True Christian Religion (Chadwick) n. 680

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680. Moreover, what is order without rank? And what is rank without badges? And what are badges without signs by which ranks may be known? For unless ranks are known, order cannot be recognised as order. The signs or distinguishing marks in empires and kingdoms are the titles of rank and the administrative rights attached to them. From these are derived the subordinate offices, by means of which all are organised as it were to make one body. In this way a king exercises his royal power distributed in due order among many people, and this is what makes a kingdom a kingdom.

[2] Much the same happens in very many other cases, for instance in armies. What strength would they have, if they were not grouped in orderly fashion into platoons, and these into companies and these into battalions? And if each group did not have its subordinate officer in charge of it and there was one commander over all? What would be the use of those orderings without signs, what are called colours, to show in what position each is to be? Such means ensure that in battle they all act as one, and without them they would rush on the enemy like packs of dogs with gaping jaws, howling and useless frenzy. Then all without any display of bravery would be cut down by an enemy arranged into proper lines of battle; for what can men divided do against men united? These examples illustrate the first purpose of baptism, which is a sign in the spiritual world that a person belongs to the Christians; and there each is brought into communities and congregations in accordance with the quality of the Christianity in him or outside him.

This page is part of the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg

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