“Communication from Edward Partridge”

1835-01

Messenger and Advocate Partidge, Edward

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Communication from Edward Partridge. Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate (Kirtland, Ohio) 1, no. 4 (January 1835): 59–61.

The book of Mormon, containing the fulness of the gospel of Christ, has made its appearance, and men are once more called to the holy order of God, to build up the church of Christ, and gather the house of Israel, preparatory to the coming of the Son of Man. But say you, how am I to know that the book of Mormon contains the fulness of the gospel? In answer, I say, you have the testimony of men that cannot be impeached, that the book of Mormon is true, and was translated by the gift and power of God.—Those that receive the book of Mormon, and obey it, have this further testimony: they receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. By comparing the book of Mormon with the gospel preached by the apostles, (which I now intend to set before you,) you will be able to judge for yourselves. But before I proceed to set before you the gospel, let me quote Acts:13:40, 41, “Beware therefore, lest that come upon you which is spoken of in the prophets; behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.”

I will now proceed to show you the gospel as it is recorded in the bible, and if you take the trouble to compare the book of Mormon with it, you will find that it contains the fulness thereof. And first, I shall commence at the commission given by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to his disciples after his resurrection from the dead. One thing very remarkable respecting this commission is, that no one of the four that recorded the history of our Savior has it entire, but each one has a part, and the whole put together shows us, beyond a doubt, what that commission was. The portion recorded by Matthew is found in the three last verses of his testimony, thus, “And Jesus came and spake unto them saying, all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth 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 always even unto the end of the world.” The 16th chap. from the 14th to the 19th verse of the testimony of Mark contains a portion of the commission, and reads thus: “And he said unto them, 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.” In these quotations, from Matthew and Mark, we find that the apostles were to teach all nations, and preach the gospel to every creature; yet they do not tell us what the gospel is, and without the help of Luke and John we might be much puzzled to know from the bible what that thing called the gospel was or is; but the Lord did not leave the world in the dark, for in Luke and John, together with what is recorded in the Acts of the apostles, the subject is made plain.

Luke 24:44, 50 reads thus, “Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, and said unto them, thus it is written, and thus it behoveth Christ to suffer, and rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem, and ye are witnesses of these things, and behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in Jerusalem, until ye be endowed with power from on high.” Hence we discover that they were to preach repentance and remission of sins, and he that believed their testimony and was baptized should be saved. But they were to tarry at Jerusalem until they were endowed with power from on high.

Acts first chapt. and eight first verses, corroborates the foregoing. Christ, “Being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” And further.

“Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” The power spoken of above, we find explained in the 20th chapt. of John’s testimony, 22nd and 23rd verses in these words: “And when he had said this, he [Christ] breathed on them, and saith unto them Receive ye the Holy Ghost; whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained.” Thus we see that besides the signs that were to follow them that believed, they [the apostles] had this power granted to them also, even the power to remit and to retain sins, upon such conditions as the Holy Ghost should direct, when they should receive it. Agreeably to the instructions of their Lord, the disciples waited at Jerusalem; and as is recorded in the 2nd chapt. of Acts on the “day of pentecost they were all with one accord in one place,” when, as was promised, the Holy Ghost was poured out upon them, and they began to speak with new tongues—and then they began their ministry, according to the directions given them. It may be proper before going further to notice, that the kingdom of God was now to be preached to all nations, and that Peter had the keys of the kingdom of heaven, conferred upon him, as recorded in Mat. 16:19. “And I will give unto thee [Peter] the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.” Hence we discover that Peter had great power given into his hands, & so had all the apostles, according to John’s testimony, as above quoted. Consequently, when they were endowed with power from on high, and were to commence their mission, Peter standing up with the eleven, began to declare unto them the things of God; showing that Jesus was the Christ, and that they had taken, and with wicked hands had crucified and slain the Lord of glory; and that he had risen from the dead— in proof of which he quoted the prophecies which they dared not dispute, and thus convinced them that Jesus was the Christ; and being convinced [59] of the fact, truth brought with it conviction, as it always will when received: they saw at once that they had committed sin that had no sacrifice for in the law of Moses, consequently they, with one accord, cried out, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Peter having the keys of the kingdom, was ready to tell them what they must do: he said unto them: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” And according to the account, about three thousand were received into the kingdom the same day —having received the remission of their sins, as well as the gift of the Holy Ghost, they were made to rejoice and praise God.

Thus we see the happy effect produced by receiving the gospel in its purity. I wish you now to candidly examine the different sermons recorded as preached by the apostles, and you will find that the sum of their preaching was Jesus a risen Savior; and that when they got the people to believe that, they then immediately baptized them: in one instance even the same hour of the night. But say you, what good will it do one to be baptized without repentance? I answer, no good: But where is the rational man that believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that all power both in heaven and on earth is given unto him, that is not only willing to be baptized, but also to repent of all his sins, and serve God with full purpose of heart? I find I am digressing, therefore I will return to the subject.

Paul wrote to his Galatian brethren thus: “Though we, or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you, than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” Now pause, and ask yourselves this question, did the apostles preach more than one gospel? I think you must answer “but one.” Well, Paul says the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. What does the result, on the day of pentecost show, but the power of God unto salvation! Surely the gospel that the apostles preached, and that the people received, was the power of God unto salvation.

I want you now to set down in the fear of God, and carefully and prayerfully compare the book of Mormon with the gospel, as preached on the day of pentecost, and see if the sentiment is not the same; if it is the same, it must be the gospel, and if the gospel, it must be the power of God unto salvation. For if you admit John’s declaration that the gospel is everlasting, or in other words, that he saw in the last days an angel flying through the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, it will prove that there is such a thing as the everlasting gospel, and if so, is it not the gospel of God? And does not what John says, about the everlasting gospel’s being preached to all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, just before the downfall of mystery Babylon, convey an idea that something more than the bible is to make its appearance, about that time? It certainly does to me.

Now, if the book of Mormon contains the same gospel that the apostles preached, which it certainly does, and that its whole drift appears to be to make men righteous and happy; and if the men who attest to the truth of the book are men of piety, and men who have sacrificed their property, and even their good name for this cause, which certainly is the case, what does it argue? Does it not argue that this work is true; that the book of Mormon is the fulness of the gospel, sent forth to this generation, that a people may be prepared for the coming of the bridegroom? surely it does; and I know that if you will be honest before God, these things will carry some conviction to your hearts.

I have one testimony further to add, which is the one that was promised by our Savior himself, which is the signs that were to follow them that believe. Now, if the same signs follow in these days that followed in the days of the apostles, it argues that the gospel is the same.

I assure you that the signs do follow in this, the church of Christ, who receive the book of Mormon as the fulness of the gospel of Christ. In many instances the sick have been healed by the laying on of the elders’ hands, and also devils cast out. Many speak with new tongues, or in other languages; some speak in a number of different languages shortly after they receive the gift; others are confined to one or two—These are not idle assertions; I know that these things are so. Some have the gift of interpretation and some have not, as yet. But say you these gifts are strange things! Well strange as they may appear, they are the gift of the Holy Ghost: many of the world even receive the Holy Ghost in a greater or less degree, but few in comparison receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, the gifts being peculiar to the true church. What the Lord promised by the mouth of Zephaniah is beginning to be fulfilled. “For then (saith he) will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent,” 3:9. Some speak the pure language already. Songs are sung in unknown tongues. Well say you in the days of the apostles they spake with tongues and prophesied, immediately after having hands laid on them for the reception of the Holy Ghost, and now it is more than three years since this church has been organized, and yet we have not till of late seen or heard much about these gifts being manifested. Why should there be this difference? In answer I say, that the apostles were three years with Christ, in which time we have no account of their speaking with tongues. In the days of the apostles the church started in perfection and purity, having the gifts conferred upon them at the commencement of their ministry, to all nations: the church was of one heart and one mind; but after a while we find that the church began to be corrupt and fall from its pristine purity; the declension continued until the church was lost in the wilderness, and the gifts all lost with it. Since the days of Luther and Zwingle, the reformers, light has been bursting forth in the religious world. Many reformers have rose up one after another, till [60] at length the Lord saw fit to raise up a standard, even the fulness of his gospel, and give unto his people a prophet, through whom they can have the word of the Lord from time to time, to lead them along from the wilderness in which they have been lost, that they may see eye to eye, and be of one heart and one mind, as in the days of the apostles. And although the time has not yet arrived that we see eye to eye in all things, yet it has pleased the heavenly Father to begin to set his gifts in order in his church, which causes me to rejoice; yea, I will rejoice and praise my Father in heaven, that he has permitted me to live in this day and age, when I can see the work of the Lord and know it for myself—that is, I know it, or have no more doubt of it, than I have that there is such places as London, Paris, or Jerusalem. The Lord has given us in relation to the book of Mormon as much testimony, and of the same kind, that we exact to establish any fact among us at the present day, consequently would it not be wisdom for us, before we condemn the work, (having this testimony before us,) to examine and become acquainted with the men that testify. For one of two things must be true, that is, they have either held forth, in the most solemn manner to the world, the truth or a falsehood: if a falsehood they certainly must have been most base and corrupt characters. This is for you to ascertain for yourselves, and it is of great consequence that you be not deceived, that you make a correct decision.—Let not vague reports blind, or satisfy you, while you may know these things for yourselves. For be assured, that if the testimony borne in favor of this work be the truth, your disbelieving it will never make it an untruth: remember that the truth will stand while the heavens and the earth pass away.

I feel that I have written sufficient to convince any candid enquirer after truth. And now let me entreat you to sit down and carefully and prayerfully examine the whole subject through: pay attention to all the passages referred to, and see if these things are not so.

O, that you may be wise. O, that all men were willing to be as righteous as God would have them be, that they might be prepared to meet him in peace. I do know that in keeping the commandments of the Lord there is great reward. The Savior said he that was not willing to forsake houses and lands, father and mother, &c. was not worthy to be his disciple.

I want you to realize these things: think what it is to give up all for Christ. All the sacrifices that I have made I count as nought, when compared with the hope that I have of one day being enabled to exclaim with Paul, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of reghteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” I now ask, do you love his appearing? is it your prayer that he may come in this generation? O, think on these things, and not suffer the god of this world to blind your eyes.

Since I have torn my affections from this world’s goods; from the vanities and toys of time and sense, and been willing to love and serve God with all my heart, and be led by his holy Spirit, my mind has been as it were continually expanding—receiving the things of God, until glories indescribable present themselves before me, and I am frequently led to exclaim in my mind, why is it that men! rational men! will suffer themselves to be led in darkness down to the gulf of despair by the enemy of all righteousness, while such glories lamp up the path-way of the saints?

My dear friends, need I say more to convince you of the truth and reality of this work. I think if you believe me, enough is written to carry conviction to your hearts; but if I thought that more would be of service to you at this time, I would freely write on: the subject is not exhausted, neither am I tired of writing; for I feel willing to spend and be spent, in the cause of my blessed Master.

The testimony that I have borne and now bear to you in favor of the book of Mormon, and the great things that are to take place in these last days, is such that I feel clear in my mind that I have discharged my duty, and whether you are benefitted by this communication or not, I feel that your blood will not be required at my hands; but without this communication I could not say that I felt altogether clear, as having discharged my duty. I desire that this letter may be read by all my old friends and acquaintances, and also all those into whose hands it may come, hoping that all may be benefitted by the same.

O take the advice of one that wishes you well and would rejoice to meet you in the celestial kingdom of God: that is this, humble yourselves before God and embrace the everlasting gospel before the judgments of God sweep you from the face of the earth: for rest assured judgments will increase in the earth until wickedness is not known upon the face thereof.

Therefore I say be wise, while you have the opportunity, and not be of that number who will have to take up this lamentation, “The summer is past, the harvest is ended, and we are not saved.”

With sentiments of respect I remain your well wisher.

EDWARD PARTRIDGE.

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