Ronald D. Dennis, trans. and ed., Defending the Faith: Early Welsh Missionary Publications (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2003).
J1 JONES, Dan. Y farw wedi ei chyfodi yn fyw! neu’r hen grefydd newydd. Traethawd yn dangos anghyfnewidioldeb teyrnas Dduw. (The dead raised to life! or the ancient religion anew. Treatise showing the immutability of the kingdom of God.) Wrexham: Printed by William Bayley, Estyn Street, 1845.
iv–48 pp. Printed wrapper. 19 cm. Welsh Mormon Writings 1.
The preface to this, the first extant Welsh Mormon pamphlet, is dated 4 April 1845, just three months after the arrival of its author in Wales on his first mission. In his 24 February 1845 letter to Wilford Woodruff, Dan Jones mentions that he had “prepared a work for the press, principally about the order of the Kingdom set up in the days of the Apostles, & illustrating the first principles, the immutability of the Gospel, &c., something similar to P. P. Pratts, on the Kingdom, in the voice of Warning, but Welsh of course” (Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; hereafter cited as Church Archives).
Jones makes use of more than two-thirds of the section “The Kingdom of God” from Parley P. Pratt’s pamphlet Voice of Warning. At times he translates directly; at times he paraphrases; other times he rearranges the order. Nearly always he elaborates on Pratt’s line of logic. Although at least three-fourths of Jones’s pamphlet is not taken from Voice of Warning, generally this “nonborrowed” portion is an expansion of ideas that had been set forth by Parley P. Pratt.
Curiously, not once in Y farw wedi ei chyfodi yn fyw! does Jones mention the word Mormon or even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But the various ministers of other religions apparently knew perfectly well which faith Jones represented, and they united in opposition. In a cooperative effort, the Baptists and the Independents of Merthyr Tydfil appointed David Williams to refute Jones’s pamphlet with one of their own: Twyll y Seintiau Diweddaf yn cael ei ddynoethi, mewn nodiadau byr ar draethawd a ysgrifenwyd yn ddiweddar gan Capt. D. Jones, dan yr enw “Traethawd ar anghyfnewidioldeb teyrnas Dduw” (The fraud of the Latter Saints exposed in brief observations on the treatise which was written recently by Capt. D. Jones, by the name of “Treatise on the immutability of the kingdom of God”). This first Welsh anti-Mormon pamphlet was published in December 1845.
Jones replied to Williams’s pamphlet (see J3) and eventually published a periodical and numerous other pamphlets in defense of the Church.
DEAD RAISED TO LIFE!
ANCIENT RELIGION ANEW.
THE IMMUTABILITY OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
BY CAPT. D. JONES.
“FOR I AM THE LORD, I CHANGE NOT,” &c.—Malachi.
“And God hath set some in the church, first APOSTLES, secondarily PROPHETS, thirdly teachers, after that MIRACLES, then GIFTS OF HEALING, helps, governments, DIVERSITIES OF TONGUE.”—Paul.
TREATISE, NO. 1.
PRINTED BY WILLIAM BAYLEY, ESTYN STREET.
THE DEAD RAISED TO LIFE:
ANCIENT RELIGION ANEW.
THE IMMUTABILITY OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
BY CAPT. D. JONES.
“FOR I AM THE LORD, I CHANGE NOT,” &c.—Malachi.
“And God hath set some in the church, first APOSTLES, secondarily PROPHETS, thirdly teachers, after that MIRACLES, then GIFTS OF HEALING, helps, governments, DIVERSITIES OF TONGUE.”—Paul.
“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 again.
“When he (Christ) ascended up on high, he gave gifts unto men.”
“AND HE gave some, APOSTLES; and some, PROPHETS,” &c.—Paul still.
“I wish for every Welshman who sees this treatise to read it prudently and without prejudice, and judge it (not before but AFTER comparing it) by the Law and the testimony by which we shall all be judged before long; but I am not willing for the theologians of the world to sit in judgment on me, for they have not been authorized as Judges.”—THE AUTHOR.
“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.
PRINTED BY WILLIAM BAYLEY, ESTYN STREET.
One of the most extraordinary phenomena of the world, yes, the chief adornment of creation is an Independent mind. It is a gift from heaven to mankind, and the most remarkable of all its gifts: he who dares not think for himself is not human, and he who does not act accordingly is the worst hypocrite of the human race! Comparatively few are endowed with this golden nature, since its worth has not been comprehended; but I (although the only ONE of the race of Gomer whom I have seen in the country) assert my right not only to believe, but also to reveal the doctrine which is put forth in this treatise; yes, I have a special duty to proclaim that which I believe to be divine truths; were I to neglect it I would not be guiltless before my judge. TRUTH is my sword, and I know that “I AM” is he who upholds my right hand: it is His work, and for that reason I fear nothing that man can do to me!
“HIS WORD is the only infallible rule for which there is no fallible explanation.” And I wish the reader to consider these things honestly and without bias, (not according to the Professions of our forefathers,) but according to the Law supported by evidence; unless they speak in harmony with this word, it is because there is no light in them. What are these things then? A very important query, and one which should be answered, not before but after comparing them with the correct image; for “he that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him,” says Solomon. Says Paul, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” Let no one come to a hasty decision concerning this doctrine because it appears new and strange, for it is the oldest of all doctrines; and though it may seem strange to some in this world it certainly will not be so to anyone in the hereafter.
He who, (in the proper spirit,) proves this doctrine to be unscriptural I shall esteem as an exceedingly good friend, yes, even a good patriot; and I bind myself to refute the error (after PROVING it so, using as the only measuring stick the Bible as it is written) in a most public manner. But, on the other hand, if anyone condemn this doctrine before investigating it, thereby placing obstacles in its path, he proves himself unwise, unfair and an opponent of the truth; yes, even an enemy of his own nation; and may Solomon be his judge.
The doctrine herein should not be judged according to the unfounded stories and the thousand and one mendacious tales which have already flooded the country against this name; because I can prove each one that I have thus far heard to be false and unsubstantiated; and I promise complete satisfaction to every man who will but put this doctrine to the test.
Let no principled man find fault with my language, if it is not so grammatical; for I have been among Welshmen very little since my boyhood; instead I have been for over eighteen years, almost continuously, among other languages, where I heard not a word of Welsh; and this especially so in the past seven years, during which not one Welshman has spoken in my ear for even an hour the sweet, turtledove sounds of my native tongue; and nothing short of love for my country, coupled with an abiding desire for my compatriots to receive the truth, yes, as it is in Jesus, could constrain me under such handicaps to offer them these principles, knowing full well that they differ so greatly from every other doctrine in the country! But I prefer to risk the fulfillment of my duty and lose everything, even my good name (which I value more than pure gold), and if necessary even willingly sacrifice my life for the truth, rather than carry a pricked conscience to the presence of my Maker and meet one Welshman from whom I had concealed these things!!
Wrexham, April 4, 1845.
“But Seek ye First the Kingdom of God,” &c.—Matt. vi, 33.
This is the explicit commandment of the Son of God to his listeners when he was on the earth, over eighteen hundred years ago, and it is still in force; yes, it is everyone’s duty to obey it. It is a vital commandment not only because it was given by the Lord of Lords, our Lawgiver, but also because all who have heard it shall some day be judged (by Him, himself) according to their response to it. The bliss and glory of every one of the race of Adam who has ever been, who is now, or who will ever be on the earth depends on his obedience to this commandment.
“But seek ye First.”—Seek to obtain it above all other things, most energetically and eagerly, though the cost may be all things whatsoever you possess, for your joy and your eternal glory are bound up with your finding it; consequently, great should be our zeal in the task, unbiased and honest, so that if we do find the kingdom of God, we be not satisfied until we become subjects of it; it will profit us nothing to become subjects of any other kingdom: Christ did not say seek any kingdom; none will suffice save it be the kingdom of God.
Consequently, it is essential for us to search carefully until we perceive what sort of a kingdom it is, so that we may recognize it when we behold it, and that we be not deceived or turn away upon seeing it.
Now, give me your unbiased and unfettered minds and your unprejudiced senses to search for the kingdom of God, yes, let us search for it as for hidden treasures; it is more precious than the pearls of Ceylon, or the gold of India, and the world and its fulness are but dross in comparison: to find it is worth any amount of toil and dedication. Although it cost me thousands to search for it, I count it the least expensive of all things. I had a glimpse of it from early on, like a diamond shining forth through the thick, black clouds, and my soul was overcome with love for it; for more than eighteen years I have traveled over nearly all the seas and continents of the world, searching zealously for it at every opportunity, and yet I believe that I have had good interest for my trouble and payment for my time, even a hundredfold; and it is sweet to say to you, Oh! gentle Welshmen, that heaven has blessed this age with a thousand better privileges than your fathers; and you need not seek in vain, for today the kingdom of God is in your midst; yes, by the grace and goodness of God you can become subjects of this kingdom but for the asking, in fewer hours than the number of years it cost me to find it, though I through prayers, fasting, and many tears did search for it. Today, I say, and O that my Master would say for all to hear as he said to Zaccheus of old, “This day is salvation come to this house.” Who will receive it? Who among you, O Welshmen, will venture to come out into the world with me to search for the kingdom of God? Remember the commandment of our teacher, which one can neither obey nor disobey except that he be held accountable. If you have in days past been excusable under the mantle of ignorance, you can no longer take refuge there. In all sobriety, I am declaring truths which will endure forever, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” once again in your midst!!
Yet, I warn every one of you who now recognizes your duty to search for the aforementioned glorious kingdom, to consider carefully the effort and also the cost before you begin; you must prepare yourselves to leave everything for its sake; yes, if father or mother, brothers or sisters be obstacles, do not venture to search for it until you are ready to give up all your worldly possessions, your good names, yes, even your lives if necessary, as voluntary sacrifices for the truth; for if once you have a clear view of it, if you have a glimpse of the glory and beauty of this kingdom, you will not be satisfied until you become subjects of it.
And when you do recognize the kingdom of God in its own integral establishment, I suspect that you will be greatly disappointed, for it will appear so unlike any of the sects, denominations, or parties of this age which have that name given to them; and after seeing the one and the other as they really are, you will wonder how any Bible-knowing Welshman could be so blind as to mistake one of the religious denominations of this age for the kingdom of God, as they are so unlike it.
Although the kingdom of God appears so clear, in the image of the sacred scriptures, I know of 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 as to how it is in its offices and laws, its plan and outward 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, as well as 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 shows them to be; and I think that one of the chief causes of the different opinions concerning this extraordinary phenomenon is the common habit of spiritualizing too much on the scriptures, and placing a private interpretation on the prophecies, which were not intended by the one who spoke them to be of any private interpretation; and in the task of searching out the kingdom of God, I shall not follow that procedure, rather proceed 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 indeed, if you but search according to this rule, the description or portrait of the kingdom of God will appear as clear in the image of the scriptures of every age; its powers and many privileges, its blessings, its obvious and wonderful fruits are so far superior to those of any other kingdom in the world, that I know not how any inquiring Welshman can fail to recognize it, according to these obvious characteristics, nor be in 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, differing from what the author thinks on the subject, perhaps it will not be without benefit to scrutinize it in greater detail, to sweep away all traditional rubbish, and come to one decision, and to show clearly what sort of kingdom Christ commanded them 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 toward this glorious kingdom, and we shall, therefore, be more likely to reach it; and this is my purpose in writing about it, and it is my earnest prayer that every honest and unbiased reader may find 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 I know 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, giving vent to 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 our Lord 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 are very bad, are they not? 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? What, then, is he saying?
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; for the King was already standing among them, as John said; therefore, the officials of the kingdom were of them and in them, i.e., 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 I prefer to believe the King himself than to believe the imaginings of anyone else; and when he says kingdom, that is what he means, and he means the thing he says, that is, the kingdom of God on the earth, his militant Church, his established government in his kingdom, not concealed in the hearts of his people, neither beyond the depths of the depths of the firmament, but on the earth. I believe 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.” See also Matt. xxiv. 14. “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”
The foregoing proves sufficiently that what the text meant was an established kingdom on the earth: so that it would be foolish to expatiate on this matter. 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 the kingdom.
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.
And pay particular attention now!! 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 the early ages, to which he did not always 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 else who did not desire revelations. Remember that your behavior toward this cannot better or hurt the author: much less can it withstand the Almighty arm of Jehovah, and you shall be swept out of his way into the land of oblivion if you stand in the way of His work.
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked, and there is no excuse for men to be deceived, especially 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 the characteristics of his kingdom: there is no excuse for anyone to mistake his kingdom; for if someone, yes, if even an Angel were to set up the kingdom, differing in any particular from the Apostolic plan, you say that it is not the kingdom of God, unless the same laws and ordinances are administered in it, and that 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 the citizens of the kingdom in the days of the Lord. “For I am the Lord, I change not,” &c.
If you admit that there is no variableness neither shadow of turning in the King, you admit that there is no variableness neither shadow of turning in the least degree in anything in his kingdom, for if you change a single thing, without showing your authority from Him to do so, then by the same right I shall 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, or has established one kind of kingdom unto himself, the question now is not what kind it was, we shall come to that yet, neither why he did such and such, or why he did not do otherwise; but this is the point—he did as he himself wished: 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 and he has never wavered; then perfect was the plan he gave, and perfect also was the law which he gave to be administered in it, as James calls it, “The perfect law of liberty.”
That the unchangeable King who gave the plan and the law intended for others to follow them is obvious, else why did he give them at all? If one of them needed any changing for anyone from that time to this, then they were not perfect in their first establishment: if this troubles you, you must deny the first assertion, and that would be to admit that all the religious denominations of this age, except one, are false, and that 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 may compare his own kingdom with the correct image; and we have already proven that that kingdom established by the King himself, is 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, Gal. i. 7, 9. How much more disrespect can one show to any King in any way, than through bending or changing his laws or royal statements without permission from him? And no one from the various churches exercises that authority either, for the King speaks not to the one or to the other of them; and this is not strange either, for they have, as the Prophets said of them, “transgressed the laws, changed the ordinances, and broken the everlasting covenant.”
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 directly and irrefutably one of two things, that is, 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 for which it was ever established on the earth, that is, to save souls; that is one purpose: and 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; and the same objective is in view now, that is salvation; consequently we must be saved in this age through the same plan as everyone who has been saved from the days of our forefather Adam until the last who shall ever be saved. There is only one Gospel! The unity of cause and effect in accord with the essence of Jehovah, is one of the basic principles of Philosophy: joining all the institutions of the worlds, yes unopposed. Then one must have the same cause now to bring about the same effect as at that time: one must have the same kingdom, in its original establishment, 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 more easily, or in a way differing from that of another age; and you cannot prove this either, without making the King a respecter of persons, thus destroying the unity of cause and effect. God is not a respecter of persons, but in every age, those who work justice are just. Then 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 they must become citizens of the same kingdom also; thus how necessary it is to recognize that kingdom. For the King says, “My ways are the same.” And says another, “According to their works shall they be judged.”
If 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 in the same way as did the former.
If God promised eighteen hundred years ago such blessings and gifts on certain conditions, to those persons, why does he not give such blessings to us if we obey those same conditions? Is he not the same, and does his word not last forever; thus are his promises not in force today?
We wish the reader to consider this statement carefully, and satisfy himself concerning it. Why are the same privileges not enjoyed now as they 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? Bring your strongest reasons, you theologians of the age, answer, all you professors of the world, if you can show the cause of this great discrepancy! Why after he did so much for his vineyard, and planted it from the true vine, expecting it to bring forth grapes, did it bring forth wild grapes? If you recognize that the dresser of the vineyard is unchangeable, his ways of equal worth, why does the vine not bring forth the same fruits as it did at that time? I challenge the whole world to prove from the Bible that those fruits were given for some particular time, or that there is an end to them, this side of that perfect resting place! And after going so carefully into moving the rubbish and the dross out of the way, we find here a strong foundation, one that not all the religions of the country, nor all the men of the world, can shake (using as a standard only the scriptures as they are written); here is a rock for a foundation, which shall never be shaken by any wind of doctrine or by the sleight of men, nor by the cunning craftiness of those who lie in wait to deceive; neither shall it ever be shaken by all the lying and fiery darts of this age.
Then let us go forward to examine the nature of this kingdom more carefully, namely let us determine what is the Character of its King, what kind was he? What kind of officials did he have? How were they made officials? What kind of laws were in it? What effects did they have on the subjects? What were its fruits, &c.? When was it 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: for the King is living today; therefore, his servants ought to be living also, and zealous.
But first, the KING—What was he like?
Very early on in the records of the book written about him, we find his story and learn that he is coming. 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 government would be eternal and his kingdom widespread and powerful, yes filling the whole earth at some time, &c. When Abraham was walking our old earth he got his mighty telescope into proper focus on one occasion, and the glory of this King shone through it so fervently that the old Patriarch rejoiced within himself, although he was far away from him at that time; and the glory came nearer until the day of old 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 of his lowliness: they, it is true, say that he is a splendid King, but a King who would be refused and ignored by men; and after all the great expectation for him, that he would journey through the world ignored and almost invisible as well, except for the malicious treatment he would encounter.—And about the time of his coming, as one famous Divine, Mr. Elaurin, says in another language, 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 Judea) who was to establish a sort of universal empire. But since the erroneous portrayals of Him, the one who was the desire of all the nations, were completely unlike him, their hearts had been blinded, and they failed to recognize him when he came. Consequently, they behaved very cruelly toward that excellent King who had come to set up in their midst the most glorious kingdom which had ever existed in the world. And perhaps the reader will not tire if we pause a little to notice the description of the one who was named, of this immortal King. He is so glorious! although so 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 heavens his throne! the earth his footstool! the light his garment! the clouds his chariots; 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, in his kingdom! Conquerors of everything in this world, and fit for him when his kingdom comes in its strength and full power!
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. So 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 the 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 expresses to his father, his mother, or anyone 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!
It is true that this wondrous King did not walk on Tapestry when he came to set up his kingdom on the earth; but when he walked on the sea, the waters held him; yes, all the elements in every part of creation confessed their creator and their King, except man.
But having said as much as this 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, the morning star, leaping out of the wilderness, and raising his voice to proclaim a new and wondrous mission in their ears: “Repent,” says he, “for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” baptizing them with the baptism of Repentance; and he testified boldly that their King already stood in their midst about to establish his king dom: 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,” &c. Soon after that he called his officials, and sent them throughout all the cities of Judea saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand;” after that he sent seventy with the same mission; after that, another seventy, certifying that the kingdom of heaven was closer than before; and he did so that 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; and this warning had the proper effect, creating 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 Oh, such disappointment! 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, &c., until they had, between Jews and Gentiles, a sort of 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, 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, that 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 haste 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, who had throughout the ages worshiped him whose throne was above the morning star, wondered when they saw Him in the manger! But they wondered more by far as they followed him as his servants throughout all his abasement, until Calvary crowned their wonder and the abasement of the King of Kings! But 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 perceives his Father smiling at his offering, and giving him permission to shout, “It is finished.” Finished, what? The placement of the foundations of his kingdom on the earth, so that the gates of hell could not prevail against it!
Now, O gentle reader, you may understand, by now, some of the characteristics of our King, and is he not good enough and amiable enough for you? Come forward then to search for His kingdom, so that if we find it, 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 doubtless the pure and the impure angels wept at the sight of him: and Oh, 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 indeed difficult to put down arms without any struggle,—to be disappointed in all their expectations, and to be brought down from the highest degree of hope and pride, to the depths of despair and suffering, was a disappointment so great that they could not bear it: 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 colored 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 we have for three years now been raising great commotion throughout all Judea; and all the Jews have heard us shouting 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 hearing 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 we must give up now to despair. Come, says Peter, let us take a last look at him; I love him despite it all; then let us return to the old occupation of catching fish; 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 those in the grave, from their part, was again throughout all the land of Judea.
Oh, 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 accustomed 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 it in seeing the rocks being rent, the mountains quaking, and the great temple itself rending 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. I 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, in rising he received the victory completely; although they put him in the grave, and placed a huge stone on it, and sealed it with the Roman seal, and made it as secure as they could; despite that, on the morning of the third day, behold, the trumpets of heaven began to sound new anthems to invite their 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 already 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! But oh, wondrous love! despite his great desire to go and lay down his bloodstained head on the breast of his dear Father, and give fond greetings to the Cherubim 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 an old 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 the things pertaining to his kingdom: and who can describe that wondrous meeting!! Here 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 stay 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; which were always to be terms, or conditions of adoption: and without obedience to those it was not possible for anyone to come into that kingdom; that is the door, and the only door. 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 Judea, but now he commanded them “to go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark, xvi, 16. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
17 “And these signs shall follow them that believe; in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;”
18 “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.”
Before going any further, I wish the reader 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; here those characteristics will appear most clearly which were always to raise the kingdom 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 voluntarily); thus the plainer its characteristics are, the easier it will be to recognize; consequently, let us consider in greater detail those characteristics, each one in its place and proper light.
First,—He commanded them to preach the gospel, (namely the good news of the crucifixion and resurrection of the King) to 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.
Now it must be some voluntary misunderstanding, traditional darkness, or some blindness like the black pit itself, which caused any Welshman ever to mistake this plain mission or fail to understand it; it is painful to think that some of the highly privileged in Wales, yes, in this enlightened age (as it is called), are so obtuse as to say that these signs will follow no one except the apostles! Others who read their Bibles, almost daily, think that these signs were to follow only the believers of that age; and that to establish the gospel: and that they are no longer needed!! Oh, what an error this is! What does the King himself say? that shall I believe.
Did not Christ himself place equal importance on the preaching, the belief, the fidelity, and the signs which were to follow, and intend for the same terms, to be of the same continuation, and conjoined inextricably with one another; in whatever way one is restricted, the others are also restricted; then when one of the above ceased, they all ceased!
If the text restricts these signs to the apostles, then it must also restrict faith, baptism, and salvation 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 they to be saved! Again I say, if the promise of these signs is for the first age of Christianity only, then that promise of salvation was to no one but that age either; there is no difference between them. It is obvious to any unbiased person that this text includes the one, and refers to it 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 would be 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 terms that he promised the effect, he ordered the way or the cause. To admit that the King, who had every authority in heaven and on earth, 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, where they are found; that is, 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 who said, “heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away!” Then let us believe His words in this place; they are as much in force today, as they were the day he spoke them. Then I recall the first greeting,—”Seek ye first the kingdom of God,” and if you do so from your heart until finding it, as the King lives who promised it, “these signs shall follow you!”
Once 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 (that is the apostles) but the third, that is those who believe their teaching. Thus,—”in my name shall they (the believers,) cast out devils, and they (the believers) shall speak with new tongues. 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, and the sick) shall recover.”
But you say in amazement! Did these signs not end in the world, and did they not take flight from among men hundreds of years ago? Well I say, if you can prove beyond every argument that those signs have ended among men, you shall also prove just as firmly that the Gospel of Christ is not being preached in its purity by men! If you can prove when those signs ended, by doing so you will prove when people stopped believing in the gospel, and when the kingdom of God disappeared from the earth; or perhaps you may also prove that the Son of God (he who promised the signs) was a lying imposter, and that none of his promises are now in force; both positions, however, cannot be true, and 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 his words at that time, “Shall follow them that believe,” are his words today, and they shall be the same 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 you can 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 through the door; that is the kingdom of God.
When Christ gave this mission to the apostles, he made them stay 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; and a Holy Spirit whose effects were quite different from the things which are called by that name, by the heretical men of this age; without mentioning that he was to teach them to speak in all the languages of the world, &c., 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.” We see that every preacher of the Gospel stands in great need of such a Holy Spirit as this. 1st, To guide them to all truth so that they might understand what to preach. 2nd, In order to strengthen their memory lest they forget to teach all the things which he commanded them. 3rd, He (that is this Holy Spirit,) shall show you things to come. And why would he show them things to come, except to make them Prophets? And do the preachers of the Gospel in these days not need 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 also 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; with the beliefs of the Theologians, all of which are based on human wisdom, yes, those who 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 honor 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. xix.
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; 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, nor were they authorized to administer his ordinances after all that; and not one of them dared to open his mouth so much as to say the kingdom of heaven was at hand; but they stayed in Jerusalem for the fulfillment of the promise, for the power and for those necessary qualifications, those indispensable influences, that is 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. Oh foolishness! They say there is no need for revelations in this enlightened age; they seal the heavens above their heads; they close the lips of the King as if they did not wish him to say a word to them; and if he does give a mission to someone, the scribes and Pharisees of this prejudiced age condemn that man as a deceiver, a false teacher, and a slanderer, if he claims to have received either a Mission from heaven, or to have seen an angel; strange is it not! But that is of no consequence, for thus they have done in every age of the world, and I fear that many will continue to do so until they receive the fulfillment of the prophecy. “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,” &c., 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 until he brought them to the UNITY OF THE FAITH; thus they contradict themselves in admitting two completely opposite things to be true, which is impossible; they go out attempting to do the work of the apostles, denying the necessity for those qualifications which were so indispensable to them, and this is the secret of the darkness and prejudice of the country, and all the different religions that are in it. Oh, that we would find that same Spirit to lead every one of us to all truth. One really needs to experience the spirits of this age according to the plan. The work of people who now deny the necessity of the influences of the Spirit as named, proves 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. Thus it is not strange that there are so many religious denominations in the world.
But 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. 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, (if it is called the kingdom of God) in this age, because God never had and never shall have any kingdom on the earth differing in any age, from what it was in any other age: and 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, and futile? An unchangeable King must have an unchangeable kingdom to rule, yes, 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 a man 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 falsifier, and would be dealt with as such. But how much greater high treason is the latter 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 lawgiver, and say that it is those new laws which are supposed to be the true laws. But who is changing them, says everybody from the different denominations? We all (although there are over six hundred of us) take all our laws from the scriptures. And they are incensed when it is said that they do not proceed, yes, all of them, according to the Bible. They all claim to be correct and believe the Bible, and yet they all differ, one in one thing, and the others in other things. In the non-essentials, they always differ!! I 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 for my part, I fail to understand what are the non-essentials which are mentioned so much in the eternal Gospel! Did it not contain all these non-essentials, when it was the perfect law of liberty, as James calls it? Then so it does still. Or rather so it should do now. And it is a contradiction in terms to say that it is possible for two kingdoms different from each other, to be the kingdoms of the unchangeable God. This is impossible. And if it is asked, of them all, which is the kingdom of God, they decide the argument among themselves that there are plenty of them, and plenty of work also, and I shall proceed to show from an infallible image how every one of the subjects could enter the kingdom, what sort of a door it had, for there was only one door; and there was a mighty 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, not only as falsifiers, but as thieves and robbers: and they were never to have the seal of acceptance, 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 people now say, the door was open at that time, and if it has not been closed since then; then thieves, robbers, and everyone could go in without differentiation; and soon the kingdom of God would be like 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 (that is, the authority, and the power) which they possessed with 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; despite the answer being so definite, it is interpreted as being almost everything except what Jesus really says, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water, (i.e. be baptized in water) and of the Spirit, (be baptized with the Spirit) he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
But let us search further, in order to remove every doubt concerning this important subject, and show the door 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 know, O reader, if you wish to go into the same kingdom, you must go through the same door today; for the way that was given, or explained, on the day of Pentecost, is the only way into the kingdom. For it is admitted by all, even those who admit some of the other stories, that that story is true: it is admitted also that Peter and the other apostles were under public and miraculous influence from that Holy Spirit, according to the promise, for which they stayed in Jerusalem; it was he who was to lead them to every truth, to remind them of all things which he had commanded, (then we find here the all things which are necessary in order to come into the kingdom regularly and in full) and after becoming subjects, he teaches them more minutely towards perfection; and since the Holy Spirit sealed and confirmed the truth of this plan which was spoken by Peter, how can that unchangeable Spirit be expected to seal, or admit any other plan or statement differing in anything from what was 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, boldly, that that Jesus whom they had crucified, God had raised up from the dead, and made 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; and that the Son of God was that Jesus whom they had crucified: here is the cause of the change in their behavior, that is, faith; here is the first stirring which caused them to ask, what is the next step? Now 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: and I do not think that they knew what was next. These were not people who had been accustomed to listening to the Gospel; but here was, I suppose, the first sermon that they had heard, or at least the greater part of them; for there were over fifteen different languages there. One must admit that their lives were bound up with obeying the next commandment from Peter; and if we are also under the same Gospel and need the same blessings (and since there is only one way to have them), is it not just as indispensable for every person to obey the same commandments in order to receive such blessings continually?
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 it was to them. Acts ii. 38. “REPENT, (i.e., leave your sinful ways, bring your broken heart and contrite Spirit, &c.), this is the second commandment; after that—and not before that, take note, you shall have a new lesson, or the third commandment, being that same outward action which was indispensable for them, yes, for every one of them; it is as necessary as either of the other two, and it will be profitless to anyone unless he does it according to the instructions of Peter; that is, through faith, from repentance, and here is that one, Oh sinner! Embrace it, and rush to fulfill it! And Be baptized every one of you! If you ask, Why it is necessary to obey the third requirement, why the first two do not answer the same end? this is the result, and the reason Why, says the Holy Spirit, which was like a tongue of fire on Peter’s head, For the remission of sins! If it is recognized that forgiveness sprang forth in this way at that time, that 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, BE BAPTIZED. After that, but not before that, if Peter speaks the truth, one has a REMISSION OF SINS. I know not why there are so many more different opinions in Wales concerning this third commandment, and the necessity for obeying it, than concerning the previous two; the one and the other are equal here: if it is said that one is unnecessary, it can be said that they are all unnecessary; for they are all given by one 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, that is faith; and the second, that is repentance; and at the same time those say that the third, that is Baptism, is not necessary; yes, one must confess that some people, even in this wise and enlightened age, (as it is called) even those who have scriptures in their own language, say that it is possible to have a remission of sins in this strange era, in some way other than this plan which Peter preached. That Baptism is not as indispensable for forgiveness as are faith and repentance!!! But Peter did not think that; otherwise, it was unnecessary to command the people to be baptized for this purpose—FOR FORGIVENESS, and if anyone says that Baptism is not FOR FORGIVENESS, let it be between him and Peter; here are his words, and here is what I myself say; 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 affirmative from the other side, neglect of it must deprive us 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 can we expect the blessing; since it is promised like this, it is presumption to seek it in any other path, 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 you see, gentle compatriots, 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. I do not take a verse here and there, but behold here a 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; yes, read the testimony of Peter himself. 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 acceptance, the promise to the subjects when they came in, and not before that. Christ promised, if they wanted to do the will of my Father, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.
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? I know of no other Church in the world that gives assurance of this valuable promise; but the subjects must still hope for the best, with no certainty in the end. Who hears preaching in these days like the preaching of Peter in former days, that only 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,” &c. He will show you things to come : and 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? Why then is it not? what is the cause? Is there any reason, without asking for scripture, for establishing 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, from week to week, and month after month, after all the preaching, and the meetings, going from one place to another, groaning, with sad faces, and hearts heavy in doubt, if the old apostle Peter, or one of the officials of Jesus Christ, were among us preaching the same gospel as he preached; but, you were taught as those were taught the way to receive forgiveness of all your sins before going home: and there would be no need for any of you to slumber without having the comfort of the Spirit to testify and to seal your freedom, that your sins had been forgiven freely and completely.
What would you think, Welshmen, if you saw three thousand people coming forward (according to the custom of some people) to be prayed over, and if one of the ministers (as Peter formerly) stood up and commanded them to repent, and every one of them 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 if they obeyed, 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! Well, say I, 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 preached, and the others also: would the people of this age think they were all mistaken, when they preached so differently from them? Or do you 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 until 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 I have no fear that they would gainsay that which they preached while on the earth, and which they sealed with the testimony of their blood. It is an old saying that a religion which is good enough to die for, is good enough also to live for: but I am so hard to please in religion, that I am not willing to live, or die, without that same effective gospel which Peter preached; and which Paul and others praised so much, and in which today they rejoice, and through which they shall also be glorified when they return.
And so you see, there is no need for you to be so surprised when these signs do not follow the believers of this age. There is no need to ask why they do not follow any of the religious sects which are in the world; the answer you have already, that is, because there is no promise that they will follow anyone who believes any other gospel, or any other form different from that preached by the apostles. And how should the signs follow those who deny them and refuse them? And because these fruits do not follow them, they say that there is no need for them, and they cannot show scripture to prove that either. However since they must say something in the face of this natural question, this is their answer, there is no need for them!! but this is a complete aberration as we shall prove as we proceed; and when they see people professing this gospel, they call them deceivers and false teachers, yes saying that the miracles of God are the work of the Devil. Fear and beware, and repent you shepherds of the Welsh, and be baptized for the remission of your sins: then preach the gospel of Christ in order to save the souls of your fellow-nation, instead of benumbing the ears of your listeners with the traditions of the fathers, and the fables, and the senseless superstitions of this age. It was to these ignorant days God referred when he spoke through his servant, saying, that there would be a dreadful time in the last days, and that men would heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears, yes, they would not endure sound doctrine: and again, “having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof,” &c. But now he calls on you to repent and to return.
We see that three thousand were made subjects of the kingdom of God the first day it was established, that is, on the day of Pentecost, when the door was opened, which, together with further additions they obtained, grew into a kingdom, or a sacred temple unto the Lord. And this happened after they had thrust down traditional mischief and superstitions, which had grown to the point of driving the gospel of Christ from the country, as is obvious from the foregoing portrayal; (and I expect that the reader is well paid for his trouble, having by now some glimpse of the glory of the kingdom of God from afar, and how it was established under divine leadership): and is it not far better than any of the new religions of this religious age; especially its King, its offices, its ordinances, its privileges and its fruits?
But do not stand on the plain, rather, become subjects of it; and let us go forward to look at its success, its glory, and its excellence, which fruits it bore among Jews and Gentiles, and 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, persecuted it until it was scattered throughout the world, so that everyone took his little sparks until the flame was lighted. But Philip went to Samaria, not to hide, but to preach the same gospel. “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, and not before that, they were baptized, men and women, and received great joy, although they had not yet received the Holy Ghost! Acts viii, 16. 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 by it, to the degree that it is enlightened by the Spirit. But it is easy to show who has received the Holy Ghost by the fruits and the gifts that follow them. But 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! But what is the difference now? Do you not seek the Holy Ghost which they received? There is but one Holy Ghost. We see that it was by the laying on of hands that they received that great blessing. And how can you receive what no one gives you? Those could not have received it, despite their baptism, without the administration of this ordinance, through which it came: and why do you pray for something which you deny is to be had and is not even wanted in this age of light (darkness); no wonder then that you do not receive it. Here also, Oh fellownation, you see how glorious is the gospel over the religious traditions of this age!
In order to show the plan which was given to save, let us take another example, to show even more clearly if possible, that since every man wants salvation now, one must have the same cause to bring about the same effect. In Acts x we have the story of a very devout man called Cornelius, 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 down to his feet with recognition for him, that the immortal God had heard his prayers from his throne; 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 should 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, &c., was not in a state of salvation; but that, despite all, he depended upon obedience to those words which Peter had spoken to him, namely, the same Peter whose gospel we have perused so joyfully. Here, let us see whether he is 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, despite what 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. “And he (Peter) commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.” Is this not enough to eliminate forever every argument about the necessity of baptism? If it was possible to save Cornelius without baptizing him, then Peter’s commandment was unnecessary to that end, and God had sent his angels with unnecessary and profitless messages!! If it was not possible to save a man so righteous as that without his being baptized, how can anyone else expect that?
But, say some, this was a miracle which was done in order to remove a barrier of difference between the Jews and the Gentiles and to bring the first of those in.
Well then, If you say this I do not deny it, but there is here no encouragement to think that the gospel has been changed in any way in order to save the Gentiles; if it needed to be changed for anyone’s circumstances, that would be to call it mistaken beforehand: but we see the exact same plan here as before, Faith, Repentance, and Baptism. However, to give you every advantage which you ask, let us take another example, it matters not which one, or where, we turn our faces in the scriptures, the same plan we shall see.
It was not to the gentiles only, that Baptism was essential for forgiveness, but I say boldly that it was not possible, according to the plan, to forgive the Sins of Paul himself, without baptizing him, yes, although he was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, and although Jesus Christ himself addressed him on the road in a most wondrous manner! see Acts ix. Then notice that Christ did not preach the gospel to Paul, neither did he say your sins are forgiven, but he said, arise and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do, &c. No one asserts that Paul did not believe; nor that it was Jesus who was speaking; if this is admitted, it will be admitted also that he had faith immediately 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 Paul; 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? (make haste, as if to say,) 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 then, 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 (that is, 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.” They thus pervert the Gospel, contrary to every rule and example, and this one also. One needs now but a new heart, they say, and cry Lord, Lord, and you shall be saved. Oh great deceit! is it not recognized that this commandment through Ananias was from a divine setting? If so, it must have been indispensable to baptize Paul, to wash away his sins; then I myself say that it is just as indispensable to baptize all Welshmen to wash away their sins as it was for Paul (i.e., 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, 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, it is 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 when his master had commanded him to do so. 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. xxviii. 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, after which 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. I do not think 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 through the cross, and eliminate the enmity through it. It is obvious that it was the Gentiles who were the believing party this time, and so the Spirit was poured on them, But I know of no other similar example throughout all the scriptures, of anyone accepting the Holy Ghost, or promise of it, before being baptized.
But having said this much about the kingdom in its early establishment, its ordinances, through which the subjects entered into it, its growth, &c.
Next let us learn a new lesson, (and the most difficult to be learned of them all I believe,) and really not a new one, but as obvious in the scriptures as any of the others which were named, if only one is impartial. And it is likely that I shall find greater opposition in this assertion than in any other, as if that made any difference; one must affirm this truth as well as the others, and I wish for you to assemble all your strongest reasons, to gainsay it if you can; otherwise I think that this stumbling block shall test every Church, yes, every believer also in this age, if only it is given fair play: it is likely that I shall be called totally merciless for the following assertion, although it is at one with the divine truths, with human reason, with every earthly custom, yes, the truth of it was sealed by the Holy Spirit without doubt.
This is it, fear not! Not even perfect obedience to all the ordinances would ever qualify anyone to be a member of that kingdom, yes, the most perfect performance of all the duties would not give any 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 official had received his mission from the King directly, or from some of his servants who had received their mission from him, and had the royal seal. 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 claim a right to 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 someone of the old preachers years ago, qualifies whoever has it, to administer in his Church offices after his death.
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 authority of every minister who is now, or who has ever been, or who will ever be in this world, whether they all have this indispensable authority! If so, how did they get it ?
I have said that all civil arrangements, and laws, yes, 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 carrying on anything in the world without this authority!
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 for that action? He would say, “There is no need for authority for that, for I consider that I am doing my 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 the biggest rascal among falsifiers. But if he were to but show that legally he had authority for 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 is honorable, yes, dutiful for another to do? it is only because he has the civil seal, the authority. Thus also in the kingdom of God forever, the one is as reasonable as the other.
Furthermore, let us consider some Welsh gentleman who is made a civil official, after coming to the office legally, and receiving a commission under the hand of the King 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 enough authority to set them in the same office; after that others desire to come into those same privileges; and hearing that man say that He is an official, he administers to them those things he would think necessary: and they, without looking 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 Oh! how great is their sorrow and their surprise when the King tells his servants to drive them out, for they have not come through the lawful door, that He has not given authority to that man to administer in any office, and that he knows him not; then he orders him to prison as a falsifier, 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 you agree that that would be just among the kingdoms of the earth, how much more just would it be for the King of Kings to punish those falsifiers 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, that such authority is needed; and at the same time they condemn themselves as falsifiers, if they cannot prove that they have that indispensable authority, which they ask that their officials 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 they 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 some way: 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 to the service through direct revelation? through the spirit of prophecy? or through the ministering of an angel?! Oh no, no one 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? In what way? Did they get it completely from the apostles, over the long ages? Only a few claim this; and it does not matter what they claim either, unless their kingdom is according to the apostolic plan, and bears also the same fruits. It is generally recognized that the apostolic church became Papism. Was it from that organization that all the religious denominations got their authority? Oh no, they deny that also; and the greater part of them recognize that that one is the mother whore of the earth. If so, I ask, who are her daughters?
But we have not yet found the source of the authority of the Churches of this age; say from whom you received it, if you know. Well, say some, if we must say, 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 deny that! 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: which thing it did arrogantly enough: then they did not have any authority afterwards we see! Thus 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! If things are like this, Oh fellow countrymen, let us search out this authority, and we shall make sure whether we have it or not, for we see the presumption of venturing on the dangerous task of sacrificing with strange fire, or being like unto the sons of that Sceva! I do not say that this authority is not in the world now; see you to that.
But I do know this much, that the King thought it indispensable at one time for his servants to have this authority, yes, 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 ages after that, upon reading of the mission given exclusively to them, when Jesus said to the Eleven, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,” &c., tried to apply this mission to themselves, and claim authority from this mission (which was given to the apostles particularly, and directly,) to go out as preachers of the Gospel, to baptize, and to build the Kingdom of God, yes, seeing that they do not have a proper knowledge of what the Gospel is, nor the necessary authority, which is proved because neither those who are bap tized 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.
If their teachings are true, why do they not seek after those promised gifts, and the signs which followed the saints? The same reason that grapes are not gathered from thorns, nor figs from Thistles, is why those signs do not follow the believers of this age, and that because they are strangers and foreigners.
It is impossible for anyone else ever to have one iota of authority to administer the least ordinance, through that authority which was given to the apostles: but although this deception 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, yes, every civil, family, and personal rule shows the foolishness of violating anyone’s commission.
Now I suppose that the reader, (like nearly everyone else) is asking in astonishment, What! 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 to do so?
Do not misunderstand me, I judge no one, and they are as revered in my sight as in anyone else’s, yes, their feelings are as tender in my sight as my own; I love them also, but love does not rejoice in the doctrine of anyone unless it be in accordance with the truth, says Paul. But, I put you on the way to prove each one of them properly, yes 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 conscientious honesty; also 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! that is, if they have not refused a purer doctrine; for “this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light,” &c.
And here is the way to have an answer to the question: Go to those who call themselves Ministers of the Gospel and ask whether God has given any revelation from heaven, or a mission 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! Yes 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 their religion; and if someone received a mission from God through an Angel, or some other way, hardly would he be able to borrow their chapels to declare it! But it is good to be able to say that there are yet some in the country, (even though it is so Pharisaic) who give their houses to the servants sent by God to declare their mission. But 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? how did they receive their mission? they do not know what answer to give, until at last, when they fail to show any kind of authority, or any right from any other place, they assert that the Bible gave them a mission, saying, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel,” &c.
So you can see that each one who has not received a revelation from the King in some way, through his voice, or through his accepted servants, acts under authority which was given to others personally; and after their deaths, one age after another has stolen their offices, and stolen their authority. And when the King comes to them, He shall 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 did I ever give 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, in astonishment, “When Lord did we refuse to do any of these things?” “Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these my brethren (rather ye have called them deceivers for testifying to that which I showed to them) ye did it not to me.” But lest I be too long in this treatise I must leave this subject of authority, hoping to have the opportunity before long to enlarge upon it.
Now let us take note of the kingdom in its established state, whether those promised blessings were enjoyed, and whether those signs followed the Jews and Gentiles wherever the kingdom of God was seen in every age of the world. Paul writes to the various Churches and persons as follows, That is, 1st,—unto the Church of God in Corinth. 2nd, To those that are sanctified in Christ Jesus. 3rd, Those who were called to be saints. 4th, All those in every place who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Cor. i. And this is what he says to them, that is, everyone who calls on this name, 1 Cor. xii. 1. “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant,” and then a few verses further on he says, “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, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally, as he (that is Christ) 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. For the body is not one member but many. If the foot shall say, because I am not the hand, I am not of the body, is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say because I am not the eye, I am not of the body, is it therefore not of the body? if the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?”
“But now hath God set (and who then shall take away) the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? (Everyone admits that it cannot be.) But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more, those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble are necessary: And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care one for another. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the Church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.”
“But covet earnestly the best gifts, and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.” We see that the apostle, (v. 13) is speaking to all the Churches, and to 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!
He has also proved 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 indispensably necessary before the body, or the Church of Christ, could exist in any age, or place on the earth, whether Jews or gentiles, bond or free.
After commanding so specifically that not one of the members should say concerning any of these gifts, we have no need of thee, 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 it could not be the Church of Christ; any more than a body could exist without members: having substantiated this assertion so minutely and clearly, he affirms by an oath, that it was the Great God himself who set up these gifts and offices in his Church, and no one has any right, yes, no one can abolish them, without abolishing the Church, or the kingdom of God: he also exhorts the members to covet the best gifts. In the next chapter he exhorts them to follow after faith, hope, and charity, without which, all the other gifts would be of no good to them: so contrary to this does this age speak (namely, that he exhorts them to seek only after faith, hope, and charity, and instead of the other gifts). The Apostle (in the fourteenth chapter and other places,) exhorts them again, “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, that is, 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 the binding of the man who owned that girdle. Prophesying is what those prophets did who foretold the famine which would come on Judea. If preaching doctrine and Prophesying are the same thing, why does Paul emphasize so much the difference between them in v. 6, of Chap. 14? It is recognized that speaking with tongues is a miracle. But Paul states that prophecy is also a greater miracle, v. 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?” The answer. Because, he thinks that Prophesying is very different from preaching, as he says in v. 39 of the previous chapter, “wherefore, brethren, covet to Prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues;” and so say I also. In Eph. i. 17. the apostle prays to God to give them the Spirit of wisdom and REVELATION through Jesus Christ. In the 4th chapter 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, ONE God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” He said that Christ ascended up on high and lead captivity captive 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 v. 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 donor of them has changed his mind! and one must also (to prove they can do without them) destroy the basis of Philosophy; or one must admit that it is necessary to have the same cause in order to bring about the same effect now. If it is admitted that they were necessary to perfect the saints at that time, that would be to say that they are necessary 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 than for others! and one cannot say this, for God is no respecter of persons, his ways are constant for everyone; thus there is no doubt that it is essential to have the same means of perfecting all who are perfected. Well, you say, quite surprised perhaps! “Are you saying that those gifts must be in the Church from that time until this, for it to be the same Church?” I say nothing one way or the other in this matter, but it is with Paul you must deal now, and he answers the question very plainly. How long were the offices and the gifts above to continue, Paul? 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 at that time was unity, the present effects are divisions! completely contrary, is it not? An infallible proof, then, that some completely contrary cause produces that!
In the first place, from what Paul says, in this passage, it is obvious that it was not possible at that time (nor consequently at any other time) to perfect the saints without these offices and gifts: next, one cannot carry on the work of the ministry without them: thirdly, they cannot be kept in the unity of the faith; but shall be carried about with every wind of doctrine, &c. Now, Oh Welshmen! I ask, will you give a satisfactory answer to the consciences awakened in you,— Where is such a doctrine being preached today among you, that Paul preached here? This is the plan of the kingdom of God, and his gospel, if we believe Paul, yes, that Paul who says, in Gal. i. ver. 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.” Are you 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, I wonder? Can you prove that you have received another gospel? if so, from whom?— Oh no, everyone preaches Paul in this age, but no one preaches his teaching: and I think that many believe the Bible when it is closed, and deny the truths which are in it; or else they are inspired to think what they wish them to be: surely a Deist will believe the Bible if he can interpret it as he wishes!
Since the aforementioned offices and gifts, have the appropriate effect, that is 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, vice versa, that the cause of all the divisions, quarreling, jealousy and commotion; yes, that the chief cause of the different religions, the various faiths, Lords, baptisms, and spirits, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, is that they are devoid of the offices, and the gifts, and the approbation of the Holy Ghost, to keep them and uphold them in the bonds and peace of the faith which is in Christ Jesus: And it is a divine truth, that if all the various denominations, and the sects, which are in the country, obeyed the gospel, they should receive the gifts and promised graces; and having received that one Spirit, and those offices, they will be edified into one body, in the purity of the most sacred faith; and having but “one Lord, one faith, one baptism,” yes, they would grow up into Christ, in all things, in whom the whole body is fitly joined together, and would make a temple or a holy kingdom unto the Lord.
But as long as the sleight of men can persuade you that there is no need of these things now, they can carry you about with every wind of doctrine. And now, reader, one must draw to a close, no matter how pleasant it is to search for the kingdom of God, as it was established in the days of the apostles. I had intended at the outset, to be more brief; but since this is such a new matter in this age, (for I see no word of such a kingdom, in the Welsh language, except in the Bible) I thought it best to clear the most obvious objections out of the way, and set down the truth as clearly as I can, for the understanding of everyone who may read it. For it is vital to all of us to know what the kingdom of God is like, so that we may recognize it when we see it; for we shall never see it in any other plan, or way, nor differing in one iota to the plan, or the apostolic organization; yes, it is impossible for it to be the church of Christ, unless it is as it was set up by Christ himself, and contains apostles and prophets, together with all the gifts of the Spirit.
After searching through many of the countries of the world, and islands also, I never saw among all their religions anything which took my attention and my love with such pleasure and contentment as did the glorious kingdom that we have been discussing. Would you not wish to be a subject of such a kingdom as this? But how contrary to this description are the kingdoms of this age throughout the world. Instead of apostles and prophets, false teachers, who heap to themselves men. Instead of gifts of the Spirit—the wisdom of Theologians and Commentators; instead of one Holy Spirit, many different spirits; and every sect with its own spirit, and some with two or three. Instead of ordinances of godly origin, traditions of the fathers. Instead of a knowledge of the truth, their own imaginings, perhaps, and hope! Supposition, instead of revelation. Division instead of unity. Doubt instead of faith; jealousy instead of love; a Physician, instead of the laying on of hands of the elders for the healing of the sick; fables instead of the truth; darkness instead of light; evil for good, and good for evil—in a word, Anti-Christ instead of Christ; and all of this as a literal fulfillment of many of the prophecies, which foretold that the powers of this world would war against the saints, and defeat them, so that the words of God might be fulfilled through his servants concerning the complete Apostasy which was to take place when the sinful man was shown forth, &c. I had thought to show, at the end of this treatise, the Apostasy, or the falling away (which is talked about so much) which was to take place before the LAST DAYS, but it would be too long, and the reader may expect in another treatise a clear demonstration from the ancient Prophecies, and especially from the New Testament, that there was to be a complete departure from that faith which was once given to the saints, and that the kingdom of God would be taken away from the earth: and a detailed description of the situation the Christian world is in today; and not only that, but also to be shown in every detail, with every certainty in the proper image of the scriptures are the terrible, strange, glorious and excellent things which are about to come to pass in these days, in which we are living; because of that, O Welshmen, your eyes will see strange things. Break the ropes of prejudice; free yourselves from the traditional fetters of this age; prepare to search for the truth; the time is coming when the sanctuaries of lies shall not stand, for the King of the heavens has awakened, as if from the silence of ages; his strong arm is stretched forth to do his work, his wondrous work!!