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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp, 19

[Knapp continues his discussion of "Impressions from Below:"]
10. The Opinions of Other People. There is a sense in which "in a multitude of counselors there is safety," but more frequently there is confusion. He who seeks counsel from others more than from God will soon find discordant human voices drowning the inner voice, and know the truthfulness of the declaration that "cursed is the man who trusteth in man and maketh flesh his arm." God often leads His children contrary to the counsels of their best friends, to teach them to rely on Him. So the voices of even our best friends, much less the decisions of Madam Grundy, can not be substituted for the tests which will be named. Satan or self will sometimes originate a very strong impression in the mind of Bro. Impulse and Bro. Self-Confidence, and make them believe it is of the Lord. It may relate to the action of Bro. Tender Conscience. With the solemnity and dogmatic certainty of an infallible oracle, they inform him of the revelation which they claim to have gotten of God, implying that they doubt his decision, and, perhaps, piety, if he does not accept their message as divine. I have known persons to bring and urge such messages, when to follow them would be to violate conscience, common sense and the clearest teachings of the Word.

11. Signs. As Satan can easily counterfeit them as he did with Moses in Egypt, it is evident that they would be an unsafe standard by which to try impressions. It is perilous to depend upon them. Yet the whole Simple family frequently do it. If they have an impression that one of their family is not to live long, and a bird flies into the room, or a looking-glass is broken, they are alarmed. They think it a sure sign of further mortality if a grave caves in or it rains upon the coffin on its way to its last long home. They are sure it is a bad sign to begin a job on Friday, and are governed by many similar superstitions It is also believed that some people who don't like to be classed with the Simple family are affected by such signs to a greater degree than they are free to confess.

12. Chance Happenings. Another trick of the adversary to get people to avoid rightful tests of impressions, is to prevail upon them to submit them to some chance happening. Bro. and Sister Truth Seeker have often been led astray in this way. They are impressed to do a certain thing, and decide that if the sun rises clear they will do it, if cloudy, not. If a certain chance event occurs they will take an impression to be of God; if it does not occur, not of Him. It might fittingly be called "religious gambling." It is a sort of "toss penny" arrangement which finds no sanction since the Holy Ghost fell at Pentecost. That good people have sometimes resorted to it simply proves their infirmity. It was before Pentecost that the Apostles "cast lots" in electing a successor of Judas. Had they waited until after, they doubtless would have taken a different course, and been saved the mortification of choosing a man who never was heard of afterwards, and of forestalling the Spirit, who put Paul in the place of Judas.

Its use drives to wrong conclusions, dwarfs the reason, fosters ignorance, offers incense to chance, perplexes the conscience, pleases Satan and grieves the Holy Ghost. These, and other similar devices, are often used by "the world, the flesh and the devil," to accomplish their designs. The deception practiced is often so subtle as to escape detection only from those who have learned to try them by divine tests. While Satan is allowed great latitude in his efforts to deceive, yet he can go no further than God permits.

It would not be surprising if there are ways revealed whereby all his counterfeit coin can be detected, and God's voice always be clearly and unmistakably known.

Given a God with whom all things are possible, a Savior whose mission is to "destroy the works of the devil," and who has promised His children "power over all the power of the enemy," and such a provision may be confidently looked for.

Excerpted from Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp. Original publication date, 1892. Public domain. My source is here. The previous post in the series is here.

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