Times and Seasons, 1 April 1842

  • Source Note
Page 744
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sides, it is all that he would ask, a[l]l that he  would desire. Yet many of them do this and  hence “many spirits are abroad in the world.”  One great evil is that men are ignorant of the  nature of spirits; their power, laws, govern ment, intelligence &c., and imagine that when  there is any thing like power, revelation, or vis ion manifested that it must be of God:—hence  the Methodists, Presbyterians, and others fre quently possess a spirit that will cause them to  lay down, and during its operation animation is  frequently entirely suspended; they consider it  to be the power of God, and a glorious manifes tation from God,—a manifestation of what?— is there any intelligence communicated? are  the curtains of heaven withdrawn, or the pur poses of God developed? have they seen and  conversed with an angel; or have the glories of  futurity burst upon their view? No! but their  body has been inanimate, the operation of their  spirit suspended, and all the intelligence that  can be obtained from them when they arise, is  a shout of glory, or hallelujah, or some incohe rent expression; but they have had “the power.”  The Shaker will whirl around on his heel im pelled by a supernatural agency, or spirit, and  think that he is governed by the spirit of God:  and the Jumper will jump, and enter into all  kinds of extravagancies, a Primitive Methodist  will shout under the influence of that spirit, un til he will rend the heavens with his cries;  while the Quakers, (or Friends) moved as they  think by the spirit of God, will sit still and say  nothing. Is God the author of all this? If not  of all of it, which does he recognize? surely  such a heterogenious mass of confusion never  can enter into the kingdom of Heaven. Every  one of these professes to be competent to try  his neighbour’s spirit, but no one can try his  own, and what is the reason? because they  have not a key to unlock, no rule wherewith to  measure, and no criterion whereby they can  test it; could any one tell the length, breadth,  or height of a building without a rule? test the  quality of metals without a criterion, or point  out the movements of the planetary system with out a knowledge of astronomy? certainly not:  and if such ignorance as this is manifested about  a spirit of this kind who can describe an angel  of light, if Satan should appear as one in glory?  Who can tell his color, his signs, his appear ance, his glory? or what is the manner of his  manifestation? Who can detect the spirit of  the French Prophets, with their revelations, and  visions, and power, and manifestations? or who  can point out the spirit of the Irvingites with  their apostles, and prophets, and visions, and  tongues, and interpretations, &c. &c.; or who  can drag into day-light and develope the hidden  mysteries of the false spirits that so frequently  are made manifest among the Latter-Day Saints?  We answer that no man can do this without the  Priesthood, and having a knowledge of the laws  by which spirits are governed; for as, “no man  knows the things of God but by the spirit of  God,” so no man knows the spirit of the devil  and his power and influence but by possessing  intelligence which is more than human, and  having unfolded through the medium of the  Priesthood the mysterious operations of his de vices; without knowing the angelic form, the  sanctified look, and gesture, and the zeal that  is frequesntly manifested by him for the glory of  God:—together with the prophetic spirit, the  gracious influence, the godly appearance, and  the holy garb which is so characteristic of his  proceedings, and his mysterious windings. A  man must have the discerning of spirits, before  he can drag into daylight this hellish influence  and unfold it unto the world in all its soul de stroying, diabolical, and horrid colors: for noth ing is a greater injury to the children of men  than to be under the influence of a false spirit,  when they think they have the spirit of  God. Thousands have felt the influence of its  terrible power, and baneful effects; long pilgrim ages have been undertaken, penances endured,  and pain, misery, and ruin have followed in  their train; nations have been convulsed, king doms overthrown, provinces laid waste, and  blood, carnage, and desolation are the habila ments in which it has been clothed. The Turks,  the Hindoos, the Jews, the Christians, the In dians, in fact all nations have been deceived, im posed upon and injured through the mischievous  effects of false spirits.
As we have noticed before, the great difficul ty lays in the ignorance of the nature of spirits,  of the laws by which they are governed, and  the signs by which they may be known; if it  requires the spirit of God, to know the things  of God, and the spirit of the devil can only be  unmasked through that medium, then it follows  as a natural consequence that unless some per son, or persons, have a communication or reve lation from God, unfolding to them the opera tion of spirit, they must eternally remain ig norant of these principles:—for I contend that  if one man cannot understand these things but  by the spirit of God, ten thousand men cannot;  it is alike out of the reach of the wisdom of the  learned, the tongue of the eloquent, and the  power of the mighty. And we shall at last  have to come to this conclusion, whatever we  may think of revelation, that without it we can  neither know, nor understand any thing of God,  or the devil; and however unwilling the world  may be to acknowledge this principle, it is evi dent from the multifarious creeds and notions  concerning this matter, that they understand  nothing of this principle, and it is equally as  plain that without a divine communication they  must remain in ignorance. The world always  mistook false prophets for true ones, and those  that we sent of God they considered to be  false prophets; and hence they killed, stoned,  punished and imprisoned the true prophets, and  they had to hide themselves “in deserts, and  dens, and caves of the earth;” and although the  most honorable men of the earth, they banished  them from their society as vagabonds; whilst  they cherished, honored, and supported knaves,  vagabonds, hypocrites, imposters and the ba sest of men.
A man must have the discerning of spirits as  we before stated to understand these things, and  how is he to obtain this gift if there are no gifts  of the spirit? And how can these gifts be ob tained without revelation?—“Christ ascended  into heaven and gave gifts to men, . . . “and  he gave some apostles and some prophets, and  some evangelists, and some pastors and teach ers.” And how were apostles, prophets, pas tors, teachers, and evangelists chosen? by  “prophesy (revelation) and by laying on of  hands:”—by a divine communication, and a di vinely appointed ordinance—through the medi um of the priesthood, organized according to [p. 744]
sides, it is all that he would ask, all that he would desire. Yet many of them do this and hence “many spirits are abroad in the world.” One great evil is that men are ignorant of the nature of spirits; their power, laws, government, intelligence &c., and imagine that when there is any thing like power, revelation, or vision manifested that it must be of God:—hence the Methodists, Presbyterians, and others frequently possess a spirit that will cause them to lay down, and during its operation animation is frequently entirely suspended; they consider it to be the power of God, and a glorious manifestation from God,—a manifestation of what?—is there any intelligence communicated? are the curtains of heaven withdrawn, or the purposes of God developed? have they seen and conversed with an angel; or have the glories of futurity burst upon their view? No! but their body has been inanimate, the operation of their spirit suspended, and all the intelligence that can be obtained from them when they arise, is a shout of glory, or hallelujah, or some incoherent expression; but they have had “the power.” The Shaker will whirl around on his heel impelled by a supernatural agency, or spirit, and think that he is governed by the spirit of God: and the Jumper will jump, and enter into all kinds of extravagancies, a Primitive Methodist will shout under the influence of that spirit, until he will rend the heavens with his cries; while the Quakers, (or Friends) moved as they think by the spirit of God, will sit still and say nothing. Is God the author of all this? If not of all of it, which does he recognize? surely such a heterogenious mass of confusion never can enter into the kingdom of Heaven. Every one of these professes to be competent to try his neighbour’s spirit, but no one can try his own, and what is the reason? because they have not a key to unlock, no rule wherewith to measure, and no criterion whereby they can test it; could any one tell the length, breadth, or height of a building without a rule? test the quality of metals without a criterion, or point out the movements of the planetary system without a knowledge of astronomy? certainly not: and if such ignorance as this is manifested about a spirit of this kind who can describe an angel of light, if Satan should appear as one in glory? Who can tell his color, his signs, his appearance, his glory? or what is the manner of his manifestation? Who can detect the spirit of the French Prophets, with their revelations, and visions, and power, and manifestations? or who can point out the spirit of the Irvingites with their apostles, and prophets, and visions, and tongues, and interpretations, &c. &c.; or who can drag into day-light and develope the hidden mysteries of the false spirits that so frequently are made manifest among the Latter-Day Saints? We answer that no man can do this without the Priesthood, and having a knowledge of the laws by which spirits are governed; for as, “no man knows the things of God but by the spirit of God,” so no man knows the spirit of the devil and his power and influence but by possessing intelligence which is more than human, and having unfolded through the medium of the Priesthood the mysterious operations of his devices; without knowing the angelic form, the sanctified look, and gesture, and the zeal that is frequesntly manifested by him for the glory of God:—together with the prophetic spirit, the gracious influence, the godly appearance, and the holy garb which is so characteristic of his proceedings, and his mysterious windings. A man must have the discerning of spirits, before he can drag into daylight this hellish influence and unfold it unto the world in all its soul destroying, diabolical, and horrid colors: for nothing is a greater injury to the children of men than to be under the influence of a false spirit, when they think they have the spirit of God. Thousands have felt the influence of its terrible power, and baneful effects; long pilgrimages have been undertaken, penances endured, and pain, misery, and ruin have followed in their train; nations have been convulsed, kingdoms overthrown, provinces laid waste, and blood, carnage, and desolation are the habilaments in which it has been clothed. The Turks, the Hindoos, the Jews, the Christians, the Indians, in fact all nations have been deceived, imposed upon and injured through the mischievous effects of false spirits.
As we have noticed before, the great difficulty lays in the ignorance of the nature of spirits, of the laws by which they are governed, and the signs by which they may be known; if it requires the spirit of God, to know the things of God, and the spirit of the devil can only be unmasked through that medium, then it follows as a natural consequence that unless some person, or persons, have a communication or revelation from God, unfolding to them the operation of spirit, they must eternally remain ignorant of these principles:—for I contend that if one man cannot understand these things but by the spirit of God, ten thousand men cannot; it is alike out of the reach of the wisdom of the learned, the tongue of the eloquent, and the power of the mighty. And we shall at last have to come to this conclusion, whatever we may think of revelation, that without it we can neither know, nor understand any thing of God, or the devil; and however unwilling the world may be to acknowledge this principle, it is evident from the multifarious creeds and notions concerning this matter, that they understand nothing of this principle, and it is equally as plain that without a divine communication they must remain in ignorance. The world always mistook false prophets for true ones, and those that we sent of God they considered to be false prophets; and hence they killed, stoned, punished and imprisoned the true prophets, and they had to hide themselves “in deserts, and dens, and caves of the earth;” and although the most honorable men of the earth, they banished them from their society as vagabonds; whilst they cherished, honored, and supported knaves, vagabonds, hypocrites, imposters and the basest of men.
A man must have the discerning of spirits as we before stated to understand these things, and how is he to obtain this gift if there are no gifts of the spirit? And how can these gifts be obtained without revelation?—“Christ ascended into heaven and gave gifts to men, . . . “and he gave some apostles and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers.” And how were apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, and evangelists chosen? by “prophesy (revelation) and by laying on of hands:”—by a divine communication, and a divinely appointed ordinance—through the medium of the priesthood, organized according to [p. 744]
Page 744