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This custom of "stretching out the hand" is still in use amongst us. When the vote of an assembly is taken upon a subject, it is still done by raising or stretching out the hand, and that "vote by the stretching out of the hand" is what is translated "ordination" in the passage just above quotod.
Thus in the sense that ordination is used in this passage, a vote of Conference taken by "stretching out the hand" is all that is required for admittance into the ministry by ordination.
In Titus i. 5. it reads, "I left thee in Crete that thou shouldest
The same over many
ordain elders in every city I had appointed thee." The word καTασrýoys translated "ordain," again does not mean to lay on hands, but to appoint, establish, make, or choose. word is used in Matt. xxv. 21, "I will make thee ruler things;" and in Acts vi. 3, "Look out . . seven men we may appoint over this business," and also in numbers of other passages. But in no instance does it mean "to lay on hands." And there is not one instance in the whole Bible where to ordain means the imposition of hands. In the consecration of Aaron the laying on of hands does not occur at all. And strange enough to say, in the consecration of the Levites, the laying on of hands was not performed by the high priest, or by an "ordaining ministry," as in our modern fashion of manufacturing the orthodox priest of commerce; but we read in Numbers viii. 9, 10, that after the whole assembly of the children of Israel have been gathered together, and the Levites have been brought before the Lord, then "the children of Israel shall put their hands upon the Levites." But even supposing that Aaron had ordained them by putting his hands upon them, the external ordinances of that church could be no guide for us, because it is " consummated and finished."
And now I would ask if I have not clearly shown that in Scripture there is no evidence to support the doctrine of the present system of ordination by the laying on of hands. My object has been to elicit the truth, and, so far as I can see, the truth is that ordination-meaning the laying on of hands-is a purely priestly invention supported neither by Scripture nor Swedenborg. I trust if I am not "old" enough, I am at least honest enough, "to have (no) other object—than -the vindication of that which commends itself to my convictions." That age should confer guilelessness of motive in argument is another law of ethics of which I was not aware until I saw it set forth on page 406, any more than I was that the laying on of hands conferred graces.
And now allow me to draw your attention to a little slip of the pen, which has caused considerable confusion of ideas on the subject of representation and correspondence, and then I hope to have finished. On page 404, I am informed that "had I made myself acquainted with the distinction which exists between representatives and correspondences, I should not have fallen into the mistake" of supposing that ordination was representative. Allow me to express my gratitude, both for the patronage of this remark and for the distinction afterwards given. The passage from which I concluded that representation was "hinted" at runs thus :
"It is, therefore, not a mere ceremonial, but a real correspondent observance introductory to certain results, and has been observed, not only in ancient times, and under the Jewish economy," &c.-Page 246.
Now sir, I presume the words there are intended to be understood as they stand, and if they mean anything, they mean that in the Jewish ceremonial ordination by the laying on of hands was used as a "real correspondent observance introductory to certain results." But it is wholly untrue, and such a "correspondent observance" was not possible in the Jewish church, because it was a representative church, and such a ceremony never was used correspondentially in the Jewish church at all. We find the nature of the Jewish ceremonials admirably explained on page 404, where it is written :—
'There may, for instance, be representatives where correspondence is absent. The Jewish church is an example. They could, and did represent heaven, but there was, notwithstanding, no correspondence between them.”
But it is said on page 246 that a "correspondent ceremonial" was observed in the Jewish church which led to certain results, and yet on page 404 it is declared that "the Jewish church is an example of representatives without correspondence."
It is possible to say too much as well as too little, and this is an instance where too much has been said, where "counterfeit coin" has been offered, and where "history has been written without facts.
The conclusion I drew from that passage on page 246 was both reasonable and exceedingly mild. I only said "it was hinted that ordination was representative." But it was more than simply "hinted;" if it was practised under the "Jewish economy" it was representative, and yet it was affirmed to be a "correspondent observance;" and therefore, if in the jumble of ideas against which I had to write, I took the most generous view of the matter possible, not I, but the writer of the original statement is to blame.
And now I think I have written as much as is necessary to convince an unprejudiced mind, that neither from Scripture nor Swedenborg do we obtain the doctrine that ordination means the laying on of hands, and that the laying on of hands confers any special graces.
I have answered all that seems to require an answer. It will be patent to every reader that nine tenths of the paper against which I write is occupied with matter foreign to the subject. I take it for granted that the merest schoolboy will be able to see the paltry subterfuges resorted to in the pretended answer offered to the question— "Do you represent the Lord, as Aaron did?" The reply is unworthy of the man who wrote it; its weakness is its own refutation.
In like manner the reply given to the question, "Do you believe that while preaching you are inspired like the disciples of the Lord?" is an insult to common sense. The doctrine of influx, as there set forth, does not answer the question. The two examples-in those of Clowes and Proud—are well meant, but are utterly valueless as proof. What about the splendid flights of oratory of our great politicians? What also about the inspiration of poets? What of poor, blind Milton and his sudden fits of inspiration? These, I suppose, come from some other source, because their authors had not had hands laid upon them! The question rising out of those two examples is-Did the laying on of hands produce the inspiration? or did their faithful labours in the office to which they were called?
Many other statements, such as my "hinting that Swedenborg might be wrong," being at "issue with Swedenborg," "attempting wit," and talking "nonsense," are accusations against me, which I hope the general reader will see places my opponent in the position of Juliet, when Romeo utters, "She speaks, yet she says nothing."
The questions are not-Have I talked in this way or that way? The questions are what they always were, viz.—Do Scripture and Swedenborg say that ordination means laying on of hands? and--Do they say that the laying on of hands confers special graces? These are the questions; and while I ask, what evidence has been adduced for the affirmative answer, I also reply in the laconic language used against me-" Absolutely none." R. R. R.
P.S.-I beg leave to correct a statement made by the "English correspondent" to the New Jerusalem Messenger for August 4, to the effect that I think Swedenborg "may be wrong." I think nothing of the kind, nor have I ever expressed myself to this effect. The
passage from which this is inferred is one in which I have placed Mr. Woodman and Swedenborg in antagonism (pages 367-8). All will admit that Mr. Woodman, as a mortal, inay possibly be wrong, but not wishing to say that he is, I give the alternative and say, "But while we believe in the fallibility of mortals, we must believe that it was possible even for Swedenborg to be wrong." I ought to have added, "and therefore that Mr. Woodman may be right;" being as Artemus Ward would say "sarcastic." That at any rate was my intention, and if it was understood otherwise, I trust this explanation will suffice to make my intention clear.
I would also remind the "English correspondent" that he has taken a liberty with my initials, which the common courtesies of criticism forbid. If I please to write under the initials of R. R. R., he is bound, as a gentleman, to respect them, and not speak of the writer as Mr. Rodgers of the Birmingham Society. I may or may not be he. This I am sure of he has no just warrant for saying that I am he.
I. POEMS OF PENITENCE, DUTY, AND HOPE.
Yes, I will raise my patient eyes
And, dauntless, face the noontide light;
STAGNELIUS is the sphinx of great modern poets; scarcely any two critics are of the same opinion with regard to him. William and Mary Howitt, in their "Literature and Romance of Northern Europe," give him a brief passing notice, and present three extracts from his works; two of these, however, being inserted on account of their singularity rather than for any special beauties. Dietrich, in his "Sketch
* The numbers at the end of each translation refer to the volume and page the first Swedish edition of the complete works of Stagnelius-" E. J. Stagnelii Samlade Skrifter." Stockholm. 1830-1833.
of Swedish Literary History," is rapturous about Tegnér, and, on coming to Stagnelius, admits that this writer was one of the most distinguished of poets;" yet he merely adds a list of his writings, and the remark that the chief characteristic of his verse is "intense feeling." Hans Christian Andersen calls him "Sweden's noblest bard," and prefers him to Tegnér; while Dr. Johannes Scherr, the Hallam of Germany, says "he would have been the most eminent of Swedish poets if he had not gone astray into the dismal regions of Gnostic mysticism." For us the mystery of such dissidence and hesitancy disappears when we find a Swedish author of considerable repute (Harmmarsköld), in speaking of one of Stagnelius's dramas, giving the writer of it credit for having been "the first of all poets to take up Swedenborg's teaching respecting the spiritual world, as yielding fit materials for poetical delineation."--i. 38.
Now, when we see Thomas Carlyle setting down as his best examples of absurdity of statement, such affirmations as that Sir Isaac Newton was a spiritual brother of Count Swedenborg, and that Laplace's 'Mechanism of the Heavens' was a peristyle of the 'Vision of the New Jerusalem,""* we perceive immediately that our great seer's works were practically unknown to him, or he would have seen the absurd character of his own mistake; and we can thus, with assurance, name one field of study which, had it been traversed by our Scottish critic, would have provided nobler objects of contemplation through declining years than the Voltairian Friedrich the Great and his sceptical satellites. But when we find a scholarly young poet, who had spent a portion of his early manhood at the University of Upsala, successfully bringing the whole force of his genius to bear upon certain fundamental doctrines of Swedenborg for artistic purposes, we may safely conclude that the latter was well known to him. We purpose showing that Stagnelius was the first great poet of the Swedenborg school, and that his chief excellencies are a consequence of his faith that Jesus Christ was the One Supreme God. More of this anon, however, after an introduction to the poet's life. Suffice it here to add, that the works of Stagnelius are yearly becoming more popular; that they take their due place now in editions of the Swedish classics; and that Kannegiesser has translated them into German in six volumes.
ERIK JOHAN STAGNELIUS was born October 14, 1793, on the narrow strip of land called the Island of Öland, in the Baltic Sea. From his earliest years he was very delicate in constitution. Worse than this,
* Edinburgh Review, xlvi. 344.