OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS.
Vol 1 No. 4.]- , MISSOURI, AUGUST, 1838. -[Whole No. 4.
COMMUNICATED FROM THE EAST.
For the Elders Journal.
Reflections on the order of God and effects flowing from it.
We often see remarks made by writers of church history and others, who are the adhe rents of the popular systems of the day, simi lar to the following, viz. that, when Christ established his kingdom upon the earth he left it without any particular order to admin ister, or form to be administered: leaving these things, that christians might adopt such order and form in different places, as best suited their convenience, or comported with their consciences. I for one, must dissent from such an idea. In the first place, because it is impossible to establish a kingdom, either spiritual or temporal, without order in it.— And in the second place, because, it is the express declaration of holy, writ, that he, who came a high priest of a royal, everlasting and unchangeable priesthood, placed order in his kingdom or church, which he estab lished, and caused to be established upon the earth. I Cor. 12. 28. And God hath set some in the church; first, apostles; secondarily, prophets; thirdly teachers; after that mira cles; then gifts of healing, helps, govern ments, diversities of tongues.
Also Eph. 4, 11 and he -[Christ]- gave some apostles, and some prophets; and some evan gelists; and some pastors, and teachers.— These passages place the matter beyond a doubt, (and all these persons, who believe the scriptures, must admit the fact,) that God set an order in his church; even an order of of ficers, to go forth among the nations; and make known the law of Christ, for the obe dience of faith. That out of an innumerable company of aliens, they should gather into the one spirit of God, all those, who would believe in one Lord, their Redeemer; exercise one faith, and be baptized with one baptism, in accordance with the commission, which Christ gave the apostles, when he spake un to them saying, “Thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all na tions; go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teach ing them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that be lieveth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe,” Thus, we find, that those who were at this time ap pointed to teach the people, were instructed to teach repentance, and remission of sins in the name of Jesus; witnessing unto the peo ple, that he had died, and rose “again accor ding to the scriptures,“ by which an atone ment was made, through the shedding of his blood, for all the children of men. The apos tles, after their endowment, were qualified to ordain others after the holy order of God to teach repentance and remission of sins also or, in other words, to teach all those things that Christ had commanded them to teach.— ‘And no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God. as was Aaron.” Heb. 5, 4. Now Aaron was ordained, and set apartt to this office, by the Lords servant Mo ses, who did it in accordance with a revelation, which he received from God to that effect. So also. the apostles had the same power to trans mit the priesthood to others. when the Holy Ghost manifested unto them, that any person or persons were worthy of that calling; for the Holy Ghost is a spirit of revelation and prophecy, John 14: 26, “But the Comforter, which is in the Holy Ghost, whom the Fa ther will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your re membrance, whatsoever I have said unto you,” C. 15; 13–15. “Howbeit, when he, the spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth; for he shall not speak of him self; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine; there fore said I, that he shall take of mine, and show it unto you.” The above passages show so plainly, that the spirit of truth is a spirit of revelation and prophecy, that they need no comment. The apostles, therefore, being endowed with the spirit of revelation, had power to transmit this spirit to others, through the laying on of their hands. And their proclamation was, that all should re ceive it, on condition of their repenting and being baptized for the remission of their sins in the name of Jesus Christ. Acts 2–38.— After the day of pentecost, when believers were increased, and others had been set a part to the ministry; we find there were prophets in the church at Antioch, and, “as they ministered unto the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, seperate me Barnabas and Saul, for the work whereunto I have cal led them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.” We have also a saying of Paul in his first epistle to Timothy, which shows how Timothy was set apart to his call ing, viz; I Tim. 4—14, “Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.” -[eldership]-. These ensam ples may suffice for the present, to show us, that the apostles had power to ordain, and did ordain others, according to the spirit of revelation and prophecy; that there might be a succession of the order, as well as a suffi cient number to teach, and administer, until the purpose, for which the order was given, should be fully completed; which purpose was, “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. Till we all come in the uni ty of the faith, and of the knowledge of the [p. ]