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Journal of Discourses/21/11
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Volume 21, INSUFFICIENCY OF MERE BELIEF IN CHRIST—EXTENT AND APPLICATION OF THE ATONEMENT—NECESSITY OF DIVINE AUTHORITY TO ENABLE MAN TO ADMINISTER THE GOSPEL—JOSEPH SMITH CALLED OF GOD
|Effects of the Preaching of the Gospel—Object of the Gathering—Manifestations of the Ancients to Joseph Smith—The Gospel to Departed Spirits—Duties of the Saints to Each Other—The Kind of Men Wanted to go on Missions→|
| DISCOURSE BY ELDER C. W. PENROSE, DELIVERED IN THE SALT LAKE ASSEMBLY HALL, SUNDAY AFTERNOON, APRIL 25th, 1880. (Reported by John Irvine.)
(Online document scan Journal of Discourses, Volume 21)
The Latter-day Saints are often accused by the people in the Christian world of being very much deluded. Our religion is counted a delusion and a snare. I was thinking, however, during the meeting
this afternoon about the great number of Christian preachers who today are standing up in various parts of the world informing the people who listen to them that simple belief on the Lord Jesus, who died on Calvary, is all that is necessary to save them and exalt them in the presence of God the Father. And it seems to me that if there is one delusion more pernicious than another it is that very doctrine, which seems to be a fundamental principle of all the various Christian sects. You will find, go where you will in the Christian world and listen to any of the great preachers of the day, that this is the common topic of discourse. Jesus Christ is preached—which is quite right, I am very glad that he is—as the Savior of the world. So we testify as Latter-day Saints. In connection, however, with this great truth which is proclaimed to the inhabitants of the earth by men professing to be sent of God, is preached the great error that mere belief in the work which Jesus Christ wrought out is sufficient for the salvation of the people. The inhabitants of the earth are informed that it is not by any works of righteousness which they may perform that they can gain any favor whatever in the sight of God, but it is the righteousness of Christ alone which is acceptable to the Father and which they can gain the benefit of if they simply believe in him.
When we search the Scriptures and read the sayings of Jesus Christ, and of his servants whom he sent forth to preach the Gospel, we do not find any such statement as this. We find, it is true, that the apostles of the Lord Jesus preached Christ and him crucified to the world wherever they had an opportunity; they directed the attention of the people, Jew and Gentile, wherever they went, to Jesus of Nazareth who was slain on Calvary as the Redeemer of the world, and faith in him was declared to be absolutely necessary. But we do not find that in proclaiming faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to that generation they informed the people that a mere belief in Christ was all that was needful; we find that, in addition to teaching the principle of faith in God and in his Son Jesus Christ, they taught the people it was necessary to observe certain rules, and commandments, to obey certain forms and ordinances, to comply with certain conditions that they might obtain the benefit of the shedding of Christ's blood. We find by searching the New Testament, which contains some of the teachings of the apostles and some of their letters to the churches, that the doctrine was held forth by them that "the blood of Christ cleanseth us from all sin." We find that this applied, as they taught it, not only to what is called original sin, but also to actual sin. The sin which our first parents committed in the Garden of Eden is called original sin; and the sins committed individually by the inhabitants of the earth, are called actual sin, for "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." The apostles sent forth to preach the Gospel by our Savior himself, taught the people that through the shedding of Christ's blood remission of sin might come to all and that mankind might be redeemed from sin, original and actual. But we find this distinction in their teaching in regard to original sin, and their teaching in regard to individual sin; that the blood of Christ redeems mankind from the effects of the fall and will eventually bring up all who
died in Adam—for “as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive,"—but that while people had nothing whatever to do with the sin which Adam committed and therefore have nothing whatever to do with the work of atonement for that sin, yet for their own sins there is some action required on their part that they may obtain redemption therefrom, inasmuch as the blood of Christ was shed for original sin unconditionally, but for the remission of actual sin conditionally.
God, when he placed our first parents in the Garden of Eden put before them a certain tree, the fruit of which he said "they should not partake of, if they did they should surely die." They partook of that tree in disobedience to the divine commandment, and planted the seeds of death in their bodies, and that death has passed upon all their posterity. "It is appointed unto men once to die." This act of our first parents introduced death into the world. Death came by sin, and death has passed upon all the posterity of Adam and Eve. Jesus came in the meridian of time as "the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world," to bring mankind up from the effects of the transgression of our first parents. Hence he is called "the Second Adam," and we are told that as in the first Adam all die, even so in Christ, the second Adam, shall all be made alive again. And he himself proclaimed that the time should come, "in the which all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son, of God and shall come forth; they that, have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation," or in the words of the inspired translation, "they that have done good in the resurrection of the just, and they that have done evil in the resurrection of the unjust." It is through the transgression of Adam that we have to suffer what is called the temporal death. Through that transgression our spirits have become separated from our bodies; our immortal spirits held by these mortal tabernacles must be taken out, and our bodies must return to the ground and crumble into dust; but by the atonement wrought out by the Lord Jesus Christ the time is to come when all who lived in the body shall live in the body again. Christ was raised from the dead and became "the first fruits of them that slept;" afterwards they that are Christ's at his coming will be brought forth. This is the first resurrection. "Blessed and holy," says the Apostle John in his vision, "are they that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of his Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." After that John saw, that "the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them; and they were judged every man according to his works."
The atonement wrought out by the Lord Jesus Christ for original sin will apply just as far as the effects of the sin are felt. As all the posterity of Adam died through that sin, even so all the posterity of Adam will be raised up again through the atonement."But every man in his own order," says the apostle, "Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming;" and then after the thousand years have passed away, the rest of the dead, as John said, will be brought forth and judged each one according to the deeds
done in the flesh. All must give an account unto the great eternal Father. We are responsible for the acts done in the flesh, for like as it was in the case of our first parents, good and evil, truth and error, are placed before us, and every individual is left free to choose the good and refuse the evil, or to choose the evil, and refuse the good, as he pleases. Both are set before us and, if we yield to either, it will lead us in either direction. There is, however, a spirit in man, born in him, which comes from God, the fountain of light and truth. This light is planted in the breast of every man and every woman who breathes the breath of life• It is the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world, and if people would listen to the whispering of that still small voice, be led by that natural light and natural inspiration, they would be led up to God. By this natural light, by this general inspiration, if people would listen to its whisperings, and be guided thereby, they would be led up to the fountain of light. "Every good gift," says the Apostle James, "and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights in whom there is no variableness neither shadow of turning." But on the other hand there must be, as the Book of Mormon says, "an opposition in all things," and there is a spirit of evil, a spirit of darkness, which draws downward to death, and a spirit of light which leads upward to life; the one leads to Satan and his works, the other to God and to righteousness. But the inhabitants of the earth generally have been more prone to listen to the inspiration of the spirit of darkness as did our first parents, than to listen to the still small voice of light and life in their souls.
All people must give an account of the deeds done in the body according to the measure of light they have received, and the opportunities they have had of obtaining that light, while they dwelt in the flesh. Some people have lived on the earth when God has sent his servants inspired of him to make plain his ways, while others have tabernacled in the flesh when no inspired voice was heard, when no communication was open between the heavens and the earth. And he who is just, who is the embodiment of the eternal principles of justice, will deal out to all according to their light and according to the opportunities they have had of obtaining that light, but all must be judged, all must appear before the judgment seat of Christ and give an account for their individual works•
Now, we will take the case of an individual who has broken all the laws of God and perhaps all the laws of man, and finally has shed the blood of a fellow-creature, and is condemned by the laws of man to die; he is, in fact, unfit to live, unfit to associate with mortal beings, therefore, they must needs thrust him out of the world that he may mingle with immortal beings. Where do they send him to? A minister will come and preach to him, and tell him that all he has to do is to cast his soul on Jesus; that he has just to believe that Christ died for him, and the righteousness of the pure, immaculate, sinless, Christ will be grafted into that rotten branch, so that he will have the fruits of righteousness and peace. That is according to the modern Gospel. The man believes this, he confesses Christ with his lips and acknowledges him with his tongue, and straightway is strung up between the heavens and the earth,
and choked to death; his spirit is forced out of his body, and ushered into the presence of the eternal Father to stand before his spotless throne, and is deemed fit to dwell in the society of the pure and holy ones on high. That is according to the modern Gospel, but not according to the ancient Gospel of Jesus Christ, the everlasting Gospel which says "no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him."
But some one may ask, "Is there no efficacy, for actual sin, in the atonement wrought out by Jesus Christ? Is there no method by which people can obtain a forgiveness of their individual sins?" Yes, there is a way, and that is the plan of the true Gospel, but it does not consist in mere belief in the righteousness of another; mere belief in the righteousness [of] somebody else will not make us any better ourselves. What is to be done then? Here the Gospel is very plain and simple, when pointed out by one who understands it. But "how shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard, and how shall they hear without a preacher, and how shall they preach except they be sent?" It is men who are not sent who preach the nonsense we hear in the world. It is men who are not sent who deceive mankind with their strong delusions, and then turn round and call the Latter-day Saints deluded. If they were sent of God they would not preach such nonsense, they would not deceive mankind and thus become the cause of so much sin and evil in the world. For while people believe that at the last moment, at the last gasp of their existence, they may cast their souls on Jesus, and by believing in his virtue escape the penalty of their sins, they will continue to sin on, like many of these false teachers who revel in sin up to their very eyes, and will die in their sins and go down into the pit where they must wait until they are released, in the time and way of the Lord. The doctrine of belief without works is a strong delusion. There is more to do, according to the Gospel, than merely to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Belief in the Lord Jesus Christ is necessary. That is the foundation, it is the root of the matter, but it is not all the matter. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." Why? Because if you have true faith in Christ, if you really believe on him, you will believe in his sayings and keep his commandments. Hear him: "If ye love me, keep my commandments." "Not every one that saith Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." "Therefore, whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not; for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man which built his house upon the sand: And, the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell; and great was the fall of it."
When Jesus Christ sent his apostles unto all the world after he had risen from the dead, he commanded them to "teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to
observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." They were to go out and preach to all the world, baptizing those that believed, and then proceed to teach all things whatsoever he had commanded them. Christ taught his disciples many principles while he tarried with them in the flesh, and after he had risen from the dead he continued his instructions from time to time. He also told them that when he went away the Comforter should come to reveal unto them the things of the Father and the Son, and to guide them unto all truth; for it is only by receiving truth and living it that people can be saved and exalted. "Sanctify them through thy truth," prayed the Savior, "thy word is truth." The Holy Ghost the Comforter, was to come, therefore, to make plain the truth, and to reveal things past, present, and to come. It is necessary, however, to have faith in Christ. Why? Because every blessing that flows to the inhabitants of the earth from God the eternal Father comes through Jesus Christ. We must first of all believe in God, then believe in Jesus Christ, and if we really do believe in God and in Jesus Christ we will find out in ourselves that we have broken the commandments of God and of his Son Jesus Christ, and the desire will enter our hearts to turn away from sin. Thus it is said "whosoever heareth these sayings, and doeth them, I will liken unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock." It is taught by some that repentance is the first principle of religion, but if a man does not believe in God, will he pray unto him? What has a man to repent of except the breaking of the commandments of God? And how shall he feel anything to repent of if he does not believe in God? It is necessary therefore to have faith first, and then comes repentance, a determination to forsake evil, and this is what the ancient apostles taught.
What next? We find that wherever the apostles went, whenever they found a people who believed in Jesus and repented of their sins they baptized them. By sprinkling a little water in their face? Or by making the sign of the cross upon their foreheads? No. They were taken down into the water and buried there in the likeness of Christ's death and burial and raised up in the likeness of his resurrection, that henceforth, having "put off the old man with his deeds" they might walk in newness of life, observe his laws and keep his commandments, and follow his footsteps, for he "left us an example, that we should follow in his steps." Then the apostles laid their hands upon those that were baptized, and we read that they received the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, the spirit of truth, which opened up a communication between each individual soul and the fountain of light and eternal truth, which testified that they had been washed clean from their sins. How washed By water? Yes, and no. Water does not wash away sin, but if people desire remission of their actual sins they must be baptized. Thus it must be, "to fulfil all righteousness." Even Christ himself had to he baptized to fulfil that commandment, and if he had not obeyed it there would have been no manifestation of the Holy Ghost resting upon him in the sign of a dove, and a voice from heaven declaring, "'This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." Christ left us this example, and his apostles followed in his footsteps, baptizing according to the commandment for the remis-
sion of sins. John the Baptist also taught this same doctrine when he went out to preach in Judea, and when the people came to him confessing their sins he baptized them in Jordan for the remission of sins. "I indeed baptize you," says John, "with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to loose; he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire."
Baptism for the remission of sins!
"Why," says one "I thought the blood of Christ redeemed us from our sins."And so it does. Water itself will not wash away guilt. If a person has no faith in Christ, and has not repented of his sins, baptism will be of no avail. But baptism properly administered by one who has a right to administer in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, will avail. The person to be baptized must go down into the water and therein be buried for a remission of sins, having repented, and having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in his atoning blood, for the blood of Christ was shed "for the sins of the whole world." But the "whole world" will not receive the benefit of the atonement unless they comply with the conditions laid down, namely: faith, repentance, and baptism. They who do not receive this ordinance cannot enter into the presence of the Father, for "except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." So said Jesus. This is a little different from the teachings of modern divines, is it not? Yes, but it is according to the teachings of Christ and his apostles.
Now, then, in regard to the administration of this ordinance. Men must have a right to administer before they do anything in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. I ask who has that right? There are a great many ministers standing up in the various chapels and churches to-day administering in the name of this holy trinity, You can see men in the Christian world stand up before a congregation and sprinkle a little water upon an unconscious babe, and call it baptism, and actually do it in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost! Who sent them? Who told them to do this sprinkling? Did God the Father, or the Son, or the Holy Ghost? No. Did any person to whom God has spoken, having authority from God to ordain, appoint them to that office? No. Why! Because for hundreds of years communication with the eternal world has been shut off, inasmuch as the people who profess. the Christian religion have not even believed in the doctrine of present communication with God. They have been contented with the old revelations contained in the book we call the Bible, which contains a few of the things that God revealed hundreds of years ago. They do not believe in having communication with the heavens. How did they get this authority, then? When did a man ever get authority from God to sprinkle and call it baptism, or to baptize an infant in any form It is not to be found in the Bible. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved," so Christ said. And you will find that wherever the apostles went, faith was the first principle they taught. "If thou believest with all thine heart thou mayest," said Philip to the eunuch who sought to be baptized. Baptism without faith and repentance is valueless, it is void; and baptism administered by one who has not the right to attend to that ordinance in
the name of the holy trinity is also void. Supposing men were to come to us with as groundless claims in temporal things as they do in spiritual. Supposing a man came from Germany to this country and professed to be a minister from the German court. We would ask to see his credentials, and if he had been sent as an ambassador for that people, he would be able to show his authority. Supposing all that he had to prove his right to represent the German Empire was, he felt called in his heart to do so. We should consider him a fit subject for a lunatic asylum. But there are men administering in these sacred things (administering in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost), ordinances to which God never appointed them, for they say there is no communication between them and God, nor has there been among the inhabitants of the earth for hundreds and hundreds of years. They say the canon of scripture is full; God talks no more with the inhabitants of the earth. Where, then, do they get the right to administer in the name of the Lord? I tell you as sure as they do this they will be called to account and held guilty of taking the name of the Lord in vain. How did the apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ get the authority to baptize Christ gave it to them. How did Christ get the authority? Did he assume it himself? No. Jesus said, "I come not to do my own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me." It was his Father in heaven who called him to be a high priest after the order of Melchisedek, and Moses and Elias who had previously held that priesthood, administered to him in the mount. Thus Christ received that holy priesthood, after the order of Melchisedek, which embraced all the higher powers and comprehended the lesser or Aaronic priesthood (for the greater includes the less), and he ordained his apostles to that priesthood. "As my Father hath sent me," said he, "even so send I you." They obtained their ordination from Christ, and therefore had a right to baptize and also to call others as the Holy Ghost directed.
"But," says one, "there are many people who have felt called in their hearts, they have had the spirit of the Gospel. Have they not a right, seeing they believe in Christ, to administer in these ordinances?" Certainly not, not a particle of right. Let us look at Paul and his history, related by himself, Saul, of Tarsus, who went to persecute the Saints and was smitten to the earth by the light from the glorious presence of the lately risen Jesus. He was led blind into the city to which he carried letters intended to be used in the persecution and annoyance of the saints. Says Paul: "And one Ananias came unto me and said, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him. And he said the God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldst know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldst hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. And now why tarriest thou? Arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." Saul attended to the ordinance and was baptized. "Well, now," says one, "surely Saul had a right to preach the Gospel. He had seen Jesus and heard his voice. A miracle had been wrought upon him and he was told that he should be a witness unto all men." No, he had not yet the right. The hands of the
servants of the Lord had not yet been laid upon him. But we read in the thirteenth chapter of Acts, that while certain prophets and teachers were waiting before the Lord, "the Holy Ghost said, separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away." It is written, "No man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God as was Aaron." Aaron was called by Moses, who received divine authority by direct communication from God. Aaron, it appears, could talk better than Moses, but Moses was the man called to hold the keys of the ministry. If any man desires to act in the holy ministry he must first be baptized for a remission of his sins and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, otherwise he cannot be a teacher unto others. And even then, although he may have had visions, although he may have seen the Lord and had the glories of heaven opened unto his view, though the curtain that hides the future may have rolled up before him like a scroll, so that he could gaze into the glories of the eternities, all this would give him no authority whatever to administer in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. He must be called, he must be ordained, he must receive the authority of the holy priesthood.
Well, what condition has the Christian world been in for centuries? Just the same in a great many respects as the heathen world. The people have been in the depths of error. Darkness has covered the earth and gross darkness the people. "Stay yourselves and wonder," says the Prophet Isaiah, speaking of the latter times, "cry ye out and cry they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers the seers hath he covered." And the Lord said that in that very time, when the people should be in this condition, when they should draw near unto him with their mouth, and honor him with their lips, while their hearts were far from him, "I will proceed to do a marvelous work among the people, even a marvelous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of the wise men shall perish and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. * * * And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel." Just as the prophet predicted so it has been in the age in which we live. Out of darkness has come forth light. God, from his holy dwelling place, looked down upon the world and beheld that all had gone astray, that none were doing good, no not one. They were divided and contentious, jangling and quarrelling about creeds. Men were crying lo! here, and lo! there; in fact the blind were leading the blind and both were falling into the ditch together. The Lord beheld this from his holy habitation and again restored the truth from the eternal world. He sent his holy angels and revealed anew the everlasting Gospel. Truth came out of the earth, and righteousness looked down from heaven and both joined in one, gave joy to the meek, and became a power among men in the earth.
God called Joseph Smith to the great work of ushering in the last dispensation. He made manifest to him the truth, sent angels to him, enlightened his mind and gave him the gift and power of the Holy Ghost, and as Moses and Elias came to Christ in the Mount, so also did Peter, James and John ordain Joseph Smith to the Melchisedek priesthood. The authority of that priesthood is here now, and the servants of God who are called by that authority go forth and preach the Gospel to every creature, for a witness unto all nations, declaring that the end is near, and that the second advent of the Lord is close at hand. People are called upon everywhere to repent of their sins; to be baptized for the remission of sins, and to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, and whenever people have received the Gospel and obeyed its ordinances his blessings have come to them. The Holy Ghost, the Comforter, which speaks direct to their souls, has borne witness that their sins are remitted, that they are raised to a newness of life, and that if faithful unto the end they will be received back into the presence of the Father, to dwell in his society and glory. This is a privilege offered to all the inhabitants of the earth who will believe in this Gospel of the latter-days. Yet it is no new thing. It is the old Gospel restored. Not a doctrine, not a principle, not a precept therein, but what may be found in the old Scriptures. And this is what people call delusion! The Gospel came to us in the various nations of the earth, some belonging to the various religious sects, and some belonging to no sect whatever, and when we received and obeyed it a power took hold` of us superior to anything we have ever experienced before, and witnessed to us in an unmistakeable manner the truth of this work. It is not a phantom. It is not something imaginary, but it is a solemn fact, as certain as the fact of our existence. No one can reason us out of it, or force us out of it. Why? Because it is stamped upon our spiritual nature, it is a part of our very being. God Almighty has revealed this truth to our souls, and we know it as we know we live. That is why we are here.
Now, our business is to live this religion, to learn further of the ways of God, and to do his will in all things. The matters I have been speaking of are only the A B C of the Gospel. We must learn "line upon line and precept upon precept," and continue to grow and increase in a knowledge of the truth, living by "every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." Now I would ask whether this is the case? Having been redeemed? or having had our individual transgressions remitted, are we walking in the straight and narrow way? Are we learning of God? Are we seeking to understand more distinctly and clearly the things that pertain to our salvation? Are we performing the task allotted to us? For we are living in an important day. The day of the second coming of the Savior is nigh at hand, and when he comes shall we be found, as in the parable, among the wise or among the foolish virgins? How is it with us this afternoon? Have we oil in our lamps to guide us on our path? There is no need for us to do anything in the dark. We should be the children of the light. We are accused of following our leaders in "blind obedience." There is no
such thing in the Gospel. We have in our midst those who give us the word of the Lord in a church capacity, for the perfecting of the Saints, for the work of the ministry and for the edifying of the body of Christ," but it is our privilege to have the same light. "The manifestations of the spirit are given to every one to profit withal." The Holy Ghost is conferred upon each individual and it is our privilege to see our way. When the true Saints hear the word of life, there is an echo within their hearts and a spirit which testifies to its truthfulness When the word comes through our inspired leaders it proceeds from the spirit of light which guides us unto all truth. It is the privilege of every Saint to have this light fork themselves, the light of God, the light of truth, "the light that is in all things and through all things and round about all things, and is the law by which all things are governed." It is our privilege to be in possession of that faith that we may ask and receive, that we may seek and find, that we may knock and have the door opened unto us. Well, are we doing this? If so, then we rejoice in our religion. The world compared therewith is as nothing all things are as dross compared with the excellency of the knowledge of Christ. If we are living our religion it is everything with us "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." Earthly things perish with the using and when we pass away we must leave them behind, but we will carry with us the Gospel, and every one of its truths we have made our own. We will carry with us the holy priesthood and its gifts and powers, if we have been faithful, and will be permitted to mingle with the spirits of just men made perfect, and rejoice in the hope of a glorious resurrection.
Now let us strive to walk in this path that we may gain this great glory. Let us attend to the duties we are required to perform. There is nothing in the Gospel that is nonessential. Every principle that has been revealed unto us is necessary for the salvation of man, for I tell you before we are fit to dwell in the presence of God and enjoy the fulness of his glory we must become like him. Latter-day Saints, the ordinances of the Gospel will not save you, they are only aids to salvation. What, then, will save us? A knowledge of truth and the practice thereof, nothing else. We must learn the ways of God. We must walk in his paths. We must be Saints in very deed, and walk in the footsteps of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and then, by-and-by, where he is we will be also. If we turn our backs upon the truth we will go down to death; we will be beaten with many stripes, we must suffer the consequence of our guilt, and after we have gone through the depths of suffering and sorrow in the due time of the Lord we may get some kind of a salvation and glory, but where God and Christ are we cannot come, worlds without end.
I would say to my friends who are here this afternoon, that I know this work is true. God Almighty has made it known to me. I bear this testimony to you, and I am willing to meet it before the great judgment seat. God has spoken from the heavens in this our day. He has restored the Gospel of Christ and the authority to preach it. It will go forth to every nation, kindred, tongue and people. The wise and the prudent will not receive it,
but "the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel." This work will go on to this end and purpose. Zion will be built up, Jerusalem will be redeemed, and the time will come when Jesus, our Redeemer shall descend in power and great glory to reign upon the earth. I bear my testimony that this is the work of God, that he requires our whole heart, and that we should love our neighbors as ourselves. Let us put away our follies and our errors. Let us not drink into the spirit of the world. Let us not pattern after the wickedness that is creeping into our midst. Come out from among them and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean thing! Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord. It is only by the practice of righteousness and personal purity, that we will be made fit to dwell in the presence of the Lord. A doctrine contrary to this is the worst kind of delusion.
May God help us to live the life of a Saint and finally save us in his kingdom, is my prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.