“But to do good, and to communicate, forget not.” – Heb. xiii. 16.
THUS wrote the inspired apostle, Paul, from Italy, to the saints at Jerusalem; and as the middle-wall of partition is effectually thrown down, which consisted in meats and drinks, and divers washings, carnal ordinances, and a worldly sanctuary, &c, there is henceforth no distinction to be observed in the church of God; all are made one, in Christ Jesus our Lord. Hence we infer that the above admonition applies to the saints among the Gentiles with the same force as to those among the Jews.
But as in relation to all other scriptures, so with this, it has its appropriate meaning, and may not be wrested from that meaning with impunity.
We have been led to an examination of this text, by the frequent use to which it has been applied by the advocates of the New Divinity schemes of the day. In the absence of scriptural authority for the popular faith and practices of the great majority of professors, they have endeavored to cover their motives by a reference to this text; let the object to be effected, or the manner of accomplishing it, be what it may, this text is brought forward as a divine warrant. Thus, for instance: The Roman Catholic would say that saying mass, worshiping the virgin, and advocating their doctrine, is in the meaning of this text to do good; and the paying tithes to the church, and money for the absolution of their sins to the Catholic priesthood, or for the deliverance of the departed spirits of their relatives from purgatory, is to communicate, in the sense of this scripture.
Another tells us that it should be understood differently; and so we find that men professing to be teachers in Israel do not agree. But, is there no rule given by which we are to know the mind of the Lord, as to what is in his estimation, and what is not, good? Are we indeed left to grope about in the dark, and for the want of a better, to employ human wisdom and providence as our rule, and to conclude that the answering of our own feelings and judgment in our decision will be satisfactory to the sovereign Judge of quick and dead? Let the apostles answer. Peter says, ”We have a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto we do well to take heed,” (how long?) “until the day dawns, and the day-star arise in our hearts.” - 2 Peter i. 19. And Paul says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” - 2 Tim. ii. 16, 17. Here then we find a rule for our proceeding, as the children of the kingdom, and as the men of God, we are thoroughly furnished to all good works. This rule will answer all necessary purposes unto the men of God; they are amply provided for. And while the nominal professor will attempt to justify his conduct in joining with and contending for the unscriptural institutions of the day, upon the general principle of doing good, without considering that “There is a way that seemeth Tight to a man, but the end thereof are the way of death,” the man of God, who feareth the Lord and trembleth at his word, will in all his religions pursuits regard the word of God as bis only rule of faith and practice, and disclaims all religious works as evil, however fair they may seem, that are without example or precept in the good book.
NEW VERNON, N. Y.,
April 16, 1834.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
Pages 133 – 135