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    “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Matthew 28:19, 20.SGOM 78.1

    “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” Mark 16:15-18.SGOM 78.2

    These texts are parallel, and they cast light upon each other. We admit that the expression, “the end of the world,” might be rendered, “the end of the age,” but it refers, of course, to that age in which the gospel was to be preached, that is, the gospel dispensation. And this is proof that the commission was not designed for the apostles alone, nor yet for their immediate successors, as is often claimed, for they could not preach the gospel to the end of the age or dispensation. This commission is as extensive as the preaching of the gospel was designed to be.SGOM 78.3

    Now, as the passages quoted are parallel, the expression, “I am with you,” in one, is the equivalent of the manifestations of the power of the Spirit or the signs to follow, in the other. When Jesus said he is, or would be, in the midst where two or three are gathered together in his name, all understand that he meant, not personally but, by the Spirit. We learn from the Scriptures that, as the Son represented the Father, even so the Spirit represents the Son. As Jesus came in his Father’s name, John 5:43, so did the Spirit come in his name, John 14:26. And he promised to be with them to the end of the world. The evidence that he is with them, that the promise is fulfilled, is found in the signs of the Spirit’s presence and power, which were to follow them that believe. This is made very plain in Acts 2, where the promise first commenced its fulfillment.SGOM 78.4

    When the commission was given they were told to tarry at Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on high. Accordingly they remained at Jerusalem and did not preach any until the day of Pentecost, when the promised power came. It cannot be disputed that their labor under this commission commenced on that day of Pentecost.SGOM 79.1

    And we can trace an exact parallel between the commission of the Saviour and the preaching of Peter on that day. By this parallel the application of this subject is made clear and certain. Jesus in the commission, said that believers should be baptized, and, these signs shall follow them that believe. Peter, acting under this commission, said, Repent and be baptized, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. We see by the reading of Acts 2 that the promise of the Holy Ghost which was offered to believers on the day of Pentecost was the same promise that was fulfilled to the apostles on that day. This also is made sure by the parallel which we have pointed out between the commission and the preaching of Peter on that day of Pentecost. Peter, in opening the work under that commission, commanded them to be baptized, because the Saviour, in giving the commission, said the believers should be baptized. In like manner, Peter said they should receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, because the Saviour said these signs shall follow them that believe. Therefore the gift of the Holy Ghost which Peter promised to them who received the gospel, is the exact equivalent of the signs which the Saviour said shall follow them that believe.SGOM 79.2

    This conclusion cannot by any means be avoided, and it is decisive as showing the scope of the promise set forth by Peter on that day of Pentecost. It proves most conclusively that the signs were to follow them that believed even unto the end of the world, and were matters of promise to as many as the Lord our God shall call.SGOM 80.1

    And with this agree the history of the early church, and the instruction given by the apostles. These gifts were in the church in the apostolic age; and they were not confined to the apostles nor to the ministers of the gospel. Agabus was a prophet. Philip the evangelist had four daughters who had the gift of prophecy. This was according to the promise made by Joel, as quoted by Peter: “Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,” and, “on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit.” The promise of the Saviour in the commission is the same; for “them that believe” embraces males and females, sons and daughters, alike. In the instruction of the apostles to the churches they make such reference to the gifts as to confirm the view that the gifts were quite general among the believers.SGOM 80.2

    Paul wrote to the church of Corinth to “covet earnestly the best gifts,” but rather the gift of prophecy as being most useful to the whole body for their edification. He said:-SGOM 81.1

    “I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied.” 1 Corinthians 14:5.SGOM 81.2

    This statement is not consistent with the idea that the gifts were to be confined to the laborers in the ministry. This whole chapter contains instruction to the church at large in regard to the operations of the Spirit among them. Of the benefits of the gift of prophecy he says:-SGOM 81.3

    “But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all. And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.” Verses 24, 25.SGOM 81.4

    Thus Paul has stated, first, his desire that they might have the gift of prophecy; then, the usefulness of this gift, both to the church and to the conversion of unbelievers; and, finally, he speaks of what actually existed among them, thus:-SGOM 81.5

    “When ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine [or instruction], hath a tongue [i. e., a gift of tongues], hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.” Verse 26.SGOM 81.6

    Paul did not disapprove of these things, but gave such directions in regard to the use of their gifts as seemed necessary for their growth, and that the gifts of God’s Spirit might not be abused nor perverted. For he had before exhorted them to desire spiritual gifts, and to covet earnestly the best gifts. And again he said:-SGOM 81.7

    “Forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.” Verse 12.SGOM 82.1

    In furtherance of this object he directs that he that hath a tongue, or the gift of tongues, shall keep silence in the church unless there be an interpreter, because others would not be edified by his speaking if it were not interpreted. But upon the gift of prophecy in the church no such restraint was laid. Of that he said:-SGOM 82.2

    “For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.” Verse 31.SGOM 82.3

    In like manner he instructed the church at Rome. We observe that his argument in 1 Corinthians 12, concerning the various members of the body, has respect to the gifts of the Spirit set in the church. And so to the Romans, carrying out the same idea, he says:-SGOM 82.4

    “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office; so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering; or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation;” etc. Romans 12:4-8.SGOM 82.5

    The mutual dependence of the gifts, one on the other, is shown in this text as it is in 1 Corinthians 12. In that he says one member may not say to another, I have no need of thee. And those least esteemed are often most useful and necessary. So in Romans 12:5 it is said, Ye are members one of another. That is, to have a perfect and efficiently active body the members must all be perfectly united together. The hand is confessedly one of the most useful members of the body; but its connection with the head, and consequent usefulness, depends entirely on its connection with the wrist, arm, etc. Were it connected directly with the head, without the intervention of other members, it would be of no use, and mostly an incumbrance. In all this we are taught that we should receive with humble reverence whatever God has set in the church; for he who formed the body knows best the wants of the body, and best understands the proper order of its members.SGOM 82.6

    James, writing “to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad,” directs that prayer be offered for the sick, with the assurance that “the Lord will raise him up.” There is no force nor reason in the objection often urged, that answers to prayer in that manner are not now given. If that were true (but it is not), it would argue nothing against the certainty of the promise, for we might possibly find a reason for it in the following scripture, Isaiah 59:1, 2:-SGOM 83.1

    “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”SGOM 83.2

    The duty and privilege of prayer are greatly abused. While things which God has never promised are made subjects of prayer, to pray for the things which he has promised is often to subject ourselves to ridicule and reproach. As faith is not without the word of God, Romans 10:17, so there is no genuine hope unless it is fixed on the promise of God. Hebrews 6:12-19. The custom now prevailing of praying all over the world, and concerning everything upon which the fancy chances to rest, and of slighting and neglecting those blessings which we immediately need and which God has promised to bestow, is practical infidelity in regard to the faithfulness of God. It is no test of faith to pray for things which we do not immediately need, or which, if granted, are so far removed from our personal experience and observation that we could not realize the answer. To pray for the heathen in a distant land, for the restoration of Israel, or for the conversion of the world, may gratify general religious feelings and satisfy the conscience in regard to the duty to pray; but that will never satisfy our consciousness that God is a present help in time of need, and that he exercises an immediate providential care over his people.SGOM 83.3

    They who think lightly of praying for the Spirit of God, which Jesus assures us will be given in answer to prayer; or for the sick, whom James says the Lord will raise up in answer to prayer; or for any other blessing which is directly promised, really reproach God as if he would not fulfill his word. They are of those who are reproved because they “say in their heart, The Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil;” Zephaniah 1:12; or of the perverse ones who say, “The Lord hath forsaken the earth.” Ezekiel 8:12; 9:9. They think the Lord has no care for our wants, and will not regard our petitions. But he who hears the cry of the young ravens, and notices the fall of the sparrow of the field, and numbers the hairs of the heads of his children, will not turn away from their cry when they are in affliction.SGOM 84.1

    No reason can be given to show that this promise of James is not of general application and for all time. The frequent references in this chapter to the coming of the Lord, prove that it may be claimed by those who live in the last days (see James 5:1-8), who have the assurance that “the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.”SGOM 85.1

    Nor can it in truth be said that to claim answers to prayer in such manner begets egotism and self-confidence in religion. The reverse of this is truth. Nothing so makes a person feel his insufficiency-his entire dependence on God-as to be brought before him as a petitioner for a present-needed blessing. General blessings, or things afar off, may be prayed for with the unconcern of a formalist, or the self-complacency of a Pharisee; but to ask for a present blessing with the expectation of a present answer, is calculated to greatly humble the petitioner, to give a sense of entire dependence, and to produce exalted views of the faithfulness of God and trust in his providential care. Thus there is practical utility of great importance in the acceptance of these precious promises of direct answer to prayer, and in relying upon the gifts which God has graciously set in the church “for the edifying of the body of Christ.”SGOM 85.2

    And thus it is shown that: 1. The commission embraces faith, obedience, and the signs or gifts of the Spirit. 2. The first preaching under the commission, on the day of Pentecost, embraced the same points; the same duty and the same blessing were presented to those who believed the gospel. 3. The history of the church shows that these continued in the church. 4. The instructions of the apostles prove that they looked upon the gifts as belonging to the church for all time. 5. The promise in the commission runs “to the end of the world,” or gospel age, which proves that the commission was intended to cover the entire age; while not a sentence can be found to show that it was limited by any time but the end of the world.SGOM 85.3

    No truth of the Bible can be more clearly proved than this, that the signs following the believers, spoken of by the Saviour in the great commission, are identical with the gift of the Holy Spirit which was promised by the apostles who first preached under that commission on the day of Pentecost; and these signs were designed to continue in the church as long as the commission is of force, or as long as the gospel is preached.SGOM 86.1

    But some object that the commission itself was limited to the apostles, and expired with them, and, therefore, they say that promise is no longer extended to believers. Let us look at the result of this affirmation. The commission included two prominent points: a duty and a promise. The duty is baptism; the promise is the signs or gift of the Holy Spirit. When the apostles first preached under this commission these two were associated. Now, if the promise is annulled by the expiration of the commission, then the duty enjoined has also expired. It cannot be controverted that the apostles baptized under this commission, and by no other authority. Therefore, if the commission was for the apostles only, and expired with them, then there has existed no authority to baptize since their day; for no other authority in the gospel can be shown by which they or any others ever baptized. And it is a noteworthy fact that they who deny the perpetuity of the gifts, and of the commission under which they were promised to believers, yet go directly to Acts, to that day of Pentecost, for authority to baptize, both for precept and example. Such inconsistency on their part is evidence that they are in error. This thought should lead to more carefulness in taking their positions; for all can see that they are in error in regard to the commission and the gifts, or else the baptism they administer is unauthorized and unscriptural.SGOM 86.2

    The perpetuity of the gifts is the subject of direct remark by another apostle who acted under this same commission, in 1 Corinthians 13:9, 10:-SGOM 87.1

    “For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.”SGOM 87.2

    It is a truth to be deplored that men are sometimes so blinded as to rest their cause on the very texts which testify against them, as this has often been quoted by those who deny the perpetuity of the gifts. It is easy to catch at the sound of the words, “done away,” but quite another thing to point out the time when this shall be fulfilled. In regard to that we read farther:-SGOM 87.3

    “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” Verse 12.SGOM 87.4

    This shows that Paul looked forward to a time when he should know more and see more clearly than he then did by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. And when we consider that he had been caught up to the third heaven, and by “visions and revelations” had heard unspeakable words which it was not possible for a man to utter, and which, of course, exceeded in wisdom and glory all that he could speak or write, we see at a glance that the time is not yet in which that perfect is come; for the church has not yet attained unto wisdom and knowledge greater than that which the apostles possessed by inspiration. Hence, “that which is in part” is not done away.SGOM 87.5

    On this text, as on Ephesians 4:8-11, an erroneous position is taken in reference to the object of the gifts. It has often been asserted that the gifts were conferred for the sole purpose of establishing the gospel in perfecting the canon of Scripture, and when the Revelation was completed they were withdrawn. But, as before said, when the apostles speak of the reasons of their being bestowed, that is never mentioned as being one of them. Not for the perfecting of a system of divinity, but “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry.” And so in 1 Corinthians 13, it is not reaching unto the establishing of a perfect system of theology by revelation, but to a time when the inspired ones shall see more clearly and know more perfectly than they could by that inspiration. That time and position are not yet reached. We cannot know more nor see better by the aid of the revelation given than they could see and know who were inspired to give it. And especially is this true in regard to Paul, who saw and knew more than it was possible for him to write. And yet he knew only in part, and prophesied (for our instruction) only in part, and saw through a glass darkly, by the spirit of prophecy, compared to how we shall see and know when that which is perfect is come. Language could hardly be framed to more clearly teach the perpetuity of the gifts, to show that the time is not yet come for them to be done away, than it is taught in 1 Corinthians 13.SGOM 88.1

    The sum of all objections will be found to amount to this: They have ceased; therefore it was the design of the Lord that they should cease. But this is no reason at all; certainly it is no valid argument in favor of their having been abolished. In that manner a great declension of piety might be offered as proof that it was not designed that the spirit of piety was to be perpetuated in the church. But where is the evidence that they have been done away? Where is the evidence that they have not been in existence since the days of the apostles? Such evidence does not exist. But in favor of a position involving such consequences some clear and decisive evidence should be produced.SGOM 89.1

    On the other hand, it is shown that the Scriptures contemplated their perpetuity. And in harmony with their teachings there is evidence clear and strong that they have existed since the days of the apostles. Moreover, there is proof that they exist even in our own generation. And why not? If they existed for a single century after the apostles, there is no reason, except the unbelief in the church, why they should not still exist. We call special attention to the following proposition: If a single well-attested instance of the manifestation of the Spirit of prophecy, or of any gift of the Spirit, can be produced this side of the apostles, then the force of every argument and of every objection against their perpetuity throughout the Christian dispensation is entirely destroyed.SGOM 89.2

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