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respective parishes, and the presbyters their occasional assistants : yet they sat together with them in church assemblies, or conferences, and took an active part in its concerns.
In p. 292, our friend says, “ The Christian dispensation knows no. thing of a priesthood ; and pretensions to such power or office, or the retention of the priestly cast, are spurious and foreign to its spiritual genius.” As it regards the New Church, this rodomontade is quite uncalled for, and perfectly harmless as the arrow that fell on Priam's shield : for, if the Levitical priesthood is here intended, certainly we need not be told that it is passed away. But in the indiscriminate use of that term, it is sometimes applied to ministers of the Gospel in the present day, although not recognized in the New Church in reference to its ministers. It nevertheless appears clear that Swedenborg does not apply this term (so startling and horrific to some) to priests of the Levitical order, where he says, " Governors over those things amongst men which relate to heaven, or over ecclesiastical matters, are called priests, and their office is called the priesthood.” (Fly not, I beseech you, at the mere mention of the word, as if from a serpent, but mark what follows.) “ Priests who teach truths, and thereby lead to the good of life, and so to the Lord, are the good shepherds of the sheep." “ Dignity and honour ought to be paid to priests on account of the sanctity of their office; but those who are wise give the honour to the Lord, from whom all sanctity is derived, and not to themselves. He who believes otherwise than the priest, and makes no disturbance, ought to be left in peace; but he who makes disturbance ought to be separated ; for this also is agreeable to order, for the sake of which the priesthood is established.” (See chap. on Eccles. and Civil Govern., N. J. Doct; see also the Ordination Service of the N. Ch., where the same words occur.) “Ordination, therefore, is an act of solemn election, recognition, and dedication.” And “ as ministers of various societies take part in the service, it becomes a public avowal that each society is a branch of the general church of the Lord, and that each pastor is a recognized pastor in the church of Christ. The whole church thus becomes firmly cemented together by the bonds of unity and concord.”
(To be concluded in our next.)
N. S. No. 35.-VOL. 3.
THE DEAD LANGUAGES.
To the Editors of the Intellectual Repository. GENTLEMEN, It were, perhaps, no unprofitable exercise of the understanding, to reflect on the reasons, deep and mysterious no doubt, for which the wiser ancients held silence in such veneration, as, in time, degenerated into a blind idolatry. As, however, for the wise of any age, a hint on any subject is sufficient; so, upon this very particular, a bare suggestion may satisfy the intelligent reader; while, beyond this, the writer chooses for himself a most appropriate part; viz., that of being silent.
But, although protesting against the “constructiveness” of any reader, (if any) by whom the adage, or something like it,"silence implies assent,"—is assumed as an orthodox “canon of interpretation," whereby to explain away a brother's delicacy or self-diffidence on the one hand, or, on the other, one's indolence or want of leisure ; still, in the present instance, with your permission, I shall not avail me of the latitude of liberal and respectful construction, which, with every living member of a true Christian Church, such silence is entitled to bear.
And, although, consequently, I have felt, and do feel, my own freedom in common with others, to leave, or not, the “dead languages to their destiny, or destinies; whether as victims of the oblivious silence, to which a respected correspondent of yours thought them due, in virtue of their death; or whether to shine with borrowed lustre, " till the moon be no more;" yet, thanks to the kind mediatorial office of a mutual brother, and would-be harmonist, I feel moved once more to forego the claims of silence, in favour of the higher claims which science,- -even the undervalued knowledge of the said ' languages, possesses, (I do not, nor did I say, to the study of how few or how many, but) to the esteem and reverence of all, especially of all who call themselves New Churchmen.
However gratified, therefore, by the suffrage of W. M., in favour of most, if not all, that I did and do assert on the subject, yet, seeing truth has claims before which all personal considerations ought to give way, one may be excused the appearance of ingratitude in attacking that portion of his remarks, which, although, arising naturally from his subject, had no immediate reference to my statements ; nor, so far as I am able to discover, to the sweeping condemnation to which the inadvertence of 0. P. had consigned the dead languages. In the assertion of W. M., that “such knowledge,” (alluding to “the study of the classics,”- “ however useful as a mere mental exercise, contributive to mental vigour,) contributes nothing to the formation of the rational principle,” &c.; there seems to me to be a palpable obscurity. So far, however, as the terms admit of a positive and consistent meaning, the reader is led to believe that the study of languages affords no scope for the higher faculties of the mind, but merely an exercise for the memory! “ The rational principle,” (he adds,)“ is formed from the knowledges of things, and not from mere words." Either, however, there are no such things as mere words,” or there are. In either case, W. M. is somewhere mistaken. For, E. S. expressly includes among the knowledges by which mankind may “ procure to themselves intelligence and wisdom,” “subjects of criticism, and languages." (H. H. 353.)
Moreover, in describing certain characters, who, in the life of the body, studied only things of memory, but have not thereby cultivated their rational faculty; what less can be implied, than that they might, if they would, have rendered even “ such knowledge " subservient to the great end of reformation and regeneration? (H. H. 466.)
The like ambiguity pervades W. M.'s concluding sentence (which see); for, either “all the benefits of the Word as connected with salvation,” must include all the truths of the Word, or it is not true, that good and truth are, in their various kinds and degrees, correlatives. But, this being an axiom in the New Church theology, it follows, that W. M. ascribes more to the English Bible-reader, than finite man, under any circumstances, whether indvidually or collectively, will be able to “ realize,” even to eternity. Nor is it, therefore, in the power of any “professional linguists,” however “eminent,” to make or mar a language, or even to marry its idioms to those of a foreign tongue. Is it not, therefore, a more
66 rational conclusion, respecting the sacred languages in which the Word was written—to view them as part of the “covering” by which the “glory” of the Word is more or less densely obscured from the eyes of mortals ?
But, if it be meant, that a knowledge of Greek and Hebrew are not necessary to salvation, who ever doubted the truism, even though the Latin, and every other language in the world were added ? Still, though it is true that all need not and cannot become critics and scholars, any more than it is needful or expedient that the body be “all eye;" yet one may question the wisdom of relaxing the efforts of non-professional students, who wish to "give heed to the sure word of prophecy,” and are using the means most conducive to the
right understanding of the Word ; and which means are those which are least encumbered by human interposition; thus, more especially by such a change in one's mental optics as may approximate one to the interior sphere, which the original texts of the Word may be considered to represent.
Need I adduce, by way of analogy, the rationale of spiritual intuition, or interior sight, as contrasted with the absurd, but yet half-exploded notion of angels and spirits becoming visible by the assumption of matters foreign to their spiritual nature.
In conclusion, W. M. will pardon me, if I, good-humouredly, suspect a species of malice prepense in his judgment, when I beg leave to parallel it with that of the real “ Solomon," when he called for a
sword,” as the means best adapted to decide between the dead and the living children, or rather the claimants. Unwilling were I, on the other hand, to ascribe to any one the justice of a sentence, without the judgment wbich used it but as a means for eliciting the truth. I have the honour to be, Gentlemen, your obliged humble servant,
PANIOTĄ. Aberystwith, Oct. 22nd, 1842.
REPLY TO " AN OLD READER.”
To the Editors of the Intellectual Repository. GENTLEMEN, Your Correspondent « An Old Reader,” has either through a want of perspecuity on my part, or clear discernment on his, totally mistaken my meaning. I can only say, that I do not mean that a man has three bodies ; nor did I intend to assert my opinions so confidently as to defy contradiction.
If "An Old Reader” will put the word matter for nature, and material for natural, in all the quotations he has made from Swedenborg, he will find his own confidence somewhat shaken as to the belief that they undoubtedly mean one and the same thing. He will find his amended edition to be a mass of absurdities and contradictions; kept as they are, they appear to me to justify every expression I have used. At all events, I shall believe so, without any fear of being condemned for my
confidence, until “ An Old Reader,” or others, shall give me reason to alter my opinion. The purer substances of nature which a man retains after death as continents, are not material; the material form is not a human form from itself, but from the spiritual form. I
will readily admit, that the proper substances of nature which a man puts off at death, may be material; but that the purer substances he retains are so, I cannot by any means believe.
I remain, Gentlemen, yours, &c.,
P.S. It may be as well to observe, that when E. S. speaks of the Lord's assuming a human or humanity like that of another man,
and consequently material, (Doc. Ld. 35,) I understand him to mean, not that humanity was ever material, or that matter was ever a constituent of humanity, but that the Lord, externally, clothed himself with a material body, being in this respect like another man. Humanity in this world is a spiritual being clothed with a material body; humanity in the spiritual world, is a spiritual being clothed with a spiritual body.
A Letter to a Friend on Swedenborgianism. Otis Clapp, Boston, U.S.;
W. Newbery, 6, Chenies Street, Bedford Square, London. 1842.
Pp. 21. PERHAPS there is no point in which the Doctrines of the New Church are more evidently remarkable, than in the number of paths which conduct to them. Not a province of nature, or a branch of science, or a movement of the human race in modern times, but furnishes its specific attestation of this truth. With this great cloud and multiplicity of witnesses in nature and society, there is a corresponding diversity in the minds of the recipients of those doctrines, and in the literary works that advocate them: for, in the spiritual sense, all nations, and peoples, and kindreds, and languages, are being concentrated and arranged in the New Jerusalem. When, therefore, we find any new channel receiving and transmitting the truth, and de. veloping it in fresh relations, far from thinking that such channel is an uncalled for innovation, we ought to accept it as the means of fertilizing new spiritual regions,-as a sign of the variety and plasticity of our principles, and of their adaptation to the complex of the spiritual and natural creations.
Such reflections strike us on perusing this “ Letter to a Friend on Swedenborgianism " --so different from any former advocacy of the claims of our author ; and yet so truly excellent, in design, tone, and execution. Its leading object is, to remove those prejudices that close