REPLY TO BROTHER PENDERGRASS.

Skeptics and infidels seem fond of caviling with the scriptures of truth, and like some, who in our day, with “optics rare,” profess to have discovered spots on the sun, they also claim to have detected discrepancies, or contradiction in the sacred volume of inspired truth. The former may flatter themselves that they have wisdom enough to suggest some improvement on the sun, and if they had power perhaps would put it out, and light the world with gas. The latter as vainly imagine themselves wise enough to make great improvements on the holy scriptures. On neither class would it be wise in us to waste our ink, were it not that some of the children of God are sometimes worried and perplexed by those “vain talkers and deceivers, whose mouths must be stopped.”

A careful reading and comparison of Acts 9:7, and Acts 22:9, will satisfy every honest enquirer after truth that there is no disagreement either expressed or implied. The one statement is made in these words; “And the men which journeyed with him, {Saul or Paul} stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.” The other passage reads thus; “And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.” The first statement is made by Luke, in narrating the circumstances connected with the remarkable conversion of Saul, and the latter is Paul’s own statement of the same circumstances. Both statements taken literally as they are recorded, simply assert that the men that were with Saul when he was arrested, heard a voice; but did not hear the voice of him that spake to Saul.

Saul heard the voice of him that spake to him, and he heard and recognized it as the voice of God. But they that were with him, though they heard a voice, did not hear it as the voice of God, nor were they conscious of its being the voice of God speaking to Saul.

A very similar demonstration is recorded, John 12:28,29, wherein, respondent to the prayer of Jesus, “Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, {his name} and will glorify it again. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered; others said, An angel spake to him.” They did not hear it as the voice of God speaking to his dear Son; for they could not distinguish what they heard from thunder, or from an angel’s voice.

To hear the voice of God, in a scriptural sense, implies a recognition of it as the voice of God, and an understanding of what is uttered by it, and a submission to it; not merely to hear a sound which we cannot distinguish from thunder, or from an angel’s voice. Moses prophesied thus: “The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken. Deut. 18:15. This prediction is quoted in Acts 3:22,23, and, “Him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you; and it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.” To hear, in a scriptural sense, is to hearken, to listen to, and to obey. As the voice which came out of the cloud, identifying Christ as the Son of God, said, “Hear him.” Jesus has said, “The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live.” John 5:25. Again, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” The sheep of Christ hear their Shepherd’s voice, not only when first called as was Saul, but they recognize his voice in the scriptures, and in the ministration of the gospel. Others may hear the gospel preached, with their natural hearing, but they do not hear it or read it as the voice of him that calls his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.

“Let all the heathen writers join,
To form one perfect book;
If once, great God, compared with thine,
How mean their writings look.”

Middletown, N.Y.
October 15, 1870.
Elder Gilbert Beebe