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perience at Ephesus, which is recorded in the nineteenth chapter of Acts. The apostle going into Ephesus and finding certain disciples, inquired of them as to whether they had received the Holy Ghost since they believed. To the apostle's surprise, they replied that they had not so much as heard of the Holy Ghost. They were then baptized in the name of Jesus Christ; and now again for the vital point: and when Paul had laid his hands on them the Holy Ghost came on them and they spake with tongues and prophesied. This, then, is another infallible evidence that the Holy Ghost is bestowed by the laying on of hands, and as shown in the last paragraph comes after, and not before, baptism.
The laying on of hands is the divine way of conferring the Holy Ghost. Because people have ceased to practice it, does not in the least nullify the doctrine or get man into heaven without complying with it. The gospel stands just as it is, and men may make it bend to suit their notions in this life, but when the race of mortality is run, they will be judged according to its every principle and wherein they have failed, instead of the gospel bending to remedy their mistakes they will have to make restitution for their neglect and transgressions.
Paul, in writing to Timothy, exhorted him to stir up the gift of God which was in him by the putting on of his hands. There are numerous other evidences that bear out the doctrine for which I am contending, but I will seek only to add one more to the many already adduced, after which I feel confident that all thinking people, at least, will make no hesitancy in bearing testimony to the authenticity and reasonableness of my argument.
The passage of scripture that I now have in mind is one that bears so directly and conclusively upon the doctrine of the laying on of hands that it seems no man can deny its force without closing his eyes to the light of reason, and in fact to everything that par takes of the nature of logic and truth. The Apostle John in his second epistle and ninth verse says, “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not it the doctrine of Christ, hath not God.” If we must abide in Christ's doctrine let us find out what his doctrine is. This calls forth the passage referred to at the beginning of this paragraph. It is found in the sixth chapter of Hebrews, beginning at the first verse, and reads thus: “Therefore leaving the principles
of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God; of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment." These are doctrines of Jesus Christ in which man must abide or lose his salvation-faith, repentance, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
In what way, I pray, can modern Christendom account for doing away with the doctrine of the laying on of hands, when the apostle weaves it in the salvation fabric and makes it a point of no smaller moment than faith or baptism? How can one consistently believe in the doctrine of faith and at the same time deny the doctrine of the laying on of hands, when the apostle places them together, giving no man authority to denounce either or to accept one and reject the other?
Some may say, the laying on of hands was practiced in the early days, but it is not necessary now.
If this be so, then I ask, from what source do you get authority to draw such a conclusion ? If you can relegate the laying on of hands to the apostolic period, you can do likewise with every doctrine of the Messiah, for one is as pure and essential as another.
This concludes the discussion of the Holy Ghost. Of necessity, I have had to be brief and from this fact have omitted many points, all of which would reflect light upon the subject had space permitted me to use them. I beg of the reader to weigh carefully the above argument. Paul, the apostle, preached the laying on of hands and he says, “Though we or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you, let him be accursed.” Let us not attempt to get to heaven on a part of the gospel.
TO HIM THAT OVERCOMETH.
BY ELDER ATTEWALL WOOTTON.
“For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”
This statement of Paul is a general definition of the Gospel, the details of which every individual must learn and put into practice for himself in order that it may bring salvation to him individually. It will not do for him to sit still and merely believe that Jesus did it all, and that there is nothing for him to do only to believe. As well might the pupil in the school say, “The teacher is paid to teach me, so there is nothing for me to do only to believe that he is able and willing to do so, and I shall be educated.” Steam is the power to run large ships across the ocean, but in order to get the benefit of that power, men are obliged to learn and work out all the details of machinery necessary, and apply the water and the fire, or it will drive no ships for them. Electricity is the power that can light up our streets and homes, but if we merely believe this and do nothing more, we shall remain in the dark until doomsday as far as electric light is concerned.
Salvation is something more than merely an imaginary blissful condition in the next world which may be attained by acknowledging that Jesus is the Christ. There is much in this life from which one needs to be saved in order to fit him for the anticipated glory in the next. The first step towards salvation is a belief in God, the Father, and in his son Jesus Christ, through which men are saved
from the doubts, fears and superstitions of the world. Next comes a consciousness of sin from which men desire to be saved, this comes through a sincere repentance and a turning away from sin, which is salvation from sin in the future; but by looking back the penitent sees a past life of sinful practices, the consequences of which he desires to escape. On account of his sincere repentance the way is opened, and baptism for the remission of sins by one having authority is administered, and he is saved from the consequences of past sins and is made white through the blood of the Lamb. Is there yet other things from which salvation is desirable ? O, yes, one of the worst things that stand in the way of advancement—the sin of ignorance. Salvation from this comes through the gift of the Holy Ghost, which “shall teach you all things, and show you things to come.'
There is yet another salvation that applies to all alike, whether they be wicked or righteous; this is brought about independent of the one who receives its benefits; it is redemption from that condition most dreaded by mortals-salvation from death and the grave through the resurrection, brought about by the atoning blood of Christ, when all will be brought before the judgment seat to be judged according to the deeds done in the body. “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
It might be supposed that this would complete the principles of salvation. But no, Paul says, "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of the resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do if God permit.”
How are we to go on to perfection? By saving ourselves, with the help of the Lord, from all evil passions incident to fallen human nature. "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne.” First, it is necessary to be saved from worldly pride. "Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, shall in no wise enter therein.” Then salvation from avarice is essential. "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.” Are any given to a hasty temper? salvation is
needed. “Whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment." Do any hold malice? “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you.” Are any drunkards? "No drunkards shall inherit the kingdom of God."
These evil tendencies from which salvation is necessary, might be enumerated indefinitely. Not only these must be overcome by the aid of the Holy Spirit, but even the thoughts of the heart must be brought into subjection to the will of God. “For out of the heart proceedeth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man.”
Who can be perfect without overcoming these things? When men teach that all that is necessary to salvation is to believe in Jesus Christ, believe them not, for they are blind leaders of the blind, and all will fall into the ditch; but rather believe him who said, "And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”
“Procrastination is the thief of time;