128. And charity and ministry, signifies the spiritual affection which is called charity, and its operation. Charity is a spiritual affection, because charity is love towards the neighbor, and love towards the neighbor is that affection: that "ministry" is its operation, follows from their being called "ministers" in the Word who do the things which are of charity. The man who is a worshiper of God is sometimes called "a servant," and sometimes a "minister," and he is called "a servant of God" who is in truths, and "a minister of God" who is in goods; the reason is, because truth serves good, and good ministers to truth. That he is called "a servant" who is in truths, may be seen above (n. 3); but that he is called "a minister" who is in good, is evident from these passages:
Ye shall be called the priests of Jehovah, the ministers of our* God (Isa. 61:6).
My covenant shall not be broken with the Levites My ministers (Jer. 33:21).
They are called "ministers," because priests represented the Lord as to Divine good.
Bless Jehovah all His hosts, ye ministers of His that do His will (Ps. 103:21-22).
Jehovah maketh His angels spirits; His ministers a flaming fire (Ps. 104:4).
"Angels spirits" are they who are in truths, and "angels ministers" they who are in goods; "flaming fire" also signifies the good of love. Jesus said:
Whosoever will be great, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be first, let him be your servant (Matt. 20:26-27; 23:11-12).
"Minister" is here predicated of good, and "servant" of truth. The same is signified by "ministering" and "ministry" in Isaiah 61:6; John 12:26; Luke 12:37; and in other places. Hence it is evident, that by "charity" and "ministry," is signified spiritual affection and its operation; for good is of charity, and truth is of faith.
* The original Latin has "vestri" ("your").