History, 1838–1856, volume C-1 [2 November 1838–31 July 1842]

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
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<​April 1​> those of the magicians until they came to be tested together; and if Moses had not appeared in their midst they would unquestionably have thought that the miracles of the magicians were performed through the mighty power of God; for they were great miracles that were performed by them; a supernatural agency was developed; and great power manifested. The witch of Endor is no less singular a personage; clothed with a powerful agency she raised the Prophet Samuel from his grave, and he appeared before the astonished king and revealed unto him his future destiny. Who is to tell whether this woman is of God, and a righteous woman? or whether the power she possessed was of the devil, and her a witch as represented by the bible? it is easy for us to say now; but if we had lived in her day, which of us could have unravelled the mystery? It would have been equally as difficult for us to tell by what spirit the apostles prophesied, or by what power the apostles spoke, and worked miracles. Who could have told whether the power of Simon, the Sorcerer was of God, or of the devil? There always did in every age seem to be a lack of intelligence pertaining to this subject. Spirits of all kinds have been manifested, in every age and almost amongst all people: if we go among the Pagans they have their Spirits, the Mahommedans, the Jews, the Christians, the Indians; all have their Spirits, all have a supernatural agency; and all contend that their Spirits are of God. Who shall solve the mystery? “Try the Spirits” says John, but who is to do it? The learned, the elo[HC 4:571]quent, the philosopher, the sage, the divine, all are ignorant. The heathens will boast of their Gods, and of the great things that have been unfolded by their oracles. The Mussulman will boast of his Koran and of the divine communications that his progenitors have received, and are receiving, The Jews have had numerous instances both ancient and modern among them of men who have professed to be inspired and sent to bring about great events, and the Christian world has not been slow in making up the number. “Try the Spirits;” but what by? are we to try them by the creeds of men? What preposterous folly, what sheer ignorances, what madness. Try the motions and actions of an eternal being, (for I contend that all Spirits are such,) by a thing that was conceived in ignorance, and brought forth in folly.— a cobweb of yesterday. Angels would hide their faces, and devils would be ashamed and insulted and would say, “Paul we know, and Jesus we know, but who are ye?” Let each man or society make a creed and try evil spirits by it and the devil would shake his 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 [p. 1304]
April 1 those of the magicians until they came to be tested together; and if Moses had not appeared in their midst they would unquestionably have thought that the miracles of the magicians were performed through the mighty power of God; for they were great miracles that were performed by them; a supernatural agency was developed; and great power manifested. The witch of Endor is no less singular a personage; clothed with a powerful agency she raised the Prophet Samuel from his grave, and he appeared before the astonished king and revealed unto him his future destiny. Who is to tell whether this woman is of God, and a righteous woman? or whether the power she possessed was of the devil, and her a witch as represented by the bible? it is easy for us to say now; but if we had lived in her day, which of us could have unravelled the mystery? It would have been equally as difficult for us to tell by what spirit the apostles prophesied, or by what power the apostles spoke, and worked miracles. Who could have told whether the power of Simon, the Sorcerer was of God, or of the devil? There always did in every age seem to be a lack of intelligence pertaining to this subject. Spirits of all kinds have been manifested, in every age and almost amongst all people: if we go among the Pagans they have their Spirits, the Mahommedans, the Jews, the Christians, the Indians; all have their Spirits, all have a supernatural agency; and all contend that their Spirits are of God. Who shall solve the mystery? “Try the Spirits” says John, but who is to do it? The learned, the elo[HC 4:571]quent, the philosopher, the sage, the divine, all are ignorant. The heathens will boast of their Gods, and of the great things that have been unfolded by their oracles. The Mussulman will boast of his Koran and of the divine communications that his progenitors have received, and are receiving, The Jews have had numerous instances both ancient and modern among them of men who have professed to be inspired and sent to bring about great events, and the Christian world has not been slow in making up the number. “Try the Spirits;” but what by? are we to try them by the creeds of men? What preposterous folly, what sheer ignorances, what madness. Try the motions and actions of an eternal being, (for I contend that all Spirits are such,) by a thing that was conceived in ignorance, and brought forth in folly.— a cobweb of yesterday. Angels would hide their faces, and devils would be ashamed and insulted and would say, “Paul we know, and Jesus we know, but who are ye?” Let each man or society make a creed and try evil spirits by it and the devil would shake his 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 [p. 1304]
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