Elders’ Journal, November 1837

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
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and we are not historically informed that dissentions ever entirely ceased in the christian church, but there were men who arose speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them.
But that we may come to correct conclusions, it is necessary we should understand what Paul meant by the perfection of the church. Any thing is perfect when it will admit of no improvement, hence “God’s work is perfect.” Deut 32:4. “The law of the Lord is perfect.” Psalms. 19:7, and a man is a perfect christian when he obeys all the law of Christ, “Mark the perfect man and behold the upright,” Psa. 37:37, “How beit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect,”— Cor. 2:6,
But when the adjective perfect is applied to the saints in another state, it represents them as being raised from the dead, clothed with immortality, and enjoying all the fullness of Christ.— That the term was thus used by Paul in the thirteenth chapter of his first letter to the Corinthians when applied to the church is evident from the fact, that he represents himself as being imperfect in the twelvth verse, where he says “Now I know in part, but then shall I know as also I am known.— Again he says “If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead, not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect. Phil. 3:12 Thus as he was imperfect, so was the church, and as he would not be perfect until he attained to the resurrection from the dead, so the church would not be perfect until it was clothed with immortality. He says God gave gifts to men “till we all come in the unity of the faith” or until the end of time when there were no more to believe on Christ or embrace the gospel. Now as Paul had not attained that perfection which the whole church must attain before they could know as they are known, and see face to face, until which time, it was their privilege to enjoy spiritual gifts, we are led to conclude that perfection is not attainable in this world, hence gifts may yet be enjoyed by the church of Christ. They disappeared by reason of the departure from the faith, it therefore remains for us to return to God and he will return to us. But we are told by Mr. Hayden that it cannot be proven that the apostacy was the cause of the disappearance of miracles, for they were confered by the laying on of the apostles hands without regard to the holiness of the individuals who received them, and names the div[i]sions amongst the Corinthians as proof. Here I think Mr. H. and the apostles came in contact, for no man can receive a spiritual gift without first obtaining the Holy Ghost, and there is no promise of the holy Spirit without obedience to the gospel. “Repent and be baptized” said Peter “and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”— Paul says “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”— Rom. 8:9, Paul says further, all spiritual gifts come by that one Spirit, and there is abundant proof to this point, so that it is clear that a wicked man cannot possess the holy Spirit, and a man who has not the Spirit cannot enjoy a spiritual gift. Although there were wicked contentious persons in the Corinthian church, yet it has not been proven that one of them possessed a gift by the Spirit. As the church began to depart from the faith, gifts began to disappear, until the church became corrupted and the mistery of iniquity became so great, that the holy Spirit was measurably withdrawn from the earth and spiritual gifts, were no more to be seen.
This, like many other things under the new institution, had its type. I mean the Urim and Thummim and Breastplate of the Jewish High priests. Those shone with great splendor as long as he who wore them was righteous. Josephus says “the one in the shape of a button on the high priest right shoulder shined out when God was present at their sacrifices so as to be seen by those most remote, which splendor, was not before natural to the stone.” The breastplate likewise shone when Israel was to be victorious in battle. “This has appeared a wonderful thing to such as have not so far indulged themselves in philosophy as to dispise divine revelation.” But this brea[s]tplate and this sardonyx, left off shining about one hundred and fifty years before Christ, or from the days of the last good high priest of the family of the Macabus John Hyreanus. Thus we see God refused to speak to the Jewish church through the oracle which he appointed by reason of their [p. 26]
and we are not historically informed that dissentions ever entirely ceased in the christian church, but there were men who arose speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them.
But that we may come to correct conclusions, it is necessary we should understand what Paul meant by the perfection of the church. Any thing is perfect when it will admit of no improvement, hence “God’s work is perfect.” Deut 32:4. “The law of the Lord is perfect.” Psalms. 19:7, and a man is a perfect christian when he obeys all the law of Christ, “Mark the perfect man and behold the upright,” Psa. 37:37, “How beit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect,”— Cor. 2:6,
But when the adjective perfect is applied to the saints in another state, it represents them as being raised from the dead, clothed with immortality, and enjoying all the fullness of Christ.— That the term was thus used by Paul in the thirteenth chapter of his first letter to the Corinthians when applied to the church is evident from the fact, that he represents himself as being imperfect in the twelvth verse, where he says “Now I know in part, but then shall I know as also I am known.— Again he says “If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead, not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect. Phil. 3:12 Thus as he was imperfect, so was the church, and as he would not be perfect until he attained to the resurrection from the dead, so the church would not be perfect until it was clothed with immortality. He says God gave gifts to men “till we all come in the unity of the faith” or until the end of time when there were no more to believe on Christ or embrace the gospel. Now as Paul had not attained that perfection which the whole church must attain before they could know as they are known, and see face to face, until which time, it was their privilege to enjoy spiritual gifts, we are led to conclude that perfection is not attainable in this world, hence gifts may yet be enjoyed by the church of Christ. They disappeared by reason of the departure from the faith, it therefore remains for us to return to God and he will return to us. But we are told by Mr. Hayden that it cannot be proven that the apostacy was the cause of the disappearance of miracles, for they were confered by the laying on of the apostles hands without regard to the holiness of the individuals who received them, and names the divisions amongst the Corinthians as proof. Here I think Mr. H. and the apostles came in contact, for no man can receive a spiritual gift without first obtaining the Holy Ghost, and there is no promise of the holy Spirit without obedience to the gospel. “Repent and be baptized” said Peter “and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”— Paul says “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”— Rom. 8:9, Paul says further, all spiritual gifts come by that one Spirit, and there is abundant proof to this point, so that it is clear that a wicked man cannot possess the holy Spirit, and a man who has not the Spirit cannot enjoy a spiritual gift. Although there were wicked contentious persons in the Corinthian church, yet it has not been proven that one of them possessed a gift by the Spirit. As the church began to depart from the faith, gifts began to disappear, until the church became corrupted and the mistery of iniquity became so great, that the holy Spirit was measurably withdrawn from the earth and spiritual gifts, were no more to be seen.
This, like many other things under the new institution, had its type. I mean the Urim and Thummim and Breastplate of the Jewish High priests. Those shone with great splendor as long as he who wore them was righteous. Josephus says “the one in the shape of a button on the high priest right shoulder shined out when God was present at their sacrifices so as to be seen by those most remote, which splendor, was not before natural to the stone.” The breastplate likewise shone when Israel was to be victorious in battle. “This has appeared a wonderful thing to such as have not so far indulged themselves in philosophy as to dispise divine revelation.” But this breastplate and this sardonyx, left off shining about one hundred and fifty years before Christ, or from the days of the last good high priest of the family of the Macabus John Hyreanus. Thus we see God refused to speak to the Jewish church through the oracle which he appointed by reason of their [p. 26]
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