Saturday, December 17, 2011

Daniel Tyler on Christian Denominations

The following is taken from Daniel Tyler, "The Gospel Principles", Juvenile Instructor 13/20 (15 October 1878): 232.
It may seem strange to some of our readers, and especially the young, that there should be so many different Christian denominations, and all teaching different doctrines. One would naturally conclude that almost any person of ordinary ability could understand plain, simple language, such as is found in the Old and New Testaments, which they all profess to believe. Still more strange does it appear when we learn the fact that educated men, who have spent the best part of their lives in the study of literature and religion, differ more widely on religious points than the common people; yet such is the case.

Those differences among learned religionists in olden times were attributed to a species of insanity, as the term is often used in our day: "He is religiously insane." Hence it was that a learned judge once said to St. Paul, "Much learning hath made thee mad." The word mad here is used for insane, vulgarly called crazy, which signifies the same thing.

The learned ministers under the Mosaic law were just as much in the dark as are the present Christians. One of those devout preachers being impressed with the divinity of Christ's mission, more on account of His miracles than of the truths He taught, went to Jesus by night and asked the Savior about the plan of salvation. He was told that "except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." The minister thought this a new and strange doctrine, and asked a further explanation. He was then told that after a person had been born again to see the kingdom, he must be born of water and of the spirit in order to enter into it. It was too great and too mysterious for the learned priest, or rabbi, as Nicodemus was called. He could not comprehend it. Jesus told him the reason was, that he was not born of the Spirit. He said "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit." The man knows that he has felt the divine influence as well as you know when you inhale a gentle breeze of air; but if you have never had that Spirit, he cannot tell it to you so that you can comprehend it, any more than you could explain to an unborn babe the sensation of the atmosphere of this world. It must be felt to be understood.

St. Paul says, "The things of man knoweth no man but by the spirit of man that is in him; even so the things of God knoweth no man but by the spirit of God." The same Apostle says, "The Spirit searcheth all things, yea even the deep things of God." For this reason, when Jesus arose from the dead, and did not design to remain much longer with His disciples to tell them just what to say to the people, He would not allow them to preach in their uninspired condition, lest they should, without that Spirit, lead the people astray, as uninspired men do now. He told them to tarry or wait at Jerusalem until they were endowed with power from on high; or, in other words, until they were born of the Spirit, having already been born of water.

The reason, then, that this generation of so called Christians but really infidels, do not understand the gospel plan as it is, is because they have not the spirit of God. There is a passage of scripture to the effect that the wisdom of this world cannot find out God. That those professing to be wise have not the Spirit of God, which is inspiration and revelation to those who enjoy it, must be plain to everyone, from the fact that they claim that all of the gifts and graces which anciently attended the Holy Ghost are done away, and no longer needed. No matter how plain the plan of salvation is, it requires the Holy Spirit to understand it. So say the scriptures, and the experience and observation of all our Elders are that the doctrine herein set forth is correct. Kind reader, if you have not done so, repent and be baptized for the remission of your sins, and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of hands by proper authority, that you may the more fully learn how to be saved; for on those conditions "the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." Do "not neglect so great salvation." You cannot obtain it in any other way.

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