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Messenger and Advocate/1/3
|←Number 2|| Messenger and Advocate
1, Number 3
|Source document in Mormon Publications: 19th and 20th Centuries online archive: Messenger and Advocate Vol. 1
Note: Some headings and bracketed texts are editorial and not part of the original text.
|LATTER DAY SAINTS'|
|MESSENGER AND ADVOCATE|
|Volume I. No. 3.]||KIRTLAND, OHIO, DECEMBER, 1834.||[Whole No. 3.|
Liberty, Mo. Nov. 6, 1834.
LETTER NO. II.
I am one, but the world has many, and the many so various and extensive that every mind and body may have its portion, and satisfaction, even of truth: wherefore I continue the sketches of the western wilds. And let me begin with that section of land which lies between the Missouri river, and the north western counties of this State. This fine tract of territory embraces land enough for two or three counties, and contrary to the observation which I wrote you last August about it, there will be a further effort for annexation to this State, as soon as matters can move.
The appearance of this tract, as far as I know, is much the same, of the other contiguous country, as described in my last: Extensive prairies, fringed with timber upon the streams. The streams have generally a small assortment of fish, such as large cat, carp, buffalo—shad, hickory—shad, gars, and a few other small pan fish. About three or four miles west of the boundary line, there is a beautiful creek of living water, pebble bottom, running northwardly and empties into the Little Plat.. It is called "Tod's Creek," and is sufficient for light mills. Passing some dry branches, in dry times, the Little Platt comes next, and a fine looking river it is, too, about eight or ten rods wide, with a grand fall for mills, of say six or seven feet, at the ford and ferry. Like other western waters, however, it sometimes rises very high, (fifty or sixty feet,) on short notice; and to use it for mill privileges and purposes, would require a stamina and capital equal to what brought the grand canal, by an aqueduct across the Genesee at Rochester, New York.
On the great garrison road, near five miles westerly of the Platt, is a precious rivulet, called "Clear Creek," along which the Indians camp, in hunting seasons, by scores.—This route to the garrison, from the Platt west, is timber land, and has fine appearance: in fact, from what I can learn, some of this section looks as rich and fertile as Jackson. At the distance of sixty or eighty rods from Clear Creek, as you come down upon the Missouri bottom, is a Jordan—like, deep sluggish stream, bridged, named "Bee Creek," from the great quantities of bees that have been found in its woods. The Missouri bottom from this creek to the garrison, about three miles, is covered with an unparalleled phalanx of rushes, four or five feet high, presenting one of the stiffest pastures I ever beheld. The cattle live and fatten upon these rushes, year in and year out, without any other fodder. One Mr. Martin, who has a permit from the garrison, has the benefit of all this spontaneous feed, together with a farm and ferry at the Platt, a farm and ferry at the Missouri, opposite the garrison, and a boarding house in the garrison, or cantonment, more properly, an account of which will be given hereafter. This permission with the facilities, without money or price, gives him a chance to amass a fortune with little trouble, little competition, and in a little time.
But to my subject. The last Congress, if I am not mistaken, extended the limits, jurisdiction and laws, of the territory of Michigan, to all "the district of country north of the State of Missouri, and west of the Mississippi," so that the "far west," or western world of territory, laid down on some of the maps, as the Missouri Territory, is now bounded, south by the Arkansas Territory; and Mexican States; west by the Rocky Mountains: north by the British line, as it shall be established according to the treaty of Ghent, cornering on the north—east, at the Lake of the Woods: and east by Michigan Territory, and the State of Missouri: comprising more land than did the old "Thirteen United States," and may emphatically be called the heart of North America. It is about nine hundred miles long and eight hundred miles broad, containing, at estimates, four hundred and sixty millions, and eight hundred thousand acres, spread over thirteen degrees of north latitude, and embracing all the beauty and variety of season and climate, that may be found from the south line of Virginia, to the gulf of St. Lawrence! It is a great place, and every thing about it is GREAT. The Missouri, than which a large or more dreadful river, (with its muddy face always scowling,) is not on earth, rushes rapidly from near the 49th to about the 39th degree of north latitude, hurrying along with it, its numerous relatives, and tributaries, from the vast prairies, that lay spread out like an empire, and passes into the State of Missouri, as the President of rivers.
Notwithstanding, this great country may be ranked as a part of the realm of the United States, yet, the title to the land, is held by the Indians that hunt upon it; or, at least, the most of it, is theirs; and as the general government, has already commenced gathering and settling the various tribes upon the south eastern limits of this grand region, I shall be justified on that point, and because we have the word of the Lord, that these Indians are a remnant of the seed of Joseph, I certainly shall write truth, on another point, when I call it THE LAND OF ISRAEL. Time will tell whether the United States will be so humane as to gather all the wandering tribes of the forest, and extinguish their title to such lands as they do not want. If the government should succeed in its philanthropic operation to ameliorate the condition of the Indians, and honorably purchase much of their land: if the Lord should permit timber to grow upon the prairies, like corn stalks upon the cultivated fields, so that towns and cities might speckle the west as they now do the east, still, when "Jacob takes root," according to the prediction of Isaiah, "and blossoms and buds and fills the face of the world with fruit," this country will then be The Land of Israel.
I should do injustice to the subject, were I to omit a notice of the Indians that inhabit the territory, of which I am writing. When I was at the garrison, I saw a noble looking, portly Indian, dressed and harnessed in fine style for hunting, and for the life of me, I could not help composing the following lines for
THE RED MAN.
O stop and tell me, Red Man, "And long they've liv'd by hunting,
Who are ye? why you roam? "Instead of work and arts,
And how you get your living? "And so our race has dwindled
Have you no God;—no home? "To idle Indian hearts.
With stature straight and portly, "Yet hope within us lingers,
And decked in native pride, "As if the Spirit spoke:—
With feathers, paints, and broaches, "He'll come for your redemption,
He willingly replied:—— "And break your Gentile yoke:
"I once was pleasant Ephraim, "And all your captive brothers,
"When Jacob for me pray'd; "From every clime shall come,
"But oh! how blessings vanish, "And quit their savage customs,
"When man from God has stray'd; "To live with God at home.
"Before your nation knew us, "Then joy will fill our bosoms,
"Some thousand moons ago, "And blessings crown our days,
"Our fathers fell in darkness, "To live in pure religion,
"And wander'd to and fro. "And sing our Maker's praise."
Now, to my story again. Besides the Delawares, Shawnees, Kickapoos, Wyandots, Pottowattomies, Senecas, Osages, Choctaws, Cherokees, Kaskaskias, Kansas, &c. &c. which our nation and the missionaries are domesticating as they are gathered, upon the southern limits of the land of Israel, the Pawnees, the Sioux, the Rickarees, the Mandans, the Nespersees, the Blackfeet, the Sacs, the Foxes, and many other tribes, rove and hunt from prairie to prairie, from river to river, from hill to hill, and from mountain to mountain, and live, and are blessed before the face of heaven daily as well as their contemporary whites; and, perhaps I may add, are as justifiable before God, as any people on the globe, called heathens. No church bell from its elevated steeple, rings "Go to meeting; it is Sunday," while a dozen lesser ones, for stages and Steam boats, peal a ding dong "for parties of pleasure, as a holiday," among these rude sons of the west.—And it is a difficult matter to make one soul of them believe the Great Spirit ever said, "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy," while they know, that the majority of the white nation, use it for a holiday. No politicians boast of freedom and equal rights, while thousands are imprisoned for debt, or are in bondage: No; when the tribes are at peace, the Indian is free; his land is free; his game is free; his time is free, and all is free.
But the glory of the whole matter is yet to be told; and that is, that the hour is near, when the Lord will gather his elect, even Israel; that the righteous may come flocking to the standard of God like doves to the windows. This is the glory of the children of the promise. This is the expectation of the faithful. This is they joy of the saints, that they may be gathered and live and reign a thousand years on earth with Christ. And who would not be full of hope, faith, and charity, at such a grand prospect. Or in other words, Is there an heir of the celestial kingdom, that would take this world as a mite towards the glory and blessings, after much tribulation, that he can receive in the one to come? No!
The generations generally, except the saints, as they have passed by, from the beginning, have had their measure, of glory, fame and power, because they have eagerly sought for it—but where are the mightiest of them? Numbered with the dead! The Nephites who once had the Lord personally among them, where are they? Numbered with the dead! And the present generation, with the knowledge of six thousand years in advance, after a little, where will all its chiefest be? Numbered with the dead! O grave! grave! how many mysteries thou hidest!—but the hour of revelation is nigh, and who is prepared to hear it? And the time to renew the earth is not far off, and who will then possess it? And the time is soon at hand, when the Lord can be seen, and who shall see him? Yea, who can enjoy all these sublime privileges? The pure in heart.
No wonder the Saints endured martyrdom! No wonder the Son of God suffered upon the cross, it was for the sake of eternal life in a world of perfection, where the order and the power, and the realm, are unchangeable, and the enjoyment unutterable, (in this world.) Away with crowns and kingdoms; away with grandeur and gold; away with fame and fassions [fashions]—all are vanity: seek first the kingdom of heaven and its righteousness, and when the Lord comes, the riches of eternity will be given to the saints; and the curse will be taken off of the earth, and the land will yield its increase, and the whole world will become the garden of God and his people. The land of the north, the land of the east, the land of the south, and the land of the "West," will be the land of Israel, the home of the blessed, and the seat of the beloved city: and though oceans shall roll back, and mountains sink down; though worlds may be created, and disappear, and ages come and go, yet, amidst my littleness, and nothingness, compared with the vastness of God's works, I hope to enjoy an inheritance in that city.
As ever, W. W. PHELPS.
To OLIVER COWDERY, Esq.
The library of the late Earl Spencer alone, exclusive of his pictures, is estimated at 200,000 lbs. This may give a notion of the state of literature in England in private life.
Admiral Napier has retired from the Portuguese service and returned to England, having received as his reward 40,000 lbs. N. Y. Mercury.
Freedom, Nov. 28 1834.
DEAR BROTHER OLIVER,—
I have been blessed at all times when my judgment dictated that I ought to write to you, with a willing mind to do it, but I have not always been equally happy in communicating that which will either please or instruct, still I venture to write believing I may be instrumental in stirring up your mind by way of remembrance. It is no matter of despondency to me that I am not able to instruct you in the great things of the kingdom, but, rather, of rejoicing, that I have a brother who can instruct me, nevertheless all you have, and all I have, is of God, and neither of us have any thing whereof to boast. Christ, the lovely, compassionate Savior is the happy medium, through whom all blessings are received. To him we owe gratitude and praise continually.—And I believe I hazard nothing that is contrary to truth, when I say that a proper contemplation of this idea will serve to keep the saints of God humble. Christ being the medium through whom all blessings flow, can the consideration of this subject do any thing else than debase the creature in his own eyes and exalt the character of God? While we were yet sinners, (says the apostle,) "Christ died for the ungodly." He has broken down the middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile, and reconciled both in one body by his cross, and of twain making one new man and so making peace. So it evidently appears according to the scriptures, that there is no other name given under heaven among men whereby we can be saved. Hence we may safely infer that that system of salvation which discards the idea of the all atoning sacrifice of Christ must be erroneous. The very idea of atonement or reconciliation, where there is so much guilt as there is attached to the family of man, involves the idea of expiation in propria persona or vicariously: For says the apostle, without shedding of blood is no remission. There is one God and one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all to be testified in due time. We who were once far off by reason of sin and rebellion, are made nigh by the blood of Christ. So that in every point of light in which we can view the plan of God in the salvation of the sinner, we are led to admire, to wonder at, and adore, its benevolent Author. Another idea corroborative of what I have advanced, is that salvation implies that we were lost. If we were not lost, we needed no Savior, and if he did not offer himself without spot to God for us, to make atonement for our sins, and bring in everlasting righteousness, then he must have suffered and died in vain, for he had no sins of his own for which to suffer, and the idea of his suffering as a mere example of patience, meekness or forbearance, appears unscriptural and unsound. Such is not that system of religion that is calculated to produce humility, and humility is that grace without which we have no scriptural claim to the appellation of saints of the Most High God; or to the promises addressed to the humble followers of the meek and lowly Savior. Says the prophet, he was wounded for our transgressions: he was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed. The great apostle of the Gentiles when he was about to take his leave of his brethren at Miletus sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church and said unto them, take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost has made you overseers, to feed the church of God which he hath purchased with his own blood—With these scriptures before me I know not how I can persuade myself to believe the sufferings of the Savior are not vicarious. On the principle that they are not vicarious I ask what scriptural argument can be urged why he should suffer at all.—It may be said by some that he suffered as a pattern of patience and long suffering, thereby teaching the children of men a lesson of forbearance which they ought to follow, and by which they ought at all times to be exercised. Very well, still this question recurs with equal force to my mind, how does that save us? and what becomes of the very idea of A Savior? Such expressions as I have quoted, and the following, he bear our sins in his own body on the tree, must if his sufferings are not vicarious, be senseless jargon.
W. A. Cowdery.
FAITH OF THE CHURCH. NO. IX.
So plain and easy of understanding are these teachings of the Savior, that none need mistake them: if there is darkness in our minds, it is owing to our prejudices, and not to any obscurity in the teachings of the Savior. Neither would we expect to find a subject of such vital importance, left in any degree doubtful: indeed all the darkness there is on the subject of the work of the Holy Spirit, in the salvation of men, is owing to carnal and sensual men, who have not the Spirit: taking on themselves the office of teaching the things of God: and being destitute of the Spirit, they are incapable of teaching the truth, to others: and instead of enlightening the minds of men, they "darken council with words without knowledge," and lead the unwary astray, and blind the eyes of the people, so that they are incapable of discerning truth from error.
We have seen in the foregoing quotations, in the clearest possible light, the way and manner in which the Savior of the world, prepared his servants and messengers to teach the world of mankind, and how he qualified them, so that they might teach truth, and not error. But to remove all doubt on this subject from every mind, so as not to have even ground for a caviler, we will take a view of the whole course of the divine proceedings with his messengers, whom he sent into the world to teach it righteousness.—We will go back and examine the manner of his dealing with them, in order to qualify them for the work whereunto he had called them.
We all know that the first thing to be done, was to call them, as he did. See Matthew 4th chapter, from the 17 to the 23. Also, Mark, 1 chapter, from the 15, to the 21.—After he called them, he next ordained them. See Mark 3 chapter, from the 12 to the 20
verse. 1 Timothy, 3 chapter 7 verse, Paul says of himself that he was ordained a preacher and an apostle. In the 14 verse of the 3 chapter of Mark, we are told, that he ordained twelve to be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach to all nations.—As it is particularly said, that these twelve whom he sent forth were in the first place to be with him, we will have a fair opportunity of seeing the manner and way by which he qualified them to go forth, and preach to all nations, whither he would, in due time, send them, and whither he did send them after his resurrection from the dead. We have just seen that he first called them, then ordained them; and from that time, till the time of his crucifixion, he kept them with him, teaching them, and instructing them, into the knowledge of the kingdom of heaven. When he taught by parables, he explained all things to them privately. In the 10 chapter of Matthew, we have an account of his sending them out to preach, and to heal all manner of diseases; to cast out devils, and to raise the dead; preaching as they went, that the kingdom of heaven was at hand. And he continued teaching and instructing them, into the knowledge of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God, and expounding all things to them which were written, in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning himself until his death, and for some time after his resurrection. See Luke 24 chapter, from the 43, to the 48 verse. "And he said unto them, these are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures. And said unto them. Thus it is written, and thus it beho[o]ved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
What a vast of labor, and pains, he must have bestowed upon them, during his stay in the flesh: and then again after his resurrection from the dead, opening their understanding that they might understand the scriptures: and then making known unto them the things pertaining to himself, and to his kingdom, by similitudes, parables, figures, allegories and comparisons! teaching, and instructing them, into all knowledge and understanding, of those things which pertain to eternal life, until the close of his ministry, in this life: he then in his prayer to his Father, as recorded in the 17 chapter of John's gospel, or testimony, informs his Father what he had done for them. He says thus: "I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.—Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee: For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me: and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. See 6, 7 and 8 verses. As I presume that there are no persons, who believe in the divine mission of Jesus Christ, who will be disposed to doubt the truth of what he said on this occasion to his Father, respecting his disciples, it is only necessary for those who believe in the divine authenticity of the new testament, to read the above quotation once, (for it is exceedingly plain,) in order to see the great advantages these messengers had previous to the death of the Savior: First, they had the name of God manifested to them: I have manifested thy name to the men which thou gavest me out of the world. Secondly, they knew that all things whatsoever the Savior had, were of God.
Thirdly, they had both received and kept the words which were given unto them of the Father, through the Savior. Fourth, they knew that he had come out from God, and that God had most assuredly sent him into the world. According to the testimony of the Savior on all the foregoing points, they had the greatest confidence, and the strongest assurance: having seen, heard, and known, for themselves, until they knew most assuredly. There were the best of reasons for the Savior's saying as he did to his Father on that occasion: for on the mount of transfiguration, he had let them behold his glory, and they heard the voice of God out of the heavens, speaking unto them, and testifying that Jesus was the Son of God. So that the apostles did know beyond the power of contradiction, that he had come out from God: on this most important of all points, their minds must have been without doubt. In addition to this, they had, previous to the time when the Savior addressed his Father, the power of working miracles, healing the sick, casting out devils, and raising the dead. Matthew, 10 chapter. When all these things are properly considered, they set forth the advantages of the apostles of the Savior, which were in Judea, in a very interesting point of light, and show that they were not sent forth to preach to the world, until they had been instructed extensively into the knowledge of the doctrine of Jesus Christ. But now reader, mark: After all this, they had to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, before they could teach the nations or preach the gospel to the world. Such great importance does the Savior attach to the gift of the Holy Spirit, that nothing can be a substitute for it; neither could any learning or instruction, which the apostles had received, or could receive from him, supersede the necessity of it.
Some very important things suggest themselves to the mind, in reflecting on the whole surface of the divine proceedings, in relation to the apostles.
The first is: that so vastly important is the gift of the Holy Spirit, in the salvation of men, that nothing can supply its place.—There is nothing that a man can see with his eyes, or hear with his ears, or handle with his hands, which can supply the place of the Holy Spirit: neither can any instruction, received from prophets, or seers, or even from the Lord Jesus himself, or yet the voice of God, out of the heavens: for all this the disciples had before they received the gift of the Holy Spirit—neither believing, receiving, nor keeping, the word of God, will do; for the apostles had done all this, before they
received the gift of the Holy Spirit. They had seen the Lord in the flesh, and after his resurrection from the dead; and had beheld him in his glory, on the mount of transfiguration: but notwithstanding all this, they must receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, or else they could not build up the kingdom of heaven among men.
Another important consideration is, that without the gift of the Holy Spirit the greater part of the teachings of the Savior would have been in vain; for such is the weakness of the human mind, that unless it is strengthened by the Holy Spirit, it would forget the things which it had been taught; and in consequence thereof they would be useless. The Savior told the disciples that the Comforter, which was the Holy Spirit, that he would send into the world, when he went away, should lead them unto all truth, and should bring all things to their remembrance, whatsoever he had said unto them; things which they had forgotten should be restored to them again, by the power of the Holy Spirit, without which gift they would be lost to the disciples forever. This leaves the subject without doubt, that the knowledge which is necessary to salvation, cannot be obtained only through the gift of the Holy Spirit; for the mind of man is not strong enough to retain it, only as it is strengthened by the power of the Spirit of God.
A third reflection is, that unless the Holy Spirit dwells with a man, and is in him, he cannot have the necessary knowledge of the things of Jesus, in order to his salvation. It is only necessary here to remark, that the apostles had seen Jesus in the flesh, and had beheld his glory when he was transfigured before them: they were also with him forty days after he rose from the dead, and beheld him ascend up into glory, and the angels came and administered unto them, but not withstanding all this, the Savior told them that when the Spirit came, he should guide them into all truth, and should take of the things of his and show them unto them—[the disciples.] This is as much as to say, that the Holy Spirit, when it came, should give them an understanding of all things which they had seen, and heard, and handled: so that we can see, that seeing, hearing and handling, would have been of no consequence to them, had not the Spirit of promise been sent down upon them; for they would not have had the understanding of them, sufficiently, to have done them any eternal good. For observe, the Spirit was to lead them into ALL truth: and if so, they could not have understood any truth without it, or else it could not lead them into ALL truth, if they were in it before they received the Spirit.
A fourth reflection is, that if it were necessary for the apostles, after all the advantages they had; and after all they had seen, heard and handled, of the word of life, needed the gift of the Holy Spirit, to enable them to build up the church of God, or to establish the kingdom of God in the world, no others with less advantages can do the work of God, unless they have also received this gift to the same extent that the apostles did. For no less degree of the Spirit than what they received could have enabled them to have established the kingdom of God in the world.
From the whole surface of this matter one thing is exceedingly plain, and that is, that the Spirit of God fills a large place in the plan of salvation, and that no people can be saved without the enjoyment of it; that its place cannot be supplied by any thing else: that it is essential to an understanding of the things of God, that no man can be safe to present himself before the world, in the attitude of a servant of Jesus Christ, unless he has first received the gift of the Holy Spirit: it matters not how great his learning or his literary attainments, neither what he had seen, or heard or handled, or read, or believed, or received, or kept; for all these, without the gift of the Holy Spirit, would be insufficient: for without it he could not understand the things of Jesus, though the heavens might have been opened to his view, and the angels have ministered unto him: and though he had heard the voice of God out of the heavens, still without the gift of the Holy Spirit he could not be the servant of Jesus Christ, nor build up his kingdom in the world: So important is the gift of the Holy Spirit in the salvation of men.
THE GOSPEL. No. III.
Mark gives the following account of the commission given to the apostles, 16:15,16,17,18. "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.—He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not, shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
Luke records thus, 24:45, 46, 47.
"Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it beho[o]ved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."
In the second chapter of the acts of the apostles, we have account of their first acting on their commission, and of their making proclamation at Jerusalem: as, according to the Savior's command, they were to begin at Jerusalem, so they did, and the account of that memorable day is recorded by Luke, in the second chapter of the acts of the apostles, 37th, and 38th verses.
After Peter, who was the speaker on that occasion, had convinced many of the Jews that they had crucified the Lord of glory, the people cried out, and said to him, and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of the Lord Jesus for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost: for the promise is unto you and to your children, and to all that are afar off; even as many as the Lord our God shall call." Let us put this account together, and we will have something exceedingly plain. Matthew says that they were to go and teach all nations, baptizing them, with the promise, that the Lord should be with them until the end of the world. Mark tells what the teaching, mentioned by Matthew consisted in; that is, preaching the gospel, which he says they were to do to every creature in all the world, and to baptize them that believe, with a promise that the persons thus baptized should be saved: and also that signs should follow them that believe. Mntthew [Matthew] says that they should go and teach all nations. Mark says that they should preach the gospel to every creature in all the world. So that there is no difference as to the extent of the commission given to the apostles.—Matthew says that the Lord should be with them even until the end of the world, and Mark says that signs should follow them that believe. This doubtless was what Matthew meant by the Lord being with them till the end of the world: that is, by confirming the word with signs following. They both say that the people were to be baptized; but neither of them tell us what they were to be baptized for; only Mark says that the baptized should be saved. Luke throws some light on this subject: that is, that repentance and remission of sins should be preached among all nations. This compared with what Peter said on the day of pentecost, makes this part of the commission very plain. He tells them to repent and be baptized, every one of them, in the name of the Lord Jesus, for the remission of sins, and they should receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Mark says, that he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. Peter says that he shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Matthew says that the Savior promised to be with his disciples always, even unto the end of the world. Mark says that signs were to follow them that believe. These two accounts, when put together, amount to this: the Lord promised to be with them, in confirming the word to the believers by signs. Let us now put the whole account together, and see precisely what it was, that these men proclaimed to the world.
First, they were to go into all the world and teach the gospel to every creature, in the world.
Second, those who believed their proclamation, and repented of their sins, they were to baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Spirit, for the remission of their sins, with this promise, that they should receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, and prophesy, see visions, and dream dreams, and that in addition to these, signs should follow them—in the name of Jesus they should cast out devils, they should speak with new tongues, they should take up serpents, and if they were to drink any deadly thing, it should not hurt them: they should lay hands upon the sick and they should recover: and to finish the whole of the promises made to them, the Lord was to be with them, and they should be saved. Seven things comprise the whole of the items of command and promise which they were to deliver to the world: First, faith—Second, repentance—Third, baptism—Fourth, remission—Fifth, the gift of the Holy Spirit—Sixth, power—Seventh, salvation and eternal life.
Let the reader compare Matthew 28:19,20, with Mark, 16:15,16,17,18.—Luke 24:45,46,47,48, with the second chapt. of the acts of the apostles and he will be enabled to see and understand the apostolic commission without either priest or commentator.
Let it be particularly understood, that when the apostles spake of the gospel, that it was this scheme of things to which they alluded; for this was what they proclaimed, and this was what all the ancient saints believed, and received, and by which they were distinguished from all other people. When Paul says that if we, or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel than that which we have preached, let him be accursed; or if any man preach any
other gospel than that which you have received let him be accursed, it is to the above mentioned proclamation, he alludes; for this is what he preached, and this is what the Galatians had received—not a part of it, but the whole of it—not one, or two, or three, or four, or five, or even six items, and the other one left; but all seven, or else they would not receive the gospel Paul preached, and which the Galatians received, but another, which would not be another, but a perversion of the gospel of Christ.
MILLENIUM. No. X.
The apostasy of the Gentiles is a subject, that I believe, is no where disputed in all the professing world—It is acknowledged by all, that the present generation of religious Gentiles is in a state of confusion and distraction: the cry of heresy, delusion, false prophet, and false christ, which is every where sounded in our land, is testimony to the point, and not only to the point, but is conclusive also, that this generation have departed from the principles of the true faith, and are led by false spirits, and teach one another doctrines which are not according to godliness. There is no fact plainer in the world, than the fact that the church of Christ has disappeared: for if one society had remained as organized by the apostles, there would have been a living pattern to have formed others by, and the difficulties which now exist in the religious world, could not have existed at all. But in consequence of every society, which the apostles formed, being broken up, the world is left without a pattern: and this is one of the great reasons of their present confusion and darkness; of their strife and partyism, because they cannot agree as to the order of a church, as originally established by the apostles: some think it was one way, and some think it was another; and one attempt is made after another to restore the true order of the church, to the world. But instead of getting it done, the sects only multiply, party, upon party, and opinion upon opinion; leaving the world, in relation to the order of the church of Christ, where they found it. They have as yet, never been able either to restore to the world the church, or the gospel on which it was founded. Let them restore to one another what they will, or what they can, the gospel and the church, they have not, nay, they cannot restore! and that for this reason, because they are in a state of apostasy: and God has devoted them to destruction, unless they will learn the things which he has caused to be written for the salvation of his people, which are of the house of Israel. See Jeremiah, 12:14, 15, 16, 17. In vain will the Gentiles of this generation attempt to reform themselves, or others, or to obtain what they have lost, so long as this sentence stands written by the authority of the Holy Spirit. "If ye continue in his goodness, otherwise thou shalt be cut off." Romans, 11:22. So sure as ever this sentance [sentence] was penned by the inspiration of God, so sure the Gentiles will seek to reform themselves, and others, in vain, so as to retain the kingdom of God among them: for as sure as ever the Lord caused the above sentence to be written, so certain the present Gentile world, with, all its parties, sects, denominations, reformations, revivals of religion, societies, and associations, are devoted to destruction; for, "continue" in the goodness of God, they have not: and cut off they must be, as sure as ever Paul was inspired of the Holy Spirit to write, and to make known the will of God to man, and to reveal his purposes to the generations which were to succeed him on the earth; for he has declared, and that never to be controverted (though it may be caviled at,), that the Gentiles should be cut off, if they ever apostatized from the truth as the Jews had done before them; and that, when this time came, (I mean the time to prepare for the cutting off of the Gentiles,) that the Lord would set his hand again to recover his people, which he had scattered; and that he would gather them and bring them again to the land of their fathers, and build them up a holy people unto himself.—This is the testimony of all the holy prophets since the world began: they all saw it and understood it, and wrote of it—it was one of the principal topics on which the Savior dwelt while in the flesh—the apostles considered it of the first consequence to all—they spoke of it; they wrote of it; they warned the world about it; they comforted the
hearts of the disciples with it; they rejoiced in the anticipation of it, and they glorified God that he had ever purposed, in the divine mind, to bring in such a day of glory and rejoicing, as the glorious day of redemption, when they should receive their bodies glorified like the glorious body of the Savior, and obtain the end of their faith, even the salvation of their souls.
The Millenium is that order of things which will follow the second advent of the Savior into the world, when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and admired of all them that believe. But previous to the time of the Millenium, there must great changes take place in the world, both political and religious—great revolutions will take place among men to prepare the way of the Son of man; and such revolutions, and changes, as never took place since the world began: changes which will effect the whole inhabitants of the world, to the remotest bounds of the universe—no corner so sequestered as not to feel their influence—no cave too deep to hear the sound thereof, and to feel the influence of the unparalleled events which will precede the Millenium.—The way of this day of wonders will be prepared by a general commotion of all nature: even eternity itself shall feel it: the lightnings shall flash, the thunders shall roar, and earthquakes bellow, until the lower creation trembles: angels shall fly to and fro through the midst of heaven, crying to the inhabitants of the earth, and proclaiming the judgments of God against them: Gentile sectarianism shall fall like a tottering fabric, the foundation of which has given way. Such will be the terrors which will precede the Millenium that all faces will gather blackness, and nation will lash against nation, kingdom against kingdom, empire against empire, country against country, and people against people.—The saints of God, which are scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth, shall be gathered together, both men and heavenly messengers will be employed in gathering them until not one shall be left of all the saints of the Most High, but they shall all be gathered together, and shall be taught and instructed until they are prepared for the reception of their King, and then he will unvail the heavens, and all nations, tongues, kindreds, and languages, shall see him, and at his presence the wicked, which remain, shall perish, and the righteous only be left. And then comes the Millen[n]ium, which will last for one thousand years.
BROTHER O. Cowdery:
Having learned from the first No. of the Messenger and Advocate, that you were, not only about to "give a history of the rise and progress of the church of the Latter Day Saints;" but, that said "history would necessarily embrace my life and character," I have been induced to give you the time and place of my birth; as I have learned that many of the opposers of those principles which I have held forth to the world, profess a personal acquaintance with me, though when in my presence, represent me to be another person in age, education, and stature, from what I am.
I was born, (according to the record of the same, kept by my parents,) in the town of Sharon, Windsor Co, Vt. on the 23rd of December, 1805.
At the age of ten my father's family removed to Palmyra, N. Y. where, and in the vicinity of which, I lived, or, made it my place of residence, until I was twenty one—the latter part, in the town of Manchester.
During this time, as is common to most, or all youths, I fell into many vices and follies; but as my accusers are, and have been forward to accuse me of being guilty of gross and outrageous violations of the peace and good order of the community, I take the occasion to remark, that, though, as I have said above, "as is common to most, or all youths, I fell into many vices and follies," I have not, neither can it be sustained, in truth, been guilty of wronging or injuring any man or society of men; and those imperfections to which I allude, and for which I have often had occasion to lament, were a light, and too often, vain mind, exhibiting a foolish and trifling conversation.
This being all, and the worst, that my accusers can substantiate against my moral character, I wish to add, that it is not without a deep feeling of regret that I am thus called upon in answer to my own conscience, to fulfill a duty I owe to myself, as well as to the cause of truth, in making this public confession of my former uncircumspect walk, and unchaste conversation: and more particularly, as I often acted in violation of those holy precepts which I knew came from God. But as the "Articles and Covenants" of this church are plain upon this particular point, I do not deem it important to proceed further. I only add, that (I do not, nor never have, pretended to be any other than a man "subject to passion," and liable, without the assisting grace of the Savior, to deviate from that perfect path in which all men are commanded to walk!)
By giving the above a place in your valuable paper, you will confer a lasting favor upon myself, as an individual, and, as I humbly hope, subserve the cause of righteousness.
I am, with feelings of esteem, your fellow laborer in the gospel of our Lord.
JOSEPH SMITH jr.
Messenger and Advocate.
KIRTLAND, OHIO, DECEMBER, 1834.
—> From the West.—The following is an extract of paragraph from the Message of the Governor of Missouri, to the Legislature of that State, now in session. We give it to our readers for the purpose of showing, that the cause of the afflicted, in the "Far West" does not escape notice. We did not receive this official document until a short time before our paper went to press, consequently, are hindered from making lengthy comments. Six things are certain, however, from the face of this paragraph:
First, The Governor has said that a portion of the citizens organized for the purpose of expelling other peaceable citizens from their homes:
Second, That in the following November they effected their purpose, "not however without the loss of several lives!!"
Third, That an attempt has been made to bring the mob to justice, but to no effect:
Fourth, That it is believed that none professing that system of faith held to by the people called "Mormons," can be protected from violence in Jackson County:
Fifth, That they are not permitted to take possession of their homes; and
Sixth, That it is for the Legislature "to determine what amendments the laws may require so as to guard against such acts of violence for the future!!!"
One thing, and only one, is wanting to put matters in a train for the restoration of this afflicted people to their own land—for the Legislature to "amend," or make provision in the law to guard against the outrage of mobs, hereafter—when this is done, violence, in that land ceases forever!
With the majority of that Legislature we are unacquainted, but we know that there are individuals in that body, who are intelligent and patriotic; and we cannot believe that it will dissolve without investigating this shameful and disgraceful outrage, and making that provision, so highly needful, for the safety and quietness of that country.— Editor.
"In July, 1833, a large portion of the citizens of Jackson county organized themselves, and entered into resolutions to expel from that county, a religious sect called Mormons, who had become obnoxious to them. In November following they effected their object, not however without the loss of several lives. In the judicial enquiry into these outrages, the civil authorities who had cognizance of them, deemed it proper to have a military guard for the purpose of giving protection during the progress of the trials. This was ordered, and the Attorney General was requested to give his attention during the investigation, both of which were performed, but all to no purpose. As yet none have been punished for those outrages, and it is believed that under our present laws, conviction for any violence committed upon a Mormon, cannot be had in Jackson county. These unfortunate people are now forbidden to take possession of their homes and the principal part of them, I am informed, are at this time living in an adjoining county, in a great measure, upon the charity of its citizens,— It is for you to determine what amendments the laws may require so as to guard against such acts "of violence for the future."
Conference notices—A conference of the elders of the church of the Latter Day Saints, will be held at Freedom, Cattaraugus Co. N. Y. commencing, Friday, the 3rd day of April, 1835. Friday and Saturday will be occupied by the elders in transacting such business of the church as may be presented, and on Sunday the 5th, public preaching may be expected.
Another conference will be held on Friday, the 5th of June, next, at Elder Winslow Farr's, in Charleston, Orlean Co. Vt. Friday and Saturday will be occupied in church business, and the Sabbath following, instructions in the gospel will be given—Editor.
In this town, on the 12th inst. CORNELIUS W. CAMFIELD, son of Mr. SAMUEL CAMFIELD, aged 9 year.
TO W. W. Phelps, Esq.
After a silence of another month, agreeably to my promise, I proceed upon the subject I proposed in the first No. of the Advocate. Perhaps an apology for brevity may not be improper, here, as many important incidents consequently transpiring in the organization and establishing of a society like the one whose history I am about to give to the world, are overlooked or lost, and soon buried with those who were the actors, will prevent my giving those minute and particular reflections which I have so often wished might have characterized the "Acts of the apostles," and the ancient saints. But such facts as are within my knowledge, will be given without any reference to inconsistencies, in the minds of others, or impossibilities, in the feelings of such as do not give credence to the system of salvation and redemption so clearly set forth and so plainly written over the face of the sacred scriptures:
Upon the propriety, then, of a narrative of this kind, I have briefly to remark: It is known to you, that this church has suffered reproach and persecution, from a majority of mankind who have heard but a rumor, since its first organization. And further, you are also conversant with the fact, that no sooner had the messengers of the fulness of the gospel, began to proclaim its heavenly precepts, and call upon men to embrace the same, than they were vilified and slandered by thousands
who never saw their faces, and much less knew aught derogatory of their characters, moral or religious—Upon this unfair and unsaint like manner of procedure they have been giving in large sheets their own opinions of the incorrectness of our system, and attested volumes of our lives and characters.
Since, then, our opposers have been thus kind to introduce our cause before the public, it is no more than just that a correct account should be given; and since they have invariably sought to cast a shade over the truth, and hinder its influence from gaining ascendancy, it is also proper that it should be vindicated, by laying before the world a correct statement of events as they have transpired from time to time.
Whether I shall succeed so far in my purpose as to convince the public of the incorrectness of those scurrilous reports which have inundated our land, or even but a small portion of them, will be better ascertained when I close than when I commence; and I am content to submit it before the candid for perusal, & before the Judge of all for inspection, as I most assuredly believe that before HIM I must stand and answer for the deeds transacted in this life.
Should I, however, be instrumental in causing a few to hear before they judge, and understand both sides of this matter before they condemn, I shall have the satisfaction of seeing them embrace it, as I am certain that one is the inevitable fruit of the other. But to proceed:
You will recollect that I informed you, in my letter published in the first No. of the Messenger and Advocate, that this history would necessarily embrace the life and character of our esteemed friend and brother, J. Smith JR. one of the presidents of this church, and for information on that part of the subject, I refer you to his communication of the same, published in this paper. I shall, therefore, pass over that, till I come to the 15th year of his life.
It is necessary to premise this account by relating the situation of the public mind relative to religion, at this time: One Mr. Lane, a presiding Elder of the Methodist church, visited Palmyra, and vicinity. Elder Lane was a tallented [talented] man possessing a good share of literary endowments, and apparent humility. There was a great awakening, or excitement raised on the subject of religion, and much enquiry for the word of life. Large additions were made to the Methodist, Presbyterian, and Baptist churches.—Mr. Lane's manner of communication was peculiarly calculated to awaken the intellect of the hearer, and arouse the sinner to look about him for safety—much good instruction was always drawn from his discourses on the scriptures, and in common with others, our brother's mind became awakened.
For a length of time the reformation seemed to move in a harmonious manner, but, as the excitement ceased, or those who had expressed anxieties, had professed a belief in the pardoning influence and condescension of the Savior, a general struggle was made by the leading characters of the different sects, for proselytes. Then strife seemed to take the place of that apparent union and harmony which had previously characterized the moves and exhortations of the old professors, and a cry—I am right—you are wrong—was introduced in their stead.
In this general strife for followers, his mother, one sister, and two of his natural brothers, were persuaded to unite with the Presbyterians. This gave opportunity for further reflection; and as will be seen in the sequel, laid a foundation, or was one means of lay-
ing a foundation for the attestation of the truths, or professions of truth, contained in that record called the word of God.
After strong solicitations to unite with one of those different societies, and seeing the apparent proselyting disposition manifested with equal warmth from each, his mind was led to more seriously contemplate the importance of a move of this kind. To profess godliness without its benign influence upon the heart, was a thing so foreign from his feelings, that his spirit was not at rest day nor night. To unite with a society professing to be built upon the only sure foundation, and that profession be a vain one, was calculated, in its very nature, the more it was contemplated, the more to arouse the mind to the serious consequences of moving hastily, in a course fraught with eternal realities. To say he was right, and still be wrong, could not profit; and amid so many, some must be built upon the sand.
In this situation where could he go? If he went to one he was told they were right, and all others were wrong—If to another, the same was heard from those: All professed to be the true church; and if not they were certainly hypocritical, because, if I am presented with a system of religion, and enquire of my teacher whether it is correct, and he informs me that he is not certain, he acknowledges at once that he is teaching without authority, and acting without a commission!
If one professed a degree of authority or preference in consequence of age or right, and that superiority was without evidence, it was insufficient to convince a mind once aroused to that degree of determination which at that time operated upon him. And upon farther reflecting, that the Savior had said that the gate was straight and the way narrow that lead to life eternal, and that few entered there; and that the way was broad, and the gate wide which lead to destruction, and that many crowded its current, a proof from some source was wanting to settle the mind and give peace to the agitated bosom. It is not frequent that the minds of men are exercised with proper determination relative to obtaining a certainty of the things of God.—They are too apt to rest short of that assurance which the Lord Jesus has so freely offered in his word to man, and which so beautifully characterizes his whole plan of salvation, as revealed to us.
From the communications of the elders, and others.
Agreeably to a notice in our last we give in this number a summary of the intelligence received at this office for a length of time, not inserted heretofore.
Brethren E. Barns and O. Kilborn, of Troy, Bradford Co. Pa. write under date of Oct. 27, of the situation of the church in that place. There were 28 members formerly in that church, but they now number only 20, some previously having gone to the West.—They inform us that there are enemies to the cause of truth in that country, who seek to oppose its mighty influence; but this is difficult: though they may so far succeed as to hinder some from coming into the Messiah's kingdom, yet the time will roll on when falsehoods will be chased away, and the pure rays of righteousness enlighten the hearts of the meek. The saints have only to walk agreeably to their own profession, and the chain of the adversary will be severed. There has been one of late received by baptism into that branch of the church. If any of the travelling elders are passing that way they would do well to call. They close by saying:
"Brethren, pray for us, that we may come in full possession of that faith once delivered to the saints, and enjoy, in perfection, the fulness of the gospel.
We have been expecting some of the elders from the West, and do desire the Lord to send some here to instruct us in this region in the way of God more perfectly."
We acknowledge the receipt of money sent by these brethren for papers, with one new subscriber.
Elders D. W. Patten and W. Parish, write from Paris, Ten. under the same date, (Oct. 27th,) giving the vary [very] joyful and welcome tidings that seven have been immersed, and that the prospect for the spread and increase of the work is brightening. They inform us that they have large and attentive congregations, many of whom are anxious searching for truth.
But the usual information accompanies the above, that unceasing exertions are made by men of craft to induce people to turn a deaf ear to the gospel, and that many, in consequence, are hindered from investigating those sacred principles so necessary and all important to the salvation of the soul.
They send us several subscribers for the Messenger and Advocate, which gives an opportunity to our brethren in that place of becoming acquainted with the increase and rapid spread of those items of truth which they have embraced.
We believe those are the first who have proclaimed this gospel in Ten. and we look upon this opening providence as a peculiar manifestation of divine wisdom, to bring from the South his sons and daughters, that when the word of the prophet is fulfilled "To the South: Keep not back!" they may also come with the same song of everlasting joy. May heaven's choice blessings abide with them, and the Israel of God, in these regions!
Elder James Blakslee writes us from Woodville, N. Y. Nov. 12th that, tho' the church in that place is surrounded by unbelievers and wicked men, some are to be found who are willing to hear. He says that there has been, of late a church organized in the village of Sackett's harbor, and that the reformation is still increasing. Also, on Pillow point, a short distance from the above place, there is a church which now numbers between 20 and 30 members; and also, a few miles from the last, himself and another brother have been laboring and baptizing, and find the people, many of them, enquiring what they must do to be saved.
If it was a source of joy to Peter and the other apostles, on the day of pentecost, to be favored with a correct knowledge concerning the plan of salvation, that is, the Lord's only scheme of saving men, it must be equally so now, with those who preach the same "good tidings," when they take into consideration not only the length of time men have been deprived of this knowledge, but the corruption and darkness which cover the minds of men!
He further adds, that they greatly need faithful laborers in that region, there being only two elders beside himself, excepting one recently ordained: and closes, to us, by saying, in substance as follows:
"There are, in this county six churches, and but four laborers for the Lord's vineyard, in these regions. I hope you will use your influence to send faithful laborers, as soon as possible. The Star has been a means of doing much good."
May the Lord send by whom he will, and save some of this generation who are perishing for lack of vision!—The cause is his own.
A communication from D. Nelson & M. Wilber, dated Providence, R. I.
Nov. 13th informs us, not of a great increase of members to the church, but an anxious request for the elders to call, should they be passing. They say some are looking on to see the accomplishment of God's work, while others mock and despise. So it was in ancient time, and we have nothing less to expect now.
Mr. Benj. F Bird, of Southport, Tioga Co. N. Y. writes under date of Nov. 14, and says: "I have received your papers almost one year: and because I held the book of Mormon as sacred as I do the bible, the Methodist, (though I had been a regular member almost 37 years,) turned me out; but I bless God for it; for though they cast me out Jesus took me in."
He further adds, that he does not know as he shall ever have a privilege of uniting with this church, as he never saw but one elder, whom he solicited to preach twice; that it caused a great stir and noise among the people, &c.
If any of the elders are passing near, would they not do well to call?—We circulate some few papers in that place, the most of which is through the agency of our aged friend of whom we have been speaking, and from whom we acknowledge the receipt of money for the same.
Elder John Lawson writes from Kortright, N. Y. Nov. 17th, and informs us that the good work is progressing in that place. There is a small church, and more are convinced of the importance of the everlasting gospel. Elder J. Murdock, previously baptized some 6 or more some time since, and elder L. informs us of others. We circulate a few papers in that place, and have no doubt but the travelling elders would be joyfully received.
From our natural brother, W. A. Cowdery, the presiding elder of the church at Freedom, N. Y. we are informed by letter, dated the 22nd of Nov. that the church continues to progress in the way that leads to eternal life.
He also informs us that an addition of about 20 members has recently been made to a small church of 13, raised up in Grove, Allegany Co. by elder J. Gould; and that the prospects are flattering.
From another dated at Freedom the 15th inst. we learn that another has been added to the church by baptism, of late. We are not able to give the number of members attached to that church; but from our knowledge heretofore, and learning of the addition of others since, presume it is quite large.
Elder Z. Snow writes from Mount Pleasant, Upper Canada, Nov. 28th, and informs us that the church in that place are prospering in the way of the Lord. He informs us of no addition, but says that the door for preachings is opening in many places more than he can fill. He has preached to many attentive congregations; but is necessarily hindered from the work of the ministry, in consequence of being obliged to labor during the week for the maintenance of himself and family.
We do not remember the number of members in that church, but there are many, and we have no doubt but thousands in that country would come into the kingdom of Messiah, could faithful men proclaim in those regions.
Another of the same date from Elder Z. Coltrin and N. West, written at Liberty, Ia. brings intelligence that a church has commenced being established in that place. They say that a great door is open for preaching in that region; that they have been laboring about two weeks; immersed two, while many others are more and more anxious to hear, and others have manifested full faith in the everlasting gospel.
Elder Seymour Brunson writes us from Bloomfield, Ohio, under date of
Nov. 29th and says that during the past summer, the church in Lawrence Co. in the south part of this State, have received some persecution, such as attempts to injure persons, and destroy some property; but as appears, the saints are not to be frightened out of their belief, nor scared out of their privileges. The mob in Jackson Co. Mo. has taught every saint, who wishes protection from injury, that he must step forward himself and attend to that part of the matter, or he may lose that which he cannot gain, for years.—There is no defect in the law if it could be justly administered; but certain communities are held by an influence unhallowed and unsanctified, and the great fundamental principles of our Government, are overlooked, in a blind zeal to please a craft—ridden, or craft—making, set of men.
We exhort our brethren to be harmless, not being the aggressors; but if lawless men throw down fences, destroy crops, or attempt to insult or injure their persons, the sooner they bring such characters to justice, and teach them to attend to their own occupations, by causing them to feel the consequences following a broken law, the better.
Brother Abel Allton, of Jay, Orleans Co. Vt. writes the same date, and desires to be remembered, himself and little church in that place, by the elders, when passing. There are eleven in that church, who, he says, are hungering for the word to be preached to them. He thinks they have been the most neglected of any branch of the church, no elder having called on them since last Feb. excepting Elder Boynton, in July, last. "We want," says he, "some faithful preacher to labor with us, and stir up our minds by way of remembrance."
Elders J. Hichcock and S. Chase write us from Franklin Co. Mo. the 3rd inst. and give the intelligence of an opening in that country for the spread of pure principles.
We are aware that the conduct of the Jackson Co. mob has served to prejudice the minds of many against the people of the State; but we assure them that there are men of principle and proper feeling, and not a few neither, who look upon that shameful outrage with as great a degree of abhorrence and regret, as any portion of our Republic; and we venture to say, that no part of our land furnishes individuals, and those in great numbers, who would extend the hand of benevolence to the needy, or exert themselves more freely, than those. It is a new country, and as is common to all new States, or Territories, infested with more or less outlaws, who have escaped the hand of Justice at home, and fled for safety to a wilderness.— Editor.
THE CLOSING YEAR.
Another year is about to close upon the living—the dead are gone. Time flies—eternity is near our doors.—Good or bad—well or ill—it cannot be recalled, by man. That personage who decreed the bounds for the waters, and gave order to the elements, has measured its space, and ordained its duration; and man, though he supposes himself to be of importance, and that by his nod a jog could be effected in the grand eternal purposes of the Lord, is but grass, and his glory like the fading flower. Never, while looking upon those scenes which have transpired since the commencement of the present year, did we realize the force of those emphatic words, delivered by inspiration, "Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?" more than at the present. Thousands have come, and thousands have gone, and yet the world exists, and time continues in its same uninterrupted course. But the earth is filling up its measure; the inhabitants dwelling upon its surface are fast being brought to that august period when it will "reel to and fro like a drunken man," and those scenes, spoken of by the holy prophets, are just ready to burst upon an astonished world!—This is not vain speculation, nor idle fancy. That system which contends that it has always existed; that it never had beginning, and that it will endure, without end, is feeble in its structure, and wanting in its foundation.
While retrospecting our labors during the present year, we see where, in many instances, we might have improved; but the time has gone by for amendments, and we can only profit, by the past and endeavor to reform from experience, that our labors may
be more useful, and our talent, though but small, be occupied in the manner which will most benefit our fellow men, and promote the interests of the Redeemer's cause—this is our only desire.
To our patrons we owe many apologies and acknowledge that liberal encouragement, the reflection of which, is a sweet consolation. In looking over our "Mail Book," we see an increase of names, sent us from different sections of our country, showing in what estimation those feeble exertions to vindicate the truth have been held. It is not, we are sensible, because of superior talent, that our publication has taken this astonishing spread; but the force of truth which it has invariably carried, has given it a buoyancy, notwithstanding the exertions of bigots to hinder its circulation!
The world is filled with men, all eager to obtain honor, fame, riches, power, or salvation—the last, the least.—However pleasing it may be to the saint to witness the spread of the gospel, yet we have no reflections to cast upon those who have been employed in hindering, or endeavoring to, the introduction of those principles held sacred by us, among men. The craft of Demetrius and others, in the days of Paul, was in danger, if the gospel prevailed with the popular class; consequently, an effort must be made to hinder its further advance; and in what manner could he [Demetrius] more effectually accomplish his purpose, than to cry, in the ears of the multitude, that Diana, with all her magnificence was in danger of being despised?
This was sufficient to raise an alarm, and cause the city of Ephesus to cry, for two hours, of the greatness of their goddess. We do not learn that Paul, or the church, murmured; and as the craft of every man is equally dear to himself, we shall only pass on, and endeavor to enlighten the world so far as we have influence and opportunity to spread the truth, and leave the result with God. To be sure, many leading papers of the sects are lying in our office, with much scurrility, and defamation, to which we may have occasion to recur at a future day, if so disposed. But, as there is no material difference between the goddess of the Ephesians, and the one, or ones, worshipped by thousands now, we are persuaded to believe that they all are worthy the same notice—silence.
These last remarks are not made with an intention to throw a slur upon the characters of our fellow men—far be this from our purpose; but having seen the violence and animosity of men exhibited for more than six years, against the system we have embraced, sufficient has been shown to warrant us in the belief that the world is in darkness; that the present theories are not founded on truth, and that each are acting without authority from God, when they attempt to administer in his holy name. We would we could find exceptions; but no sooner has a slander been put in circulation, (by no matter who,) than it has been seized with eagerness, and trumpeted throughout the world of christendom by every sect and party. No sooner have the elders of the church of the Latter Day Saints set foot in any place, among any people, than an alarm was sounded, and every professor, liar, drunkard, false swearer, infidel, or atheist, was exerting his influence to hinder others from hearing.
If this religion is vain; if our foundation is on the sand, and our hope a bubble, why, since it is so easily proven to be such, are men so industrious to keep it from their society? But it is the reverse: if there were not secret whisperings in the heart, that the hand of God was in it, and that should it prevail, it would overthrow some darling tenet of their own, they would not be thus virulent—thus opposed!
There is, however, a peculiarity in truth that is worthy of remark: If it is opposed it is sure to rise, and the more it is calumniated, the more tenaciously it will be held by those who embrace it, which always has, and always will, awaken the curiosity of thousands, and be a means of their conversion. If there is no opposition, men slide into the society of the saints to be popular, and thus wound the holy cause; "for when tribulation or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended," and often turn round, Judas—like, and seek to destroy those with whom they once ate and drank in commemoration of the death and sufferings of the Lord Jesus; rejoiced in the assurance of his coming again, without sin unto salvation, and held sweet council together. This the
world has always seized upon with eagerness, hoping to overthrow the society of the just; and by this, the saints have often suffered persecution.
But to return to the year: The elders have travelled into many parts, with good success, and many have been added to the different churches, and more new ones organized. It is impossible for us to say how many have embraced this gospel during the present year; but suffice it to say some hundreds if not thousands.
As we previously said, many thousands have gone: this is so, and among this number some of the saints have been also called. The righteous have hope in their death, said an ancient prophet, and this is true. They have been called from the pains and afflictions of this life, to the pure enjoyment of the blessed in the paradise of God; and in the glorious morn when the righteous will be rewarded, they will appear in perfection, to take their place among the sanctified. They have fled from our embrace, it is true, but we trust, through the grace of God, to join them again, where, and when, the wicked cease from troubling. Our hearts were closely united, too much so, to be dissolved by the cold hand of death. That holy principle cannot become extinct, and though they are in its fullest enjoyment, we trust in the Lord that our bosom will not be destitute while performing our pilgrimage here.
Our labor for the present year will soon be ended—when we close this short address, it will be closed forever—We cannot close it for this year, in another—the labors of the next will belong to the next, and those of this, will lie over for inspection, when every work is brought "into judgment, with every secret thing;" therefore in presenting our friends with this sheet, we present them our thanks, good will and best wishes. Some who commenced this year have gone to eternity; and we take this opportunity to say to those remaining, Be also ready! If our works have been acceptable in the eyes of our Master, in any degree, it is because his hand has supported us, and his grace been sufficient for our day; and the only reflection remaining is, that if, in HIS name, we have advanced the interest of his cause, and those who have heard, have been benefitted, we shall carry the same with us when we enter upon another year, if permitted to tarry, and if not, cherish it in our heart, in a world of peace.
Dear friends: permit us, with these closing remarks, to add a few items for your careful and serious consideration:
Time is on the wing, and the day of retribution is near. We have been spared another year, but, with us it is uncertain whether we see another.—Thousands who were as vigorous as we the commencement of the present year, are now sleeping in the dust—many of our acquaintance—some very near have left us, and we can say with an ancient, "They will not come to us, but we shall go to them." This is not all—our spirits will exist in eternity, and if we are unprepared, what will be our situation? Wasting and destruction are on our right and on our left—wherever we turn our eyes we see their ravages, and can we escape? Sooner or later we must go—are we prepared? Why not, then turn aside from the vain things of this world, and seek our Lord while he may be found, and call upon him while he is near? For you, then, we ask the forbearance and mercy of the Savior, that whether you are permitted to see the close of another year or not, you may stand when he appears and receive a fulness of joy.
With these hasty reflections, and imperfect lines, we close—For the protection of the Lord we render our thanks in sincerity, and only pray, that whether we are permitted to see the close of another year or not—whether we are spared to use our exertion to turn men from darkness to light, from the influence of evil to God, or whether it shall best please him that we finish our course, his will be done—only that we may appear with the righteous, and be like HIM when he comes: Amen.— Editor.
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