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interior light, should be dressed in white garments, and “thus proceed from light to light.”
This is the order of dress pursued in the New Jerusalem Church in Philadelphia.
ON THE ORDINATION OF MINISTERS IN THE NEW
( Continued from p. 358.) In the New Church we have but little interest in the senti- ' ments of the members of the Old Christian Church, as to the or- '. dination of the ministry, or the principles upon which their priesthood is founded. Indeed, on this point, there is among them a complete hostility of opinion. The Church of Rome, setting up a regular succession from the apostle Peter, denies the legitimacy of all the Protestant Churches. The Church of England, although under the ban of the mother Church from the time of her first separation, has contended for the necessity of a regular succession and the Episcopal ordination of priests. The Presbyterian Church, abandoning all allegiance to the Church of Rome, and even viewing the claims of Episcopacy as an arrogant pretension and an absurd superstition, contends also for the necessity of apostolic succession. Whilst, on the other hand, the Methodists and the Baptists, avowing complete independence upon any former priesthood, look only to their respective Churches for the legitimacy of the clerical function. The Friends, or people called Quakers, although they deny the necessity of the external rites of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, and the propriety of any arbitrary setting apart of individuals for the ministry, contending that it is the internal gift of the Spirit which designates the person for that sacred office, yet hold that the testimony of the Society in favour of his gifts is requisite, to indicate the individual as an authorized teacher of the Truth. Each of these branches of the Old Church contend strenuously for their respective orders and establishments. The New Church gathers its proselytes from all these various branches. Shall it be said, by any portion of those proselytes, you must turn back to our externals ?-To the Church of Rome, which claims an undisputed Episcopacy and succession,-To the Church of England, claimVOL. I.
ing both, yet lying under the excommunication of the former,To the Presbyterian Church, with the simplicity of clerical equality, contending for the same sacred succession ? Shall we ask the Church of Rome for ordination, that our ministers may teach that the City seated on the seven hills, hath, from the lust of acquiring to herself temporal dominion, profaned every thing which is holy, and is fallen! is fallen! Shall we go to the Protestant Church, to authorize our teachers to proclaim that the Old Christian Church is at an end, and that the Lord has departed from it, so that it has ceased to be the central medium of illumination from Himself to man? Or shall we, delaying the manifestation of the Lord's last, best kingdom on earth, keep the banner unfurled, and wait until those who are impressed by the supposed duties of their offices, to preserve the permanency of their establishments, shall, with one accord, hail the descent of the Holy City ?
In A. c. 2134, it is said, “ What the internal sense of the Word is, and its quality, hath been stated in many places, and in the explication of it, manifested as to each of the words. Those skilled in the law,* at the time of the Lord, were those who least of all believed that any thing was written in the Word respecting the Lord : Those skilled in the law, at the present day, do indeed know, but they will perhaps be least of all disposed to believe, ( Credituri. See Repository, p. 60,) that there is another glory in the Word, than that which appears in the letter, which nevertheless is the cloud in which is the glory.” If the clergy of the present day, as to the reception of the New Dispensation, are compared with the priests under the Jewish law, how little can we expect from them for the propagation of the truths of the New Church! That it is vain to expect the conversion of the Old Clergy, at least generally, or in great numbers, is plain from the whole history of man, and of every dispensation which has been vouchsased from the Lord. Every New Church, which has been established from the beginning, bas originated as an independent establishment, wholly separated from the preceding. Thus it was with the Noahtic Church, the
• The expression in the original is “jurisperiti," which might be translated "lawyers," but is literally " those skilled in the law," and is so rendered above, lest the reader might suppose “temporal lawyers" were meant.
Israelitish Church, and the Christian Church. The Church raised up anew moved on within itself, and the former Church remained. So will it be with the New and the Old Christian Church. This latter will continue, with its externals, as before. We see, at this day, subsisting at the same time, the Ancient Church in the rites of the Gentiles, the Israelitish Church with the Jews, and the Old Christian Church in its present various establishments. The necessity of a New Church in externals, somewhere in the earth, is apparent from the following passages in the writings of the herald of the New Jerusalem. Ap. Ex. 397, near the end, 6 The human race is the basis or foundation of the angelic heaven, for the conjunction of the angelic heaven with the human race is perpetual, and one subsisteth by the other; wherefore when the basis doth not correspond, the angelic heaven as it were totters.” Again, No. 413, (p. 534, 535, 2 vol. Eng. lish trans.) speaking of the words, The earth shall be shaken out of its place;" by the “ earth,” in the spiritual sense, is every where understood the Church, for in the spiritual world the face of the earth is similar to the state of the Church with those who dwell there, wherefore when the Church perisheth the earth also perisheth, for they make one; and then in the place of the former a new one existeth. In Lamentations, ii. 1, “ He remembereth not the footstool of his feet in the day of his anger ;" by 66 the footstool of the feet” of Jehovah, is understood the worship of the Lord in the natural world, by reason that the universal heaven, together with the Church in the world, appear before the Lord as one man. The inmost heaven constitutes the head, the rest constitute the breast and legs, and the Church on earth constitutes the feet; hence also it is that the feet signify the natural principle; the heavens also stand upon the Church which is with mankind, as man doth upon his feet.”
It is manifest, therefore, that since the last judgment, there must be somewhere in the earth an external Church, worshipping the Lord in his Divine Humanity, which may serve as a corresponding basis to the heavens. It is not for us to discuss the question, as it relates to those countries where the state of the political government prevents an external manifestation. It is enough for us, that the Lord hath provided a country, where the bond of national and political union has wholly disavowed any power of intermeddling with the holy things of Religion, and expressly recognizes, as unalienable, the right of worshipping God, by every one, according to the dictates of his own conscience. Here there is no obstacle to the external manifestation of the Church, and, of course, the way is opened by Divine Providence for it to assume those rites, and modes of worship, which may seem most orderly and rational to its members. Far be it also from us to prescribe, even in this country, to any receiver of the New Dispensation, the mode of his worship, or even to advise that he should separate from any other Church to which he is externally united, whilst he feels a freedom to remain. We merely contend, that to those who deem it a duty, it is proper to unite in external establishments, and to form a priesthood for the celebration of the divine ordinances, and the regular and permanent instruction of the people in the internal truths of the Word.
The first priest we read of in the Holy Scriptures is Melchizedek. He is called King of Salem (Peace) and “ Priest of the MOST HIGH GOD.” It is remarkable that he brought forth bread and wine, the symbols of the Christian Church. But we have no information of any Church with which he was connected.
In the Israelitish Church, we find, the descendants of Levi were set apart among the tribes as a perpetual priesthood. Deut. X. 8, 9. “ The Lord separated the tribe of Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to minister unto him, and to bless His name to this day. Wherefore Levi hath no part nor inheritance with his brethren: the Lord is his inheritance.” Among the descendants of Levi, Aaron and his sons were specially set apart for the priesthood. “ And take thou, unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with hin, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto Me in the priest's office.” Ex. xxviii. 1. In Lev. 8 c. we have the order for the consecration of Aaron and his sons in the priesthood. Ex. sl. 15, it is said, the anointing of Aaron and his sons 6 shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations.” In the establishment of this priesthood, we find no selection of individuals, for their capacity, holiness, or merit. The Jewish Church being merely external, a particular family was set apart, without relation to their holiness or the want of it. It admitted of no extension of the priesthood beyond these limits, and no communication of its powers or privileges to the Gentiles. It continued the Church of the Lord until his manifestation in the flesh, when in
ternal things were to take place of external, and then passed away. It derived its authority from no preceding priesthood, it communicated none to any that succeeded. But we find, that it afterwards remained in a state of direct opposition to the Chris. tian Church.
But when commenced the Christian Church, and when its or. dination ? Upon a view of the Holy Scriptures, it appears, that the Old Christian Church, which specifically should be called the Apostolical Church, did not commence as a Church until the day of Pentecost, although our Lord himself whilst on earth taught, and also sent forth his Disciples and the Seventy to proclaim the glad tidings of the Gospel throughout Judea. Yet we are told, that after his resurrection, being with the apostles, " he commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father.” And again, “ they asked of Him, saying, Lord wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And He said unto them, It is not lawful for you to know, the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power. But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is ' come upon you ; and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and into the utter most parts of the earth.” At this time, the apostles were but eleven, and the Lord having originally chosen twelve, it was concluded to appoint one in the place of Judas, to take part in their ministry and apostleship, which being done, they amounted to twelve, a number which corresponds to, or internally signifies, all things appertaining to faith, whereby in externals they were capable of forming a Church.* This appeared to be of the Divine direction. And we find, that shortly after, on the day of Pentecost, “they were all with one accord in one place, and suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting, and there appeared unto them cloven tongues, like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them: And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to
• It is remarkable that the Jews, to this day, do not think a meeting is sufficient for prayer or religious worship, unless there be at least ten persons present. Ten spiritually signifies the remains of goodness and truth with man, whereby he may be regenerated. Hence Sodom would not have been destroyed if there had been therein ten righteous.