Elder J. Taylor's Closing Reply to Mr. Curran

1840-12

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“Elder J. Taylor’s Closing Reply to Mr. Curran.” Latter-day Saints Millennial Star (Manchester, England) 1, no. 8 (December 1840): 197–202. Reprinted from “Elder J. Taylor’s Closing Reply to Mr. Curran.” Manx Sun (Isle of Man) (30 October 1840).

ELDER J. TAYLOR’S CLOSING REPLY TO MR. CURRAN.

( From the “Manx Sun” of October 30 th. )

————

TO THE EDITOR OF THE MANX SUN.

SIR─As Mr. Curran has published his last and concluding article, I hope that I shall not be under the necessity of troubling you with any more of my communications on this subject. I hope, Sir, that you will bear with me if I am a little tedious in this.

Several subjects have been referred to by Mr. C. in his three communications─subjects which he considers to be at variance with divine truth, some of which I have briefly referred to in my former communications, but which I wish now more fully to enter into, and shall take them up in order as they present themselves before me. One of these is, that we have got apostles; another that we believe in new revelation; the next is, that we have prophets; the following, that we believe in the Melchisedek and in the Aaronic priesthood; a fifth is in a quotation from the book of Mormon, where it speaks of many plain and precious parts having been taken from the word of God. These, Sir, as far as I am able to understand his reasonings, are the principal objections that he has to this doctrine─these are the “heresies, blasphemies, false [197] doctrines, delusions, and impositions,” &c., &c., which he says that these fanatics, &c., have palmed upon the public, &c. We do not profess to be able to do justice to a subject of such magnitude in the limited space that can be allowed in the columns of a newspaper, but shall bring these grave charges in as concise a manner as possible to the light of truth, and see what the blasphemies, &c. are.

Blasphemy 1.─“They have got a new apostolate,” and he quotes a revelation to show that God has chosen “twelve apostles: that an apostle is an elder, and that it is his calling to confirm the church by laying on of hands, for the baptism of fire, and of the Holy Ghost, according to the Scriptures.” Where, then, is the blasphemy here? In what respect is this unscriptural? Is it in an apostle being an elder? Surely not; for in 1 Peter, v. 1, Peter, who is an apostle, says “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder.” Is it that it is wrong, incompatible with that calling, or unscriptural, for an apostle to lay on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost? surely not; for Paul laid his hands upon twelve disciples that had been baptised unto John’s baptism, and “they received the Holy Ghost, and spake with tongues and prophesied.” Acts xix. 6. And again, when the inhabitants of Samaria had received the word of God, through the preaching of Philip, and were baptized by him, the Holy Ghost had not fallen upon any of them; “and when the apostles which were at Jerusalem, heard that Samaria had received the word, they sent unto them Peter and John, who when they were come down prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Ghost, then laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.─Ibid viii. 17.

Where, then is this difficulty? I suppose from the Doctor’s remarks it is that there should be any apostles at all. I would here ask, as I did in one of my former communications, when did the Lord abrogate, do away with, or alter the religion of the New Testament? Where do we find it on record, that a new set of officers should be introduced; and that those whom God hath appointed should be taken way? Surely not in the Scriptures; and Mr. C. does not believe in any new revelation. I wish I could persuade him that the old revelation was true, and get him to abide by that teaching, to believe in the doctrines of the Old and New Testament, and obey the ordinances that are therein pointed out; but he tells us that these are things that the Church of Rome have contended for, and I should say correctly, too, if they could make good their claim to apostolic succession, and point out an unbroken, uncorrupted chain, together with the pure doctrines and ordinances as they emanated from our Saviour, and were taught by his apostles; but if they cannot do this, does this alter the principle?─does this make the word of God untrue? Surely not.

As this apostleship, &c., has become corrupted, hence arises the necessity of the Lord’s revealing himself from heaven, and restoring it; which brings me to the second of Mr. C.’s supposed blasphemies, &c.

Blasphemy, &c. 2.─“Yet of all professed churches, that which pretends to additional revelations, has the very worst claims to such a distinction, and clearly displays its anti-Christian character. But why so? Did not God’s people in every age of the world pretend to additional revelations? hence Adam, Abel, Cain, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, [198] Moses, Joshua, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Joel, Malachi, &c., in the Old Testament, and Zachariah, Mary, Elizabeth, Joseph, Simeon, the wise men, the shepherds, Peter, Paul, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John? And not only did they enjoy this unspeakable privilege, but it was given to all the churches in the apostles’ days, for a manifestation of the spirit was given to every one to profit withal, and no man could say that Jesus was the Lord but by the Holy Ghost; and if the Holy Ghost made it manifest, he had new revelations. I should reason very different to the Dr., and should say, that of all churches in the world, that which did not pretend to additional revelations had the least claims to be the church of God, for God has always dealt with his people upon this principle: in every age, whenever and wherever he has had a people, he has revealed himself to his prophets, and to his people, in every dispensation, not only to Jews, but to heathens, as to Pharaoh, to Nebuchadnezzer, to Cornelius, and on one occasion he gave revelation to an ass.

Blasphemy, &c. 3.─We believe in prophets, as well as apostles and new revelation; but I ask wherein is this blasphemy or superstition? Were not most of the before-mentioned individuals to whom God revealed himself, prophets? Surely they were; the spirit of prophecy existed both in the Old and New Testament churches. Paul saw the apostacy of the Gentile churches, and said, “the mystery of iniquity doth already work and will work,” &c. And again, “in the last days perilous times shall come,” &c. John on the isle of Patmos, had the curtains of heaven withdrawn, and the purposes of God developed; the glories of the eternal world burst upon his view, and whilst wrapped in prophetic vision, he beheld, and prophesied of things that should transpire throughout every subsequent period of time, until the final winding up scene of things. Peter, James, Jude, Matthew, Mark, and Luke were all in possession of this principle, and the church as well as the apostles, for Agoleus and Philip’s daughters prophesied, and Paul tells the Corinthian church to “follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that they may prophecy;” and further remarks, ye may all prophecy one by one; and again “to another prophecy by the same spirit.” Peter, in quoting from Joel, Acts ii., says, “upon my servants and handmaidens will I pour out of my spirit and they shall prophecy.” But it may be said that these things are not necessary now. The Lord never says so. Peter says “the promise is unto you, and unto your children, and to all that are afar off, even to as many as the Lord our God shall call;” and if I can be shown a person whom the Lord our God does not call, I will shew a person to whom this promise does not apply. Men tell us that apostles, prophets, &c. were placed in the church for the establishment of the gospel in the primitive days. Paul in Ephes. iv., says that they were placed in the church “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, and that we may not be carried about with divers winds of doctrines,” &c.; and as the apostle says that they were placed in for that purpose, I believe him, and if we ask how long they were to continue, he answers, “until we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God into a perfect man,” &c. I would here ask who is so likely to perfect the saints as the men whom God appointed? Let God once [199] speak from the heavens, let the spirit of prophecy be restored, and men be governed by it, and creeds would tumble to the ground, party spirit would cease, and sectarianism would hide its hoary head for ever. And what is the reason that we have so much sectarianism, and are carried about with divers winds of doctrines?─because we have nor the means to perfect the church that God gave for that purpose: viz., apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, and evangelists; and because men have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinances, corrupted the gospel, and lost the priesthood, there is a necessity for God again revealing himself from the heavens, and restoring them, for among other things that the apostles, &c., were placed in the church for was, that of the work of the ministry, which brings me to Mr. C.’s next blasphemy.

Blasphemy, &c. 4.─“There are in the Church two priesthoods, namely, the Melchezidec and the Aaronic.” I mentioned in my last, that Christ had the Melchizedec priesthood; and that as a necessary consequence Melchizedec had Christ’s priesthood; that the Melchezidec priesthood was greater than, and distinct from, the Aaronic; that it existed before the Mosaic economy: and I would further remark, that it was the priesthood which Christ had, when the ceremonial law, the law of carnal commandments and ordinances, was done away with, and which the apostles had, and the elders of the church also;─hence the apostles were chosen by Jesus Christ─were set apart to deliver his testimony,─they were his witnesses,─they were ordained and sent by him, twelve in number, and one fell; another was chosen in his place. Where was the necessity of this if there was no priesthood? How was Paul called? The Lord Jesus Christ spoke to him from the heavens, and told him that he was a chosen vessel unto him; and then Annanias baptized and laid hands upon him. Timothy had a gift, for “Christ ascended into heaven, and gave gifts to men, and he gave some apostles, and some prophets,” &c. How did Timothy obtain his gift? By “prophecy, and the laying on of hands,” and we are told that the apostles ordained elders in all the churches; and moreover Paul says, “no man taketh this honour upon himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” And yet Mr. C. thinks that it is “blasphemy,” &c., for us to believe in priesthood.

But he seems to be more puzzled with the Aaronic priesthood. As I should be trespassing too much upon the columns of your journal, were I to enter fully into it, I shall briefly touch upon it.

Mr. C. expresses his surprise, that the backwoodsmen of America should profess to be the literal descendants of Aaron. Who said they were? The revelation referred to, says, that he that holds the keys of this priesthood, must be a literal descendant of Aaron; but as Mr. C. has shown himself entirely ignorant of priesthood, it is not likely that he would know the difference between one that held the keys of that priesthood, and one that did not. Christ gave unto Peter “the keys of the kingdom of heaven,” Matt. xvi. 18; and further tells his disciples, that “whatsoever they should bind on earth should be bound in heaven,” Matt. xviii. 18. Peter held the keys of the Melchezedec priesthood. I need not ask the Doctor what these keys were; for he does not know.

That there was two distinct authorities in the primitive church, in regard to the administration of ordinances, is [200] evident,─hence John the Baptist baptized, but did not lay on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, he said that Christ should baptize them with fire and with the Holy Ghost.

What priesthood had John? The Aaronic. From whence was his baptism? From heaven: he administered to our Saviour. Why did he continue to baptize at the same time that our Lord’s disciples did? Because, with regard to the administering in the ordinance of baptism, this lesser priesthood shall continue good. Why was it that Philip baptized, and could not lay on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost? Because he possessed the less, and not the greater priesthood. But some say, that the apostles alone possessed power to lay on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost; this, however, arises from ignorance. Annanias laid hands on Saul for the gift, and was not an apostle; and others might be mentioned. I must now leave this, and go to the apostles,─they were told to tarry at Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on high; and why so? Because God had called them to an important calling, even that of the priesthood. He had laid on them an onerous duty,─they were the messengers of the nations─the legates of the skies; their testimony was going to seal the doom of the nations; the belief in, and obedience unto it, would save men in the celestial kingdom of God, and the rejection of, and unbelief in it, would damn men; it would either prove “the savour of life unto life, or the savour of death unto death;” and it was “woe unto them if they preached not the gospel.” Not like something that the Doctor commended in Douglas a while ago─a heterogeneous mass of conflicting opinions, concocted by the frightful imagination of his own bewildered fancy, priestless and powerless, and godless─a wild chimera of the brain started on speculation, and ended, because it did not answer. Had he possessed the apostle’s calling, the world might all have been damned for anything he cared; but the Lord did not tell him to go, nor did he ever bid him stop; and yet he is the man that is going to set the world right about these things.

Blasphemy 5th.─“Behold they have taken away from the book of the Lamb, many parts that are plain, and most precious, &c.” Where, I ask, is this blasphemy?─where the rest of them are, in the bewildered imagination of Mr. C.; for no person that had ever read his bible, and believed in it, would assert any thing to the contrary. But he remaks, that Paul says, that he kept nothing back; but if Paul did not, somebody else has for him. He has quoted “all scripture is profitable,” &c. So I should say; but we have not got it all. The scripture in the Book of Mormon that Mr. C. has quoted, is profitable for one thing, if for nothing else, and that is, to show he is most egregiously ignorant of his bible. I will mention a few books, which the bible says we have not got. Book of Jasher, Joshua x, 13. Book of the acts of Solomon, 1 Kings, xi, 41. Book of Nathan the Prophet, and the book of Gad the Seer, 1 Chronicles, xxix, 28. Book of the prophecy of Ahijah, and book of the visions of Iddo the Seer, 2 Chron. ix, 25. Book of Shemaiah the prophet, 2 Chron. xii, 15. Jude’s epistle concerning the common salvation, and many others, both in the old and new testament, might be mentioned. But perhaps the Doctor will tell us that these are untrue as well as the Book of Mormon.

I did think of touching upon some other things referred to by Mr. C.; but as I have already trespassed too [201] far upon your columns, Sir. I shall forbear; for to follow him through all his meanderings and nonsense would be fruitless; but I would just remark, that the same blindness, darkness, and ignorance of the subject that he has taken upon him to condemn, runs through the whole of it; and as it is with what I have noticed, so with what I have not,─he “understands not what he says, nor whereof he affirms.”

Mr. C. has stated, that I have made an undue use of some remarks made by him to me, in a private communication. The remarks referred to are of a public, not of a private nature, and are made use of by him to elucidate the same subject; and are also in the same connection with the subject referred to in his first communication to the Sun and Liberal, and were the Doctor all that was concerned in these statements made by him; and had not the subject been dragged before the public, I should have treated him and his communication with the contempt such productions deserve; for his private communication referred to was one of the most virulent, dogmatical, abusive, and ungentlemanly productions that I have ever received, and I should have considered it altogether beneath my notice, but for the beforementioned reason.

Respectfully, &c.

JOHN TAYLOR.

Hanover-street, Oct, 28, 1840.

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