Letter from I. T., before 16 May 1842

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
Page 791
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them well. He has not troubled himself with the subject referred to in the text, at all:—but perhaps it is not elegant, or orthodox, for evangelical ministers to adhere to the scriptures; and therefore he preached from the text. “Unite yourselves to the people of God.” Well now, who are the people of God? Which, of all the multifarious sects shall I join? He answers, “join some evangelical church.” But then, what is an evangelical church? Is it a church that believes part of the scriptures; or one that believes all of them; or one that believes none of them? I see that Mr. Knapp has preached from the scriptures; consequently he has not much confidence in them, or he would have quoted their authority. Perhaps the church that he belongs to is evangelical;—but then he advises, in the fifth paragraph, to “search the scriptures. If you have any irreligious books, novels, or books on Universalism, burn them up.—What kind of novels am I to burn? Religious novels, or is it only irreligious novels? I think a religious fiction, or lie, must be as bad as an irreligious one. Well, to search the scriptures is good, but it seems to me as though Mr. Knapp would have me search, study, and read them as I would Homer’s Illiad, Euclid, or Virgil, to obtain a refined taste, and a classical education, rather than to be governed by its precepts; for the scriptures say nothing about burning Universalists books, &c.; but they tell me to “prove all things, and to hold fast that which is good.” Now if Universalism be false let me prove it false by the scriptures, and not burn their books unread. I perceive, however, that the Universalists, in the estimation of Mr. Knapp, are not an evangelical church.
In looking over the same paper, I find under the head of “communications,” upon the subject of Mormonism, the following:—
SCRAPS FROM IOWA, No. 2.
MORMONISM.
1. Preventative.—If they have no foothold in your neighborhood or town, pay no attention to them. This has often prevented them from doing much mischief.
2. Remedy.—If they are making proselytes in your neighborhood or town meet them at once, and if you are acquainted with the history and absurdities of Mormonism you may expose them, but never fail to prove the following things:
First. That many of the miracles of Moses, Christ and Apostles, were performed publicly, in the presence of enemies and friends to induce faith. Ex. iv. 21, 30, 31. “Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel, and Aaron spake all the words which the Lord had spoken unto Moses and did the signs in the sight of the people, And the people believed.” Ex. viii. 6–10. “The Lord spake unto Moses, and unto Aaron saying, when Pharoah shall speak unto you saying, shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, take thy rod and cast it before Pharoah, and it shall become a serpent.” John ii. 23. “Now when he was in Jerusalem, at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did,”—not before they saw his miracles. John, iv. 45. “The Gallileans received him having seen all the things that he did at Jerusalem, at the feast.” Of five loaves and two fishes he fed five thousand men, besides women and children, Matt. iv, 16–21. While his enemies were watching him he healed a man’s withered hand, Mark, iii. 1–5. Luke vi. 6–10. He raised the dead when his enemies were present. John, xi. 43–46. His enemies admitted the genuineness of his miracles, John, xi- 47. “Tongues were also a sign to those who did not believe. 1 Cor. xv. 22. “Tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not.”
Second. That when Christ declined to give a sign except the sign of Jonas, &c. it was because he had publicly given enough, and that when humbugites try to avoid detection by saying that no sign shall be given it is a mere get-off and betrays their consciousness that they cannot do what they pretend to do.
Third. That when Christ required faith in some that he healed, it was because he had before proven by his public miracles that he could heal the sick. This is very different from requiring folks to believe without evidence.
Fourth. That those miracles of Christ which were comparatively private, were not those on which he relied to prove his Messiah-ship. Hence in some cases he did not approve of their being told, Matt. viii. 4. “See thou tell no man.” Mark, vii. 35: Luke, v. 14.
Fifth. That when the gift of tongues were employed on the day of Pentecost, there were persons present who understood the different languages that were spoken, hence, all was in place, all was right. Afterwards as only two or three [p. 791]
them well. He has not troubled himself with the subject referred to in the text, at all:—but perhaps it is not elegant, or orthodox, for evangelical ministers to adhere to the scriptures; and therefore he preached from the text. “Unite yourselves to the people of God.” Well now, who are the people of God? Which, of all the multifarious sects shall I join? He answers, “join some evangelical church.” But then, what is an evangelical church? Is it a church that believes part of the scriptures; or one that believes all of them; or one that believes none of them? I see that Mr. Knapp has preached from the scriptures; consequently he has not much confidence in them, or he would have quoted their authority. Perhaps the church that he belongs to is evangelical;—but then he advises, in the fifth paragraph, to “search the scriptures. If you have any irreligious books, novels, or books on Universalism, burn them up.—What kind of novels am I to burn? Religious novels, or is it only irreligious novels? I think a religious fiction, or lie, must be as bad as an irreligious one. Well, to search the scriptures is good, but it seems to me as though Mr. Knapp would have me search, study, and read them as I would Homer’s Illiad, Euclid, or Virgil, to obtain a refined taste, and a classical education, rather than to be governed by its precepts; for the scriptures say nothing about burning Universalists books, &c.; but they tell me to “prove all things, and to hold fast that which is good.” Now if Universalism be false let me prove it false by the scriptures, and not burn their books unread. I perceive, however, that the Universalists, in the estimation of Mr. Knapp, are not an evangelical church.
In looking over the same paper, I find under the head of “communications,” upon the subject of Mormonism, the following:—
SCRAPS FROM IOWA, No. 2.
MORMONISM.
1. Preventative.—If they have no foothold in your neighborhood or town, pay no attention to them. This has often prevented them from doing much mischief.
2. Remedy.—If they are making proselytes in your neighborhood or town meet them at once, and if you are acquainted with the history and absurdities of Mormonism you may expose them, but never fail to prove the following things:
First. That many of the miracles of Moses, Christ and Apostles, were performed publicly, in the presence of enemies and friends to induce faith. Ex. iv. 21, 30, 31. “Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel, and Aaron spake all the words which the Lord had spoken unto Moses and did the signs in the sight of the people, And the people believed.” Ex. viii. 6–10. “The Lord spake unto Moses, and unto Aaron saying, when Pharoah shall speak unto you saying, shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, take thy rod and cast it before Pharoah, and it shall become a serpent.” John ii. 23. “Now when he was in Jerusalem, at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did,”—not before they saw his miracles. John, iv. 45. “The Gallileans received him having seen all the things that he did at Jerusalem, at the feast.” Of five loaves and two fishes he fed five thousand men, besides women and children, Matt. iv, 16–21. While his enemies were watching him he healed a man’s withered hand, Mark, iii. 1–5. Luke vi. 6–10. He raised the dead when his enemies were present. John, xi. 43–46. His enemies admitted the genuineness of his miracles, John, xi- 47. “Tongues were also a sign to those who did not believe. 1 Cor. xv. 22. “Tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not.”
Second. That when Christ declined to give a sign except the sign of Jonas, &c. it was because he had publicly given enough, and that when humbugites try to avoid detection by saying that no sign shall be given it is a mere get-off and betrays their consciousness that they cannot do what they pretend to do.
Third. That when Christ required faith in some that he healed, it was because he had before proven by his public miracles that he could heal the sick. This is very different from requiring folks to believe without evidence.
Fourth. That those miracles of Christ which were comparatively private, were not those on which he relied to prove his Messiah-ship. Hence in some cases he did not approve of their being told, Matt. viii. 4. “See thou tell no man.” Mark, vii. 35: Luke, v. 14.
Fifth. That when the gift of tongues were employed on the day of Pentecost, there were persons present who understood the different languages that were spoken, hence, all was in place, all was right. Afterwards as only two or three [p. 791]
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