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dealt with in a sufficiently practical way—as when professors are engaged to translate the Testimony into German, Italian, and other languages, or a distinguished classical scholar is requested to revise the translation into Latin, but no allusion is made, as we might have expected, to the gift of tongues.
Sometimes we might fancy ourselves present at a meeting of the Ritual Commission, or Committee of Convocation on Rubrics, except that the voices of the Prophets break in from time to time, much after the manner of the chorus in a Greek play, and with something of their obscurity. Questions of finance, or trust deeds, are dealt with much as by ordinary mortals, even though the decisions are couched in Scriptural language. Occasionally the peculiar jargon of the Body, in which each of the officers is a 'pillar,' or 'board,' or 'bar,' or 'pipe,' takes us forcibly back to the days of childhood and the game of 'family coach.
But when we come to 'ministries,' or prophetic utterances, we find nothing to indicate inspiration, nothing even distinguished by force, or originality, or beauty of language. Many of them are mere echoes of Old Testament prophecies, and therefore retaining a certain grandeur of diction. Others are just such iterations of a few sentences as might be heard at any Methodist revival prayer-meeting. Some are almost unintelligible rhapsodies.
It is well known how important a place the symbolical interpretation of the Old Testament holds in their system. After the Apostles were 'separated,' they retired to Albury to study the Bible, and there the mystery of the tabernacle was set forth. We will give a specimen of symbolical teaching in its minuteness :
Whilst reading Exodus xxiv. 23, concerning the table of shewbread, the Lord spake by His prophet Taplin as follows :
(“Ah! know the mystery of the number. Oh! the two cubits, the two cubits long. Is it not the measure of the breadth of a Pillar of Entrance ? Ah! he leadeth to the table, he prepareth for the table.
(“Oh! one cubit broad, ministered by one to the people, ministered by one hand. Oh! and the height, the breadth of a board. According to the faith (2) of the minister so shall the people feed (3).'
6"Ah! the measure of the Pillar of Entrance. He is of the height of the tent. He must be an Elder in the house of his God (2). Ah! the one cubit, the measure of the Altar of Incense. Let him minister who ministereth the incense. Let him minister the bread (2).
6“Oh! for an entrance into the spiritual thing. Oh! for seeing the substance through the shadow. Oh! see ye the substance, the shadow
i The figures denote how often the sentence has been repeated.
shall pass away. Oh! for the beauty, oh! for the ornament, of spiritual discourse! Oh! for the crown round the table! Oh! the border of an handbreadth.
"“Oh! ye Angels; ye have need of help, and ye have help at hand. Take ye a man ; let him call to his elders for help. Ah! it is of an handbreadth. Oh! know ye the mystery of the hand ? It is for help. Ah! they have hands under their wings; they have their helps of love (2).”
On another occasion, when the question was asked whether baptism should be celebrated during the service, the word came
Know ye not that the laver standeth without the Holy Place?'
We will next give a few specimens of another kind (Council of the Churches, February 23, 1836):
* Mr. Drummond brought up the following burden from the Angel at Ware. How should an Angel have his child baptized? The word came through the Prophet Bligh :
"Ah! is not the altar two cubits high ? Ah! doth not the Angel cease to be while he is being blessed.
“Ah! let him be blessed by his help.'
“Mr. Cardale called on Mr. Percival to give the discernment of that word, when the word came through Mr. Taplin :
“Ah! let it not be spoken. Oh! (tongue). Oh! ye prophets, know ye your border, for Satan layeth a snare for your feet (4). Oh! ye that have not the gift of opening the symbols which the Lord hath given, hold ye your peace.
Whilst counsel was being given, the word came :
'Oh! Jesus ascended up on high; He led captivity captive, He received gifts for men (2). Oh! He gave men as gifts to His body (5), that He might dwell in the midst of them.
“Oh! ye Apostles; ye are Apostles wherever ye go. Ye stand in your ministries; ye are the gift. Oh! ye Prophets, ye are Prophets wherever ye go. Ye stand in the ministry; ye are the gift (2). Oh! ye Evangelists, ye are Evangelists wherever ye are sent. Oh! it is in the men, for ye are the gift. And ye Pastors! Oh! ye are the gift, unto you is committed a ministry. Strengthen yourselves in it, for ye are the gift (2).
Oh! blessings descend from the head (2). Jesus ascended to receive them, and they descend from the head.
‘Oh! the rain descendeth upon the earth, and the earth yieldeth its increase. Blessings ascend not, they descend. Let the greater be blessed of the less. Oh! ye Apostles, wherever ye go bless ye the heads of the Church, for in them ye bless the Churches. Unto you is given help. Oh! ye have a blessing of the Lord yet in store. Ye shall have delegates. Ye shall have the archangels of God flying through the midst of heaven. Oh! seek ye for them! long ye for them! but commit not yourselves.'—(Taplin.)
After further counsel had been given by the Elders, the Apostles retired to consider of the judgment. On returning to the Council the Apostles gave judgment
“That the judgment of the Lord was, on the counsel given, that Mr. Elwell should throw the burden on the Apostles.'
Whether Mr. Elwell ever got an answer to his burden, or how the child was baptized, does not appear. But in sober seriousness we would ask—Was it for this that the Apostolate and supernatural gifts were restored to the Church ?
Occasionally we find burdens dealt with in a more commonplace manner. For instance, Mr. Horn inquired whether a help who was an officer in the police, and who had had the offer of a situation as superintendent of the workhouse at Saffron Walden, might accept it. He received counsel
“That the help could not leave the service of the Lord to accept this offer, and, more especially, as he would become instrumental in the administration of a law (the Poor Law), against which the Lord had spoken with so strong a hand.
Mr. Owen inquired whether it was the duty of the Church to require a licensed victualler to shut up his house on Sunday, the man being willing to obey any command given him? Counsel was given, and was gathered up by the Lord, who spake by an Apostle :
'It is vain for ye, ye Angels, to multiply laws for your fleshly churches. When your rule is spiritual, your obedience shall be in the spirit. Your burdens shall fall from you.'
The following entries will show how discipline was exercised. "It is well known that the Apostles as time
It is well known that the Apostles, as time went on, found it more and more necessary to keep the Prophets in order, till at last, as the Prophets complained, they threw down the ladder by which they had climbed up.
"An handmaiden beginning to prophesy during the ministry (i.e. preaching) of the Apostle Armstrong, the Lord spake by the Pillar of the Prophets (Taplin) :
• Secondarily Prophets. “Speak not, thou Spirit, when an Apostle ministereth.”'
So again, in January 1837, Mr. Dalton having mentioned, that during his teaching in the Church he had been interrupted by Mr. Little, Mr. Cardale and Mr. Taplin were instructed to visit Mr. Little and report to the Council.
During the consideration of the matter the following word was spoken :
*Oh! ye have parleyed with evil. Oh! giving place to the Devil, ye ought to have hindered him in the beginning-Oh! in the infancy of his working-Oh! ye have parleyed with him.'
At the next meeting of the Council we find this resolution, that considering the discernment expressed by the Apostles yesterday as to the case of Mr. Little, founded on his words and conduct on January 10, and the words spoken through Mr. Drummond,“ Liar, detected liar, be silent,” we determine that Mr. Little be informed that he cannot be permitted to speak until we have received conviction that the Devil has ceased to speak by him.'
“While Mr. Cardale was making his report the word came :
‘Oh! before the Lord, into his very presence, with lying signs and wonders will the Devil come.
Ah ! as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, ah ! so shall the enemy withstand, so shall he contend.'
On February 15, Mr. King reported that things were in training for the cleansing of Mr. Little,' but when Mr. Little was present on March 17, the word came
Oh! be ye not defiled here. Let every evil thing be put away. Let not Satan, let not any evil spirit have an entrance here. Be ye warned.
"Whereupon Mr. Little was requested to withdraw.'
On April 1, we again find Mr. Little's case before the Council, and Mr. King, as Apostle in charge of the Church in Albury, reporting that there would be no obstacle to Mr. Little's being restored to the communion of the Church on the morning of the next day' (Sunday).
But on Monday, Mr. King again reported that early on Sunday morning Mr. Little was driven from his house by the power of the Devil, and thus the purpose of restoring him to communion was hindered, and sought counsel. He was counselled that the Angel or his Help was to strengthen Mr. Little on the faith of what had been done on Friday, when the word of the Lord declared him pardoned, and absolution was pronounced upon him, and in hopes of his restoration.
On April 27, the Angel of the Church at Albury having expressed a wish to restore Mr. Little to communion, he was instructed,“That if he did not discern in what befel Mr. Little, after absolution, a recurrence of leprosy, he should stand in the faith of that absolution and receive Mr. Little to communion, taking heed not to give the communion to one under evil spiritual power.'
Mr. Little was accordingly publicly restored, and at a later period was appointed Angel of the Church at Ware. As a specimen of his utterances, which are frequently recorded, we may take this :
“The word came by Mr. Little.
It is a very unusual thing : it is a very strange thing. It was this afternoon while lying on a sofa. The subject in detail cannot be given, but the word in the power was, There must be a change.'
Did this require the power to utter it? But it is gravely recorded as an inspired utterance-(Records, p. 829).
Our next extract is a longer one; but it gives the interior history of a very important event in the history of the Church-the separation of the twelve Apostles—and may be taken as a very favourable specimen of prophetic utterance. Up to this time there had been but six Apostles, and these, though called, had not been 'separated' to their work; but it will be seen that on June roth, Mr. Drummond announced the appointment of two more, and on the 17th Mr. Taplin 'called' four others; and the 14th July was fixed for the solemn separation. But the Rev. D. Dow, then at Dumfries, declined the appointment-Mr. Woodhouse and Mr. Sitwell were sent to reason with him, but to no purpose.
On the 14th, when this was ascertained, Dr. Thompson and Mr. Mackenzie were selected from among the Angels to be set before the Apostles, in the room of Mr. D. Dow (who seems, very unjustly, to have been considered a traitor like Judas), and of these, Mr. Mackenzie was called by Mr. Taplin, and accepted as the twelfth Apostle.
Council of the Churches, Fune roth, 1835.—It was announced by Mr. Drummond, that after the last Council, at a meeting of the Apostles, the Lord had ordered that the four Pillars should be shown forth, and that Mr. Carlyle and Mr. W. Dow should take their seats as Apostles.
‘June 17.—After the blessing, the Lord spake by Mr. Taplin :
Oh! the slowness to believe. Ah, that the Lord hath spoken. Oh ! the lack of your faith. Ah! would He not bring forth Maz
"Would He not number His Apostles ? Would He not seal His chosen ? He waiteth for your faith. He longeth for your faith.
"Ah! He shall tell you His mind.
‘Oh ! thou servant of the Lord, Cardale, thou first foundation, the Pillar in the midst of the Apostles, call thou them forth. Jesus would have them prepared. He would have them wait for His blessing : gather thou them.
"Ah! go thou from Dumfries' (where Mr. Dow was) 'to the Lord's servant Sitwell. Tell him the Lord would have him here waiting upon Him, and bless thou his Church in the name of the Lord. Appoint thou a ruler. Come thou thence to Birmingham, let the Lord's servant Dalton come with thee also, and bless thou his Church. Haste thou in thy work.