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the liberty, in the name of every one of the ministers of the New Church, to disclaim such notions, and repudiate such a charge.
« Order is heaven's first law.” “Heaven and the Church is a form of order.” “ The Lord is order itself.” “ The laws which relate to God form the head of the Church; those relating to a man's neighbour forming the body; and ceremonial laws forming the dress : for unless these latter contained and preserved the former in their order, it would be as if the body were stripped naked, and exposed to the summer's heat and the winter's cold.” (U. T., 55.) “ Divine order fills all and every thing in the universe.” (Ibid., 106.) “What is order without distinction, and what is distinction without proofs, and what are proofs of distinction without signs or tokens, by which its quality may be made known and ascertained ? for without the knowledge of quality, order is not known to be order. The signs, or distinguishing marks, in empires and kingdoms are titles of rank, and powers of administration annexed to them, whence come subordination, and hence the co-ordination of all into one body.” (Ibid., 680.) I was not a little surprised, when reading that part of the article where the writer says (p. 289), “ The public ministry of the Word appears a much more important and onerous duty than the mere performance of a religious rite;" i. e., the sacrament, in the “performance” of which nothing more (in the opinion of the writer) is required, than "merely the facility of reading decently” !!! And in a preceding page it is asserted, that though the sacraments “were not neglected by the apostle, they were justly esteemed by him of secondary importance to preaching the gospel and the reception of true evangelical faith.” I have no idea that the apostle Paul held the sacrament in so light an estimation. See 1 Ep. Cor. chap. 10, ver. 16, 17, 21, 31; and chap. 11, ver. 20 to end. From these passages it is evident that the apostle did not view the administering that ordinance as “the mere performance of a religious rite.” And with regard to baptism he says, “I was not sent to baptize, but to preach the gospel.” He was called to the apostleship in a different manner to the other apostles; and in his commission there was not expressly included, as in theirs, the observance of the ordinance of baptism. But he did baptize, for it was not forbidden him; and, although a Jew, “circumciced the eighth day; yet he, like his divine Master, submitted to that Christian rite, as we have - before shewn. Twelve men were re-baptized who had previously been baptized with John's baptism; they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus,” in which name John did not baptize; and then Paul “laid his hands upon them, and the holy Spirit came upon them.” (Acts,
coriter) is recormance” of which a religious
ch. 19, ver. 1—7.) He also baptized “ Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue,” at Corinth; and many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed, and were baptized.” He baptized “the whole household of Stephanas;" after which “they addicted themselves to the ministry (diakoviáv) of the saints.” Preaching or teaching was, indeed, the first, and baptism the second, in order—in the commission given by the Lord to his apostles after his resurrection.
And this seems to be the order observed by them, and by the Christian Church in the first three centuries; and after baptism, that of the holy supper was administered, which, though last, is not least in importance. (Acts, chap. 2, ver. 41, 42; chap. 8, ver. 12, &c., 3538; chap. 10, ver. 34 to end). In this sense the sacraments were “ secondary” to preaching, and followed believing; and this is the order in the New Church; not that their importance is lessened thereby, but that they rather become more important, and are distinguishing “ signs and tokens” between infidels and those who profess to be members of the Christian Church. (Acts, ch. 16, ver. 31-33). Justin Martyr, one of the earliest writers of the Christian Church, says, when a person had been baptized, “he was received into the number of the faithful, who then sent up their public prayers to God for all men, for themselves, and for him that had been baptized. (Apol. 2, p. 97). Neither were all persons permitted indiscriminately to partake of the sacrament of the Lord's supper, but only those who had been baptized, believed the articles of the Christian faith, and lived consistent lives. Hence Origen writes, “It doth not belong to every one to eat of this bread, and to drink of this cup.” (Com. in Joan. vol. 3; tom. 28, p. 345). The communicants were, “such as were baptized and received both the credentials and practicals of Christianity.” (Just. Mart. Apol. 2, p. 97, 98). Baptism always preceded the Lord's supper :-" It is not lawful for any one to partake of the sacramental food, except he be baptized.” (Ibid.) It appears, then, that neither the administering nor the receiving of the sacrament was considered by those early Christian writers of “secondary importance," although not first in the order of time. And yet they were not believers in the doctrine of transubstantiation. Origen calls the sacramental elements, “ the food that is sanctified by the Word of God, and by prayer.” And Justin Martyr, in the place before quoted, says, “When the minister hath given thanks, and the people said Amen, the deacons distribute the elements.” And,—“Bread and wine are offered to the minister, who, to the utmost of his abilities, sends up prayers and praises, and the people say Amen." I think there must have been
genuine sincerity and solemnity in this ;-I cannot imagine that they entered upon it as “the mere performance of a religious rite," or conducted it with an unmeaning ceremoniousness, uttered in a thoughtless manner. Indeed, to guard as much as possible against such an irreverent mode of procedure, the person who officiated had been previously well approved, “ of good report,” and set apart for the work of the ministry by ordination. But how can “personal piety be supposed” to exist in the mind of the officiator, at one and the same time with the idea, that “reading decently” is all that is required. What says E. S. of the holy supper? He says, “ The holy supper contains, both universally and singularly, all things of heaven and the Church.” (T. C. R., 711). “The Lord, both as to his divinity and glorified humanity, is entirely omnipresent in the holy supper.” (Ibid. 716). Again : “ These two sacraments are as it were two gates leading to eternal life. By baptism, which is the first gate, every Christian is initiated and introduced into the doctrines which the Church teaches from the Word respecting a future life; all which are so many means to prepare him, and conduct him to heaven. · The other gate is the holy supper, through which every one who has suffered himself to be prepared and led by the Lord, is introduced and admitted into heaven. There are no other universal gates but these. After passing through the first gate he comes to a plain, over which he is to run a race; and the second gate is the goal wherein is the prize to which he directs his course; for the palm is not given till his race is run, nor the prize adjudged till the contest is decided.” (T. C. R., 721). “These two sacraments may also be compared with a double temple, one of which is below, and the other above. In the lower, the gospel of the Lord's new advent is preached, and also regeneration and consequent salvation by him ; from this temple, near the altar, is an ascent to the upper temple, where the holy supper is celebrated ; and from thence is a passage into heaven, where the worshipers are received by the Lord.” (Ibid. 669). From considerations like these, any thing like burlesque, in word or deed, on the administration of the “most holy institution of worship in the Christian Church,” should be strenuously avoided. The objectionable assertion is made where the New Church is the subject of remark. The communicants therefore know, or ought to know, from the spiritual sense of the Word and the science of correspondences, the genuine signification of the natural elements and emblems in the holy supper, and how the celestial and spiritual sustenance they represent and signify is to be received and appropriated by man. And is the “ministerial dispenser” to be excluded as having
no part or lot in the matter? Is one to be the exception, and the other the rule ? Is he to be supposed to raise no spiritual affection to heaven, from an earnest desire that he also may be fed with the bread of life, and receive from the Lord that divine good and divine truth of which the sacramental elements are so appropriately and spiritually significative? Is it to be imagined, much less intimated, or implied, that, as an automaton, a speaking automaton, he has merely to read the service decently, perform his part well as to outward shew and oral precision, and that this will suffice ? Strange doctrine this! And yet, forsooth, he is supposed to be “pious." If this is piety, 'tis piety in masquerade. Thę sanctimonious aspect may be exhibited ;—the “hypocrite of a sad countenance” may perform his part in externals to the satisfaction of all, and as far as that is concerned the performance go off well;—but has he “the satisfaction of a good conscience towards God ?? Was any conjunction of spirit with the Lord effected ? No matter (it may be said) it is but a ceremony that required to be decently read. But, in such a state, how could the divine influences from the Lord be received ?
We are thankfnl, however, that in the New Church all such notions are exploded, as foreign to the whole of the writings of E. S., and of the holy Word, and are not, therefore, to be found in these writings, even by implication, in the most attenuated form. On the contrary, we read, “ The Lord is present and opens heaven to those who approach the holy supper worthily, and present with those who approach it unworthily, but does not open heaven to them. Those who approach it unworthily, confess not the Lord in their souls, but only with their tongue, and exercise charity towards their neighbour with their hands only, and not in their hearts. These are described as the workers of iniquity in the words of the Lord, “Then shall ye begin to say, Lord, we have eaten and drunk in thy presence; but he shall say, I know you not whence you are; depart from me, ye workers of iniquity.'" (U. T., 719, 723.) I know a minister in the New Church, who, long previous to his ordination, refused many solicitations to administer the sacraments, knowing too, that ordination would “confer no spiritual or peculiar gifts or graces :" his refusal was principally based on his aversion to any thing like an infringement of the order of the Church. I approve his conduct,-his adherence to order, consistency, and propriety: for what is a Church without external order, so frequently insisted upon by E. S. ?
And when we reflect upon the application of the above passage of the Word, by our author, connected with his preceding statements, does not the mind recoil at the idea of approaching the sacred ordinance with cold indifference, or as a mere ceremonial, and without a previous preparation of mind, after the understanding is enlightened as to its internal sanctity ? Yet, I think I may again with propriety take upon myself the not very “onerous” duty of exculpating the ministers of the New Church from these lax notions in reference to administering the holy supper; and affirm, that while they agree with J. W. H., that the “ministerial dispenser” should have “the facility of reading decently,” as a thing that “ought to be done,” still there is something, of far greater importance to himself, that ought not on any consideration to be left undone.
Thus have I discharged what I conscientiously believed to be a duty, in publishing these remarks, for the information of all whom it may concern, whether belonging to the Church or not; but more especially for the latter, in whose hands the Intellectual Repository may occasionally be placed. It is right they should know that we claim no apostolic succession, so far as the ministers of the Church are concerned, and that they do not profess to be endowed with apostolic power or authority ; that the ministers of the New Church disclaim having received any mystic or supernatural power by ordination, or of being able to impart that power to others when ordaining; that the sanctity and efficacy of the sacraments do not depend on the administrator; that there does not exist any such established ministry as, what is commonly called, by way of derision, “a priestly cast :" in a word, that wherever superstition erects its pompous standard, prefers its claims, and awards the crown ;-there the New Church entwines the the cypress-wreath. Leeds.
ON THE NEW CHURCH MINISTRY.
To the Editors of the Intellectual Repository. GENTLEMEN, SEVERAL months ago, I was requested by a friend to write my views on the nature and duties of the ministerial office in the New Church, and I had, in compliance with this request, begun a paper upon the subject, with the intention of sending it, when finished, for insertion in the Repository ; if you thought it fit: but I had not written much, when a paper upon the same subject, in the number for August, came under my observation, from the pen of your intelligent correspondent, J. W. H., with whose views, as expressed in that paper, I heartily concur.