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    “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1.SGOM 68.1

    That truth lies between extremes, is an old saying. On the subject now under consideration we find opposites of error; some accept every manifestation of power as from the Spirit of God, or from good spirits, while others discard every manifestation of spirit power as evil. One class overlook the injunction of the text; they do not “try the spirits whether they are of God,” but accept all without discrimination. The other class ignore the command given through Paul when he was speaking of the Spirit, to “prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” They will not take the pains to prove anything of the nature of a manifestation of the Spirit; they reject all, and without a trial.SGOM 68.2

    The first class are again divided into two parties, and to these we will at present give our attention. One of these parties is easily disposed of. It embraces all the Spiritualists of this age. That the media possess power, or are possessed by spirits, no one will deny who has examined the facts of their manifestations, and studied the prophecies which relate to them.SGOM 68.3

    N. P. Talmadge, an eminent and noted Spiritualist, in the preface to the book entitled, “Healing of the Nations,” claimed that 1 Corinthians 12:6-10, is fulfilled in Modern Spiritualism; but in the enumeration of the gifts which he copied from that chapter, he carefully excluded every sentence from which we can learn that all divine manifestations are by “one and the self-same Spirit.” This is a sufficient condemnation of all the theories and phenomena of Spiritualism, for in that, instead of “a diversity of gifts, but the same Spirit,” we find a great diversity of spirits. Spiritualists do not occupy, either in theory or practice, the position of God’s people upon whom he is pleased to bestow the gifts of his Spirit. They deny Jesus Christ, through whom alone “the promise of the Spirit” is given. Nothing more is needed to show that their gifts are spurious. The Scriptures represent them as “seducing spirits,” and their teachings as the “doctrines of devils.” We cannot deny their power, for they are again spoken of as “the spirits of devils working miracles.”SGOM 68.4

    The other party to which we have referred is composed of the “Latter-day Saints,” or Mormons. They have always claimed to have the gifts among them. The fact of their making this claim has, perhaps more than all else, created a prejudice against the truth, and brought this important doctrine into disrepute. These differ from Spiritualists in that they profess faith in Christ, and preach and claim the power of the Spirit only as a fulfillment of the promises of the gospel. And because of this claim and their profession of strong faith in Christ and the gospel, many are led to believe their gifts are genuine. But when we “try the spirits” by the gospel standard we shall find that these also are mere counterfeits of the gifts of the gospel. There are certain rules to determine their character, given by the Saviour, which we will now examine.SGOM 69.1

    “Beware of false prophets.” A true prophet has a gift of the Spirit of God. False prophets may be of two kinds; mere pretenders, having no gifts at all, or, having spurious gifts by an evil spirit. The Saviour says, “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” We will make this our first ground of examination.SGOM 70.1

    1. The Mormons are well known to be egotistical and boastful of their gifts. Anywhere and everywhere they are ready to thrust their claims upon our notice. But boasting is excluded by the law of faith. Romans 3:27. Humility and meekness of spirit can alone secure the blessings of the Spirit of God.SGOM 70.2

    2. Not only the boastfulness of their profession, but also the fruits of their lives have been inconsistent with the teachings and spirit of the gospel. They have manifested a spirit of worldly selfishness, and a disregard of the rights of others which is the reverse of that self-denying love to our neighbor which characterizes the true followers of Christ. Joseph Smith, the founder, leader, and prophet of the sect, set up a bank in Kirtland, Ohio, which proved to be a swindling concern. At Nauvoo a city charter was obtained and he became Mayor of the city. He placed his followers on a war footing, and he was Commander-in-Chief of the “Nauvoo Legion.” His conceit and ambition were so unbounded that he even announced himself a candidate for President of the United States! Outlaws were protected in the city over which he presided with despotic power. Freedom of speech was not allowed; a press was destroyed which was established with the avowed purpose of exposing the iniquity of the place; the mob was screened, and it was openly talked by the leading men that no opposition press would be allowed in the city. They disregarded and even denied the rights of “the Gentiles,” as they called all who were not of their number. And their history at Salt Lake has shown a condition of despotism, oppression, and immorality even worse than at Nauvoo.SGOM 70.3

    3. In regard to the influence of their pretended gifts we will relate the substance of a conversation held a few years since with an aged person living in North-eastern Ohio not far from Kirtland. He was a Mormon while Smith was in Kirtland, and remained a Mormon up to the time of our acquaintance with him. He admitted that there was iniquity among them in Kirtland, equal in amount to what common report had it. “But,” said he, “those wicked ones were not Mormons. They came among them for selfish purposes, and whenever their wrongs were found out they professed to repent, and the church was obliged to retain them.”SGOM 71.1

    Our answer was that the gifts of the Spirit were given for the perfection of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. They professed to have all these gifts. Where then was their discernment, that they could not detect hypocrisy and expose wickedness, and so put it from their midst?SGOM 71.2

    He replied that it was reasonable to suppose that where all the gifts existed the church should have been purified to a greater extent than it was there. He said he could not understand it.SGOM 71.3

    The explanation is easily given: Their gifts were spurious; they were not of the Spirit of God, and did not tend to purify the body, or to perfect the saints. The spirit of error was with them from the beginning, and it showed itself in both their doctrines and practices. The Roman hierarchy never showed a greater love for worldly pre-eminence, or greater disregard for the moral and legal rights of those who opposed them. It was truly fortunate for the peace and security of the people that they were not permitted to grasp the power which they coveted, and which they strove to obtain. They emigrated to Utah only because they would not live in peace with their neighbors. Because their leaders would not submit to the laws of the land, they sought a place where they could rule without restraint. We speak only those things which are well known to be true, and we are willing to leave it with the candid that the evidence of their fruits is all against the genuineness of their gifts.SGOM 71.4

    It is true that there are two parties of Mormons. Within a few years Joseph Smith, Jr., has headed a party repudiating Brigham Young, denying his authority, and opposing some of the abominations of Salt Lake. But Brigham Young succeeded Smith at Nauvoo, and was long recognized as the head of the Mormon people, and even now those who oppose him are a small minority. Young’s authority was established on the ground of the succession, and the assumption that he was gifted with prophetic power. Now if this was all a mistake, if the whole body of “the Saints” were deceived in regard to the claims of Young, as the other party assert, if the gift of prophecy was not conferred on him, then it is proved that their argument respecting the gifts is no evidence that they are the people of God, or, in other words, that their gifts are genuine. The claims of the two parties, that of Utah and that of Illinois, are based on the same arguments respecting the gifts and the same assumption that the gifts are manifested among them. Therefore that argument, and their claim that they possess the gifts, are shown to be no evidence in their favor. Each denounces the other, while both stand on the same ground. Some have been led to believe that they have the true faith because of their gifts, but it is shown that we must determine their standing by some other rule of judgment.SGOM 72.1

    The Saviour has given that rule in Matthew 7:21-23. This is a continuation of his warning against false prophets. He says:-SGOM 73.1

    “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in Heaven.”SGOM 73.2

    By this we are taught that faith in Jesus Christ will not procure an entrance into the kingdom of Heaven without obedience to his Father. Having thus introduced the time and circumstance of entering into the kingdom, he continues:-SGOM 73.3

    “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me ye that work iniquity.”SGOM 73.4

    Again, granting all that the Mormons claim, that they prophesy in the name of Jesus, and in his name do many wonderful works, this text shows positively that that fact is no evidence that they are his followers. All this may characterize the self-deceived; and this profession is made by those who work iniquity, and who are, therefore, commanded to depart from him when the faithful enter into the kingdom. Compare Matthew 25:34-41.SGOM 73.5

    To make more clear the application of the text above quoted we notice two points:-SGOM 74.1

    1. Iniquity is lawlessness, or law-breaking. So the original means. Greenfield defines it, “violation of a law, iniquity, improbity, sin;” from “anomos, lawless, without law, not subject to law; violating the law, wicked, impious, a transgressor.” So it is given in the Emphatic Diaglott. And so we find it in Exodus 20:5, 6, the second commandment: “Visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.” Observe the contrast; hatred is placed in opposition to love, and iniquity in opposition to keeping the commandments of God. Therefore those described in the text are they who cry to Jesus, Lord, Lord, but do not the will of his Father-they do not keep the law of God. They unite the profession of faith and the claim of the gifts of the Spirit, with iniquity or disregard of the commandments of God. And it is a fact which has lately been confirmed to us by reading and by conversation, that the Mormons take antinomian ground, teaching that the commandments of God are abolished. Said the wise man, “Where there is no vision, the people perish; but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” They who keep the law are happy; they do not perish. They who transgress the law, or work iniquity, have no vision from God; they perish, for Jesus will say to them, “Depart from me.” No matter how loud their profession; no matter how “many wonderful works” they do in the name of Jesus, they are still self-deceived; their gifts are described in Ezekiel 13, as a vain vision and a lying divination. “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” Proverbs 28:9. He that rejects the law of God, his religion is vain. How, then, shall God bestow upon him the precious gifts of his Spirit? We repeat what we have said, antinomianism and the Spirit do not-they cannot-go together.SGOM 74.2

    2. We admit that the gifts were lost to the church because of apostasy; and as she recovers from the darkness by true, genuine reform, the gifts shall be restored. This is according to the teaching of the Scriptures. But we insist that they are not restored among the “Latter-day Saints,” or Mormons. Their “fruits” stand as their condemnation.SGOM 75.1

    The restoration is brought to view in Revelation 12:17. “The remnant” here spoken of are the last state of the church; the same that are spoken of in Revelation 14:12, just before the Lord Jesus comes to reap the harvest of the earth. This remnant “have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Now the angel said, in Revelation 19:10, “The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy.” This is sufficient proof that the church in the last days will have the Spirit of prophecy. But this company are also said to “keep the commandments of God,” as it is said of them in Revelation 14:12,” Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” This, surely, is not fulfilled in those who “make void the law through faith;” see Romans 3:31; who professedly substitute the faith of Jesus for the commandments of God, instead of keeping both together.SGOM 75.2

    But that is the position of the Mormons; they reject the law of God; they make void the commandments by their traditions, and are therefore workers of iniquity. Their profession of faith in Christ will not save them in the day when he comes to give to the little flock the kingdom. Their gifts will not procure his favor, because their lives are not right in his sight. Their spirit is a spirit of error, leading to darkness and delusion. “By their fruits ye shall know them;” not by their profession; not even by their wonderful works in the name of Jesus, for these are nothing without obedience to the law of the Father.SGOM 76.1

    We have seen that in the second commandment love of God is associated with keeping his commandments. In truth there is no love where obedience is lacking. Says an apostle, “This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.” 1 John 5:3. Love and obedience are inseparable. This enables us to appreciate the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:1, 2:-SGOM 76.2

    “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing.”SGOM 76.3

    Now we discover the harmony between the words of our Saviour in Matthew 7, and the words of Paul in the above text. Bearing in mind that iniquity is violation of the law, and love is the keeping of the law, the Saviour shows that to prophesy and to do wonderful works in his name will not secure an entrance into the kingdom to such as work iniquity. Likewise, Paul says that the gift of prophecy and faith to remove mountains is nothing without the love of God.SGOM 76.4

    It is only by examining these texts that we can appreciate the force of Revelation 12:17, that the remnant keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus, the Spirit of prophecy; and we are distinctly informed in both Testaments that they who reject the law worship in vain; they are workers of iniquity; they will be told to depart from the presence of Jesus in the great day of his wrath.SGOM 77.1

    These scriptures apply to the Mormons more directly than to any other people of this age. They have never occupied the position of those who are pointed out in the word of God as preparing to meet the Lord at his appearing. They have not fulfilled the prophecy of the remnant in any particular. And we entreat all who have been tempted to regard them as the people of God because of their supposed possession of the gifts, to “try the spirits whether they are of God;” to examine more closely the words of the Saviour in Matthew 7:15-23; and to study more carefully the position of the remnant who are accepted of the Lord when he comes to give the kingdom to his little flock. And let us each individually see to it that we are of that number “who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”SGOM 77.2

    “Where there is no vision, the people perish; but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”SGOM 77.3

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