NO DEPARTURE From the Jerusalem Church

If we are to depart from the Jerusalem church because it was in its infancy, and not reproduce the primitive church, we should like to know how far we are to depart from it, and in what. If the faith and practice, the precept and example of the primitive church may not be adopted now and followed, and if in all things we should not now have the same faith and practice, precept and example they had, we should be pleased for some expounder of the new doctrine to explain to us in what the departure shall consist, and what rule we are to adopt now. If we let go of the rule that governed the first church, what rule shall we adopt? If we cut loose from the Divine, shall we adopt a human rule? If so, what human rule—some one of these already made? Or shall we have the presumption and folly to think we can make a better one than these human rules already in use? 

We are not ready to cut loose from the Jerusalem Church, its rule of faith and practice, its precept and example. We have more confidence in the old ground than ever, and have no idea of departing from the Jerusalem Church, its faith and practice, precepts and example. The men that will not stand on apostolic ground, the faith and practice of the first church, will not stand on anything long. We want something reliable, permanent, sure, and steadfast—a kingdom that cannot be moved. In the old Bible, the old Gospel, and the old church, we find it. Here is something to lean, upon living and dying, for this world and the world to come. If we leave this, all is uncertainty, darkness, and night. Let us “hear what the Spirit says to the churches,” and not be of those who ”depart from the faith,” giving heed to seducing spirits, and not listen to “unstable souls,” of those who are “ever learning and never able come to the knowledge of the truth.” 

Benjamin Franklin -- 19th century Gospel preacher