with anything he had done. At the same time his acquisition of knowledge and his digestion of what he learned was very great. I have no doubt but that he will develop into an angel of rare intelligence, humility, knowledge, and power."
The Rev. Mr. Schreck, Collegian, being called upon by the Chancellor, to speak about Mr. Stuart, gave his evidence toward what Mr. Tafel had said. He had long been associated with Charley; first as student, and afterward as co-editor on the Life, and in all their relations Charley had given evidences of his internal humility. Even though he would strenuously uphold his opinions at the time, he was nothing loth to change them upon mature consideration, and he was also very reluctant that others should accept what he advanced without thinking it over and proving it for themselves. "In his work as editor, although some of his criticisms might be considered as very severe, it was always his endeavor to bring everything to the test of Revealed Truth and abstain from all personalities. And this should be our guiding principle in all our relations with the Old Church and in our dealings with the heresies which will assail us in the New Church. This principle is forcibly expressed in the Epistle of Jude : 'Michael, the Archangel, when contending with the devil, he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, "The LORD rebuke thee."' These words the apostle Jude had from ancient books which were written according to correspondence. 'Moses,' as representing the Word, may be taken to mean all truth, and the body of Moses would be the literal or lowest appearance of truth. So when we, under the banner of Michael, fight with the devil—be he in the Old Church, or infesting the New Church in general, the Academy in particular, or ourselves individually—concerning the truth, we must lay aside all personal feelings and rush to the conflict with the war-cry, 'THE LORD rebuke thee.' "
Mr. E. S. Campbell, Collegian, was the next speaker. "My first recollection of Dr. Farrington extends way back to the time when his wife's parents were attending the Broad Street Church. One evening, at a church social at my house, Ernest and Lizzie, then children, were playing at a game of cards—'Muggins,' as it was called. The sympathy they mutually displayed in protecting each other from being caught in the forfeits of the game made me remark to my wife: 'There is a future conjugial pair.' And so it was. That little boy and girl grew up and became husband and wife.
"In the days of which Mr. Pendleton speaks, I did not know anything about the Second Coming until the conflict began. Then Captain Pendleton took the lead, with Lieutenant Farrington as his right-hand man, and the rest of us—well, we followed along as the 'awkward squad.' Dr. Farrington was so earnest and active, continually on the alert for some new teaching that would help us. He would come into my house, and in conversation he would say: ''Mr. Campbell, did you see this and that statement in the Writings?' 'Why, no—where is it?' I would ask. And down he would pull a book and point to the number, that was so plain in its teaching that we had to see it. And when I would ask how he found it, he would simply say, 'I hunted for it.' And that has been his work ever since the very beginning of the LORD's Academy—always hunting for something that was going to help us see the Truth."
At the conclusion of Mr. Campbell's remarks the wine was brought in, and the Chancellor proposed that we now drink our toast to "the Church," and, in drinking it, think of those who have gone up to be a part of that form of the Church which we love. He spoke of the Saturday visits which Dr. Farrington made him, and which he (the Chancellor) regularly expected. He always enjoyed them and was benefited by them; and, as he made notes of all that was discussed, others may also yet derive benefit from them. The Chancellor further touched upon Dr. Farrington's clearness of mind and his accuracy. It would be hard to find his equal as a Councillor.
The next toast was "The Academy in this world and in the other." Other toasts followed, and thus was concluded a most elevating, instructive, and satisfactory memorial meeting.
In concluding this letter, we wish to call particular attention to the fact that we are approaching the end of the tenth year of the Academy's existence, and that the Council has decided that on the next 19th of June we shall celebrate, with more than the usual ceremonies and festivities, the Decennial of the Academy. They are to last a whole week, and as the 19th of June falls this year on a Saturday, it is probable that the celebration will commence on the previous Monday (the 14th) and continue through-out the week, the distinctive Academy celebration to be held on Saturday, the 19th, and the general celebration, in which New Church brethren out of the Academy may join, to be held at the House of Worship on Sunday, the 20th. The exact place for the celebration has not yet been determined, but it will be in or near Philadelphia. Nor has the Council as yet decided on other particulars of the celebration, but the general plan is such as indicated.
It is the Council's desire that, if possible, the whole Academy shall be together on that day. What a glorious occasion for all the members to come together and become personally acquainted with one another! It will bind the Academy closer together, make it a more compact body, and thus more powerful for good, while each individual will take home with him a blessing that cannot be overesestimated. Those who have long been away from their brethren in the Academy and have had occasion to return to them, even if only for a day, know what happiness such a meeting has imparted. What will not a meeting do in which all the members of the Academy will see each other face to face, eat together at a common feast of charity, and commune with each other on the wonderful mercy of the LORD in His Providence over the Academy as a body and over its individual members!
It is not impossible that the second Decade in the Academy's history will see it possess a building better suited for the performance of its uses than the present one. The growth of the library, of the schools, and of the museum, particulars of which may be sent in future letters, render necessary the early acquisition of a plot of ground and suitable buildings. For this, members should be prepared, so that when the time comes the Academy may not be crippled, but have abundance of means to prepare a habitation for the LORD.
All contributions may be sent to Mr. A. J. Tafel, Treasurer of the College, 1011 Arch Street, Philadelphia.
Eugene J. E. Schreck
N. B.—The library of the Academy should contain all historical works of the New Church, such as old journals of Associations, of Conventions, of foreign bodies, old periodicals, and the like. These are frequently laid away in private libraries, remain untouched, and are eventually forgotten or thrown away. Every scrap of the kind should be searched for, and if not needed, sent to the Library.