Sunday, April 05, 2009

The progress of doctrine

"Men never do understand anything unless already in their minds they have some kindred ideas, something that leads up to the new thought which they are required to master. Our knowledge grows, but it is by the gradual accumulation of thought upon thought, and by following out ideas already gained to their legitimate conclusions. God followed this rule even in the supernatural knowledge bestowed upon the prophets. It was a growing light, a gradual dawning preparatory to the sunrise, and no flash of lightning, illuminating everything for one moment with ghastly splendor, to be succeeded immediately by a deeper and more oppressive gloom ... Carefully, and with prayer, the prophets studied the teaching of their predecessors, and by the use of the light already given were made fit for more light, and to be the spokesmen of Jehovah in teaching ever more clearly to the Church those truths which have regenerated mankind."

Robert Payne Smith, Prophecy, A Preparation for Christ, 1870, pps. 304-305,

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