680. Furthermore, what is order without distinction, and what is distinction without its evidences, and what are evidences without signs by which qualities are recognized? For without an acquaintance with the qualities order is not recognized as order. In empires and kingdoms the signs or marks of distinction are titles of rank, and the administrative rights attached to them; and from this comes subordination, by means of which all are coordinated as it were into a one. In this way the king exercises his royal power, which is distributed among many according to order, and it is from this that the kingdom becomes a kingdom. It is the same in many other matters, as for example in armies.
What power would they have if they were not distinctly organized into regiments, these into battalions, and these again into companies, with subordinate officers each, and over all one commander in chief? And what would those arrangements amount to without the signs called standards, which indicate the proper station for each? By such means in battle all act as a one, while without them they would rush upon the enemy merely like a pack of hounds with open mouths, yells, and empty fury; and then, with their courage gone, they would be ingloriously cut in pieces by the enemy formed in well-ordered ranks; for what can those who are divided do against those who are united? Hereby is illustrated this first use of baptism, which is, to serve as a sign in the spiritual world that the one baptized belongs to Christians, for in that world everyone is inserted into societies and congregations according to the quality of the Christianity in him or outside of him.