Page images
PDF
EPUB

good, when it is not only in the consciousness and affection, but in the act and life. Our cultivation of a merciful disposition, extending not only to our intercourse with humanity, but even to the animal creation, will favourably react on our faith and first principles, causing our perceptions of the Divine Mercy to be clear, and our hope in it constant and abiding.

“Without partiality.” This must follow when it is taken into account that this wisdom is from Him“ who is no respecter of persons,” and “who makes his sun to shine on the evil and the good, and his rain to descend on the just and the unjust” (Matt. v. 45). Partial views of the Divine goodness can never produce this state of mind; and though it may be possessed by many holding such views, and we doubt not is, this is only in consequence of the constant operation of Divine power infusing always some light in the darkness, keeping the latter in abeyance where it is still in theory not dispelled, and bringing only the light into action. “Without hypocrisy.” This gracious characteristic of supernal wisdom is a consequent of the last. A view of Divine love, as universal and impartial, must produce a feeling of sincerity and openness in our intercourse with our fellow-men, and especially in declaring to them the glad tidings of salvation, as we can regard every man as, in some measure, enfolded in the same Divine embrace. But partial views of God's mercy must embarrass us more or. less on such occasions; and though we should be far—very far—from charging wilful hypocrisy on such as with these views attempt to preach the Gospel to their fellow-men, yet we must say that they must, in doing so, be haunted more or less with a feeling that they are entangling themselves and their hearers in its intricate meshes.

And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” This corresponds to the beatitude pronounced on the peacemakers in our Lord's sublime discourse. Here is a full and complete state of regeneration where the external and internal man are intimately united, and a perfect conjunction takes place between truth and good. Then comes the tranquillity of peace, “the peace of God which passeth all understanding keeps our heart and mind through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Phil. iv. 7.) Internal peace, or perfect peace, which always dwells in our internal man, first produces a state of tranquillity in the beginning of regeneration, which is more or less disturbed by temptation combats; but it returns again at the end when these combats have ceased—nay, peace itself comes forth into our external man. “Such as are in this peace,” says our author, “ are

principled in interior truths, i.e., they have imbibed them in faith and life. Such are in the Lord's kingdom, and they regard the restlessness of exterior things as one who looks down from an eminence upon a raging sea.”

J. B. W.

IN MEMORY OF A REVERED PARENT.

OBIIT FEB. XIX., MDCCCLXIX.

She sleeps her last, her saintly sleep on earth,

Like the chaste marble simulating breath :
It is the sleep that veils another birth;

The mystic change that we entitle death.

A sacred calm, an atmosphere serene

Rests on her lowly couch, and beauteous flowers
Mingle their fragrance with the solemn scene;

And one might watch her silent sleep for hours.
She looks like those we read of who had died

In odorous sanctity; and there might seem
Some powers celestial breathing by her side,

Filling her fancy with a heavenly dream.
Her face the impress wears of years long fled,

Known to her children in their early days,
As if her latest thoughts had backward sped,

And blent her features with their youthful grace.

Oft do I muse upon her chequered course,

Fretted with many a cross and many a grief;
Her swerveless spirit which knew no remorse,

And sought alone in righteous hope relief.

Alas! what days of sorrow she had borne !

What cruel wrong her patient soul opprest !
But God is just :—there dawns a brighter morn,

And tribulation leads to endless rest.

0! what are all the petty ills of time?

They burst at last like bubbles in the air.

But not so pass the secret stings of crime

Like whips of scorpions lashing to despair.
And what are all the vapid joys of sense,

For which the worldling sells his precious soul ?
Wrenched from his grasp, with agony intense,

Just as he hurries to the Awful Goal.

Born for a kingdom of unmeasured years,

Where all heart-joy is felt in others' weal,
Men work their ruin by their selfish fears,

And drink the poison their own hearts conceal.

Distraught, they rush to their eternal doom,

Like wrecks upon the raging billows tossed ;
For them no glory consummates the tomb-

And who can tell the guerdon they have lost ?

Not such, dear tried one, shall thy portion be,

If there's a heaven where solid goodness dwells,
Where life-long truth and trustful virtue flee,

Divinely guarded from a thousand hells.

Many there are who shun the glorious light

For cell and penance drear, to merit grace :
She ʼmid life's duties fought the Christian fight,

And ʼmid all human ties achieved her race.

Peace to her troubled bosom came at last :

Loving and lamb-like as a child she grew :
And now her sorrows are for ever past,

And tears of fondest love her bier bedew.
Go, write upon her tomb the words of praise

Spoken to her who by the Saviour stood;
Ye children, in your hearts the record raise,

And be the motto—“SHE DID WHAT SHE COULD.”

R. A.

JESMOND LODGE, MALTON, March 6, 1869.

191

PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS ARISING FROM THE AUTHORITY OF SWEDENBORG IN THE NEW CHURCH.

NO. III. ORDINATION—THE MINISTRY AS A DISTINCT ORDER. From my previous papers on the subject now occupying our attention, it appears that two classes of thought obtain among professed Christians in respect to ritual or the ceremonies of the Church. Those holding what are termed high grounds, claim for its outward solemnities an importance beyond their value; others, in view of the extravagant pretensions preferred in this direction, take the opposite extreme. In respect to the sacraments, for example, whilst the one party regard baptism as actually conferring regeneration, and the Holy Supper, by virtue of what they call “ the real presence,” as constituting an actual sacrifice; the other hold them to be mere rites of no higher estimation than the ordinary religious observances of the Church.

A similar divergence of view obtains in relation to ordination. By the one class it is maintained, when administered at the hands of the successors of the Apostles, to convey the gift of the Holy Spirit, and authority to absolve sins avowed in confession; the other, under the sense of the untenable character of such assumptions, deny the use of ordination altogether.

It does not enter into my purpose to inquire here into the merits of apostolic succession ; we may, therefore, dismiss the subject with the single remark, that whilst, on the one hand, it rests on assumption, on the other, were it demonstrable that ordination has come in an unbroken line from the Apostles, there is nothing in that circumstance that would confer greater validity, there being no superior virtue in them than in others, being swayed as they evidently were by similar passions. Indeed there is a notable instance of non-apostolic ordination in the case of Paul, who was ordained by Ananias, who is merely mentioned as “a certain disciple at Damascus.” Tradition, it is true, makes him afterwards to have been bishop of that city, but such authority is unreliable in the highest degree ; besides which, even were it true, his ordination of the future Apostle of the Gentiles was prior to his becoming such...

To return, however, to the more immediate matter before us, two views on the subject of ordination, similarly divergent, have been held in the New Church ; claims having been urged by some in regard to ordination nearly as pretentious in many respects, although not identi

cal in character, with those referred to above, whilst others have greatly doubted its use altogether.

It may be regarded as somewhat remarkable that views of so low a character should have found any favour among us, when Swedenborg himself, as we shall see, so distinctly recognises ordination, and assigns to it the graces and virtues peculiar to the ministerial function; but so it is, nor is it necessary to inquire into the causes out of which this has arisen. I shall, therefore, confine myself to adducing the testimony of Swedenborg on the subject, and must then leave the matter to the consideration of those concerned, merely adding that it behoves them who, whilst admitting his mission, only partially recognise his teachings, to determine for themselves how far their position is a consistent one.

Some, I am aware, have argued that “ inauguratio," the term employed by Swedenborg, ought not to be rendered “ordination.” But our dispute is not concerning a word, since it is immaterial whether the term “ inauguration” or “ordination " is used, the chief point with which we are interested is the meaning attached to it by Swedenborg, of which, I hope to show, he has not left us in doubt.

In speaking of the authority of Swedenborg, the impression that it is placed by us, in any sense, on an equality with the Divine Word, has been carefully guarded against; and as the Sacred Oracles are the basis of all authority in religious matters, we will first glance at their testimony on the subject.

Passing by the Old Testament, two references occur in the Evangelists to the ordination of the Apostles by the Lord,—one in Mark (iii. 14, 15), where it is written, “ And He ordained twelve, that they should be with Him, and that He might send them forth to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils ;" the other in John (xv. 16), in which the Lord, addressing His disciples, says, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain.” As regards the use of the word “ordain,” in the Authorized Version of the English New Testament, it is too vague to afford any assistance in our present inquiry, standing as it does as the representative of no less than ten verbs in the original Greek. Even in the two examples quoted just above, the word “ ordain " represents two ; in the first moréw, to do, being used in its collateral sense of, to cause to become ; and the other riênces, to set, to place, to lay, being employed in its derivative sense of, to appoint, to constitute. Much criticism has also been expended

« PreviousContinue »