The dead alive, or the ancient religion anew
Ronald D. Dennis, trans. and ed., Defending the Faith: Early Welsh Missionary Publications (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2003).
J18 JONES, Dan. Y farw yn fyw, neu yr hen grefydd newydd; sef, traethawd yn dangos adferiad teyrnas Dduw. (The dead alive, or the ancient religion anew; treatise showing the restoration of the kingdom of God.) Merthyr Tydfil: Printed and for sale by D. Jones, 14 Castle Street, 1854. 2nd edition, expanded.
48 pp. 17.3 cm. Welsh Mormon Writings 78.
Virtually all the contents of The dead raised to life (J1) are in this second, expanded edition. Both have 48 pages; however, a much smaller print size is used in this 1854 edition, so that by page 38 all of the earlier edition had been covered. The 10 new pages are basically further elaborations on the themes already introduced in the first 38 pages.
The “Rhagymadrodd i’r argraffiad cyntaf” (Foreword to the first edition), printed on the third page of the second edition, is far from being a word-for-word replication. Some of the same basic ideas are repeated, but many are omitted; consequently, the two-page foreword of the 1845 edition is reduced to only a page in 1854. The title of the pamphlet is also somewhat altered.
Also included in the second edition is a “Rhagymadrodd i’r argraffiad presennol” (Foreword to the present edition), in which Dan Jones comments on the growth of the Church in Wales during the preceding nine years. He also explains that numerous calls for a reprint of the 1845 pamphlet prompted him to do a second edition.
THE DEAD ALIVE,
ANCIENT RELIGION ANEW;
THE RESTORATION OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
BY CAPT. D. JONES.
“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”—Paul.
“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”—says Paul.
“He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.”—Solomon.
SECOND EDITION, WITH AN ADDITION.
PRINTED AND FOR SALE BY D. JONES, CASTLE STREET.
Introduction to the First Edition
Gentle Reader,—One of the precious gifts of God to men is an independent mind; and one of the precious rights in our land is for one to publish what he thinks; but it is not just thoughts or beliefs, rather divine truths, known to the Author, that are contained in this Treatise, the grave consideration of the importance and of the singularity of which, made it my duty to proffer this to your attention.
Do not allow prejudice to militate against this system because of its supposed newness, rather compare it with the divine word, not with creeds, and do not judge it by commentaries, rather by the “Word and the witness” obtained by those who obeyed the same system in its primitive establishment, and you shall have ample proofs that it is not new, rather the oldest of any religion.
Do not judge this religion according to the stories and the shameless tales that are published, preached, and sung against it and the character of its followers, for the Author assures that he has in his possession, and within his reach, proofs to the contrary of everything he has heard, that will satisfy every lover of the truth; and he assures in the name of the holy Author of this religion, that God will prove, through the Spirit of the truth, to all his followers that such are the tricks of the “Father of lies,” to keep the searcher from finding the truth.
Please excuse errors of language by taking into account that the Author has spent the majority of his years in countries where he did not hear a word of Welsh, and nothing less than grave consideration of his accountability to his conscience and to his Judge caused him to break through such obstacles to publish something so strange to his fellow nation; yet, he prefers that to standing before His court in the presence of one Welshman from whom he has kept these truths hidden.
Introduction to the Present Edition
Dear Reader,—Nine years of priceless time has gone by since the first Edition of this Treatise was published; at that time the Author did not know one person in Wales, except for his wife, who believed the teachings it explains, although there were a few; but by today there are thousands throughout the country who know for themselves that they are divine truths; besides thousands of others, according to what I understand, who believe them, but have not obeyed them, and as a result have not yet received proof of that from God; and here is its author, having obtained nine additional years of intensive searching, and of constant practice with this religion, proffering it more earnestly, through this second edition, to the attention of the reader, which proves that he gives it even greater value the more practice he has with it, and he feels that he could not have a more pleasant task than to persuade his fellow nation to obey this religion were he to live another nine, yea, another nine hundred years.
The first edition was sold sooner than expected, and for years there has been a frequent and earnest call from every County throughout Wales, as well as other countries, for more; frequently a pound each was heard being offered by some who had let go of them after reading them; some have been separated into four parts to speak in as many places around, because of scarcity, and hosts testify that this little vehicle, under the approval of the spirit of truth that it declares, has brought hundreds to enjoy the certainty of forgiveness of sins, and to great happiness in the enjoyment of the gifts of the Holy Ghost; to the God who revealed the divine plan be the praise and the honor, and to those servants who explained the plan to us, we are indebted.
Thus we release you again from our hands, messenger of truth; go, and be successful in winning over thousands for the blessedness of heaven. Go to the palace of the rich and the cottage of the poor,—speak the truth to those who profess and those who do not, from every class and circumstance, and that God be with you and bless you, is the sincere prayer of your
The Kingdom of God
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”—MATT. vi, 33.
This is the specific commandment of the Son of God to his listeners when he was on the earth, nineteen hundred years ago, and it is in force now; yes, a duty for everyone to obey. It is an important commandment, for these are the words of the Lord of Lords, our Lawgiver, and it is according to their behavior toward it that those who hear it will be judged, someday in the future. The happiness and glory of all the race of Adam who have ever been, who are now, or who will yet hear it on the earth depend on their obedience to this commandment.
“But seek ye first,”—before everything, most energetically, and desirous of having it: seek it at the cost of all you possess; for your happiness and your eternal glory are connected with having it; consequently, our diligence in the task ought to be great, sincere and honest; so that when one finds it he will not be satisfied without becoming a subject of it; it avails us nothing to become subjects of any other kingdom: Christ did not say seek any kingdom; not one will do except the kingdom of God.
We ought to inquire carefully as to what kind it is, in order to recognize it if we see it, and so we will not be deceived by refusing it when we see it.
We beg for your unbiased minds and your unprejudiced senses to search for the kingdom of God as if for hidden treasure; for, it is better than the pearls of Ceylon, or the gold of India, and the world and its fulness is but dross in comparison to it. Though it has cost much searching for some, they still consider it the cheapest of all things. I had a glance at it early on; like a diamond it glistened through the thick clouds; my soul was overcome with love for it; for more than eighteen years of traveling across the seas and the continents of the world, we searched constantly for it; and yet, I was paid an hundred fold by finding it. And it is sweet to say to the gentle reader, you need not search in vain; for this day is the kingdom in your midst; and by the grace and goodness of God you can become subjects of this kingdom in fewer hours than it cost years for some to search for it: yes, this day, we say, as Jesus said to Zacchaeus of old, “This day is salvation come to this house.” Who will receive it? Who will venture to come out to search for the kingdom of God? Remember the commandment of our Teacher; one cannot obey him without being held accountable for that: if it was possible in days gone by to be excused under the cloak of ignorance, one cannot ever again be excused; for the kingdom of heaven has once more come into your midst!
Yet, the searcher for this glorious kingdom is warned to count the cost before beginning, and to prepare to leave everything for it; yes, if there is a father or mother, brother or sister who is an obstacle: do not venture to search for it unless you are ready to forsake your possessions, your good names, even your very lives if necessary, as voluntary sacrifices; for if once you have a clear look at the glory and beauty of this kingdom, you will not be satisfied until you become subjects of it; and when you recognize the Kingdom of God in its own integral establishment, you will be greatly disappointed, for it appears so unlike any of the denominations in this country which bear that name; thus, after seeing the one and the other, you will wonder how any Welshman who knows his Bible can be so blind as to mistake any of the religious denominations of this age for the kingdom of God.
Although the kingdom of God appears so clear in the image of the sacred scriptures, there is nothing concerning which the world is more divided; not only with respect to its blessings, its great privileges, and the necessity of finding it: but even about what kind are its offices and laws, and the plan of its organization; there are at least as many different opinions about it as there are religious sects in the world, clearly indicating that the kingdom of the living God, like many other phenomena of this world, are such that their glory and beauty do not appear at first sight; just as on the other hand many other things appear more excellent at first sight than a closer examination reveals; and I think that one of the chief causes of the different opinions concerning this extraordinary phenomenon is the common habit of expounding too much on the scriptures, and placing a private interpretation on the prophecies, which were not intended by the one who uttered them to be of any private interpretation; and in the task of searching out the kingdom of God, we shall not follow that procedure, rather according to the rule of Peter, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy,” &c., 2 Peter i. 19, 20. “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.”
And, if you but search according to this rule, the description or portrayal of the kingdom of God will appear as clear in the image of the scriptures in every age; its many privileges, its blessings, its obvious and wonderful fruits will far surpass those of any other kingdom in the world; so that I know not how any inquiring Welshman can fail to recognize it, according to these obvious characteristics, nor have any doubt concerning it, as there never was seen, nor will there ever be seen, any other kingdom in the world bearing the fruits which are seen in the kingdom of God. But since the religious believers of this age have such varied opinions concerning the kingdom of God, it will not be unprofitable to examine it in greater detail, to sweep away all traditional rubbish, to come to the same determination, and to show clearly what sort of kingdom Christ commanded to seek. If we can start off properly, the kind reader and myself will be more likely to travel further together, with greater pleasure and profit along the road to this glorious kingdom, and we shall, therefore, be more likely to reach it, which is the purpose for writing about it.
Some say that blessedness and joy await them, when their spirits reach out through the depths of the blue sky beyond the extremities of the celestial worlds, beyond the sun and the morning star; and as far as is known they may go beyond this firmament to search for that kingdom, but it is obvious that Christ did not command them to go that far, and neither could they unless he gave them wings. Others say that the joy and the bliss which the people of God feel in themselves in this life is what is meant by the kingdom of God; or, in other words, the full enjoyment of the Spirit in their hearts: and they confirm this statement by what is found in Luke xvii. 21, “The kingdom of God is within you.”
But I think that this verse proves the complete opposite of their assertion. These words were Christ’s answer to a question from those hostile and hypocritical Pharisees who were trying daily to entangle him so they could kill him; (see the previous verse,) in this scripture the word you represents the persons to whom he spoke; and if Christ was saying that the kingdom of God (that is, his spirit) was in the hearts of those Pharisees who were constantly tempting and persecuting him, the prospects were very bad. If Christ had said that his kingdom, that is, his spirit, was in the hearts of the Pharisees, why did he proclaim such Woes on them so often? But it is obvious that one great purpose that Christ had in coming to this world was to set up his kingdom on the earth, and he restricted his ministry to the Jews, or only to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel;” and because he chose his disciples from among them also, it was appropriate for him to say of the kingdom, “it is within you,” within the Jewish nation, in their midst; also, the King was already standing among them, as John said; therefore, the officials of the kingdom were of them and in them, that is, in their midst. We see that it was not in either of the two above considerations that the words of the text were spoken, and it is better to believe the King himself than the opinions of anyone else; for when he says “kingdom,” He means the thing he says, that is, the kingdom of God on the earth, his militant Church, not “concealed in the hearts of his people,” neither beyond the depths of the firmament, but on the earth. It is understood from what Jesus says in Luke xiii. 29, that the kingdom of God is such that men from the four corners of the earth may sit down in it, with adequate space for all. It is obvious also that it is an established kingdom on the earth to which Christ refers when he speaks to Nicodemus, John iii. 5. “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Also Col. i. 13. “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” The foregoing proves sufficiently that what the text meant was an established kingdom on the earth, so that it would be foolish to expatiate. And in the next place let us consider what is contained in a kingdom: one cannot establish a kingdom, on earth any more than in heaven, without having the four following things; namely—
First. A ruler, or a King to govern.
Second. Officials set apart and sent by the King to administer the laws.
Third. Rules, or Laws for ruling the subjects.
Fourth. Subjects to be ruled in the kingdom are also essential.
In this age, as in every previous age, wherever all these things are found in order and in their proper force, there is a kingdom: but on the other hand, wherever there is even one of the above things lacking, or changed, that kingdom has become disorganized, and ineffectual; and it can no longer be a kingdom until it is reestablished through Royal authority as in the beginning: in this respect the kingdom of God is like unto an earthly kingdom. Wherever, or under whatever circumstances you can find men who in sobriety can even testify that they have been called, and accepted, having received their authority from Jesus Christ, do not call such men blasphemers, and cheats, and scorn them, without even hearing them; for as Solomon says, “Whoever judges a matter without hearing the two sides is not wise;” for thus has the world always dealt with the people of God; he never had any kingdom in the world in any age, to which he did not send his own officials, and why does he not have the same freedom now? But by now I think that that old temperament which shut out heaven in every age, is beginning to throb in the veins of the reader; but do not be hasty and throw this into the corner, for thus did the Pharisees, and everyone who did not wish revelations.
There is no excuse for men to be deceived in things concerning the Kingdom of God, for, despite how much may be lacking of other parts of the scriptures, he has preserved enough of them to show at least what are the characteristics of his kingdom: there is no excuse for anyone to mistake his kingdom; for, if someone, yes, if even an Angel set up the kingdom, differing in any particular from the Apostolic plan, you know that that is not the kingdom of God, unless the same laws and ordinances are administered in it by officials who profess that they have been sent by the King. If you find such a kingdom as this in its purity, without any mixture of the traditions of men, go into it; it is like unto the kingdom for which we are searching, and there is no danger of your being deceived for very long, for “by its fruits you shall know it.” If it is true, there unequivocally shall you enjoy those blessings and gifts which the King promised, and which were enjoyed also by its subjects in the days of the Lord. “For I am the Lord, I change not,” therefore, his kingdom changes not. To admit that there is not in the King any “variableness, neither shadow of turning” is to admit that there is no variableness neither shadow of turning in the least degree in anything; for if you change a single thing, without showing your authority from Him to do that, then by the same right shall I change something else; yes, even the whole of it: and why should I not change its laws, as well as its offices? Why would it be worse to change one ordinance, or to neglect it completely, than to change the plan or some other thing which the unchangeable king established in his kingdom?
Those who insist on changing His kingdom in anything should change its name first, because an unchangeable King must have unchangeable laws to rule an unchangeable kingdom; and if it is admitted that the powerful King has ever given the plan of his kingdom, why he gave it such and such, or why he did not do something else is not the question; for he did as it pleased him, and what he did is full of grace and goodness: he established his kingdom as he saw fit; and as he himself was a perfect King, he built a kingdom of perfect manner and order: because he has a right to do as he wishes, perfect was the plan he gave, and perfect also was the law which he gave to be administered in it, namely, “The perfect law of liberty.”
That the unchangeable King intended for them to follow the plan and the law is obvious, else why did he give them? If one of them needed any changing from that time to this for anyone, they were not perfect in their first establishment: if this troubles you, you must admit that all the religious denominations of this age, except one, are false, for not any of them except one can be the kingdom of God: and one must search out of all of them which one is that one; it is as impossible that God should have two kingdoms in the world at the same time differing from one another in anything, as it is for two things in opposition to be perfect: one faith says Paul and one spirit carrying it to the one body. But in order to see which one of all the religious kingdoms in the world is the kingdom of God, we shall see what the kingdom of God was like; then each one may compare his own kingdom with the correct image; and we have already proven that that kingdom which was established by the King himself, was not changeable any more than he himself, that no one has authority to change it in any way, and that it is not the kingdom of God if it is in any way different from the plan which was given. How much more disrespect can one show to any King in any way, than through changing his laws or statements without permission from him? And no one from the various sects exercises that authority, for the King speaks not to the one or to the other of them, and this is not strange, for they say that such communication is unnecessary.
One need but show what the kingdom of God was like, when it was acknowledged by Him in one age of the world, and that will prove, either the kind it will be forever, or that the King has changed. But the immutability of this kingdom is to be seen according to the ends of its establishment on the earth, that is, to save souls; it was necessary to have precisely such a plan as this to answer that end; nothing more was needed, nothing less could meet the purpose; if the same objective is in view now, that is salvation, we must be saved in this age through the same plan which saved everyone who was saved: for there is only one Gospel. The unity of cause and effect is one of the basic principles of Philosophy; then one must have the same cause to bring about the same effect now as at that time; one must have the same kingdom for the salvation of souls in this age as well as in that one: to deny this would be to say that there is a way of saving one age of the world in a way differing from that of another age; and that would be to make the King a respecter of persons, thus destroying the unity of cause and effect. “God is no respecter of persons, but in every age, he that worketh righteousness is righteous;” and thus, it is necessary for all men to have the same advantage, before they can be saved through the same plan, that is the gospel; and one must become a member of the same kingdom also; how necessary it is to recognize that kingdom.
Since God gave such blessings, gifts, and powers to some early ages through obedience to his commandments, his ways are not equal unless he gives the same blessings and gifts to every other age which obeys the same commandments. Since God promised eighteen hundred years ago, such blessings and gifts conditionally, to those persons, why does he not give such blessings to us if we obey those same conditions? He is the same, and his word lasts forever; thus are his promises not in force today? Let the reader consider carefully, why are the same privileges not enjoyed now as were in the Church in the days of the Apostles? Why are there not the same offices? Why do people not go in through the same door as everyone who before went into that kingdom? Why do they not bear the same fruits? Let the theologians of the age answer if they can show this great discrepancy! Why, after he did so much for his vineyard, “and planted it with the choicest vine, and looked that it should bring forth grapes, but it brought forth wild grapes?” If one recognizes that the dresser of the vineyard is unchangeable, why does the vine of the churches not bring forth the same fruits as it did at that time? It cannot be proven from the Bible that those fruits were given for some particular time, or that there is an end to them, this side of heaven’s perfection! After moving those obstacles out of the way, we find here a strong foundation that all the men of the world cannot shake, the scriptures being the only standard, nor can it be shaken by any wind of doctrine by the sleight of men, nor by the cunning craftiness of those who lie in wait to deceive; then let us go forward to examine the nature of this kingdom more carefully; namely what kind was its King, what kind of officials he had, how he made them officials, what kind of laws were in it, and what effects they had on the subjects when it was established in its power. If the reader but have a glimpse of these things, I do not think he will put the story aside until he hears more about it; neither will he sleep very soundly until he comes into just such a kingdom, through the same door, and enjoys the same privileges. But let us examine who, and what kind was the king of this kingdom, for it is important to understand him.
We find his story early on, in the records of the book written about him. The old Patriarchs, and the Prophets foretold the coming of this King, almost fainting with bliss and astonishment when they had a glimpse of his glory! They describe him in every age as the most notable and honorable person who ever appeared on our earth; they talk about him as President, Prince, King, and glorious Conqueror, and many other titles of the greatest dignity, showing that his kingdom would be widespread and powerful, yea filling the whole earth at some time, and his government eternal. When Abraham was walking our old earth he got his mighty telescope into the proper focus on one occasion, and the glory of this King shone through it so fervently that the venerable Patriarch rejoiced within himself, although he was far away from him at that time, and the glory came nearer until the day of Simeon; and it was so bright by then, that when the faithful old man opened his eyelids on it, he was taken away in a faint to the bosom of Abraham to express to the “father of the faithful” the coming of his Majesty into the world! Enoch, and Noah, David and Isaiah, foresaw his coming clearly; Job and Daniel, and all the prophets sang together His glorious anthems, not only of his greatness and his glory, but also his lowliness: they foresaw him as a splendid King, but also a King who would be refused and ignored by men; and after all the great expectation for him, that he would sojourn through the world ignored and invisible as well, except for the malicious treatment he would encounter.—And about the time of his coming, it appears that not only the Jews were full of hope for him as a great Redeemer, and the chief adornment of their nation, but that the Gentiles also had some belief about that time that some incomparable prince was to rise in the east, and some even understood also that it was to be in Judaea, who was to establish a sort of universal empire. But since their hearts had been blinded by the erroneous portrayals of Him, completely unlike him, they failed to recognize him when he came, and as a result they behaved very cruelly toward that excellent King, although he was about to set up in their midst the most glorious kingdom which had ever existed in the world. This King came contrary to the expectation the world had of him: they expected that he would have many armies: and a crown and a golden sceptre, an elevated throne, marvelous palaces, sumptuous feasts, many aristocrats of noble blood about him, and a variety of positions of respect to which he would elevate them.
But, this King appeared completely opposite to this, instead of a crown of gold,—a crown of thorns; for a sceptre, a reed was placed in his hand in mockery; instead of a throne,—a cross; instead of palaces,—no place to lay his head; instead of fine feasts for others,—often hungry and thirsty himself; instead of noble servants,—a few poor fishermen, and those not servants, but friends; instead of treasures to give them,—not even sufficient money to pay the tax without working a miracle: and the offices of respect which he offered them were to give his cross to each one of them to carry. In everything the opposite of worldly greatness from the beginning to the end:—a manger instead of a crib at his birth, often no place to put his head down during his life, not even a grave of his own at his death! Here disbelief bursts out often, and asks, where is all the glory of this King who is praised so much? To discover this, faith need only look under the thin covering of flesh, and there will appear the “Lord of glory,” the “King of Kings,” the “Lord of hosts, mighty in war!” The heaven his throne! the earth his footstool, the light his garment, the clouds his chariots, and the thunder his voice; his strength almighty; his glory immortal; his retinue, the host of heaven with all the elect of the earth, to whom he gives unsearchable wealth, incorruptible inheritance, feasts of eternal joy, and titles containing eternal honor; yes, making them Kings, and priests;— conquerors of everything in this world, and fit for him when his kingdom comes in its power and glory.
But they continually scorn that appearance; nevertheless that lowly appearance, in proper consideration, shows forth so gloriously, that even his meekness is majestic; it was a glorious lowliness, because its purposes and effects were so: if he suffered shame, poverty, pain, cares, and death for a time, he did it so that not one of the subjects of his kingdom would have to suffer those things forever. Thus, the external lowliness of this King, which concealed his true glory, was in itself glorious, because of its intention. Nevertheless, that veil did not cloud him completely, as there was a variety of bright rays shining gloriously through it! his birth went almost without notice on the earth below, but was proclaimed with Hallelujahs in heaven! Glorious angels ventured from the portals of heaven with the tidings of his conception, all the hosts of heaven stretched forth their necks to gaze upon this birth, taking pride when they had the honor of carrying any news about him: although there was nothing but low and poor lodging for him to be born in, yet one of the family of the shining, starry worlds left its axis, breaking through all their orbits in order to show the wise men the manger where lay the Creator of the world! No prince ever had visitors under such direction. This King did not have the excellent retinue which other kings had, it is true; but he was followed and served by crowds of the sick, seeking, and finding healing of soul and body; he made the dumb who met him to sing his praise, the deaf to hear his wonders, and the blind to see his glory. Although this wondrous King did not walk on carpets when he came to set up his kingdom on the earth, when he walked on the sea, the waters held him, and all the elements in every part of creation confessed their Creator and their King, except for man.
But having said this much about the glories and excellence of the King, let us go on to examine how he established his kingdom, for we see in his story that he was not idle in this: after the wonders and the commotion which showed his birth had subsided, after the hallelujahs had to some extent quieted in the heaven, after the star had found its orbit, and after the wise men had returned back to the east, behold all the land lay in sleep and quietude, until came John the Baptist, from the wilderness, and raising his voice to proclaim a new and wondrous mission in their ears. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” says he, baptizing them with the baptism of Repentance, and he testifying boldly that their King already stood in their midst about to establish his kingdom: and while he was yet speaking, the King himself came and was baptized by him in the Jordan, and the Holy Spirit testified clearly that he was the Son of God: and boldly he began to explain to them some of the laws of his kingdom, and certify the truth of John’s mission. “Repent,” says he, “for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Soon after that he called his officials, and sent them throughout all the cities of Judaea saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand;” after that he sent seventy with the same mission; and then another seventy, certifying that the kingdom of heaven was closer than before; and that so the whole country might be warned, and awaken from the sleep of ages, by the coming of the glorious kingdom which was about to be set up in their midst; that created a general expectation for him throughout the country, and especially in the hearts of his disciples, who expected to have complete mastery over all their enemies, when they placed the crown on the head of their teacher and their King: then, they had double payment for all their toil, and their reward for all the weariness and shame which they suffered for his sake, by being elevated by him to glorious offices at his side: but they were disappointed! instead of that glorious elevation, they saw their King caught in Gethsemane, and taken bound in front of the inimical high priest, almost everyone mocking him, some pulling his beard, some beating him with sticks, others spitting in his face, until they had, between Jews and Gentiles as it were, mastery over him, nailing his feet and his hands to the wooden cross. Behold the King sealing his kingdom with the blood of his heart, although they understood not! It is not surprising that his disciples failed to follow him there, for the angel came no further than the garden: the sun failed to look at this sight, for when it perceived that, together with the other parts of creation, such base vermin torturing their tender and powerful King, and such hellish hosts trying to kill his faith, the sun, who had taken pride in lighting his steps and in warming his blood, failed now to hold up its head! The rocks split under their feet, and death, in astonishment, and in its desire to have a surer grasp on him, forgot the others of his tenants!
It is true that there were some incomparable wonders which appeared at the birth of this King;—all the hosts of heaven, having worshiped him throughout the ages, wondered when they saw Him in the manger; but they wondered far more as they followed him, as his servants, throughout all his abasement, until Calvary crowned their wonder and the abasement of the King of Kings! Regardless of how unfeeling men were at this time, the columns of nature were in mourning for the death of their King; there was a look on this King far more glorious as he died, than as he lived, and let the whole of creation be a witness, who under every other circumstance in his life, rejoiced at being able to minister to him; but when he died, the sun failed to shine; the earth could not be still; until it saw all the hosts of perdition beaten, and the Messiah himself perceived his Father smiling at his offering, and giving him permission to shout, “It is finished.” Finished, the placement of the foundation of his kingdom on the earth, so that the gates of hell could not prevail against it!
Now, Oh gentle reader, you may understand who and what kind is our King, and is he not good enough and amiable enough for you? Let us go forward then to search for His kingdom, so that we may enter therein, ere the door closes. His work in setting up his kingdom is such that the sun, the rocks, death and the grave were frightened; and no doubt the pure and the impure angels wept at the sight of him; and pity his mother, and his disciples standing nearby, looking at him, weeping, powerless to comfort him one bit; doubtless they would have preferred by far even to give their own lives in order to place the crown on his head and put him on the throne, than to look at him hanging between heaven and earth, between thieves! It was difficult to put down arms without any struggle—to be disappointed in all their expectations, and be brought down from the highest degree of hope and pride, to despair and suffering, was a greater disappointment than they could bear: and I imagine seeing them to one side groaning in bile and bitterness, “Oh, what shall we do now, they have killed our King!—there he is, giving the last sigh. Oh, the long, sharp spear; the grass has been stained with the blood of his heart: is this the end of all our expectation? Is it thus we are paid for all our toil with him, and all the mockery and scorn we have had? Is this our reward for all the hunger, the poverty, and the persecution which came on us as we followed him? We left relatives, and friends, and worldly possessions; yes everything for his sake; but everything is over now, they have killed him! Oh, such a great disappointment we have had, considering not only that we expected him to be the one who would restore the kingdom to Israel; but for three years now we have been raising great commotion throughout all Judaea; and all the Jews have heard us shout aloud that the kingdom is at hand; but we have all been disappointed, and how shall we look in their faces? Some, even of the Scribes and Pharisees shook with fear when they heard us testify so boldly in their temples that He is the King of the Jews; and we prefer to die than to have such disappointment; but now we must give up to despair.” “Come,” says Peter, “let us take a last look at him; I love him despite it all; then let us return to our former occupation of fishing.” “Yes,” says another, “that is the best way; let us go from the presence of the people.” And away they all went to their trade, leaving their King dying on the field. That loud shout, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” was heard no more; all the commotion ended immediately, and the silence of the grave was again throughout all the land of Judaea.
O such blindness covered their minds; not one of them could remember, although Jesus had often foretold everything exactly as it came about; although they had for years seen his miracles, heard his wisdom, believed, and testified many times before that, that “he was indeed the Son of God;” yet their darkness was such that they could not see through the thin covering of flesh for a few hours; although all of creation in those moments testified of his divinity; yes that thief, who had perhaps never heard a sermon, called him Lord and King; those old Roman soldiers, who had perhaps been used to spilling blood and breaking bones from their youth, fell back from this terrible sight shouting, “truly, this man is the Son of God,” and all the mixed crowd testified to the truth of that in seeing the rocks rend, the mountains quake, and the great temple itself rend its veil in shreds, in the black darkness which they had pulled about their own heads! But the poor disciples were in the greatest darkness of all.
There is reason to fear that many Welshmen, despite all the talk of this glorious King, fail to perceive very much of his glory and his goodness. But although he was lowest in the fall he received the victory completely in rising; although they put him in the grave, under a huge stone, and sealed it with the Roman seal, and made it as secure as they could; on the morning of the third day, behold the trumpets of heaven began to sound new anthems to invite our King out of the depths of the cold earth, as if they were longing to have a glimpse of him, to praise him and to embrace him; and the eternal portals raised their heads voluntarily to receive their greatest glory; yes, all the family of God almost fainted with gladness when they were able to look on the face of the one who had trodden the winepress alone, conquering all his enemies through the strength of his great bow and his own shield! “And of the people there was none with him.” And after he had put all his enemies under his feet, he raised himself up until his holy feet trod the golden dust of the third heaven. Who shall not say, this is the King for me! Oh, wondrous love! despite his great desire to go and lay his bloodstained head on the breast of his dear Father, and give fond greetings to the angels and seraphim; yet, he was more desirous to have the society of those poor fishermen, despite their cold behavior toward him; yes, he did not go home until he met them, although he had to send a woman to gather them together; and I suppose that he was very desirous to see the time when they should come together, so that he could comfort them and teach them in greater detail in the things pertaining to his kingdom: and who can describe that wondrous meeting! all their mourning turned to joy; the length of the meeting is not told, nor how great was their joy; but the old zealous flame of the kingdom was rekindled in them, immediately. Behold them, once again having found their King alive in their midst, and they shout higher than ever before of his glory; and now they go forward with great boldness, most likely, to establish His kingdom:—Oh, no, that is not the next commandment either, rather he told them to “tarry in Jerusalem,” until they were endowed with the necessary power from on high to open the door of the kingdom, in order to accept foreigners and strangers as lawful subjects, through ministering to them those laws and ordinances which the King had commanded them; those were the conditions of adoption, and without obedience to them it was not possible for anyone to come into that kingdom. And after he had ascended on high, and had been crowned with all authority and power in heaven, and on earth, he returned to his disciples, and broadened their borders; previously they were to go only throughout Judaea, but now he commanded them “to go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Let us see their mission in Mark xvi, 16, 17, 18,—”He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” Let us strive to understand this important mission and also the effect which it was to have. Because if once we understand this, we shall never mistake the kingdom of God; for here will appear most clearly those characteristics which were always to raise it up and make it better than every other kingdom or religious sect on the earth: since our acceptance or refusal of it depends on recognizing it properly (for I believe that no one will refuse the kingdom of God knowingly); thus the plainer its characteristics are, the easier it will be to recognize; consequently, let us examine in greater detail these “signs.”
First,—He commanded them to preach the gospel, and proclaim the good news of the crucifixion and resurrection of the King of all the world. Second,—Whoever believes and is baptized, shall be saved. Third,— Whoever does not believe in what they preached, will be damned. Fourth,—These signs will follow those who believe, namely,—1st. They were to cast out devils. 2nd. To speak with new tongues. 3rd. Take up serpents. 4th. If they drink any deadly thing, it should not hurt them. 5th. They will lay hands on the sick and they will be whole. Traditional darkness, or some obvious blindness, is what has caused any Welshman ever to mistake this plain mission or fail to understand it; yet, there are some of the highly privileged in Wales, yes, in “this enlightened age,” so obtuse as to say that these signs will follow no one except the apostles! There are others who read their Bibles, and commentaries almost daily, who think that these signs were to follow only the believers of that age; and then only to establish the gospel, and that they are no longer needed: but, this is erroneous, according to the truthful words of the King himself.
Christ links the preaching, the belief, the fidelity, and the signs which were to follow, with equal importance and on the same conditions, to be of the same continuation, and to be conjoined inextricably with one another; in whatever way one is restricted, the others also are restricted; then when one of the above ceased, they all ceased. If Christ restricts these signs to the apostles, then he must restrict faith, baptism, and salvation also to the apostles only. If THESE signs were not to follow anyone except the apostles, then no one else was to believe, nor anyone but them to be saved! Furthermore, if the promise of the signs is for that age only, then the promise of salvation is to no one but those of that age. It is obvious to any unbiased person that this text refers to one just as directly as to the other: consequently, where one is in force, so must all of them be: it would be as proper to say that Preaching is not necessary now, that there is no need of faith, repentance, or salvation, but that they were ordered at that time simply for the establishment of the Gospel, as it is to say that THOSE signs are not necessary in this age. Consider who ordered the one, and promised the other; it is the same person; and on the same conditions that he promised the effect, he ordered the way or the cause. If it is admitted that the King was able to fulfill these his promises, that would be to admit also that these signs follow true believers in every age, in every place, and under every circumstance, if it cannot be proved that the one who promised them at that time, has called them back; and that would be to prove him changeable of mind, and he having said, “heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away!” Then let us believe His words in these things; they are as much in force today, as they were the day he spoke them.
Again let us look at this valuable promise,—”Go ye” (Christ is speaking to the apostles, the second persons) “into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature; he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe,” &c. The believers are the third persons who are referred to without differentiation. Christ, we see, promises the signs to follow not the second persons (namely the apostles) but the third, that is those who believe their teaching. Thus,—”in my name shall they [the believers,] cast out devils, with new tongues shall they speak [the believers]. If they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them [the believers]; they [the believers] shall lay hands on the sick, and they [the believers until the end of time] shall recover.”
But say some in amazement! did these signs not end in the world, and did they not take flight from amongst men hundreds of years ago? Well, I say, if you can prove that those signs have ended among men, you shall also prove just as firmly, by so doing, that the Gospel of Christ is not being preached and believed in its purity by men! If you can prove when those signs ended, you will prove through that, when people stopped believing in the gospel, and when the kingdom of God disappeared from the earth; or then prove that the Son of God (he who promised the signs) was a lying imposter, and that not ALL of his promises are now in force; then one of them cannot be true: you must prove the one statement, or the other; which shall you choose? If the latter, it is incongruous with the aim of this treatise to answer you; but if you still hold to the first statement, then I shall refer you to the words of the excellent King himself! “Shall follow them that believe,” were they at that time. “Shall follow them that believe,” are they indeed today, and they shall also be until the day of his coming, although the whole world may claim the opposite. “My words shall stand forever,” it is still! Consequently we see the presumption of opposing the first claim.
The above things are some of the infallible characteristics of the kingdom of God in every age. Matthew says that Jesus commanded them to go forth to all the world, xxviii. 20. “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Let us note, teaching them to observe all things, not teaching some of the ordinances, the commandments, or some of the promises, as does this age, and neglecting the others; the one is as essential as the other; all things, as Paul says. “For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God,” Acts xx. 27.
Having taken such detailed note of the above mission so that it will not be easily misunderstood, let us go forward to scrutinize how the kingdom of God was established, in the days of the apostles; for there one sees it in an infallible image—then compare that image with all the Churches of the world, and if you find one of the same plan, in its offices, its ordinances, its fruits, and everything else, go into it with haste, for that is the kingdom of God.
When Christ gave this mission to the apostles, he commanded them to tarry in Jerusalem, until they were endowed with strength from on high. Acts i. 4 and 8. But, says the reader, why this delay? The answer in the command is clear; that is, that there has never been any man, and that there shall never be one authorized to preach the gospel of Christ, or to teach all the things which he commanded to the apostles, without the Holy Spirit, a Holy Spirit that is quite different in his effects from the things which are called by this name in this age. Jesus says in John xvi. 13, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth; for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” Here we see that every preacher of the Gospel stands in great need of such a Holy Spirit as this. 1st, To guide him to all truth so that he might understand what to preach. 2nd, In order to strengthen his memory, lest he forget to teach all the things which he commanded him; and 3rd, He (that is, this Holy Spirit,) shall show you things to come. And that would make them Prophets.
The preachers of the Gospel in these days have great need of the spirit of prophecy, so that they can warn their listeners to avoid the destruction which is about to come on them! We see how careful Jesus was, to prevent anyone from taking it upon himself to preach his gospel without the Holy Spirit, and yet, how different were the effects of the Holy Spirit which he promised, from the effects of all the different spirits which have gone abroad in the world, deceiving thousands. Is the Holy Spirit not as unchangeable as Jesus himself? If all the Churches of this age are under the leadership of that Holy Spirit, why do they not know the truth? Why do they not teach all the things which he commanded? Why do they bind themselves to each other with the cords of “confession,” and the traditional shackles of the Commentators; and with the creeds of the Theologians, all of which are based on human wisdom; yes, some deny revelation, and the working of the Spirit in the above things, in this age! It is not strange that Isaiah said of the last days, “Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even miracles and wonders: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.” Isa. xxix.
But it is obvious that not even the apostles, although they had learned from the chief Scholar himself, dared to venture on the important task of preaching the gospel; not even those who had heard the King himself teaching the laws of his kingdom, in secret, and in public, and had seen his miracles before, and after his death, could Preach the Gospel of his kingdom; and they were not authorized to administer his ordinances after all that, without this qualification; and not one of them dared to open his mouth so much as to say “the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” but they tarried in Jerusalem for the fulfillment of the promise of the power and the necessary qualifications for that,— those indispensable influences of that Spirit which was to prepare the poor and unlearned fishermen, to be officers in the most excellent kingdom on earth. But despite this clear example, and many others which could be cited, there are many, even in Wales, who take the honor of serving in the same offices, (so they think,) without the above qualifications, rather denying the need for them now as in the former days: they say “there is no need for revelations in this enlightened age;” they seal the heavens above their heads; close the lips of the King, they do not wish him to say a word to them; and if he does give a mission to any persons, the scribes and Pharisees of this age condemn them as deceivers, false teachers, and madmen, when they claim to have received a mission from heaven or to have seen an angel, as if they were worse for having done so: for thus they have done in every age of the world, “but when one shall come in his own name Him they will receive.”
Many go through the country saying that they are “missionaries for Christ,” while at the same time denying any direct revelation from Christ; and they find fault with everyone who professes to have the approval of that Spirit who has had a powerful effect on the Saints in every age through his gifts until he brought them to a UNITY OF THE FAITH; thus they contradict themselves by claiming two completely contradictory things to be true, which is impossible; they go out and attempt to do the work of the apostles, denying the necessity of those qualifications which were so indispensable to them. Those who deny the necessity of the influences of the Spirit as named, prove that they think themselves wiser than the apostles, and that they can carry on “the work of the ministry” through the commentaries of the wise men, and the private interpretations of the theologians, and that is the reason there are so many religious denominations in the world.
By now, we see the King crowned at the right hand of God, receiving complete authority in heaven and on earth. Second, his officials endowed with the qualifications necessary to administer lawfully all the ordinances and laws of his kingdom; and third, the laws which were supposed to be always in his kingdom, that is, everything which he commanded them to teach to the whole world.
Now if we can have a clear depiction of the way that men were made subjects of that kingdom, and can understand the conditions of acceptance, then we shall have a plan of the kingdom of God in that age, and no unbiased man will be satisfied with any other kingdom differing in anything in this age; for since the King himself gave the plan for his kingdom, it was a perfect one, and who can change it in any way, without making it imperfect? An unchangeable King must have an unchangeable kingdom to rule, and unchangeable laws in it; and it is no more inconsistent for a man who understands the laws and organization of the Kingdom of Britain, to found a party, and change the laws and organization of the state in the shape and form which he wishes, and call it the kingdom of Britain after that, than it is for men to found a party, and change anything of the rules, offices, or ordinances of the kingdom of God, and call it his kingdom after that: doubtless the first would be counted a traitor, and would be dealt with as such; the latter is guilty of even worse treason against the King of Kings! To transgress the laws of the country shows contempt for their author, but how much greater contempt it is to change the laws without authority from the one who made them, and say that it is those laws which are supposed to be the true laws. But, says everybody from the different denominations, “We all [although there are over six hundred of them] take all our laws from the scriptures;” and they are incensed when it is said that they do not, all of them according to the Bible! they all claim to believe the Bible, although they all differ, one in some things, and the others in some other things; but in the non-essentials they always differ!! We should like to know what are these non-essentials of the Kingdom of God? did the King ever give a non-essential commandment? then every one he gave is non-essential also, since he requires obedience to each one alike! But, I fail to understand what are the non-essentials in the eternal Gospel! did it not contain all these non-essentials when it was the “perfect law of liberty,” as James calls it? if so, then so it does still, or rather, it should be so now. We shall examine how every one could go into that kingdom, what sort of a door it had; for there was only one door; and there was a lock on it which could not be broken. There was only one key which could open it, and that was in the possession of the King only, and if some climb in through the window, the King says that they will be punished as thieves and robbers; and they were never to have the seal of adoption, or any of the great privileges of the subjects. It was not possible to go in at that time without opening the door; and if, as it is now said, the door was open at that time, and if it has not been closed since then, thieves, robbers, and everyone could go in without differentiation, and soon the kingdom of God would be a den of thieves; but it is obvious that the King gave the key of the door to Peter, and he opened the door to everyone who would come in through it; he did not leave the key in it so that anyone who wished could let people into the kingdom, but everyone according to the same conditions; and no one but the appointed officials could let anyone in; and the door could not be opened without the key, which is the authority and the power which they had received, or those who received it from them. There were no natural subjects in the world, who could make any claim to the kingdom; the Gentiles and Jews had lost their right through sin and disbelief; neither could they come in except through that door; and everyone who believed in the King was accepted through that door. If it is asked, what is the door? this King himself answers, very clearly, in John, iii, 5,—”Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water, [i. e. be baptized in water], and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
In order to remove every doubt concerning this important subject, and show more clearly so that no one can mistake it, let us see how Peter opened the door of the kingdom the first time, having received the key from his Master: then let the reader know that to go into the same kingdom, one must go through the same door today; for the way that was explained on the day of Pentecost, is the only way into the kingdom. Acts ii, 38. To recognize that that story is true is also to recognize that Peter and the other apostles were under the miraculous influence from the Holy Spirit, for which they tarried in Jerusalem; it was he who was to lead them to every truth, to remind them of all things which he had commanded, and since the Holy Spirit sealed and confirmed the truth of the plan which was spoken by Peter, how can that unchangeable Spirit be expected to seal, or admit any other plan or statement that differs from what is said here? It is vain to expect such a thing.
When the disciples had gathered together, and the Holy Spirit had come upon them like tongues of fire, a great disturbance arose, until all the people gathered together and understood the tongues, and heard them speaking in their various languages; then they mocked them, accusing them of drunkenness; and when Peter could not tolerate their blasphemy any longer, he stood up and testified to them, that that Jesus whom they had crucified, God had raised up from the dead, and made him the Lord and Christ. And when they heard this, they forthwith changed their minds, and began to ask, “Men and brethren, What shall we do?” What caused this thorough change in such a short time? What indeed but the effect of believing the testimony of Peter, the working of faith in their bosoms testifying that what Peter said was true, that the Son of God was he whom they had crucified: here is the cause of the change in their behavior, namely, faith; here is the first stirring which caused them to ask, what is the next step? If we recognize that Peter knew what the next requirement was, we must also recognize that he gave them the proper answer, for they were desirous to know, and also to obey, whatever it might be. Obviously their life was bound up with obeying the next commandment from Peter; is it not just as indispensable for every person to obey the same commandment in order to receive such blessings?
There is in God no change or shadow of change; human nature is the same, the manner of sin is also the same; for unlawful still is sin; then, if there is need of these blessings, listen to the next commandment to you today, as that day to them. “REPENT, leave your sinful ways, bring your broken heart and contrite Spirit; this is the second commandment; after that—and not before that take note, you shall have a new lesson, the third commandment, namely, “Be baptized every one of you.” One may ask why it is necessary to obey the third requirement, and why the first two do not answer the same end. This is the reason, says the Holy Spirit, which was like a tongue of fire on Peter’s head—baptism is for the remission of sins! To recognize that forgiveness sprang forth in this way at that time, is to recognize that one cannot have forgiveness any other way except through this way only, that is, first, FAITH; second, but not first, REPENTANCE; third, but not first, or second either, BAPTISM; after that, but not before that, if Peter speaks the truth, one has a REMISSION OF SINS. Why there are so many different opinions in Wales concerning this third commandment, and the necessity for obeying it, more than the previous two, who knows? the one and the other are equal here: if it is said that one is unnecessary, it can be said that they are all just as unnecessary; for they are all given by the same person, and to the same end; therefore, the one is as indispensable as the other. No one, who believes the scriptures, says that there is a way of saving someone without the first, namely faith, and also the second, namely repentance; and yet at the same time those same people say that the third, namely baptism, is not so indispensable; yes, there are those who have scriptures in their own language who say that it is possible to have a remission of sins in some way, in this strange era, other than this plan which Peter preached! That Baptism is not as indispensable for forgiveness as are faith and repentance! Peter did not know that; otherwise, it was unnecessary for him to command the people to be baptized—FOR FORGIVENESS; let it be between them and Peter; here are his words, and here is what we ourselves say, and here is what Christ himself said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;” consequently, anyone who does not do these things must be condemned: since this promise is for obedience, it is disobedience that deprives them of the promise; not because there is any virtue in the water to wash away sins, nor because our obedience merits the blessings, but all is from grace only; not because of, and not without obedience: here is the path of our duty, on which alone we can expect the blessing; since it was promised like this, it would be presumption to seek it in any other way: since Christ out of his grace and goodness set down this plan for forgiveness, it is disrespect to him to seek forgiveness in any other way!
Now we see that such was the Gospel of Christ when it was preached by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of Peter; if you hear a Gospel like this being preached now, no matter by what denomination, or in what place, embrace it immediately, for the remission of your sins depends on your obedience to this plan. Behold, here is complete description of the entire plan of forgiveness; and since this is the only plan which we have for that purpose, let us scrutinize it more carefully. Let us remember that they already believed that Christ was the Son of God when they asked, what would the next step be? And the answer was, “Repent.” First, faith. Second, repentance. Third, Baptism. Fourth, Forgiveness. Fifth, the gift of the Holy Ghost. How clear and plain the plan of salvation appears in the gospel, how appropriate, how easy to understand and obey. Why do people seek to change it in any way? Faith urged them to obey; repentance was one of the effects, and baptism was that obedience required to come into the kingdom through the door; and the gift of the Holy Ghost was the seal of their adoption, the promise to the subjects when they came in, and not before that. Christ promised if they wanted to do the will of his Father, they could know of the doctrine whether it was of God, or whether He spoke of himself.
Where do you hear doctrine like this preached now? Who says that those who obey shall have knowledge for themselves? There is a great difference between thinking, or believing and knowing the truth of some doctrine. There is no danger of deceiving anyone, for they shall know with certainty if they but seek in the proper way. Who shall not venture to seek in order to resolve this important matter? Only one church in the world is known to promise this valuable blessing; but the subjects must still hope for the best, with no certainty before dying in a false church. Who hears preaching in these days like the preaching of Peter in former days, that those who believe and repent should be baptized? perhaps the Baptists preach this; but do they command baptism as soon as they believe and repent? or do they promise them forgiveness of their sins, together with the gift of the Holy Ghost?
Take note of what sort of effect that Spirit had on them, “He will guide you into all truth, and he will shew you things to come,” says Christ. The prophet Joel says they would dream dreams, that he would give them visions, and that they would prophesy, &c. And again I ask, where is this doctrine taught now? and why is it not? Is there any reason, without asking for scripture, for preaching a doctrine which differs in any way from the gospel of Christ? Oh no, one can give neither reason nor scripture ever, for there is not one to be had! I do not believe that one would see so many of our poor compatriots throughout Wales, week after week, and month after month, after all the preaching, and the meetings, going from one place to another grieving, with sad faces, and hearts heavy in doubt of their religion if the old apostle Peter, or one of the officials of Jesus Christ, were amongst them preaching the same gospel as he preached; but, they were taught as those were taught the way to receive forgiveness of all their sins before going home: and there would be no need for any of them to slumber without having the comfort of the Spirit to testify and to seal their freedom, that their sins had been forgiven freely and completely.
What would you think, reader, if you saw three thousand people coming forward, according to the custom of some sects, to be prayed over, and if one of the ministers, as Peter did, stood up and commanded every one of them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, assuring them beyond any argument that they should have forgiveness; and not only that, but they should have also the gift of the Holy Ghost, so that they should see visions, and prophesy, &c. And if you saw him and his brothers of the same faith going that hour, baptizing each one of the three thousand, and then the Holy Ghost coming on them until some should see visions, some should speak with new tongues, and others prophesy, &c? Would the word of this not go through the whole country speedily, saying that some new and very strange religion had appeared in your midst? it would also be called completely different from any religion which is in the country today! Well, you say, that would be something completely new and very strange! Despite how strange all this would appear in your midst, in this age, in truth and in soberness this is the Gospel that Peter preached, if we believe the Bible, and there is no other Gospel. Paul also testifies that it was the same gospel that he and Peter and others of his brethren preached; would the people of this age think they were all mistaken, when they preached so differently from them? Or would they think, if Peter were to come back to the world now, that he would preach differently from what he preached when he was here, in order to appease this age? I do not believe that he would do so unless I heard him, and then I would shout in his face, as Paul did formerly to the Galatians, “Though we, [though Peter;] yea, though an ANGEL from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” But there is no danger that they would gainsay that which they preached while on the earth. It is an old saying that the religion of the fathers is good enough for the children also; but I am so hard to please in religion, that I shall not be satisfied without that living gospel which Peter preached,—and which Paul and others praised, and in which today they rejoice.
The difference that is between the religions of this age and the principles of Christ and his Apostles is the reason that “these signs” would not follow the former as they did the latter; and what wonder, since there is no promise that they will follow anyone who believes some other gospel, or some other form that differs from the one that was preached by the apostles. And how should the signs follow those who deny them and refuse them as “needless things,” and when they see people professing this gospel, they call them deceivers and false teachers, and they affirm that the miracles of God are the work of the Devil. Beware, and repent, you preachers, and be baptized for the remission of your sins; then preach the gospel of Christ in order to save the souls of your listeners, instead of benumbing their ears with the traditions of the fathers, and the fables, and a form of religion while denying its power. It was to these days God referred when he spoke through his servant, saying that there would be dreadful times in the last days, and that men would heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears, and that they would not endure sound doctrine in this age: rather, “having a form of godliness but denying THE POWER thereof.”
We see that three thousand were made subjects of the kingdom of God on the day of Pentecost, when the door was opened, which, together with further additions, grew into a kingdom unto the Lord: and we are confident that the reader is well paid for his trouble, having by now some glimpse of the glory of the kingdom of God as it was established under divine leadership; and it appears far more excellent than any of the new religions of this “religious age.”
Let us go forward to look at its success, and which fruits it bore among Jews and Gentiles; which blessings were enjoyed by its subjects. Soon after this kingdom was established in Jerusalem, Satan stirred up his agents as usual, and as he always does, he persecuted it until it was scattered throughout the world, and all who were scattered took some sparks to enlighten the country; Philip went to Samaria, not to conceal the gospel, rather to preach it. Acts viii, 16,— “And after they believed the things which Philip preached, they were baptized men and women, and received great joy, and when those who were in Jerusalem knew that Samaria had accepted the gospel, they sent there Peter and John, who when they came prayed for them, and placed their hands on them, then they received the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Here we see the same plan as before, that is first, faith—they believed; after that, not before that, they were baptized men and women, and received great joy, although they had not yet received the Holy Ghost! “For as yet he was fallen upon none of them, only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” What was the cause of that great joy then, since they at that time had not received the Holy Ghost? What then, say I, but a tranquility of conscience, and joy, derived from their fulfilling what they considered their duty, which feeling deceives almost the whole world now, since people are satisfied with these feelings and mistake them for the Holy Ghost: it is not on the feelings that the Spirit works, but rather on the intellect, until the feelings are governed and led to the degrees their intellect is enlightened by the Spirit. But the enjoyment of its gifts explains who received that Holy Ghost. Who has placed his hands on the believers of this age, so that they might receive the Holy Ghost? No one! they do not see that as necessary now! There is but one Holy Ghost, and we see that it was by the laying on of hands that they received that great blessing. Those could not have received it despite their baptism, without the administration of this ordinance, and why do people pray for something they do not believe can be obtained, and is not even wanted in this age of light [darkness]? no wonder then that they do not receive it.
In order to show the plan more clearly still, let us look at another example; in Acts x we have the story of Cornelius, a very devout man who feared God, and gave much alms to the people, yes, and prayed to God always; he was such a good man that one of the family of God came from the third heaven with recognition for him, that the immortal God had heard his prayers, and had sent a glorious angel with a message for him! And what was that message, would you suppose? Was it to express to him that his sins had been forgiven? No, the angel said nothing of the kind to him, neither how he should find forgiveness, but he just told him where to find that which would put him on the way to be saved,—where he could find this treasure, namely the gospel, in an earthenware vessel; and it is obvious from verse 6 and from what Peter says in verse 14 of the next chapter, that Cornelius, despite all his prayers, was not in a state of salvation; but that, despite all, depended upon obedience to those words which Peter had spoken to him; namely, the same Peter whose gospel we have examined so joyfully: take note, is he of the same mind still?
If the teachers of this age had a man as pure and good as Cornelius, doubtless they would say to him, good friend, good and faithful, come along, there is no need for you to be baptized: surely you will be saved, although you may be baptized if you wish, but it is not necessary for forgiveness.
But what does Peter say? that is the issue, that is the way, though all the people of the world say to the contrary! If Peter does not say that there is a way to save a man as good as Cornelius except that he be baptized, that will be sufficient proof that no one else can be saved without being baptized; for what Peter commanded would be the way to save them after all else, nothing less or more, or different from that. Verse 48 provides the answer. “And he (Peter) commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.” Is this not enough to eliminate every argument about the necessity of baptism? If it was possible to save Cornelius without baptizing him, then Peter’s commandment was unnecessary, and he had caused God to send his angels needlessly and to no avail! If it was not possible to save a man so righteous as that without his being baptized, how can anyone else say that baptism is indispensable for salvation?
But, say some, this was an exception in order to “remove a barrier of difference” that existed between the Jews and the Gentiles and to bring the first of the Gentiles into the kingdom: however, there is no encouragement to think that the gospel has been changed in any way in order to save the Gentiles despite that; if it needed to be changed for anyone’s circumstances it was deficient earlier: yet, we see the exact same plan here as before, namely, Faith, Repentance, and Baptism; and it matters not where we turn our faces in the scriptures, we shall see the same plan.
It was not to the gentiles only, that Baptism was essential for forgiveness; it was not possible, according to the plan, to forgive the sins of Paul without baptizing him, even though he was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, and even though Jesus Christ himself addressed him on the road in a most wondrous manner! see Acts ix. Then notice, Christ did not preach the gospel to Paul, neither did he say, “your sins are forgiven;” rather he said, “arise and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.” No one asserts that Paul did not believe that it was Jesus who was speaking; if this is admitted, it will be admitted also that he had faith as the first thing, its fruit being to urge him to obey and to go to the city, verse 9. Secondly, he Repented for three days without eating or drinking. Then the Lord gave a mission directly to Ananias to go to him; one must acknowledge that Paul’s life depended on obeying that mission, whatever it might be, and here is God’s next commandment through the mouth of Ananias, see xxii. 16. And now why tarriest thou? as if to say, make haste; he does not say, as do the preachers of this age, to wait for three or six months of trial; but he urges him to hasten, although it was not yet three days since he had repented, nor three minutes I suppose after Ananias had seen him, before he told him “Arise and be Baptized:” but why was it necessary to baptize Paul, he being a Jew by birth, having had the company of Jesus on the road, and having been for three days without eating, so great was his Repentance?
Why is it necessary for anyone to be baptized, except in obedience to the plan which was given? Here we see that the mission had come from heaven after everything, commanding him to be baptized, to what end? Here is the effect, “and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord,” namely through the Baptism; but if someone today were for three days repenting one would say to him, rise up and take comfort now, believe in Christ and you shall be saved; if you wish to be baptized you may do so or not; it is only a matter of conscience, but it is not indispensable; one needs now but a new heart, they say, and cry Lord, Lord, and you shall be saved. If it is recognized that this commandment through Ananias was from a divine setting, it must have been indispensable to baptize Paul, to wash away his sins; then it is just as indispensable to baptize all Welshmen to wash away their sins as it was for Paul, if it cannot be shown that there is some other gospel apart from that one; for the Lord commanded Peter to baptize Cornelius so that he might be saved, and all of his household. He commanded Ananias to baptize Paul. It is He who commands that you be baptized today, reader, if you believe and repent: and it was he who said also, “Heaven and earth may pass away but my words shall not pass away.” Consequently I pray that you not neglect this important ordinance, no matter how little it is thought of among our nation these days; it is from a divine setting, one of the conditions of eternal life, and to ignore it, or to neglect it is to break a divine command. Many other examples prove the same plan to save man. We see the example of Philip and the eunuch; Philip would not baptize that gentleman at his own wish, when one might have thought that the occasion called for it; except that he first profess his FAITH in the Son of God. Then, but not before then, he baptized him: we see how careful Philip was to baptize no one except as he saw his brethren do so, and as his master had commanded him to do. Why then do not all who profess the name of Jesus do the same thing now? But some say, did not Paul say to the keeper of the prison, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved?” It is true that he ordered him to believe first; after that he spoke the word of the Lord to him; and what was that word! see Mark xvi. Matt. xxvii. Then see the effect of that belief in his obedience; he was BAPTIZED, they placed so much importance on BAPTISM, that he did not dare to remain for an hour without it, that he would not delay it until the light of day.
From all the foregoing examples and the commandments associated with them, we see that Baptism was the ordinance or the door through which all who believed and repented, were qualified and accepted as subjects of the church or kingdom of God, and they would have a remission of their sins and after that they would receive the promise of the Holy Ghost; this is the way they would become sons and daughters, and when they came to this relationship God would put the Spirit of his Son abroad in their hearts, crying, Abba, Father. It is true that the Holy Ghost had been poured down into the house of Cornelius before they were baptized; that appears necessary in order to show to the believing Jews that the Gentiles also had a right to the gospel; it is not likely that any human talent or power or anything less than miraculous power could pull away the barrier of difference, and bring together the two nations into one kingdom for God and eliminate the enmity that was between them. It is obvious that it was the Gentiles who were the believing party this time, and so the Spirit was poured on them; but no promise is known of through all the scriptures that anyone would receive the Holy Ghost before they were baptized.
But having said this much about the early establishment, the ordinances and the growth of the kingdom of God, let us proceed to a new lesson, and the most difficult to learn, I think, of all, even though it is so obvious in the scriptures, among the others that have been mentioned; yet, it is likely there will be more opposition to the next statement than to any other; for it is the scales that weigh every church and member, and that form the corresponding standard with divine truths, human reasoning and every civil practice; and the truth of it has been sealed by the Holy Ghost in every dispensation, and here it is,—not even perfect obedience to all the ordinances would ever qualify anyone for, nor would the most perfect performance of all the duties give anyone the right to the gifts and blessings of the Spirit, unless those ordinances were also administered by, and through, one who had the proper authority. All of them together would not have the proper effect unless the administrator had received his mission from the King directly, or from some of his servants who had received their mission from him; and it is not possible to transfer authority given to one official, in order to qualify anyone else for the same office: no one can lawfully administer in an office through the authority which was given to another unless he has received a mission and authority for himself personally, any more than having a license given to one of the old preachers years ago qualifies whoever has it to administer in his church offices after his death. No one is so foolish as to claim the right to be a minister because his father was a minister, and because he has his license; yet there are preachers who claim the right to be ministers because they have gotten hold of the licenses of the apostles, older than those of their fathers, where Christ says to them, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel,” &c.
One needs to be exact concerning this subject, for this is the criterion which shows the basis for every religious sect; and it proves the truthfulness of every “minister” in the world, whether or not he has this indispensable authority.
It is said that all civil arrangements and laws, the customs and behavior of people to one another, make evident the necessity of having authority to administer in an office, civil, Church, family or business; there is no orderly way of transacting business in the world without the authority that pertains to it.
If someone were in debt, and failed to pay, and if one of his neighbors sold his property to the highest bidder, what would the man say to him? Would he not ask for his authority to do that? He would say, there is no need for authority for that, for I consider that a duty; are you not in debt to so and so? and it is right that you should pay, because he is in need, what would you say to such a man? You would consider him a madman or a rascal. But if he were to but show that he had a legal right to do that, you could not say a word against him, yes, even if he took everything which you possessed to pay. What makes this great difference? why should one be imprisoned for doing that which it is honorable, yes, a duty for another one to do? It is only because he has the authority. Thus also it is in the kingdom of God, the one being as reasonable as the other.
Furthermore, let us consider someone who is legally made a civil official and receives a commission to prove that he has authority to accept others to the same office; but long after he dies, his son or someone else finds that commission, and seeing the royal seal on it, they would think that was sufficient authority to set them in the same office; after that, others desire to have that office and hear that man say that he is an official; he administers to them those things he thinks necessary; and they, without searching further into his authority, claim their right to those things which he promised. But when the King comes, he asks them who they are and who set them apart to that office; they then say who the official is, and that they have done everything as he commanded. But, how great will their sorrow and their surprise be when the King tells his servants to punish them, for He has not given authority to that man to administer in any office, and neither does he knows him; then he orders him to prison, not only for deceiving others, but also for taking authority in the name of the King without his permission: do you not agree that the official justly deserved that? If that would be just among the kingdoms of the earth, how much more just it would be for the King of Kings to punish those traitors who presume to administer the ordinances of His glorious kingdom without his authority! Do you suppose that there are better rules and order in earthly things, than there are in the kingdom of the living God? There are rules of all religious denominations which require that all officials recognize, after receiving authority, before allowing them to administer the ordinances of their churches, and at the same time they condemn themselves if they cannot prove that they have that indispensable authority to give to them! If authority is not in the church, how can the officials have it? If it is in their churches, why do they deny that and say that there is no need for such authority now? If they do have lawful authority to administer the ordinances of the kingdom of God, they must have received it from the King someway: we see that no one can take this honor to himself, “except that he be called by God, as was Aaron,” and you know that he was called by a revelation of God to Moses. Is there any of the religious denominations which profess to have been called through direct revelation, through the spirit of prophecy, or through the ministering of an angel? O! there is no one who professes that these things are needed any longer, and they do not say that they have received their authority in any of these ways. How then did they get this indispensable authority? Did they get it completely from the apostles, over the long past ages? Only a few claim this; but it does not matter what they claim if their kingdom is not according to the apostolic plan, nor bears the same fruits. It is generally recognized that the apostolic church became Papism; was it from that organization that the religious denominations got their authority? They deny that also, and the greater part of them say that that one is “the mother whore of the earth.” If so, who are her daughters?
But we have not yet found the source of the authority of the sectarian churches of this age; let them say from whom they received it, if they know. Well, say some, “it was from the wise and good Luther that we got authority.” No, “from godly Calvin we had our beginning,” say others. But who were Calvin, and Luther? Where did they get their authority; was it from heaven through revelation? Oh no, they denied revelations! Where then? were they not officials of the Church of Rome? Most certainly; and they dissented from it: it was there they got their authority if they had any; consequently, if that Church had any right to give authority to them when they were in it, one must admit that it also had the same right to deprive them of it, when they went away from it, which thing it did arrogantly enough: and so, they did not have any authority afterwards we see! Thus it was with gifted Wesley and Whitfield, zealous and useful in their day: when they departed from their mother, she took their authority from them, if she ever gave it to them in the first place! Since things are like this, let us search out this authority; for we see the presumption of venturing on the dangerous task of sacrificing with strange fire, or being like unto the sons of Sceva!
It is obvious that the King thought it indispensable at one time for his servants to have this authority, for he did not allow his apostles to preach his gospel without it: after that he gave the same mission to others through divine revelations, and through the Spirit of Prophecy, to go out to preach his gospel, and to build his Church or his kingdom on the earth. But a long time after the apostles died, some of the people of the following ages, upon reading of the mission which Jesus pronounced upon the “eleven,” “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,” some have tried to apply this mission to themselves, and they claim authority from it to go out as preachers of the Gospel, to baptize and to build the Kingdom of God; yes, when they do not have a proper knowledge of what the Gospel is, nor the necessary authority for that, which is proved by the fact that neither those who are baptized by them, nor they themselves, receive those blessings which were the most salient characteristics of the saints, or the subjects of the kingdom of God—signs of their true belief. If they are believers in Christ they prove that by believing the doctrine of Christ, and Christ proves that by giving His sign to them, namely, “These signs;” but, if their belief is false, their signs will be false also. If their doctrines are the true religion of Christ why do they not seek after those promised gifts, and those signs that “would follow” the TRUE believers? On the truthfulness of Christ it is proved that the same reason that grapes are not gathered from thorns, nor figs from thistles, is why “these signs” do not follow the believers of this age, namely, because they are not TRUE believers in Christ, rather they are strangers and foreigners. The lack of these signs proves that it is impossible for anyone else ever to have authority to administer a single ordinance, through that authority which was given to the apostles; but although this false right is so illogical, it is such an old and general custom that many men wise in other things fail to see the presumption of it, although every example, and commandment throughout the Bible forbids it, and every civil, family, and personal rule shows the foolishness of violating anyone’s commission.
But, says the reader in astonishment, “do you say that of all the preachers of this age, pious, and gifted, none has been called by God to the ministry? that none of the zealous and gifted old fathers who have done so much good through preaching the gospel throughout their lives, has been endowed with the necessary qualifications for that?” Do not misunderstand, I judge no one, and their feelings are as tender in my sight as my own; I love them also; nevertheless, love does not rejoice in anyone’s doctrine unless it be in accordance with the truth, says Paul. But, I shall put you on the way to prove each one of them by their own words, and that will be a better, less offensive way to have an answer to your question, so that you may have their own words in the face of the truth to show whether they are servants of the Lord, or servants of someone else; I do not doubt their conscientiousness, and they have zeal worthy of the best cause; and if I were to say that they are all mistaken, that would not of necessity be to say that they are going to fire and brimstone after death, neither to some other very painful place, unless they have refused a purer doctrine; for, “this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness more than light.” So that you may have proof from their own mouths that their religions are false and that God did not send them, ask those who call themselves ministers of the Gospel, whether God has given any revelation from heaven, or whether he has sent a message since the end of the New Testament; ask whether the spirit of prophecy died out with the first age of Christianity, or whether there is any need for such, together with the aforementioned gifts of the Holy Ghost in this age? Is there a need for the ministering of angels now, or do they believe that all these things have been taken away from the world forever? And unless you find some whom I have not seen, their customary answer will be that the Bible contains enough of those things, and since the scriptures were canonized, revelations and miracles have ceased on the earth, that the Spirit of Prophecy has finished its work, and that there has been no angelic ministry since then, because there is no need for them any longer in this enlightened age; and you will find some as zealous as those in the days of the apostles, who would turn a man out of the synagogue if he professed such a religion; and if someone received a mission from God through an Angel, he would hardly be able to borrow their chapels to declare it. When you ask these people how they themselves were called to preach, or who authorized them to administer the ordinances of the house of God, or how they received their mission, they assert that the Bible gave them a mission where it says, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel.” And thus, it is seen that each one who has not received a revelation from God in some way, acts from authority which was given to the apostles personally; after their death, one age after another has stolen their offices, and stolen their authority; and the day will come when the King will say, “Peter I know, and Paul I know, but who are ye? I never knew you, I never sent you, for you said there was no need for me to speak in your days; you did not ever seek in faith for a revelation, and I never gave you one, and when I spoke to others in your days, you mocked them as deceivers, or madmen, and you persecuted them because they testified to the things which I commanded them! Depart from me, for I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat, naked, and ye clothed me not, sick and in prison, and ye visited me not, a stranger and ye took me not in.” Then they shall ask, “When did we do all these things?” “Inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of the least of these my brethren, rather ye called them deceivers for testifying to that which I showed to them, ye did it not unto me.” What else could they have other than this refusal since they refused to receive the authority or the message that God sent to them, choosing instead sectarian authority and teachings.
Next, let us take note of the kingdom in its early establishment, whether those promised blessings were enjoyed, and whether “these signs” followed the Jews and Gentiles wherever the kingdom of God was established in the first era of Christianity. Paul writes to the Jews and Gentiles as follows:—”Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours. So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,” (1 Cor. i, 2 and 7). And this is what he says to them, namely to all who call on this name,—”Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues. But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit,” (1 Cor. xii, 1, 7—13).
We see that the apostle is speaking to all the churches, and all who call on the name of Jesus Christ, whether they be Jews, or Gentiles in every place, and every age of the world, showing that the body of Christ contains many members, who had all been baptized through the same Spirit into one body, and possessing various gifts, one having one gift, and another some other gift, then he specifically forbids any one member who possesses one gift, ever to say to another member who possesses another gift, “I have no need of thee!” Note that the preachers who affirm that these gifts are unnecessary now are in complete contradiction to Paul!
It also proves above every argument that apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, together with the spirit of prophecy, miracles, the gifts of healing, and all the other gifts which were named, are indispensable to the existence of the church of Christ in any age, or place on the earth, whether Jews or gentiles, bond or free, Welsh or pagans.
He says clearly that perfection of the body, or of the Church is not possible without all of them, and if some of them were lost, the Church of Christ could not exist any more than a body could exist without members: he affirms by an oath, that it was the great God himself who set up these gifts and offices in his Church, and they cannot be abolished without abolishing the Church, or the kingdom of God: and consequently, the commandment of Paul to “seek the best gifts” is as reasonable as any other commandment he gave; to oppose it constitutes opposition to all that he commanded; and those who do so should not fault the atheists for doing the same thing.
In the next chapter he exhorts them to develope faith, hope, and charity, without which, all the other gifts would be of no good to them; and not like this age says, namely, that he exhorts them to seek after faith, hope, and charity only, and instead of those gifts. The Apostle, in Chapter xiv, and other places, exhorts them as follows, “Follow after charity and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may Prophesy!” Not as some say, that “what the apostle meant by prophesying was preaching,” but that they should have the Spirit of Prophecy which Christ promised, namely, to express to them the things which were about to come; to foretell is to prophesy, history in reverse; to say what shall be, as history shows the things that have been before: prophesying is what Agabus did when he foretold concerning the binding of the man who owned that girdle. Prophesying is what those prophets did who foretold the famine which would come on Judaea. If preaching doctrine and Prophesying are the same thing, why does Paul emphasize so much the difference between them in ver. 6, of this Chapter? It is recognized that speaking with tongues is a miracle; yet Paul states that prophecy is a greater miracle, see ver. 5. He does not say how much greater a miracle, but sufficiently more to prove that by prophecy he did not mean preaching. Acts xxi. 9. We see that women Prophesy: if preaching is meant, why does Paul say, “Let your women keep silence in the Churches?” Paul considered Prophesying very different from preaching, as he says in ver. 39 of the previous chapter, “wherefore, brethren, covet to Prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.” In Eph. i. 17, the apostle prays to God to give them the Spirit of wisdom and REVELATION in the knowledge of Him. In the iv chap., he says that there is “ONE body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, that Christ ascended up on high, and gave gifts to men; if you ask what gifts he gave? here they are—”And he gave some, apostles and some prophets, some, evangelists, and some pastors and teachers.” If you ask to what end? You have an answer in ver. 12. “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” Thus the perfect God considered those “gifts” indispensable for the carrying on of the work of his ministry, in that age; to deny this would be to say that God gave unnecessary gifts; and to admit their necessity for the carrying on of “the ministry” at that time, is to admit that the same need exists today to do the same thing; or else that the giver of them has changed his mind; and, before they can be rendered dispensable, one must also destroy the basis of Philosophy, namely the linking of effect to its cause.
To recognize that they were necessary to perfect the saints at that time, would be to say that they are indispensable to perfect the saints now, or else that there is a way of saving some people, and perfecting some saints with less trouble, and with different ways for others! yet one cannot say this for the unchangeableness of the Author proves the unchangeableness of the religion, and the necessity of having the same means of perfecting all who are perfected. Paul testifies that the aforementioned offices and gifts are to continue, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, [are all the six hundred religious denominations in the unity of the faith? Then, but not before then, are these offices to cease] and of the knowledge of the Son of God, [have we arrived at that yet?] unto a perfect man [not so perfect yet, is he?] unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”
Question. To what end were these offices and gifts given in the Church, Paul? Answer. “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and the cunning craftiness of those who lie in wait to deceive.” The effect obtained at that time was unity, the present effects of being without them are divisions! Completely contrary to the true Church, is it not? An infallible proof then, that some completely contrary cause produces that, and that they do not contradict the true, rather the false churches.
From what Paul says in this passage it is obvious that it was not possible to perfect the saints without these offices and gifts, nor was it possible to carry on the work of the ministry without them, nor could they be kept in the unity of the faith, but were carried about with every wind of doctrine. Now why, we ask again, are not those gifts and offices as necessary now as they were at that time and at every time while and whenever there may be a need for perfecting anyone in the unity of the faith? How can anyone now do without them any more than the apostles could?—Where is such a doctrine as this being preached today among you, that Paul preached? And yet, this is the plan of the kingdom of God, and his gospel, if we believe Paul; yes, that Paul who says, in Gal. i, 8.— “But though we, yea or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you, than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Any religion that differs from the one that Christ and his apostles preached is, of necessity, another gospel, regardless of who preaches it, or whoever is deficient when judged by this standard and who deserve the “accursing,” although they are the first to present a verdict on others, while denying these gifts. Which denomination in our country is guiltless in this? What is the reason that we hear not the preaching of the gospel in this manner over the hills of Wales, as Paul himself preached? Can it be proven that they have received another gospel? If so, from whom?— Oh! no, everyone preaches Paul in this age, but no one preaches his doctrine; and I think that many believe the Bible when it is closed, and deny the truths which are in it, or else they explain them to mean that which they want them to mean; and I know not but what a Deist will believe the Bible if he can interpret it as he wishes!
Since the aforementioned offices and gifts had the appropriate effect at that time, namely to bring them to a unity of the faith, and edify them into a holy temple unto the Lord, it is clear on the other hand, that the cause of all the divisions, quarreling, jealousy and commotion; yes, that the chief cause of the different religions, the various faiths, baptisms, and spirits, and that “understanding has darkened,”—that they have become “alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in them,” is that they are deprived of the aforementioned offices and gifts, and of the approbation of the Holy Ghost to keep them and sustain them in the bonds of peace of the faith which is according to Christ Jesus. And it is a divine truth, that if all the various sects which are in the country obeyed the gospel, instead of obeying the traditions of their fathers, they should receive the gifts and promised graces; and having received that one Spirit, and those offices,—they would be edified into one body, in the purity of the “most sacred faith;” and having but “one Lord, one faith, one baptism,” they would grow up into Christ in all things, in whom the whole body is fitly joined together, and make a temple or a holy kingdom unto the Lord. But while clever men can persuade them to believe that there is no need of these things now, they can carry “them about with every wind of doctrine” of their own and of their fathers, as it is seen that they do now by denying the need of the offices and the gifts in this age which God put in his Church for that purpose. It is seen that they have believed completely contrary to the word of God while professing that they believe correctly! What can they not deceive them into believing after convincing them to believe the false to be true, and the true to be false, as they have done.
The churches of this age throughout the world are so opposite to this portrayal,—instead of apostles and prophets, false teachers, who heap up men unto themselves; instead of the gifts of the Spirit—the wisdom of theologians and commentators;—instead of one Holy Ghost—many different spirits, and each sect with its own spirit, and some sects with two or three kinds. Instead of the ordinances that God placed,—traditions of the fathers; instead of knowledge of the truth—their own imaginings; perhaps and hopefully! Opinion, instead of revelation.—Division instead of unity.—Doubt instead of faith.—Envy instead of love.—Doctors instead of the laying on of hands by the elders to heal the sick. Evil for good and good for evil,—in short Antichrist instead of Christ; and all this as literal fulfillment of many prophecies, which foretell that the powers of this world will war against the saints, and will defeat them, so that the words of God would be fulfilled through his servants about the complete Apostasy that was to take place when the “man of sin” was revealed.
But, it is not our intention to elaborate, in this small treatise, on the Apostasy about which it was prophesied so clearly by the inspired writers, and indeed that could be considered unnecessary, for it has been shown in a sufficiently clear manner already, in what has been said, what kind was the Church, or the Kingdom of God at the time it was established by her King—how her officials were called and qualified—what were her laws and what blessings were enjoyed by her subjects; all who believe the scriptures will acknowledge that our portrayal is correct,—and it is the same thing to doubt this as it is to doubt the New Testament itself; consequently, there is no need to prove the apostasy, except for all sects that profess to be the kingdom of God to hold their churches in front of this correct image, and the difference they themselves see, between all their false religions and the foregoing portrayal, will force them to acknowledge that they have degenerated as much as the difference. To acknowledge that the scriptures have been given as a correct guide to the world to carry forth the kingdom of God, is to acknowledge that every difference that is between their sects and that correct guide is a degeneration from it. To claim that any change on that plan is an improvement, is to accuse that plan of imperfection; but, since there are no “Christians,” so presumptuous as to claim that, they can do nothing but acknowledge that every difference there is between their churches and the scriptural portrayal of the Kingdom of God is of necessity degenerative, and harmful in proportion to the degrees they differ. To acknowledge that this scriptural rule is a perfect and sufficient rule for them, and that it is insufficient for us, is to assert that there is need to change it or to get a different rule, which would prove there is need for new revelations to do the one or the other; and since all Christian sects deny the need for revelations in addition to that which is in the holy volume, and profess that that is sufficient, their own consistency should force such people to set up their churches in complete alignment with that rule they profess as infallible! All the opposing sects are made up of those who claim sufficiency in the old revelations. The proponents of each sect claim a scriptural base, yet they all differ greatly from one another. Furthermore, their churches all differ from the plan the Bible gives of the Kingdom of God. This irreconcilable inconsistency with reason and scripture drives the greater part of the world to deny completely the divinity of the scriptures. And perhaps the inconsistency is really atheism or unchristianity under the cloak of hypocrisy, causing the rest of the world to adopt another kind of atheism; the former kind is worse than the latter, since its proponents are so much more firmly entrenched.
Just one more thing on this topic, before leaving it; the reader is encouraged to compare for himself every religion that attracts his attention, with the scriptural image, independent from all the sectarian commentaries and theological interpretations; and the one that does not hold the comparison correctly in the face of the image, do not believe that that is the kingdom of God until those who established it show, through later revelations at least, that its divine King himself is who made the change; for, if so, it is certain that he would never be deceived to mistake a sectarian church for the Church of God, for the unchangeableness of the King and the perfection of the plan he established prove that He will never give the right to anyone to change His Kingdom. And the fact of its divine primitive organization by him proves the impossibility for sectarian power to establish the kingdom of God. Therefore, if officials are seen presiding over it through sectarian wisdom only, and denying themselves revelations, instead of Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, and Teachers, ask them how they got the offices of Archbishops, Bishops, Rectors, Vicars, Curates, Reverends, Priests, and a series of other offices they claim they have in the “Kingdom of God,” to the point of making the others unnecessary. It must be uninspired men who made the changes, or their denial of new revelations is untrue; if the former, their churches are merely sectarian; if the latter, they must be worse than sectarian, because they claim it is untrue that they have not received the right from God, through revelations, to change the aforementioned offices, when it was not permitted to do so, and that it is the church of God after making changes without His permission by revelations. If they deny that baptism is indispensable for forgiveness of sins, ask them to prove that through their New Bible, of later date than our Old Bible, from the King James translation! and let them name the chapter and verse in it that proves that there is a way to have forgiveness of sins without baptism; for it is useless to search for such a thing in our Bible, because “baptism for forgiveness” is what Jesus, Peter, Ananias, Paul, and their brethren all preached, as previously proved; and thus, it depends on those who promise forgiveness without faith and repentance and baptism to prove that they have some higher authority than our Bible, and higher than the authors named, before they merit the belief of anyone reasonable, that there is some other way to obtain forgiveness.
Furthermore, the reader is warned to insist on proof from those who deny the enjoyment or the necessity of the spiritual gifts that were enjoyed in the primitive Church of God, by some authority higher than the one who endowed his Church with those precious gifts earlier; because He said, “These signs will follow;” and he also said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Where can higher authority be obtained to proclaim, “these signs will NOT follow?” And to confirm the matter beyond any argument, He also said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words [that is, they will follow] shall not pass away.” Therefore, it is proved that it is not the servants of Christ but the servants of the antiChrist who all make such emphatic claims that are contradictory to the words of the unchangeable Christ, and which deny the need for the spiritual gifts.
After you go into any church that professes to be the church of Christ, if you do not see and do not hear some speaking in strange tongues, and others interpreting—if there you do not hear prophesyings, and see visions—if the words of Christ are not taught through the Spirit of revelation—the sick among them being healed by the anointing of the sacred oil and the laying on of hands of the Elders, and if they are not able to testify they know that they are in the Church of God through “these signs,” and through the Holy Ghost’s co-testifying with their spirit that they are children of God; if all this is not to be found, we say do not believe that that is the Church of Christ though all the people of the world claim that it is: before the Church of Christ can exist without all that was noted, Christ must change his mind to the extent of the difference that is had between such and the foregoing, and before that the Bible would be all lying deceit, and the great Head of the Church would be two-worded, and consequently devilish, and the whole world would be without a Savior! This is the inevitable conclusion of the assertion that there is no need for the spiritual gifts, or the apostolic plan of the Kingdom of God; and by this it is understood that all who make this assertion have degenerated, to the furthest extremes they can go, from the primitive purity of the Kingdom of God; and whoever doubts the sectarian degeneration in them, either let him disprove the primitive plan which made the scriptures untruthful, or let him show us the Kingdom of God now according to that plan, having apostles and prophets, spiritual gifts, continual revelation, unity and charity, and the knowledge that they will grow toward perfection as its followers; but do not insult our senses by portraying before our eyes splendid synagogues, and numerous chapels, that are filled with worshipers who believe differently in all things except in the unity they exhibit to deny the apostolic plan, and to persecute the true Church. There is only one of two things that one can believe in this, namely, that either the scriptures are false, or that those who contradict them are false. But that is sufficient for now, to instruct the reader to recognize the difference between the degenerative churches of men and the true Church of God.
One understands quite well that there are counterarguments that offer themselves to the mind against the doctrine so remarkable and unpopular as the one which is an honor and a duty to proclaim here; and all those are because of the degeneration and the darkness that enshrouded the false Christian world, and we shall endeavor to clarify, briefly, some of the counterarguments that are offered. It is said by hosts who ought to know better, that “The only purpose of the apostolic plan—the inspired offices—the spiritual gifts that are called miracles, was to establish Christianity, and since that aim was accomplished during the age of the apostles, there is no longer any need for those tools.” Let us verify whether one who maintains that position proves truthful in the face of logic, and in the face of scriptures, before refusing such godly and majestic blessings as the spiritual gifts because of it.
If the purpose of Christ in giving the aforementioned signs to follow the believers of His age was to establish Christianity, then one must acknowledge that those signs were the most effective means of doing that, and thus those who try to establish Christianity without those signs now, are in complete opposition with their opinions in this, to that which they acknowledge to be the opinion of the wise Author and Establisher of Christianity Himself! To recognize the usefulness of those signs to establish Christianity at that time, and to assert the uselessness of those self-same signs to do the same thing now is a contradiction. “But,” says the debater, “Christianity was established by Christ and his apostles as immovable at that time.” While it can be allowed that it had been established by them in the hearts of his followers, yet it cannot be allowed that it had been established as far as its Author or its other founders wished: otherwise, their work was finished, with no one else to save; because, the objective of Christianity was nothing less than to save all those of the entire human race who would obey its commandments, in every age and country and under every circumstance. If the signs were to establish Christianity in any place, then the signs were necessary in every place where it was necessary to establish Christianity. Those signs followed the believers in Samaria and Ephesus, as well as those in Jerusalem; in Corinth, Antioch and even in Rome, and cities and countries of the Gentiles, the same as among the Jews: if the signs and the miracles that Christ worked to establish Christianity were sufficient, what use was it for them to be done by, or through his followers so much after His ascension? If they were necessary to establish Christianity in just one place, such as Jerusalem, why did they follow through other cities and countries, yes, in every place where they went to preach and where men were obedient to it? Since the signs followed in two places to establish Christianity, why not in three, four, yes, in every place? And thus, why should an attempt be made to establish the same Christianity without them in any place? Since those signs follow Gentiles as well as Jews, they were not to establish Christianity among the Jews only; and consequently, the signs were not restricted to any town, country, or nation. Perhaps one will assert that they were restricted with respect to the chronology of their continuation to that age only. To that we answer, if they were to be for some specific months or years, where can one find the scripture that proves that, or the wise man that informs how to count those years? John proves that they are to continue very strong as long as we have scriptural history, and he promises, in the book of Revelation, that they would continue in the future until the aforementioned Apostasy took place, and we are informed clearly that the effects of the apostasy of true Christianity is what would stop those signs from following.
Not one scripture is known that suggests there would not be a need for the signs, together with all of the early Christianity while there was a need to save men. If the need for those signs was for a restricted time to establish Christianity, why were they restricted to one hundred instead of hundreds, yes, thousands of years? Why would it not answer the purpose, by making them for only one year? These are questions that those who deny the present need for signs should answer clearly, and show their authority to affirm such a thing, inasmuch as that is not proved in the scriptures, and, inasmuch as they have closed the heavens since the first century of Christianity, so they cannot get authority for that from there. While we have, on the other hand, witnesses of all the scriptures, of the need for them while the need continues from the purpose that was intended through them; and historians in the ages following the apostles testify that those signs followed until the fifth, and some say, until the sixth century. But if it were proved that they were in the beginning of the second century, that would be sufficient to refute the previous assertion, so there would be no need to go further.
Furthermore, the illogic of asserting that the early signs were to establish Christianity and that there is no need for them now, can be seen in the following reasons:—Not on the earth, nor in a town, country, or in any age is Christianity established, but the only place it can be established is in the hearts of men; and, since there is a need for the signs to establish it among throngs, why is there not need for any to establish it in the heart of every single person of the throngs, inasmuch as the throngs are made up of individual persons? And so, it is seen that there would have been a number from the throngs who would have been deprived of the signs and deprived of Christianity, because of the lack of the signs to establish it in them; and the need for them would have continued while there was one from those throngs who had not been established in Christianity. On the basis of these reasons it is seen that the need for the signs to follow will continue while the need to establish Christianity continues in any single person, in any nation, country, town, or family. Now we ask, in the name of humanity, to the preachers of all the sects of the country and the world, without distinction, who deny the need of “these signs” now, what were they trying to establish through all their sermons, their countless commentaries, colleges, chapels, and synagogues, throughout the Christian world, as it is called, if they were not trying to establish Christianity? If it has been established sufficiently so as to make unnecessary the signs they admit were used to establish it, why all the collecting of money to print Christian Bibles, Christian tracts, and why are millions of pounds sucked from the pockets of the people, to support thousands of Priests, Reverends, &c., &c., to establish Christianity? If Christianity was established sufficiently through the primitive signs, why send so many missionaries among the pagans of the world at such a huge cost, with the professed purpose of establishing Christianity there,—who can answer?
It is a contradiction of a foolish man to assert that he wants to establish Christianity now without need of those things that are considered indispensable to establish it earlier.
That Christianity was established in early Judaea is not sufficient to establish it in every country, any more than its establishment in Jerusalem made it unnecessary to establish it in other towns and cities; its establishment in the hearts of the apostles and their followers does not make it unnecessary for it to be established in the hearts of other people through the countries where they went; and the establishment of Christianity in that age does not do away with the need to establish Christianity in this age, through every country, town, family and person; and thus, we see such a need for such signs in the mind and heart of every sectarian, drunk, fornicator, blasphemer, liar, and especially they are needed to establish Christianity in the hearts of those antichrists who assert that there is no need for those signs of Christianity, signs which established primitive Christianity in the hearts of those self-sufficient Pharisees who denied the need for miracles in the days of Christ, because their fathers had done enough, the account of which is in their scriptures, which they asserted to be sufficient to establish the religion of their fathers.
It is illogical to assert that since Christianity was established in the former days there is no need for those signs now, while not even the tenth part of the world professes Christianity, nor the hundredth, or the thousandth part of those who profess practice it, or have become established in it; or rather, we say, it is useless to assert those gifts are unnecessary until people of the whole world, believing and unbelieving, white and black, bond and free, demonstrate Christianity in their behavior, as proven facts of its establishment in their hearts as individuals.
Furthermore, the thoughtful reader sees the illogic of denying the need for the continuation of the signs in every age and country, as do those who say that they were for the establishment of Christianity, in the proper understanding of what Christianity contains, as follows:—if in the popular interpretation of the word Christianity we understand that it means the plan of Christ, its author, namely his religion, his government: and if, as is commonly admitted, the purpose of it all was to make its followers like unto Christ, its author, then the need becomes obvious for the entire plan,—that religion that answers the same purposes now. We recognize that the foregoing meaning is appropriate for “Christianity,” and is according to what was previously stated, and the scriptural image is thorough, that the Apostleship, the Prophecies, and all the offices, ordinances, spiritual gifts and blessings previously referred to, are indispensably contained in primitive Christianity, which is now widely recognized to be a correct standard and rule.
It is clearly stated that the Holy Ghost is the only one who can sanctify and perfect, the one that was promised, only by obedience to the established ordinances,—the effects of which were “powerful working” in, and through the Saints, to make them like unto Christ; and consequently through these gifts was the “establishment of Christianity” in them personally; and thus the gifts, these signs whose need is denied by them, were, and are the root, trunk, and fruits of Christianity; in order to enjoy these things, ordinances were established, men were sent to administer them, Christ ascended to on high and gave gifts to men, namely those gifts which are the strength, the power and the nucleus of Christianity: all the others connected to it are but empty and ineffective to perfect man without the gifts, inasmuch as they were given to be ancillary to the enjoyment of these perfect gifts.
To say that the signs or the gifts were given to establish Christianity, is the same, in fact, as saying that Christianity was given earlier to establish itself; and to assert that there is no need of any of them now is to say there is no need for Christianity now, which would not be much better than atheism disguised, and a literal fulfillment of the prophecy that says,—”Mockers will come in the last days, lovers of their own selves,” who will “heap to themselves teachers [uninspired, denying the need for the primitive signs,] having a form of godliness, but denying the POWER thereof.” Such would be highly incapable men to establish Christianity; and, in fact, no one but God can establish the true Christianity, for its establishment will be equal to the certainty that he gives, by the signs which will follow those who obey his word through his servants. Without them it is their own christianity that will be established, and not His Christianity.
This is sufficient now, so as not to go on too long, to prove the illogic of saying that the signs were necessary to establish primitive Christianity, and that the same signs are unnecessary to establish the same Christianity now. We shall say next, if a plan is established on the earth, namely an organization lacking the power that is envisioned by the establishment of Christianity, then those who assert that should prove that they conform to that church organization that is found in the New Testament, before they can claim that they have established Christianity. And since two opposing organizations cannot both be correct, then all of the organizations and sects that claim to be Christian condemn all the others except themselves of being antichristian, namely that Christianity has not been established in their midst; this, according to their own admission that the purpose of signs was to establish it, proves that they should strive to have the signs to establish it among the others, and should condemn themselves for not trying to achieve that objective.
Furthermore, if establishing the belief of the death and resurrection of Christ means to establish Christianity, and that that was proved primitively, one asks why there is not the same need to have men believing that now; and if so, why should they not have the same signs? So says the atheist, with a degree of consistency, in light of the assertion that that is the purpose of the signs; and those who say that the purpose of signs was to convince the world, ought to work miracles, or cease to profess so much zeal and desire to get the world to believe in him, before they can be consistent with themselves. But in spite of reasoning with “Christians” on the basis of their own assertions of the purposes of the “signs,” they are not yet convinced that that was the true purpose of the signs or miracles of Christ or his followers; also, since the rejection and persecution they received increased, one must allow that they were impeded proportionate to the greatness and publicity of the signs that were seen, until our dear Lord once cried out in the midst of a shower of stones of his godly stone throwers, “For which of my mighty works do ye stone me?” Furthermore, when Lazarus arose from the grave, the people were so infuriated that the two were forced to flee for their lives: strange how Jesus was disappointed if he expected miracles to convince the onlookers of his divinity! And although at times some have believed upon seeing the signs, that does not prove that showing signs before their eyes is the way that God arranged to convince the world. It has already been proven that the godly signs were promised to FOLLOW those who already believed the witness of the servants of Christ, and not to cause the unbelievers to believe. Faith comes through hearing, not through seeing, rather hearing the word of God from the mouths of his servants; and the word of God to every age and people is the message that He sends to them through his servants, obedience to which is indispensable, before they have right to experience or enjoy those signs for themselves.
The spiritual gifts and the power of God are a reward for believers and not things for the unbelievers;—they are found inside the church and not outside. And while it may seem reasonable to ask those who say that the purpose of miracles was to establish Christianity to work miracles themselves to establish it, yet, it is entirely unreasonable to ask the same thing from those who believe the opposite. Those who believe the Christianity that is portrayed in this treatise do not profess to have miraculous power themselves; and since God has sent them to preach the message he gave to them, and since they, like Paul of old, know that it is “by the foolishness of preaching [not working miracles] it pleased God to save them that believe” their words, and not their miracles, then it is unreasonable to refuse their words and ask to see miracles before their message will be believed.
The last counterargument the limits of this small treatise will permit to examine, and the most popular one, we suppose, that is offered against this religion is,—that all the revelations that can be considered necessary for the salvation of man have already been given, and are contained in the Bible; and that this age is so enlightened that more revelations are unnecessary for us.
Very little can be said here about the many refutations we have to this assertion; we shall merely point out that God established and guided his Church on the earth in every age and country by giving new and continual revelations,—there is not one word mentioned in the scriptures that denies the need for new and continuous revelations or that the Church of God should not enjoy them; and consequently the existence of the Church of God without having new revelations could be considered a miracle, the like of which we shall never have from God in all the future ages. All the “Christians,” as they call themselves, say that the God who gave continuous revelations, and the Jesus who promised them, together with the Holy Ghost who presented them to the Church in the primitive ages are alive now, and unchangeable, and that there are as many angels in heaven now as there ever have been, and that they are just as desirous of saving men as they ever have been; does not that belief, in the name of consistency, persuade one to believe that they are just as ready to serve as a blessing and furnish light for men now, if they are deserving of that?
Not so much as one servant of God, under any circumstance, is known to have said there is no need for more revelations; but on the other hand the speech of the antichrist and his servants has always proved this; it does not matter to him how sanctimonious men may be—what kind, or how many churches they have—what ordinances or doctrines, or how often and long they hypocritically pray not to have new revelations. No church, devoid of inspired officials, has ever troubled him. He has never been afraid of a church without revelations, rather he laughs up his sleeve when he sees all the churches of the world, and he rejoices over the millions who have believed the unscriptural and unchristian assertion, namely, that new revelations are unnecessary. He knows that while that is the case he will be able to lead them around to heresy.
The most noteworthy achievement that Satan ever accomplished to establish his kingdom was to get “the third council in Carthage,” toward the end of the fourth century, to sit in judgment on the early writings that contained the word of God, which they gathered and selected for a volume, rejecting the rest, by establishing a law that no other books or revelations could ever be added to the “Volume.” This forced all their charmed followers in the succeeding centuries to refuse everything that professed to be a new revelation, and he knew perfectly well that there was no danger that men would understand his tricks as long as he kept this cover across their eyes. He was greatly satisfied after that as he saw the Papists being converted to Protestants and multiplying so that he could favor all the people with the religion they chose, and everything to keep them quiet and satisfied in doing without new revelations. But the minute God sends his angels to the earth, and the minute he sends inspired men to establish a Church to himself, and the minute revelations and the gifts of the Spirit are enjoyed, Satan stirs up all the false churches he has in the world to join in fighting with every stragagem against that one; and the stragagem under scrutiny, namely the needlessness of new revelations, is not the least in its effects in his favor; rather through this, together with the lying stories about the character of the servants of God, with zeal for the religions of their forefathers, and the Bible, he stirs up his strongest religious armies against them; and if he cannot kill them he will not be satisfied until he tries to kill their influence so their testimony will not be believed; and his only purpose in all of this is to keep his subjects in darkness by refusing new revelations and the light of the Spirit of God through his gifts and powers. His chief soldiers, those who were pampered by him with respectable and profitable livings, take fright lest their hope for profit cease when they hear of a religion that is preached without purse or scrip; anguish makes them afraid when they hear of the restoration of the old godly Christianity and its revelations, its vision, and the power of the Holy Ghost; they fear that the light of heaven might bring their darkness and their hypocrisy to the light, and that they might not receive wages except for preaching contradictory, sectarian, and heretical creeds; and since they cannot expect a reward from God, that which they could receive from those who know them well would be too meager in their sight.
There is much boasting that this is the “age of light,” is there not! “The age of the light of the gospel,” “the country of the light of the Bibles,” and “the garden of the light of Christianity,” they say! There has never been a darker age with respect to religious light from heaven, ever since man was created on the earth! How much greater darkness can man be in than to believe that light is darkness, and that darkness is light? And to assert that is to say there is no need for additional revelations, because through revelation already given, every ray of true light has been obtained for our world. Isaiah must have been looking at this age when he said, “darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people;” and it is the age of gross darkness—the mist of the gathering of centuries, through the heresies of false Christianity, and the refusal of revelations. A mist so thick that not one ray of heaven’s bright light penetrated through it for ages, until a mighty angel came to earth from the firmament to the depths of darkness bringing the true Christianity—the gospel of the power of God—new revelations, and the light of heaven to shine once again on the hearts of those who receive it, but the false Christians are so accustomed to darkness that they will not wish to see the true light, many of them, although it is shining in their midst.
At last, dear reader, these observations are presented for your serious consideration by one who knows that the Christianity that is portrayed here is the only religion that can save the soul—that through this eternal gospel life and purity can come to light; and this testimony is true,—namely, that God has established the Church that is portrayed here in OUR COUNTRY, and has put in it all the offices, ordinances, gifts and blessings that he put in his primitive Church. It is assured that forgiveness of sins is to be received by all who believe and repent and are baptized in THIS Church; and by and in the authority of the God who sent us, we affirm that the gift of the Holy Ghost will be received as it was before, and HE will prove that that which is said against us is lying tales, to keep the searcher from receiving it. But that which we know we testify,—it is our duty and our privilege to do so, that every jot of this truth will stand when all the false religions of the world are gone, and the world itself has gone past like a shadow, and we shall bring our testimony before the reader again, before the judgment where all shall have the truth, and there we shall testify that this is the Church of Christ, AND WE KNOW THAT!!
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