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    VISION OF DR. BOND

    “About this time occurred a very extraordinary incident in the life of Dr. Bond, which we narrate with great doubt as to the propriety of the publication. He very rarely mentioned it, and never ventured to designate or explain it. Its truth is, however, beyond question. The circumstances forbid the supposition of optical illusion, or temporary hallucination. There are those living who testify to such of the facts as were subject to observation, and the memorials of the transaction are yet distinctly preserved in the religious character of sons and daughters of some who were immediately affected by it.SGOM 118.2

    “Being on a visit to his father, he was deeply grieved to find the church, which he had left in a state of prosperous activity, languishing, lukewarm, and weak. His thoughts were much occupied with the subject, and of course it was a matter of earnest and frequent prayer. In this state of mind, one morning he was walking over the fields to a neighboring house, when suddenly he seemed to be in a room where a number of people were assembled, apparently for worship. The room he recognized as an apartment in the house of a neighbor, where a prayer meeting was to be held on the evening of that day. Had he stood in the midst of it he could not have been more conscious of the scene. There was nothing of the dim, shadowy, or dreamy, about it. He recognized the people, noticed where they sat and stood, remarked his father near the table, at which a preacher was rising to give out a hymn, and near the middle of the congregation he saw a man named C., for whose salvation he felt considerable anxiety, standing with his son beside him. While gazing with astonishment upon the scene, he heard the words, ‘Go and tell C. that he has an offer of salvation for the last time.’SGOM 119.1

    “Naturally supposing that too great concentration of mind upon one subject had induced some hallucination of the senses, Dr. Bond fell down on his knees, and besought God to preserve his reason. The scene, however, continued; it would not disappear or change in any of its particulars. In vain he struggled to dispel it, the voice yet repeated with indubitable distinctness, ‘Go tell C. that he has an offer of salvation for the last time.’ Yet how would he dare to deliver so awful a message! For a great length of time he struggled for deliverance from what he still considered an illusion. At length an expedient occurred to him, which he adopted. He had never been in the room in which he was apparently present, when it was used for a public religious meeting. He, of course, did not know how it was commonly prepared for such occasions. He therefore noted with great care the particulars of the scene. He saw where the little table for the preacher, the benches and chairs for the people, were placed. He noticed his acquaintances, and where they sat and stood, and when he was satisfied that he had possessed himself of these details he said, ‘I will go to this meeting, and if I find all things there to correspond with what I now see, it shall be a sign from the Lord, and I will deliver the message.’ Immediately the scene vanished, and he was alone in the green fields.SGOM 119.2

    “With a spirit indescribably agitated, he returned home, where he found ladies, who required him to escort them a long distance, and it was somewhat past the hour fixed for the meeting when he reached the awful place. During the day he had freely indulged the hope that on his entrance into the room his trouble would disappear. He thought he had been the subject of an illusion, the fruit of an excited brain, and that a want of correspondence immediately to be detected, between the real scene and the one presented to his disordered fancy, would at once satisfy him as to the morbid character of his morning vision, and release him from the obligation of delivering the terrible message with which he was conditionally charged. When he opened the door, however, he saw again, in all its minuteness of detail, the morning scene. In vain he searched the room for a variant particular. There sat his father in the designated place. The preacher at the table was rising to give out the hymn. In the midst of the room stood C., with his son beside him. Everything demanded that the message should be delivered.SGOM 120.1

    “After the preliminary exercises he rose and stated the circumstances as we have related them, and then going to C. he laid his hand upon him, and repeated the words he had heard. The effect was indescribable. C. and his son fell down together and called upon God. An awful solemnity rested upon all present. Many cried for mercy, and from that time began a revival which spread far and wide-the fruits of which are yet seen after many days.”SGOM 121.1

    We have still other important evidence of the fulfillment, in this present generation, of the promise of the Saviour and of the prophecy of Joel. We now call attention to what the Scriptures reveal on this subject concerning the times immediately preceding the second advent of our Lord. Neander makes a very interesting statement of the faith of the Montanists of the second century. He says:-SGOM 121.2

    “It appears also to have been the doctrine of the Montanists, that the season of the last and richest outpouring of the Holy Spirit would form the last age of the church, and precede the second coming of Christ, and be the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel.”-Rose’s Neander, p. 332.SGOM 121.3

    A book written to reproach this faith, and designed to bring the Montanists into disrepute, was read by John Wesley; but it had the effect to convince him that they were a godly people, and that their faith in regard to the perpetuity of the gifts of the Spirit was correct. This, no doubt, prepared his mind to look for and seek those evidences of divine favor which he so largely received in his after experience. So God overrules the work of his enemies to his own praise. Mr. Wesley’s notice of this book and of the result to his mind of reading it, is as follows:-SGOM 121.4

    “By reflecting on an odd book, which I had read in this journey, ‘The general delusion of Christians with regard to prophecy,’ I was fully convinced of what I had long suspected: 1. That the Montanists in the second and third centuries were real Scriptural Christians; and 2. That the grand reason why the miraculous gifts were so soon withdrawn, was not only that faith and holiness were well nigh lost, but that dry, formal orthodox men began, even then, to ridicule whatever gifts they had not themselves, and to decry them all as either madness or imposition.”-Wesley’s Journal, vol. iii. p. 496.SGOM 122.1

    The faith of the Montanists referred to by Neander is quite reasonable, as we may conclude from a consideration of the use or objects of the gifts, and of the condition of the religious world in the last days.SGOM 122.2

    The object of the gifts, according to Ephesians 4, is to carry out the work of the ministry, to edify or build up the church, and to perfect the saints in a complete union of faith and spirit. Now it must be borne in mind that the last generation of the church will be subject to special trials and dangers. The Saviour, speaking of the last days, said, “Because iniquity shall abound the love of many shall wax cold.” Evil servants will say, “My Lord delayeth his coming.” They will eat and drink with the drunken, and smite their fellow servants who give “meat in due season.” Formality in religion and destitution of the power of godliness will be almost all-prevailing. Satan will also work with great malignity and power. In such a time, if ever, will the church stand in need of the aid of the Holy Spirit.SGOM 122.3

    Again, the last generation of the church of Christ must pass through the time of trouble; must stand complete in righteousness when Jesus ceases his priestly work in Heaven, as he prepares to come to this earth to take vengeance on the ungodly; they must have a special work wrought in them and for them, to tit them to be translated without tasting death; for their translation must, of course, take place after Jesus ceases his work of mediation. A single sin committed after the priestly work of Christ closes would sink any one to hopeless perdition. And it is not after, but before he comes that he says: “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still.” See Revelation 22:11, 12. This awful truth is not appreciated, because men refuse to examine the doctrine of the second advent, and therefore they do not understand the nature of the perils which are impending.SGOM 123.1

    In 1 Thessalonians 4, the apostle gives the true ground of consolation to those who sorrow for their friends who are asleep. He says, The Lord himself shall descend; the dead in Christ shall arise, and the living saints shall be caught up with them to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord.SGOM 123.2

    Having thus introduced the subject of the coming of the Lord, he proceeds in chapter 5 to state circumstances which precede and attend his coming. Many will cry, “Peace and safety” when sudden destruction is impending, and “they shall not escape.” Their hope is delusive-they know not the hour of their visitation. As it was to the people in the days of Noah and of Lot, so it will be to them. As a thief in the night shall their destruction come upon them. “But,” says Paul to the brethren, “ye are not in darkness that that day should overtake you as a thief.” 1 Thessalonians 5:4. They are watching for the return of their Lord. They have received the words of warning spoken by the prophets, and by those whom God in his providence has raised up to “sound an alarm” when “the day of the Lord is near.” See Joel 2:1. To the brethren of the time herein set forth, the apostle says:-SGOM 124.1

    “Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21.SGOM 124.2

    And to further show its application, as to time, he adds:-SGOM 124.3

    “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” verse 23.SGOM 124.4

    It is beyond question that they whose bodies are preserved unto the coming of the Lord are they who do not sleep or die, but are changed and caught up or translated, to meet the Lord in the air. Thus every part of this scripture shows that it is specially for, and pertaining to, those who are “alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord.”SGOM 124.5

    Prophesyings here denotes the exercise of the gift of prophecy. The admonition not to despise the exercise or manifestation of this gift is sufficient proof that the gift will be manifested at the time of which he is speaking; viz., when the day of the Lord is near; when the careless and worldly cry, “Peace and safety,” or, as translated into the language of these days, they sing the song of delusion, “There’s a good time coming.”SGOM 125.1

    But some, under a profession of a knowledge of the Greek, have denied the correctness of the rendering of 1 Thessalonians 5:20, in the common version. They say it should read prophecies, not prophesyings. It is not difficult to show that they err in this.SGOM 125.2

    There are two methods of determining the truth in regard to the meaning of words. First, by referring to the lexicons which define them. Secondly, by their use. And in this case we have both the lexicons and usage in favor of the common version.SGOM 125.3

    Greenfield, in his lexicon of the Greek of the New Testament, says of the original word:-SGOM 125.4

    “Prophesying, the exercise of the gift of prophecy, in this sense, 1 Thessalonians 5:20.”SGOM 125.5

    He gives this as the meaning of the word, and refers to this text as an instance of its use in this sense. And Parkhurst’s lexicon says:-SGOM 125.6

    “The gift of prophecy, i. e., either of declaring or of predicting truths by divine inspiration, whether in the Old Testament, 2 Peter 1:21, or in the New, Romans 12:6; 1 Corinthians 12:10; 13:2, 8.SGOM 125.7

    Prophesying, i. e., the exercise of the gift of prophecy. 1 Thessalonians 5:20.” And Robinson’s lexicon says:-SGOM 126.1

    “3. Meton., a prophesying, the exercise of the prophetic office.”SGOM 126.2

    Liddell and Scott say:-SGOM 126.3

    “The office or gift of prophecy.”SGOM 126.4

    And thus, by the lexicons, this definition is fully established. And the use in the New Testament is in harmony with this definition. Thus in Romans 12:6,“Whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith.” This refers to the possession and exercise of the gift of prophecy. And in 1 Corinthians 12:10, the same word is used in the enumeration of the gifts.SGOM 126.5

    In 1 Corinthians 13:2, it is rendered “the gift of prophecy,” and every reader can see that this is the meaning of the text. And again, in verse 8, “Whether there be prophecies, they shall fail.” This cannot refer to the prophecies of the Scriptures, for it is easier for heaven and earth to pass than for them to fail; but as the whole context shows, it refers to the gifts of prophecy. Says the apostle, “For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” That is, When we see as we are seen, and know as we are known, the exercise of the prophetic office, by which things are but partially seen and known, will no longer be required.SGOM 126.6

    In 1 Corinthians 14:6, 22, this word is rendered prophesying, as it is in 1 Thessalonians 5:20, and in these texts it cannot be rendered otherwise. And thus the usage fully sustains the lexicons in fixing the signification of this word.SGOM 126.7

    The Cottage Bible says:-SGOM 127.1

    “This may primarily refer to miraculous gifts.”SGOM 127.2

    The commentary of Lange says:-SGOM 127.3

    “The word stands without the article in the plural, denoting the individual cases.... .SGOM 127.4

    This gift despise not.”SGOM 127.5

    And Œcumenius is also quoted as saying, on this text:—SGOM 127.6

    “Hinder not the gifts of the Spirit by turning away from them that have them, and not suffering them to speak.”SGOM 127.7

    Dean Alford, on 1 Thessalonians 5:20, says:-SGOM 127.8

    “On prophesyings see 1 Corinthians 12:10, note. They were liable to be despised in comparison with the more evidently miraculous gift of tongues.”SGOM 127.9

    Bloomfield, in his notes on the Greek text, says:-SGOM 127.10

    “As the foregoing admonition was, not to quench the Spirit in themselves, so this, I apprehend, is, not to quench it by disallowing and discouraging the exhibition of it in others. The sense of propheteia is, I conceive, the very same as in the three chapters on the Spiritual gifts at 1 Corinthians 12-14.”SGOM 127.11

    Olshausen’s Commentary says:-SGOM 127.12

    “This expression [verse 20] must rather have inspired the Christians in Thessalonica with the sorrowful conviction that all gifts might easily give occasion for abuses, and led them, to avoid these, to slight the gifts themselves.”SGOM 127.13

    Different versions might be quoted in harmony with all these testimonies, but we do not think it necessary. We should rather apologize for giving proof at such length, did we not consider the evidence of this text of very great importance at this time. And we think the rendering of the common version is fully vindicated against all objections which may be raised.SGOM 128.1

    Each age has its own peculiar form of unbelief. In the early ages of Christianity all Christians looked with anxiety to the second coming of Christ as the time of their deliverance and their reward. To deny that event was to deny their hope. Jesus had told his disciples not to let their hearts be troubled about his going away, for he would come again and take them unto himself; he said they should be rewarded at the resurrection of the just, which will take place when he comes; and he said he would bring his reward with him when he should come. With them the prayer was a united, fervent one, “Come, Lord Jesus.” To them the prophecy pointed out a fearful declension when it said that scoffers shall arise, saying, Where is the promise of his coming? But now we see this prophecy fulfilled. So greatly has the professed church of Christ departed from the primitive faith that they who say, “My Lord delayeth his coming,” are almost universally commended for their prudence and good judgment; while the faithful servants who give meat in due season, who sound the alarm as the prophets say shall be done, are regarded as fanatics and alarmists, if not despised as impostors. A “second-advent believer” is, in the estimation of a popular and worldly church, as contemptible as was “a Nazarene” in the days of our Saviour.SGOM 128.2

    And a change fully as great as this has taken place in the church in respect to the gifts of the Spirit. In the early church, while all the gifts were accepted as objects of faith, and received according to that faith, there was a tendency to respect only the larger or more prominent gifts, such as apostleship, healing, and prophecy. Those less prominent were lightly esteemed, and by some considered almost worthless. This led to the apostle’s argument in 1 Corinthians 12, wherein he asserts that God often bestows more abundant honor upon that which is lightly esteemed of men. The dependence of the gifts upon one another is shown in this expression, Ye are members one of another; that is, united to Christ in one body by being united to one another. The hand or the eye, apparently the most useful of all members, cannot say to another or less prominent member, “I have no need of thee.” The hand is useful to the head only as it is connected to the head by other members. Every organ must be in its proper place, or the body is imperfect, and the action of all is obstructed.SGOM 129.1

    We are now prepared to realize the change which has taken place in the church concerning faith in the gifts. While in the early church the more obscure gifts were lightly esteemed, and only the more prominent ones were valued, in the last days the reverse is exactly the truth. Now the less prominent gifts are accepted, at least professedly, while the gift of prophecy is regarded with suspicion and even with aversion. And what seems most strange of all, many who teach that we are in the last days; who profess to believe that the coming of the Lord is near; who have had all the Scripture evidences of the truth relative to the second advent plainly set forth to them; and who even profess to believe that a special work of sanctification is necessary to meet the Saviour at his appearing, show the most determined opposition and even hatred to the gift of prophecy. This is sad proof of the strength of self-deception, and shows how deeply man may be blinded when he quenches the Spirit of God, and leans to his own understanding. Surely the injunction is timely for these last days, “Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings.”SGOM 129.2

    The word rendered despise, in this text, is defined, to despise, neglect, or slight. Hence, there is an admonition in this text for all classes. Many who would shrink with horror from the idea of despising or rejecting prophesyings, would yet neglect them so as to utterly fail of meeting the requirements of this scripture. As it is possible, yes, a very common thing, to accept Christ in profession and yet dishonor him in the life, so it is possible to accept prophesyings as from the Lord and yet neglect their teachings to the dishonor of God and to our own ruin.SGOM 130.1

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