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United States, who may find it convenient to attend, be held at the New Jerusalem Temple, in the city of Philadelphia, on Ascension day ensuing, which will be on the 15th day of May, 1817, at 9 o'clock, A. M. for the purpose of consulting upon the general concerns of the church, and that notice thereof be inserted in the first number of the Repository."
The Rev. Mr. Hargrove was then unanimously appointed president of the convention, and Condy Raguet, secretary, and the meeting was opened with the Lord's prayer.
The minutes of the general conference of the ministers and other members of the New Church, held in Fryar's street chapel, London, from Tuesday, the 16th, to Thursday, the 18th of July, 1816—60, were then read, together with the letters and documents therewith published.
Whereupon, the convention expressed the approbation and satisfaction they experienced at the zealous and prosperous labours of their brethren in Great Britain, in disseminating the doctrines of the True Christian Religion.
The Manchester and Hawkstone reports, from their first publication to the year 1816_60, inclusive, and a number of letters and communications, from various parts of the United States and Europe, on the subject of the Church, were laid upon the table.
A letter was read, from William Grant and others, members of the New Jerusalem Church, composing the society of Steubenville, Jefferson county, in the state of Ohio, directed to the Convention, stating that they feel great confidence and intercst in the labours of their well-beloved brother David Powell, who has for some years administered the WORD to them as a faithful and worthy servant in that vineyard, and expressing their desire that he may be ordained as a Preacher of the New Jerusalem Church, that their society in future may be more regularly and acceptably supplied with the administration of the word and the HOLY ordinances of our DIVINE SAVIOUR. The convention took the same into consideration, but conceiving that the great importance of regulating the ordination of ministers would require more ample deliberation than it would be in their power to bestow at the present meeting, and considering that the New Jerusalem Churches of Baltimore and Philadelphia have hitherto with great discretion exercised the power of ordaining ministers,
It was ordered, That the said application be referred to the Rev. Messrs. Hargrove and Carll, with a request that they will favour it with their early attention.
Resolved, That a committee of clergy and laity be appointed, to inquire whether it be expedient to establish any, and if any, what general regulations for the ordination of ministers in the New Church, and that they make report at the next convention. Whereupon, the following gentlemen were appointed.
Rev. Lewis Beers and Nathaniel Holly, of New York.
sylvania. Rev. John Hargrove and George Smith, of Maryland. Rev. Hugh White and Richard H. Goe, of Virginia. Rev. Adam Hurdus and David Powell, of Ohio. The subject of raising a fund, for defraying the expenses of a missionary minister, having been suggested, it was decided, as the opinion of the convention, that taking into view the general state of the New Church in the United States at present, the period for adopting such a measure had not yet arrived.
It was then, on motion, resolved, that the gentlemen attend ing this convention be requested to furnish an account of the several societies of the New Church, which are known to them as existing in the United States, with a statement of the number of members, their mode of worship, the names of the leaders, &c. as nearly as they can be ascertained, and any other information connected therewith.
Resolved, That the second annual convention of the New Church be held at the New Jerusalem Temple, in the city of Baltimore, at 10 o'clock, on the morning of Ascension Day, in the
year of our Lord 1818—62, at which all the receivers of the doctrines of the New Church in the United States, who can conveniently do so, are respectfully invited to attend.
Resolved, That it be earnestly recommended to each of the societies and congregations of the New Church in the United States, to send to the future annual conventions at least one delegate, to represent the voice of the said society or congregation, upon matters concerning the general interests of the Church.
Resolved, That where societies or congregations shall omit to send delegates, they be requested to transmit to the convention, in writing, such intelligence respecting their progress, numbers, increase, &c. as they may deem to be useful.
The secretary then read an article from the Manchester Report No. XIII. in the words following, viz.
“ There is also a church lately sprung up in America, under the title of the Free Church. They believe in the Unity of God, that God is simply One and Indivisible, and that Jesus Christ is that God. They give charity the pre-eminence above faith, but do not believe the punishment of the wicked will be eternal, for which they quote Isaiah, chap. lvii. verse 16. A preacher of that church, Mr. S-, had become acquainted with the writings of E. S. and except on the article of the eternity of the punishment of the wicked, gives his most cordial assent to them ; but from what I could learn, I have little doubt of his having already rejected the error above-mentioned. I understand he is a man of uncommon eloquence, together with a prepossessing exterior, and that he has had a liberal education. In 1812, he was in the interior of the state of New York, preaching the divinity of the Lord's Humanity to thousands, who eagerly followed him.”
“ The society are extremely sorry to feel themselves under the obligation of remarking, respecting the Free Church mentioned in the above extract, that, although the doctrine of the Sole Divinity of Jesus Christ is asserted in that Church, yet some of the tenets, maintained by its members, seem utterly at variance with the doctrines of the New Church, as revealed in the Theo, logical Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg. For, to say nothing of the denial of the eternity of punishments insisted on in the Free Church, it is strongly urged, and this in direct contradiction to what the New Church doctrine advances on the subject of civil government, that Since it has been openly declared and made known to the church, by Christ Himself, that all power in heaven and in the earth (that is, all authority in church and state) is given into His hands, it is unlawful, in the sight of God, for the saints to acknowledge any other visible political head ; inasmuch as to acknowledge any authority, besides the authority of Christ, is to acknowledge another master besides Him, and to refuse the reign of Christ and authority of Heaven. And again : “ That all other dominions and pretended governments, but His alone, are strictly unlawful and equally sinful before God; being a daring encroachment on the original rights of God; the tyranny of hell, in opposition to the authority and dominion of the Lord. See Circular Epistle from the 9th Concilium of the Halcyon, or Free Church, numbers 11, 12.) The society therefore most earnestly
caution their readers against sentiments of so mischievous a tendency, and which, if conceived to be founded in the heavenly doctrines of the New Jerusalem, must, of necessity, not only bring those doctrines into general and deserved discredit, but also expose the receivers of them to the most just and severe penalties of the law. May, then, every receiver of the blessed truths of the New Church be warned, by the above example, against inter, mingling his own prejudices and pre-conceived opinions with the eternal truth, recollecting the terrible denunciation on the perverted church of old, where it is written, How is the faithful city become a harlot ! Thy silver is become dross: thy wine is mixed with water. (Isaiah i. 21, 22.)”
Whereupon it was on inotion Resolved, That this convention does hereby fully and explicitly declare, that none of the members here convened, nor any of the members of the New Jerusalem Church, with whom they are acquainted, have any connection or communion whatever with the people called Halcyonists or Halcyonites, and who are alluded to in the said Manchester report.
Resolved, That a committee be appointed to select for publication such parts of the journal of the proceedings of this convention, and to subjoin thereto such extracts from the letters and communications laid before this meeting, or which may be received or made prior to such publication, as they may deem useful for general information.
The convention then adjourned.
New York. City of New York.—The number of adult members, male and female, is forty-five. They meet for worship every Sunday
morning and afternoon. The readers are Mr. Samuel Woodworth and Mr. Nathaniel Holly. About fifty or sixty persons usually attend divine service, which is held in a school-room, in Broadway, near Anthony street. The service is conducted according to the Liturgy published in Philadelphia.
Platikil, near Newburgh.-A small society, consisting of about ten members, exists here, of which Mr. James Banks is leader.
Danby, Tioga county. There is at this place a society of about fourteen members, of which the reverend Lewis Beers is pastor. The number who generally attend public worship, is from fifty to one hundred and fifty, sometimes between two and three hundred. Public attention is much excited here.
In Spencer, a small town in the same vicinity, another society of eleven members has been established, under the care of the Rev. Mr. Beers.
Pennsylvania. Philadelphia.—The number of the receivers of the doctrines, residing in Philadelphia, is about sixty male and female adults, of whom about one-third became receivers prior to the year 1806, one-third between that year and 1816, and the remaining third since the public annunciation of the Church, on the 1st of January, 1816. The congregation meets for worship, morning and afternoon, on Sundays, at the Temple, situate at the corner of George and Twelfth streets, which can conveniently accommodate three hundred persons. The house, particularly in the after part of the day, is usually crowded with hearers of all persuasions, amongst which have been observed clergymen of several denominations. The service is conducted in conformity with the Liturgy lately published at Philadelphia ; and the established pastor of the church is the reverend Maskell M. Carll. A Sunday school has been established by the ladies of the society; and scientific attention to music, with the aid of a well-toned organ, gives this church no small degree of reputation for well-conducted psalmody
Lancaster. At this place there are a few receivers, who are chiefly Germans.
Bedford, Bedford county.-There is here a society of eight persons.
Brownsville, Fayette county.-There are in that town and its neighbourhood about ten receivers.