Baptism is requisite to the cleaning of sin before a person may enter the kingdom of God. It is an essential part of the gospel. No unclean thing can enter the kingdom of God and partake of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will not dwell in unholy temples (bodies). Baptism, to be effective, must include a total penitence and turning away from sin. Baptism, to be recorded in heaven, must be administered by a proper officer of the kingdom of God, who is called by the spirit of revelation, and ordained under the hands of one holding such priesthood. Without baptism of water and the Spirit, no person can enter the kingdom of God. Confirmation into the kingdom of God brings many very special gifts; including gifts of the Holy Ghost. This was God’s law from the time of Adam, was administered the same under Jesus and the Apostles, and is administered exactly the same way today. Neither God, nor His spiritual law ever changes. This tract was originally published by Wingfield Watson in 1899. I converted it to digital format and modern typesetting. Some new headings have been added. Samuel E. West, Elder.
WHAT IS IT DESIGNED FOR?
HOW IS IT ADMINISTERED?
IS IT A SAVING ORDINANCE?
IS IT A COMMANDMENT OF GOD?
BAPTISM IS AN EVERLASTING PRINCIPLE
GIFTS FOR BELIEVERS
A NOTE ON THE SACRIFICE OF CHRIST
AUTHORITY TO ACT IN THE NAME OF GOD
ONE TRUE CHURCH
NEW CHURCH AND NEW APOSTLES
I propose in this little essay on baptism to show: First, that baptism, as a gospel ordinance, is designed “for the remission of sins.” Second, that it is administered only by IMMERSION. Third, that it is a SAVING ordinance. Fourth, that it is a COMMANDMENT of God, alike binding upon all.
WHAT IS IT DESIGNED FOR?
That it is designed for the remission of sins is very clear from the following testimonies:
“John did baptize in the wilderness and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Mark 1:4)
“And he (John) came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” (Luke 3:3)
“Then Peter said unto them: Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost: for the promise is unto you and to your children, and to them who are afar off even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” (Acts 2:32 , 33)
“For thou (Paul) shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. And now why tarriest thou? Arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins.”
Baptism for the remission of sins was reckoned a burial of the former sinful life, and the being raised out of that baptism was reckoned a resurrection or raising to a new life: that is the new life enjoined by the gospel. So it is written: Know ye not, that as many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized (or buried) into his death? “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism, into death;” that is, the death of our former sinful life. That like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Repentance, or turning away from sin by the requirement of the gospel, is a death to all our former sinful life, and baptism for the remission of sins is a burial or putting off of the old man with his deeds, and the being drawn forth out of this baptism, or burial, is arising again to the new life, or the putting on of the new man which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him who created him.” (Col. 3:10)
For if we have been planted, “buried,” or “baptized” together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection, knowing this that our old man (our former sinful life) is crucified (slain) with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin; for he that is dead is freed from sin.
“Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him; knowing that Christ being raised from the dead, dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him; for in that he died, he died unto sin once but in that he liveth, he lives unto Cod. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” ( Rom. 6:3-11; Col. 3:1-10)
To the ordinary reader it is a little difficult to understand these sayings of Paul; nevertheless repentance, or turning from our former sinful life, is [Page 2] deemed by Paul a crucifixion of the old man, and being baptized for the remission of all past sins, is a burial to the former evil life, and the being drawn forth out of the water of baptism a resurrection to the new gospel life. And all these things are a very interesting likeness of the crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Without doubt then Baptism, as an ordinance, was for the remission of all past sins, let the objector say what he may about it. There is no other object or purpose intended for it throughout the scriptures. We are not told of any other object intended for it by any writer of the New
HOW IS IT ADMINISTERED?
Having established this fact, I will now see if immersion only is baptism. And to begin with, let me say that there is not a single passage in all the New Testament to give color to, or prove that either sprinkling or pouring was used in apostolic times for baptism.
And there is no case of baptism mentioned in that book but what all lend to the conclusion that immersion only was practiced in those times. First of all the word baptism itself in its present and ancient meaning never did mean anything else than dip or immersion. And this is so well known by all men learned in Greek, that it is surprising any one should question it. But let the scriptures themselves speak.
“John did baptize in the wilderness and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of Judea , and they of Jerusalem , and were all baptized of him in the River of Jordan , confessing their sins.”
And it came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John IN Jordan. And straightway coming UP OUT OF the water, He saw the heavens opened, and the spirit like a dove descending upon him. (Mark 1:4, 5, 9, 10)
Now the question arises, if pouring or sprinkling was used here, what is there in the above account that even hints at such a thing?
What would be the use of going down all the way to the River Jordan, and getting right into it, in order to be sprinkled, or poured?
“And Jesus when he was baptized went up straightway out of the water,” etc. (Matt. 3:16 )
“And straightway coming up out of the water he saw the heavens opened, and the spirit like a dove descending upon him,” etc.
“John was baptizing in Enon, near to Salim, because there was much water there.” (John 3:23)
“And he commanded the chariot to stand still, and they went down both into the water, both Phillip and the Eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the spirit of the Lord caught away Philip that the Eunuch saw him no more, and he went on his way rejoicing.” (Acts 8:39 )
“Therefore we are buried with him (Christ) by baptism into death that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Rom. 8:4)
“For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.” (Rom. 6:5)
Now the words “buried” and ”planted” in those two texts imply the being immersed or covered with the water of baptism; for we can neither be “buried” nor “planted” without being “covered.” And as Jesus says: “Verily, verily, I say onto you, except a man be born of the water, and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God .” The same allusion to immersion implied here, for as to have a natural birth, is to come forth from being hidden, covered or concealed, so to be born of water is evidently to come forth from being hidden, buried, or concealed in it. Here we will leave this matter with the intelligent reader to decide for himself as to whether baptism was anciently performed in any other way than by immersion.
[Page 3] But I will here add the testimony of a few distinguished Greek scholars.
Mosheim says: ”Immersion only was used in the first and second centuries.” (See his Ecclesiastical History, pages 129 and 211)
Martin Luther says: “The term baptism is a Greek word; it may be rendered by dipping as when we dip anything in water, that it may be entirely covered with water. I could wish, he says, that such as are to be baptized should be completely immersed into the water, according to the meaning of the word, and the signification of the ordinance… As also without doubt it was instituted by Christ.”
John Calvin says: “The word baptize signifies to immerse, and the right of immersion was observed by the ancient church.”
John Wesley says: “Buried with him in baptism,” (Rom. 6:4), alludes to the ancient manner of baptizing by immersion.
Jeremy Taylor, the learned bishop, writes: ”The custom of the ancient churches was not sprinkling, but immersion, in pursuance of the sense of the word in the commandment, and in the example of our blessed Saviour.”
Robinson, the great philologist and learned Biblical scholar, says: “The native Greeks must understand their own language better than foreigners and they have always understood the word baptism to signify dipping, and therefore from their first embracing of Christianity, to this day they have always baptized, and do yet by immersion.”
A good many other distinguished authors inform us that baptism was changed from immersion to sprinkling by the Catholic Church. And this is undoubtedly true. For the Catholic Church themselves do not deny, but confess this fact.
The next question in order:
IS BAPTISM A SAVING ORDINANCE
”He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be dammed.” (Mark16:16)
“Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo! I am with you always (on these conditions) unto the end of the world.” (Matt. 15:19, 20)
Now if Jesus is to be with his people up to the end of the world on the condition that they keep all things whatsoever he commands them, then we conclude that all these things together are saving, baptism with all the rest, simply because it is a commandment, as all these are commandments of God.
If that ordinance instituted by the Savior of Mankind, for the remission of sins that are past, is not essential to salvation, or is not a saving ordinance, we do not know what ordinance or principle is saving. The only reason it is not saving too many is because for some unaccountable reason, or cause, men do not confide in or regard it as they ought. They might as well say there is no merit in the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, or in observing the Sabbath day, or in visiting the sick, the poor and needy.
Peter, in speaking of Noah and his family being saved by water, says: “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us.” (1 Peter 3:18-21)
“For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his (Christ’s) death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.” ( Rom. (1:1-5)
“Men and brethren, what shall we do?” that is, to be saved. “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost,” etc. (Acts 2:37 -39)
Has the putting away of sin by the ordinance of baptism, nothing to do with men’s salvation?
If Jesus, by language that has all the force and effect of an oath, has said that no man can get into the kingdom of heaven without baptism of water, as well as of the Spirit, has [Page 4] baptism then nothing to do with man’s salvation? (John 3:5)
“And all the people that heard him (Jesus) justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John; but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, not being baptized of him.” (Luke 7:29, 30)
Very well, then, did those who rejected this counsel of God against themselves, obtain salvation to their souls? I tell you no, most decidedly. They did not, and none ever can, who will reject that counsel.
Having said so much in regard to baptism; its object; how it was and must be administered; and its necessity to salvation, it would seem scarcely necessary to show further that–
IS IT A COMMANDMENT OF GOD?
For all things written of it shows it to be the work of God and clearly necessary to salvation, and must therefore have been commanded of God. But I will proceed however to show that God has most earnestly commanded it.
John, the Baptist, was sent by the direct word of God to make the ways of the Lord straight, which corrupt Pharisees and Scribes had made crooked, or contradictory, and so he says: “He that sent me to baptize, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remaining on him, the same is he who baptiseth with the Holy Ghost.” (John 1:33)
John was therefore commanded to baptize for the remission of sins, (Luke 3:2, 3, 4) But, said Jesus to caviling Pharisees:
“The baptism of John—whence was it, from heaven or of man? Answer me.”
Of course every reasonable man must answer that the baptism of John must have been by direct command from God and not an invention of man, when he looks at the fact that John was “a mighty prophet” and that “God sent him directly to preach the gospel and to baptize for the remission of sins.” (Luke 3:2, 3; John 1:33; Mark 11:27 -33)
But Jesus is very emphatic on the necessity of baptism on the part of all men: for said he:–“Verily, verily I say unto you, or, in other words, I swear, I swear unto you that except a man be born of the water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. The being born again of the water has been before explained.”
Cornelius was a man of righteous and godly life–“a devout man,” that is one devoted to God and godliness; one that “feared God with all his house,” and therefore, must have been a man that taught his family to fear God, and keep his commandments; “gave much alms to the poor,” and prayed to God constantly. An angel of God because of his prayers was sent to him to show him that something further was necessary in order that he and his house might, be saved (Acts 11:14). And he was therefore required to send for Peter some 60 miles off, who should show him the lacking knowledge and duties. Now when Peter was came and heard his story, he commanded them to be baptized “in the name of the Lord,” and why? If Paul, and even Jesus himself, must needs be baptized, why should Cornelius and his family be excused? Yes, Peter “commanded them in the name (authority) of God, to be baptized as all others, for the remission of all their former sins.”
Now why this uniformity of requiring all to be baptized, both by John and Jesus and Peter and Phillip among the Samaritans and commanding all to come to it, if it were not a command of God?
Has God respect of persons? And if he excuses any one from conforming to this command, where is the excuse found? You point perhaps to the thief on the cross, and say “surely here was an exception, for this thief had no time to be baptized.” And thus you try to make the decree of Jesus, a mere halter of sand, instead of being as it really is, a decree so [Page 5] universal that none can escape it, except little children—who know not good or evil, and are therefore under no moral responsibility.
Now the words of this thief show very clearly that he must have obeyed the requirements of the gospel and must therefore have been a baptized man. Those who rejected John the Baptist’s teachings never knew the Savior in his true character, but not so this thief. He did know him quite as well, and much better than many others who had a name to be his followers. Otherwise, how could he say to his brother thief, “this man hath done nothing amiss.”
And then again, “Lord remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” What did he know or what could he know of the character of Jesus any more than any other unbeliever, who rejected the counsel of God against himself?
What could he know of either the innocence of Jesus’ character, or of his kingdom, or whether Jesus was ever going to obtain a kingdom such as Jesus laid claim to, if he had not received the gospel of the Kingdom as it was preached in his day, and rendered obedience to it?
For John said in order, “That he should be made known, or manifest to Israel, therefore and I come baptizing with water. But those who disregarded John’s teachings had no such manifestation. They only could see that Jesus was an impostor and traitor to his country.
But supposing that this be regarded as unsound, does it follow that this thief went into heaven the same day that Jesus expired on the cross?
Not at all, for Jesus on the day of his resurrection said: “Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father.” (John 20:16, 17) So when Jesus said to the thief, “this day shalt thou be with me in paradise,” it must not be regarded as a promise that he was on that day going to be with Jesus in the kingdom of heaven for all who have spoken of the time between the death and resurrection of Christ, tell us that Jesus was during this time ministering to the spirits of the departed dead.
“For Christ hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the spirit, by which also he went and preached to the spirits in prison, which sometime were disobedient when once the long suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was preparing, wherein few, that is eight souls, were saved by water.” (1 Peter 3:17-20)
Paul, speaking of this time, says: “Now that he ascended,” or went up to God, “what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth.” Now the “lower parts” of the earth are not on the surface of the earth, where the sepulcher was. This would require no descent.
But Jesus himself says: “Marvel not for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves shall hear the voice of the son of God; and they that hear or believe shall live, and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation.” This is of course what Paul and Peter had reference to when they spoke of Christ’s descent to the lower parts of the earth, and the spirits in prison; and said further: “For this cause,” (that all may have an equal chance to be saved, and to give an account to the Judge of quick and dead) “was the gospel preached to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to (or the same as, man in the flesh), but live according to God in the Spirit.” (1 Pet. 4:6)
So whether or not the thief on the cross was or was not a baptized man, there is no evidence that he went into heaven on the day of the crucifixion, or that he will be excused from obeying the ordinance of baptism if he had not already obeyed it. Now I will say further here that the plan of salvation, its ordinances, promises and requirements, [Page 6] are all the same today, and all its promises are just as fixed and sum as they ever were at any time during the ministry of Christ and his apostles. The same faith is required today as then; the same repentance, or turning away from all evil, and the same commandments are required to be kept. The same ordinance of baptism by water for the remission of all past sins, and the same ordinance of laying on of hands by the elders of the church for the gift of the Holy Spirit of God have not changed one iota. Anyone who will dwell a moment on the following passages must see the force of the above sayings; or in other words, that the gospel of Jesus Christ has never changed a particle from the time of Christ and his apostles until this day, and must remain the same as long as a man remains on earth to be saved.
“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man that built his house on the sand, and the rains descended and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Matt. 7:24-27)
“He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him. The word that I have spoken the same shall judge him in the last day.” (John 12:48)
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them; for they that are such, serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own bellies, and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple,” that is, the uninformed. (Rom. 16:17 , 18)
“But though we or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” (Gal. l:6-9)
“Now we command you brethren in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not according to the tradition which he received from us.” (2 Thess. 3:6)
“Those things which ye have both learned and received, and heard and seen in me, do, and the God of Peace shall be with you.” (Philip 4:9)
“And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” (2 Tim. 2:2)
“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time”–now or hereafter–“we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast” (fixed and certain) “and every transgression and disobedience (to them) received a just recompense of reward, how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by our Lord, and was confirmed unto us by those that heard him, God also bearing them witness both with signs and wonders,” etc. (Heb. 2:1-4)
Peter, addressing himself to those who had obtained “like precious faith with him and his followers,” says: “Moreover I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. For we have not followed cunningly devised fables,” etc. (2 Pet. 1:15 )
“Let that therefore abide in you which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Father and in the son.”
And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.” (1 John 2:24-26)
“Whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God; he that abideth in the doctrine of Christ hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your houses, neither bid him God speed; for he that biddeth him God speed is [Page 7] partaker of his evil deeds.” (2 John 8-11)
“Behold I come quickly; hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” (Rev. 3:11)
Baptism Is An Everlasting Principle
Well, having added these very strong and earnest testimonies against either altering, changing, abolishing or disregarding any one part, or principle, or promise of the gospel of Jesus Christ, it will be well to introduce a few more points to show that the Gospel was not a new order of things introduced in the days of John and Jesus, but an order of things at least as old as Adam, and that men in no age of the world could be saved without obedience to its requirements.
“Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and did all eat the same spiritual meat, and did all drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual rock that followed them and that rock was Christ.” (1 Cor.10:1-4) “Spiritual meat and spiritual drink” is undoubtedly the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Speaking of Moses, Paul says: “He esteemed the reproach of Christ as greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.” (Heb. 11:26)
Melchisedec was a priest of the most high God, and administered the sacrament of bread and wine to Abraham. (Gen. 14:18)
Stephen, in his defense of Jesus, says that Moses was “with the church” in the wilderness. (Acts 7:38 )
Paul says: “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them,” (that is, Israel in the wilderness) “but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith, in them that heard it.” (Heb. 4:2)
Noah was a preacher of righteousness and so was John the Baptist. (2 Pet. 2:5; Matt. 3:15)
Abraham obeyed the gospel and it was by the spirit given to those who faithfully obey that gospel that he was enabled to see the day and ministry of Jesus Christ. (John 8:56)
“And the scripture foreseeing, or foreshadowing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, in thee shall all nations be blessed.” (Gal. 3:8)
GIFTS FOR BELIEVERS
Now, to those who obey the gospel of Jesus Christ, and truly turn from their sins, God has promised the precious gifts of the gospel as they are mentioned in the 12th, 13th and 14th chapters of Paul’s 1st Epistle to the Corinthians; Mark 16:15-20; Acts 2:38-39; Acts 10:44-46; and Acts 5:32. I entreat the reader to examine these promises, and ask himself if God could be just, and without respect of persons, not to give these gifts to those who serve him in these days, as well as to those who served him in days gone by.
“Is any among you afflicted,” says James, “Let him pray.” Oh yes, to be sure, let him pray; that is all right “Is any merry, let him sing Psalms;” that is right also, says the sectarian, modern priest. But “Is any sick among you, let him call for the elders of thy church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up, and if he have committed sins they shall be forgiven him.” (James 5:13-15)
“O no,” says the sectarian priest, “I would always prefer sending for the doctor, because nobody ought to send for elders nowadays; that is all a Mormon delusion, because all such things are done away in this enlightened age.” Thus the people are taught to trust in an arm of flesh, much in preference to the power of God. (Jer.17:5-8) “Covet to prophesy” says Paul; but that is done away also, says the modern sectary. “Covet earnestly the best gifts,” says the Scriptures, but man, blind and foolish man, says: “They [Page 8] are all done away and no longer needed.” (See 1 Cor. 12:31; Chap. 14:39)
“Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy …for he that prophesieth edifieth the church.” (1 Cor. 14:1-4)
“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant,” says Paul, (1 Cor. 12:1), but these are just what modern divines would have the people ignorant of; they would have them ignorant of the grand fact that the gifts of God’s holy Spirit are as freely and universally promised today to the truly honest believer in Jesus Christ, as that salvation is freely and universally offered. If God takes away the gifts which his son Jesus Christ has so freely offered to his servants, there is just as good reasons for believing that salvation is withdrawn also.
“The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit with all.” (1 Cor. 12:7-11) “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 different 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 will.” For as the [human] body with its “many members, is but one body, so also is [the body or church of] Christ.” “For the [human] body is not one member, but many.” If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? Exactly. And upon the same principle, if only one gift exists in the church of God—that of preaching for instance—how much better off is she than the human body that has been deprived of all its members except an eye, or an ear, or had only one foot left? As such a human body would be, so is the church deprived of, all these spiritual gifts. But the church of God, endowed with these spiritual gifts, is esteemed by Paul as a perfect human body endowed with every member. And as the eye of the human body cannot say to the ear, “I have no need of thee, or the hand to the feet, I have no need of thee.” So no part or member of Christ’s church endowed with any one of the spiritual gifts, can say to any other, member, endowed with any other spiritual gift, I have no need of thee. And indeed what could be more reasonable? For if the gifts of healing have once been known to exist in the church, for instance, who in that church was authorized to say, “we have no need of thee?” And again, if the power to cleanse the lepers, cast out devils, cause the lame and cripple to walk, was once known to exist in the church of God, who was authorized to say, “we have no need of thee?” And if the gift of prophecy, which “edifies the church,” and the gift of tongues that was “a sign to unbelievers,” and if the gift of discernment of spirits that was necessary to prevent men from being deceived by foul spirits were all known to exist in the church of God, for the purposes intended, who was authorized at any time to say “we have no need of thee?” How could this thing be said at any time in the history of the church, without maiming and doing violence to, and dismembering the church of God? It could not at anytime in the church’s history be done away without dismembering the church and leaving it like a human being deprived of all its most useful members and leaving it only a mere motionless trunk, unable to walk, unable to hear, see, feel, smell or taste. Thus, this very interesting comparison or likening of the church of God to the human form, shows in the clearest manner possible that the gifts of the gospel could not be rejected, resisted, or done away, without doing the grossest violence to the church of God, in fact depriving it of life.
So according to this, it is no wonder that the old Christian church is found today divided and shorn of its once beautiful and glorious gifts, [Page 9] proportions and strength, and that men are groping in the dark like the blind man for the walk, and nothing but confusion, doubt, darkness and uncertainty reigns every where in the so-called modern Christian churches.
And now reader, the voice of God is to you, and to all men today the same as it ever was to all the people of the past. Repent of all past sins and be baptized for the remission of your sins according to the New Testament, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, according to the promise of God, by both John and Jesus and all his apostles, “for the promise is unto you and to your children, and to them that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” And remember the command of Paul touching those who have “a form of Godliness but deny the gifts and power of God, who are ever learning, and are never able to come to the knowledge of the truth, FROM SUCH TURN AWAY.” (2 Tim. 3:1-9)
A NOTE ON THE SACRIFICE OF CHRIST
Some, perhaps, in reading this little work over, will be inclined to say: “Why you have said nothing about the saving blood of Christ, which is spoken of so much in the scriptures.”
I answer that the saving blood of Christ has no saving effect upon any one except on the condition of obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. And whatever any of the Apostles have said in regard to the blood of Christ, being a sacrifice for the sins of men, it is promised only to those who had obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ, and had entered into his church through its ordinances. The blood of Christ affects no others except little children.
“If we walk in the light as he (Christ) is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanseth US from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)
“And you (Gentiles) that were sometime alienated and enemies in your minds by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and un-blamable and un-reprovable in his sight; IF ye CONTINUE IN THE FAITH, rooted and grounded, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel WHICH YE HAVE HEARD, and which was PREACHED to every creature which is under heaven.” (Col. 1:21-23)
“And being made perfect, he (Christ) became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that OBEY HIM.” (Heb. 5:9)
“For by one offering (of his own body) he hath perfected forever THEM THAT ARE SANCTIFIED,” that is, made clean and free from sin by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (Heb. 10:14)
But another perhaps will say: “O well if we love God with all our hearts and our neighbors as ourselves, I think it will be all right.” But you must remember that to love God is to keep his commandments, for, “this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments,” and his commandments are not grievous. (1 John 5:3)
“But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected. Hereby we know that we are in him.”
“He that hath my commandments and keepeth them he it is that loveth me. And he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and manifest (make known) myself unto him.” (John 14:21) “He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings.”
“If ye keep my commandments ye shall abide (continue) in my love, even as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” (John 15:10)
According to these sayings, it is a vain thing for any man to claim that he loves God, who disregards his commandments; for the keeping of his commandments is what proves that he loves him. We see then that there is absolutely no substitute for the gospel of Jesus Christ. And all [Page 10] the modern sectarian follies, “Come to the foot of the cross and wash away your sins in the blood of Jesus,” “Come and wash in the blood of Jesus,” “Come and apply the atoning blood of Jesus,” “Come and cast all your sins upon Jesus,” “Come and get salvation,” etc., etc., utterly disregarding the rules that Jesus himself has laid down for the remission of sins, are all but the hollowest mockery of the true gospel of Jesus Christ. And all such words are vain in the sight of God. And now kind reader please read the next few page on authority to administer in the ordinances of the gospel, as a minister of God.
AUTHORITY TO ACT IN THE NAME OF GOD
Having as I trust by the help of God proved baptism so plainly to be an ordinance for the remission of sins, a saving ordinance, and a direct commandment to all men, few I think will be disposed to question it. But as baptism is one of those ordinances or sacraments of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which must be administered in the name or by the authority of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, I propose now to show what it is to act in the name, not only of God, but in the names of men and kings and nations also.
There are just two ways in which anyone can act in the name of God, nations or individuals. The one is when a man is legally called and qualified to so act in those names; and the other is, when he assumes to act in any of those names without being either called, authorized, or legally qualified so to act. If any man, for instance, should undertake to act in the capacity of constable, magistrate, supervisor, county clerk, or any other officer of the State of Wisconsin, Michigan or any other state, without being legally and properly authorized by the voice of the people according to the law of either of said states, he would everywhere be deemed guilty of a gross crime, and at the first opportunity would be punished either by fine or imprisonment or both in the discretion of the court. The law of the state of Michigan against that crime reads as follows:
“If any person shall falsely assume or pretend to be a justice of the peace, sheriff, deputy sheriff, coroner, or constable and shall take upon himself to act as such, or to require any person to aid or assist him in any matter pertaining to the duty of a justice of the peace, sheriff, deputy sheriff, coroner or constable, or shall falsely take upon himself to act or officiate in any office, or place of authority he shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail, not more than one year, or a fine not exceeding four hundred dollars.”
The object and importance of this law is apparent to all. To set it aside would be to involve the state in ruin, reduce it to a mere mob and place the lives and property of the people at the mercy of the lawless. There would be no safety or protection to life or property; and like as in California, Oregon, Kansas and Nebraska, and all other new territories more or less, before law and a body of officers were chosen and qualified, to expound, enforce and execute the law, every man in meeting his fellow would try to be first with his finger upon the trigger, as his chief protection.
A very similar law to that above quoted, is found in every civilized state and nation on earth. This law merely forbids men to act in the name of the people of the different states—emperors, kings and monarchs, where they exist, when not legally authorized and qualified so to do, according to the law under which all persons are empowered to act in these different names, and punishes them for its violation.
All organized bodies of men, from the school district to the most powerful monarchy, must have officers to transact the business growing naturally out of the wants of the people composing them; and to create those officers there are and must be well defined laws, showing and making [Page 11] plain how those men must be appointed to act in those different offices, and, when thus clothed with power, to enter upon the duties of those offices, they act “in the name” of the body or state or individual which has thus chosen them. The officers of the school district act in the name of the school district. All state officers act in the name of the people of their respective states. The officers of the United States act “in the name” of the people of the United States. The officers of monarchies or empires act in the name of the sovereign or emperor from whom they derive their authority.
This is a rule to which there is no exception. And it is also a universal fact that where the authority to legislate or to make laws exists, there also exists the power to authorize men to expound, administer and execute those laws for the common protection and defense of all the people.
It thus appears, and very plainly too, that to act in the name of any person or people is TO ACT IN THEIR AUTHORITY, when it is legally and properly conferred; and to so act without being; legally and properly called and chosen by the person or persons in whose name one acts, is to become a transgressor, an impostor, a usurper and a criminal.
This great principle, so universally necessary to the well-being of all people, was first derived from the laws and government of God. For God first ruled the nations, both before and after the flood, and it was in departing from that government that brought untold calamities and destructions upon the nations; for God is the sole author of all good and true government, and whatever is good as a principle in government, ancient or modern, has all been derived from him.
To deter men from usurping power and authority in his church and kingdom, thereby endangering the liberties, peace and everlasting life of man, God gave the following commandment:
“Thou shalt not take the NAME of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” (Ex. 20:7)
The righteousness of this principle is everywhere acknowledged throughout the Bible. Corah, Dathan and Abiram endeavored to disregard and set this law aside, and miserably perished, they and all connected with them. (Num.16:1-49)
Abimelech did the same thing and also miserably perished. (Judges, chap. 9)
Uzziah was another usurper of authority, or guilty of taking of the name of God in vain, and was therefore smitten with leprosy, and he had therefore to remain alone all the balance of his life. (2 Chron. 26:16 to 21)
Adonijah, brother to Solomon, sought to usurp the authority of God, and miserably lost his life by it (1 Kings, 1 and 2 chapters). Absolom, the son of David, was another of this class, and came to a painful end. (2 Kings, chaps. 15, 16 and 17) We have another case in the person of Uzzah, who thought he was doing a good act when he put forth his hand to prevent the ark of the covenant from falling out of a cart in which it was placed. The ark was placed in the keeping of the sons of Levi, who were ordained and set apart to this and other duties, and all others were forbidden to meddle with these matters and duties. So Uzzah fell by the hand of God for his incautious temerity. Now, these are but a few of the many things written on this point for our learning. And they are inserted here to show that God is anything but pleased with those who usurp his authority and take his name in vain. The scriptures everywhere teach us that God is a Great King as well as our Chief Law Giver, and that his laws are to be regarded as supreme above all laws. If, then, God is a Great King and a Great Lawgiver, it follows that he must have forbidden men to usurp his authority and to take his [Page 12] name in their lips when not authorized. Usurping the authority of God and taking his name in vain, are synonymous, or the same. But taking his name in vain, implies that he will not regard any of their acts as lawful. When God calls a man to hold office in the priesthood, all his lawful acts are recorded and written in heaven. His preaching, his baptisms, his confirmations, his marriages, his ordinations, his missions, his sealings, blessings and administrations, will all be recorded and written in the archives of heaven, and all those who have offered themselves for baptism, as members of the church and kingdom of God, by obedience to the gospel laws, can rest assured that what they have done will be justly recorded in heaven and acknowledged in their favor at the time of the general judgment, when the books of heaven are to be opened, and the dead judged “out of the things that are there written” for and against all men. These things may sound simple to some, but I tell you they are true, and faithful, and in the time to come all men will know that they are true. (Ex. 32:32, 33; Rev. 20:12, 15; 22:19 ; Ps. 69:28; Acts 3:19)
But as for those who run without being called and sent according to that which is written, their works will all be vain. Not only will they be vain but God has said that he “will not hold them guiltless,” because they assume to act in the name of God, and his son Jesus Christ, without being either called or sent by him.
Jesus says that in the day of righteous judgment, “many will say unto him, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name cast out devils, and in thy name done MANY wonderful works,” and then will I profess unto them, “Ye never knew me. Depart from me ye workers of iniquity.” (Matt. 7:22, 23)
And from the vast variety of claimants which have arisen in these days, all professing to be God’s ministers, with their vast variety of creeds, clashing and contradicting one another on all sides, we may rest fully assured that, the great mass of them will be rejected as workers of iniquity, usurpers of his authority, and takers of his name in vain; for God, we are told, “is not the author of confusion, but of peace as in all the churches of the saints.” (l Cor. 14-33)
“In all the churches of the saints,” built up by Paul and the other apostles, there was peace and harmony. They were in possession of but one Lord, one faith, and one baptism; and all had the pure words and doctrine of Christ, and no other. There were no Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, Lutherans, nor any of the numerous names of the modern churches found in the churches of the saints, and should any misguided man arise among them, endeavoring to corrupt or change that doctrine, he was promptly brought under discipline and cast off if he did not repent. As–
“Now I beseech you brethren, in the name (authority) of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be NO DIVISIONS among you, but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” (1 Cor. 1:10) And the Lord Jesus prayed earnestly for the church in his ministry that they all might be one, “as we (the Father and Son) are one.” Neither pray I for these (my disciples) alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word, that they may be one, as thou, Father, art in me as I in thee, that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gravest me I have given them that they may be one, even AS WE ARE ONE.” (John 17:20-22) Now there is perfect harmony and agreement and unity between the Father and the Son. No clashing of creeds and opinions and doctrines there. And this is precisely the kind of harmony and unity that the Father and Son require in his church. And where that unity and [Page 13] harmony in the faith and doctrine of Christ is not, there the church of God is not. “For whereas there is among you envying, and STRIFE, and DIVISIONS, are ye not carnal and walk as men?” (1 Cor. 3:3) That is, are ye not acting upon the dictates of your own corrupt minds, and as unconverted men? God is not the author of these things, therefore the modern churches, where all these carnal doings are found, are not yet converted to God, but are walking after their own corrupt ways. And as God hates all these things, he has never called nor authorized any man or set of men to found and build up these divisions as his ministers. That is plainly evident.
Now, to be brief, the scriptures speak of two orders of priesthood—the one called the Aaronic Priesthood, and the other the Melchisedec Priesthood; and these two priesthoods mean the two orders of officers which God placed in his kingdom to be the leaders, rulers and instructors of his people. These priesthoods were divided into a variety of offices, or classes of officers, each class having duties and responsibilities assigned him to perform according to the needs and circumstances of the people. The offices of these two priesthoods are ever the same, though in different ages they have been called by different names.
The word apostle, for instance, was formerly messenger, or ambassador. All three of these terms mean the same thing, only apostle is the Greek for messenger or ambassador.
“And the Lord God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes and sending, because he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling place; but they mocked the messengers of God and despised his words and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy.” (2 Chron. 36:15-l6)
“I am the Lord that maketh all things; that stretched forth the heavens above; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself; that frustrates the tokens of the liars and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backwards, and maketh their knowledge foolishness; that confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited,” etc. (Is. 44:24-27)
“Performeth the counsel of his messengers,” that is that brings to pass all the words of his prophets or messengers or ambassadors.
“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant whom ye delight in,” etc. (Mal. 3:1)
“Who is blind, but my servant, and deaf as my MESSENGER that I sent.” (Is. 42:19) Here is another translation of the same words in this last text: “Hear ye deaf and look ye blind that ye may see. For I will send my MESSENGER (apostle and ambassador) unto you that are blind, yea a messenger to open the eyes of the blind and unstop the ears of the deaf. And they shall be made perfect, not withstanding their blindness, if they will hearken to the messenger, the Lord’s servant.” The reader can choose either of these renderings. I am, however, decidedly in favor of the latter rendering, for God’s prophet or messenger is neither blind nor deaf, physically nor spiritually, but always well provided with both spiritual and temporal, or physical sight and hearing.
“Then spake Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, in the Lord’s message to the people, saying, I am with you, saith the Lord.” (Haggai 1:13) These texts show that apostles and messengers or ambassadors are identically the same.
Some one may ask, how all this helps us to distinguish the true minister of God in these days from the false or spurious pretender? In this way: First, that God has no different order of things, or any different way of accomplishing the salvation of man today than he ever had in the past. His government is the same, his laws are the same, and the [Page 14] manner of choosing his officers and conferring his authority upon them is the same. If God should change in any of these matters, it would be impossible to prevent our being deceived and led to destruction. If God has changed in any of those matters, it would be first in order for him to have put it on record that he has so changed, and tell us wherein he has changed, so that we may follow the change. But we are forbidden to believe that he has changed in any matter pertaining to the order of his church and kingdom and man’s salvation.
And now, as the order of God in all ages whenever he had a people or a church on earth, was to place in that church, “first apostles,” or in other words, first ambassadors or messengers, one of whom was chief, the latter called by his own voice, and anointed under his own hands and voice, through whom all other apostles or prophets, evangelists [high priests], bishops, elders, pastors or teachers were called, and received ordination, so it is now.
When Moses was made “a ruler and a deliverer under the hand of the angel that appeared to him in the bush,” (Acts 7:35 ) then God called Aaron, through or by revelation to Moses, and commanded Moses to anoint and consecrate him that he might “minister to him in the priest’s office.” (Ex. 40:13-16, 28:41)
Moreover, many others were chosen to be rulers and judges among the people, by the ordination of Moses, as:
“And I spake unto you at that time, saying, I am not able to hear you myself alone. …Take your wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you. And ye answered me and said, The thing which thou hast spoken is good for us to do. So I took the chief of your tribes, wise men and known, and made (ordained) them heads over you. …And I charged your judges (the men chosen) at that time saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge, righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him. Ye shall not respect persons in judgment, but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man, for the judgment is God’s. And the cause which is too hard for you, bring it unto me and I will hear it.” (Dent 1:9-17)
Now there were twelve men chosen at that time, and also seventy others, seemingly as a parallel to the twelve, and the seventy elders chosen in the days of Christ; and were it not for the rebellious of Israel in that day, these twelve ambassadors, or if you please apostles, and these seventy elders would no doubt have been sent to the nations at that time with the glad tidings of salvation, and everlasting righteousness would have been brought in. For God promised Israel at this time that if they would hearken to his councils He would make them a “nation of kings and priests to the nations of the earth,” for the gospel of Jesus Christ was well known among the people of God from the days of Adam, as see accompanying tract called Modern Christianity, page 9. (Ex. 24:1-10; Num. 13:1-16; Ex. 19:4-6)
All the ministers of God in every age, greater and lesser, were ordained to be his ministers, and all ordinations came from the greater to the lesser. The greater, who were called apostles of different degrees or ranks, are all appointed by direct revelation from God, and the lesser officers are called and appointed by a law that points out their duties and the sort of men they should be, but their ordinations always came from the greater placed above them.
In Moses’ day they were required to be wise men, hating covetousness, fearing God, lovers of truth, men of understanding and well known to the people. (Ex. 18:21, 22; Deut. 1:3) And the same law guided the apostles in the christian dispensation in regard to the lesser officers in that church: “Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men, of honest [Page 15] report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business, but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and the ministry of the word. And the saying pleased the whole multitude; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Ghost, and Phillip and Prochorus, and Nicanor and Timon, and Parmenus and Nicholas, a proselyte of Antioch, whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed they laid their hands on them,” that is to ordain them to the work. (Acts 6:1-6)
Now, why could not these men be set to work in their office of deacon in the church of God without the laying on of hands? Simply because first, it is contrary to the law and commandments of God; and, second, because all men in proportion to the responsibilities of their office and calling receive proportionate gifts and blessings to help them in their office work and ministry.
“For this cause left I thee in Crete,” says Paul to Titus, “that thou shouldst set in order the things that are wanting and ordain elders in every city as I had appointed thee; if any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children, not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; but a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.” (Titus 1:5-9)
Again he says to Timothy: “This is a true saying: If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desires a good work. A bishop, then, must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach; not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (for if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.” (1 Tim. 3:1-6)
“And when they (Paul and Barnabas) had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed,” (Acts 14:23 )
These texts are offered here to prove, as before said, that the lesser officers in the church of God were called according to a fixed law pointing out their qualifications. But the greater officers were called by direct revelation, more particularly those who were called apostles or the ambassadors of God in their various grades; for there are different grades or degrees of the apostolic office. Jesus himself was called an apostle; that is, a messenger or ambassador from the Almighty himself, whereas the other apostles were called through him by revelation and were subject to him.
“Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the APOSTLE; and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus”—the anointed Jesus. (Heb. 3:1)
Thus it has been in all the prophetic ages. God first calls and anoints one to stand between him and the whole people. With him he speaks “face to face as a man with his friend, and not in dark visions.” The less difficult questions were consigned to be settled by the lesser officers or judges, but the most difficult of all questions were brought to the prophets themselves, who were God’s chief ambassadors. Thus it has been from Adam to Moses, and from Moses to Elijah, and from Elijah to Christ, and from Jesus to John the Revelator, and in this generation it has been the same. All the great questions and decisions fell to the lot of Joseph Smith and his lawful successor in the prophetic office, showing clearly that the order of the everlasting priesthood and its office work is ever the same.
By this order of things the church [Page 16] of God should be known from all other churches, for as the leading men of God’s church in all ages were all called by direct revelation from God, all careful bible readers should be able to find that church by this very mark, if that church was on the earth at all. (There were times when the church of God was not on the earth, and of course it could not then be found on earth by anyone.) But when it exists on the earth, it will or can be found by enquiring for that church whose chief officers are appointed by direct revelation from God, through the chief of whom God reveals his word to all his people, as in days of old.
It would be a vain thing for any honest man to try to find such a church anywhere in what is called Modern Christendom, from the church of Rome herself to the least and last “reformed church” that has arisen in the last decade; for they every one deny that revelation has been necessary since the giving of the revelations of St. John on the Isle of Patmos, and deny that any revelation from God has been given since that time. We take them at their own words; for most assuredly if God revealed anything to any of them they would tell us all about it. The Bible is a book that from lid to lid teaches the necessity of revelation from God, and never speaks against it.
As said above, God’s chief ministers in all ages, from Adam to John the Revelator were always called by the voice of God, and angels were sent to commune with and ordain the chief apostle. Moreover, as God has always placed at the head of his church, first, apostles or ambassadors, and as an ambassador is one specially sent, and God has nowhere any different rule for sending his ministers or ambassadors than by direct revelation from him, and as we are told in many places that he changes not; that from age to age he is the same, (Mat. 3:6; James 1:17; Num. 23:19; Rom. 11:29; Ps. 102:25-27), we must believe either that he has changed, or that man has grossly changed and departed from him, for we find nothing today that looks like his ancient order and way of working among either Catholics or Protestants. But God forbid that we should suppose him to change. It is easy to believe that man may and does change, but God never. We must believe that the change is in man.
Let us look first at the Catholic Church, by far the oldest and the mother from whom all the others sprang by departing from her. Her Popes claim to “occupy St. Peter’s chair;” that is, that they are the regular successors of St. Peter in his apostolic and prophetic office.
Now, a successor to the president of the United States is a president of the United States, and whatever the power necessary to make any one president of the United States, the same power it takes to make his successor, as long as the present constitution exists. The successor of a king is a king, and whatever power, and by whatever law a king is made, the same power, exercised according to the constitution of his realm, must make his successor as long as that constitution remains unchanged. And it is just so with all other sovereigns, governors and rulers the world over, and through all time. And to obtain any one of these places or positions without receiving it under the power and according to those several constitutions is to be guilty of treason and usurpation in the first degree, and endangering the life of the state or nation where it was done.
Now, we have absolutely no ground for believing that the law and constitution of God’s kingdom, by and under which apostles and prophets were made, is either altered or changed in the least. [18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matt. 5:17] And so upon the principle that whatever power makes the predecessor in office must make the successor, the same power therefore that made Peter the chief apostle or ambassador of Jesus Christ, MUST OF NECESSITY MAKE HIS SUCCESSOR TODAY. Why not? Who has any sound argument to offer against this?
[Page 17] And now the question arises: Are the popes of Rome, the so-called successors of Peter, called and anointed to succeed Peter by the same power that called, anointed and ordained Peter himself? Verily, they are not. There is not the slightest resemblance between the manner of calling and inducting the popes of Rome into their office and the calling, anointing and ordaining of the apostle and Prophet Peter into his office. Not the slightest.
For instance, if a pope was to be chosen today to fill the present Pope’s place, it would be done by the vote of the cardinals. Some bishop of the Catholic Church is thus selected out of several other candidates for the office, and he is really not ordained or anointed at all. He is ordained a bishop, to be sure, but when elected pope by the cardinals he receives no further ordination.
In order that the reader may understand how this is done, I will quote from Goodrich’s “Religious Ceremonies and Customs.”
“Policy exerts all her arts, and sets every spring in motion, at the election of a pope; nor do the electors always wait for the death of the present chief, or head of the church, to begin those cabals and intrigues which are proper for advancing him whom they esteem a fit person to succeed to the pontifical throne; and, although the college (of cardinals) invariably and unanimously invoke the assistance and aid of the Holy Ghost to direct them in the choice of a Vicar of Jesus Christ, yet their eminences use all the precaution imaginable to prevent him from being in any way concerned in the election. The cardinals are obliged to enter the conclave ten days after the death of the pope; but before that time they hear the Mass of the Holy Ghost in the Gregorian Chapel, and some bishop makes a Latin harangue, exhorting them to make choice of a person who is worthy to fill the chair of the prince of the apostles. After this their eminences march in procession to the conclave, two by two, according to their rank, attended by the Swiss Guards and a vast crowd of people, the chorus all the while singing the ‘Veni Creator.’ Being arrived at the conclave, they take possession of their cells by lot, after which they all go to the Paulin Chapel, where the bulls for the election of the pope are read, and the dean of the sacred college exhorts the assembly to act in conformity to them. When this is over, the cardinals are allowed to go home to dine, but must return to the conclave before three at night, at which time the master of the ceremonies acquaints them that they ought not to shut themselves up, unless they are determined to continue there as long as the conclave shall last, consistently with the order and direction of the bulls, in which it is regulated that those who go out shall not be permitted to return. The governor and marshal of the conclave now post their soldiers in such order and in such places as they judge most requisite for the safety of the election. The ambassadors of princes, and all those who have any interest in the election of a future pope, are allowed to continue in the conclave for the first twenty-four hours. When the clock strikes three the master of the ceremonies rings a bell, after which all except the electors retire. The doors are then shut, the conclave is walled up and guards are posted at all the avenues. The cardinal-dean and cardinal-camerlengo now visit the conclave to see if it be well shut, and an act thereof is drawn up by an apostolical notary.”
“None but the cardinals and two conclavists for each (one an ecclesiastic and the other a soldier), remain in the conclave. Those cardinals who are princes, or who are old or infirm, are sometimes allowed three. The other persons appointed for the service of the conclave are the sacristan, the under-sacristan, a secretary, an under-secretary, a confessor, who is always a Jesuit, two physicians, a surgeon, two barbers, an apothecary and their apprentices, five masters of the ceremonies, a bricklayer,[Page 18] a carpenter and sixteen porters or valets for hard labor.
“Though the office of a conclavist be incommodious and uneasy, yet on account of its privileges it is much sought after; for a conclavist is sometimes the secret agent of the ministers of crowned heads. Every officer, however, of the conclave takes an oath not to reveal any of its secrets.
“According to the order of Innocent III, there are three several methods of electing a pope, viz.: By scrutiny, compromise and inspiration. The election by scrutiny, which is the only way that has been used for a long while, contains all the formality that appears most essential for making the election canonical. Still it is no more than a mere ceremony, as the several factions of the cardinals have united beforehand in the choice of the person. This harmony is brought about by the most refined and delicate strokes of policy, and for the most part comes on after their eminencies have found out, by several scrutinies, the disposition of the sacred college. Then, if the votes for any of the candidates come near the number required, it is a very common practice for the other factions to fall off and coalesce with the others, and thereby contribute to the pope’s election, fearing to draw on them his hatred by a fruitless and unseasonable opposition.”
Does the reader see any likeness here between the calling and inauguration of the popes in office and the call and ordination of the apostle Peter under the hands and voice of the Anointed Jesus? If he does, I confess that he has a faculty for seeing that I never expect to attain to. We might about as well say there is no difference between a crystal fountain and a mud-puddle. We might as well say there is no difference between the light of a brilliant lamp and the thousand sparks flying from a chimney in a dark night. But I will not argue this, for it is to be presumed that no one can see any likeness between the two modes of conferring authority. But upon the principle that “whatever power and acts are necessary to create and install the predecessor in office are also necessary to create and install the successor in office as long as the constitution of the nation or church remains unchanged,” what becomes of the claims of the Catholic Church that its popes sit in the chair of St. Peter and succeed him “in the functions of his office”? Is there any change made in the constitution or the law and testimony of God’s church? And if there is any change made therein, who made it? Where is it recorded, and when was it made? And who has anciently put it on record that such a change in the law and constitution of God’s church and kingdom would be made?
All men will agree, I believe, in the following axioms:
That, “The successor of an apostle is an apostle. The successor of a prophet is a prophet. The successor of a high priest is a high priest. The successor of a king is a king. The successor of a bishop is a bishop. The successor of an evangelist is an evangelist. The successor of a deacon is a deacon; and, in general, that the successor to him, who holds any particular priesthood or office, holds the same priesthood or office as the predecessor.” That whatever pertained to the predecessors in ANY priesthood or office, as regards power or gifts, or privileges, keys or authority, or power to unlock the mysteries of the present, the past or the future of the kingdom of God, pertains or belongs to the successors also.
There is no use today for any more than one president or supreme ruler to any people or any nation, and never was. And the same rule holds good as regards the church of God. The prophets of God in all ages, when there was a church of God organized on earth, were the supreme rulers immediately under God to that church or people.
Peter undoubtedly, when the Savior was taken, was the supreme presiding officer over the whole church of God. And it is but reasonable to conclude that he was made so by ordination after the resurrection, [Page 19] according to the promise and instructions given to him by the Savior before and after, for no power or priesthood is given any man to lead the church of God only by ordination.
Now let us see: Peter was ordained by the highest authority that was ever bestowed upon man; that is, by the voice and under the hands of the Lord Jesus himself, and great gifts, inspiration and power was bestowed upon him in this ordination. Peter had the privilege then, like all other prophets, of conversing with the angels of God, and with God himself. He also saw the resurrected Savior, conversed with him, received blessings and promises from him and witnessed his ascension into heaven. If it be true that the powers and privileges of the predecessor belong of right also to the successors in the same office, where are these blessed privileges known to or possessed by any of his so-called successors, the popes? Peter in virtue of his ordination was a seer, had the gift of prophecy, and some of them point very forcibly to this generation, mind are especially fulfilling in these days. But where are the pope’s powers, prophecies, miracles, inspiration, ministry of angels or revelations from God? Does he possess any of these in any degree any more than the cardinals, the bishops and priests under and associated with him in his church?
Where is the gift of tongues, the gift of healing, the gift of prophecy, power to do miracles, cast out devils, the ministry of angels, or the voice of God in the Catholic Church any more than in her daughters, the Protestant churches? Is it not as clear that the priesthood of the Catholic Church is as purely the work of man as it is that the priesthood of the various Protestant churches is? How then can any of these man-made institutions authorize men to act in the name of God, and the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit of God, when it is as clear as any one fact can be that they are all acting under a. usurped authority and priesthood? How can any of these act lawfully in the name of the holy three when there is no communication from them, and they claim none? We can easily see how the officers in the armies of the United States can act in the name of the United States, because they are chosen and commissioned by the United States, and receive constant directions from those above them whom she has lawfully commissioned to act above them. We can easily see how the officers of Great Britain in Ireland and Canada, and India and Australia, and other colonies can act in the name of Great Britain, because Great Britain calls and clothes these chief executive officers with power and authority to execute and enforce the laws made for the colonies. But supposing the colonies should arise and condemn those lord lieutenants or chief executives as impostors and deceivers, and kill or drive them out one after another, and begin to claim that they had law and jurisprudence enough, that the canon of law was full, and that there was no need of any more communications from Great Britain upon state matters, and begin to count all who claimed any intelligence from Great Britain as madmen, enthusiasts, fanatics and deceivers, and while they still pretended to act in the name of the government or the sovereign of Great Britain, begin to alter, change, amend or abolish the laws enacted by Great Britain for the welfare of the colony, we would have a farce complete, and a pretty good illustration of the position occupied by the church of Rome and all her Protestant daughters towards the God of Heaven and his heavenly messengers.
I merely use the picture to illustrate the position; and not by any means because I regard Great Britain as either a model or a perfect government.
Not only is there an utter want of resemblance between the manner of appointing and qualifying the officers of God’s church and kingdom in all ages to act in his name and that of appointing the officers of the church of Rome, but she is justly [Page 20] charged also with altering and abolishing the laws of God, given by him for the perpetual government of his people. The Prophet Isaiah says:
“The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof, because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance and broken the everlasting covenant.
“Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate; therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned and few men left.” (Is. 24:5, 6) It hits the Church of Rome to a dead certainty; for no other church has made so complete changes and substitutes from and for the word of God. The Prophet Daniel also speaks of a mighty power that would arise in the future from Christ that would “cast down the truth to the ground,” (Dan. 8:12 ), would “destroy the mighty and the holy people,” (verse 24) and wear them out to extinction. (Chap. 7:25)
This will refer to no other nation than old Rome, and of a certainty she is the power referred to here.
The everlasting covenant spoken of above is undoubtedly the covenant made in the Christian dispensation, and the Catholic Church, first of all, has grossly transgressed and changed the ordinances of that gospel or covenant. The everlasting covenant could be no other than that made to the apostles in sending them to all nations, saying: “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe. In my name they shall cast out devils, they shall speak with new tongues, they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” (Mark 16:15-20)
Not one of these promises is realized in the Catholic Church, nor in any of her Protestant daughters are they realized or possessed. We quote again:
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying: All power is given unto me, both in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to OBSERVE ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you always (on these conditions) until the end of the world.” (Mat. 28:18-20)
Why I say, “on these conditions”—on the condition that they teach “all nations ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER I HAVE COMMANDED YOU”—is that it is fully sustained by the scriptures throughout. For there is absolutely no promise in scripture that God ever will be with any people who have made up their minds that they will follow their own inventions, rules and regulations, instead of his commandments. How was it when Israel set up a calf as a god and were determined to follow it into Egypt? Was God with them then? How was it with Corah, Dathan and Abiram? Was God with them? How was it with Saul, King of Israel, when he undertook to rule according to his own will instead of God’s will, set forth in his law and commandments? Refusing to repent or turn from his evil deeds, he could not win the favor of God, although Samuel, the prophet, pleaded and mourned, and fasted before God in his behalf many days. When the wicked kings of Israel led Israel to commit sin, how much was God among or with them, especially when they had been warned by the prophets of God to depart from their evil deeds? But what means this? “Whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, HATH NOT GOD. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ hath both the Father and the Son.” The Catholic Church having altered and changed and abolished many of the precious teachings of the Son of God, it is impossible that when she undertakes to act in the name of God she can do otherwise than take his name in vain. For, first of all, she has [Page 21] given us a man-made priesthood instead of the God-made priesthood of the Bible. Second, she has discarded the God of Israel, in whose image and likeness man is made, and of whom Jesus was the EXPRESS IMAGE (Heb. 1:3), and given us a god of their own make, who is without body, PARTS or PASSIONS, which, instead of being the greatest, wisest and most powerful of all, is a mere nothing at all. Indeed, the description given of him by the Catholic Church is the very best possible name for nothing at all. Third, she has abolished the gifts of the Holy Ghost promised to all nations wherever the gospel would be received and obeyed. She has neither apostles nor prophets, nor gifts of healing, nor prophesy, nor tongues, nor visions, nor revelations, nor power from God of any kind, any more than the Protestants, things that always followed the true priesthood or authority of God. Fourth, though the scriptures teach everywhere to the contrary, both by precept and example, the Church of Rome has set up the celibacy of both men and women above marriage, in point of being more honorable and virtuous, a thing that is not anywhere taught in scripture, but the contrary throughout. If it is more honorable to break the commandment requiring the marriage of the sexes than to keep it, why would not such a rule work equally well with the other commandments? Why not say it is honorable to keep the commandment, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy,” etc., but more honorable and virtuous to break it? And again: It is an honorable thing to keep the commandment, “Thou shalt not bear false witness,” but more honorable to break or disregard it. Why should not these rules work? For marriage is just as binding as any other law or commandment. For the Lord Jesus and the law of God says: “It is not good that man should be alone.” (Gen. 2:18, 24; chap. 9:1; chap. 35:11) And Paul especially says, “To avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife and every woman have her own husband.” (1 Cor. 7:2) And again he says: “I will that the YOUNGER WOMEN marry, bear children, guide the house, and give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.” (l Tim. 5:14) And Heb. 13:4 says: “Marriage is honorable IN ALL, and the bed undefiled; but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” So what is there wrong about marriage that it should be sworn against by the authorities or clergy of the Catholic Church? Why we are told that it gives the priests more time to devote to the affairs of the church, and that as their faith requires the confession of sins on the part of the people, the priests are better enabled to keep those matters secret; whereas were they to be married, their wives would be likely to draw out those secrets and whisper them about. Indeed! It is a wonder that the Almighty has never thought of that! Are their labors on behalf of the people any more arduous than those of the clergy of other denominations? Or the ancient Hebrew priests, who had much more labor to perform than the priests of the Catholic Church? Besides, the Hebrew priests were also confessors of the sins of the people; but they never thought of swearing against marriage for any such excuses as the Catholic clergy offer. The whole tenor and teaching of the bible is that it is a great calamity for a man to die childless! In fact, that it is among the greatest of all calamities! I could give many examples of this from Holy Writ had I the time. But here are a few items: Abraham had a large household, but not a son to his name; and he felt sad enough about it, and when the Almighty was making great promises to him he says: “Lord, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless and the steward (the chief) in mine house is this Eliezar of Damascus?” (Gen. 15:1-3) That was as much as to say, Lord, what is all this blessing and this great land to me, seeing I have no son of my own flesh to inherit it with me? And when the [Page 22] promise of a son was realized, there was great rejoicing and praise from Abraham and Sarah, the latter because her reproach among men had been taken away; for besides being a great calamity to be childless, it was also a great reproach to be barren. But, Isaac’s wife was barren also, and Isaac entreated the Lord for her, and here was gladness again at being blessed with offspring. And again, Rachel, one of Jacob’s wives, was barren, and in the anguish of despair she cried out, “Give me children or else I die.” And she also felt the blessing by saying: “God hath taken away my reproach,” when made a glad mother. The Prophet Samuel’s mother is another case from whom the customary reproach of barrenness was taken away at the birth of that mighty prophet, and praise and thanksgiving resulted. John the Baptist’s mother was another. “Thus hath the Lord dealt with me,” said she, “in the days wherein he looked on me to take away my reproach among men.” (Luke 1:25) Would to God that the same love for posterity, the same innocent, precious and holy sentiments might again return and take the place of the unnatural and diabolical sentiments of this present generation, where posterity is looked upon as a curse and is systematically dying out.
Men live by God’s law, they die out by its violation. As often as men vow or swear that they will not marry, they not only swear that they will blot out their own names, but compel a corresponding number of women to blot out theirs also, and prevent them from fulfilling the end for which they were created. For the many tens of thousands of Catholic clergy that exist today, and that have existed for so many centuries, there must have all along been a corresponding number of females driven either to be harlots or well preserved old maids, two things which God has expressly forbidden; and from the commencement of this celibate life down to this day, the number must have been very great.
So it is plain that this excessive piety upon the part of the Catholic clergy has done an incalculable and wholesale amount of evil, while it has done no good, but what could much better have been done by a married life. There is truly such a thing as being too pious to keep the commandments of God!
Fifth, she has given us three kinds of baptism—sprinkling, pouring and immersion—whereas God has never authorized but one, that is immersion; but immersion is a mode she exceedingly seldom or never practices. Sprinkling is really the mode with her, and it being entirely removed from the true form of baptism, or immersion, they are justly accused here also of changing, altering and substituting their own inventions for the law of God. Indeed the Catholic Church accuses herself of having done this very thing, for her clergy confess that sprinkling was chosen by them as a substitute for baptism, and justify it on the ground that whatever is done by the authority of the Catholic Church is all justified in the sight of God. “The church cannot do wrong,” she says, because Jesus has promised “to be with her always, even unto the end.” It matters not what she does. The promise to them is unconditional. “Individuals may do wrong, but the church never,” is one of their principles. One cannot but feel astounded at the monstrosity of such doctrine.
The word of God by Jeremiah says: “At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom to build amid to plant it, IF IT DO EVIL in my sight that it OBEY NOT MY voice, then will I repent of the good wherewith I said I would benefit them.” (Jer. 18:7-10)
Why was it that God rebuked Israel so many times by the prophets and broke them down, and gave them so many times into the hands of their enemies and has made them wanderers among the nations, a hiss and by-word among them for many generations, if he can so easily sanctify the sins of the Catholic Church?
[Page 23] Is not one people as dear to him as another? And if he can so easily approve of the sins of the great Catholic Church, why could He not also as easily approve the sins of his own peculiar people, Israel? Has God finally come to have respect of persons? Has He altogether changed?
Sixth, there is nothing in the eyes of God that is any more pure and innocent than a little child. “Of such,” says Jesus, “is the Kingdom of heaven.” Yet the Catholic Church pronounces them lost in hell unless they are (not baptized) but sprinkled to save them from the flames of hell. Thus God is made to do what the basest ruffian on earth would shrink from in horror! Thus might we go on examining the abuses, abolishments, changes and alterations which the Church of Rome has deliberately made in the doctrine of Jesus Christ till it would fill a good sized volume? On the principle that, “whosoever transgresses and abides not in the doctrine of Christ hath not God,” can we suppose that the Almighty or his son Jesus Christ has left the holy priesthood among that people for fifteen hundred years, to administer her heathen ordinances in his name? That he acknowledges their works to be his works? And those priests to be his ministers? Whosoever adds to or takes away from the things of God, his part will be taken “out of the Book of Life, and out of the holy city,” and from the covenants and promises made to those who serve him (Rev.22:18, 19). Verily no. None such are nor over were his ministers. Therefore in doing any of these things in the name of the holy three, they take God’s name in vain, and they will not be held guiltless.
But, says one, what about the Protestant churches? Where do they stand? Alas for the Protestant churches! Church history shows only too plainly that all the older sects as the Lutherans, the Baptists, the church of England, the Presbyterians and others came out of the church of Rome in which their forefathers had lived for many centuries, as many sects before them had done also; and the younger sects, such as the Methodists, Campbelites, Quakers, Shakers and all the Reformed Baptists, Reformed Methodists, Reformed Presbyterians, and others have merely sprung from those older offshoots from the church of Rome. They are Rome’s granddaughters.
ONE TRUE CHURCH
One thing is clear and certain, and that is that there can be but one true Church.
If the Church of Rome was the true church, as she herself claims, then the Protestant reformers as they are called separated themselves from and rebelled against the true church. And when they withdrew from it, they ceased to be ministers of that church; and whatever authority they had when in that church as its ministers, they forfeited when they left it. For when men separate themselves from the church of God, they can’t bring any authority out of it to build up a church in opposition to it. If so then the church of God would be two, clashing and making war upon itself, and Jesus says, “a house, or kingdom divided against itself cannot stand.” The Almighty therefore cannot be the author of a divided church, or a divided kingdom. As said before, if the church of Rome was the church of God when the reformers left it, then they left the church of God and all their church building ever since has been a vain thing, and utterly without authority from God, and at enmity against him. But on the other hand, if the Roman Catholic Church was NOT the church of God and was so vile, corrupt, heathen and apostate as the Protestant reformers say she was, and had been “for over seven hundred years,” then there was no true priesthood or authority to administer the ordinances of the gospel IN THAT CHURCH! And therefore the reformers COULD BRING NONE OUT WITH THEM. Consequently so far as this lack of authority is concerned, Protestants and Catholics of all ranks and conditions are alike destitute of it. This is precisely the view that every thinking man must take of this matter when the [Page 24] facts in the case are laid before him. There is no middle ground.
That which is now called Catholicism was the national religion of the Roman Empire with the exception of the very few additions made to it in its more modern times. It was originated in the time of Constantine The Great, who in his day conceived the idea of harmonizing all of the religions that then existed which were very numerous, in his empire, both of Christians and heathens, into one national religion.
The leaders of the numerous sects of both kinds at his request assembled together and the result of their deliberations was the Catholic faith as we now find it among the nations, with a very few exceptions as observed before, added in more recent times.
John Wesley, speaking of the loss of the spiritual gifts promised to the true believers in the true gospel by the Lord Jesus Christ, says: “We seldom hear of them after that fatal period; when the Emperor Constantine called himself a christian, and from a vain imagination of promoting the christian cause thereby, heaping riches and power and honor upon the christians in general; but in particular upon the christian clergy. From this time they almost totally ceased—a very few instances were found. The cause of this was not (as has been vulgarly supposed) because there was no more occasion for them, because all the world had become Christians. This is a miserable mistake—not a twentieth part of it was then nominally Christians. The real cause was ‘the love of many,’ almost of all Christians so-called, was ‘waxed cold.’ The Christians had no more of the spirit of Christ than the other heathens. The Son of Man when he came to examine his church could hardly ‘find faith on the earth.’ This was the real cause why the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost were no longer to be found in the Christian church; because the Christians had turned heathens again, and had only a dead form left.” (See John Wesley’s 94th Sermon, Par, 2)
This is a very sad picture given of the Christian religion in Constantine’s day—the time of the founding of what is now called the Roman Catholic faith. But John Wesley is very far from being alone in this matter. Goldsmith gives us in his History of Rome a very similar picture. Alexander Campbell also speaks of the apostasy of the early Christian church as follows: “Since the fullness of the great apostasy, foretold by the apostles and prophets, numerous attempts at reformation have been made. Societies, indeed, may be found among us, far in advance of others in their progress toward the ancient order of things,” (that is, the apostolic church, with its gifts and blessings) “but we know of none that have fully attained to that model.
“The practical result of all creeds, reformations and improvements, and the expectations and longings of society warrant the conclusion that SOME NEW REVELATION or some new developments of the revelations of God must be made before the hopes and expectations of all true Christians can be realized, or CHRISTIANITY CAN SAVE and reform the nations of this world. We WANT THE OLD GOSPEL BACK, and SUSTAINED BY THE ANCIENT ORDER OF THINGS.” (Christian System, p. 3, p. 274 and p. 234)
“The ancient order of things” which alone can “sustain” or support the true gospel of Jesus Christ are apostles, prophets, evangelists [high priests], pastors [elders] and teachers, called of God by revelation, with the gifts of the Holy Ghost promised to all true believers.
Take away the officers of a nation and you take away the liberties, blessings and privileges of that nation, whatever they may have been. The United States, without its officers, would be a vast mob.
There can be neither school district, town, county nor state, without their officers. Give them back their officers and the blessings of [Page 25] liberty, whatsoever they are, will return. When I say their officers I mean such officers as their constitution gives them. I don’t mean a set of usurpers who would ride into power in utter disregard of the constitution and the laws. You would not be very likely to have your constitutional liberties under a class of men of that stamp. You perceive then that the laws of any country, be they ever so good, give no guarantee of safety to life or property without their appropriate rulers. Just so, and upon the same principle, if we have not the same kind of rulers that the law and constitution and testimony of God calls for, we cannot expect to receive and enjoy the blessings of God’s kingdom. Give us the officers of the church and kingdom of God—apostles, prophets, evangelists [high priests], pastors [elders] and teachers, called of God by revelation, the chief of whom—is ordained under the hands of angels as in days of old, who will bring us the gifts and blessings promised by the Saviour of mankind; then we will enjoy the blessings, liberties, privileges, hopes, rejoicings and eternal life of the citizens of God’s kingdom, and not till then.
Just a line now from Rodger Williams, the founder of the Baptist church in America: “We are yet,” he says, “in Babylon, yet in the wilderness. I conceive that the apostasy of anti-Christ has so far CORRUPTED ALL, that there can he no recovery out of that apostasy till Christ shall send forth NEW APOSTLES to plant churches anew.”
NEW CHURCH AND NEW APOSTLES
It is a curious and interesting fact that many men may see the necessity of God’s working as in days of old, and will contend and earnestly pray for him to do so, or “send by whom he would;” but when the Almighty in his own way, and his usual manner, condescends to answer the prayers and desires of these very men, they are very often found to be the first to reject it, and become its greatest enemies. Caiaphas, the high priest, prophesied that Jesus would die for that nation (the Jews) and also for the sins of the whole world, but we have no evidence that he ever followed him or regarded his teachings. (John 11:47-52; Matt. 26:57-68) Indeed he seems to have become a bitter enemy to Jesus. The mother of Jesus was poor, and his being born in a manger, and his traveling without purse or scrip to preach the gospel without a place to lay his head, were all too much and too low for the great Caiaphas to condescend or stoop to. And when God passed by the learned Alexander Campbell, and a host of other great ones, and condescended to take the young man Joseph Smith from his rural home in the backwoods, and by the ministry of angels made him the instrument in his hand to build up his church, with apostles and prophets, evangelists, etc., at its head according to the “ancient order of things,” with the pure gospel and the gifts of the Holy Ghost following—just what the Alexander Campbell desired, saw the need of, and prayed for; this was all too much for them!
They had forgotten that “God hath chosen the poor of this world rich in faith,” and heirs of the kingdom of God; “that he chooses the “weak,” and the “simple” and the “despised” and the “base” things of the world to confound the wise, and to bring to naught things that are, that no flesh should glory in his presence,” (James 2:5; 1 Cor. 1:26 to 29) and of course it was too low for them to stoop to! O, yes.
When Rodger Williams said, “we are yet in Babylon,” he ought to have said confusion, for that is what Babylon means. He got the word from John the Revelator, who looking down the stream of time in the visions of God, saw the apostasy of both the mother church and her Protestant daughters or churches, in their present and past confusion, folly and false doctrine; and the angel that instructed him characterized the mother as: “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” (See Rev. 17:5) That is, [Page 26] MYSTERY, THE GREAT CONFUSION, THE MOTHER of CHURCHES and ABOMINATIONS of the Earth
She is called “mystery” because there is no revelation from God, which gives light and understanding unto all men, in that church. Fog, mist and darkness surround all its members. They have nothing but the word and traditions of its priests to build their faith or their hopes upon! There is not one man in that church that KNOWS his faith is true. In the church of God men are not thus left in ignorance; they know that they are not deceived.
“Confusion the great,” because the more one undertakes to prove his faith and her traditions to be true by the word of God, the more he is confused and bewildered.
“The Mother of Harlots, and Abominations of the Earth,” because she has brought forth, by her corrupt and abominable faith and teachings, many churches, a good deal like herself, worshipping the same nonsensical nonentity of a god, denying the necessity of revelation, denying the gifts of the gospel promised by the Saviour of mankind to all believers; practicing the same sprinkling for baptism, making the same false claim to the authority of the holy priesthood, and holding on to their errors with the same cast iron unwillingness to yield themselves to the truth. Indeed in one way and another, directly and indirectly, the Church of Rome is held accountable before God for all the abominations committed for many centuries upon the earth, or, at any rate throughout Christendom.
In all ages of the world, the church of God, organized and led by him, was spoken of as “the Bride, the Lamb’s wife.” But whenever this church forsook the ordinances of God, and went over to the embraces of idols, kings and princes, following their heathen rules, laws and counsels, instead of the laws, counsels and commandments of God, she was then called and esteemed a whore; and the generations arising from her were called harlots and bastards, (see Rev. 17:1-18; Jer. 31:31, 32; Jer. 3:20; Ezek. 16:28-35; 2 Cor. 11:2; Hosea 2:2-4). Hence the justice and propriety of naming this great apostate church, “The Great Whore,” “the whore of all the earth,” a wife put away from her husband, because of her adulterous practices. The reader is advised to examine the above passages and their connections for himself.
Having shown the utter groundlessness of the claims of both Catholic and Protestant churches to hold any genuine priesthood or authority from God, to administer the ordinances of the gospel in his name, some will by this time, perhaps, be enquiring, whence the claim to the priesthood by the Latter Day Saints? If neither Catholic nor Protestant churches possess any authority from God to administer the ordinances of his house or his gospel, from what source have the Latter Day Saints that power and authority? The answer to this question is that they have not received it from either a Catholic or Protestant source. If we were ever so willing to make a claim of that kind we know that we could not reasonably do it; for we have shown a hundred times by many abler pens than mine that no such authority is to be found among them.
The claim made by the leader and founder of the church of the Latter Saints and his witnesses is that, in answer to the prayer of faith, in the name of Jesus Christ, God sent the angels of his presence to confer the Holy priesthood upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, his earliest associate in the bringing in of the Latter day dispensation; and they (the angels) (did it according to the order of God, by their voice and the laying on of their hands. There is no other way of conferring priesthood or the authority of God to act in his name, only under the hands and voice of those who lawfully possess it. These heavenly personages claimed to be the ancient apostles or ambassadors, Peter, James and John, who each in [Page 27] his time possessed this highest order of the priesthood after the order of Melchisedec; which order was after the order of the Son of God. But Joseph Smith alone held this highest and most holy order of that priesthood, and Oliver Cowdery was ordained to a lesser or subordinate order or office in said priesthood; and as the church began to be organized by these men, according to the instruction of the God of heaven, there were many others ordained under their hands to the lesser offices in this church. Finally there were Twelve Apostles called and ordained and a quorum of seventy elders also to assist and accompany those Twelve in the preaching of the gospel to the nations. Herein is the claim of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to the authority to act in the name of God, as his ministers in the ordinances and sacraments of his house, church, or kingdom. And if these things sound strange, as of course they do, equally strange have the claims of all other prophets sounded in their day and generation. They all have had just such a story to tell to their fellow men; for they were all called, ordained and sent alike, by the same God, and because of the same strong and mighty faith. And Jesus himself was no exception to the rule. And that Jesus was ordained, and that under the hands of his heavenly father himself, I will now proceed to show.
“The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,” said he, “because He hath anointed me to preach glad tidings unto the meek; to bind up the broken hearted; to preach liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God,” etc. (Luke 4:16-19)
Oh, yes. He (Jesus) notwithstanding that he never sinned, had to be called by the voice of God, and anointed under his hand, before he dare undertake to act as God’s minister in any of these things. Had he done so, he never could have been the Saviour of mankind. He would then have been found a transgressor and a taker of God’s name in vain. And then, alas, for the salvation of man. You perceive that he had to be anointed and set apart to all these duties in order that he might have authority and the inspiration of God to guide him in all these matters. Well again, it is written:
“Thou (Jesus) hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; THEREFORE thy God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness, and set thee above ALL THY FELLOWS.” (Heb. 1:8, 9)
And being set above all his fellows, that is all the angels and all the holy prophets, and all his fellow men, that implies very strongly that it was, as the scriptures say, done by the hand and voice of the God of Israel himself, for no man, nor set of men, can anoint and ordain any one to an office or place in the church and kingdom of God above themselves. So Peter says:
“He hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world by that man whom He hath ordained; of which he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31 , 32)
“For of a truth, against thy holy child Jesus, whom THOU (God) HAST ANOINTED, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were gathered together, to do whatsoever thy hand, and thy counsel hath determined before to be done. (Acts 4:27 , 28)
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” That is Lord and ANOINTED. (Acts 2:36 )
Nothing can be clearer from the New Testament teachings than the fact that Jesus, before he entered upon his ministry, was anointed, consecrated and ordained to stand between God and man, as a mighty prophet, high priest and king to all mankind. And all the testimonies and teachings as to how it was done, [Page 28] and by whom it was done, agree that it was done by the HAND and VOICE of the Almighty, and nowhere are we told that it was done by any other person or means. As,
“Him hath God by his RIGHT hand exalted, to be A PRINCE, and, A SAVIOUR, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. (Acts 5:31 )
Therefore, being BY THE RIGHT HAND of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this (outpouring of the Holy Ghost) which ye now see and hear.” (Acts 2:33 )
To those educated in the religious boobyism of the dark ages, that describes God as having “neither BODY, PARTS nor passions,” as now found in all the orthodox creeds, I have no doubt that the idea that God anointed Jesus with his own hands, will sound strange. But if they will lay by the blinding notions of the Old Catholic faith, and look squarely at the simple and plain statements of scripture concerning him, they will then only wonder at the heathen folly in which they were brought up. God said to Jesus at the first, “Let us make man in our own image.” ”Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed, for in the image of God made he man.” “The tongue is an unruly member,” “full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, and therewith curse we men who are made after the similitude,” or likeness “of God.” (Gen. 1:26, 9-6; James 3:9) It is said that God wrote the Ten Commandments with his finger, and again that from his RIGHT HAND went a fiery (a refining or purifying) law. (Ex. 31:18; Dent. 33:2)
All the prophets and apostles who have seen him, have testified to his being in form like unto man; and they have never testified to his having any other than the human form. Jesus we are told was the EXPRESS IMAGE of his (God’s) person. Stephen at being stoned to death, as a martyr, had the heavens opened to him and he saw “Jesus standing at the RIGHT HAND of God.” (Acts 7:54 to 58) And the testimony of all the apostles who have spoken of Jesus’ ascent into heaven is that he sits with God on his throne, at his RIGHT HAND.
“The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand until I make thy foes thy footstool.” (Ps. 110:1; Matt. 22:44)
“When he had purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high.” (Heb. 1:3) “But this man after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God.” (Heb. 10:12) “Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God.” (1 Pet. 3:22; Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1) Yes, God has a right hand and a left hand, and is exactly in the image and likeness of his son Jesus Christ, “who was made in all things like unto his brethren,” his fellow men. (Heb. 2:17) And hence there is nothing mysterious nor unreasonable in his being anointed, consecrated and ordained, literally under the hands and voice of his Heavenly Father, any more than in Moses being made “a ruler and a deliverer to Israel by the hand of the angel that appeared to him in the bush.” (Acts 7:35 ) Or any more than in David being made a mighty prince, and deliverer to Israel under the hands and voice of the mighty prophet Samuel. Or any more than in Joshua being made a mighty leader under the hands of Moses.
But the next question is, when was Jesus so anointed? Peter says it was done “when John had first preached before his coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.” (Acts 13:23 , 24)
Again Peter says to Cornelius and his family and friends: “That word I say ye know, which was published throughout all Judea, and began from or at Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost, who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil …And he commanded us to preach unto the [Page 29] people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the judge of quick (the living) and the dead.
Now the greatest, grandest and most glorious point in the claims of Jesus of Nazareth is, and was, that he was called by the voice of God, and anointed under his hand. By careful reading we find that the fact of his being so called, and anointed, formed the most powerful and important principle in the ministry of the apostles and elders, who proclaimed the gospel of Jesus to the nations. Indeed it is safe to say that if Jesus had not been so called and anointed, he never would have obtained a resurrection from the dead, either for himself or for any other man. It was by his spotless righteousness and faith that he obtained the anointing, and by the anointing he attained to the resurrection, and by attaining to the resurrection, he is put in possession of the knowledge and power to raise up all others from the dead, who are worthy.
Finally, there is no one fact in scripture any clearer than that Jesus was literally anointed under the hand and voice of God: therefore with the greatest propriety he could say: “I am come in my Father’s name (authority) and ye receive me not. If another comes in his own name (authority) him ye will receive.”
And the same was true of the apostles and those ordained by them, for he has said to them: “As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. That is: As my Father has called and anointed me to preach glad tidings unto men; even so are ye called of God and anointed and ordained under my hands for that same purpose. This will appear the more clear from the following: “And he ordained Twelve that they might be with him (as assistants in his ministry) and that might send them forth to preach and to heal sicknesses, and cast out devils.” (Mark 3:14 , 15) Why could he not have sent them to do these things without ordaining them? Simply because it would neither be lawful to do so, nor could they receive either authority, power or the inspiration necessary to guide them in their ministry, or priesthood to which they were called. That is the whole secret of ordination; and it was just as true of Jesus as any other man.
The Seventy who were called to be the assistants of the Twelve, were of course ordained in the same way, for great manifestations of the power of God followed their ministry also. (Luke 10:1, 9, 17)
When Judas fell, it became necessary that one be appointed and ordained to fill his office. Two men who were already in the ministry and were worthy, were presented, and because of being equally worthy to fill such office, it was determined by lot which should fill the place. Now says Peter:
“Wherefore of those men which have companied with us, all the time that Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness of his resurrection?” (Acts 1:15 to 26)
Why could he not be a witness of Christ’s resurrection without being ordained to it? It was because the office work of one of the Twelve demanded greater gifts, greater inspiration and greater authority than a less responsible office.
Paul says to Timothy: “Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery,” or the priesthood. (1 Tim. 4:14; 2 Tim. 1:6)
Now in these things I have shown how men are called, and authorized to act in the name of God and of the Lord Jesus, and the Holy Ghost as his ministers in the ordinances of the gospel. The same is true of Old Testament ministers of God.
Moses was made the mighty “ruler and deliverer” that he was, by the hand of the angel that appeared to him in the bush.” (Acts 7:35 .)
Joshua was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands [Page 30] upon him.” (Dent. 34:9) Joshua and all the leading men under Moses were called by revelation from God, and were anointed and consecrated under Moses’ hands. (Num. 27:12 to 23) “And take unto thee, Aaron, thy brother and his sons with him from among the children of Israel , that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office; even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamer, Aaron’s sons.” (Ex. 28:1)
“And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office.” (Ex. 30:30)
[Joshua, in point of office and authority, stood next to Moses in the Melchisedec Priesthood. Aaron stood below Joshua as the head of the Levitical Priesthood; and this office was handed down from father to son, from Moses to Christ and was called the office of “Priest.” Of the office of Joshua (an Apostle), this] office Paul says, “No man taketh this honor unto himself but he that is called of God as was Aaron.” (Heb. 5:4) This officer held the right to the ministry of angels and to enquire of God by Urum and Thummum for the guidance of kings in going to battle and for many other purposes. All this came in virtue of his ordination. (Num. 27:21; 1 Sam. 28:6; Chap. 30:6) When Saul was anointed king, under the hands of Samuel, the prophet and seer, it is said the spirit of God came upon him, and as he turned to go from Samuel God gave him another heart, and signs and the gift of prophecy came upon him that day. (1 Sam. 10:6 to 11) In like manner, when David was anointed under the hands of the same Samuel, it is said the spirit of God came upon him from that day and forward. (1 Sam. 16:13)
All these things show that when men receive office under the hands of those truly called, ordained and sent of God to accomplish his work, and minister in his name, receive a power and intelligence that leaves them no longer in doubt but justly qualifies them for the work not only in one age but in all ages.
Such a person as Samuel and Moses and Elijah, and Peter, James and John were, such was Joseph Smith, raised up in this generation, and just such power, and authority to build up and organize the church of God anew on the earth did he receive under the angel’s hand. Consequently all those who have received the different offices of the holy priesthood under his hands were justly qualified to act in the name of that God who called, anointed and sent him. And by these have the word of God been correctly taught among the children of men, and the gifts of the gospel promised by the Saviour to all true believers, have been poured out and enjoyed by them. To search these things and to obey them is to enter in “at the straight gate,” into the narrow way that leads unto everlasting life, found, as the Saviour says, only by few. And to follow and receive baptism at the hands of men not thus authorized to preach the gospel, is to enter at the wide gate, upon the broad road that leads to destruction; “and many there be who go in thereat.”
The reader by this time must understand that, if it were possible for any man in virtue of his moral goodness alone, to be accepted as a minister of God, it surely was Jesus of Nazareth; for God, angels and men inspired of God, all declare that he was sinless. But we see that that alone did not authorize him to act as a minister of God. And this fact alone is an eternal warning and instruction to all men that God will hold no man guiltless who undertakes to act in his name as his minister who is not called and ordained under the hands and voice of those who are authorized to confer the Holy Priesthood. Says Jesus:
“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness” (his commandments) and then all other necessary things “shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6:33)
“The Kingdom of God,” and the church of God are one and the same. Wherever the church or kingdom of God is, there the priesthood or the authority of God is to administer the ordinances of that church or kingdom. In fact there can be no [Page 31] church or kingdom of God without the priesthood of God, for the church of God never was, and never will be organized or built up without it. A single member of it cannot exist without it and hence it is of the highest importance to seek first of all for the church or kingdom of God. Simply because no man can be a member of that church without baptism for the remission of sins, and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and it takes men holding a lawful priesthood to baptize and to lay on hands for that purpose.
You will find in that church or kingdom that both its officers and members believe in direct revelation from God. They believe in living apostles and prophets; in the gifts of prophecy, the gifts of healing, the gift of tongues, and their interpretation, the power to cast out devils, in fact they believe in all things as the saints in apostolic times did. For without such faith as they had “it is impossible to please God.”
And now you think all this strange simply because of the heathen traditions handed down from heathen priests, who have taught us and our fathers to expect prophets and gifts and blessings promised no more. [This is] proof positive that they do not understand the scriptures.
John the Revelator tells us that two prophets or witnesses are to arise in Jerusalem in the latter days who are to be slain for their testimony against wickedness. (See Rev. 10:3-12)
These prophets will have power to do mighty miracles, signs and wonders, such as Moses and Elijah did in their day. Turn waters to blood, shut heaven that it rain not, and smite the earth with plagues as often as they will, because of the wickedness of its inhabitants. And the enlightened Christian nations, who are educated to believe that “the age of prophets and miracles has passed away,” and that they “need no more,” will have great rejoicing at the slaying of these two mighty prophets. Read the text carefully. We are assured by the word of God that these things are nigh at hand, to be fulfilled.
Jacob, in blessing his sons in respect to the last days, predicts the arising of two other prophets—one from the lineage of Joseph, and another from the lineage of Judah. (See Gen. 49:10, 22 to 24)
Ezek. 20:33 to 38, gives us to understand that God by an oath has decreed to redeem Israel in the last days by a mighty hand such as he brought Israel out of Egypt by, and reader, that means by a mighty prophet such as Moses was—nothing more and nothing less.
Isaiah tells us that God will in the last days “lift up his hand to the Gentiles (and that means revealing anew the priesthood to some of them) and “set up his standard (the holy gospel also revealed anew) and they—the Gentiles by means of this Holy Priesthood and this Holy Gospel shall bring Israel’s sons and daughters to their own lands, and their kings shall be their nursing fathers and their queens their nursing mothers, etc. (Is. 49:18 to 26)
O yes; all this and much more is to be accomplished in these last days. And when Israel is gathered out from all nations, the throne of David is to be established over Israel, for God says that he will build up David’s throne when Israel is gathered precisely as he did it “in days of old.” And that means that the heir of David will be pointed out by revelation from God through a mighty prophet such as Samuel. (See 1 Sam. 16th chapter; Jer. 23:5 to 8; Amos 9:9 to 15)
Isaiah tells us also that God will purify Israel and restore their judges as at the first, and their officers, as at the beginning; that is as in the days of Moses; “afterward thou (Israel) shalt be called the city of righteousness—the faithful city.” (Is. 1:25, 26) The whole line of prophecy from Genesis to Revelations all agree in this; that God in the latter days is to commence a mighty work among the Gentiles that will ultimately gather Israel from all the nations of [Page 32] the earth; that he will reveal the holy priesthood, as in the days of Moses; that he will set up his kingdom by calling and anointing men to act in his name, as in days of old, and as in apostolic times; that whatever nation or people or kingdom will not come into it will be destroyed by his judgments. In fact that work is just such a work as Joseph Smith commenced and brought forth by revelation and the ministry of angels. And though all Latter Day Saints are not in all things as perfect as they should be and are men and women of like passions, as other men and women, still God has aspired us that he will chastise them until they overcome and are clean before him.
And now, reader, whoever you may be, we, the elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, are well assured by many infallible proofs that God raised up Joseph Smith and made him by the hands of angels a mighty prophet, and that the Book of Mormon is the standard above referred to, in the Book of Isaiah and other scriptures, for it contains the pure gospel of Jesus Christ, and errs not therein; and that through the instrumentality of Joseph Smith, and others whom God called and were ordained under the Prophet Joseph’s hands, God has set up anew that kingdom which, Jesus commanded all men first to seek, as the most necessary thing of all, for there is the authorized priesthood and we are assured by revelation and by many great truths that an authorized priesthood is found nowhere else on the earth. Whoever seeks the truth will find it there to his entire satisfaction. If you lived in the days of Jesus Christ, and paid no attention to anything he taught, and hearkened only to the stories of his enemies, you would never have been a believer in him. And it is just so with the enemies of Joseph Smith. Hearken to them and you will never believe that God raised him up as a prophet.
WINGFIELD WATSON, An Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Spring Prairie, Wis., Dec. 26, 1899 .