Ronald D. Dennis, trans. and ed., Defending the Faith: Early Welsh Missionary Publications (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2003).
D21 DAVIS, John. Traethodau ar wyrthiau, yn cynnwys adolygiad ar ddarlithiau y Parch. J. Jones, Llangollen, a llyfryn y Parch. J. Davies, Llanelli, ar yr un pwnc. (Treatises on miracles, containing a review of the lectures of the Rev. J. Jones, Llangollen, and the pamphlet of the Rev. J. Davies, Llanelli, on the same subject.) Merthyr Tydfil: Printed, published and for sale by J. Davis, John Street, Georgetown, 1852.
[ii]–70 pp. 17 cm. Welsh Mormon Writings 67.
In early 1852 the Reverend John Jones of Llangollen, the brother of Captain Dan Jones, gave three lectures in Merthyr Tydfil at the Bethesda Chapel (25 February, 3 March, and 17 March). His purpose was to shed light on the topic of miracles and to disprove Latter-day Saint doctrine concerning them. Jones was countered immediately afterwards by William Phillips and John Davis, who gave public lectures of their own in the White Lion Inn in the center of Merthyr Tydfil.
John Davis eventually decided to combat Jones with a series of pamphlets instead of delivering public lectures. And because Jones’s ideas were similar to those of the Reverend John Davies, Breconshire (see Y doniau gwyrthiol fel eu darlunir yn yr ysgrythyrau sanctaidd [The spiritual gifts as portrayed in the holy scriptures], Brynmawr, 1851), Davis dealt with both these ministers in his writings.
Davis’s involvement in translating and publishing the Book of Mormon in Welsh somewhat delayed the appearance of the treatises. The last signature of Llyfr Mormon was sent out with the 17 April 1852 Zion’s Trumpet, and the first treatise on miracles is dated 21 May 1852; the other five are dated 3 June, 15 June, 19 June, 2 July, and 15 July 1852.
Twenty years Jones’s junior, John Davis had become acquainted with the Church about six years earlier while employed at Jones’s press at Rhydybont. Knowing this difference in age and station helps explain Jones’s words as quoted in the foreword to Davis’s Treatises on miracles and Davis’s retort. Jones: “It will have to be something before it can bring me down.” Davis: “Even though we are but a small ‘shepherd boy’ beside the Giant of Llangollen, yet we feel totally unafraid. . . . Who knows but what some sharp stones of truth, from our insignificant sling, will adhere to his skull and cause him to fall to the ground?”
A REVIEW ON THE LECTURES OF THE REV. J. JONES,
LLANGOLLEN, AND THE PAMPHLET OF THE REV. J.
DAVIES, LLANELLI, ON THE SAME TOPIC.
IN SIX TREATISES.
If the Miracles have ceased,
‘Tis vain for anyone to hope:
For if Christ raised up some from the dead,
The others will never rise from the dust.
BY JOHN DAVIS, MERTHYR.
PRINTED, PUBLISHED, AND FOR SALE BY J. DAVIS,
JOHN STREET, GEORGETOWN.
Sec. I. — Introduction
Sec. II. — Miracles—what are they?
Sec. III. — The Purpose of Miracles
Sec. IV. — The Workers of Miracles
Sec. I. — Public and Private Miracles
Sec. II. — Continuation of Miracles
Sec. III. — Apostles
1. Calling of the Apostles
2. The Office of the Apostles
3. The Number of the Apostles
4. Peter as Head of them
5. How they were witnesses of Christ
Sec. I. — Prophets
1. The Two great Prophets—Moses and Christ
2. The Sign of Prophets
3. Prophets after Christ
Sec. II. — The Holy Ghost
1. Baptism of the Holy Ghost
2. Spiritual Gifts of the Holy Ghost
3. Continuation of the Baptism of the Spirit and the Spiritual Gifts, and the way to have them
Sec. III. — Anointing with Oil, and Prayer
1. On whom was the ordinance of anointing administered, &c.?
2. Continuation of the ordinance of anointing and prayer
Sec. I. — Miracles of the Magicians of Egypt
1. Turning the Rods into Serpents
2. Turning the Waters into Blood
3. Smiting the Land with Frogs
4. Smiting the Dust into Lice
Sec. II. — The Witch of Endor raising Samuel
Sec. I. — “The End of the World,” and the Destruction of Jerusalem
Sec. II. — Sign to them that believe not, and Speaking in Tongues
Sec. I. — “That Which is in Part, and That which is Perfect,” or the End of miracles
***The “TREATISE ON MIRACLES, portraying what they are, their purpose, when they were performed, and the standard for proving the divinity of religion,” should be placed at the end of the above treatises, so as to compose one book.
The only thing that brought about the publication of these treatises was the Lectures of the Rev. J. Jones, Llangollen, on Miracles, which he delivered in Bethesda, Merthyr, on the 25th of February, and the 3rd and 17th of March, 1852. We were present and listened to the three lectures, and wrote them down; and they were reviewed for the public after that in the Cymreigyddion Hall, Merthyr, by Elder Phillips and myself, together with Brother Robert Evans, to a large congregation. But since Mr. Jones continues to deliver these lectures up and down the country, we deemed it appropriate, through the encouragement of hosts of brethren, to review them in a series of treatises, which can visit every corner of Wales. At the same time, we shall review the pamphlet that is called “Miraculous Gifts,” by the Rev. J. Davies, Llanelli, Brecknockshire, which, in many topics agrees with Mr. Jones; and very likely we shall also make reference to some things in the New Testament of the Baptists, focusing on the “end of the world,” &c. In order to fortify our reports of the Lectures of Mr. Jones, we shall probably make frequent reference to the books he has published, when they have to do with the topic at hand, so that no one will have any excuse to say that we are misstating that which he delivered in his lectures.
We cannot yet say how many treatises we shall publish, but we shall endeavor not to exceed six, for a penny each. The chief topics we shall undertake to write about, are the following:—Miracles—what they are; Purpose of Miracles; Workers of Miracles; Miracles in public and in private; Apostles—their calling, their office, and their number—Peter as head of them—How they were witnesses of Christ; Prophets—the Two great Prophets, Moses and Christ—Sign of Prophets—Prophets after Christ; The Holy Ghost—Baptism of the Holy Ghost—Miraculous Gifts of the Holy Ghost—Continuance of Baptism of the Spirit and the Miraculous Gifts, and how to obtain them; Anointing with Oil and prayer—On whom this ordinance is performed?—Continuance of the ordinance in the Church; Judgment of God, and the Destruction of Jerusalem—preaching the Gospel across the world—heaven and the new earth; Miracles of the Magicians of Egypt; The Witch of Endor raising Samuel; “End of the World,” and the Destruction of Jerusalem; Sign to the unbelievers; That which is in Part, and That which is Perfect, &c.
We shall endeavor to treat each topic separately, distributing each Treatise into separate divisions, so the reader can turn to them with greater ease, and perhaps at the end a Table of Contents will be prepared. We do not promise that what we write will bear a lot of resemblance to what we and our brethren delivered in public, as we reviewed the work of Mr. Jones; but we shall endeavor to bring forward many completely new things, and take a different way of treating the things that were under our scrutiny previously.
Although we are but a small “shepherd boy” alongside the Giant of Llangollen, yet we feel totally unafraid; and although we heard him proclaim in his last lecture, “It will have to be something before it can bring me down,” yet who knows but what some sharp stones of truth, from our insignificant sling, will adhere to his skull, and cause him to fall to the ground. God knows best concerning that; but we know this, that we are battling for God, and woe unto them that fight against him.
As we undertake to write a series of treatises on Miracles, there is nothing more fitting than to endeavor to describe what they are. Mr. Jones said that miracles are that which is contrary to the laws of nature, as far as we know about the laws of nature. And again some say that they are a violation of the laws of nature, or in opposition to the established rules of nature; while others choose to “describe a miracle as an effect produced by the same cause, as real as the common effects of nature; but only that the cause that produces a miracle does not lie within the sphere of the laws of nature.” We have also given our opinion in the Treatise on Miracles, which we published last year; and it is as follows:—”We call a miracle that which is beyond our understanding, and that which we cannot comprehend, or with which we are not familiar. Nothing is a miracle in the sight of God, for he understands how all things are accomplished; but to us everything appears to be a miracle, if we do not comprehend it, or are not familiar with it, &c.” (See the Treatise for more.) There are many things that appeared as miracles to some, while they did not appear as such to others. We think of a rock, the customary nature of which is to go down, being lifted up by a spirit invisible to us; this would appear as a miracle to us, if we did not know that a spirit was lifting it, but in the sight of the spirit it would not be any more of a miracle than had some man lifted it up, and it would not in any way go contrary to the laws of nature. We think further of the virtue that went out of Jesus Christ, healing that woman of her issue of blood (Mark v, 30); and of the virtue that was in the handkerchiefs that were brought from the body of Paul, healing the sick. These things appeared as miracles to those who did not comprehend what it was to heal; but Christ and Paul knew what was causing the healing—the Spirit of God was acting there. There is no reason that some means could not be used to work miracles in the same way they are used to accomplish other things. We think of Christ giving sight to the blind: if what Mr. Jones says is true, he had no bottles at hand (which is doubtful, as we shall yet show); nevertheless, he used medicine, if nothing else but his spittle mixed with clay; for if healing virtue emanated from his person at his touch, there is no doubt that for those who had faith in him as a Doctor that virtue was abundant in his spittle as well.
On the whole, it seems to us that many things have taken place in different ages of the world, under the name of miracles, which will not be understood as such in times to come. For example, let us consider the lions with Daniel in the den; the time will come before long when it will be natural for the lions to behave toward everyone as they did toward Daniel; and there was a time previous to that, namely during the creation of the world, when it was not the “law of nature” for the lions and other creatures to be predators. Indeed, it seems to us that all the miracles ever worked are a clear manifestation of the power that God intends to share with all the children of men, when they, together with the earth and the heavens, are restored back to their perfect state, when the elements have no effect on their constitutions, and when they are enabled to accomplish greater deeds than those which Christ worked in their midst in the days of his incarnation.
The scriptures show clearly that there is a great need for faith in God, in order to work miracles in his name; for he who has great faith is promised the help of God, by means of ministering spirits. Christ said that he could call “more than twelve legions of angels” to help him (Math. xxvi, 53); and doubtless there are hosts of angels or good spirits ministering to those who shall inherit salvation, and hosts of bad ones with those who are wicked, who use their power in various ways. But more about this further on.
We have not written about this matter for the purpose of taking issue with anyone as to what miracles are, for it is not of much importance; we have related that which came into our mind, and now leave the reader to judge for himself. But there is one thing in the pamphlet of the Rev. J. Davies, page 6, that deserves our attention before leaving this topic, and it is as follows—”Very strange are the effects of Mesmerism, when it holds a man motionless, with nothing more than a wave of the hand; but there is nothing miraculous in them, since they are effects produced by natural causes.” Now, we cannot believe anything like this, for if the correct revelations about some things are miraculous, then there are many things pertaining to Mesmerism that are completely miraculous, as many know, and as we ourselves shall prove as we consider the Workers of Miracles.
Since we have already written on this topic also in the Treatise on Miracles (which our readers should have obtained with these Treatises), we see no need for us to say anything further about it. The Reverends J. Jones and J. Davies say that the purpose of miracles, most particularly, is to prove the divinity of the new teachings from God, as in the days of Moses and Jesus Christ and the apostles; or in other words, that miracles are the criteria for proving religion, and once it has been proved, there is no need to prove it ever again. In answer to this, it seems to us that the main purpose of the miracles of God is that which is noted in the stories about them in the scriptures; if they also give glory to God, and cause men to believe, they are answering other purposes, besides the particular purposes under scrutiny. But on the other hand, it seems that the main purpose of miracles worked by the power of darkness, is to fortify false religions, as we can understand by the scriptures, and not to do any good thing.
Unless we knew that the religion of Christ was built on a more solid foundation than miracles and wonders, we fear that the “gates of hell” would prevail over it; but gratefully it was built on “this rock” (namely revelation), so that nothing can shake it. The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal (1 Cor. xii, 7), so that there is no need for anyone to be deceived. This, no doubt, was what Christ had in mind when he said, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine (or the religion), whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John vii, 17). What, is that how Christ confirmed his doctrine? Yes, no doubt, and no way can be better. Miracles could help many to do the will of God, but miracles themselves could not constitute a proof of His divine mission, rather it was necessary to have the Spirit of revelation to prove that. The good works of Christ were strong motivation to believe in him, but it does not appear that they were sufficient to prove his doctrine; otherwise, he would not have proclaimed the foregoing promise of getting a sure knowledge of the doctrine, by obeying the Gospel.
It is true that Jesus Christ has directed the attention of unbelieving men to the miracles he worked, as the best proof of his divine mission within their reach in their condition; but if it so happened that they believed and obeyed his doctrine (namely the Gospel), he would direct them to the “gift of the Holy Ghost,” which is promised to “all that are afar off” (Acts ii, 38, 39), to enable them to know of his doctrine, and to say, “We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lieth in wickedness.” The Lord, it is true, fortified his word “by signs,” but remember that the signs were such that the Spirit worked in the believers, by “dividing to every man severally, as he will.” Those signs were proofs in the believers themselves, by the working of the Spirit, that their religion was of God, while the signs the unbelievers saw the apostles and others do, were nothing more than some kind of outward proofs, concerning which they could be deceived, in the context of other knowledge they might have. It is highly illogical, then, for miracles to be a standard to prove the divinity of a religion.
Furthermore, if it is possible for the powers of darkness to work miracles (which we shall endeavor to prove affirmatively in the next section—§iv), he who builds his religion on miracles, is likely to have built on sand. Let Mr. Jones, and everyone else, remember that the Latter-day Saints do not, as he suggested they do, build their religion on miracles, private or public, rather on revelation only, which is the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, and the foundation of all those who do not build on sand. Those who now build their religion by reading about the miracles of Christ and the apostles, the account of which was written by the apostles themselves, are building on a very sandy foundation; and when they themselves see the signs and miracles of false prophets and devils in the latter days, they are likely to be deceived, for they never will have seen any miracle before, and will naturally believe those miracles. But the people argue that the world is becoming more enlightened, and that false prophets and devils will never deceive them; but who knows best? It says in Math. xxiv, 24, that they shall deceive, if it were possible, the very elect; and in Rev. xiii, 12—16, one is described as making fire come down from heaven, in the sight of men, and deceiving those that dwell on the earth (despite all their learning), causing both small and great, rich and poor, to obey him, because of his wonders. In short, these, together with the three unclean spirits (see Rev. xvi, 13, 14), will convince the “whole world,” except, perhaps, a few elect, those who will not consider miracles as a standard of religion. The foundation of the religion of the greatest part of our fellow countrymen in the present days is such that it would be swept away if any of those false prophets were to appear and give signs to them; and it is unlikely that men are any wiser now than they will be a few years hence; therefore it is very likely they could be deceived to believe as true, although unknowingly, the heresy which they now believe.
Now, as we end our observations on this, we say, if the purpose of the miracles of Christ and the apostles was to prove their teachings were from God, and if no miracles were ever again necessary after that to prove the same thing; then, as a result, there is a great need for miracles in the sects of the world in this age, for their religions differ so greatly from that of Christ, that thousands fail to know which one is right: and since the Latter-day Saints claim that their religion is correct and the same as that of Christ and the apostles, no one should be so foolish as to ask for a sign to prove its divinity. No matter what the purpose of miracles may be, it makes no difference to the Saints; it pertains more to those who are guided by miracles, instead of by revelation. The Saints are on “this rock,” and are totally safe.
Many say that no one can work miracles except for God himself. That is something that we doubt; however, we allow that perhaps God endowed other beings, in the beginning, with powers to work miracles, and that he in that sense is the author of the whole of it. There is no doubt that, first of all, the angels have received great powers from God, as we ourselves have received powers from him; and it is reasonable to think that the angels, like ourselves, are free agents, and also able to use their powers, as we do, to do good or evil. Well, if powers were received in this manner by the angels, they no doubt have continued in constant possession of them, as have we, whether they use them to do good or evil. Now, we see, through the scriptures, that hosts of these angels sinned against God, by following their prince in a rebellion against him; for that reason “the angels that sinned” were “cast down to hell, and delivered into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment” (2 Peter ii, 4). Many learned men suppose that, because it is said that angels were cast down to hell, and delivered into chains of darkness, they had no freedom to visit this world; and thus, they try to explain all the stories of casting out devils, in the New Testament, as casting out illnesses! Now, we do not wish to say what kind of place is the hell under scrutiny, or where it is, neither what kinds of chains are the “chains of darkness;” but we think that many are greatly mistaken, by saying that the evil spirits do not have any kind of freedom, or that they never visit men on the earth. The scriptures furnish multiple proofs that Satan and his angels, or the evil spirits, or devils (as they are commonly called), dwell frequently, if not always, on the earth. After Satan was cast out of the presence of God to darkness, the first place we have an account of his going, was to the garden of Eden, to deceive our first parents; and after that he tempted Cain to kill his brother, and tempted others after him to do the same thing, for “he (the devil) was a murderer from the beginning” (John viii, 44). On another occasion, there is an account of him (in Job i, 6, 7), standing with the sons of God before the Lord, and answering from whence he came,—”from going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it,” which proves that he had great freedom. We have an account of him in 1 Chron. xxi, 1, standing up against Israel, and he exhorted David to count Israel; and in Zech. iii, 1, 2, it is said that “Joshua the high priest was standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan was standing at his right hand to resist him,” when the Lord commanded that Satan be rebuked. After that, we have the account of Satan tempting Christ in the wilderness (Math. iv); and in Luke x, 18, Jesus Christ says to the seventy, “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” [This was not a miraculous fall.] We think, furthermore, that just these suggestions are sufficient to prove that Satan has had plenty of freedom in our midst from the days of Adam, and that daily he “walketh about as a roaring lion;” and it does not appear that he will be bound with the “great chain,” until he is cast into the bottomless pit, and until he is shut up for a thousand years, but after that he shall come out for a while. (See Rev. xx.) Now, since Beelzebub (namely Satan), the leader of the devils, has such freedom, it is no wonder that his angels have the same. Those also are described as “walking through dry places, seeking rest:” and when they do not find it, they return to the houses where they came from, and they invite in other spirits, worse than they themselves (Luke xi, 24—26). There was a legion of them sometimes in the same man; and if we read in Mark v, 7—13, and other places, we find out that they possessed supernatural knowledge, since they knew that Jesus was the Son of the most high God, which the “lunatic,” as he is called, could never know; and to show where their special home was, they greatly pleaded with Jesus, “that he would not send them away out of the country.” Indeed, all the scriptures testify together that the earth is the dwelling place of the unclean spirits, and that they influence men to do evil, and possess many bodies, in order to have rest, and fulfill their pleasure.
Now, after tracing the history of the devil and his angels, and showing that they make their dwelling place on the earth, we can return to consider who are the workers of miracles. It is unquestionable that God can work miracles, and that angels and good men can work some through him; but whether evil spirits and evil men can work miracles through their own power is another matter.
We can reason as follows: If the angels did not lose the great powers they received from God in the beginning, which is unreasonable to think, they no doubt can use those powers any time they choose, if the greater powers of the Almighty do not forbid them; men can do the same thing, whether they be good or evil. If so, then the evil angels have as many powers now as they ever had, but they do not receive God’s support, in the same way as do the other angels. Then, it follows that they can work miracles, to the extent that God allows them; for miracles to us would be all their deeds which we do not comprehend. The reason that is brought forth by some, that it is not fair for God to allow evil spirits to work miracles lest they deceive the people with false religion, is nothing less than saying that it is not fair for God to allow evil men to preach, lest they lead others astray. Men in the flesh can fulfill their purposes, and so it is, we believe, with the spirits also; and since evil men and evil spirits have the same inclinations to do evil, it is amply reasonable for them to assist each other, through that which enables evil men to work miracles, through the assistance of supernatural power.
Now we shall endeavor to note examples and suggestions in the Bible, showing that Satan and his angels, apart from and in connection with men, work miracles, or signs and wonders. In the first place, we can note a remarkable miracle by Satan himself, by his causing the serpent to speak his mind to our mother Eve. What miracle could be more obvious than that one? There is no room to think that the serpent was speaking for himself, for despite all his cunning he could not speak to Eve the wondrous things he spoke, unless a superior power had been governing him. Now, if God permitted the devil to work that miracle, why can he not permit other miracles to be worked also by him, or by his angels, or by men through them? Indeed, it appears to us that the scriptures explain that God permits spirits and false prophets to work miracles and signs in order to test his people, or for some other similar purposes. Let us read the following:—”If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams (and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee), saying, Let us go after other gods (which thou has not known), and let us serve them; thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul,” (Deut. xiii, 1—3). Additional scriptures like this could be noted, but we had best proceed to show some of the various miracles which were worked by the devil. We see in the first two chapters of the book of Job, that Satan had received Job in his power, by the Lord’s permission. Were they not miracles that happened to Job? The Rev. J. Davies says in his pamphlet, page 16, “Everything appears explainable to me without a miracle, and it should not be considered thus in the circumstances. Doubtless each one of the afflictions that befell Job, one by one, befell many after that; but we do not have the story of all of them coming together to afflict anyone but him. As we look at them separately, it is difficult for us to believe that it means any of them are miracles.” Then he goes on to say that similar things happen commonly, such as murder, a sudden torrent of powerful winds, and devastations of lightning and thunder; but he does not mention anything about the boils. Now, the same thing could be argued that Elijah did not work a miracle by closing the heavens, because drought happened frequently; or that he did not work a miracle by bringing fire from heaven to consume the burnt offering, because thunder and lightning often set fire to other things. However, if this was not a miracle—”So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown,”—then, neither was it a miracle for Moses to cause boils to go upon the Egyptians (see Exod. ix, 11). If one is denied, the other must be denied also. But in order to finish our observations of the miracles of the chief of the devils, so we can go on to our observations of the miracles of devils and men, we shall mention Satan’s tempting of Christ. If taking our Lord to the pinnacle of the temple was not a miracle, “showing unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time” was quite a miracle, and it is not unlikely that at the time he was transformed into the form of an angel of light!
Now we can refer to miracles which were worked by devils and men. If we read in Mark v, 2—13, we shall have the story of a man whom “no man could bind, no, not with chains; because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces; neither could any man tame him,” because of the strength the devils had put in him. After that, behold the unclean spirits going into the herd of swine, and leading over two thousand of them down a steep place to drown in the sea. If these were not miracles, then we do not yet understand what miracles are. We shall yet read about the miracles of the Magicians of Egypt, and the Witch of Endor, about which we shall go into detail in future treatises. And now, does not Jesus Christ warn his people about miracles of this kind when he says, “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect,” (Math. xxiv, 24)? We see from this that everyone, except the elect, will be deceived to believe the words of the false prophets, by the great miracles they shall work; and the revelation that only the elect have will save them. “How,” say some, such as Messrs. Jones and Davies, in the words of the scripture, “shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken? [Answer.] When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously; thou shalt not be afraid of him” (Deut. xviii, 21, 22). Not by their signs, then, shall they be known, but by their words, as is seen also in Deut. xiii. 1—3; or else by the knowledge that is received by the Holy Ghost, as we shall prove in the last section. The Rev. J. Davies believes, because of what is said in 2 Thes. ii, 9, about “all power and signs and false wonders,” that the false prophets or the spirits worked things similar to signs. It is true that everything they did was false in one sense of the word; but does Mr. Davies believe that they are falsely deceiving, or that they have false “strength? We prefer to believe, in order to be consistent with the scriptures, that signs and wonders are sometimes called false, because of their false purpose to deceive in religion. But to proceed: there is another story in Acts xvi, 16—19, about “a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination,” and which “brought her masters much gain by soothsaying.” To show that she had miraculous powers, she said through that spirit, “These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.” After that, the spirit was cast out, the damsel lost her powers, and her masters lost their gain, which confirms that she had miraculous powers. But if there were nothing in that, what is to be done with the story in Rev. xiii, 13, about the beast doing “great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven in the sight of men,” until he deceived everyone? This is not something in the corner, rather completely public, and convincing.—The last thing we shall observe from the scriptures, is that which is seen in Rev. xvi, 13, 14, about the “three unclean spirits,” about which it is said, “For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” Let the Rev. Mr. Davies understand, “there is no one who thinks that a devil has a spirit other than his own,” but perhaps there are those who think that one needs to make the distinction sometimes between the spirits of devils and the spirits of men. We thank him for his commentary on this in his pamphlet, page 12; but we say to him that spirits as well as men can be “missionaries.” Now, if devils working miracles is not meant in the foregoing, then Christ and his apostles working miracles is not meant in other places; at least, that is how we reason.
Now, in closing, we can call attention to what we know that is miraculous in Mesmerism. About a year ago, we, and one or two others, were invited to see a girl being mesmerized; and after we were persuaded to ask her questions, she answered us things that no one knew but we ourselves. She told us that we had sent a number of books as a gift to Salt Lake City, and that at that time they were in a box in Council Bluffs; and she was kind enough to go there in her sleep, work herself to the bottom of the box, open the bundle, and read the words we ourselves had written inside the covers. This is true, and the Rev. J. Jones, Llangollen, was present and heard it, together with others that we could name. And now, if there were no miraculous powers in this circumstance, then we do not know anything about them. Many other men have received similar proofs, and have published them to the world; but we do not believe that everything they reveal is true, for that cannot be expected under the kingdom of the “father of lies.”
Now we bring this treatise to a close, exhorting the reader to be zealous by the time the following treatises come, so that he may judge the truth for himself.
Merthyr, May 21, 1852.
It appears to us, as we trace the history of miracles in the scriptures, that sometimes they happen in public and other times in private, although Mr. Jones said in one of his lectures that a miracle was a public thing, and that “the use of the word miracle was not something in the corner.” Indeed, Mr. Davies, on page 24 of his pamphlet on the “Spiritual Gifts,” is of the same opinion as we. He says the following:—”Next we shall have a look at the public nature of the working of miracles by Jesus and his apostles. We do not intend to deny that the Son of God worked many miracles just among his disciples; to the contrary, we have undeniable proofs of his having done that several times, such as going in through closed doors, and then suddenly disappearing. It is true that Jesus worked miracles when there was no one else present except his disciples.” But it is just as true as that, as Mr. Davies observes, and as we ourselves agree, that many of his miracles were public, as well as private. It would be a needless task for us to try to point out the public and private miracles we have read about in the scriptures; suffice it to say that the Saints believe that Christ and his apostles worked miracles publicly, as well as in private. Mr. Jones made an egregious error by proclaiming in his last lecture, that we have built our system on private miracles, and that he, by pointing out public miracles, has found sand under our structure. If he were honest enough to come to hear us review his lectures (we attended all of his), instead of sending little boys “full of eyes and ears” in his place, he would no doubt understand our thinking. In our lectures, when we referred to the private miracles of Jesus Christ, or his apostles, we were not building our system on those miracles, neither on any other kind; rather our purpose was to show that Christ worked some private miracles, as well as the ones in public. We made mention of the miracle of the deaf and dumb man in Mark vii, 32—36, where it says that Jesus “took him aside from the multitude,” to work the miracle, and he forbade him to tell anyone. Also we referred again to the miracle of the blind man, in Mark viii, 23—26, where it says, “And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town:” and after working the miracle, Christ told him, “Neither go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town.” We reported also about the raising of the daughter of Jairus, in Mark v, 35—43, where it says that Christ “put them all out,” and after raising her, “he charged them that no man should know it.” (This miracle was private in its working, regardless of how much talk there was of it afterwards.) Besides these, we could mention the two blind men who received their sight privately (see Math. ix, 27—30), after which Jesus straitly charged them, “See that no man know it:” and we could easily point out other examples, but to what purpose? One example, as Mr. Jones observes, is as good as a hundred, and thus we shall not add any further examples. One can see that we were not building a system on private miracles when we pointed out the foregoing examples, rather we were pulling down a system that had been built on public miracles. The Saints build their system on “a foundation of apostles and prophets,” which is the “rock” of revelation, as we observed in The Purpose of Miracles, page 5. Let no one think, then, that sand is beneath the structure of the Mormons, for there is something far more substantial there.
With respect to the public nature of the miracles of Christ and his apostles, we can say some things that will be worthy of consideration. In the first place, everyone knows that the accounts of the miracles of Christ and his apostles were written by biased persons; and as a result, we do not know for sure, whether those miracles would be so public if they were worked in Wales in these days, when there are so many sharp-sighted reverends who see every deceit from a long way off. Everything that is written in the Bible is taken for granted, as things which must be true, for they were written in another age and country: but if someone claimed that miracles had been worked in Wales in this age, and that they had been recorded, because they had not seen them no one would believe the account. This is customary in every age. It is very easy to get people to believe that which was true before, but they will not believe that which is true at present. Everyone is so unquestioning in this age about the miracles of Christ, without having any proof of their truthfulness, except for the testimony of men who died centuries ago. We do not doubt their veracity, any more than some other people, but we cannot see the reason for believing what was written earlier about miracles, and disbelieving what is written now, especially when the present witnesses are alive, and the others are dead.
Nevertheless, let us have another look at the miracles of Christ, which the behavior of the Jews in crucifying him indicates were not sufficiently public for them; or if they were, they did not prove to the Jews that he was the Son of God; for they said to him at that time, after all the miracles, “If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.” (Read Math. xxvii, 39—44.) It appears that after everything this was the opinion of his own people about him and his miracles. “He saved others,” they said, “but himself he cannot save;” and because of that, they condemned him as a deceiver. And in this connection, we can take note of the words of Peter to these people who crucified Christ, namely—”Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know” (Acts ii, 22). Now, if these men knew about the signs or miracles of Christ, the miracles were nevertheless not sufficient to prove to them the divinity of Christ, for they did not believe until they were convinced by the sermon of Peter.
After casting a little doubt like that in the mind of the reader, in order to make him less prejudiced, we shall show the reason that so many of Christ’s miracles were as public as they were, according to the description we have from his followers. We read, in Mark vi, 56, the following—”And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole.” Now, we see from this that a large number of the people had great faith, and since they had faith, it happened naturally that the miracles were many; and since the people exercised their faith while on the streets, that is where they were healed. There is no room to think that Christ endeavored to heal them publicly; no, we have already proven that frequently he tried to conceal them. And even though many asked for signs from him, there is no evidence that he ever satisfied them. Mr. Davies says, on page 27 of his pamphlet, “Jesus gave commandments to persons who had received miracles, to proclaim that to others.” It is true that Christ said once to a possessed man, “Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee” (Mark v, 19), to stop him from following after him: but generally, the practice of Christ was to warn the people to keep everything quiet, not perhaps lest he be believed, but lest he be killed. Somehow it happened that the miracles made him in the sight of many a still more dangerous deceiver, until the day of his crucifixion. Again, it says in Math. xiii, 58, “And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” (See also Mark vi, 5, 6.) Again this proves that faith is necessary to work miracles; and until men show as much faith in this age, as was shown toward Christ and his apostles, they shall not see miracles so powerful as were worked at that time.
After saying this much on the subject, we see that we shall have to leave out many of our observations, for our parameters are small; and we hope that we can make up the deficiency in connection with weightier matters. It does not make much difference how public or how private the miracles were earlier, for all that depends on the circumstances: the subject that most needs deciding, is the continuation of miracles.
As we prove the continuation of miracles, there is no need for us to trouble ourselves with the continuation of miracles of the evil spirits and the false prophets; for if we prove the continuation of miracles by the hand of God, that will be sufficient. No one is so unreasonable as to expect that we can get an account of the miracles of this age in the New Testament; and as a result, we shall have to refer to the writings of the church in this age, and consider them as good a standard to prove the miracles of these days, as is the New Testament to prove the earlier miracles. But yet, perhaps the prophecies in the New Testament that attest that miracles were to be worked after that era will affirm that they have already happened. In the first place, it is said by Jesus Christ, in Mark xvi, 17, “And these signs shall follow them that believe.” If a sign and a miracle are the same thing, as Mr. Jones teaches, then Christ has prophesied that miracles would follow “them that believe” the gospel; and if men believe the gospel now, then the miracles should follow them. But more about this in future Treatises. Next, we shall mention the words that are in 1 Cor. xii, 28, “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.” Now, where do we have the account of God’s pulling the foregoing members out of the church? If the church lost them all except for “teachers,” she must have lost herself also, for these various members were in her composition, and she cannot be the body of Christ without them, as we have proved in our treatise “The Body of Christ, or the Church.” Again, we refer the reader to the miracles worked by the two witnesses. Let us read in Rev. xi, 3—12, before going any further, and there we shall see prophecies of miracles as remarkable as any miracles ever. This will take place in the city in which our Lord was crucified, namely Jerusalem; and since this has not taken place, it must be that there are miracles that have not happened. Now, this is but one example, out of many that could be named between the two covers of the Bible. Read Isaiah xi, 15, 16; xxxv, 5—8; Zech. x, 11; Jer. xxiii, 4—8; together with all the numerous mentions of the fulfillment of miracles in the last days.
Moreover, we shall direct the attention of the reader to the 5th number of the “Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon,” by Orson Pratt, to have a compendium of accounts of miracles that have been accomplished in these days. We see there that blind men have received their sight, the deaf and dumb have been restored, the leper has been healed, bones have been knitted, the cholera has been rebuked, &c. There are many such accounts in “Prophet of the Jubilee” and “Zion’s Trumpet,” where a variety of living men jointly testify to their truthfulness. Now, if our fellow countrymen can believe all the miracles that are noted in the book of Acts, on the witness of Luke himself, then why can they not believe miracles in these days, on the witness of numerous living men? But, the Rev. J. Davies, says, on page 31, “Until they are shown, we shall be bound to deny their present existence.” How in the world does Mr. Davies believe the early miracles without seeing them, and deny present-day miracles, because they are not shown to him? Is a miracle something that can be carried about the country to be shown? Or then, does this reverend mean that those who seek after a sign should be satisfied with a miracle! From our part, we do not hold in high esteem the men who say they will believe the Saints if they can see their miracles; if the doctrines of the Saints are not correct in their sight now, how will seeing miracles change them? They offer proof that the early miracles were not sufficient to prove their religion; for they promise that if miracles are shown them now, they will deny their previous religion and join with the Saints. Messrs. Jones and Davies have promised that; after all their lecturing and writing, if we were to show them a miracle or two, no doubt they will consider all their teaching as the greatest nonsense! Will the Christianity of these reverends, that which was proved so strongly in former times, so that it never needs proving again (they say), be denied immediately, by their seeing a miracle or two by the Latter-day Saints, those who are considered worse heretics than anyone in the country? Thus they say, anyway, and we half believe them.
Now, in closing this section, we say that we shall give greater attention to the continuation of miracles, in the following treatises, especially when we take notice of the “definite verses” concerning the end of miracles; and by the way, we testify to our having seen the power of God in these days with our own eyes, and we know that miracles continue, and there are thousands of the Welsh Saints by now who know the same thing.
Mr. Jones, Llangollen, says that the Apostles received a miraculous calling (referring to Math. iv, 18—22; ix, 9, and other places), and that they feel bound to obey, as if compelled by some instinct. But that is not how it was; for the apostles received their calling in the same way as men are called presently, namely through believing, repenting, and being baptized, and after that they are chosen and ordained apostles, which we shall prove in the following manner.
The work of John the Baptist was to prepare people to be ready for Jesus Christ; and it appears that Christ chose his apostles from among the people that John prepared. To prove this, we shall quote the following:—”Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; and looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.” (See John i, 35—42. Read also the rest of the chapter, where the account of Philip and Nathanael is given.) In this quote, we find out that some of the persons, who were called after that as apostles, were at first disciples of John, and of course had been baptized by him; and by believing the witness of John, they ended up following the Lamb of God. It appears to us that Philip was the person who was with Andrew when they first saw Christ, to whom Christ said the day following, when they started to Galilee, “Follow me.” Many have been greatly misled by the brief words, “Follow me,” thinking that the disciples of Christ were convinced at the time they were spoken. Something similar to that is what confused Mr. Jones as he took note of Math. iv, 18—22. But were he to read the account given by Luke (v, 1—11), he would come to understand that Christ was acquainted with Simon and the other disciples previously, and that they believed in him; furthermore, it is true, that after they had brought their ships to shore, they left everything, and they followed him.
It is likely that many of the disciples, yes, a “crowd” of them were following Jesus, but none of them were yet apostles. God has a method to call apostles, together with very other officer; and it is not a miraculous method, without saying anything but, “Come follow me.” We prove this from Luke vi, 13—”And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named APOSTLES.” In another place it says, “And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him. And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach” (Mark iii, 13, 14). Now, it is seen clearly that there was nothing miraculous here; the apostles were chosen from out of the “crowd of his disciples,” and after that were properly ordained; and they followed Christ for a long time, before he ordained them apostles.
With respect to Saul of Tarsus, we acknowledge that his conversion was miraculous; but it was not in a miraculous way that he was called as an apostle, as we shall endeavor to prove. After Saul was struck on the road to Damascus, to the point of his believing in Jesus Christ, it was said to him, “Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.” (See Acts ix.) After that Ananias put his hands on him, and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.” And immediately “he arose and was baptized.” “Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus; and straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.” Yet, despite it all, until now he was not an apostle, although he could have had some other office to preach. Well, the next account we have of Saul is in Acts xi, 25—30, where it says, “Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul. And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch,” where “a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people.” Then the disciples there sent Barnabas and Saul with relief unto the brethren in Judea; and in chap. xii, 25, it says, “Barnabas and Saul, returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark.” Of course, they returned to Antioch, to the church they had been in previously, as is seen in chap. xiii, 1. Well, in the next two verses, we read the following:—”As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.” Now, if Barnabas and Saul were ever chosen as apostles, it must have been at that time. In the same manner was Matthias ordained; and no doubt in a similar fashion the “last apostles” were ordained, and every other official in the church. The next thing to examine is
The meaning of the word Apostle, say the learned, is, “one who is sent by someone else.” It can be thus for our part, for the apostles were sent by someone else (namely Christ), and that “someone else” had been sent by God, by which he was also an apostle. But the topic is, what is the office of the apostles? Mr. Jones said that one essential of an apostle was to write the Testament. If that was an essential of an apostle, what is to be done with all the apostles who did not write so much as a line of it? Mr. Jones did not dare say that it was not Mark and Luke who wrote their gospels, rather it was a few of the apostles; for that would not make the matter much better, while there were so many of the apostles besides those who did not write anything.
The best way to know what the office of the apostles was is by searching the scriptures. It appears from the two commissions that they were to preach and baptize; and from Acts viii, 14—18, and xix, 6, that they were to lay on hands to give the Holy Ghost; and other places show that they were to lay on hands to ordain to offices and heal the sick. It is true that the elders could minister in all the things we have named, but despite that they could not fill the place of the apostles; for it is obvious that the apostles were to preside over all the churches, by appointing persons to minister under them, to “perfect the saints,” for “the work of the ministry,” and to “edify the body of Christ.” It is true that some of the apostles wrote letters, but it is just as true that other officers did the same thing, such as Mark and Luke, together with others we could name: but if writing the Bible was a special work for the apostles, a number of them were derelict in their duty, and did not write anything.
Mr. Jones stated in one of his lectures that there were only twelve apostles, and that Paul was one of the twelve, and that Matthias was only an apostle of men’s doing! Strange how knowledgeable this man is, and strange how he harasses all the other commentators.
To find the number of the apostles, we shall have to search the scriptures earnestly. In the first place, twelve of them were ordained, and after that, Judas was lost, by his betrayal of his Master. Then, in Acts i, 15—26, we read that Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples in Jerusalem, where one hundred and twenty were together, to declare that they needed to have someone to fill Judas’s place, about whom it was written, “Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein; and his bishoprick let another take.” Therefore, he said, “of these men which have companied with us,” one must “be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.” And they appointed two; “and they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou has chosen, that he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.” Now, could it be that the above disciples were small children playing, as they chose an apostle? If so, they should not have written that in the book that is called “that which is perfect.” Could it be that Peter and his brethren were so stupid that they did not know what they were to do? If we believe Mr. Jones, the whole thing was child’s play, and Matthias was “numbered” (considered), and not made, one of the apostles, after all! Thank you for such enlightenment.
Now, by choosing Matthias the void left by Judas was filled. After that, we have the account in Acts xiii, 2, of Barnabas and Saul when they were “separated” at the same time, in the church at Antioch. If Paul was ordained in the place of Judas, in whose place, pray tell, was Barnabas ordained? That makes thirteen of them, if that is allowed. But the truth is, Paul, and perhaps Barnabas also, pertained to the “apostles last,” as Paul himself shows when he says, “For I think that God hath set forth US the apostles LAST, as it were appointed to death” (1 Cor. iv, 9). It is seen by this that there were apostles first also, otherwise it would be foolishness to mention the last ones. It appears also that Andronicus and Junia were apostles, as is seen in Rom. xvi, 7. This alone would be sufficient to show the foolishness of Mr. Jones, if we were not able to point out anyone else. But for the unbelievers, we shall quote the following: “And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve. After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of ALL the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time” (1 Cor. xv, 5—8). Now, if there are not many more than twelve here, Mr. Jones is in the right.
Perhaps someone will ask when all the other apostles were ordained, if there were more than twelve? We shall answer, in the words of Luke, chap. x, 1, “After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.” Now, it mentions apostles a little before that (see Luke ix, 10); and as a result, it must be seventy “other” apostles that is meant. They possessed the same authority as the twelve; and there is no doubt that they were apostles; otherwise their office would likely have been named. Indeed, Jesus Christ was also an apostle, as is seen in Heb. iii, 1; and it appears that apostles were so frequent, that counsel is given in Rev. ii, 2, to “try them which say they are apostles, and are not.”
There is nothing more obvious in searching the scriptures, than seeing Peter (namely Cephas) as the head of all the apostles, with James and John next to him in authority, and the three seen as the “pillars” of the church. Christ took these three to witness his transfiguration; and when the twelve were appointed, these three are most frequently the leaders (see Mark iii, 16, 17, and other places). But focusing on Peter: he is the foremost in everything, and it appears as if he were the president and the pastor of the others. He was the first to answer the question of Christ, “But whom say ye that I am?” and to him Christ gave “the keys of the kingdom” (see Math. xvi, 15—19). He also conversed with Christ on the mountain; and to him also Christ said, after praying for him that his faith would not fail, “When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke xxii, 31, 32). Peter also was the first to see Christ after resurrecting (1 Cor. xv, 5); and to Peter he said three times, “Feed my sheep.” (See John xxi, 15, &c.) Peter was the first again to arise in the midst of the disciples, to say that they needed to ordain an apostle in the place of Judas (Acts i, 15—26); and Peter after that stood to preach on the day of Pentecost; and when the people asked, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” no one answered but President Peter. We could note additional verses of this nature, which will show clearly that Peter was president over both the apostles and the rest of the church, and held the keys of the kingdom, the exact same way that Brigham Young does at present.
Now, if Mr. J. Jones said that Paul was higher than the other apostles, Paul himself says otherwise. “I,” says Paul, “am the LEAST of the apostles,” which again proves degrees within the apostleship. Perhaps Paul labored more extensively than them all, as a deacon could labor more, in one of the chapels of the country, than even the minister.
It was not possible for the apostles to be witnesses of Christ, by seeing his resurrection, for they did not see him: the soldiers would make far better witnesses in this sense, for they were watching the tomb, and saw him resurrect, which no one else saw. There needed to be, then, something else that was necessary to be a witnesses of Christ; seeing Christ before and after the resurrection was highly advantageous to be witnesses, yet that was not the main thing. What was the main thing, then? Well, Jesus Christ can answer:—”But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be WITNESSES unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” It was necessary to have the Holy Ghost to co-testify in them, before they could be qualified witnesses for Jesus Christ, to go out to preach the gospel. Thus, by receiving the Spirit of revelation, even if they had not seen him before and after resurrecting, they could be certain not only that Christ had resurrected but also that he was the Son of God. Therefore, all who receive a witness of the Spirit, are witnesses for Christ, and are qualified to go out to preach the gospel, provided they are called as was Aaron.
Now, we must, for lack of space, bring this treatise to an end, and wish our reader a pleasant journey until he sees the next; and by the way, we give notice that there will be a second printing of Treatise I.
Merthyr, June 3, 1852.
Perhaps some will wonder what we are doing by writing about “Prophets” and “Apostles,” &c., in Treatises on Miracles. The reason is that Mr. Jones, Llangollen, mentions them so much in his Lectures on Miracles; and besides that, they hold a great connection with the main topics under scrutiny. Now, therefore, that which we shall focus on first is,
Mr. Jones said that there were to be only two great prophets, namely Moses and Christ, and that each one of those two established a dispensation; and also that the establishment of a dispensation is brought about by the working of miracles: and that as a result, before a new dispensation could be established after the one that Christ established, it would be necessary to have “Prophet No. 3,” who was to be greater than Christ, and was to give more signs.
Now, we acknowledge that Moses established a dispensation, but we do not believe that he was a greater prophet than others, or that others could not be as great as he, except for Christ. “Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist.” Therefore, it is certain that there are more than two great prophets, and that not every great prophet works miracles, as did Moses and Christ, or John the Baptist would have worked miracles also.
Furthermore, if it was essential to have a great prophet, like Moses, to establish the Jewish dispensation, it was not essential to have great prophets to carry it forth; and if it was essential to have another great prophet, greater than Moses, namely Christ, to establish the Christian dispensation, it was not essential to have prophets as great as he to carry it forth. But, says Mr. Jones, Christ still continues in his office of Prophet, so that there is no need for anyone else; for “him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you” (Acts iii, 22). Well, all right, Mr. Jones; if Christ still continues in his office of Prophet, it is necessary for him to prophesy; otherwise, it would be just as well for him not to continue in his office. And if he prophesies now, he reveals it to his servants the prophets; “for the Lord God will do nothing,” says the scripture, “but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”
We are willing to believe that Moses is in the shadow of Christ, and that he was one of the great prophets, and that Aaron was like a “spokesman” or a prophet to him, as long as he himself was in his office. Thus also, as long as Christ continues in his office of Prophet, it is necessary for him to have, like Moses, spokesmen or prophets to speak for him to the people. If one follows shadows, one must follow them carefully.
Again, focusing on the establishment of the Christian dispensation; Christ established it once, and there is no need for him to establish it again; and if that is true, it is possible to do without the “Prophet No. 3,” and the only prophets that are necessary are prophets to carry it forth, and to repeat, like Aaron, that which the Great Prophet prophesies. Although the “dispensation of the fulness of times” is this dispensation, yet it is not a new one, for its gospel is the same one that Christ established, except that it has been restored in this age by an angel from heaven, (Rev. xiv, 6), from the “falling away” that is mentioned by Paul (2 Thes. ii, 3). (See further in our treatise “The Body of Christ.”)
It appears to us as we search the scriptures, that the sign of prophets, is most particular, in their prophecy. When one asks, “How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken?” the answer is, “ When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously; thou shalt not be afraid of him.” (See Deut. xviii, 20—22.) And to show that it is not appropriate to prove the prophecy of a prophet by his miracles, read the following:—”If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, (and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee), saying, Let us go after other gods, (which thou hast not known), and let us serve them; thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet” (Deut. xiii, 1—3), for his words were heretical.
The Rev. J. Davies, Llanelli, Brecknockshire, in his pamphlet on the “Spiritual Gifts,” page 7, says in this manner:—”Asking us to believe that any message has come from God, without a public miracle as proof of it, is more than any prophet from the days of Moses until the days of Malachi asked, and more than was required by Jesus Christ or any of his apostles.” We can add that asking men to believe the words of Mr. Davies, without a miracle, is more than anyone who is familiar with his Bible would ask. What about the miracles of Noah, Lot, and John the Baptist, if we could not name anyone else? Did these not proclaim many messages, without mentioning so much as one miracle? and were not hosts condemned for not believing them? And with respect to Christ, did he not expect that generation to believe without a sign, when he said, “There shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it; because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and behold, a greater than Jonas is here.” The men of Nineveh believed the preaching of Jonas, without seeing one miracle; and that generation refused to believe the preaching of one greater than Jonas, because he did not give them a sign; and for that they were condemned. Jonas in the belly of the whale was a sign or a foreshadowing of Christ in the heart of the earth; but Jonas was not in the belly of the whale, nor was Christ in the earth, in order to satisfy sign-seekers, as every reverend, at least, ought to know; and there is no account of Jonas ever working a miracle for anyone, rather God worked a miracle on him, because of his stubbornness: but Jonas was not much better despite that, for he became angry a second time because his prophecy, namely “Yet forty days, and Ninevah shall be overthrown,” was not fulfilled.
Now, then, it is clear that prophecy is the best sign that prophets can give; and we think that the duty of every prophet is to prove his mission from God by prophesying. If his prophecy does not come to pass, that will be a sign that he is a false prophet; but if it happens that it does come to pass, and other men have proof of it, he will be proven a true prophet. One judges a prophet by the fulfillment of his prophecy. By that John the Baptist was proven, and every one before him and after him. When John prophesied, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, * * * he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire” (Math. iii, 11), no one at that time knew that he prophesied truth; but when his words were fulfilled, he was proven a true prophet. Thus we could also say about Christ when he foretold the signs that would follow those who believed; and also about Peter on the day of Pentecost, about the gift of the Holy Ghost, and about John’s prophesying about the restoration of the gospel, &c., &. And in these latter days, if anyone takes it upon himself to be a prophet, he will prove his mission in the same manner; and thus has Joseph Smith done. We shall refer to one of his prophecies as an example: let the reader see “The Book of Doctrine and Covenants,” and let him read Sec. iv, 10, 11: and there are as many witnesses to prove the fulfillment of the prophecy as there were to prove the fulfillment of the prophecy of John the Baptist. And furthermore, if our readers will not be angry, we ourselves shall also prophesy in this manner:—Whoever believes the gospel which the Latter-day Saints preach, and repents of his sins, and receives his baptism for the remission of sins, by one of the preachers of the Saints, he shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost as his own manifestation, and he will know through revelation that this prophecy is true. Now, if the people wish to know whether we are true or false, let them prove for themselves, and cease to shout for a miracle, for “an evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign, and there shall no sign be given to it.”
It is a pity that people are so ignorant as to claim that there were no prophets after the Great Prophet, namely Christ. Those who claim that are either stupid, or else wish to be defeated in their thesis. Everyone who can read can know otherwise. Did not God set in his church, “first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles,” &c.? Were there not apostles also in the church at Corinth, and are not prophets, and also prophetesses, mentioned in other places?
Then again, some people admit there were several prophets after Jesus Christ, but they argue that there was no prophet after the Apostle John, or after the New Testament was finished. But what did John himself say? “And he [namely, the angel] said unto me,” says John in Rev. x, 11, “Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.” Does this not signify that John “remains,” and that he is yet to prophecy much? And if John remains, we have in this age at least one prophet; and if the following words are true, someone else must remain. The words are Christ’s—”Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom” (Math. xvi, 28). But if the reader doubts that, let him read that which John testifies about “two prophets,” in Rev. xi, 3—12, who shall “prophesy a thousand two hundred days, clothed in sackcloth,” in Jerusalem, at some future time. It is worth turning to read about those two, for they are such great prophets that they will work miracles.
Furthermore, if Christ continues in his office in this age, and prophesies, he must have his “servants the prophets” on the earth now, to proclaim his prophecies to the world. And truly, there are many hundreds and thousands in this age who know that there are prophets in their midst, and all can know the same thing, if they wish; and it is appropriate if we were to ask in the words of one of our friends of the world, namely Daniel ab Iago,—
“Say what is the cause, is it not strange,
That we would not believe in prophets while they are in our midst?
In some long centuries, they will be believed by every class,
But if there are some among us, they are not beneficial unless martyred.”
Perhaps there is nothing that men know less about than the Holy Ghost. There are very few in this age who believe in that Spirit which the scriptures portray, which is an unchanging Spirit, the same yesterday, today, and forever. This Spirit is tangible, and men feel when they are filled with it, and they know for certain that they are receiving it. For more observations on this, read our treatise “The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost,” in the second volume of “Zion’s Trumpet.”
According to the scriptural account, John the Baptist was the first to mention the baptism of the Holy Ghost; “He,” says John, “shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” After that the account of Jesus Christ mentions the same baptism, when he says, “For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence” (Acts i, 5). Although Jesus Christ did not mention the “fire,” yet he doubtlessly meant the same baptism. To our knowledge there is no other mention by anyone where the Spirit is promised under the name baptism. That which Joel promises is a pouring out of the Spirit, and that which Peter promises is, “Ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
Now, Mr. Jones said that “two times we have an account of the baptism of the Spirit, namely on the day of Pentecost, and in the family of Cornelius, and no more.” Is that true, indeed? What says that it was the baptism of the Holy Ghost that took place on the day of Pentecost and in the family of Cornelius? What Peter said about that which took place on the day of Pentecost was, “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;” and neither Peter nor Joel said that it was a baptism. Mr. Jones agrees with our conclusion, as being entirely logical. But why do we conclude that the receiving of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost and in the house of Cornelius, was more of a baptism than the receiving of the Spirit by those in Ephesus (Acts xix, 1—7)? Did they not all receive the Spirit in a similar way one to another? and did they not all speak in tongues? And indeed, was the Spirit also not received in a similar way in the church at Corinth? did they not speak in tongues there also? and if there was a baptism of the Spirit anywhere, it was doubtlessly in the church at Corinth; yes, there is more proof that it was in the church at Corinth than on the day of Pentecost and in the house of Cornelius; for Paul writes to them, saying, “For by one Spirit are we all BAPTIZED into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Cor. xii, 13). What do you say now, Mr. Jones? is it two times only that the baptism of the Spirit is mentioned, and no more!
But yet, Mr. Jones said also, that “the baptism of the Spirit happens whether men were baptized with water or not.” That is yet another story. Were not the disciples, those who received the baptism of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, and in Ephesus, and in the church at Corinth, baptized first with water? They were, no doubt. Well, what is Mr. Jones saying, then? O, supposedly they were, for God made an exception in the house of Cornelius, since there was no rule established. Whoever reads the account in Acts xi may know that God had a particular purpose in making that exception, namely to convince Peter and his brethren, that God gave the Holy Ghost to the Gentiles, as well as to them. If there is a miracle in connection with giving the Holy Ghost, it is contained in giving the Holy Ghost without baptism, and without the laying on of hands, not “by the laying on of hands,” as Mr. Jones claims; for the general rule is, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” It was Peter who proclaimed this general rule, and to him (as president) God revealed the exception, and made it clear that he imparted the same Spirit to the Gentiles also. There is no other account in which anyone received the Holy Ghost before first being baptized with water, and there is no such promise to anyone. The laying on of hands is also absolutely essential to receive the Holy Ghost, as is seen in connection with the disciples’ reception of it in Samaria and in Ephesus (Acts viii, 14—17 and xix, 1—7). It was necessary to have apostles or elders, before one could lay on hands; and even though Philip and others could preach, baptize, and cast out devils, &c., they could not lay on hands. It is true that there is no account of anyone having laid hands on the apostles and others who received the Spirit at that time on the day of Pentecost, yet the hands of Christ had been on their heads earlier (when they were ordained, at least), and they had received degrees of the Holy Ghost. And considering the three thousand, it is not said that they received the Holy Ghost that day, but it appears they received it afterwards according to the promise, and by the laying on of hands, like others after them.
Furthermore, “the Spirit,” says Mr. Jones, was given in two ways, without a baptism of the Spirit, namely “first, to convert from sin, and second, in the gifts of healing, &c.” We know of no way the Spirit converts, except by the words and the power that are given to the preacher. The disciples of John the Baptist, the three thousand on the day of Pentecost, and the people in Samaria and Ephesus, had been converted even before they received it; and though we readily acknowledge that the Spirit was in the preachers who converted them, yet they themselves did not receive it at that time. Furthermore, the gifts of healing, &c., were fruits of the Spirit after receiving it, as we shall show as we give our attention to
Paul says in 1 Cor. xii, 4—11, that there are “diversities of gifts, but the same spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues. But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” It is seen now that all the foregoing gifts were gifts of God to the brethren, namely those who had been converted, baptized, and confirmed by the laying on of hands; and it is also seen that it was through the receiving of the same Spirit that they all derived.
But Mr. Jones said, “not every man who was converted possessed the spiritual gifts, unknown tongues, &c.” Well, allowing that this is true (which he has not yet proven), who was at fault? One had to “desire” the gifts, remember, before they could be obtained. But if that were done, every man did not receive all the gifts himself, but they imparted to each one according to the will of the Spirit; for, as Paul shows, not all were apostles, or prophets, or teachers, or worked miracles, or healed, or spoke in tongues, &c.
“Receiving the miraculous gifts of the Spirit,” said Mr. Jones, “does not change the heart,” as if there were some other Spirit for that task. Should he not know that there is one Spirit, and that the Spirit which brings about a “rebirth,” or a change of the heart, is the Spirit which imparts the spiritual gifts, and that this Spirit never imparts the gifts before changing the heart? The reason which Mr. Jones gave was that the Judge will say to those who received the miraculous gifts, “I never knew you.” In answer to this, we know that it is possible for a man to be born again, and be in possession of the miraculous gifts, and then to fall away, so that it is not possible for him to renew again unto repentance (Heb. vi, 1—6); and can those in that state, in their darkness, easily cry out on the great day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” (Math. vii, 22). But the sons of Sceva could not easily say that, for they failed; see Acts xix, 14—16. If the men under scrutiny are not men who were excommunicated, or who will be excommunicated from the church of Christ, we fear that some of the reverends of Wales will be, such as Mr. Williams, Aberduar, who said that devils will be cast out by bad men who become good, that new tongues will be spoken through the ungodly who come to pray, and that the sick will be healed by laying hands on the heads of children when they complain!! Perhaps the two groups will be judged, and Christ will not know either one of them.
There is no need for anything better to prove the continuation of baptism of the Spirit and the spiritual, or miraculous, gifts, than that which Peter said on the day of Pentecost about the promise of the gift of the Holy Ghost. “For the promise,” he says, “is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts ii, 39). The receiving of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost was the baptism that John the Baptist prophesied of, and speaking with tongues was one of the first fruits of that Spirit; and the Spirit which Peter and his brethren themselves received, was the one that was promised to all afar off. Joel also had prophesied that God would pour out his Spirit on “all flesh,” which confirms the words of Peter; and he foretold also that the sons and the daughters would prophesy, and that young men would see visions, &c., which did not take place until the day of Pentecost. The apostles and the early Saints, had only the “firstfruits of the Spirit” (Rom. viii, 23); the great fulness of which was to be poured out in the last days on all flesh, for which “we know that the whole creation groaneth,” “and waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.”
Also, the fact that man must be “born of the Spirit,” before he can enter into the kingdom of God, proves the continuation of the baptism of the Spirit that Christ and John the Baptist had promised, which Spirit is like the wind blowing where it listeth, and although we hear its sound (or are aware of its presence), we cannot tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth (see John iii, 5—8). This Spirit was also that “other Comforter” that Jesus Christ said his Father would give, “that he may abide with you for ever” (John xiv, 16). And if the function of the Comforter was to indicate things to come, and bring to mind things gone by, then that again is another proof of the continuation of prophecy and revelation, or the spiritual gifts.
Now, since we shall yet write about the continuation of these gifts by mentioning in further treatises the “signs” and “that which is in part,” we shall do no more at present except to mention that the best proof of the continuation of the baptism of the Spirit and the spiritual gifts, is their existence in the Church in this age, of which we and thousands of others are witnesses.
The way to have a baptism of the Spirit, is by receiving the baptism of water first, and refraining from believing, like Mr. Jones, “that the Holy Ghost of the laying on of hands is not to be had now.” And again the way to have the spiritual gifts, is to desire them, as is counseled in 1 Cor. xii, 31; and xiv, 1. But “there is no account that anyone,” said Mr. J., “prayed for the spiritual gifts, rather they received them by the laying on of hands; for desiring is what is in the Bible, and not praying.” We did not know before that praying was not desiring; but what does Mr. J. say about these words—”Let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret” (1 Cor. xiv, 13)? Now, if “interpreting tongues” was a gift, it was certainly not through the laying on of hands that it was obtained, but through praying or desiring; although it is true that it was by the laying on of hands that the Spirit was received at first, which thereafter was imparted according to the desire of the saints, and according to his will. So much, then, for what Mr. J. called the “grace of the laying on of hands and the grace of prayer.”
With respect to the ordinance of prayer with anointing, the Apostle James says the following:—”Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James v, 14—16). Jesus Christ referred to the same thing when he said, “They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark xvi, 18).
It appears, then, that by anointing with oil, together with the prayer of faith and the laying on of hands, the sick were healed in the church in former times. Oil was used even in the days of Jesus Christ, and there is no question that the apostles and others dealt as much with oil in that time as do the Latter-day Saints at present. If they did not carry bottles in their pockets, the oil was close at hand whenever they needed it; for it says in Mark vi, 13, “And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.” Let Mr. Jones remember, then, that the Saints follow the apostles in this, as in all other things.
Also it appears that faith was absolutely essential for the sick to be healed; for the “prayer of faith” is mentioned, and it is said that “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much,” referring to the prayer and faith of Elias. And in order to show the obstacles that keep the sick from being healed, it says, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another that ye may be healed.”
There is no account of anyone who was healed by this ordinance, except for that which is said in Mark vi, 13; but it is reasonable to conclude, nevertheless, that it was administered to many, and that some, if not all, received the blessing. It is foolishness to expect that the writers of the New Testament would record every failure. If there is an account in Mark ix, 18, of the apostles’ failure to cast out the devils, it was not written to point out the failure, rather to prove the necessity of faith. See also Math. xvii, 16. Let that suffice to answer Mr. Jones, when he said, “We have no account of a prayer meeting for healing the sick that failed.” Yes, we have noted one meeting, and in that one, a meeting of the apostles, there was not so much as a grain of mustard seed of faith; and because of that they failed to heal.
Mr. Jones, Llangollen, observed, in connection with the words, “And if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him,” that the word “if” proves that the sick who were guilty of any special sins were the ones who were to be anointed with oil, &c., because it is said in another place of the scriptures that all have sinned; and since all have sinned, the if is used to show some special sins. The special sins under scrutiny, said Mr. J., were similar to the sin of that man who fornicated with his father’s wife (see 1 Cor. v, 1—5), who was delivered unto Satan, for the destruction of the flesh. These such men who received the judgment of the Apostles, says our learned reverend, were to call for the elders of the church, and no other sick persons!
In answer to Mr. Jones, we acknowledge with John the Apostle, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves” (1 John i, 8); consequently, all commit sin. Nevertheless, we cannot disbelieve John when he says again, in chap. iii, 9, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin.” But regardless of that, it is obvious that all commit sin in thought, word, or deed. It is difficult to consider that man sins against the church, if he does not do it in word or deed; we think that it is against God that one sins in thought; consequently, all can sin, without sinning against the church. But there are many sins against the church, which cannot be forgiven, unless the church gives forgiveness; and again there are some sins which are unpardonable in this world and in the world to come. We wish we had space to give a broader treatment about the various sins, but our limits do not permit us to do so. Therefore, let us go forward to elaborate about the word “if.” It is easy to perceive from the slant of the verses we quoted at the outset, that the prayer of faith is what heals the sick, unless he has committed sins; for the words, “AND IF he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him,” show that it was not necessary for every sick person to gain forgiveness; furthermore, it is not healing that pertains to this “if,” rather forgiveness. And although there is no sinless sick person, yet there is no need for every sick person to ask the church’s forgiveness, or confess his faults to it, if he has not sinned against it: for he who has sinned only in thought can obtain forgiveness from God, with no need to confess to the church. But something else proves the matter even more clearly. “Is any sick among you?” says the apostle: he does not say sick from some special illness, but sick, like those sick who are mentioned in Mark vi, 13, who were also anointed with oil. If some illness of judgment is meant, he would likely have mentioned it, lest he mislead the churches; and had he meant, in the previous verse some special “affliction” or “relief,” he would have said so; but since he does not indicate that, he no doubt means every affliction, every relief, and every illness, without differentiation. Therefore, if anyone was sick, his duty was to call on the elders of the church; and if he had committed sins, and confessed them, he was to receive forgiveness at the same time he received his health. The “fervent prayer of a righteous man” is needed in connection with the ordinance of anointing and laying on hands, before the desired blessing can be expected. Now, we see that the assertion of Mr. Jones, namely, “there was no prayer meeting in which anointing with oil, &c., healed anyone, except for those under the judgment of the apostles,” is completely unfounded, and completely illogical. And with regard to the other declaration he made, “If every brother and sister had been healed, Trophimus would not have been left sick,” it is true that they were not healed; but not everyone had “faith,” and not everyone had “gifts of healing,” and not everyone confessed his faults and prayed for one another, that they might be healed, and perhaps not everyone called for the elders of the church; and so it was not reasonable for every brother and sister to be healed, although the promise was to everyone.
In connection with this, Mr. Jones said in his second lecture, referring to the words of James, “Behold, the Judge standeth before the door” (chap. v, 9), that God would not be able to tempt with evils after this time, namely the coming of the Lord, which he called the destruction of Jerusalem. After that all things were to be new, a new heaven and a new earth; and at present, he said that no one was struck with judgment, and that God had not tempted anyone since the destruction of Jerusalem, rather that God was calling on the wicked and the righteous alike; and consequently, there was no need to anoint with oil and to pray for the sick now, but rather to leave him sick, as Trophimus was left by Paul (see 2 Tim. iv, 20). “And I would not go,” he says also, “with a man who left me sick in bed.”
This is another example of the logic of Mr. Jones. Strange how beneficial he considers the destruction of Jerusalem, and the coming of Christ. I wonder whether the destruction of Jerusalem destroyed nearly everything in the church?—destroyed the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the miracles, the strange tongues, the gifts of healing, the utterance of wisdom and knowledge, revelation, faith, diversity of spirits, &c., and left only teachers and deacons behind, to show that the church had existed! for God truly set all the above things in the church, until it became a perfect man. And I wonder also whether the Judge is to come before the “judgment day?” It was not a judgment in Jerusalem, rather destruction. When Christ appears the second time, he will appear for salvation, at least for those who look for him (Heb. ix, 28), which salvation did not take place in the destruction of Jerusalem, nor from that time to the present.
Now, with respect to “new heavens and a new earth,” it is necessary to wait for the “heavens and the earth which are now,” to be burned by fire, before “according to his promise,” we can “look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” (See 2 Peter iii, 7—13.) And regarding the idea that no one is being thrown into judgment now, all who read newspapers know better: and all should know that God sends rain now as he always has done, for how can he send rain at one time on the just, without sending rain on the others, when they are mixed together? Furthermore, if Mr. Jones would not go with a man who left him in his bed sick, that would not serve any purpose except to prove that Mr. Jones is not half as good a man as Trophimus, who did not deny his faith, although Paul left him sick in Miletum.
At this point, we declare that the ordinance of prayer with anointing continues in the church, as long as there are sick; for if he who is suffering affliction now is to pray, and he who is at peace is to sing psalms; then, the one who is sick is to call for the elders of the church. Also, this ordinance is one of the signs that is to follow the believers until the end of the world; and were there not one scriptural proof for its continuation, there are hundreds of proofs in this age that it is approved by God in his church now; for Christ said, “Whatsoever ye desire, ask, and it shall be unto you.”
Now, we shall bring this treatise to an end, announcing that “The Judgment of God and the Destruction of Jerusalem,” are contained to some extent in this section, and they will be examined further in connection with “The End of the World,” and “That which is in Part.” The next treatise will begin with “Miracles of the Magicians of Egypt.”
Merthyr, June 15, 1852.
There have been many arguments, and there still are, about the miracles of the magicians of Egypt. Some are of the opinion that they were fake miracles, and others believe that they were true miracles; and among those who believe them to be true miracles, one can list the Archbishop Tillotson, Dr. Fleetwood, Dr. Shuckford, Luther, Lord Bacon, Richard Baxter, Adam Clark, Mr. Hallet, Edmond Jones from Pontypool, and several other well known names. And indeed, the Rev. J. Jones, Llangollen, believes that the turning of the rods into serpents was a true miracle, but that it was not the magicians who did it! One can be grateful for as much as that on the side of truth; and although the truth can stand on its own, the more who stand with the Saints in its favor the better.
But before going any further, we wish to point out that proving that the magicians of Egypt did not work true miracles, does not prove that men and the devil do not have the power to do so; but if we prove that the magicians did true miracles, then our point will be won by that proof alone, even if we could not get one other proof. And now, lest we take too much space for a preface, let us begin with the first miracle.
It was amusing to hear Mr. Jones treating this topic, for he showed himself as more than a conqueror. We had never heard anything like it before, and consider that he had no help except for his “dear Bible.” Hear him read these verses:—”And Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants; and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods” (Exod. vii, 10—12). Then Mr. Jones reasons, clever like the serpent, “Who made the rods into serpents?” O yes, that is the question: the Bible does not say that: what the Bible says is, ‘they BECAME serpents.’ Consequently, Aaron did not work a miracle,—he just cast down his rod; and the magicians did not work a miracle either—they just cast down their rods, which everyone could do!
Cleverness like that is all right for men who are not learned in the writings of Moses, but that will not work for everyone. Although it is not said in the above verses who worked the miracles in question, yet that is said in another place. Read in Exod. iv, 17, 21, and you will see that God says to Moses the following: “And thou shalt take this rod in thine hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs:” furthermore, “When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand.” Now, what is more clear than the fact that Moses and Aaron had received power from God to work miracles through the rod, and that it was Moses and Aaron who turned the rod into a serpent? And since the magicians did in like manner as Aaron, it must be that it was they who turned the rods into serpents. Mr. Jones admitted that the magicians had done as much as Aaron, but he said that Aaron had not turned the rod into a serpent, and that he did no more than to throw the rod: but since the previous scripture proves that Aaron worked a miracle with his rod, it follows naturally, if the magicians did as much as Aaron, that the magicians also had worked miracles with their rods.
Now, let us turn to observe the other side, not the other side of the truth (for, as Mr. Jones pointed out, the truth has only one side), rather the other side of the argument that does battle with the side of Mr. J’s argument against the side of the Saints. That other side contradicts as much the side of Mr. Jones, as it does the side of the Saints; yet, the objective of the two is the same, namely to tear down the side of the truth. The side that we shall examine is that of the Rev. J. Davies, Llanelli, Brecknockshire, which is seen on page 14 of his pamphlet, and is quoted as follows:—”It is quite well known that it is an easy thing to tame snakes, or they could have gotten plenty after taking away their venom; for they no doubt had been given every advantage by the Pharaoh to make all the necessary preparations, for he was every bit as desirous as his magicians to gain the upper hand on Moses. Historians say that many Indians nowadays, through the use of snakes, without pretending to work any miracle, can do things just as strange as Pharaoh’s magicians did.” It is seen how opposed these two learned reverends are to each other, and how opposed they both are to the Bible.
It is no doubt true that men can tame serpents, take away their venom, and make them play lots of tricks, without considering that a miracle; but no account has come to our attention as yet of anyone who has done anything similar to what the magicians of Egypt did, except for Moses and Aaron. There is no use for us to listen to opinions, for the Bible itself is sufficient to settle the dispute. There is no one who knows better about the miracles of the magicians than the one who wrote their story. Moses was also an eye-witness, and had been brought up in all the learning of Egypt; and he, being a man of God, was sure to know what the magicians did, as well as the magicians themselves knew. And since people are generally inclined to believe in the truthfulness of the miracles of the magicians, it is not in any way reasonable that Moses would fail to reveal the deceit of the magicians of Egypt, if they had not worked true miracles, and if he knew about it. The common reason that is given, i.e., that they were called magicians, (or diviners) by Moses, is not sufficient to show their deceit; for the name in and of itself signifies that “the spirit of the holy gods is in them” (see Dan. iv, 7, 8; and v, 11); and it is also said that Daniel was the “chief of the magicians.” The magicians, then, were men who were considered to have secret communication with the gods, and the fact that Moses said they had turned the rods into serpents was proof that they had worked miracles. Asserting that the magicians had “been given every advantage by the Pharaoh to make all the necessary preparations,” is nothing but nonsense, if it were true, which it is not; but Moses received every advantage, since he had worked the miracle before. The rod of Aaron was on the ground as a serpent, when Pharaoh called on his first magicians; and as soon as they turned their rods into serpents, it is said that the rod of Aaron swallowed their rods; which proves that they, in fact, had hardly any time for anything; but on the other hand, it appears that Moses and Aaron had lots of time.
Again, just as the powers of darkness imitate the powers of light, each magician had his rod, just as Aaron did; and indeed, a rod (or wand) is something that every magician has; and it appears to us, according to the account, that the magicians of Egypt had taken their rods with them, before they knew what Aaron had done. Well, those rods, then, and not serpents, is what they cast down; and the rods “became serpents,” and it was not serpents that became serpents. Moses was there, and he saw what they had; and that which he said they had, was rods, and not something else; and if the rod of Aaron became a serpent, there is no doubt but what the rods of the magicians became serpents. Then “the rod of Aaron swallowed their rods;” and that is how the story ends. Well, since he needed it again, how did Aaron restore his rod from being a serpent? By putting forth his hand, perhaps, and taking it by the tail (Exod. iv, 4); and it is likely that by their doing in a similar manner the rods of the magicians were restored, after being in the belly of the other. Now, after taking this much notice about turning the rods into serpents, we shall hasten to the next miracle, namely—
With respect to this miracle, Mr. Jones said that Aaron only smote his rod, and that the magicians “did in like manner with their enchantments;” consequently, the magicians struck the waters with their rods also, and did the same thing as Aaron did. Now, since we proved previously that the power to work miracles was in possession of Moses and Aaron, there is no reason to add to that, but only to point out that the magicians did in a like manner as Aaron, namely, they turned the rivers to blood.
Having made these brief observations on the side of Mr. Jones, we can now turn to the side of Mr. Davies who, on page 14 of his pamphlet, stated the following:—”It is worthy of notice here that the rivers, and the streams, and pools of water had been turned into blood by Moses, and it is said specifically that they continued in that state, as a result of the miracle of Moses, for seven days after the Lord struck the rivers. Now, during those seven days the magicians of Pharaoh imitated Moses, by turning water into blood; and thus it is obvious that they had no ‘rivers, streams, ponds, or pools of water’ to turn into blood, and the Bible does not say they did that; the only thing said is that they did ‘in a like manner’ to Aaron; and since Aaron turned all the waters into blood, it is obvious that they could do nothing but what the Egyptians did after that, namely to dig a pit about the river, and either turn the waters into blood there, or draw some water from the pit into a vessel, and make that similar to blood. This was a very simple thing for some who had been taught and reared in the skillfulness of such things. Far stranger things are done nowadays by actors through the power of their skill and cleverness.”
We are sorry there are reverends so unlearned in the scriptures. There is no account that Aaron struck more than the “waters that were in the river,” although he did receive a commandment to smite the streams, the rivers, the ponds, and the pools of water. If it can be proved differently, we wish to see the proof. “And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments;” and if so, they must have smitten some waters or other with their rods; because Moses said that they did in a like manner to Aaron. Consequently, they must have done that before there was “blood throughout all the land of Egypt;” or if they had done that with the water that was dug up, turning that little bit into blood would have been just as much a miracle as that of Jesus Christ when he turned water into wine. But it appears to us that Aaron and the magicians turned the waters into blood the first day. Moses is told to go to Pharaoh in the morning, by the time he went out to the water (see chap. vii, 15); and after Pharaoh saw Aaron and the magicians turn the water into blood, it is said about him in ver. 23, “And Pharaoh turned and went into his house, neither did he set his heart to this also.” Also, it appears that from then on the Egyptians dug for water round about the river. “And seven days were fulfilled, after that the Lord had smitten the river,” before he commanded Moses to work another miracle; and the water could have remained blood for a longer period than that, about which nothing is said to the contrary. Now, it was not a very easy thing to turn the water into blood, in a like manner to the way Aaron used, by just smiting it with a rod; and it is not a very easy thing to prove that Moses did not tell the truth; and if he told the truth, there is no question that the magicians turned the water into blood; and since Aaron received the first opportunity, one could not expect that the magicians turned as much water as did Aaron, since there was perhaps not much left to be turned: and if Aaron turned more water into blood than did the magicians, the magicians did turn more rods into serpents than did Aaron. But let us hasten to the next miracle now, so that we can know what is said about
The observations of Mr. Jones about the frogs were similar to his observations about turning the rods into serpents, and the water into blood. He said that Aaron did nothing more than smite the waters of Egypt with his rod, and then the frogs came up; and he also said, in the language of the scriptures, “And the magicians did in like manner,” namely smiting with their rods as did Aaron, of course. Well, since Aaron worked miracles with his rod, as we proved earlier, then the magicians worked miracles also with their rods, since they did “in like manner” the things done by Aaron.
But Mr. Davies opposes the observations of his friend, and shows still that there are two sides against the one side of the Saints. We quote again from pages 14 and 15 of his pamphlet:—”The third miracle for Moses, and the last for the Egyptians, was filling the land with frogs. Since Moses had filled all places with them, it is seen clearly that it was necessary to empty some place, so the magicians could have a place to bring out their own frogs; and when there was such an abundance of them everywhere, it was an easy thing for the magicians to deceive the observers, who were all partial to them, except for Moses and Aaron, by gathering a reservoir of the frogs, and bringing them to some place in a skillful and secret way, much like “actors continue to do.”
Now, to answer this reverend again, we quote the account. “And the Lord spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch forth thine hand with thy rod over the streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds, and cause frogs to come up upon the land of Egypt. And Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up, and covered the land of Egypt. And the magicians did so with their enchantments, and brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt.” (See Exod. viii, 5—7.) Now, Aaron could not have smitten the rivers, the streams, and the pools of water at the same time, for it was necessary to have time for that; and thus the magicians could have the opportunity of doing “in like manner.” But if Moses had filled the land with frogs, before the magicians could try their hand, there was plenty of space afterwards, even if the frogs of the magicians had to go on the backs of the others. But, as regards that, Moses knew best; he would not say that the magicians “brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt,” had there been no space for them: consequently, there must have been space for them, and they brought frogs upon the land in “like manner” to the way used by Aaron, namely through smiting the waters with their rods, which was as good a miracle as Aaron worked, according to the abundance of frogs. Could it be that inspired Moses was not sure of what he saw, but that Mr. Davies, Brecknock, knows better? Good heavens!
But perhaps someone is ready to say, that “with their enchantments” the magicians did everything, in a different manner from the one used by Aaron. Well, that is proof then that God did not do the miracles of the magicians, as Mr. Jones suggested, rather they themselves did so by their enchantments. But it seems to us that Moses and Aaron also worked enchantments, with this difference, that their enchantment was from God, and the enchantment of the others was from the devil: for no one could appear more like a magician than a man carrying a rod as did Aaron, which was imitated by the magicians of Egypt. When Aaron smote his rod in order to turn it into a serpent, the magicians smote their rods, “with their enchantments,” and all of them became serpents. Thus also, when Aaron smote the waters with his rod to turn them into blood, and to cause frogs to come up, the magicians did in like manner with their own rods and enchantments. Thus, we see that Aaron and they were entirely similar, and no one of them did anything in the corner.
Yet, “it was not,” says Mr. Davies, on page 15, “within the power of the magicians to eliminate the frogs, or else Pharaoh would not have asked Moses to take them away. The reason for this is obvious; the people were looking too carefully at them. They could prepare the frogs quietly and in secret, without anyone’s knowing; but they could not take them away again, without their deceit becoming obvious. Had they been able to eliminate them, their miracle would have been undoubtable.”
In answer to that, we say that it was not fair to ask the magicians to take away a miracle that God had worked through the hand of Moses and Aaron; and if the magicians could eliminate the miracles of Moses, they would have been victorious over God. Therefore, it is sufficient for all to undo their own work. But had the magicians undone their own miracle, Pharaoh would not have been much better, while there was such an abundance of frogs after the work of Moses and Aaron. Perhaps we shall touch on this again, as we examine, lastly,
With regard to this, perhaps the best thing is to quote the account of Moses first, which is as follows:—”Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in man, and in beast; all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt. And the magicians did so with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not: so there were lice upon man, and upon beast. Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them.
In connection with this, Mr. Jones observed that the magicians did in like manner as did Aaron, namely, they smote the dust with their rods,—but they failed to bring lice out, because God did nothing in their place this time, which caused the magicians perhaps to ask one another, Could it be that we can do something? let us try again, &c. Therefore, Mr. Jones implies that the magicians did not do anything, except what they did in imitating Aaron, by smiting with their rods, and that it was only God who worked the miracles of the two sides.
Furthermore, Mr. Davies again, on page 15 of his pamphlet, says the following:—”Here the true miracle became too glorious for it to be imitated by deceit; but if the magicians worked through Satan, we cannot comprehend why he was unable to make lice as easily as he made frogs.”
Now, we can speak our mind, and put our reasons before our readers, so they can judge for themselves. It appears to us, after Aaron smote the dust with his rod, and produced lice, that the magicians did the same thing with their rods, being as determined as before in an attempt to turn the dust into lice, which was no more a miracle than turning the rods into serpents, or the water into blood, or bringing up frogs: but for some reason or another they could not. Had they known they could not before trying, it is unlikely they would have made the attempt, for it would have been better to make some excuse before trying to create a miracle, than afterwards. But since it was by the powers of darkness the magicians worked their miracles, it is not reasonable that God would allow them to do anything they wanted, for the evil spirits are in some kind of “chains,” so they cannot do anything they want, without God’s permission or forbearance; and as an example of that, we point out the account of Satan’s asking permission to work a miracle on Job. (See Treatise I.) Well, after the magicians failed, they said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God,” (as if to say) for we did as much as this, if not more, the previous times; and consequently, it must be that God is hindering us from doing this miracle, to answer some purpose of his. It is clear that they said that it was the “finger of God,” because they were hindered, and not because that miracle of Aaron’s was greater than the others, for we cannot assume that it was.
If it is asked why God allowed the magicians to work miracles to oppose his servants, we shall answer that it was to harden the heart of Pharaoh, and show the superior power of God in the final analysis. And since God allows evil men to preach, we cannot understand why he does not allow them to work miracles also, to answer the various purposes of God.
Finally, we see that it is necessary to bring to a close our observations about the miracles of the magicians of Egypt, confident that we have enlightened the mind of the reader, that miracles are possible for the powers of darkness and evil men to work, which many able writers believe, as do we.
Mr. Jones, did not take any notice of the Witch of Endor, although he promised to do so; but the Rev. J. Davies, in his pamphlet, page 12, makes the following observation:—
“As for the account of Saul and the Witch of Endor, we do not perceive in the circumstance, any necessity of explaining it by assuming a miracle. It was a definite commandment of the Lord under the old dispensation to kill witches; and is it likely that he would support secretly that which he had condemned publicly? Such a notion is inconsistent with the character of God, and thus untenable. The Lord, according to the emphatic testimony of the Bible, had failed to give any kind of answer to Saul’s questions. ‘And when Saul enquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.’ In the face of this, when he failed to recite an answer through his usual means, is it logical to conclude that he would answer through a deceitful woman who had been cursed by his own law? The cunning and the clever and skillful trickery of the witch will explain the entire matter. Since she lived nearby and was so well acquainted with everyone nearby, it is beyond doubt that she knew what kind of man Samuel was, and what he had proclaimed against Saul; she also knew that Saul’s courage had left him, and that he was to meet powerful armies, and thus she saw clearly that the words of Samuel were being fulfilled; and thus she pretended to agree to Saul’s request; and to show that she was deceitful, she feigned dread and to be stricken with fear; and when Saul asked who was there, she gave the portrayal of a person like Samuel; and by deceptive speech she repeated the substance of that which Samuel had said when he was alive. There is no room to conclude that Saul saw anyone, but that by the portrayal of the witch he believed that Samuel was there. Also, the whole thing took place at night, which added to the credibility of the deceit.”
Now, before making observations of our own, we beseech the reader to read carefully the account given in 1 Sam. xxviii, 7—25, which will be a thousands times clearer than any commentary on the part of uninspired men, who twist the scriptures, in order to satisfy their own whims. The account is quite understandable to every unbiased reader as it is in the Bible; and there would be no reason for us to make any observations about it, if it were not for men who believe more in their commentaries than in the Bible.
Well, we shall comment first that the “woman had a familiar spirit,” and thus had supernatural power; and there is no doubt that a man like Saul was quite aware of her powers, since before that he had banished the enchanters and witches from the country, not because of their deceit, rather because they were loathed by the Lord. Having failed to get an answer from the Lord in the customary way, he thought of raising Samuel (which he knew the woman who had a familiar spirit could do), so that he could counsel with Samuel. Then, after disguising himself, he and two others went to the woman by night, so that she would not recognize Saul; and after Saul’s assuring her that no punishment would come to her because of the matter, she asked him, “Whom shall I bring up unto thee?” (which proves that she was ready to bring up whomever he named). And he said, “Bring me up Samuel.” Then “when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice,” and said to Saul, “Why has thou deceived me? for thou art Saul.” Now, the inspired writer says that the woman saw Samuel, and not some phantom; and it appears that the reason she cried out was because she had somehow found out that Saul, in a disguise, was the man who had come to her, whom she considered the worst enemy she had. At that, Saul told her not to be afraid, asking what she had seen; and she answered, “An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle.” “And Saul perceived that it was Samuel; and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself. And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to BRING me up? And Saul answered, ‘I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do.’” Now, if this is “deceptive speech,” it is deceptive speech of the Bible, and not of the witch. And if the inspired historian deceives us, he is just as bad as the witch herself; but we do not believe that about him. If Saul had been deceived, it is logical that that would have been clearly noted, lest others be deceived by him. But there is no room to think that, for it is logical to believe that Saul well knew what the witch could do, before going to her; and the reason he went to her was because he could not get knowledge in any other way. Indeed, the whole account proves that everything takes place exactly as is said; and it is the height of disrespect for the inspired servants of God, to suppose that these servants did not know how it was concerning the Witch of Endor and Saul, as well as every other account they wrote.
But let us look again at the other answer Samuel gave to Saul. “Wherefore then does thou ask of me, seeing the Lord is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy? And the Lord hath done to him [as if now Samuel were speaking to the others who were present], as he spake by me: for the Lord hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour, even to David [see 1 Sam. xv, 24—28]. Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the Lord, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the Lord done this thing unto thee this day. Moreover the Lord will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the Lord also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.” Now, is not this prophecy itself sufficient to prove that Samuel had arisen, and that he was speaking to Saul? was not everything literally fulfilled? And could it be that it was the witch who prophesied like this to Saul, while at the time she feared him terribly? No, it is more likely that she spoke something more charming, lest she put her life in greater peril than it already was; for it was in considerable danger already (by obeying to raise up Samuel), and there was no reason for her to say anything. And it is unlikely that a woman could imitate the speech of Samuel to such an extent as to deceive Saul, who knew Samuel so well.
But yet it is argued that “there is no room to conclude that Saul saw anyone.” Well, if he did not see anyone, he “perceived” that Samuel was there; and it is no great wonder that a man who “stooped with his face to the ground” failed to see the one who was standing before him. But if Samuel was not seen by Saul, it was easy for his servants to see him, those who were with him in the house of the witch, as is seen in ver. 23.
Furthermore, another argument arises also, namely, “Is it likely that he would support secretly that which he had condemned publicly,” referring to the specific commandment to kill witches? We answer, no; and God did not support secretly that which he had condemned publicly, namely, the miracle of the Witch of Endor. Saul’s going to the witch was contrary to the will of God; yet God did not hinder him, rather he was allowed to do according to his own will. And to prove that it was not God who supported secretly that which he had condemned publicly, let us read the following verse:—”So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the Lord, even against the word of the Lord, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it; and enquired not of the Lord” (1 Chron. x, 13—14).
But listen again to what Mr. Davies says on page 13:—”There is a verse in the godly word that appears to us to prove beyond any doubt that the whole thing was deceit: ‘And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?’” (Isaiah viii, 19). Now, if the claim of our reverend is true, then one part of the scripture proves the deceit of another part, which we cannot believe. It is true that people should seek unto their God, but not unto the God that Saul sought; and yet he got his wish, which was knowledge about the dead. Again, “the last of the verse,” says Mr. D. (if he understands it, which we greatly doubt), “is a question intended to show the foolishness of such a practice.” But listen to this; the end of Saul also showed the foolishness of such a practice: but after all, there is no question but what the witch worked a miracle, although the practice was foolish, like every other practice of the children of darkness.
Now we bring this treatise to a close, leaving our readers as judges, and a promise to begin the next one with “the End of the World, and the Destruction of Jerusalem.”
Merthyr, June 19, 1852.
Mr. Jones, Llangollen, said in one of his lectures that the statement “these signs shall follow them that believe” in the commission of Mark (xvi, 15—20), is to be taken in connection with the words, “And lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world,” in the commission of Matthew (xxviii, 19, 20), and that “the end of the world” governs everything. Also, he said there are two words in Greek for the Welsh “world,” namely cosmos, the visible world, and aiôn, meaning dispensation, or the present arrangement of things; and that aiôn is the word that is in Heb. ix, 26, (“But now once in the end of the world hath he appeared”), and also in “the end of the world” with Matthew (xxviii, 20). He said also that these two uses of “end of the world,” mean the end of the Jewish dispensation, or the destruction of Jerusalem; and that Christ promised he would be with his disciples until the destruction of Jerusalem; and, consequently, until then the miracles or the signs were to follow the believers. Believing, he says, is to be until the end of the cosmos, but miracles were not to be after the end of the aiôn. And he also said that Christ would be with his disciples several times in person, by ascending and descending on the day of the Lord, until the destruction of Jerusalem; and that only his Holy Spirit was to be with his disciples from then on.
Now, we have given the substance of that which Mr. Jones delivered about the continuation of the signs or the miracles until “the end of the word,” or the destruction of Jerusalem; and in answer to him we shall endeavor to prove the following statements:—
I. That nowhere in the New Testament does “the end of the world” mean the end of the Jewish dispensation, or the destruction of Jerusalem.
II. That entirely different words for “the end of the world,” are used to set out the destruction of Jerusalem.
III. That Jesus Christ was not with his disciples in person until the destruction of Jerusalem, but that the signs followed anyway.
IV. That no coming of Christ happened when Jerusalem was destroyed.
(I.) The first statement is,—That nowhere in the New Testament does “the end of the world” mean the end of the Jewish dispensation, or the destruction of Jerusalem.
We must agree with Mr. Jones that there are two Greek words for the Welsh “world,” namely cosmos and aiôn; but it appears to us, by comparing the Greek Testament with the Welsh, that in the greater part of the examples they are precisely the same meaning. The word cosmos is found in the Greek Testament about 84 times, and it is translated world nearly every time; but that world does not mean the same thing in every occurrence, as is seen in this verse,—”He was in the world (cosmos), and the world (cosmos) was made by him, and the world (cosmos) knew him not.” It is seen here that the third world is different from the others, for it means the inhabitants of the world, as is seen also in John xvi, 8, 33, and several other places; but we do not know of as much as one time that the word aiôn (in its different endings), is translated as inhabitants of the world, as is cosmos, although it is translated as the visible world exactly the same as cosmos, as the following examples will show:—
Math xii, 32, “It shall not be forgiven him, neither in this ‘world,’ neither in the world to come.”
“ xiii, 22, “And the care of this ‘world.’”
“ “ 39, “The harvest is the end of the ‘world;’ and the reapers are the angels.”
“ “ 40, “So it shall be in the end of this ‘world.’”
“ “ 49, “So shall it be at the end of the ‘world:’ the angels shall come forth and sever the wicked from among the just.”
“ xxiv, 3, “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the ‘world?’”
Mark iv, 19, “And the cares of this ‘world.’”
Mark x, 30, “And in the ‘world’ to come, eternal life.”
Luke i, 70, “As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the ‘world’ began.”
“ xvi, 8 “For the children of this ‘world’ are in their generation wiser than the children of light.”
“ xviii, 30 “And in the ‘world’ to come life everlasting.”
“ xxi, 34, 35 “The children of this ‘world’ marry, and are given in marriage: but they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that ‘world,’ and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage.”
2 Cor. iv 4, “In whom the god of this ‘world’ hath blinded the minds of them which believe not.”
Eph. i, 21, “Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this ‘world,’ but also in that which is to come.”
“ iii, 9, “Which from the beginning of the ‘world’ hath been hid in God.”
“ vi, 12, “Against the rulers of the darkness of this ‘world.’”
1 Tim. vi, 17, “Charge them that are rich in this ‘world.’”
2 Tim. i, 9. “Which was given us in Christ Jesus before the ‘world’ began.”
“ iv, 10, “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present ‘world.’”
Titus i, 2, “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the ‘world’ began.”
“ ii, 12, “Live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present ‘world.’” Heb. i, 2, “By whom also he made the ‘worlds.’”
“ vi, 5, “And the powers of the ‘world’ to come.”
“ xi, 3, “Through faith we understand that the ‘worlds’ were framed by the word of God.”
Now, if Mr. Jones said, in reviewing one of our lectures, that only twice did aiôn not mean dispensation, one may presently see differently. We have indicated at least twenty-four examples, and we could indicate many more if we needed to; and in all of these examples, one cannot translate any of the uses of aiôn as anything other than the visible world; and this word does not mean the Jewish dispensation in any place in the New Testament; it is true that there are a few examples of it that are translated as eternity, eternal, generations, and course (see 1 Tim. i, 17; Eph. iii, 11; Col. i, 26; Eph. ii, 2); but in every other place, it means the world in the common meaning, namely the visible world. Yet, perhaps someone would say that in John ix, 32; Acts iii, 21; xv, 18, it is translated as ever since: true, but that is not a dispensation, rather “since the world began,” as is seen in the English Testament. Indeed, all the junctures in which aiôn (world) is used prove clearly that it cannot be translated as the Jewish dispensation, or the destruction of Jerusalem, or else the phrase would become nonsense.
Perhaps the most particular basis that many have for thinking that “the end of the world” is meant by the end of the Jewish dispensation, or the destruction of Jerusalem, is the following verse:—”For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world (aiônon) hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Heb. ix, 26). The original word here is in the plural form; and if aiôn is dispensation, then aiônon is dispensations; consequently, Christ appeared at the “end of the dispensations,” and not at the end of one dispensation, namely the Jewish one. In the Testament of the Rev. J. Williams, Newtown, it is translated as “at the conclusion of the ages;” and in the accepted translation the same aiônon is translated in 1 Cor. x, 11, as “the ends of the ages.” Well, if “ends of the ages” were put in place of “end of the world,” in the previous verse, it would not change much of the meaning that is generally given to “end of the world,” for the end of the ages is the end of the present, visible world.
But perhaps an objection will arise at this point, when someone says, If “the end of the world” is not meant by the Jewish dispensation, or the destruction of Jerusalem, how could it be appropriate to say “the end of the world,” or “the close of the ages,” about the time that Christ appeared to sacrifice himself, when the same words set out the present, visible world, in other places? To answer this objection we shall first quote from 1 Cor. x, 11, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world (AIÔNON) are come.” Read also 1 Peter i, 20. From such phrases, it appears to us that the age of the world, in the sight of God, is counted as a week; for “beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” At the end of the week, then, namely on the fifth day or millennium, Christ appeared; and, according to the language of the Lord, that was none other than “the end of the world,” or “ends of the ages.” The aspect of many things will change at the end of the sixth millennium, or Saturday night; for that is when Jesus Christ will come the second time, with ten thousands of his saints, together with his mighty angels, to take vengeance on the wicked, by destroying them with a flaming fire, so that no one will disturb the peace of the seventh millennium, which will be kept on the Sabbath holy to the Lord. Now, since it was on Friday, or the fifth millennium, that Christ appeared the first time, and since he is to come the second time on Saturday night, “as a thief in the night,” then it was very appropriate, in the language of the Lord, for him to say, “Surely, I come quickly” (Rev. xxii, 20); “The coming of the Lord draweth nigh”—”the Judge standeth before the door” (James v, 8, 9): “Whereby we know that it is the last time” (1 John ii, 18); “But was manifest in these last times for you” (1 Peter i, 20); “Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days” (James v, 3). But, someone says, “Where is the promise of his coming,” then? “for ever since our forefathers died, all things have continued as they were.” “But, beloved (namely the people of God), be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Peter iii, 8—10). It appears from this, then, that many at that time expected that the coming of Christ, or the end of the world, would take place in their lifetime; but it was not to be thus, although it was the duty of all even at that time to prepare. And in order to enlighten such people Paul wrote the following:—”That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for THAT DAY SHALL NOT COME except there come a FALLING AWAY first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Thes. ii, 2, 3). Besides that, the restoration of the gospel was to take place, as is seen in Rev. xiv, 6; and also it was to be preached again, as a witness to all nations; “and then shall the end come,” or the coming of Christ.
Furthermore, in order to confirm our statement, that the end of the Jewish dispensation is not what is meant by “the end of the world,” we intend to prove that either the Jewish dispensation had ended before Christ uttered the commission, or that it has not yet ended. Jesus Christ himself said, in Luke xvi, 16, the following:—”The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.” The Jewish dispensation, then, was until John; the Christian dispensation was from then on; for it is not reasonable that God would establish the one, before doing away with the other, as is understood in Math. v, 19—48. If the Jewish dispensation did not end at the time Christ indicated, then it has not yet ended; for the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple could not destroy the Jewish religion; indeed, the Jews carry it forth to this day. It was not a dispensation that was destroyed in the destruction of Jerusalem, rather a city and a people: the establishment of a new dispensation was what did away with the old one, not the destruction of Jerusalem; for Jerusalem had been destroyed several times before the last time, but the dispensation was not ended because of those destructions. Thus, it is obvious by now, that “the end of the world” in the commission (as in practically every other place that aiôn is used), means the end of the existence of the world in its present state.
(II.) The second statement is,—That entirely different words for “the end of the world,” are used to set out the destruction of Jerusalem.
In order to prove this, we shall quote that which Jesus Christ said in the temple, namely, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Math. xxiii, 38, 39). Then the following verses say this:—”And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Seen here is a clear prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem, so that there was no cause for anyone to misunderstand; and here also is a clear declaration of the second coming of Christ, all of which the disciples understood quite well; for when they came to Christ after that, they asked, “when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” They knew what was to be; and consequently, they did not inquire about anything except the time and the sign. But despite that, Christ explained carefully to them again about the destruction of Jerusalem, as well as about the coming of Christ and the end of the world. With respect to the destruction of Jerusalem, he says the following:—”When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand); Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains. Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days. But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day. For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Math. xxiv, 15—21). And as regards the coming of the Son of Man, and the end of the world, again he says the following:—”Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (ver. 29—31). Now, it is seen that the coming of Christ is to be after the destruction of Jerusalem, and that there are to be several signs between the destruction of Jerusalem and the coming of Christ; and “this generation [which will see those signs] shall not pass, till all these things be done.”
(III.) The third statement is,—That Jesus Christ was not with his disciples in person until the destruction of Jerusalem, but that the signs followed anyway in his absence.
Despite Mr. Jones’s efforts to prove that Jesus Christ was with his disciples now and again until the destruction of Jerusalem, yet all he said is a castle in the air, without one bit of substance to it; and there is no reason to spend a long time to prove that. Now, there is an account of Christ’s being seen by his disciples for forty days (Acts i, 3); and there is an account also that proves that he was not seen by anyone after Paul saw him. Paul says in 1 Cor. xv, 8, “And LAST of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.” And now, if it was on his way to Damascus that Paul saw his Lord, then, according to that which the Rev. J. Brown says, in his “Chronology of Facts,” no more than two, or five years at most, had gone by since the resurrection of Christ, before he completely left his disciples; whereas Jerusalem was not destroyed, in the opinion of the same learned man, before 73 A.D.! Thus, Christ was not with his disciples in person any longer than five years at most, whereas it should have been about forty years, before it could be said that he was with them until the destruction of Jerusalem.
The signs, then, followed after Christ left the disciples, the same way as before that, as all who read their Bible know; for they were following Paul himself, together with the churches he planted, after Christ appeared for the last time. Consequently, then, the meaning of the words, “And lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world,” must mean that He would be with them through the other Comforter, who could be with them eternally.
(IV.) The last statement is,—That no coming of Christ happened when Jerusalem was destroyed.
In the first place we shall make this observation: If Jesus Christ was with his disciples in person until the destruction of Jerusalem, as Mr. Jones asserts, then it would be illogical to mention a coming of Christ, while he was with his disciples in the land already! But that is enough on that.
Next, we shall observe that there is not one statement in the scriptures that says that Jesus Christ was to come at the destruction of Jerusalem; for if there were, then we could prove that the scriptures contradict each other. There are only two comings that are mentioned; the first coming in the flesh, and the second in the clouds of heaven at the last day. That which proves this beyond all argument, is the following scripture:—”But now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Heb. ix, 26—28). What could be more definite? Indeed, even Mr. Jones himself, was forced to be silent in light of these verses, as we were witnesses. But even if those verses did not exist, are not all the other mentions nearly as definite? Let us read, for example, these verses:—”And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Math. xxiv, 30, 31). Now, what is similar to the destruction of Jerusalem in this description? Who ever heard mention of anyone’s seeing the Son of Man at that time? and who ever heard of his gathering his elect at that time from the four winds? Everyone knows otherwise, for no one was to see Christ after he had once left, until it was said, “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Math. xxiii, 39). Also, there was no gathering at the destruction of Jerusalem, rather scattering; and the gathering has not yet taken place. Indeed, this topic is so clear to those who wish to understand, that we do not feel the need to go further, any more than to testify that a gathering of the elect will take place before the gathering of all the nations, namely, at his coming; for after Christ comes in his glory, and all the angels and saints with him, and after he sits upon his throne, “before him shall be gathered all nations” (xxv, 31, 32), for it is said that the elect, or the saints, will “meet the Lord in the air,” and that he will “come with ten thousands of his saints,” and that will occur before the gathering together of all the nations.
Next, having given our attention to the four previous statements, we are led to make further observations with respect to some things that have a connection to our topic, calling them
We wish to call the attention of the reader to Math. xii, 32, “And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” Many argue, and perhaps Messrs. Jones and Davies are among them, that “this world” and “the world to come” signify two periods, namely the Jewish dispensation and the Christian dispensation. The New Testament of the Baptists also translates the words to mean the same thing, as follows—”it shall not be forgiven him, neither in the present condition, neither in the future.” Indeed, men do not care what they do to try to conceal the truth, and to uphold their own opinions. The sense of the above verse itself proves that it is not the two dispensations that are meant, rather this world and the world to come. Was not the kingdom of heaven, or the Christian dispensation, in the midst of the people at the time that Christ spoke the words? and what other future dispensation could it be? The law of forgiveness of the Gospel had been established before, and there was never to be a change, except in the other world; for some sins, for which there is no forgiveness in this world, will be forgiven in the world to come, as is seen in Acts iii, 19, 20. We see, then, the logic of saying that the unpardonable sin will not be forgiven, “neither in this world, neither in the world to come.”
The majority of the commentators, as Mr. Jones observed, are bound to believe that the signs will follow those who believe in this age, the same way as before, because they do not explain “the end of the world” the same as he does. If it was not until the destruction of Jerusalem that Christ appeared to his disciples, then he is with them at present; and if so, then he is “working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.”
Now, as we finish this section, we say that we are sorry we did not have space to review a little of the Explanation of Mr. Jones about the Destruction of Jerusalem, and the coming of the Son of Man, to show how skillfully he twists the scriptures. But despite that, the substance of all he said is proved erroneous in our observations on this topic. It is astounding to think that there are completely uninspired men, according to their own admission, who dare to change the meaning of the word of God, by explaining and spiritualizing, until they turn heaven into system, world into dispensation, sun into archpriesthood, the moon into lower priesthood, and the stars into Levites, and themselves, if the expression is permitted, into madmen! for who has sought this from their hands?
The Reverend J. Jones, Llangollen, said in his last lecture in Merthyr, that the sign to “them that believe not” pertained to him; while the other Reverend from Llanelli, Brecknockshire, claims on page 18 of his pamphlet, that it pertained to the Jews only. These two men had better settle with each other before coming out any more to battle against the Saints; for it is frightening to see them killing each other, and still leaving the Saints to escape alive.
But let us search the scriptures, to have a look at whatever may have a connection with the above topic. In 1 Cor. xiv, 21, 22, Paul says, “In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.” Well, we see that these tongues are a sign to them that believe not; but it is not said of what they are a sign. It appears to us that the words found in Isaiah xxviii, 11—”For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people”—is more a sign of judgment on that people than it is a sign to convert them; for “they would not hear.” (See also Deut. xxviii, 46, 48.) Thus it was also in the church at Corinth; for, if the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that they are mad? It is true that would be a sign to them that believe not; nevertheless, it was much better for them not to have signs, since they were nothing more than a judgment; for they had no effect on them except to harden them, just like on the day of Pentecost, before Peter’s sermon.
Yet, there was another sign in connection with prophesying; but that one does not pertain to “them which believe not,” rather to the church. This one was the best sign by far to them that believe not, to convert them, as we understand by the following verses:—”But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth” (ver. 24, 25). The tongues, although a sign, had an effect on “them that believed not” in such a way as to make them more unbelieving than before; for they did not listen to the tongues, as the Lord foretold: but all could be convinced through prophecy, and through the fact that they came to worship God. The best sign, then, is the sign of the church, namely, the sign of prophets, and not the sign of “them that believe not,” which was a judgment sign. Nevertheless, we are pleased to have all choose for themselves; and if there are some who wish to have the sign of “them that believe not” (namely that of Mr. Jones), they can have it, by coming to the churches of the Saints of this age, and they shall have proof for themselves, that most commonly the sign of “them that believe not” is a sign that hardens; and if there are those who wish the other sign, they can have that one also in the same place. But it is not the duty of the church to speak customarily with tongues, to prophesy, &c., in order to convince “them that believe not,” for preaching was set up to that end; rather the duty of the church is to do according to Paul’s teaching, namely—”How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying,” namely edifying the church, and not the world.
Now then, we can look at how speaking in tongues took place, and to what purpose. In 1 Cor. xiv, 2—5, Paul says the following about tongues:—”For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. * * * He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.” This shows that speaking in tongues, if what is spoken is interpreted, is like unto prophesying; but the Apostle in the following verses does not approve of speaking in tongues, unless the tongues are interpreted, except it be uttered by the “tongue words easy to be understood,” and lest the person “speak into the air.” But the Apostle counsels the Corinthians, since they are zealous to have spiritual gifts, to seek to excel to the edifying of the church. “Wherefore,” he says, “let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret;” and, he says again in the same chapter, “But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.” Some think that when “the whole church be come together into one place,” and some speak with unknown tongues, and some unlearned or unbelievers come in, that that speaking should be understandable to them, before it would be a “sign” to them. But a little bit of consideration will give better light, for in ver. 24 it says, “But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all.” That the unlearned is convinced shows that he understands the language that the church understood, and it also shows that he was not some foreigner. The tongues could be a “sign” to him, without his understanding them, for the Lord said that he would speak to him and to others, through an “unknown tongue.”
It also appears from the scriptures we have just quoted, that although the tongues are a sign to them that believe not, there is no commandment to use them, unless they be interpreted; but that he who uses them speaks to himself and to God, even if the unbeliever is present. Yet, on the day of Pentecost, the disciples had begun to speak before the unbelievers had come together; and although the tongues were a sign to the unbelievers there, yet they were speaking to edify themselves; for “he that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself,” and not the unbeliever or the church, for “he speaketh not unto men, but unto God.”
Furthermore, to answer Mr. Davies, when he says on page 24 of his pamphlet, that the purpose of several tongues was to enable the disciples to address the Jews “out of every nation under heaven,” one need do no more than mention that Peter was able to address all in one language, which proves that was not the particular purpose of the tongues.
Now, we bring this treatise to an end, hoping that it together with the others will be a means of enlightening many minds, and bring them to a knowledge of the truth. The next treatise, and the last, will contain observations on “That which is in Part, and that which is Perfect.”
Merthyr, July 2, 1852.
Upon beginning this last treatise, we report that we will not be able to quote as much as we would like from that which the Reverends Jones and Davies have said on this topic; consequently, we encourage the reader to search through the Commentary of Mr. Jones on the Corinthians, and pages 19, 29, 30, 32, and 33 of Mr. Davies’s pamphlet. These two authors agree with each other at last, although they are in opposition to the majority of the commentators; consequently, when we make an observation about the one, we shall be making an observation about the other as well.
But to get on with our topic, we shall quote in the first place the specific verses that Mr. Jones read in his last lecture about the end of miracles; and here they are:—”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). “And he 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: 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 cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Eph. iv, 11—14).
Many ways have been tried in an attempt to explain these verses, and the various commentators see the foolishness in each other continually, but they completely fail to see their own foolishness. They strive to prove that the spiritual gifts are not intended to be in the church in this age; and by so doing, they prove one another erroneous, which is done easily, since none of them have correct views on the topic. And to give an example of this, we shall quote from the Commentary of Mr. Jones, page 167, some of his observations about “that which is in part” (ec merous), and “that which is perfect” (teleios), which are as follows:—
“But what do the Commentators say?
“‘It has reference to the state of heaven after the resurrection,’ Bloomfield, Grotius. ‘Present knowledge will end, we shall arrive at a purer knowledge of the other world, and all the perfections of God, in heaven,’ Photius, Slade, Theodoret, Wetstein, Winer, Noesselt, Chrysostom. ‘There will be no need for these gifts in heaven, for God will be the instructor there. In heaven, where there is perfection, there will be no imperfection calling for these gifts,’ Barnes, Dr. Lewis, Charles, James Hughes.
“Now, let us examine this common explanation. If that which is in part is done away in heaven after the resurrection, where are our prophets, our unknown tongues, and our miraculous knowledge? If we are still in the dispensation of ec merous, we still see visions, and prophesy, and speak in tongues, and heal the sick, &c. But, is this TELEIOS still in heaven? If we are not bound to keep quiet before our revered fathers in theology, we can dare to have a second look in the Bible on the matter.”
We see that Mr. Jones here has triumphed over his revered fathers in theology, by proving thoroughly that they have neither “that which is in part,” nor “that which is perfect.” They deny the present existence of prophecies, tongues, and knowledge, and at the same time claim “that which is perfect” has not come; and thus they make themselves destitute of both! But although the children are more able than their fathers in some things, in other things they are more foolish. Mr. Jones and his brother Davies insist that “that which is perfect” has come, and consequently “that which is in part” has been done away ever since “that which is perfect” came; and they claim shamelessly in the face of their fathers, that the New Testament is “that which is perfect,” and nothing else. You see how learned the children have become!
Yet, before going any futher, we shall quote the observations of Mr. J. Jones on the other verses, from his Commentary, page 167 and 168:—
“In Eph. ix, 11—14, there are similar phrases, and of the two references on the topic this one is the clearer: ‘He gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists and teachers.’ His purpose was to perfect the saints for the work of the ministry, to perfect the body of Christ, namely the body of doctrines and teachings, pertaining to the dispensation of Christ. All during the apostolic age they built stone upon stone of this comprehensive body. The period of the established offices noted is ‘until’ (mechri) ‘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.’ The purpose of this again is ‘that we henceforth be no more,’ as we have been to this point, ‘children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, &c.’ * * * * * *
“During the time before the ending of the holy volume, false teachers were going around to the various churches, claiming, ‘Peter says such and such,’ ‘Paul says such and such.’ ‘No, John says such and such,’ &c., &c. When the churches understood that such teachers and apostles were saying thus, they were led away from the doctrine they had believed from the mouths of the apostles at the beginning. After the revelations ceased, and every stone was in its place, the false teachers failed to gain acceptance in the churches, and the result was the beginning and the rise of sects of people that listened to them. By the time they gathered together all the apostolic views, and put them to look into each other’s eyes, it was found that they agreed with one another, and Paul acknowledged the others as they acknowledged him.”
Now, we shall hasten to examine the following statements, in answer to the observations of Mr. Jones in his Commentary and in his last lecture, together with the observations of Mr. Davies, from Llanelli, in his pamphlet, which defends Mr. Jones’s opinions. The statements are as follows:—
I. “That which is in part” has ended, and “that which is perfect” has not come.
II. “That which is perfect,” is not the New Testament, rather it is something else which is yet to come.
III. Apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, &c., are to continue in the Church.
But before examining these statements, we wish to announce that we have already written a treatise on this topic, by the name of “That Which is in Part, and That Which is Perfect,” which contains a full review on all the observations of the Reverends Jones and Davies. Therefore, we would counsel the reader to get hold of it; for we do not intend, if we can avoid it, to write in the present treatise that which was published in the other one, rather we shall strive towards some new observations. And to that end we shall now examine
(I.) The first statement,—”That which is in part” has ended, and “that which is perfect” has not come.
Since the appearance of the Latter-day Saints in the land, much more attention is being given to the phrases seen in 1 Cor. xiii, 8—13, than ever before. Before that, no one had come to the conclusion that it was not heaven, or some future condition, that was meant by “that which is perfect;” but nowadays the learned are seeing that if they follow the opinion of their fathers they are bound to confess they have neither “that which is in part” nor “that which is perfect;” otherwise prophecies, tongues, and knowledge ought to exist in this age. For everyone knows, as Mr. Jones observed, that the final limit of “that which is in part” is the coming of “that which is perfect.” Consequently, “that which is in part” cannot exist after the coming of “that which is perfect.”
But in order to prove “that which is in part” has ended, we shall first look into what the scriptures say. “That which is in part” is the spiritual gifts, namely prophecies, tongues, knowledge, &c.; for, as the Apostle says, “For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.” It seems clear from 1 Cor. xii, that these gifts, together with the others, are members of the body of Christ, and have been placed in the church by God to perfect it, until it becomes a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature (or size) of the fulness of Christ; and it is just as clear that one gift cannot say to the other, “I have no need of thee;” “for the body is not one member, but many.” The apostles, prophets, pastors, &c., were some of the members of the body also; and the disciples or the believers who had offices and those gifts, composed the body, or in other words, the flesh. The whole body is edified by the various offices and gifts, and it was not possible for it to live without them. The members who considered themselves the weakest were necessary; for even though the Corinthians wished to forbid speaking in tongues, Paul counseled them not to do so, for they were a member of the body, and, through their interpretions, were just as good a member as prophecies, which they also wished, contrary to the will of God, to scorn.
Now, those gifts, which composed “that which is in part,” namely prophecies, tongues, and knowledge, built the church; for “he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort;” and thus will the tongues do also through their interpretations, together with the gift of knowledge. (1 Cor. xiv, 3, 5.) To obtain them, the apostle says, “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts.” And although prophecies will not continue forever, as will charity, yet it is for certain that they will continue as long as they are needed, and no longer; and the same for the other gifts. Now, since prophecies were necessary to edify the primitive church, how can the church do without them in this age? If it is said that it has the scriptures, those, after all, are nothing but prophecies in part, and knowledge in part, and they contain but a small part of that which derived from the gift of prophecy and knowledge, without mentioning the others. Thus, we see that even the Testament is “that which is in part,” and the Testament must become useless, when “that which is perfect” comes: and since use is made of “that which is in part” at present, “that which is perfect” must not have come.
(II.) The second statement is,—”That which is perfect” is not the New Testament, rather it is something else which is yet to come.
We do not know how men who possess reason can be so foolish as to think that the New Testament is “that which is perfect,” when they know quite well that it contains things in part. Paul prophesied in part about the verses under our scrutiny: for what he said was not perfection, as he himself recognizes, in these words—”For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.” “But when that which is perfect [namely that which is better than our present knowledge and prophecy] is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” And to explain the matter, the Apostle uses this comparison; namely, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” Then he adds, “For now we see 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.” We see by this, then, that the apostles had childish things; and this prophecy of Paul’s about the spiritual gifts was a childish toy; and all the knowledge of the apostles and the saints at that time were childish things, and things to be done away at some time, like useless and needless things. The epistles written to the churches, together with the gifts that they themselves possessed, were beneficial to them as children; but after they become a “perfect man,” then they will be able to do away with all those things, since they will no longer be seeing through a glass darkly, but “face to face.” Those who were seeing through a glass at that time were those who would be able to see face to face, and know even as they are known, in a future time. No one at that time was any more than a child: and since it was children who wrote the New Testament, the New Testament must be a completely childish thing, to say the best about it. “That which was perfect” had not come when it was written; and if so, the Testament now is as much a thing in part as there ever has been, as we can understand by seeing the wise men of the age trying constantly to perfect it. The writers of the New Testament, as well as those of the Old Testament, compared to what they will yet be someday, spoke as children, and understood as children, and thought as children, and of course, also wrote as children, even when they composed that which some now call “that which is perfect.” Well, how, then, can men claim that the New Testament is “that which is perfect,” while the knowledge and the prophecies that are in it are but things in part? If the Testament were “that which is perfect,” then it was the substance of perfection in the church before that which is in part was done away. But why elaborate so much on a topic so clear that it was understood by everyone until lately. Is not the Testament itself, as it is had by the Christians of this country, far too incapable of perfecting the saints even as well as that which was in part in the early times? If it is not as good as “that which is in part,” yes, even if it were much better, it would not be the perfection we are seeking. Look into the chapels of the country, and see how “that which is perfect” is working: it leads one party to do thus, and another party to do differently, until there are many who long to see the days of “that which is in part” return, for the so-called perfection is more incapable than “that which is in part.” When the church had apostles, prophets, pastors, spiritual gifts, &c., it was much more perfect than any sectarian church presently. Knowledge and prophecies were in part at that time, but now everything is ignorance and uncertainty, and the churches are calling each other whores; and Mr. Jones, Llangollen, has been so honest as to proclaim that all the churches of the country are whores. See the following in his Commentary on the Corinthians, page 90:—”Every Christian denomination and church that stoops to receive so much as one doctrinal rite, or practice, from the mouth of any pope, or senate, or king, or queen, or council, or conference, or association, or assembly, or ‘Quarterly Meeting,’ or any meeting in the world of men good or bad, small or large, or anything that is not from the mouth of Christ only, the lawful Groom, is a whore.” We did not know until now that we were debating with a man who is a member of a church which he himself calls a whore. That is the best truth that he has ever said. Also, on the same page he says, “Whoever is the Great Whore in the book of Revelation, she is considered as the mother whore of the earth, namely all the denominations that profess to receive religious laws from men.” Then, upon pointing out that all the denominations of the country do so, he says, “Those who obey such assemblies, without professing their church is a whore, yes, while they deny that, are those churches of the Independents and the Baptists who consider the determinations of the assemblies of ministers, as having higher authority over them than the influence of council and address.”
All see, by now, that the perfection which the sectarians have makes their churches into whores, and a thousand times more imperfect then the primitive church, which had only “that which is in part.” But it is no surprise that a woman becomes a whore, when she never hears from her head or her husband; rather she is still forced to live on the old stock she received earlier, which was had by the Mother Whore for many ages. The Latter-day Saints look forward to “that which is more perfect” than the New Testament; and at the same time they make use of “that which is in part,” following after charity, and desiring spiritual gifts, until that perfection comes after the resurrection, when all things will have been perfected.
(III.) The third statement is,—Apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, &c., are to continue in the Church.
Messrs. Jones and Davies claim that the apostles, the prophets, the pastors, and the teachers, were not to exist in the church any further than the limit that is noted in Eph. iv, 13, namely “TILL (mechri) we all come in the unity of the faith;” and consequently neither were miracles to continue any longer than that. They also claim that is the same limit as the other limit, namely the coming of “that which is perfect,” or the gathering of the scriptures together in one book.
Now, one could hardly claim anything more foolish than this. If apostles and prophets did not continue any longer than the time the scriptures were gathered together, then pastors and teachers did not continue either. The church does not have anyone except the Bible and deacons! How could Messrs. Jones and Davies take it upon themselves to be pastors and teachers, teaching such foolishness in an attempt to annihilate themselves? These are those who are ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. By trying to annihilate apostles and prophets, together with the spiritual gifts, these pastors and teachers annihilate themselves. Why, therefore, do they trouble themselves to perfect the saints by preaching, &c., while the New Testament, or “that which is perfect,” is in possession of the saints? Why do they not allow the Testament and the deacons to do everything themselves, and leave the whores (namely the other churches) in peace? for they can be perfected otherwise.
But let us turn now to observe that the apostles, the prophets, the pastors, and the teachers, were given “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Eph. iv, 11, 12). These officials were to fulfill the three things named, namely 1st, for the perfecting the saints; 2nd, for the work of the ministry; and 3rd, for the edifying of the body of Christ. Our two reverends forget to preserve the punctuation upon reading the above words; and they read them like this—“For the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” There is a comma in the Greek, and the Welsh, after the word “saints,” which changes the meaning. The meaning is not “for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry” (as Mr. Jones has it), rather for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, and for the edifying of the body of Christ; otherwise, the sisters and everyone else would need to be qualified or perfected for the work of the ministry, which is nonsense. Well, those officials were appointed to fulfill the three things under scrutiny, “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 (or size) of the fulness of Christ.” That is the limit, indeed, but it did not end at the gathering together of the New Testament; for Paul was not addressing his brethern the apostles, rather the Ephesians, when he said, “until we ALL come in the unity of the faith,” &c. Consequently, it appears natural that Paul meant a coming of the entire church in general, in the unity of the faith, which everyone knows has yet to take place. The stupidity of Mr. Jones was to say that every large man and every small man, if it is thought that the resurrection is the “coming,” are bound to be the same size as Christ; for the “perfect man,” namely the church, is to be thus, and that by the way of comparison. The church was not a PERFECT man when Paul wrote, neither was it after the gathering together of the scriptures into one book; again, it was like a child, knowing in part; and all the aforementioned members had been put in this young body, to nurture it forward, so it would increase to be a bride to Christ; “From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (ver. 16). The body was composed by God, which he did in the beginning; and the apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, and spiritual gifts, had been placed as members in it, so that they could serve to increase and edify the body, until it came to be a PERFECT MAN. This proves that they had the same work from the beginning to the end; and if the church, or that body, has not come to be a perfect man, then there is as much need for all the members presently as there ever was.
The following observations of Mr. Davies, on page 30 of his pamphlet, are not applicable to the body of Christ; namely,—“There are things necessary for preparing and setting up a machine, that are not necessary after finishing it. The tools necessary for opening a new level are not the same tools necessary for cutting the ore and the coal after opening it. Saws, axes, etc., are necessary for making a wagon, but animals are necessary for pulling it.” Now, we see that the body of Christ is something different from a level or a wagon. After a body once has a head, eyes, ears, arms, feet, &c., it is organized, and then it will need those parts as long as it lives; thus, there is a need for apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, and spiritual gifts, as part of the church of Christ, until it becomes a perfect man. Although the nourishment is changed from weak food to strong food, yet the members that God set there from the first cannot be taken away or changed in any way, without harming or destroying the body. Consequently, the church presently has all its members, and they are sure of continuing in it until it becomes a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.
Next, let us make a few observations in connection with the words, “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 cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (ver. 14). In this last lecture Mr. Jones said that we have received the Testament, “that we henceforth [namely, having received that] be no more children, tossed to and fro, &c.” But on page 114 of his Commentary on the Corinthians, he says the exact opposite, namely,—“Lest the saints be carried about like this with every wind of doctrine by those who were lying in wait to deceive them, God placed apostles, prophets, &c., who were kept by him to proclaim through them his mind on every matter.” This is correct; for before having those officers, the Ephesians and others were carried about with every wind of doctrine; but “henceforth,” there was no reason for that to be, since they had apostles, prophets, &c. But we see, as soon as the apostles, prophets, &c., were lost, the people were again carried about, and have been from then until the present day more than ever, as all can perceive.
Indeed, the move we elaborate on this topic, all the more we see that the specific verses of Mr. Jones in favor of the ending of miracles, &c., are specific verses in favor of their continuation. And were we unable to prove that in a sufficiently satisfactory manner through reasoning, it is very easy to show facts, which prove beyond every argument that our statements are true. There are thousands of living witnesses that the early gifts exist in the Church or the body of Christ in this age; and all may know the same thing by obeying the Gospel.
Perhaps some would like to see the opinion of the famous John Wesley concerning the continuation of miracles; and to satisfy them, we shall quotes the following from his 94 sermons on the “More excellent way:”—“It does not appear that the supernatural gifts continued in general in the church, except to the second and third century. We rarely hear about them after that corrupted period, when the Emperor Constantine called himself a Christian, and by his selfish whim endeavored to spread Christianity by heaping wealth, honor, and power on the Christians in general. From that time they ceased almost completely; at least, only rarely are they heard about after that time. The reason for their cessation was not, as the vulgar (common people) say, because they were no longer needed, because the whole world had embraced Christianity. This is an unfortunate misunderstanding! No more than a twentieth part of the world was Christian at that time, even in name. The true cause [that the miraculous gifts did not continue] is because the love of many had grown cold—the Christians had no more of the Spirit of Christ than did the other pagans! The Son of God, when he visited his church, could hardly find faith on the earth. This is the original reason the supernatural gifts of the Holy Ghost were not found any longer in the Christian church, because the Christians became pagans after that, with nothing but the dead letter remaining.”
Now, we must hasten to finish, since our sheet is nearly full; yet, we consider that what we have said about “that which is in part, and “that which is perfect,” is sufficient, in connection with the other topics, to prove the continuation of miracles in this age; and those who wish to see more observations, may satisfy their wish, perhaps, in our other treatises, which we have published from time to time.
As we suggested earlier, we have had to leave out many of our observation, for want of space; for the topics we took under consideration, were we to do them justice, merit numbers of much greater size. But whatever about that, we are confident that sufficient has been written to set the truth clearly before the reader, so that there is no danger of his failing to see, if he desires to do so.
As we end, we bear witness of that which we know. We know that God claims the Latter-day Saints as his only people in this age, and that the Lord works together with his servants and his people, and confirms his words through the signs which follow the believers until the
Merthyr, July 15, 1852.