Times and Seasons, 15 June 1842

  • Source Note
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in an unknown tongue, he of course would have  to be silent; there are only two gifts that could  be made visible—the gift of tongues and the  gift of prophecy. These are things that are the  most talked about, and yet if a person spoke in  an unknown tongue, according to Paul’s testi mony, he would be a “barbarian to those pre sent.” They would say that it was giberish;  and if he prophesied they would call it non sense. The gift of tongues is the smallest  gift perhaps of the whole, and yet it is one that  is the most sought after. So that according to  the testimony of scripture and the manifesta tions of the spirit in ancient days, very little  could be known about it by the surrounding  multitude; except on some extraordinary occa sion as on the day of Pentecost. The greatest,  the best, and the most useful gifts would be  known nothing about by an observer. It is  true that a man might prophecy, which is a  great gift; and one that Paul told the people— the church—to seek after and to covet, rather  than to speak in tongues; but what does the  world know about prophesying? Paul says  that it “serveth only to those that believe.”—  But does not the scriptures say that they spake  in tongues and prophesied? Yes; but who is  it that writes these scriptures? Not the men of  the world or mere casual observers, but the  Apostles—men who knew one gift from anoth er, and of course were capable of writing about  it; if we had the testimony of the scribes and  pharisees concerning the out-pouring of the  spirit on the day of Pentacost, they would have  told us that it was no gift, but that the people  “were drunken with new wine,” and we shall  finally have to come to the same conclusion that  Paul did, that “no man knows the things of God  but by the spirit of God,” for with the great reve lations of Paul, when he was caught up into the  third heaven and saw things that were not law ful to utter, no man was apprised of it until he  mentioned it himself fourteen years after; and  when John had the curtains of heaven with drawn, and by vision looked through the dark  vista of future ages, and contemplate events  that should transpire throughout every subse quent period of time until the final winding up  scene—while he gazed upon the glories of the  eternal world, saw an innumerable company of  angels and heard the voice of God—it was in  the spirit on the Lord’s day; unnoticed and un observed by the world.
The manifestatitions of the gift of the Holy  Ghost; the ministering of angels; or the devel opment of the power, majesty or glory of God  were very seldom manifested publicly, and that  generally to the people of God; as to the Israel ites; but most generally when angels have come,  or God has revealed himself, it has been to in dividuals in private—in their chamber—in the  wilderness or fields; and that generally without  noise or tumult. The angel delivered Peter out  of prison in the dead of night—came to Paul  unobserved by the rest of the crew—appeared  to Mary and Elizabeth without the knowledge  of others—spoke to John the Baptist whilst the  people around were ignorant of it. When Eli sha saw the chariots of Israel and the horsemen  thereof, it was unknown to others. When the  Lord appeared to Abraham it was at his tent door,  when the angels went to Lot no person knew  them but himself, which was the case probably  with Abraham and his wife; when the Lord ap peared to Moses it was in the burning bush, in  the tabernacle, or on the mountain top; when  Elijah was taken in a chariot of fire, it was  unobserved by the world; and when he  was in the cleft of a rock, there was loud thun der, but the Lord was not in the thunder; there  was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the  earthquake; and then there was a still small  voice, which was the voice of the Lord, saying,  what dost thou here, Elijah?
The Lord cannot always be known by the  thunder of his voice; by the display of his  glory, or by the manifestation of his power;  and those that are the most anxious to see these  things, are the least prepared to meet them;  and were the Lord to manifest his power as he  did to the children of Israel, such characters  would be the first to say “let not the Lord  speak any more, lest we his people die.”
We would say to the brethren seek to know  God in your closets, call upon him in the  fields; follow the directions of the Book of  Mormon, and pray over, and for, your families,  your cattle, your flocks, your herds, your corn,  and all things that you possess; ask the bless ing of God upon all your labors, and every  thing that you engage in; be virtuous, and  pure, be men of integrity and truth, keep the  commandments of God, and then you will be  able more perfectly to understand the differ ence between right and wrong, between the  things of God, and the things of men; and  your path will be like that of the just, “which  shineth brighter, and brighter, unto the per fect day.” Be not so curious about tongues,  do not speak in tongues except there be an  interpreter present; the ultimate design of  tongues is to speak to foreigners, and if persons  are very anxious to display their intelligence,  let them speak to such in their own tongues.  The gifts of God are all useful in their place,  but when they are applied to that which God [p. 825]
in an unknown tongue, he of course would have to be silent; there are only two gifts that could be made visible—the gift of tongues and the gift of prophecy. These are things that are the most talked about, and yet if a person spoke in an unknown tongue, according to Paul’s testimony, he would be a “barbarian to those present.” They would say that it was giberish; and if he prophesied they would call it nonsense. The gift of tongues is the smallest gift perhaps of the whole, and yet it is one that is the most sought after. So that according to the testimony of scripture and the manifestations of the spirit in ancient days, very little could be known about it by the surrounding multitude; except on some extraordinary occasion as on the day of Pentecost. The greatest, the best, and the most useful gifts would be known nothing about by an observer. It is true that a man might prophecy, which is a great gift; and one that Paul told the people—the church—to seek after and to covet, rather than to speak in tongues; but what does the world know about prophesying? Paul says that it “serveth only to those that believe.”— But does not the scriptures say that they spake in tongues and prophesied? Yes; but who is it that writes these scriptures? Not the men of the world or mere casual observers, but the Apostles—men who knew one gift from another, and of course were capable of writing about it; if we had the testimony of the scribes and pharisees concerning the out-pouring of the spirit on the day of Pentacost, they would have told us that it was no gift, but that the people “were drunken with new wine,” and we shall finally have to come to the same conclusion that Paul did, that “no man knows the things of God but by the spirit of God,” for with the great revelations of Paul, when he was caught up into the third heaven and saw things that were not lawful to utter, no man was apprised of it until he mentioned it himself fourteen years after; and when John had the curtains of heaven withdrawn, and by vision looked through the dark vista of future ages, and contemplate events that should transpire throughout every subsequent period of time until the final winding up scene—while he gazed upon the glories of the eternal world, saw an innumerable company of angels and heard the voice of God—it was in the spirit on the Lord’s day; unnoticed and unobserved by the world.
The manifestatitions of the gift of the Holy Ghost; the ministering of angels; or the development of the power, majesty or glory of God were very seldom manifested publicly, and that generally to the people of God; as to the Israelites; but most generally when angels have come, or God has revealed himself, it has been to individuals in private—in their chamber—in the wilderness or fields; and that generally without noise or tumult. The angel delivered Peter out of prison in the dead of night—came to Paul unobserved by the rest of the crew—appeared to Mary and Elizabeth without the knowledge of others—spoke to John the Baptist whilst the people around were ignorant of it. When Elisha saw the chariots of Israel and the horsemen thereof, it was unknown to others. When the Lord appeared to Abraham it was at his tent door, when the angels went to Lot no person knew them but himself, which was the case probably with Abraham and his wife; when the Lord appeared to Moses it was in the burning bush, in the tabernacle, or on the mountain top; when Elijah was taken in a chariot of fire, it was unobserved by the world; and when he was in the cleft of a rock, there was loud thunder, but the Lord was not in the thunder; there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and then there was a still small voice, which was the voice of the Lord, saying, what dost thou here, Elijah?
The Lord cannot always be known by the thunder of his voice; by the display of his glory, or by the manifestation of his power; and those that are the most anxious to see these things, are the least prepared to meet them; and were the Lord to manifest his power as he did to the children of Israel, such characters would be the first to say “let not the Lord speak any more, lest we his people die.”
We would say to the brethren seek to know God in your closets, call upon him in the fields; follow the directions of the Book of Mormon, and pray over, and for, your families, your cattle, your flocks, your herds, your corn, and all things that you possess; ask the blessing of God upon all your labors, and every thing that you engage in; be virtuous, and pure, be men of integrity and truth, keep the commandments of God, and then you will be able more perfectly to understand the difference between right and wrong, between the things of God, and the things of men; and your path will be like that of the just, “which shineth brighter, and brighter, unto the perfect day.” Be not so curious about tongues, do not speak in tongues except there be an interpreter present; the ultimate design of tongues is to speak to foreigners, and if persons are very anxious to display their intelligence, let them speak to such in their own tongues. The gifts of God are all useful in their place, but when they are applied to that which God [p. 825]
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