Observations on that which is in part—perfect
Ronald D. Dennis, trans. and ed., Defending the Faith: Early Welsh Missionary Publications (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2003).
John Davis Publications: Observations on that which is in part--perfect
D8 DAVIS, John. Sylwadau ar yr hyn sydd o ran, a’r hyn sydd ber-ffaith. (Observations on that which is in part, and that which is perfect.) Merthyr Tydfil: Printed, published and for sale by J. Davis, Nantygwenith, Georgetown, 1850.
16 pp. 17 cm. Welsh Mormon Writings 35.
The scripture quoted on the title page (1 Corinthians 13:8–10) is also quoted on the first page of text (p. 3). The phrase in the title comes from 1 Corinthians 13:10: “But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” John Davis uses his line of logic to show that this scripture defends the existence of spiritual gifts. He explains that “that which is in part” has reference to the various spiritual gifts as practiced by imperfect Church members. As Church members go through the refining process of living the gospel and increasing in every sustaining joint, they will eventually become a “perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). At that point the spiritual gifts will be done away, for they will no longer be necessary.
A sixteen-line poem which sums up Davis’s argument is placed at the end of the text.
Two years later John Davis published a second edition of Observations on that which is in part, and that which is perfect. The contents of the two editions are identical; however, the typesetting was altered in the second edition, thereby resulting in a twelve-page pamphlet (see Welsh Mormon Writings, item 68).
THAT WHICH IS IN PART
THAT WHICH IS PERFECT.
“Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.”—1 COR, XIII, 8—10.
BY J. DAVIS, MERTHYR.
PRINTED, PUBLISHED, AND FOR SALE BY J. DAVIS,
[Price 1 ½ c.
That Which is in Part, and That Which is Perfect
“Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.”—1 COR, XIII, 8—10.
Inasmuch as there is much ignorance growing throughout the country with respect to “that which is in part” and “that which is perfect,” it would be good for all to make a fair search concerning them, so that they may be able to come to an understanding about them. The general opinion is that that which is in part has been done away, and that prophecies, tongues, and knowledge are no longer necessary; but with respect to “that which is perfect,” there are many different opinions that are being fostered. The proper understanding about these things is of great importance; for, if that which is perfect has not come into existence, it is logical to suppose that the spiritual gifts should be found in the church now as earlier. It is amply obvious that prophecies are to cease, tongues will fail, and knowledge will vanish, at some time or other; but the time of their ceasing is something that requires serious consideration. If someone says that they have not existed on the earth in the last centuries, and because of that they have of necessity ceased, I am quite ready to acknowledge that as truth; but I cannot acknowledge that the church of God is on the earth without them, unless the church has already received that which is perfect in their place. Gifts were to cease in the church, and not outside of it; and if the “falling away”* of the church happened before the last centuries, it was reasonable for the gifts under scrutiny to have fallen away also, because they were of no use to churches organized by men.
But lest the “falling away” pose a stumbling block to anyone, or lest the restoration by an angel be foolishness, I shall be satisfied to leave that alone, if the reader will acknowledge that the true Church of Jesus Christ is on the earth at present; and I think that everyone is prepared to believe that. Such an acknowledgement will be better than anything else, and we shall be able to reason more fairly from that point.
Now, we can observe the following: if the church of Jesus Christ is on the earth at present, it must have that which is in part, or that which is perfect; and it cannot have these two things at the same time. Every reasonable man is bound to acknowledge that, because Paul says that that which is in part shall be done away, after that which is perfect has come. If so, it is quite simple for all to perceive the difference between that which is in part, and that which is perfect; for they are no doubt very different from each other: one is imperfection, and the other is perfection, and where one is the other cannot be there also, without its being obvious to everyone. But before anyone can judge properly whether it is that which is in part, or that which is perfect that the church has at present, it is necessary to know correctly what Paul meant by those words; and in order to assist the honest reader to search for himself, I shall first examine what the apostle meant by “that which is in part.”
I. What is meant by “THAT WHICH IS IN PART?”—The apostle says, “For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.” That shows that the prophecies, the tongues, and the knowledge mentioned previously, made up that which is in part, and that such gifts were to be done away when that which is perfect has come. Perhaps everyone is prepared to acknowledge this; but I know that there are many opinions, despite that, as to what is meant by prophecies, tongues, and knowledge; and consequently, I shall help the reader in greater detail, so that he may understand throroughly that which is in part. If there be some denominations of our country who wish to prove that telling of things to come, speaking in strange tongues, and interpreting, &c., have ceased, they recite the following:—“But whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.” But, if they wish to claim that prophesying, speaking in tongues, and interpreting, &c., are in their churches, they say that explaining or preaching is the meaning of prophesying, a blasphemer praying and praising God is the strange tongues, and their learned theologians are those who interpret. That is how the teachers of the country reason: when they wish for prophesying to be in their churches, they say that is it explaining; and when they want the gift to tell of things to come, they shout, “Prophecies shall fail;” and the same thing for the other gifts. Everyone sees, by searching the scriptures, the foolishness of the learned men of our country, those who are “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” God had placed pastors and teachers to preach and teach, so there would be no need for prophets also to accomplish the same work. The special function of prophesying, in every age of the world, was to tell of things to come; and the work of John, the last prophet we know about, was to tell of things to come in his Revelation, and not to preach or explain. Every man in his right mind knows also that the daughters of Phillip were not preaching or explaining, and also those women in the church at Corinth; “for they were not permitted to speak” in church, rather they were to ask their husbands at home. Now, if explaining was prophesying in the early days, why were women forbidden to speak in church; and if they wished to learn something, to ask their husbands at home? To what purpose was the prophetic gift given to women, if they were not allowed to explain or preach, and do so among the brethren? The truth is, they had the right to tell of things to come, as did the daughters of Phillip, even while associating with apostles and other brethren, and also to pray, but they had to be careful to cover their heads; but they did not have the right to speak by way of teaching or explaining, in church or at home, but they could ask questions to their husbands in the latter place. Without searching further, that is sufficient to prove that prophesying is to tell of things to come; for those who wish to know more, let them read “The Spiritual Gifts in the Court of the Enemy,” and other treatises. All the prophecies were in part and imperfect, especially in the churches at Corinth and Thessalonica; for Paul had to command them, “Despise not prophesyings;” and the tongues were also as bad in their sight, until at times they forbade each other from speaking in tongues. It is not likely, if tongues were sinners praying, that Paul would have said, “But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.” Paul, one of the greatest sinners, prayed once before being accepted as a member; but the scriptures do not say that that was speaking in tongues. But this kind of reasoning is in vain for the unprejudiced reader, for he sees quite well what is meant by prophecy, tongues, knowledge, interpretation, &c., so there is no need to use additional paper to describe them. All were things in part, and degrees of imperfection more or less were bound to be connected with them continually. Those who prophesied were to prophesy “according to the proportion of faith,” and those who spoke in tongues were to do that by course, so they would not prophesy falsely, or cause confusion by speaking at the same time. Although the Spirit of God was perfect at that time, as he is now, yet the spirits of the saints were as far from being perfect as are the spirits of the saints in this age; and that was the primary cause of imperfection in their gifts. Paul showed that the early saints could perfect themselves, to a large extent, by “seeking to excel to the edifying of the church,” and by “praying for them to be able to interpret.” The more they strove to practice wisdom in the spiritual gifts, the more they reached toward perfection. Although the church at Corinth possessed the Spirit of God in his various gifts, yet without the teaching of Paul all of them were but causing disbelief and destruction in their midst; though under the guidance of the Spirit, unparalleled confusion would exist in that church without Paul’s leadership. God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. Spiritual gifts among the Saints would be rather worthless, unless they were taught how to use them. Those who wish further knowledge can obtain it in 1 Cor. xii—xiv, where all is portrayed more clearly than in any commentary of uninspired men. We see, then, that the various spiritual gifts were things in part and imperfect, and that these are what Paul meant when he said “that which is in part;” “for,” he says, “we know in part, and we prophesy in part.”
I hope that the unbiased reader now comprehends well what is meant by “that which is in part,” and that he can know which party or denomination claims prophecies, tongues, and knowledge, in their churches, in this age, as before. There is no need to inform him again, that that which is in part cannot exist with that which is perfect, for he knows that very well. The next thing to be sure of is this; namely “when that which is perfect is come,” that “that which is in part” shall be done away; and not before or after that. If one cannot get hold of that which is in part among the different religions of the age, or from the Latter-day Saints, then it is likely for one to think that that which is in part has been done away, and that that which is perfect, whatever it is, exists. But, lest anyone be misled, I shall endeavor to show
II. What is meant by “THAT WHICH IS PERFECT?”—Men have many thoughts about “that which is perfect.” One of the most popular opinions is that “that which is perfect” is in heaven, and that that which is “in part” ceases exactly when a man leaves this life, and that then “that which is perfect” comes to his presence in heaven. That is the opinion of Matthew Henry in his commentary, together with the greater part of the other commentators. Matthew Henry says, in explaining that “that which is in part,” and the “childish things,” are in contrast to that which is perfect and pertaining to a “man,” as follows:—“Such is the difference between the earth and heaven. Such limited views, such confused and unclear suppositions about things that children have, in comparison to grown men! And it is so natural for men, when their reasoning has matured, to scorn and leave their childish thoughts, and cast them away, and to refuse them, and to count them as nothing! Likewise we shall view our most prized gifts and accomplishments when we come to heaven.” That is how the above learned man speaks. Now, we see that when some Christian dies, that “that which is perfect” is by his side, and that the prophesyings, the tongues, and the knowledge (namely that which is in part) are done away immediately from the church! Oh! such foolishness! Why had that which is perfect not come before Paul wrote the words of the text, when so many of the saints had died? and why was that which is in part being practiced in the church after that which is perfect had come? Also how can that which is perfect come more than once? and how could that which is in part be done away more than once in the early times, and also be done away completely in these days, before that which is perfect is come? Answers to questions such as those are needed; but who can give them? If someone says that that which is perfect has not come to his possession, then he must acknowledge that he needs that which is in part, until he can get that which is perfect; and what is that but to say that prophesying, speaking in tongues, &c., should be in the church now as well as before? But, I see that the reader is not willing to acknowledge the foregoing opinion, despite how popular it is, rather that it is necessary that some much different opinion must be adopted by the believers of our country; and I shall hasten to search for some other opinion that is more logical.
The only other popular opinion concerning “that which is perfect,” that I know about, is the following one; namely that the NEW TESTAMENT is “that which is perfect.” This new opinion is flourishing more and more, because it appears much more logical than the other opinion. I wish that the books that portray this opinion were by my side; but since they are not, the reader will please forgive me for not providing any reference, since the opinion is so well known and popular. The reason this opinion is more logical than the other is because “that which is in part,” namely the spiritual gifts, were to leave the earth near to the time the holy scriptures were gathered into one book; and because of that many believe that the New Testament is what is meant by “that which is perfect.” But before believing or condemning this opinion, all have a special duty to look into it for themselves, whether the Testament is the perfection under examination or not. We could easily believe that, perhaps; but we must always remember that every belief is founded on the witness that is given. When the American Indians saw gunpowder for the first time from the Europeans, they believed those who said that it would grow if but planted in the earth; but after trying that, they came to believe completely differently. The same holds concerning religious things; men believe according to the witness and the proof that are given to them from others. That should teach us to be wise about believing the things we hear; and one thing we hear is that the New Testament is that which is perfect. That appears to be quite plausible, just like gunpowder appeared to the Indians as something that would likely grow as well as leek seeds. But one needs to search for more witnesses than what have been given up to now: therefore, allow us to dissect the New Testament, in order to see what it is made of, whether of perfect or of imperfect material. First, we can pull free its four Gospel writers, namely Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. What is the material of these, I wonder? I shall answer; it is the history of “the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God,” and nothing else. Luke says that “many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,” and that “it seemed good” to him also to do likewise for the most excellent Theophilus, so that he could know the certainty of those things wherein he had been instructed. There is no room to believe that God commanded any one of them to write anything, neither that the Spirit was guiding them to write things they did not know previously: and it is not likely that God would appoint four (and Luke says there are “many” others also) to each write an account; for there would be one account more understandable than many, especially if those many contradicted one another. We perceive that the gospel writers do contradict themselves in some things, which shows that the knowledge of some of them was more imperfect than the others. One example, perhaps, will suffice to satisfy the reader, lest we use words needlessly. In Matt. xxviii, 2—5, it says that one angel saw the women by the grave of our Lord, after his resurrection, while Luke says (xxiv, 4) that there were two angels there. There are numerous such misunderstandings among the gospel writers, although the purpose of each one was to portray everything as it happened. There is no wonder in that, for they acknowledge that “In many things we offend all.” The next part of the New Testament is the book of Acts, which is nothing more than an account of the acts of the apostles. No commandment was given for this to be written either: Luke chose to take that to task, as he did his Gospel, in order to give a broader account about Christianity. After that we find the letters or the epistles of Paul to the Romans, the Corinthians, the Galatians, the Ephesians, the Philippians, the Colossians, the Thessalonians, and to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, and also to the Hebrews. Neither did Paul receive a commandment to write all the books named. It appears clearly that the greater part of these letters was written to the different churches because Paul was unable to go to them in person. Had he been able to visit each church, when he needed to teach them, we would undoubtedly be without the letters in our possession; for when he visited them, although he taught things just as godly, none of his teachings were written, but kept as a tradition. Well, we see what is the stuff of Paul’s letters—that it was all Paul’s teaching to the churches when he was absent; and we do not think that teaching while absent is any better than teaching while present. No doubt the teaching he gave in person was every bit as necessary to those churches, and also to us, if you will, as were the teachings of the letters. All the letters were an addition to what Paul had taught in person. That is the reason that “baptism for the dead,” and other such doctrines, are so difficult to understand for the learned men of this age. Had Paul written to the Corinthians at first, instead of visiting them, we would have written knowledge, perhaps, portraying baptism for the dead. Paul did not write after each visit except for those things he supposed they did not know, and that which he saw as necessary. Neither did the same thing serve the purpose for every church. Each teaching was imparted according to the call for it: after coming to know one thing, the reason would arise for coming to know another. Many things were taught to the Gentiles that were dangerous, or unnecessary, to teach to the Jews; and thus it was for different churches.
Now we know to some extent the nature, purpose, and content of Paul’s letters; therefore, we can ask immediately this question, Do you suppose that we received anything of “that which is perfect?” But we had better search the entire Testament, lest perfection be hiding toward the end. In our searching thus far we have found the small epistles of James, Peter, John, and Jude, which all together are no bigger than the book of Acts; but even if they were, we do not believe they would be any more perfect. Again there was no commandment for anyone to write these epistles. They are letters similar to the others, except that they are more general; and for that reason we can set them aside, having obtained nothing more excellent than in the others. Now, then, we are nearly finished dissecting everything; there is nothing but the book of Revelation remaining. There is something in the name of this piece of the Testament that is worthy of note. It is not very similar to the others. In fact, perhaps this is “that which is perfect;” for it is said that it would be somewhere between the two covers of the Testament. Upon searching the Revelation, we learn that John was in exile on the Isle of Patmos, and that while there he heard “a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, what thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia.” According to that, John received a specific commandment to write; and who knows but what his writing may be that which is perfect? We shall see, if we but search carefully. In the beginning and the end of this book, as well as throughout, John declares that it is prophesying. Well, if one acknowledges that this book is prophesying, then it is quite simple to determine whether it is “that which is perfect.” Paul says, “For we know in part, and we PROPHESY in part.” Now, since everyone prophesied in part, it is not possible that the book of Revelation, any more than the other books, can be perfect; and now we have dissected the entire Testament, and we have not found one part of it to be perfect! But, perhaps someone says that it is not one part that consists of perfection, rather all of them put together; and perhaps the proof it gives is in these words—“For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book,” &c. There are some, dear reader, who are so dull as to think that John gathered up all the gospels, epistles, and letters of the various churches in every place, and carried them with him in a big bundle of parchments when he was exiled to the isle of Patmos, and that there he organized them all into a big pile, with the parchment of the book of Revelation as the highest one, on which John wrote that no one should add anything to it, or take anything away, lest danger should befall him! Every man of common sense understands the “words of the prophecy of this book” (namely the Revelation, and only that) is what John meant, and that the “Revelation,” and not the New Testament, is what John sent to the seven churches in Asia. If John had added a piece of the epistles of Paul to the book of his prophecy, he no doubt would have been more of a transgressor than anyone else. John had no right to send anything, as something from God, to the churches in Asia, except that which the angel had shown him and declared to him. With regard to the prohibition found at the end of the Revelation, another Bible could be written, as long as it did not add anything to that prophecy John wrote to the churches in Asia: but God could, if he wanted, add to the Revelation, without asking anyone;—the prohibition is for man only. If anyone wishes for other proof that only the Revelation is what John meant, let him read (in Chap. xxii, 10) that which the angel says to him, namely, “Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book.” Notice that the other parts of the Testament had been announced in the churches, before the angel came from heaven to tell John not to seal the sayings of the book: and since the other books had been revealed, there was no reason to say not to seal them; but for the book of Revelation, which was being written at the time, it was quite reasonable. That will suffice, I think, on that for the present. I shall now inquire if it is possible for some number of books or letters written by men subject to errors, those who said that they knew “IN PART,” and that they prophesied “IN PART”—to ever be able to make up “THAT WHICH IS PERFECT?” Is it from imperfections that perfection is composed? If so, then “that which is perfect” is the commentaries of the age! If Paul and his brethren knew everything “in part,” how could it be that what they wrote was perfect? And if all they wrote, though it was all in part, composes perfection, how could the Testament be perfect while much of it is missing? (See 1 Cor. v, 9; Jude 3, 14; Luke i, 1, 2, &c). If John or Paul prophesied under the influence of the Spirit, they did all of that in part; if they knew something, they knew in part; or if they saw, they nevertheless saw “through a glass, darkly.” It is not possible that that which they wrote became perfect sometime after the ink had dried, otherwise the virtue was in the ink; for it could not be in the apostles, since they testified that they did everything “in part.” Now if the apostles and others themselves knew in part, they also taught others in part; and if they taught others in part when they spoke, they must also have done that when they wrote; and if all their writings were in part, when they were scattered, it must be that they were also gathered in part; and if they were gathered in part, they were also copied, translated, printed, and sold to us in part; and we can say nothing less than we are able to read them “in part” also! Where, pray tell, does “that which is perfect” reside in the New Testament?
But, let us suppose that we were to acknowledge that the New Testament is “that which is perfect;” how much wiser will anyone be after that? What does it profit this nation to have that which is perfect? We know that the Christians in the time of Paul, although they had nothing but that which was “in part,” called themselves SAINTS; but the Christians of this age, although they have “that which is perfect,” refuse to wear the name, because they do not dare to consider themselves sufficiently perfect until they arrive in heaven!! Rather, they wear the names Baptists, Independents, Wesleyans, Methodists, Anglicans, Papists, Unitarians, Shakers, and a hundred other names, to show that that which is in part has been done away, and that that which is PERFECT is come!—or, in other words, to show that they have “all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a PERFECT MAN, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ!!” But, oh, foolishness; yes, the foolishness of man! Where has such silliness ever been heard of before? Oh, seriously, reader, are you not troubled? Men of this age professing “that which is perfect,” and being able to see “face to face,” when they have never even seen so much as the backside of an angel, or even the tip of his wing (if he has a wing—it is men who have never seen an angel who paint them with wings)! The truth is, they know that what they have is not “that which is perfect,” and nothing more than paper and ink; they do not claim anything else as perfect; and as for themselves, they say that they are much more imperfect than the early saints, those who knew very well that they were not anywhere near perfect. Well! well! then, what are the wise men of our country dreaming about? Did Paul suggest that anything such as a book was “that which is perfect?” No, never; rather he said, “For now we see [that is, men] through a glass, darkly; but then, face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” He said that he and others, like a child at that time, knew in part, spoke or prophesied in part, thought in part, recognized in part, and saw as if through a glass unclearly; but that the time will come when they will be like a “man,” having put away childish things, and that which is perfect will be in their possession, and they will all see “face to face,” and will know as they are known. There is no book until now that has seen anyone’s face, or has known anyone who knows it, nor will there ever be. In the saints, and not in books, is the change from “that which is in part,” to “that which is perfect” to take place. Children of God knew in part, and children of God will yet know perfectly, and have the knowledge of the Son of God. The scorned followers of Jesus saw “through a glass, darkly;” and it is they who will yet see “face to face:” and those who know in part, are also those who will know as they are known, and not a book, or a dead letter. It is to the Saints, as a body or a church, that that which is perfect will come as an inheritance; and the Saints, as such, were those who had that which is in part.—That which is in part pertained to their childish condition; but Paul said that when they became a “man,” that that which is perfect will be given to them as an inheritance. The church will not become a “man” at once; it must deal with childish things and in part for a long time, but not forever—rather “till they all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a PERFECT MAN, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Eph. iv, 13). So when the church becomes a “MAN,” that is the time that that which is perfect will come to their part, and not before. It will be a child until that time, and it will be necessary to deal with childish toys, such as prophesying, speaking, and knowing in part. Now, if the church presently has that which is perfect, then the denominations of the country are in “the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God,” and more important than everything else, “a PERFECT MAN, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ!” But, is the Rhymni fair of baptism the coming together? or, is the Evangelical Union the unity of the faith? or, is the knowledge of the colleges the knowledge of the Son of God? or, is the Cholera, who converted thousands in a single day, the perfect man? Give me a better explanation, and I shall believe otherwise: until that time I shall believe that that is the perfection of the denominations.
Finally, dear reader, if you have not become angry, allow me to ask, Where is that which is in part, and where is that which is perfect, in this age? I do not mean that which is in part and that which is perfect according to the opinion of men, but that which is thus according to the inspired description of the apostle. I do not appeal to your prejudice, or your tradition, but to your best reason. The matter needs to be determined in wisdom. Do not listen to the gossip of fools, but prove it in a God-fearing manner; for the whole thing is a profit or a loss to you personally. Do not fear, if you are converted, to wear the name of Saints, for some who were just as imperfect and insignificant as you are, wore it earlier. Now, is it heaven or the New Testament, according to your conscious opinion, that is that which is perfect? Or, are you convinced that it is something else? If you are of the opinion that heaven is that which is perfect, do you believe that heaven did not exist before that which is in part ceased in the church? For Paul says, “But when that which is perfect is come, then [after that] that which is in part shall be done away.” It is not heaven that is to come to us, but we to heaven; but if Paul’s going to heaven, or that of anyone else, secures for him that which is perfect, we who are here on the earth, despite that, should not put aside that which is in part, until we secure the same thing. But, perhaps, it is the New Testament that you have in mind, reader, and not heaven: but listen, how much more perfect and complete was that which the apostles taught orally and in writing, before that which is in part ceases, than is the perfection of the Testament now? Seriously, is the result of prophecies, tongues, and knowledge in part, that which is perfect? Is that possible? Did the unclean hands of the Papists who stole or gathered the scriptures together, perfect that which is in part, and make it perfect? did their translation and printing of the scriptures? I am certain that one cannot expect much of perfection from the hands of the “d——l printer;” for I know plenty about that. But, if that which is perfect, despite it all, is the New Testament, then there is no longer any need for that which is in part; for if everyone buys a Testament, he or his book can see face to face, know everything, see clearly, so that there will be no need for preachers, commentaries, pamphlets or anything else ever again; and that would be heaven on earth!
Now, after so much digression, it is time to turn back to those who perhaps are failing to follow us, to show more specifically, that the book that indicates that that which is perfect is yet to come is not itself that which is perfect; and we shall show that not even heaven, from whence that which is in part derived, is that which is perfect. That which is perfect is something totally different from both: it is something that cannot come, unless it comes generally to the saints throughout heaven and earth. What is in heaven to perfect man, any more than what is on the earth? If it is the Spirit of God there, it is on the earth also: if there are ministering spirits there, they are ministering here also. Does the separation of the spirit and the body bring perfection to the spirit, if it is good? If so, does a spirit, when it is bad, and when it leaves the body, get worse? The spirit is the governing force when it is in the body, and thus it is outside the body also; and what is the difference after going to heaven? only that the old body is left behind? Is the old body, I wonder, that which is in part? An affirmative answer to that would be to say that all have been spirits ever since the days of the apostles. But there is a way to perfect everyone in the body on the earth; for God gave “some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we ALL come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a PERFECT MAN, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” Before ALL the saints can ever come together, we must await that time when Christ will come on the clouds with hosts of his saints, to join together in the air with the saints that are on the earth, when there will no longer be an opportunity to convince anyone after that. That is the time we shall come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, and all shall see face to face, and not through a glass, and all shall know as they are known, and not in part: yes, that is the wonderful time that all the saints will be a “PERFECT MAN,” unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. After that, that which is in part will be completely done away; and unless paper and ink are taken up above, they will be done away in the same way by the “fiery flame.” At present, the Latter-day Saints are on the earth, and they have apostles, and prophets, &c., to perfect them and to edify them to the body of Christ, (Eph. iv, 11—13); and they expect, after much use of the childish toys and that which is in part, for the healthful and necessary exercise of the body, to increase in every sustaining joint, till they become a PERFECT MAN, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ! and at that time we shall not need to persuade anyone that there is further need for that which is in part, for “that which is perfect” will have come. Now, he that has understanding, let him understand that to which I have testified.
WHEN “that which is perfect” is come,
“That which is in part” will be completely gone,
The commentaries of men will cease—
Their foolishness will flee forthwith!
None shall say that perfection is heaven,
Neither that it is the Testament;
Every “child” will become more educated,
When God completes his work:
He shall come to understand that a book
Is not what he will see uncovered,
Rather the Saints, after joining together
As a “perfect man,” will be their Head.
Now try to comprehend also
That the church is not yet a “man,”—
And that the gifts will never cease,
Until it becomes one for sure.