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speaking of Scripturê evidence, he says,-"In the Word of the New Testament there is not, indeed, any express command upon the subject."
Of course, in both cases, he then proceeds to qualify them, and to show his reasons for adopting ordination by the laying on of hands, but these reasons do not alter the two most emphatic statements, that neither Scripture nor Swedenborg authorizes by any direct evidence our present mode of appointing ministers, which is all I contend for. Once more; I will make another assertion, and I ask for a refutation of it and of the arguments used to support it.
The ceremonies former churches have observed have nothing whatever to do with the ceremonies observed by the New Church, and hence whatever other churches may have done in the matter of ordination can have no authority in the New Church.
I ask for a refutation of this assertion, and if it be not given, I shall suppose it cannot be, and use it accordingly. And now to illustrate and enforce it, allow me to give you a quotation from a book called, "The Rise and Progress of the New Church."
The early fathers, from whom we derive the laying on of hands in the New Church, are in solemn conclave discussing the formation of a regular ministry. After due deliberation, it is unanimously resolved, that "the institution of a regular ministry in the New Church could not be derived from any authority heretofore recognised in the Christian world. For as the New Jerusalem Church is altogether a New Church, distinct from the Old, and of which it is written in Rev. xxi. 5 'Behold I make all things new;' it was conceived, that this declaration applies not only to the doctrines of the Church, but also to its institutions and ordinances of every kind, and amongst the rest to that of the ordination of ministers, whose authority to teach, and preach, and administer the sacraments, must be derived from the Lord alone in his own Church, and not from any priesthood of a fallen, consummated, and finished Church," (page 68). Now, that passage I conceive to be a fit comment upon our receiving of the ordination from the Old Church and the Old World. It was evident to these men that what had been, and what was then the custom, were no guide for the pioneers of a New Church and a new order of things in general. To these men's minds that Church of which Swedenborg said "inaugurations into the priesthood are at this day effected by the laying on of hands,” was "fallen, consummated, finished," and from that Church they could therefore derive no authority for anything-not more in "ordinances
and institutions" than in "doctrines." This I take to be something like the meaning most people would attach to the words, "Behold I make all things new." Had those Fathers stood by this decision, that lamentable spectacle of casting lots and piling twelve hands on the head of the one to be ordained would never have been seen. Times, however, have changed, so have the fathers of the Church, likewise their opinions and now, although the churches in which the laying on of hands effected ordination are "consummated, fallen, and finished," yet to the modern fathers their authority is still valid, and because it "has been observed, not only in ancient times and under the Jewish economy, but (also) in the Christian Church from the days of our Lord to the present time" (page 246), therefore, as the climax to absurdity, it is to be observed in that Church in which all things are new, and which acknowledges of necessity no custom of any previous people.
So far as I know, I deny nothing, sir, that Swedenborg has written, but I do deny that from Swedenborg we have the authority for stating that "ordination is the laying on of hands, and the laying on of hands conveys the graces of illustration and instruction."
The Latin word that Swedenborg uses in T. C. R. 146 for ordination is the word "inauguratio," which means a beginning, that is the only meaning it has in classical Latin; but even in post-classical Latin it does not mean the laying on of hands. I do not deny that when a man enters upon the duties of the ministry, in a right spirit, having at heart the good of his fellow man, that very moment he is illustrated and instructed by the Divine Spirit.
And pray how do inventions and discoveries dawn upon the human mind? Did the discovery of gunpowder, the invention of the telescope, the discovery of America, the invention of the steam-engine, and the telegraph come in any other way? I believe not. Any one of these inventions has done more for the good of man than nine hundred and ninety-nine out of every thousand of the ordained ministry have done; and I am apt to believe that the Holy Spirit has as much to do with the giving of these universal blessings, as it has with illustrating and instructing the priesthood of any narrow little sect. But as a "beginning” to minister to a congregation confers illustration and instruction, so the "beginning" to study the sciences conferred illustration and instruction upon our greatest inventors and discoverers. Illumination comes with work, be that work what it may, and with nothing else. If the Rev. Mr. Rosewater spends his time on the croquet lawn in
gossip or pleasant repartee, instead of in study and doing the work of the ministry, he is neither illustrated nor instructed for the work of teaching, notwithstanding the laying on of hands. The Holy Spirit finds men at their "post," be it what it may. It found Roger Bacon in his laboratory; Columbus before the mast; Galileo and Newton in their observatories; Swedenborg in his study. Had these men never been inaugurated-hal they never begun their work, they would never have been illuminated to discover and invent as they did. Precisely so with the minister in his gifts of illustration and instruction. The effort to do, and the desire to be, alone confer graces. If Swedenborg teaches anything, he teaches that, and almost on every page he lifts his voice against the acting, millinery, upholstery, and pomps and vanities that lead to ritualism as necessary parts of religion.
Thus, sir, I think it is disproved that ordination means the laying on of hands, and also that the laying on of hands confers the graces of illustration and instruction; and therefore, it is disproved that the laying on of hands forms any necessary part of induction into the ministry.
Another assertion I will now repeat, and again I ask for a refutation -"A blockhead ordained is a blockhead still." I asserted this in my former paper, and no attempt has been made to show that it is not true. It is neither foreign to the subject, nor personal, and therefore I ask for a refutation of it. If the laying on of hands is worth something, let us see how much.
Once more I assert, "Every one is illustrated from the Word according to his affection of the truth" (A. C. 9382); and therefore I assert, no one is illustrated by the simple laying on of hands, and therefore ordination is useless. I ask for a refutation.
In my former paper I carefully avoided the use of Scripture, but since Scripture has been twice employed to establish ordination, we will see what Scripture says against it. On page 407, it is said, "the laying on of hands was evidently both a practice and a doctrine in the time of the apostles."
Again, I repeat the testimony of the fathers, "that in the New Church, we cannot countenance any authority heretofore recognised in the Christian world," and particularly the authority of a priesthood belonging to a "fallen, consummated, and finished church."
If the customs of the apostles are authoritative in the matter of laying on of hands, they are in other observances. In James v. 14, it reads, "Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the
church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord."
This seems to be a somewhat emphatic command if the authority of the apostles goes for anything,-far more emphatic than anything relating to the laying on of hands; and by your kind permission, I will indulge in another vein of "flippancy," and repeat again in the "elegant" language used by the Apostle Paul, or rather the "elegant" translators of Paul, that because this custom is distasteful it has been "winked" down, and the authority of the early Christian Church has been treated with "sublime contempt."
To my thinking it is a pity the authority of the apostles should have taken part in this discussion at all, and were I in favour of laying on of hands, I should deem the pity still greater.
But this double-edged sword of apostolic authority, which cuts two ways, is by no means the only evidence to disprove the necessity of ordination by the laying on of hands. On page 407 Paul is quoted as an instance of ordination by the laying on of hands, and Ananias is the ordaining bishop. Now, this laying on of hands is most unwarrantably taken as ordination. Greater familiarity with Scripture would have saved the writer. In Galatians, Paul takes pains to make them understand that he owed his ministry to the ordination of no man. He says, "I neither received it—the gospel-of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. But when it pleased God to reveal His Son in me that I might preach Him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles; but I went into Arabia" (Gal. i. 12-17). Nor is that all. By and by Paul goes to Antioch, and in Acts xiii. we read thus,-"Now there were in the Church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers. . . As they ministered and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them; and when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away." I think it cannot fail to be seen, that if this instance of the laying on of hands means ordination, as it is said it does in the case of Ananias laying hands on Paul, it must first be shown that Paul and Barnabas had not had hands laid on them before, and had not preached the gospel before. This was the second time hands had been laid on Paul, and between the two impositions seven years had elapsed, during which time Paul had been engaged in the ministry. If the laying on of hands in one instance means ordination-and throughout this dis
cussion it has been so used-then the laying on of hands in the second instance means ordination; but as we have seen Paul had been ordained seven years before in the eyes of my opponent, and had been preaching the gospel during the whole of that time, and therefore the laying on of hands does not constitute ordination even with the apostles. When such worthless evidence as that of Ananias laying hands on Paul has to be advanced to bolster up the doctrine of ordination by laying on hands, it shows the desperateness of the case.
Again, on page 241, the ordination of the twelve disciples is referred to, and is used with damaging effect to my opponent's position. It ought to be known to the user of this quotation, that the Greek word eroínoe translated "ordained," has no such meaning as that he now attaches to it in the whole of the Greek literature. Why he should have used it if he knew this is not easy to imagine. not easy to imagine. Any way I am sorry it should have been used, because it is apt to mislead. Further, it ought to be known, that although this word Tow is used in the New Testament some hundreds of times, there is not another passage in which it has been translated "ordain." It may mean to “ordain" in the sense of "to appoint:" at the same time it is very rare that it occurs even in that remote sense,- -a sense not admitted by my opponent. The simple meaning of the word is "to make," or "to do;" but even supposing that we allow it to be translated "ordain," what has it to do with proving the necessity for the laying on of hands in ordination?
Once more, it proves the utter worthlessness of Scripture testimony on the affirmative side. On the other hand, we know that when our Lord "sent forth" His disciples after His resurrection, and commanded the Holy Spirit to descend upon them, breathing upon them, and not laying on hands, was the form used. Nor was this absolutely necessary, for at the time that our Lord did it Thomas, one of the twelve, was absent.
Still further, I venture to assert that, in the strict sense of the word, there is not one instance in the New Testament in which the laying on of hands means ordination as commonly understood-viz., consecration into a visible priesthood.
In Acts xiv. 23, it reads thus, "And when they had ordained them elders in every church," &c. The word Xepoтovýσavтes, here χειροτονήσαντες, translated "ordained," does not mean in any one instance in the Greek literature laying on of hands, but its primary meaning is, “stretching out the hand to give one's vote in the Athenian legislative assembly, or the church, and hence the meaning of xeɩporovew usually was "to vote for, or elect."