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ception is rendered clear by the light of illustration; but where they are false, the perception is rendered obscure, yet so as to have the appearance of clearness arising from the reasonings which have been used for their confirmation; such apparent clearness is, however, only a consequence of that false and delusive light which, in the eye of the merely natural man, appears like the light of truth. DISPOSITION arises from the affection of the love-principle of the will, and it is the delight springing from that love which affects it. If this delight springs from the love of evil and its attendant false, it gives birth to a zeal outwardly sharp, furious, fiery, and inwardly full of anger, rage, and unmercifulness; but if it springs from the love of good and its attendant truth, it then gives birth to a zeal which is outwardly soft and smooth, yet loud and burning, and inwardly full of charity, kindness, and mercy. INSTRUCTION follows as an effect produced by the former. Thus illustration, which is from the Lord, is changed into various lights and colours in every individual, according to the state of his mind.' (T. C. R. 155.)
After the categorical statements adduced in Swedenborg's own words, it may seem inexplicable that any persons accepting his authority should demur to a doctrine so clearly insisted on by him: but such is the case; and, although it certainly wears the appearance of an anomaly, it must be left with those who occupy the position to reconcile the inconsistency to their own judgment.
Some have gone the extreme length of denouncing an ordained ministry, as a man-made ministry. It would be well for those who hold such views to consider, that, whilst placing themselves at direct issue with Swedenborg, whose authority they profess to admit, they assume to themselves a function which belongs to the Lord alone. Who are men-made ministers, and who are made such under the divine auspices, is known to Him alone; and those who pretend to adjudicate on matters cognizant to none but Him who is possessed of divine omniscience, lay themselves open to the charge of spiritual presumption. A divinely chosen ministry consists of those who enter the office from a spiritual love of its uses, and a determination, by the divine aid, faithfully to discharge its duties; and the divine sanction is certainly not invalidated by the formal recognition of the fact on the part of the Church, much less through inaugurating them by a rite which, if Swedenborg is to be believed, conveys the graces of illustration and instruction-graces of the Holy Spirit proper to the ministerial office. As well might it be contended that a marriage based on a union of minds ceases to be such in consequence of the marriage ceremony being performed by human agency; and that the parties are no longer two whom God hath joined together, because the union has been ratified by a human priest. On the other hand, it is quite possible that the strong disinclination sometimes manifested to submit to ordination
may arise from the pride of the proprium rather than from a spiritual
A man-made minister is one who has selected the ministerial profession, or been placed in it by his friends, on account of the emoluments attached to it, or of the social position it confers. It is, never. theless, possible that even such may fill the office profitably to the Church, although with no profit to their own spiritual states; some, under the influence of the first motive especially, "preaching the Lord and faith with an eloquence, and at the same time an appearance of devotion sufficient to produce astonishment in their hearers." (A. C. n. 724.) And as elsewhere explained by Swedenborg,
"All kings, whosoever they are, and of whatsoever quality, by virtue of the principle of royalty appertaining to them, represent the Lord; in like manner all priests, whosoever, and of what quality soever they are, by virtue of the priestly principle. The principle of royalty and the priestly principle are holy, whatsoever be the nature and quality of the person who ministers therein; hence it is that the Word taught by a wicked person, is alike holy, as when taught by a good person: also the sacrament of baptism and the holy supper, and the like.” (A. C. n. 3670.)
More than this. Religious services performed by priests in interior association with infernals, may, nevertheless, be conducive to the opening of heaven to the sincere worshipper. Explaining the spiritual condition of the Jewish people, who whilst in external sanctity were interiorly in communion with evil spirits, he adds,—
“The case is the same with priests and presbyters who preach what is holy, and yet live wickedly, and believe wickedly. With such, not good, but evil spirits are present, even whilst they are engaged in worship, which appears holy in its external form; for it is self-love and the love of the world, or a love to secure honours or promote gain, and thereby reputation, which inflames them, and presents an affection of what is holy, sometimes to such a degree that nothing of pretence is perceivable, and in such cases neither is it credited by themselves; when yet they are in the midst of evil spirits, who on such occasions are in a similar state, and aspire and inspire, That evil spirits can be in such a state, and that they are so whilst they are in externals and are inflated with self-love and the love of the world, has been given me to know from manifold experience. Such have no communication with heaven in themselves, but they who hear and apprehend the words which they speak, in case they are in a pious and holy internal principle, have communication; for it is of no consequence from whom the voice of good and truth proceeds, provided their lives be not manifestly wicked, inasmuch as this causes scandal." (A. C. n. 4311.)*
It is remarkable that even among the apostles, chosen as they were by
*For further references to "evil priests," see A. C. nn. 9366, 10,286, 10,309, 10,735, 10,736, 10,752-10,757.
Him "Who knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man, for He knew what was in man," one was the traitor. It is clear that divine wisdom must have directed the choice, and that some specific use was involved in it. It is quite possible that he might, like the class of which he is the type, have manifested an external zeal for his office; at least one characteristic instance is recorded of him, where on Mary's anointing the Lord's head with an alabastron of costly ointment, he indignantly asked, "Why it had not been sold for three hundred pence and given to the poor," an exclamation which, to an ordinary observer, might appear to spring from a spirit of active benevolence, whilst in reality it arose from sordid selfishness :"not," it is added, "that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein." (John xii. 3-6.)
To return however to the general subject, some Christian bodies regard ordination rather as the induction of a minister into the pastorship of a religious congregation; in the New Church, however, it is held to be the appropriate service whereby those who have decided to devote themselves to the uses of the office are accepted by the Church, are introduced into the order of the ministry, and inaugurated into its functions. Hence the conference does not require reordination; holding that the legitimate object of the rite is, to set persons apart to a distinct use in the universal Christian Church, not to a merely denominational one.
Should the question be raised, whether those who are ordained actually receive the gifts of an illustration and adaptedness for communicating instruction, it is to be borne in mind that the growth of the Christian graces is gradual, and that the same law obtains with the development of those peculiar to the ministerial office. Moreover the results of religious exercises are seldom appreciably felt immediately, but they are not the less certain ultimately to follow. The answer to prayer is seldom immediate, and yet every prayer offered up in spiritual sincerity is answered nevertheless. (See Luke xviii. 1-8.) So the graces which are conveyed by ordination are not the less real because their development is gradual. That such graces are received in the degree that the other conditions are present is evidenced by the fact, that, in every religious denomination, ministers regularly ordained hold a higher status intellectually as well as socially to that of the lay preacher. That there have been failures, some of them miserably enough, is quite true; but exceptions do not disprove the
rule. So far as the experience of the New Church is concerned, those societies which have had the services of one regularly ordained into the ministry, have, as a rule, made the greatest progress, both numerically and in the consolidation of their interests and active uses. On the other hand, nothing appears to me more naturally to follow the sincere purpose of entering into the ministerial function than the desire to do so by the legitimate mode; and it may be regarded as a hopeful sign in the Church, that there is a growing feeling with societies in favour of securing, when practicable, the pastoral services of an ordained minister.
So far from the teaching of Swedenborg being in any sense opposed to ordination as an institution of the New Church, it is only in this Church that the conditions required preparatory to its fullest realization can be adequately supplied. For, whilst Illustration is given by the Lord alone, and imparted to such as are in good, and from the principle of good study the Word with the sole object of knowing what is to be believed and done, Perception, which is the plane into which illustration flows and is consciously perceived, is dependent on the state of the mind as formed by doctrines; "and where the doctrines are true the perception is rendered clear by the light of illustration; but where they are false the perception is rendered obscure." (T. C. R. 155.) Hence a perception only comparatively obscure and imperfect can be enjoyed where the light of the New Church is wanting, the "state formed by doctrines being in that case defective." It is, therefore, under the influence of the genuine doctrines revealed in the New Dispensation alone, and in the degree that these permeate the Christian Church, that the four successive operations proper to the successful ministrations of the word-Illustration, Perception, Disposition, and Instruction, can follow in their plenary and legitimate order, and that "illustration which is from the Lord can be changed into various lights and colours according to the state of reception."
Here, then, I close the inquiry relating to the authority of Sweden borg in the New Church, and the practical considerations arising thence. It only remains for me to commend the subjects brought under examination during its progress, to the careful consideration of those to whom they have been more particularly addressed. I have endeavoured to avoid every expression that could wound the susceptibilities of the most sensitive; if any such may have escaped my pen, it has been unintentional, and will I trust be overlooked. WOODVILLE WOODMAN.
THE USES OF INSECTS, AND THEIR BENEFITS TO MAN.
THERE is not, perhaps, any question that more naturally arises in the minds of persons who have not made the economy of insects a study, than that of, "What are their uses?" and this very natural inquiry frequently springs from an earnest desire, particularly on the part of young people, to acquire a knowledge of this most important branch of natural history. There is another source from which a desire to have this question answered arises-a desire on the part of those of maturer years, to ascertain what pecuniary benefit is obtainable from these living atoms of creation.
I hope I shall be able to bring before you subject-matter that will satisfy, to a considerable extent, the desire of both parties.
I have undertaken to point out "The Uses of Insects, and their Benefits to Man." I might briefly state, that they are of use in performing a most important office, whereby they render the whole face of nature beautiful with fruit and flowers; of use, since they remove every substance that falls to the ground that without their aid would vitiate the atmosphere, rendering it offensive and unhealthy; of use, since they give life and animation to the landscape, whose loveliness without insect life would be deprived of one of its greatest charms. Then I might point out some of their benefits by stating, in the first place, that insects themselves constitute a most important article of food to thousands of the inhabitants of tropical countries; that we are indebted to them for the material of which some of our most costly garments are fabricated-for furnishing man with one of the most agreeable of all the artificial lights used in his dwelling-for supplying one of the most important appliances in surgical science-for one of the most splendid dyes for articles of dress and decoration-for all these we are indebted to the tribe of insects; and I say, I might thus briefly answer the question as to their use, and thus briefly allude to some of the important benefits arising from them; but such is not my purpose this evening. I am to show you in what way some insects are useful, that would, without inquiry and study, appear to be created simply to torment and annoy-to destroy, without any apparent counterbalancing benefit arising from them. If I were to tell you that the use of every insect is known, I should grossly misstate the truth; and if I were to say that I believe scientific research will shortly arrive at such a degree of knowledge I should also be misleading you. There are some insects