Parley P. (Parley Parker) Pratt.

A voice of warning and instruction to all people: or, An introduction to the faith and doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints online

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Online LibraryParley P. (Parley Parker) PrattA voice of warning and instruction to all people: or, An introduction to the faith and doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints → online text (page 6 of 13)
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Ghost. If the Churches of the present day have
the Holy Ghost, why are they so much at a loss
to understand truth ? Why do they walk in so
many different ways and doctrines? Why do
they need whole libraries of sermons, tracts,
divinities, debates, arguments, and opinions, all
written by the wisdom of men, without even
professing to be inspired ? Well doth the Lord
complain, saying, " Their fear towards mo is
taught by the precepts of men." But to return :
the Apostles tarried at Jesusalem until endowed
with power, and then they commenced to pro-
claim the Gospel.

Here we have discovered several things towards
a kingdom : first, we have found a king, crowned


at the right hand of God, to whom is committed
all power in heaven and on earth ; second, com-
missiqaed officers, duly appointed, to administer
the affairs of government ; third, the laws by
which they were to be governed were ALL THINGS


And now, if we can find how men became citi-
zens of that kingdom I mean as to the rules of
adoption then we have found the kingdom of
God in that age, and shall be very much dis-
satisfied with everything in our own age, pro-
fessing to be the kingdom of God, which is not
according to the pattern.

It happened that there were no natural -born
subjects of that kingdom, for both Jew and Gen-
tile were included in sin and unbelief ; and none
could be citizens without the law of adoption. All
that believed on the name of the king had power
to be adopted, but there was but one invariable
rule or plan by which they were adopted : and
all that undertook to claim citizenship, in any
other way whatever, were counted thieves and
.robbers, and could never obtain the seal of adop-
tion. This rule was laid down in the Saviour's
teaching to Nicodemus, namely, " Except a man
be born of water (that is, baptized in water) and
of the Spirit (that is, baptized with the Spirit),
he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."

Now, to Peter were given the keys of the
kingdom ; therefore it was his duty to open the
kingdom to Jew, and also to Gentile. We will


therefore carefully examine the manner in which
he did adopt the Jews into the kingdom at the
day of Pentecost.

Now, when the multitude came running together
on the day of Pentecost, the Apostle Peter, standing
up with the eleven, lifted up his voice and reasoned
with them from the Scriptures, testifying of Jesus
Christ, and his resurrection and ascension on
high, insomuch that many hecame convinced of
the truth, and inquired what they should do. These
were not Christians, but they were people who
were that moment convinced that Jesus was the
Christ ; and because they were convinced of this
fact, they inquired, " What shall we do ? " Then
Peter said unto them, " 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 : for the promise is unto you and
your children, and to all that are afar off, even as
many as the Lord our God shall call." My reader,
do you understand this proclamation ? If you do,
you will see that this Gospel is not generally
preached in modern times Let us, therefore,
analyze and examine it, sentence by sentence.
You recollect they already believed, and the next
thing was for them to repent ; first, faith ; second,
repentance; third, baptism; fourth, remission of
sins ; and fifth, the Holy Ghost. This was the
order of the Gospel, Faith gave the power to
become sons or citizens ; repentance, and baptism
in his name, was the obedience through which
they were adopted ; and the Holy Spirit of pro


mise was the seal of their adoption, and this they
were sure to receive if they would obey. Now,
reader, where do you hear such preaching in our
day ? Who teaches that those who believe and
repent should be baptized, and none others?
Perhaps the reader may say the Baptists do;
but do they call upon men to be baptized as soon
as they believe and repent ? And, moreover, do
' they promise the remission of sins, with the gift
of the Holy Ghost? Recollect now, what effect
the Holy Ghost has upon people who receive it.
It will guide them into all truth, strengthen the
memory, and show them things to come. And
Joel has said, it would cause them to dream
dreams, to see visions, and to prophesy. O ! my
reader, where do you find a gospel like this
preached among men ? Would men go mourning
for weeks upon weeks, without the forgiveness
of sins, or the comfort of the Holy Spirit, if Peter
stood among us to tell precisely how to get such
blessings? Now, what would you think of a
camp meeting, where three thousand men should
come forward to be prayed for, and one of the
ministers should (Peter like) command them every
one to repent, and be baptized, for the remission
of sins, promising that all who obeyed should
receive the remission of sins, and the gift of the
Holy Ghost, which should cause them to dream
dreams and prophesy ; and then should arise with
his brethren of the same calling, and the same
hour commence baptizing, and continue until
they had baptized them all ; and the Holy Ghost
should fall upon thnn, and they begin to see


visions, speak in other tongues and prophesy ?
Would not the news go abroad, far and wide,
that a new doctrine had made its appearance,
quite different from anything now practised
among men ? O yes, says the reader, this, to be
sure, would be something new, and very strange
to all of us. Well, strange as it may seem, it is
the Gospel, as preached by Peter on the day of
Pentecost; and Paul declares that he preached
the same Gospel that Peter did ; and he has also
said, " Though we, or an angel from heaven,
preach any other Gospel, let him be accursed."
Now, the reader need no longer be astonished to
see that these signs do not follow them that
believe some other Gospel, or doctrine, different
from that preached by the Apostles.

But now let us return to the kingdom of God
organized in the days of the Apostles ; you dis-
cover that three thousand persons were adopted
into the kingdom the first day the door was
opened. These, together with the numerous
additions which were afterwards made, were the
subjects of this kingdom ; which, being fitly
framed together, grew into a holy temple in the
Lord. Thus, we have cleared away the rubbish
of sectarian tradition and superstition, which
arose in heaps around us ; and having searched
carefully, we have at length discovered the king-
dom of God, as it existed at its first organization
in the days of the Apostles ; and we have seen
tli at it differs widely from all modern systems of
religion, both in its offices, ordinances, powers,


and privileges, insomuch that no man need ever
mistake the one for the other.

Having made this discovery, we shall proceed
to examine the progress of that kingdom among
Jew and Gentile, and what were its fruits, gifts,
and blessings as enjoyed by its citizens.

Soon afier the organization of the kingdom of
God at Jerusalem, Philip came to Samaria, and
there preached the Gospel: and when they believed
Philip, they were baptized, both men and women,
and had great joy. And afterwards Peter and
John came from Jerusalem, and prayed, and laid
their hands on them, and they received the Holy
Ghost. Mark here, they first believed, and then
were baptized, having great joy, and yet had not
received the Holy Ghost. But that was afterwards
given, by the laying on of hands and prayer, in
the name of Jesus. O how different from the
sj^stems of men !

Witness Paul's conversion while on his journey
to Dama scus : the Lord Jesus appeared to him in
the way ; but instead of telling him his sins were
forgiven, and pouring the Holy Ghost upon him,
he sent him to Damascus, telling him that it
should there be told him what he should do. And
coming to Damascus, Ananias, being sent, com-
manded him not to tarry, but to " arise and be
baptized, and wash away his sins, calling on the
name of the Lord;" then he arose and was baptized
and was even filled with the Holy Ghost, and
straightway preached that Jesus was the Christ.

Again, witness Peter going to Cornelius, a


Gentile of great piety, whose prayers were heard
and whose alms were remembered, and who had
even attained to the ministering of an angel ; yet
with all his piety, and the Holy Ghost poured
out upon him and his friends before they were
baptized, they must be baptized, or they could
not be saved. Why? because the Lord had com-
manded the Apostles to preach to every creature,
and every creature who would not believe and be
baptized should be damned, without one excep-
tion. Witness the words of the angel to Corne-
lius; "He (Peter) shall tell thee words whereby
thou and all thy house shall be saved." Now,
query, could Cornelius have been saved without
obeying the words of Peter? If so, the angel's
errand was in vain.

Now, perhaps a minister, who should find a
man as good as Cornelius was, would say to him,
" Go on, brother, you can be saved, you have expe-
rienced religion, you may indeed be baptized to
answer a good conscience, if you feel it your duty ;
or if not, it is no matter, a new heart is all that
is really necessary to salvation," &c ; as much as
to say, that the commandments of Jesus are not
absolutely necessary to salvation ; a man may call
him Lord, Lord, and be saved, just as well as by
keeping his commandments. Oh vain and foolish
doctrine ! Oh ye children of men, how have you
perverted the Gospel ! In vain do ye call him
Lord, Lord, and do not obey his commandments.

Next, we call to mind the jailor and his house-
hold, who were baptized the same hour they


believed, without waiting for the day; and Lydia
and her household, who attended to the ordi-
nance the first sermon they heard on the subject.
Also, Philip and the Eunuch, who stopped the
chariot at the first water they came to, in order
to attend to the ordinance, although the Eunuch
had heard of Jesus for the first time only a few
minutes before. Now I gather from all those
examples of ancient days, and from the precepts
laid down in them, that baptism was the initiating
ordinance, by which all those who believed and
repented, were received and adopted into the
Church or kingdom of God, so as to be entitled
to the remission of sins and the blessings of the
Holy Ghost ; indeed it was the ordinance through
which they became sons and daughters ; and
because they were sons, the Lord shed forth the
spirit of His Son into their hearts, crying, Abba,
father. It is true, the Lord poured out the Holy
Ghost upon Cornelius and his friends before they
were baptized ; but it seemed necessary, in order
to convince the believing Jews that the Gentiles
also had part in this salvation. And I believe
this is che only instance, in the whole record, of
the people receiving the Holy Ghost without first
obeying the laws of adoption.

But mark ! obeying the laws of adoption would
not constitute a man an heir of the kingdom, a citi-
zen entitled to the blessings and gifts of the Spirit,
unless these laws and ordinances were administer-
ed by one who had proper authority, and was duly
commissioned from the King ; and a commission


given to one individual could never authorize
another to act in his stead. This is one of the most
important points to be understood, as it brings to
the test every minister in Christendom, and ques-
tions the organization of every church on earth, and
all that have existed since direct inspiration ceased.
Now, in order to come at this subject in plain-
ness, let us examine the constitution of earthly
governments in regard to the authority and laws
of adoption. We will, say, for instance, the Pre-
sident of the United States writes a commission
to A.B., duly authorizing him to act in some office
in the government, and, during his administration,
two gentlemen from Europe come to reside in this
country, and being strangers and foreigners wish-
ing to become citizens, they go before A.B., and
he administers the oath of allegiance in due form
and certifies the same, and this constitutes them
legal citizens, entitled to all the privileges of those
who are citizens or subjects by birth. After these
things, A.B. is taken away by death, and C.D ,
in looking over his papers, happens to find the
commission given to A.B., and, applying it to his
own use, assumes the vacant office ; meantime,
two foreigners arrive and apply for citizenship,
and being informed by persons ignorant of the
affairs of government that C.D. could administer
the laws of adoption, they submit to be adminis-
tered unto by C.D., without once examining his
authority ; C.D. certifies of their citizenship, and
they suppose they have been legally adopted,
the same as the others, and are entitled to all


the privileges of citizenship. But, by and by, their
citizenship is called in question, and they produce
the certificate of CJX : the President inquires,
" Who is C.D.? I never gave him a commission
to act in any office, I know him not, and you are
strangers and foreigners to the commonwealth,
until you go before the legally appointed successor
of A.B., or some other of like authority, who has
a commission from the President direct in his
own name." In the mean time C.D. is taken
and punished according to law, for practising im-
position, and usurping authority which was never
conferred upon him. And so it is with the king-
dom of God. The Lord authorized the Apostles
and others, by direct Revelation, and by the spirit
of Prophecy, to preach and baptize, and build up
his Church and kingdom : but after awhile they
died, and a long time passed away, and men
reading over their commission, where it says to
the eleven Apostles, "Go ye into all the world
and preach the Gospel to every creature," &c.,
have had the presumption to apply these sayings
as their authority, and, without any other com-
mission, have gone forth professing to preach the
Gospel, and baptize, and build up the church and
kingdom of God ; but those whom they baptize
never receive the same blessings and gifts which
characterized a Saint or citizen of the kingdom in
the days of the Apostles. Why ? Because they
are yet foreigners and strangers, for the com-
mission given to the Apostles never commissioned
any other man to act in their stead. This was a


prerogative the Lord reserved unto himself. No
man has a right to tnko (his ministry upon liim-
t= elf, but he that is called by revelation, and duly
qualified to act in his calling ly the Holy Ghost.
But the reader inquires with astonishment, What!
are none of all the ministers of the present day
called to the ministry, and legally commissioned?
Well, my reader, I will tell you how you may as-
certain from their own mouths, and that will he
far better than an answer from me ; go to the
clergy, and ask them if God has given any direct
revelation since the New Testament was finished ;
inquire of them whether the gift of prophecy ceased
with the early age of the Church ; and, in short,
ask them, if revelations, prophets, the ministering
of angels, &c., are needed or expected in these
days, or whether they believe that these things are
done away, no more to return to the earth ; and
their answer will be that the Bible contains suf-
ficient, and that since the canon of Scripture was
filled, revelation, the spirit of prophecy, and the
ministering of angels have ceased, because no
longer needed. In short, they will denounce every
man as an impostor who pretends to any such
thing. And when you have obtained this answer,
ask them how they themselves were called and
commissioned to preach the Gospel, and they
will be at a loss to answer you, and will finally
tell you that the Bible commissioned them, say-
ing, " Go ye into all the world," &c. Thus you
see, all who have no direct personal revelation
from the King of heaven, either by angels, the


voice of God, or the spirit of prophecy, are acting
under authority which was given to others, who
are dead, and their commission stolen, and their
authority usurped ; and the King will say, " Peter
I know, and Paul I know, I commissioned them,
but who are you ? I know you not, I never spoke
to you in my life ; indeed, you believed it was not
necessary for me to speak in your day. There-
fore you never sought in faith for any revelation,
and I never gave you any ; and even when I spake
to others, you mocked them, and called them im-
postors, and persecuted them, because they testi-
fied of the things I had said unto them ; therefore,
depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire,
prepared for the devil and his angels : for I was
an hungered, and ye fed me not ; I was naked,
and ye clothed me not ; I was a stranger, and ye
took me not in ; sick and in prison, and ye visited
me not." " Ah ! Lord, when did we fail in any of
these things ?" " Inasmuch as you have not done
it unto the least of these my brethren, (taking
them for impostors, because they testified of the
things which I had revealed unto them,) ye have
not done it unto me." But to return : having
examined the kingdom of God as to its offices
and ordinances, and having discovered the only
means of adoption into it, let us examine more
fully what are the blessings, privileges, and en-
joyments of its citizens. You have already seen
that they were to cast out devils, speak with new
tongues, heal the sick by the laying on of hands
in the name of Jesus, as well as to see visions,
dream dreams, prophesy, &c.


But let us look at the kingdom in its organized
Btate, and see whether these promises were veri-
fied to Jew and Gentile, wherever the kingdom
of God was found in all ages of the world.
Paul, writing,

First, " To the church of God at Corinth."
Second, " To them that are sanctified in Christ

Third, " To them who are called to be saints."
And fourth, "To all that in every place call
on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord," says to
them all, in 1 Corinthians xii. 1, " Now con-
cerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have
you ignorant." And then, continuing his instruc-
tions, a few verses further on he says, " But the
manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man
to profit withal. For to one is given by the
Spirit the word of wisdom ; to another the word
of knowledge by the same Spirit ; to another faith
by the same Spirit ; to another the gifts of healing
by the same Spirit ; to another the working of
miracles ; to another prophecy ; to another dis-
cerning of spirits ; to another divers kinds of
tongues ; to another the interpretation of tongues ;
but all these worketh that one and the self-same
Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he
(Christ) will. For as the body is one, and hath
many members, and all the members of that one
body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one
body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether
we bf bond or free : and have been all made to


drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one
member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because
I am not the hand, I am not of the body, is it
therefore not of the body ? And if the ear shall
say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the
body; is it therefore not of the body? If the
whole body were an eye, where were the hearing ?
If the whole were hearing, where were the smell-
ing? But now hath God set the members every
one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him
And if they were all one member, where were the
body ? " I reply it would not exist. " But now
are they many members, yet but one body. And
the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need
of thee ; nor again, the head to the feet, I have
no need of you. Nay, much more, those members
of the body which seem to be more feeble, are
necessary ; and those members of the body which
we think to be less honourable, upon these we
bestow more abundant honour ; and our uncomely
parts have more abundant comeliness. For our
comely parts have no need : but God hath tem-
pered the body together, having given more abun-
dant honour to that part which lacked : that there
should be no schism in the body ; but that the
members should have the same care one for an-
other. And whether one member suffer, all the
members suffer with it ; or one member be honour-
ed, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye
are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
And God hath set some in the church, first,
apostles ; secondarily, prophets ; thirdly, teachers ;


after that miracles ; then gifts of healings, helps,
governments, diversities of tongues. Are all
apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are
all workers of miracles ? Have all the gifts of
healing ? do all speak with tongues ? do all inter-
pret ? But covet earnestly the best gifts : and
yet shew I unto you a more excellent way."
From the 13th verse of the above chapter we
learn that the Apostle is still speaking to the
whole church in all ages, whether Jew or Gentile,
bond or free, even all who should ever compose
the body of Christ; and showing that Christ's
body consisted of many members, baptized by one
Spirit into one body, possessing all these different
gifts, some one gift, and some another : and then
expressly says, that one member possessing one
gift should not say to another member possessing
another gift, We have no need of thee.

And having shown that it required Apostles,
Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers;
together with the gifts of prophecy, miracles, heal-
ing, and all other gifts, to compose the church, or
body of Christ, in any age, whether Jew or Gen-
tile, bond or free ; and having utterly forbidden
any of the members ever to say of any of these
gifts, " We have no need of thee," he declares
the body never could be perfected without all of
them, and that if they were done away there
would be no body, that is, no church of Christ in
existence. H aving shown all these things clearly,
he exhorts them to covet earnestly the best gifts.
And in the 13th chapter exhorts them to faith,


hope, and charity, without which all these gifts
would avail them nothing ; and in the 14th chap-
ter repeats the exhortation, " Follow after charity,
and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may
prophesy." Again, in Ephesians i. 17, Paul
prays that the Lord would give unto the Church
the Spirit of WISDOM and of REVELATION in the
KNOWLEDGE of God. Again Ephesians iv., he
tells them, there is one body and one Lord, one
Spirit, one Faith, and one Baptism ; and that
Christ ascended up on high, led captivity captive,
and gave gifts to men. And he gave some,
Apostles; and some, Prophets; and some, Evan-
gelists; and some, Pastors and Teachers. And
if the reader inquire what these gifts or offices
were for, let him read the 12th verse : " For the
perfecting of the saints, for the work of the
ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ."
And if he inquire how long these were to continue,
the 13th verse says, " 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." And if
he still inquire what further object Christ had in
giving these gifts, let him read the 14th verse :
" 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."

Now, without these gifts and offices, first, the
Saints cannot be perfected ; second, the work of
the ministry cannot proceed ; third, the body of


Chnst cannot be edified; and fourth, there is
nothing to prevent them from being carried about
with every wind of doctrine. Now, I boldly de-
clare that the cause of all the division, confusion,
jars, discord, and animosities; and the fruitful
source of so many faiths, lords, baptisms, and
spirits ; and of the understanding being darkened ;
and of men being alienated from the life of God,
through the ignorance that is in them, because of
the blindness of their hearts, is, because they have

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Online LibraryParley P. (Parley Parker) PrattA voice of warning and instruction to all people: or, An introduction to the faith and doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints → online text (page 6 of 13)