The Essential Orson Pratt
Foreword by David J. Whittaker
Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon. Introduction
—To Expect More Revelation is not Unscriptural —
To Expect More Revelation is not Unreasonable
(Liverpool: Printed by R. James, 1850)
[p.147]The Book of Mormon claims to be a divinely inspired record, written by a succession of prophets who inhabited Ancient America. It professes to be revealed to the present generation for the salvation of all who will receive it, and for the overthrow and damnation of all nations who reject it.
This book must be either true or false. If true, it is one of the most important messages ever sent from God to man, affecting both the temporal and eternal interests of every people under heaven to the same extent and in the same degree that the message of Noah affected the inhabitants of the old world. If false, it is one of the most cunning, wicked, bold, deep-laid impositions ever palmed upon the world, calculated to deceive and ruin millions who will sincerely receive it as the word of God, and will suppose themselves securely built upon the rock of truth until they are plunged with their families into hopeless despair.
The nature of the message in the Book of Mormon is such, that if true, no one can possibly be saved and reject it; if false, no one can possibly be saved, and receive it. Therefore, every soul in all the world is equally interested in ascertaining its truth or falsity. In a matter of such infinite importance no person should rest satisfied with the conjectures or opinions of others: he should use every exertion himself to become acquainted with the nature of the message: he should carefully examine the evidences on which it is offered to the world: he should, with all patience and perseverance, seek to acquire a certain knowledge as to whether it be of God or not. Without such an investigation in the most careful, candid, and impartial manner, he cannot safely judge without greatly hazarding his future and eternal welfare.
If, after a rigid examination, it be found an imposition, it should be extensively published to the world as such; the evidences and arguments on which the imposture was detected, should be clearly and logically stated, that those who have been sincerely yet unfortunately deceived, may perceive the nature of the deception, and be reclaimed, and that those who continue to publish the delusion, may be exposed and silenced, not by physical force, neither by persecutions, bare assertions, [p.148]nor ridicule, but by strong and powerful arguments—by evidences adduced from scripture and reason. Such, and such only, should be the weapons employed to detect and overthrow false doctrines—to reclaim mankind from their errors—to expose religious enthusiasm—and to put to silence base and wicked impostors.
But on the other hand, if investigation should prove the Book of Mormon true and of divine origin, then the importance of the message is so great, and the consequences of receiving or rejecting it so overwhelming, that the American and English nations—to whom it is now sent, and in whose language it is now published, (being the first in these latter times who have been so highly favored as to receive a preparatory message for the second advent of the Son of God,)—should speedily repent of all their sins, and renounce all the wicked traditions of their fathers, as they are imperatively commanded to do in the message: they should utterly reject both the Popish and Protestant ministry, together with all the churches which have been built up by them or that have sprung from them, as being entirely destitute of authority: they should turn away from all the priestcrafts and abominations practised by these apostate churches, (falsely called Christian,) and bring forth fruits meet for repentance in all things: they should be immersed in water by one having authority, and receive a remission of their sins, and be filled with the Holy Spirit. After thus being baptized into the kingdom of God, they should seek to translate the Book of Mormon into every written language of the earth, and to send it forth by millions of copies to every nation, and not cease their exertions until all people have heard the glad tidings. Every synagogue, church, and place of public worship should be thrown open to the servants of God. Presidents, governors, and rulers,—kings, lords, and nobles, and all in authority, should set the example before the mass of the people, by receiving with all meekness and humility this great revelation of modern times. Every periodical throughout their dominions should devote its columns to disseminating, far and near, among all classes, the evidences, arguments, and reasons, which establish the divine authenticity of so great and important a work. These are some of the present duties of both the United States and Great Britain, if this message be true.
The great majority of the world, however, reject the Book of Mormon without the least examination as to its claims. They have heard there was such a book, but they know nothing of its contents, only that it claims to be a divine revelation. They at once reject it as an imposture. Is this method of judging justifiable? Has God ever authorised his creatures to judge, without investigation, a matter that professes to involve their eternal salvation? Has he ever informed the world that they have enough revelation, or that he will never give them any more? All [p.149]who have read the Bible know that he has given no intimations of the kind. He has given no grounds whatever for supposing that there is to be no more revelation. Why, then, should the world be so presumptuous as to reject a professed revelation as false without investigation? This method of judging is not only unjustifiable, but fearful in its consequences. As long as there is a possibility that man may receive more, he is in danger of losing his salvation, by rejecting indiscriminately all that comes. By this rash and unjustifiable method of judging, he is not only in danger, but he is sure to lose his salvation if God should condescend to give more.
The conduct of millions in relation to the Book of Mormon goes to show that they would reject all true revelation as well as false ones: they are determined to reject, at all hazards, without the least inquiry, every thing under the name of new revelation. They seem to be absolutely certain, as their conduct abundantly indicates, that God will never favor man with another communication of his will concerning them.
To expose this popular, though fatal error, invented by priestcraft in the early ages of the apostacy, and transferred to succeeding generations, will be the object of the present series of pamphlets. In the first, it will be shown that to expect more revelation is neither UNSCRIPTURAL nor UNREASONABLE, and in those which follow, it will be further shown, that the doctrine of continued revelation in the church of God, is one that rests upon the most infallible testimony, being necessary for the salvation of man, connected with which the DIVINE AUTHENTICITY OF THE BOOK OF MORMON WILL BE DEMONSTRATED.
TO EXPECT MORE REVELATION IS NOT UNSCRIPTURAL
1.—If it could be proven from scripture that God had revealed to man all that he ever intended to reveal, then a professed revelation would not require investigation; for it would be known at once, that every thing of the kind was an imposition. It would be folly in the extreme to enquire whether a professed new revelation were true or false; for if God had declared in his word that no more was to be given, all writings or books purporting to be a new revelation could not be otherwise than false.
2.—If the books in the English translations of the Old and New Testaments be the only ones which are to be received as divine revelation, then why do we not find some intimations in those books to that effect? If God saw that man had enough, why did he not tell him so? His mind would then have been relieved from all dubiety on the subject. Then, all nations and generations would have known that the canon of scripture was complete and full: then, there would not have been the [p.150]least possible chance of palming upon the world any more: then, it would have been known that all possible communications between God and man were, from thenceforth, cut off—that the heavens were to be sealed up, and the mouth of the Deity to be closed in a deep, profound, and perpetual silence throughout all future generations.
3.—If God never intended to speak to man after the first century of the Christian era, it certainly would have been a great blessing to the human family, and saved many millions of them from delusion to have told them of so important a matter. But as God has failed to give any such notice, learned divines have concluded to give the notice themselves: hence they have invented “Articles of Faith,” in which their followers are required to reject, under the penalty of excommunication, all books professing to be of divine origin, except those named in their “Articles,” or those few which human wisdom has selected and compiled into a Bible. This is as much as to say, that the Bible contains all that God ever has given or ever will give unto man, and you must not receive any more; and thus the whole Protestant world are circumscribed and limited, and bound down by their “Articles of Faith,”—their “Creeds,” and their “Disciplines.” It matters not how important a message may be sent, nor how great its accompanying evidences, they are positively forbidden to receive it, because it does not happen to be bound up with the rest of the books of the Bible.
4.—The learned and popular false teachers of modern times who have so presumptuously rejected all revelation except the few books of the Bible named in their “Articles,” have endeavoured to make their deluded followers believe that it was contrary to scripture for any more books to be added to the Bible, or for God to give any additional revelation to man. As their strongest proof upon the subject they quote the following text, spoken to John on the Isle of Patmos, when in the act of finishing his manuscript. “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book; and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Rev. xxii. 18, 19.) Here, it is supposed, is proof, that the Bible is for ever closed, and that the addition of any other revelation is forbidden under the penalty of great plagues. But every man who has read this text, knows that there is not the least intimation given in it about the Bible’s being closed. Such a book as the Bible did not then exist in its compiled state. The gathering together of the few scattered manuscripts which compose what is now termed the Bible, was the work of uninspired man which took place centuries after John finished his manuscript. Among the vast [p.151] number or professedly inspired manuscripts, scattered through the world, man, poor, weak, ignorant man, assumed the authority to select a few, which, according to his frail judgment, he believed or conjectured were of God, but the balance not agreeing, perhaps, with his peculiar notions of divine inspiration, were rejected as spurious. The few, selected from the abundance, were finally arranged into one volume, divided into chapter and verse, and named the Bible. Afterwards a set of cunning wicked impostors, under the name of Protestant ministers, make their appearance, who finding themselves entirely destitute of the spirit of prophecy, of visions, of revelation, and of every other power and gift which always characterised the ministers of Christ, have endeavoured to invent some cunning, crafty arguments, to hide from the people their powerless, apostate condition, and make their deluded followers think that they are really genuine ministers of Christ. The best scheme to carry out their corrupt purposes and deceive the people, is, in their estimation, to tell them that God did not intend to reveal anything more—that the Bible contains all—that the caution not to add to the words of John’s prophecy, means not to add to the Bible. Thus the consciences of the common people become quieted, and they sincerely begin to think that the Bible contains all the sacred books ever given that the caution not to add to the words of John’s prophecy, means not to add to the Bible. Thus the consciences of the common people become quieted, and they sincerely begin to think that the Bible contains all the sacred books ever given to man, and they at length become willing to subscribe to a set of cunningly devised “Articles of Faith,” requiring them to renounce all others as spurious.
5.—How do the Protestant world know that the compilers of the Bible, in hunting up the sacred manuscripts which were widely scattered over the world, one in one place and another in another,—found all that were of divine origin? How do they know that the compilers of the Bible found even the one hundredth part of the manuscripts that were sacred? And as the compilers rejected many that they did find how do they know but what some of the rejected books were equally sacred with those received into the collection? Would not the prophecy of Enoch with which the Apostle Jude was familiar, and from which he makes a quotation relative to the second coming of Christ, be as sacred as any other prophecy of the Bible? Would not the book of Iddo the seer—the book of Nathan the prophet—together with some twelve or fifteen other books and epistles, written by inspired prophets, seers, and apostles, and referred to in scripture, be as worthy of a place in the Bible as any that human wisdom have already compiled? Would it have been any more a violation of the caution not to add to the words of John’s prophecy, for the compilers to have added the book of Gad the seer, with the collection called the Bible, than it was for them to add to the volume the book of Ezekiel—the book of Solomon’s Songs—the book of Matthew—the book of James, or any other book of the collection? If the book of John’s prophecy mean the Bible, as these false teachers assert, [p.152]and if the Bible mean a collection of all the sacred books written by inspired men, and if the adding and diminishing to the words of John’s prophecy mean adding and diminishing many sacred books from the Bible, then the whole Protestant world are under the curse for diminishing many sacred books from the Bible which are certainly referred to as being written by inspired men, but which they in their “Articles of Faith” absolutely exclude and diminish from the Bible by prohibiting their deluded followers from receiving only such as happens to be compiled. Should any of these sacred manuscripts hereafter be found, the “Articles” and “Creeds” of men prohibit their reception. If they had happened to have been found by the compilers of the Bible, they would have been sacred, but to be found afterwards renders them false. For men a few centuries ago to hunt up a few scattered manuscripts, and compile them into a Bible, was considered a very laudable undertaking, but for any man to find a sacred book since that time is considered the highest blasphemy.
6.—If the caution about adding and diminishing means that there is to be no more revelation after the caution is given, then all books purporting to be a revelation, and given after such caution, must be false. Now such caution was given as early as the days of Moses. “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish out from it.” (Deut. iv. 2.) The caution in John’s book must mean the same thing as the caution in the book of Moses; if the one means that there is to be no more revelation, the other means the same. Therefore, according to the arguments of modern divines, all the Old and New Testaments which have been added since Moses gave the caution must be false, and consequently, they and all their followers must be under the curse for believing in and advocating sixty-two other books as divine revelation, which they know were all given after the caution by Moses. Thus it will be seen, that if their application of these texts be correct, they are under a double curse; first, they are cursed in John’s revelations for diminishing some fifteen or twenty books from the compilation of the Bible; and, secondly, they are cursed in Deuteronomy for receiving sixty-two books which were added after the caution was given by Moses. If modern divines, rather than subject themselves to a double curse should be willing to give up their perverted applications of these texts, then what becomes of their scriptural arguments against receiving more revelation? There is certainly no other application of these passages that forbids additional revelation.
7.—To add to the words of the book of John’s prophecy, means nothing more nor less than to add words or sentences of our own to his book, so as to alter the meaning, and to publish such additions as the words of John. For Isaiah to have added to the words of the books of [p.153]Moses as the author of these altered writings, would have subjected him to a curse. But to receive, as he did, a separate and independent revelation was no more adding to the words of Moses, than a deed conveying an estate in America would be adding to the laws of England. If ten thousand new revelations were to be given, it would be no more adding to the words of John’s book than a message of the president of the United States would be adding to the words of a proclamation by Queen Victoria. No revelations given from God need any alterations, additions, or diminutions, by the wisdom of man. If they need altering, God alone has the right to alter them, or to add to them, as he did in the case of a revelation which he gave to Jeremiah, which was burned by the king of Judah, but afterwards Jeremiah was commanded to write all the words again, “and there were added besides unto them many like words.” (Jer. xxxvi. 32.) God has never prohibited himself from giving revelation as often as he pleases, neither has he prohibited himself from adding or diminishing words in case he sees it necessary. But woe unto that man who pretends to give a revelation, and is a deceiver, who adds, or diminishes, or alters a revelation which God has given; such cannot escape the threatened judgments of the Almighty.
8.—We have now shown by the most conclusive arguments that the passages concerning, adding, and diminishing, so often referred to by the new-revelation denier,—does not contain the most distant intimation that the day of revelation is gone by. They never would have resorted to such a perverted application of these passages if they had any better evidence in the scriptures to sustain themselves. The very fact that they so often pervert these passages from their evident meaning, shows most conclusively the weakness of their position. No other passages are susceptible of being so grossly misapplied. It is under this shallow covering that they endeavour to hide their apostacy and deceive mankind.
9.—In their zeal to oppose every thing under the name of new revelation, some of the more ignorant have assumed that when Christ was lifted upon the cross, and cried “it is finished,” it put an end to all further revelation. If this assumption be correct, then all the books of the New Testament, written years after, must be false. If Christ finished the work of revelation, when he exclaimed, “it is finished,” then the apostles must have been base impostors for pretending to receive revelation scores of years after this exclamation. All, therefore, who reject new revelation upon these grounds, are required by their own application of this saying, to reject all the writings of the New Testament: thus, in their heated zeal to oppose new revelation, they not unfrequently destroy the very books which they profess to believe.
10.—A saying of Paul to Timothy is sometimes referred to by the [p.154]enemies of new revelation, and applied in the most deceptive manner, in order to strengthen the world in the fatal delusion, that God will no more speak with man: it reads as follows,—”From a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation.” (2 Timothy iii. 15.) The objector to new revelation argues, from this passage, that the scriptures with which Timothy was acquainted in his childhood, were abundantly sufficient to make him wise unto salvation, and consequently there was no need of any more. If this conclusion be correct, it would do away with all the scriptures of the New Testament; for Timothy when a child was only acquainted with the scriptures of the old Testament, the scriptures of the new Testament not being yet written. Thus, again, the enemy of new revelation in his fanatical zeal to close up the volume of inspiration, has done away the very scriptures which he pretends so firmly to believe.
11.—Modern false teachers, in order to sustain their impositions, sometimes quote the following: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Tim. iii. 16,17.) They assert that this passage means that “enough” scripture has been given to perfect the man of God—that “enough” has been given to thoroughly furnish him unto all good works; but the word ENOUGH is not found in the passage: it reads, “ALL SCRIPTURE is given, &c.” The righteous man has no authority from this passage to assume that he has enough, but he should continue to seek for “line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little;” and if he gives heed unto “all scripture” which God may condescend to reveal, it will perfect him, and thoroughly furnish him unto all good works. This passage, therefore leaves the man of God to be perfected by “all scripture” which God has given by inspiration, in early ages, or which he may give in latter times. He is not limited to any particular number of books which uninspired man has happened to find and compile into a Bible. Indeed, if the assertions of these false teachers be true, then there are several books of the New Testament which must be rejected; for if the man of God had enough scripture at the time Paul wrote his epistle to Timothy, then the book of Revelations given on Patmos some years after, together with the book of John’s Gospel, and several of the epistles, must be excluded from the Bible.
12.—Well educated and learned divines have been so utterly at a loss to find any scripture to sustain them in denying immediate revelation, that they have not hesitated to pervert, in the most glaring manner, not only the foregoing passages, but some few others of a similar nature which they have culled from the Bible, and which they, and all persons with the least reflection, know have not the most distant bear-[p.155]ing upon the subject. They tell their flocks that no more revelation is to be expected, because St. Paul, in addressing the elders of the church at Ephesus, says, “I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you. I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” (Acts xx., 20, 27.) “All the counsel of God” having been imparted by St. Paul to the Ephesians, it is presumed that all further revelation was unnecessary. If this presumption be correct, it would, like the former presumption, not only cut off from the Bible several of the epistles, but the book of John’s Gospel, and the great revelation given on Patmos, all of which were certainly written years after Paul declared “all the counsel of God” to the elders of Ephesus. Paul, no doubt, had previously declared all the counsels which God had manifested to him in relation to their welfare, but this did not prohibit the Lord from revealing afterwards other counsels as the future circumstances of the Ephesians might require. Indeed, notwithstanding this saying of Paul, the Lord did, a long time after, give further revelations and counsels to this same church, through His servant John, on Patmos. (See Rev. ii. 1-8.)
13.—It has been furthermore presumed that revelation would cease when the “seventy weeks” mentioned in Daniel had passed away. The Angel Gabriel said to Daniel, “Understand the matter, and consider the vision. Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon the Holy City, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to annoint the Most Holy.” (Daniel ix. 23, 24.) Here the enemies of new revelation assert, that as soon as the Messiah came, and was annointed, and the seventy weeks had elapsed, “the vision and prophecy were sealed up.” But we ask, what vision and prophecy were sealed up? They reply, that all new revelation by vision and prophecy was then to come to an end. If this wild conjecture be correct, then all the visions, and prophecies, and revelation, and books of the New Testament, given from fifty to a hundred years after the seventy weeks had ended, must be false. The vision and prophecy which God had given to Daniel, and which the angel commanded him to consider, no doubt were the ones which were to be sealed up, or to have their fulfilment at the time therein specified. But to suppose that God was to give no more visions and prophecies after that time is contradicted by the fact that abundance of heavenly manifestations during the whole of the first century of the Christian era, all of which new-revelation deniers must exclude from the Bible, or give up their perverted application of this text.
14.—Another passage is often quoted by objectors to new revelation,—namely, the declaration of Paul in relation to the cessation of some of the spiritual gifts. He says, “Charity never faileth; but whether there be [p.156]prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.” (1 Corinthians, xiii. 8.) Modern ministers will read to their followers this passage, and very gravely tell them that the time when prophecies were to fail arrived upwards of seventeen centuries ago; but they are very careful not to read the two following verses, lest their hearers should find out the true meaning of the passage, and learn the very time when this event should happen. Paul, as if fearful that false teachers would take the advantage of his saying, and undertake to do away prophesying and tongues from the church, says, in the next sentence, “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.” These gifts, then, which were only given in part, were to cease and to be done away as unnecessary, not seventeen centuries ago, as false teachers assert, but “when that which is perfect is come.” In the 12th verse he describes the condition of the church, when that time shall come. He says, “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.” Here we learn that the time when these gifts are to cease is not to be here in this world, but in the next state of existence, where the church shall no longer “see through a glass darkly, but see the Lord face to face,” and “know as they are known:” then “that which is perfect” will have come; then “tongues will cease;” then “prophecy in part,” and “knowledge in part” will be done away; till then, all these gifts are necessary. Therefore these sayings of the apostle, instead of favouring the groundless deceptions of new-revelation deniers, are evidences of the most positive kind in favour of continued revelation.
15.—The church in its militant and imperfect state, compared with its triumphant, immortal, and perfect state, is, in the 11th verse, represented by the two very different states of childhood and manhood. “When,” says St. Paul, “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.” In the various stages of education from childhood to manhood, certain indispensable rules, and diagrams, and scientific instruments are employed for the use and benefit of the pupil, that he may acquire a correct knowledge of the sciences, and be perfected in his studies. When the principles have been once acquired, and the student has been perfected in every branch of education, he can dispense with many of his maps, charts, globes, books, diagrams, &c., as being, like childish things, no longer necessary; they were useful before his education was perfected in imparting the desired knowledge, but, having fulfilled their purposes, he no longer needs their assistance. For instance, the chemist, before sufficient experiments have been made, cannot predict in full the result of the union of several different elements. It is true, that from [p.157]former imperfect experiments he may know in part, and prophesy in part, what will be the nature and properties of the resulting compound. But when he has, through the medium of a good chemical apparatus, determined, by a perfect experiment, all the results, laws, and proportions of the combination of the elements under consideration, knowledge in part, in relation to the results, is done away, and he knows in full; he no longer prophesies in part how these elements will act, and what will be the nature and properties of the compound, for his knowledge is perfect concerning it; he no longer needs to give an imperfect prediction concerning that which he has fully seen and known, and comprehended; he no longer looks through a glass darkly, as he formerly did, but he sees the principle as he is seen, having learned it through an experiment; he can now do away the apparatus, and still retain the knowledge that he formerly gained by it. So it is with the church in relation to spiritual gifts. While in this state of existence it is represented as a child; prophecy, revelations, tongues, and other spiritual gifts, are the instruments of education. The child or church can no more be perfected in its education without the aid of these gifts as instruments, than the chemist could in his researches if he were deprived of the necessary apparatus for experiments. As the chemist needs his laboratory for experiments, as long as there remains any undiscovered truths in relation to the elements and compounds of our globes; so does the church need the great laboratory of spiritual knowledge—namely, revelation and prophecy, as long as it knows only in part. Without this heavenly treasure, the child can never progress to perfection—can never become a “a perfect man in Christ Jesus”—can never “see as it is seen,” and “know as it is known”—can never attain “to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ”—can never dwell in that perfect state of society where they see the Lord face to face—where fulness of knowledge, glory, and happiness pervades every soul. As a human being, when a child, speaks as a child, understands as a child, and thinks as a child; so does the church in this state of existence know only in part: but as the child, when it becomes a man, puts away childish things; so will the church put away such childish things as “prophecy in part,” “knowledge in part,” and seeing in part, when it grows up, through the aid of these things, to a perfect man in Christ Jesus: that which is in part will be done away or immerged into the greater fulness of knowledge which there reigns. Perfection will then swallow up imperfection; the healing power will then be done away, for no sickness will be there; tongues and interpretations will then cease, for one pure language alone will be spoken; the casting out of devils and power against deadly poisons will not then be needed, for in Heaven circumstances will render them unnecessary.
16.—But charity, which is the pure love of God, never faileth; it [p.158]will sit enthroned in the midst of the glorified throng, clothed in all the glory and splendour of its native heaven. As charity, then, never fails, we can say, with the Apostle Paul, “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that you may prophesy;” for all these things, with faith and hope, should be the companions of charity in this world, though circumstances will require some of them to part, “when that which is perfect is come;” but while travelling in this world of imperfection, let them be friends. And as God has joined them together in happy wedlock during this state of existence, let no man put them asunder. That habitation that will not admit them all as occupants, cannot retain either singly. Faith, Hope, and Charity, will not abide where their dear friend Immediate Revelation is rejected. Though Christendom may pass bills of divorcement, and try to separate them, yet they will not be separated. Wherever they are unitedly received, they impart salvation and eternal life; wherever either is rejected, death—eternal death—is sure to be the result.
17.—New-revelation deniers, to sustain their false position, sometimes refer to the saying of our Saviour, “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.” (Matthew xi. 13.) From this they draw the conclusion that John was to be the last prophet of the human race with which our world were to be favoured; and to strengthen this conclusion they connect this saying with the following prediction of Zechariah: “And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of Hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered; and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land. And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him: Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the Lord; and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the prophets shall be shamed every one of his vision when he hath prophesied; neither shall they wear a rough garment to deceive.” (Zachariah xiii. 2, 3, 4.) It is said that the prophets were until John, after which the Lord caused the prophets to pass out of the land, as no longer necessary. If this conclusion be correct, then the “book of John’s prophecy,” revealed some sixty-five years after John the Baptist’s death, must be false. If there were to be no more prophets after John, then Paul must have been entirely mistaken when he says to the Ephesians, that God, “by revelation, made known unto me the mystery which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and PROPHETS.” (Eph. III. 3, 5.) If Paul’s word be credited, instead of the words of the false teachers of latter times, then there must have been prophets connected with the apostles after the days [p.159]of John, and prophets, too, who received greater mysteries by revelation than the prophets of other ages. This agrees with another saying of Paul, that “God hath set some in the church,—first, apostles; secondarily, PROPHETS; thirdly, teachers,” &c. (1 Corinthians. xii. 28.) In accordance with this, we read of certain prophets in the Christian church at Antioch, to whom the Holy Ghost spake and gave directions concerning the calling and missions of Paul and Barnabas. (See Acts xiii.) After the days of John the Baptist, we read of Agabus the prophet, who prophesied of a great famine which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar; and also the four daughters of Philip the Evangelist, who prophesied of the persecutions which awaited Paul at Jerusalem. (See Acts.) To reject prophets from the Christian church would be one of the greatest perversions of God’s word.
18.—The prediction of Zechariah to which we have referred has not yet had its fulfilment; for “the idols” and the “unclean spirit” there spoken of have not yet passed away out of the land; they are not yet “no more remembered,” as is said in this prediction. That the prophets which the Lord should cause to pass away were to be false prophets, and not true ones, is evident from their being connected with the idols and unclean spirit which were all to pass away together. These prophets are, no doubt, the same characters which are spoken of in another place of his prophecy, “For, lo, I will raise up a shepherd in the land, which shall not visit those that be cut off; neither shall seek the young one, nor heal that that is broken, nor feed that that standeth still; but he shall eat the flesh of the fat, and tear their claws in pieces. Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock!—the sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clay dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened.” (Zechariah xi. 16, 17.) When the Lord cuts off the names of the idols out of the land he will then cause the sword to be upon “the arm” and upon “the right eye” of the “idol shepherd;” or, in other words, the prophets and unclean spirit, who tear, and devour, and destroy the flock, and eat the fat thereof, he will, in very deed, cause them “to pass away out of the land.” This destruction of idol shepherds, false prophets, &c., will take place at the time, or a little after, the Saviour’s second coming. “In that day,” says Zechariah, “the Lord shall be king over all the earth,” and “there shall be one Lord and his name one,” the names of the idols having passed away, being no more remembered. This will be after he comes with all his saints and stands upon the Mount of Olives, as is predicted in this same connection. Therefore these passages have not the most distant allusion to the doing away of prophets from the Christian church, as many reverend false teachers assert. None but the most ignorant and unreflecting could ever be deceived by such barefaced and glaring perversions of those passages by modern [p.160]divines. Were it not to cover up their apostacy, ministers of modern Christendom never would have resorted to such wilful and awfully wicked perversions of God’s word—perversions, too, which, if admitted, would destroy many of the very books of the Bible which they pretend to believe.
19.—As the foregoing are the only passages referred to by those who reject new revelation, we conclude that there are no others that have, in their estimation, any bearing upon the subject; and as we have clearly shown that these passages contain not the slightest intimation that God has revealed all that he ever intended to give to man. Therefore the proposition containing the subject matter of these paragraphs is fully established, and it can be asserted, with the greatest assurance, and without fear of contradiction, that it is not unscriptural to expect more revelation.
TO EXPECT MORE REVELATION IS NOT UNREASONABLE
1.—In the foregoing we have shown that in so far as the enemies of new revelation have undertaken to prove their position by scripture, they have utterly failed. We shall now proceed to examine the reasons offered by the world for rejecting new revelation. If it can be demonstrated that the giving of more revelation would be unreasonable, then all professed revelation should be rejected at once without investigation, for it could not be otherwise than false.
2.—It is said that God revealed enough to save man in ancient days, and it is concluded that the revelations which saved the ancients, will save men in all future generations, and, therefore, it is argued that it is unreasonable to expect any more. Now we most freely admit that God revealed enough to save man in ancient times, but that these were sufficient for future generations, we deny. No one will for a moment dispute but that the revelations given to Abel were sufficient to save him; but to argue that Abel’s revelations were sufficient for all future generations, would be the very height of absurdity. The revealed will of God to Abel, though sufficient to save him, was altogether insufficient to guide Noah and his family; nothing short of a new revelation could unfold to him the awful judgment that awaited the world by a universal deluge: nothing short of a new revelation could point out to him a way of escape. But new revelation was as unpopular to the antediluvians as it is now to the apostate churches of the nineteenth century. They, without doubt, considered Noah an impostor for offering to them a new revelation, when Abel and Enoch had enough to save them. In vain did Noah urge upon them the necessity of believing in his message; in vain [p.161]did he portray the awful consequences of rejecting it; they considered the revelations of their forefathers all-sufficient without any additional ones; and thus the whole world, except eight persons, were carried away with the fatal delusion that new revelation was unnecessary, and the whole mass of deluded fanatics perished together as a fearful warning to all the enemies of new revelation who should live after them.
3.—Lot, though a righteous man, could not have been saved from the shower of fire and brimstone about to be poured upon the cities of the plain, had he not believed in new revelation, pointing out to him his only course of safety. In vain did he plead with his kindred to believe in new revelation, and depart out of Sodom to escape the threatened judgment; he seemed to them as one that mocked. They doubtless thought, like modern divines, that the old revelations that saved their fathers would also save them; they persisted in their strong delusions until overwhelmed by a shower of fire; and as it was with these cities of the plain, so shall it also be with the multitude of all nations who are enemies to new revelation in the days of the coming of the Son of man: they shall become as stubble in the midst of the devouring flame, and shall, like Sodom and Gomorrah, be punished with the vengeance of eternal fire.
4.—When Jesus offered to the Jews a new revelation they immediately appealed to the old ones, saying, “We have Moses and the prophets, but as for this man Christ Jesus, we know not whence he is.” The devil had put it into their hearts to suppose that a new one was considered an imposition; they continued to reject every thing of the kind, until they brought upon themselves and their beloved city swift destruction.
5.—The apostate Gentile churches of the present century are following in the same dangerous path. The cunning arch impostors of modern times, under the name of Popish and Protestant ministers, have persuaded millions of their deluded votaries to reject every thing under the name of new revelation, and to receive only such ancient books as they have names in their “Articles of Religion.” If this wicked imposition had only deceived here and there a few, there would be some hopes of mankind; but alas! the delusion is as popular as it was in the days of Noah. Learned and unlearned—rulers and ruled—philosophers and the ignorant—the great and the small—the high and the low, and in fine, all nations and people, have fallen into this whirlpool of delusion—this vortex of destruction, that has swallowed up nations and generations of ancient times, and left a sad but fearful warning to those who should live in after ages.
6.—Nothing can be more erroneous than to suppose that the revelations given to one individual, people, or generation, are sufficient to fully develop the duties of another individual, people, or generation. That there are many duties which are common to all mankind in every [p.162]generation, is a truth that no one can dispute. It is equally clear that there are many duties which are limited in their nature, and only required of such as God may name or designate under existing circumstances. Those general laws which are universal in their application, though revealed ever so often, are always the same; they are as unchangeable as the great Law Giver in whom they originated; while those individual or circumstantial laws which are limited to the individuals for whom they are given, are changeable in their nature. New circumstances require new laws which must continue to change in order to suit the condition of the people. No man, either in ancient or modern times, has ever yet learned his whole duty from the general laws which God has revealed. Without new revelation adapted to the peculiar condition of himself as an individual, and varied at sundry times, according to the change of circumstances, he will for ever remain ignorant of a part of his duty.
7.—As the present generation are so universally in error, in supposing that the ancient revelations are sufficient for all present purposes, we shall point out still further the absurdity of this supposition, by showing the distinction between general and circumstantial laws, as revealed to govern the nations of men, and by pointing out the absolute necessity of continued revelation, growing out of the nature of the varied circumstances in which man is placed. General laws, given to regulate the actions of all men, are those which prohibit them from doing that which in its very nature is evil; and which enjoin upon them to do that which in its very nature is good. Circumstantial laws are those which prohibit man from doing that which in its nature is not evil, but which, if done, circumstances would render evil; and which enjoin upon him to do that which in its nature is neither good nor evil, but which, if done, circumstances would render good.
8.—The first class of laws are termed general because of their universal adaptation to the conditions of all men in all generations and ages, and under every dispensation of God to man. There are many things which are naturally evil, and no change of circumstances can render them otherwise than evil: they are recognised as evil by all men, whether in a civilised or savage state: there is but one law of conscience in regard to them, independent of all revealed law. That which tends to unjustly injure another in his person or character is naturally an evil: the law of conscience tells all men that it is evil: the revealed law of God coincides with that of conscience, and proclaims it an evil, and forbids mankind under a heavy penalty to unjustly injure one another. To bear false witness against a neighbour is an evil in its very nature. It is not the revealed law of God which makes it an evil, but it is clearly perceived to be an evil where the revealed law is unknown. To take the advantage of a good man and cheat him out of his property—to rob, or steal, or wan-[p.163]tonly waste, or destroy it—is an evil, recognised by the consciences of all men: it is not necessary for the revealed law to proclaim these things as evil in order that man may perceive them as such; for the savage, as well as the sage, readily perceives, by the aid of his conscience alone, that the inherent nature of these things is vicious. To murder or shed innocent blood is distinguished by all men to be a great evil: there is something in the nature of the act that proclaim loudly that it is one of the greatest of evils. If God had never revealed it an evil in written words, yet mankind would be none the less assured of its evil nature. The object of the revealed law is, not merely to show that these acts are evil and vicious, but to show the penalty and consequences of such acts;—to show that judgment and misery must necessarily result from a vicious course of life. We have now given a few items of evil that are in their nature evil, and against which God has enacted general laws to govern men in all ages.
9.—We shall next point out some things which in their very nature are good, and which the consciences of all men, at once perceive to be good. To show pity to the poor—to feed the hungry and clothe the naked—to administer relief to the sick and afflicted—to do unto our neighbour that which we, in like circumstances, would consider they ought to do for us—and in fine, to love them, and seek to benefit them, and make them happy, are things which are inherently good: it is not a command to do these things which renders them good: they were good before any revealed law enjoined mankind to do them; they were good independent of all revealed law; they were good from the beginning in their very nature; and man is so constituted that he cannot look upon them otherwise than as being inherently good. These are the virtuous acts which the revealed law has enjoined upon men to perform. It is not the object of the revealed law, merely to point out that these acts are good and virtuous, for this was already understood, but the object was to enjoin upon man the importance of doing good,—to make known to him the reward which should be received for every virtuous act, and the happy results which should follow a virtuous course of life. We have now given a few items of good that are in and of themselves naturally good, concerning which God has enacted general laws to govern man in every age and dispensation.
10.—These items of good and evil, together with all others of like nature, are the principal items embodied in a code of laws which are intended to be general in their application. Those who violate them, though they are not acquainted with the revealed law concerning them, yet they will be judged by the law of their consciences so far as they were able to perceive the nature of right and wrong, but not being acquainted with the penalty annexed to these laws, they will only be pun-[p.164]ished with a few stripes; while those who have, not only the law of conscience, but also the revealed law, and shall violate its sacred commands, will be beaten with many stripes.
11.—There are many things which are not naturally evil, but which become evil circumstantially; for instance, God having finished this creation in six days, rested on the seventh, and from this circumstance, he ordained the sabbath as a day of rest, and commanded that man should not labour on that day. Now a man unacquainted with this revealed law, would be as likely to labour on the sabbath as on any other day: there would be nothing in the nature of this act, nor in the nature of anything connected with it, that would indicate to him that he was doing an evil. Those things which are naturally evil are the only ones which are perceptible to the conscience as such, without the light of revelation; and consequently, God will neither judge, condemn, nor punish a man who has ignorantly transgressed and done an evil which his conscience could not possibly detect as such, and unto whom he has never sent the revealed law. To labour on the sabbath day, therefore, is only an evil, because it is forbidden; there is nothing in the nature of it that is evil: not so with stealing, bearing false witness, committing adultery, murdering, and such like crimes; they are all evils by nature, though they were not forbidden; for the conscience of the savage, as well as the civilised man, regards them as such.
12.—Incorporated in the code of general laws, concerning good and evil, are many other laws of a circumstantial nature which are also binding upon all people to whom they are sent with proper authority; such, for instance, as the law of baptism—the laying on of hands in confirmation, in ordination, and in healing the sick—the anointing of the sick with oil in the name of the Lord with prayer—the Lord’s supper, and the keeping of the sabbath day holy. These are duties revealed in ancient times to be perpetuated among all people to whom they should be sent with divine authority. But these general laws of good and evil, including all the annexed ordinances and institutions, intended to be perpetuated, unfold but a very small portion of the individual duties of man, arising from the circumstances with which he is surrounded. Indeed, no code of laws which were intended to be generally applicable could, from their nature, possibly unfold the vast variety of constantly changing duties required even of one man. Much more impossible would it be for such a code to make manifest the multifarious duties of some fifteen thousand millions of the human race who have lived since the days of the apostles.
13.—We shall now point out a few specimens of revelation which were not intended to be perpetuated, being confined to a very limited period of time, and only intended for the benefit of those for whom [p.165]they were given; these may be termed peculiar or circumstantial revelations, and are as necessary to fulfil the purposes of God for the well being of man, as those of a higher order or of a more general nature. Circumstances required a peculiar revelation to be given to Noah in relation to building an ark. The peculiarity of this revelation will be seen from the fact, that Noah was required to do a work altogether different from what had been required of any man anterior to his day. If the objector should say, that this revelation to Noah, having reference to temporal salvation, was of minor importance, compared with those great revelations on moral subjects, and should conclude that it was not a matter of much consequence whether such a revelation was given or not. We reply, that the all-wise Creator who knows what is for the good of man, does not give revelation upon subjects of no importance: but every thing connected with revelation, is of great importance, and intended not only for the temporal, but for the eternal good of man. For man to reject a command of God in relation to temporal things, or temporal salvation, would have a serious bearing upon his future state, and deprive him of future salvation. Therefore all things which God commands a person to do, however unimportant they may appear to finite creatures, are nevertheless of infinite importance, and will most assuredly influence his eternal destiny.
14.—Peculiar revelations were given to Abraham: he was commanded to depart out of Chaldea, his native country, and go to a land wherein he was a stranger. This command was not general, but individual, in its application. Abraham and his household seem to be the only persons required to obey it. Here, then, was a duty which they never could have learned from any general laws: new revelation alone could make it manifest. If we read the short history of Abraham’s life, we find a great variety of duties made known to him which he must for ever have remained in ignorance of, had it not been for new revelation. At one time he was commanded to circumcise all the males of his household; at another, to walk through the land of Canaan, in the length of it and in the breadth of it; at another, to lift up his eyes eastward, westward, northward, and southward, with a promise that all the land over which he travelled, and which his eyes beheld, should be given to him and his posterity for an everlasting possession; at another time he was commanded to offer as a sacrifice different kinds of animals and fowls; at another, to offer his only son Isaac as a burnt offering upon a mountain; at another, to stay his hand, and not destroy the child. Now, all these were duties which could not be learned from ancient revelation, from the fact that no other people had been previously commanded to do these things. They were duties that could not be incorporated in a system of laws that were intended to be general in their application, and [p.166]for this very reason Abraham considered new revelation indispensably necessary; it was the only possible way to learn the whole of his duty. O! how different were the feelings and views of this good old patriarch from those entertained by modern enemies to new revelation! The one saw the impossibility of learning the whole will of God from previous revelation; the others consider that a few ancient books called the Bible reveal the whole will of God to all nations and generations for the last seventeen centuries. O! the impenetrable darkness of apostate Christianity! It is heart-sickening to every man of God! Who among the saints of ancient times could have supposed that a race of people would arise professing to believe in the revelations of old time, but considering that all new ones were entirely unnecessary? The worshippers of Baal were far more consistent than apostate Christendom; for they had a faint hope that Baal would hear and answer them; but modern divines have no expectation that their God will say anything to them or to their followers. Baal’s followers cried from morning until evening for him to give unto them a miraculous manifestation, in the presence of Elijah; but to even expect a supernatural manifestation or revelation now is considered, by modern religionists, as the greatest absurdity. Baal’s worshippers, therefore, with all their absurd
15.—The history of the people of God, from the earliest ages, shows that continued revelation was the only way that they could possibly learn all their duties, or God’s will concerning themselves. They never once thought that the revelations given to previous generations were sufficient to guide them into every duty. A doctrine which rejects new revelation is a new doctrine, invented by the devil and his agents during the second century after Christ; it is a doctrine in direct opposition to the one believed in and enjoyed by the saints in all ages. Now, to subvert and do away a doctrine four thousand years old, and introduce a new one in its stead, can only be done by divine authority. But have the propagators of this new doctrine, at any period since its invention, established its authority either by scripture, reason, miracles, or any other way? If not, how dare they to break in upon the long-established order of God, and invent a new doctrine, excluding all further revelation? How dare they to promulgate a doctrine so entirely different from what the ancient saints ever believed or thought of? How dare they assume and teach that God will no more speak with man, when he never had failed, in any instance, to converse with his saints in every previous generation? How dare they call themselves the people of God, and yet reject the great, fundamental, and infinitely important doctrine of continued revelation, which always distinguished the people of God from every other [p.167]people? None but the most blind and determined enemies to new revelation could for a moment believe the Bible, and at the same time believe that the ancient saints and the apostate churches of Christendom were both the people of God: the one class believed in a doctrine of continued revelation, established not only by several thousand years’ experience, but by a continued series of miracles during that long period of time; while the other class have entirely excluded this heavenly doctrine from their midst, and, as a substitute, have invented, through the aid of uninspired men, “Articles of Religion,” “Creeds,” “Disciplines,” “Commentaries,” &c. Who, then, with a knowledge of these two systems of religion, so widely different and opposed to each other, would have the hardihood or wicked presumption to call the latter Christians or the Church of God?
16.—As the doctrine, then, of continued revelation is one that was always believed by the saints, it ought not to be required of any man to prove the necessity of the continuation of such a doctrine. If it were a new doctrine never before introduced into the world, it would become necessary to establish its divine origin; but, inasmuch as it is only a continuation of an old doctrine, established thousands of years ago, and which has never ceased to be believed and enjoyed by the saints, it would be the greatest presumption to call it in question at this late period; and hence it would seem almost superfluous to undertake to prove the necessity of its continuance. Instead of being required to do this, all people have the right to call upon all the new-revelation deniers of the last seventeen centuries to bring forward their strong reasonings and testimonies for breaking in upon the long-established order of heaven, and introducing a new doctrine so entirely different from the old. If they wish their new doctrine to be believed, let them demonstrate it to be of divine origin, or else all people will be justified in rejecting it, and in still cleaving to the old. When Jesus came and did away the old law of Moses, and introduced a new system of religion, he established the divine origin of the new by the most incontrovertible testimony; the most splendid miracles were wrought both by himself and his followers. Now, if the new-revelation deniers will bring as much testimony as Jesus and his followers did to establish their new doctrine, then they may, with some little propriety, call upon mankind to believe in it; but as yet they have given the world no evidence whatever only their own conjectures. We are called upon to reject a doctrine much older than the law of Moses, and of far greater importance, and to receive in its stead the doctrines of uninspired men, excluding all new communications from heaven; and as yet not one testimony has been offered the world in confirmation of this newly-invented religion. How strange that any one should ever have been deceived with such absur-[p.168]dities! How incomprehensibly more strange that millions should still cling to the awful delusion!
17.—When a doctrine has been originated by divine authority, and has been believed and enjoyed by the people of God, without an exception, in all ages, it is not unreasonable to expect the continuance of such doctrine among the saints in all future ages, unless some cause can be shown for its discontinuance: for instance, the doctrine of Faith, Repentance, and Remission of Sins, was originated and taught by divine authority immediately after the fall, and, like the doctrine of continual revelation, was embraced and enjoyed by every people of God until the apostles fell asleep. Now, if a people had arisen in the second century of the Christian era who excluded from their religion any of these principles, would not such a newly-invented religion have been considered as a gross imposition, and all its originators as the basest of impostors? At least, would not the inventors of such a religion have been required to show some authority or cause for thus discontinuing a doctrine which even they themselves continued to admit was necessary in all previous ages? If Faith, Repentance, Remission of Sins, and Continued Revelation, were necessary for four thousand years, what reason can be shown that any one of these heavenly principles should ever afterwards become unnecessary? If the second century were chosen as the memorable period for the discontinuance of an essential and long-established principle of religion, and for the introduction of a new religion diverse from what the people of God ever before enjoyed, then, indeed, it must be a period of great importance in the history of man. But the great and infinitely important question is, how shall mankind know that this sudden and unexpected change in the religion of heaven was produced by divine authority? Have its propagators ever established its divine authenticity in any way? If not, then they must be the vilest and most dangerous impostors that ever disgraced our earth, deceiving, not a few only, but their thousands of millions, and corrupting all nations with their abominable and soul-destroying apostasy.
18.—A doctrine or principle established by divine authority will require divine authority to do it away. That which is established by a Superior Power cannot be abolished by an inferior power. This may be beautifully illustrated by the kingdoms, governments, and powers of the earth. Each has its law-making department: this power is sometimes invested in a legislative body, and sometimes in the king, queen, or emperor. Whenever any of these departments enacts laws for the welfare of the people, they are considered to be in force and binding upon all citizens until the lawmaking department shall repeal them, and notify the people of such repeal. Private citizens or inferior councils could never repeal that which was enacted and ordained by higher powers. If [p.169]the king ordained the law, then none but the king can repeal it. If the people should undertake to abrogate or do away the law, it would be considered an act of rebellion against the government. So if the king should ordain certain rights or privileges to be enjoyed by his subjects, no inferior power would have a right to disannul such legal grants—none would have a right to say that the privileges, ordained by the king in behalf of his subjects, were done away. The power that ordains rights and privileges, can alone disannul them. The subjects have no right to suppose that any law or privilege is done away, unless the law-making department has notified the people to that effect. So it is with the kingdom of God. God is the King; he is the legal Law-Giver to all the children of the kingdom; he has ordained certain rights and privileges to be enjoyed by them all; he has given to them all the right of petition, with a sure and certain promise that he will hear and answer. These rights and privileges were enjoyed for about four thousand years by all the subjects of his government; they petitioned the King, to show them by revelation many great and glorious things, which he, according to his promise, granted. Among the promised rights and blessings, granted by the great and unchangeable Law-giver, may be enumerated, the privilege of conversing with him and with his angels, and to receive knowledge by visions, by dreams, by the revelation of the Holy Spirit, and by prophecy. After having enjoyed those chartered rights for many thousand years, the people all at once assumed the authority to disannul them, and thus came out in open rebellion against the government of the Almighty. Oh, what a fearful responsibility rests upon those who have thus dared to repeal and disannul that which God has established!
19.—What would be the consequences, if a portion of the inhabitants of Great Britain were to rise up against some of the dearest and most precious rights which had been granted by the law-making department, and which had been enjoyed by the subjects for many generations? Would they not be considered in a state of rebellion? Would they not be taken and tried before the proper tribunals, and condemned and punished, as guilty of treason? How much sorer punishment, then, must the world of Christendom receive! For their crime is of much greater magnitude. They have not rebelled against the governments of the earth, but against the government of Heaven; they have repealed, disannulled, and rebelled against some of the most sacred rights granted by the King of kings. If such a rebellion against the laws of earthly governments will subject the person to death, what must be the punishment of those who rebel against heavenly governments! Oh, Christendom! what hast thou done? Thou hast closed the door of Heaven upon thyself, and upon the nations of the earth! Thou hast made the windows of Heaven as brass that cannot easily be penetrated! Thou hast rejected the key of [p.170]revelation, and thus cut off all communications from the heavenly worlds! Thou hast repealed and made void the chartered privileges, and most sacred rights, ordained of God, for the comforting, teaching, and perfecting of his Saints! Thou hast veiled the heavens in darkness, and shrouded the earth with the black mantle of error! Oh, Christendom, what wilt thou do! And whither wilt thou hide thyself in the day of thy visitation—in the day of the fierce anger of the Almighty! The mountains and rocks will not cover thy shame nor hide thy guilt from the eye of Him who searcheth all things! Repent, then, of thy great wickedness, oh, thou destroyer of souls! no longer lift thy voice against the glorious gift of revelation; no longer deny the chartered rights of the people of God; no longer rebel against the ministry of angels, and the enjoyments of the gifts of vision and prophecy; no longer seek to repeal that which Heaven has ordained, and which the children of God enjoyed for four thousand years. Remember that divine gifts and divine laws can only be repealed by divine authority.
20.—We are told by the ministers of Christendom, that God has repealed the gift of revelation, as no longer necessary. But they have utterly failed up to this day to point out the revelation that contains this repeal. The Old Testament does not contain it—the New Testament does not contain it. As the repeal act is not found in the Bible, where shall it be found? This is a question of great importance! If there be such an Act of Repeal, it must be somewhere, or how could these ministers have known it? We call upon Christendom to bring forward out of their sacred archives the REPEAL LAW. Let us search it;—let us see what God has said about the world’s having revelation enough. Let us see what time the Repeal was passed, when it came in force,—how long it is to continue in force,—and whether there is any probability of a restoration of the former privileges! None can consider this call for the repeal law unreasonable. If God has ordained such a law it is reasonable that we should know it. The ministers say they know it. Why not let the people see the law that they may know it also? Why keep them in the dark—if such a law exist, bring it forward. You cannot say that it is a law of not much importance; for surely, if God has passed a law repealing the gift of revelation—the gift of prophecy—the gift of visions and dreams by the spirit—the ministry of angels—and all other miraculous gifts, which had been enjoyed by every people of God among all nations, and in all generations for four thousand years—if he has swept away all these long-established and most glorious privileges from the church by a repeal law, then it must be one of the most important laws that have ever been communicated to man; it is a law that every one should be familiar with; and none should be prohibited from reading or perusing it.
[p.171]21.—When God repealed the law of Moses he did not keep it to himself, but he told the people plainly, not only of the repeal act, but also of the new acts which were introduced in its stead. The law of Moses required a man to give a writing of divorcement if he wished to put away his wife; but Jesus repealed that law, and gave a new one in its stead. The law of Moses required the people to “perform unto the Lord their oaths;” but Jesus repealed this law, and commanded the people to “swear not at all.” The law of Moses required “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth;” but Jesus repealed this law also, and commanded the people “not to resist evil.” Here, then, we have the repeal law, abolishing that of Moses, and the new law introduced in its stead: both are revealed in perfect plainness: there is no dubiety or uncertainty as to what is repealed or as to what takes it place. If it be considered necessary to reveal to mankind that certain privileges, granted by the law of Moses, were repealed; how much more necessary is it, that mankind should know of the repeal of blessings and privileges far greater and vastly superior to those of the law of Moses! Would God take such particular care to notify man of the repeal of the gift of revelation, visions, prophecy, &c.? The law of Moses “was added because of transgression,” and given “because of the hardness of their hearts;” Paul calls it a “law of carnal commandments;” therefore mankind could, with propriety, look for its repeal. But no one for a moment could have supposed that the Lord would repeal and do away such great and glorious gifts as ministers now declare to be unnecessary. But what seems still more strange, is that he should repeal privileges, granted, not only in the Mosaic dispensation, and in the ages preceding it, but also in the Gospel dispensation, even down to the close of the first century, and yet give us no information of such repeal.
22.—But the ministers of apostate Christendom assert that God has repealed those precious gifts, and we now call upon them to tell us how they know it. Has God revealed it to them? No, say they; God reveals nothing in this age. Did you learn it from ancient revelations? If so, we call upon you in the name of the Lord, as you value your own soul’s salvation, and that of others, to show us the revelation, that we may know it also. If you do not do this, it will be considered that you do not know any such thing, but that you have come to the people, like the prophets of Ahab, with a lie in your mouths to deceive, devour, and destroy. O ye ministers of modern Christendom—ye enemies of new revelation! how can ye escape the damnation of hell! How many millions of good honest-hearted people you have deceived by your cunning craftiness, and lying hypocracies! How many millions would have called upon God, in faith, for revelations, prophecies, visions, and the ministry of angels, and received these precious blessings, had it not been [p.172]for the wicked, most abominable, and soul-destroying lies, which you have instilled into their ears by telling them that these things were repealed and done away! Repent, therefore, of this great wickedness, and be baptized for the remission of your sins, and you shall receive the Holy Ghost, which shall give you visions and revelations, and shall show you things to come; and except you do this, the wrath and indignation of that Being against whom you have lied, shall speedily overtake you, and you shall perish out of the earth. REPENT, THEREFORE, QUICKLY, THAT YOU MAY FIND MERCY.