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NEW JERUSALEM MAGAZINE,
MEMOIR OF THE REV. MANOAH SIBLY.
MANOAH SIBLY, one of the Ministers of the New Jerusalem, was born in London, in the year 1757; his parents were dissenters, of the denomination of particular, or Calvinistic Baptists, he was consequently educated in that persuasion, and when about 23 years of age joined himself to a congregation of the same denomination, meeting in Red Cross Street, Cripplegate. The minister was what is called a high Calvinist, whose favourite topics were Eternal Settlements, Predestination, Unconditional Election and Irresistible Grace; but into which doctrines Mr. Sibly never interiorly entered, nor did he, until he received the verities of the New Jerusalem, understand the doctrine of the Atonement, as commonly taught. He continued in this connexion for four or five years, when he, with some others of the Society, conceiving the minister treated the above subjects in a manner which the Holy Word would not warrant, separated themselves, to the number of about fifteen persons, and for nine months carried on divine worship, more congenial to their views, by themselves, but no others joining them, and finding the expenses too heavy for their small number, they were necessitated to break up the association.
Mr. Sibly now found his spirit entirely at liberty, and having been led previously, for some considerable period, to entertain doubts concerning the truth of the doctrines in which he had been educated, more especially as he could take no consolation from them when, on a certain time, he was apparently near to the gates of death; he therefore was not hasty in joining himself to any other congregation, although he continued regularly to give his attendance to some place of public worship.
Mr. Sibly, pained through distress of mind for six or seven years, so much so, that he was brought into a state of VOL. I.-No. 1
desperation of ever possessing real spiritual knowledges, now found himself very much inclined to espouse the doctrine of Universal Restitution; but, by the good providence of the Lord, in the latter end of the year 1787, he was introduced, by the father of the present Mr. Wilderspin, to the friends of the New Church, who then met on Sabbath day evenings, at each others houses; and learning at the first meeting he attended, that they acknowledged the Lord Jesus Christ to be the one and only God of heaven and earth, the conviction of the divine truth operated on his mind as a flash of lightning; he saw the truth in its own light, and he left the meeting quite another man. While going home, he employed himself in recalling to his memory, various passages of Scripture confirmatory of the heavenly Doctrine; he found himself indeed brought out of darkness into marvellous light, and the next day defended the doctrine against some of his former connexion, to whom he mentioned the change that had taken place in his religious sentiments, hoping that they would as joyfully embrace the divine truth as himself.
After the opening of the New Jerusalem Chapel in Great East Cheap, London, which was on the 27th of January 1788; Mr. Sibly was first a reader, and shortly after commenced the honorable work of the ministry in the New Church, and has continued therein to the present time. The congregation of which he is pastor, among whom there are now but two of the original members, besides himself, meet for divine worship in Fryar Street, Shoemaker Row, near Doctors Commons, London.
In the year 1777, Mr. Sibly published a Critical Essay on the correct rendering of the Hebrew text of Jer. xxxiii. 16. which was favourably received.
Since his accession to the New Church, his publications have been mostly Sermons, and have appeared in the following order. 1 An Answer to the important question, Who is the Lord? 3 Sermons, 1792.
2 On the prefatory address in the Lord's Prayer, Our father in the heavens, a Sermon, 1794.
3 Twelve Sermons on important subjects, 1796.
4 On the Call of the Jews, 2 Sermons, 1796.
5 A Paraphrase in series of the internal sense of Genesis, chap. i. 1798.
6 Do. of Genesis. chap. ii. 1799.
7 On the Resurrection of the Lord, a Sermon, 1799.
8 On Repentance and Conversion, 2 Sermons, 1800.
On Ezekiel's Cake, a Sermon, 1801.
10 Hymns and Spiritual Songs, for the New Church, 1802,
11 The Duty and privilege of exploring the Church, a Sermon,
12 The fulness and perfection of the Lord's Prayer, a Sermon, 1805.
13 The Glorification of the Lord's humanity, a Sermon with extracts from the Arcana Celestia, 1895.
14 The quality of the New Church, a Sermon, with extracts from Emanuel Swedenborg's Manuscript concerning the New Church in Africa, 1806.
Mr. Sibly's labours in his Society of the New Church have always been gratuitous, and in token of respect, the members for his long services among them, presented him in May, 1824, with an elegant Silver Cup, with appropriate inscriptions.
ON THE DESCENT OF THE NEW JERUSALEM. WHAT can equal the sublime description of the descent of the New Jerusalem, as seen in spiritual vision, and described in natural language, by JOHN the REVELATOR, in the 21st chapter of the Apocalypse? The humble and sincere inquirer after truth, will rejoice to find that this portion of the DIVINE WORD can be rationally understood, and that the period has arrived of which it is written, BEHOLD I MAKE ALL THINGS NEW." Seventy years have elapsed since the commencement of the Descent of the New Jerusalem, and during this period, thousands have become receptive of the heavenly doctrines; and it is highly gratifying to know, that among these have been found characters who would have done honour to any age or country: notwithstanding the extent to which the knowledge of these doctrines has been conveyed, there are thousands, at this time, who are absolutely ignorant of their existence, and it is to be feared, that many who have heard of them, know them but very imperfectly. Great events feretold by prophecy, have taken place without the acknowledgment of those who were living at the time, except in a very partial manner; the Flood, for example, may be cited as a case in point, and the coming of the Lord at the time of his incarnation, “ by prophets long foretold," did not receive the approbation of those who had the Scriptures in their hands, "who were clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day;" in the Lord's assumption of our nature, and in the Descent of the New Jerusalem, there is a most striking coincidence as to the effect produced on mankind: with regard to the Lord, it it is said, "Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord reveal. ed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a
root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him." Is. i. 1.2. The same remarks will apply to many who have heard of the Heavenly Doctrines of the New Jerusalem, they believe not the report given of the character of the God of the Universe as existing in One Divine Person, whose sacred name is JESUS CHRIST, they see no comliness in the heavenly doctrine of Charity and Faith, in the kingdom of heaven, being a KINGDOM of USES, in death being not a cessation of existence, but a passing from the natural into the spiritual world; nor do they perceive any beauty in the internal sense of the Holy Word, which manifests the Bible to be indeed "a transcript of the Divine Mind."
But as the Angels announced to the shepherds who kept "their flock by night," the coming of their Saviour, so in like manner have the Heavenly Doctrines of the New Jerusalem been made known to those who were in the darkness of conscious ignoranče, and who were willing to open their minds to the reception of truth, whatever prejudice it might expose them to, and whatever worldly honour it might deprive them of. Men of this character have seen what is to be understood by the CITY which JOHN saw prepared as a BRIDE adorned for her HUSBAND: for by the "Holy City New Jerusalem coming down from God out of Heaven" it is shown in the heavenly doctrines, is meant the establishment of a New Church upon earth, in which the Lord Jesus Christ, the alone God, will be approached and worshipped. The reason why by Jerusalem in the Word is meant the Church, is, because in that City in the land of Canaan, and in no other place, the temple was, and the altar, and sacrifices were offered, consequently divine worship performed; wherefore also three feasts were held yearly there, and every male throughout the whole land was commanded to come to them, hence it is, that Jerusalem signifies the church as to worship, and therefore also the church as to doctrine, for worship is prescribed in doctrine, and performed according to it; also because the Lord was in Jerusalem, and taught in his own temple, and afterwards glorified his humanity there. (See Isa. lxii.)
The light of genuine doctrine shows, that the "tabernacle of God is with men," they are therefore enabled to adore and worship Him alone in his DIVINE HUMANITY, and thus confiding in him who is "the Resurrection and the Life;" to them "there is no more Death." The fear of the loss of natural life is dissipated in the joyful anticipation of good things to come. In future numbers of this publication, we shall enter more at large into an explanation of the chapter in question, as well as into explanations
of other parts of the Sacred Volume, in order to point out the quality and tendency of those heavenly doctrines which are at this day revealed: the following proposition, however, is suited to our present purpose, we give it under the pleasing hope that it will meet with the approbation of every well constituted mind; "That the church existeth by virtue of the Word, and acquireth a nature and quality amongst men, according to their understanding of the Word." "The Word is spirit and life according as it is understood, for the mere letter without the understanding of it, is dead." Since, therefore, man hath truth and life, according to his understanding of the Word, so also he hath faith and love according to it; for truth comes from faith, and love from life. Now because it is from faith and love, and according to them, that the church existeth, it follows as a necessary consequence, that by the understanding of the Word, and according to it, the church is a noble church, if grounded in genuine truths, and an ignoble one if not in genuine truths, and a destroyed one if in falsified truth.
JERUSALEM, proclaim abroad
The blissful tidings! say, "the Lord
Behold! the mighty God appears!
For lo! the Word is now unseal'd,
Its wonders we explore:
Soon shall its beaming splendour shine,
In ev'ry land, a light divine,
And heav'n on earth restore.
Then raise your heart, and tune your voice,
With all the hosts above rejoice,
Loud hallelujahs sing!
Praise Jesu's name with sweet accord,
Jesus, the Universal Lord,
And Everlasting King!
(To be continued.)
ON VESTING PLACES OF WORSHIP IN TRUST. SOME judicious Remarks have recently appeared, in a late publication, on the vesting of places of worship in Conference Trust. As it regards the chapel at Newcastle, I think it is much to be regretted that things could not be accommodated. It appears to