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Messenger and Advocate/1/4
Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate: Volume 1, Number 4
Summary:Source document in Mormon Publications: 19th and 20th Centuries online archive: Messenger and Advocate Vol. 1
|Number 3||Number 5|
Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate: Volume 1, Number 4
|LATTER DAY SAINTS'|
|MESSENGER AND ADVOCATE|
|Volume I. No. 4.]||KIRTLAND, OHIO, JANUARY, 1835.||[Whole No. 4.|
LETTER NO. III.
Liberty, Mo. Nov. 13, 1834.
As time is a succession of seconds, so is my letters a continuation of sketches respecting the western world. Before I proceed to give a description of the garrison, let me say a few words upon the sublime sight of seeing the burning prairies.—When the grass and weeds are sufficiently dry, the Indians fire them, and generally in a ring, to catch deer; should the dear attempt to escape at the opposite course of the winds, they are instantly shot down: But the grandest part of the scene, is to see the fire keep speed or flight, with the wind, leaping or lapping over six or eight rods at a bound in frightful majesty, with a terrific roar, not unlike a whirlwind, while immense columns of smoke rise and roll off, in festoons and flounces, as independent as if the world was a coal-pit, and the sky a smokehouse. So the smoke days come. The northern Lights some times appear beautifully grand, but never more so, than does the burning prairies in the evening, when the sky is hid by clouds, and the spectator near enough to observe. I slept one evening within half a mile of a prairie on fire, with little or no wind. The scene was magnificently grand, especially when the red coals, glaring all their various images upon the clouds, as clouds are reflected in water, died away into the deep gloom of mid-night. At about this time, the dampness of the night generally quells the fire, and the scene, like one after a bloody battle, changes into solemn gloom. After the fire has left the ground black with horror, the Prairie Hens, a spiecies [species] of foul of the grouse kind nearly the size of common hens, begin to pass from their desolate regions to the woods, or cornfields, where they and the wild turkies [turkeys], are not unfrequently as bad as hogs in destroying the crop. But I must leave these for Cantonment Leavenworth.
About 30 miles westerly from Liberty; 20 from the boundary line; near 300 from St. Louis, and, say, 1200 from the city of Washington, upon a very handsome bluff on the west bank of the Missouri river, a few miles north of the 39th degree of north latitude, and between 17 and 18 degrees of west longitude, stands Cantonment Leavenworth. It was established by, and named after brigadier General H. Leavenworth, of the State of New York; late a compeer of Gen. Erastus Root, but since the late war with Britain, one of the most efficient officers of the army. He died about 180 miles west of Fort Gibson, Arkansas Territory, last summer, of a fever, and was buried at Cross Timbers.
This military post is the rendezvous of the troops that guard the western frontier of Missouri, and, at present, is the location of the three year's dragoons who patrol in the neighborhood of the Rocky Mountains, among the various tribes, to protect the Indian Fur trade, so extensively carried on by the American Fur company, North west Fur company, and a number of private companies, and other purposes. About 200 dragoons, under the command of Col. Dodge, a very worthy officer, as far as I have learned, especially, so far as relates to his excursion among the Camanches, Kioways, Pawnee Picks, &c. last summer, have come into winter quarters at this garrison.
This town, for such is the appearance of Cantonment Leavenworth, after you rise the hill, or bluff upon which it stands, consists of one stone block for the Colonel and staff; three blocks for company officers; four for company quarters, and a hospital for the sick, together with other appendages for other purposes. Though you may perceive, at first view, a few pieces of cannon, some sentry boxes, and sentinels, yet Cantonment Leavenworth is without walls; and while the thought may come into your mind that "men of war live here," yet when you see the fair faces of some of the officers' ladies, you will know, that the garrison, is not without woman to share in the glories and troubles of life, and set a sample for the fair, that regale in ease at the east, that women can wend their way to the west, "with all their charms
to soothe the Indian" and live and die, unknown to thousands.
Few places in north America present to the eye, grander views than Cantonment Leavenworth. At from three to five miles westerly, peer up a flock of little mountains, Saul-like, a head and shoulders above the great army of prairies, that spread themselves, with here and there a streak or spot of timber, to the base of the Rocky Mountains. Their bold headed grandeur, however, is such a strong argument in favor of age that I am just credulous enough to believe that they have not changed their appearance much, since the crucifixion. Again, as you look around, the Missouri, old muddy-face, in power, in might, and in dominion, not only, as I said in my last, the President of rivers, but the Emperor of many waters, upon which steam-boats, may navigate two thousand miles, parts the great west into two countries, and passes into the gulf of Mexico, as speedily as time flies into eternity.
A word or two upon the worth or growing importance of this garrison, may not be improper. It is the outermost civilized post of note in the west, and while the United States gathers the scattered remnants of the Indians, and locates them in this section, and keeps this post filled with troops to guard them, &c. an immense sum of money must be expended in the upper counties to furnish the troops, the Indians, and others, with provisions, fodder and other necessaries. The bill for the subsistence of the garrison only, as advertized last summer, was as follows, viz: "270 barrels of pork; 560 barrels of fresh superfine flour; 245 bushels of new white field beans; 3960 pounds of good hard soap; 1800 pounds of good hard tallow candles; 900 bushels of good clean dry salt; 1000 gallons of good cider vinegar;" and for the 200 horses, in addition," 2800 barrels, or 14,000 bushels, of corn, and 500 tons of prairie hay:" all of which cost between 16, and $17,000, besides the pay of the men; much of which is expended in this region. I will also mention the fact that this place has a post office, which is very consequential, for the mail being obliged to be carried weekly, keeps open a communication, and a channel which will always distribute money as long as the United States station men, & pay them.
One great object of this garrison, is to keep the various tribes of Indians in subjection, and to assist the Government, in bringing them to terms of peace, and as far as is practicable, civilize them. Here can be learned a solemn lesson of the fallen greatness of one once powerful people, for the instruction of another that time may teach to "go and do likewise." Within four miles of this place, the Kickapoos have been located, and here they and their prophet, are beginning to "light up a smile in the aspect of woe," 'that the Son of the Father will soon come and bless the red-man, as well as the white-man; that the red man's last days may be his best days, and that he, instead of being thought to be the worst man, will become the best man of the great Father's family.' About twenty miles from this post, the Delawares, and Shawnees, sit in darkness waiting patiently for a light to break forth out of obscurity, that they may know of their fathers, and of the great things to come. Still further, and southerly, among what may well be called the "Biscuit-loaf" hills, are the Kansas, or as they are generally termed, the kaws, included in unbelief, lingering away the time till a nation can be born in a day: and so of many other tribes.
I pray God, that as the knowledge of the Savior has come into the world, that his work may go forth until the knowledge of his people, the Nephites, and the Jacobites, and the Josephites, and the Zoramites, shall come to the knowledge of the Lamanites, and the Lemuelites, and the Ishmaelites, that the earth may know, and the heavens rejoice, that the mouths of the prophets shall not fail. That the saints may enjoy their glory; and rejoice with the angels, that God is God; that Christ is Christ; that Israel is Israel; that Gentile is Gentile, and that wickedness never was happiness, but that pure religion, whether it was glorious in the sacrifice of Abel, or righteous in the offering of Abraham, or meekness in the power of Moses, or valor at the hand of Joshua, or justice in Jepthae or virtue in John, or obedience and submission in the apostles is, and ever will be "DOING GOOD!"
As I gave, in my first, a general description of the country; and have sketched the "Land of Israel" in my
second, I feel as if I had said about enough in my third respecting the garrison, and will close by saying a little about doing good: Doing good for God, without vanity, without sordid selfish motives, and without the hope of fame, wealth, or earthly power. Beloved of the Lord, and friends that may be reconciled to him, religion, when defined doing good, fills the Poets description:
"Religion! what treasures untold,
"Reside in that haavenly [heavenly] word;
"More precious than silver or gold,
"Or all that this world can afford!"
The world was made for doing good; man was made for doing good, and woman was made for doing good, and if they had remained in their first estate, they would still be doing good; but they have fallen, and though ages have told many unworthy deeds, and showed the folly of millions; yet, with sorrow, be it said, man is still in darkness and transgression: And long will it be, without repentance, and doing good, before he will hear that holy sentence spoke by God, in the garden of Eden, amid the "Morning stars," and all his sons, all is "very good."
How many are there, that have been for centuries where glory never was, that would give worlds, if they would, to come forth and rejoice with joy unspeakable into the mansions of bliss? How many are there, that may yet be gathered into the fold of the blessed, and saved from weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth in outer darkness? The records of eternity will tell! Then, ye servants of God, advise the great family of this globe, to do good: That the father's care; the mother's tenderness; the act of kindness; the deed of charity; the husband's joy; the wive's virtue; love to God; yea, our being's end and aim, should be—doing good! All this, that some may be convinced by the truth, and know that the Spirit of God is an index to eternal life. To the end of our lives, let us please God, that we may be quickened in the resurrection, and become angels, even Sons of God, for an eternity of glory, in a universe of worlds, which have ever taught, and will forever.
Teach mankind, as they shine.
God's done his part,— do thine!
W. W. Phelps.
To OLIVER COWDERY, Esq.
FAITH OF THE CHURCH. NO. X.
As there can be no doubt remaining on the mind of any person who has made himself acquainted with the revelations of God, respecting the manner and way by which the Savior of the world prepared his apostles for the execution of their high commission, and the great labor and pains which he had to bestow upon them, before they could discharge the high duties which were incumbent upon them, by virtue of their relation to him as his messengers to the world, it remains to be examined whether they were the only persons thus favored, or whether it requires a similar course to prepare all others who share with them in the blessings of the heavenly kingdom. One reason why I have been so particular in examining the way by which the former apostles were prepared for their mission and work, was that I might bring to light a subject which seemed to me to be hid to the most of this generation; for those who make the highest pretentions to religion among the sects, and the greatest professions, seem to be intirely [entirely] in the dark on the subject of the work and office of the Holy Spirit. Though they make a great ado about it, and say much, and preach much about it, but examine them closely, and it is easy to discover, that they are strangers to its influence, and unacquainted with its work in the salvation of men, and are laboring under mistakes, and errors, of the most destructive kind: deceiving and being deceived; knowing not what they say nor whereof they affirm; speaking lightly and contemptuously of the very thing which they profess to believe: for not knowing what the work of the Holy Spirit is, and supposing it to be what it is not, they condemn the work of the Spirit, as being imposition, deception, and enthusiasm, and teach and defend a something that the saint has nothing to do with, and a work which never was predicted by it. Others seeing, as they supposed, the errors into which many had fallen, tried to avoid it, by endeavoring to prove that there was no work of the Spirit since the days of the apostles, but that the Spirit is the word and the word is Spirit. Thus
they pass along, persuading themselves that all is well with them; and perhaps many will do so until it will be too late, and have to bewail their condition where peace will flee from them.
It certainly will not be lost time, if we can by any means, settle this question, so that the candid may have some thing on which they can rest with certainty. As for bigots, and self-sufficient professors, we expect that they will persist in their course be it correct or incorrect; but there doubtless are many, yea, very many in this generation, who would be exceedingly glad to have this question put to rest, that their minds might not be in darkness, nor confusion, and this is what I shall attempt to do—praying my heavenly Father, that he will enlighten my mind by his Spirit, so as to enable me to present the subject as it is in his own bosom.
The reader will be left to judge for himself, whether I do or do not accomplish my object. I will remark this before I begin this investigation, that I think I feel no disposition nor feeling of mind, to have the subject any different from what it really is, neither is there any thing in my religious creed which would have the least tendency to excite a feeling in my mind, or a desire in my heart, to have it any different from what it is; as my creed is "prove all things and hold fast that which is good;" believing nothing in religion for which I have not a thus saith the Lord: either a thus saith the Lord by a direct communication from him to myself, or else a well attested one given to others.
I wish the reader to understand what I mean by a well attested revelation, given to others: I consider a revelation well attested, when the Lord, by a direct communication to myself, declares that he was the author of it.
In this investigation, however, I will limit myself to those revelations which are acknowledged by all who profess to believe in written revelations—I mean the Old and new Testament.—There are other revelations in my estimation, of equal force, which confirm the same things, and are strong corroborative proofs of the sentiments taught in the book we call the bible, and doctrines there inculcated; for let us find a revelation of God, it matters not to whom it was given, or by whom it came, it will teach the same doctrines, inculcate the same principles, and testify of the same religion—it matters not where it was given, whether at Jerusalem, or in America, to Israelites, Nephites, Jews, or Gentiles; to Ephraim, or the lost tribes, the gospel will be the same; for the Lord never had but one gospel, and that has continued from age to age, ever since the time it was said to the serpent, the seed of the woman shall bruise thy head, until the angel came down from heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to the inhabitants of the world, and committed it to man, for the last time, in order to prepare the way for the coming of the Son of Man. Neither has the Lord but one Spirit, it matters not when, or where it operated, or on whom; its effects were, and are, the same, and there is no difference, whether it was upon Abel, or Enoch, Noah, or Abraham, Moses, or Paul, prophets, or apostles, it was the same Spirit, if it were the Spirit of the Lord, and produced an uniform effect.
I presume it will not be doubted, by any, at least those who have a particle of consistency about them, that if the gift of the Holy Spirit was at all necessary, in order to the salvation of the person, who received it in former days, it is equally as necessary in every age of the world, and for every person, as it was for one; and that if the Lord ever promised such a gift to those who obeyed the gospel, it was necessary for the salvation of the person to whom it was given, otherwise the Lord would not have given it.
Let me premise one thing more, and that is, that whatever the blessings of the gospel were in former days, they are the same in latter days, without variation; that it required the same things to sanctify the human heart at one age of the world, it did at another, and the design of the gospel was to sanctify the heart of man, and make him fit for the enjoyment of God, in eternity; that there never was, nor is any promises made in the gospel, only those which tended to the accomplishment of this object, neither will any person presume, who has a regard for the character of God, or his revelations, to say that there were more promises and blessings contained in the gospel, and enjoyed by the primitive saints
than were necessary to sanctify their hearts and make them meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.
Having said so much, I shall proceed to examine the subject proposed:
MILLENIUM. No. XI.
Having ascertained to a certainty the situation of the Gentile world at present, and their condition in relation to the things of God; and that as concerning the faith of the saints they are reprobates, having departed from the true faith, to follow after fables to so great an extent, that there is not one society left which is standing as the apostles left the church, and as they directed that the church should continue: but all the sects, among all the people of the Gentiles, have departed from the faith and have turned away, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, and have made void the faith of God by their traditions.—For we have seen that all sects and parties, have ceased to bring forth the fruits of the kingdom of heaven, according to the order established by those who were immediately inspired of God, to establish his kingdom among men, and that the Gentiles have ceased to bring forth the fruit which they brought forth when the kingdom of heaven was first given unto them, and that the gospel which the apostles preached is considered heresy among them, and that a man who would attempt to contend for the very things for which the ancient apostles contended, would be called a heretic, an impostor, a false prophet, and every other evil epithet that could be heaped upon him. The apostasy of the Gentiles is so great, that they know not the doctrine of Christ when they hear it; neither are they capable of distinguishing the saints of God from those who follow after the evil one, nor the gospel of the blessed God, from fables. In so saying, I wish to be understood, as embracing all the Gentiles, without regard to sect, party, or name; for there is no difference among them: there is not one sect or party, in all the sectarian world but has departed from the faith, and is not walking according to the gospel of Christ: neither is there one sect which preaches the gospel; but a part of it only, and the remainder they despise; and not despise only, but those also who believe and proclaim it. We deem it therefore unnecessary to pursue this part of our subject any farther, as we have seen beyond the possibility of a doubt, that the Gentiles are in the very situation that the prophets and the apostles said they would be, when the Lord should set his hand to prepare a people for his coming, and to gather his saints together, that he might come in and sup with them, according to his promise, and manifest himself to them, and unvail the heavens and come down and reign with them, and over them a thousand years—that is, with those who were raised from the dead and were glorified, or who had been translated, and over those who were in the flesh; for the former are to reign with him, but the latter to serve him during his thousand years' reign on the earth.
Having got our way prepared, we will now attend to the first item we proposed investigating, in the order which we have laid down, to be pursued in the investigation of this subject: that is, Christ's second coming, or in other words, his reign on the earth.
The subject of Christ's reign on the earth, is one of vast importance in the estimation of the sacred writers, and one on which they have dwelt with great delight, and in which they seemed to feel the greatest interest.
The Psalmist David speaks of it in the most enthusiastic terms: "The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof. Ps. 97:1. In Ps. 93:1 he says, "The Lord reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the Lord is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is established, that it cannot be moved."
Again in Ps. 96:10, he says, "Say among the heathen that the Lord reigneth the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the Lord; for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth."
From what we have previously shown respecting the Savior's second advent into the world, there can be no difficulty in understanding to what the Psalmist had an allusion in the foregoing quotations. As there is no reign of the Lord mentioned which is to be on the earth, but the thousand years' reign, or Millen[n]ium, the reader has only to notice that it is the world which is to rejoice, and the earth is to be glad, when the Lord reigneth. The matter therefore is settled, that it is his reign on the earth on which the Psalmist had his eye fixed, when he wrote the foregoing Psalms. Two things are to be noticed in the above quotations. The first is, that the Lord is to reign on the earth, and secondly that when he reigns on the earth, it is to be glad and to rejoice. The fact of the world being established, and the earth rejoicing, will enable us to understand many passages of scripture, that we otherwise could not understand; but with the aid of these facts will become very plain, and vastly interesting to the believers—a few of which we shall quote. We will begin with Isaiah, 35:1. The prophet thus expresses himself: "The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice, even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God. Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, be strong fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes." From the 1st to the 8th verse. A small degree of attention will enable the reader to see that Isaiah and David had their eyes fixed on the same period. David says, The Lord reigneth let the earth rejoice, let the multitude of isles be glad thereof. Isaiah says, The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose. We see that they both have said the same thing; that is, the earth is to rejoice and be glad when the Lord reigns. Isaiah says, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense, he will come and save you. For what will he come? to reign upon the earth, and to make the wilderness be glad and the desert to blossom as the rose. Let any person read the above quotations with care and he cannot but see that all refer to the same period.
THE GOSPEL. No. IV.
There never ought to be a dispute in the world about what the gospel is among those who profess a belief in the bible; for if it is not told in the scriptures plainly, and without leaving it a matter of contention, the bible is not a safe guide, neither could any thinking man trust his salvation on its teachings, unless they were easily understood: for if the gospel is designed for the salvation of all men, it certainly ought to be very plain; for there are a great many in the world who cannot understand any thing, unless it is very plain and easy of understanding. There is no subject ever addressed to the understanding of man, that needs to be so plain and easy of comprehension as the gospel, if we may credit the persons who have promulged [promulgated] it. They profess to have had a commission to proclaim it to every creature in all the world.—In taking so wide a range, there would be many persons of very weak capacities, who are not able to understand but very little, and that little must be exceedingly plain, or else they would not be able to understand it. There is no person who will suffer his mind to reflect on the nature and design of the gospel, but will be led to see that it must be the plainest of all messages; for it was to effect every creature in all the world; and if so, it must be suited to their capacities to make it a scheme of mercy and benevolence; for if they could not understand it, it would be worse than folly to present it to them.
This is one reason why so few, either believe or embrace it. It is too simple and foolish, according to their estimation, to be of any consequence to them. It was so considered in the days of the apostles who immediately followed the Savior; and to such an extent did this feeling prevail, that an apostle said, if a man would be wise he must become a fool: that is, to be wise, he must believe and practice those things which the world consider the most perfect foolishness, and too simple and degrading, to be believed, by any rational being. And yet, notwithstanding its foolishness and simplicity, it had power to save them that believed; for says the apostle, the, or in other words, this foolishness of God, is wiser than men, and this weakness of God is stronger than men: "For when, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God, by the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe." 1st. Corinthians 1st. chap. Or, by the foolishness of the gospel which he proclaimed, to save those that the world with all its wisdom, could not save: for after all the wise men of the world had said, or could say, and all the wisdom they had or could get, with it all, they could not know God. But the apostle, with the foolishness of his preaching, could make men acquainted with God. From what is said on this subject in the new testament, we can see that such was the contempt in which the gospel was held in that age of the world, that a man of talents or understanding to profess to believe it & receive it, was to expose himself to the certain contempt of the wise ones, so colled [called]-to expose himself to their bitterest feelings and severest contempt; even to so great an extent did those feelings prevail, until they that killed them thought they were doing God service; John 16:16. doubtless thinking that they were knaves and rascals, and not fit to live. Such were the feelings which existed in the minds of the people, in the days of Paul, Peter, John, and James, in relation to the gospel which they preached, and such are the feelings which prevail now, both concerning the gospel and those who receive it.
Since the coming forth of the everlasting gospel, contained in the book of Mormon, the very same feelings prevail among the would be wise ones.—It is called a "simple and a foolish mess!" too simple to be believed or received by any person of sense: And every man of that description in the estimation of the world, must be a knave, say they; for surely they know better: for any person of a spark of sense, must know that it is an imposition.—But notwithstanding all this tumult of words and great exertions, the persons who embrace it in sincerity and truth, learn, as the saints of former years, that it has power to save; and that the foolishness of God is wiser than man, and the weakness of God stronger than men: God saves them that believe:—And as this last proclamation has the same effect on the enemies of God in these days, as the former proclamation had in the former days, so this last proclamation has the same effect on those who receive it, as the former had on those who received it, and the same fruit follows. They receive the same spirit, and that spirit brings forth the same fruit, at one age, that it did at another; and the same gospel will always secure the same blessings to those who receive it.
Upon this subject there appears to be something very strange to me, in the world; it is this: all men who believe, or who profess to believe, in the gospel, say that as far as the gospel proposes eternal blessings, they will be enjoyed by all who receive it, but as to the blessings proposed to be enjoyed by the saints in the flesh, these are limited to a few individuals, or a few individual churches. The fruits of the spirit which were brought forth in former days, notwithstanding they were the effects of receiving the gospel, were limited to a small period of the world; fot [for] though men receive the same gospel, now, yet these fruits have ceased; but still the eternal blessings are the same: they will all get to the same heaven and rejoice in the same glory. It matters not how much they may differ in this world, they will be all alike there.
The great query with me is this, how can the gospel still have power to save in the kingdom of glory, since it has lost its power on earth? Those who were saved by it in former days, and made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light, were made partakers of its power on earth, and we have no account of its saving any in the heavenly kingdom, only those who were made partakers of its
power on earth. But according to the opinions of the world, it has lost its power on earth, but still retains power sufficient to save men in the everlasting kingdom—this may be, but I must confess I have serious doubts about it, and should not be surprised if it should be found, that those who never receive its power on earth, should likewise fail of its glory in eternity. Liberty, Clay co. Mo. July 4th, 1834.
Enclosed is a long letter which is addressed to no one in particular, but intended for the benefit of all my old acquaintances and friends who desire to read it. I wish you to read it first and then show it to others, as you have opportunity.
If I should live I expect to return to Painesville on a visit within a year, notwithstanding I have written in my long letter that it was doubtful whether I ever should return there.
I and my family are well; we have passed through many trying scenes since I saw you last, but it does not, in the least, move me nor shake my faith.
Please to give my respects to all enquiring friends.
With sentiments of respect I remain your friend and servant.
DOCT. S. ROSA.
Independence, Mo. Aug. 31st, 1833.
DEAR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS.
When I left Painesville two years ago last June, I expected to have returned again to that place the same season, but as things have turned since then it is probable to me now, that I shall never return there. Therefore, feeling that I did not improve every opportunity that I might have done, to bear testimony to the things I believe—and feeling, as I do, the importance of warning my fellow men to prepare themselves for the great day of the Lord, or in other words, for the second coming of the Son of Man, has induced me to endeavor by a letter to show, that that day is near at hand; and that it is necessary to be prepared to meet the Son of God when he shall appear in the clouds of heaven, as about that time will be fulfilled what was spoken by Moses the prophet, viz: all that will not hear or obey Christ, will be cut off from among the people.
I will now endeavor to show that Christ will come a second time without sin unto salvation. And first, I quote Job. 19:23,27: "O that my words were now written, O that they were printed in a book, that they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock forever! For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another."
It is evident, that Job knew he should stand on the earth in the latter days and be[h]old Christ face to face.
Zechariah, 14:4,5 reads thus: "And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal; yea, ye shall flee like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee." This quotation not only shows that Christ is coming, but that all the saints will come with him: and this agrees with what Paul wrote, 1st Thess. 4:15,16,17: "For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the arch-angel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air and so shall we ever be with the Lord." Thus we see that the Lord is coming in the clounds [clouds] of heaven; agreeing with what is recorded in the 1st chap. of Acts; he being on the mount of Olives was taken up and a cloud received him out of their sight: and while they were still gazing up into heaven the two men dressed in white that stood by said this same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Again, Jude tells us that Enoch the seventh from Adam prophesied, saying, "Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints."—From the above quotations we discover that the prophets and apostles both had a view of the coming of Christ in the last days bringing all the saints with him. Those that were on the earth and in their graves having met him in the clouds, descend with him when he comes on the earth. Were it necessary I might add many more passages to prove the coming of Christ. Such as his "coming as a thief," also "I come quickly," as recorded by John the Revelator years after Christ's ascension, but I deem it unnecessary.
I will now show, that all who do not obey Christ, will be cut off from the face of the earth when the Lord comes, while all the meek that are alive, or have lived from the creation of the world down, will inherit the earth, according to the promise of Christ.—See sermon on the mount. By reading the 11th chap. to the Hebrews, you will see that the ancient worthies all died in faith not obtaining the promised possession, God having provided some better thing for us that they without us should not be made perfect, says the writer; showing that all the meek will obtain their possession at one time, and that will be when the wicked cease from troubling—which will take place when all the wicked are destroyed from off the face of the earth—which I will now show must take place before the Millen[n]ium commences. I quote first, from the 1st chap. of 2nd Thess. "The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God,
and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and the glory of his power." Thus we see that at his coming all will be cut off but those that know God, and obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. If the apostle told the truth the fact is established; but let us have the testimony of others. Read the parable of the wheat and tares 13th chap. of Matthew, and see what takes place in the end of the world, or end of the wicked: you will discover that the righteous remain. But say you "world" don't mean wicked: but let us see in what sense the Savior used it in other places. John 15:18,19, reads thus: "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you."—Also 14:17,27, and 31st. and also 17:14, 15, 16, 21, and 23, contains the same sentiment. In connexion with the parable of the tares, read in the 14th chap. of Rev. beginning at the 14th verse, to the end of the chap. also 19th chap. Rev. beginning at the 11th verse to the end of the chap. Then read in Jer. 49:7,23. And then read the 6 first verses of the 63rd chap. of Isaiah. The above passages referred to, appear to me to be connected, and certainly convey an idea of great destruction. The prophet says "the day of vengeance is in my heart, and the year of my redeemed is come." The day of vengeance is, I think, the same as quoted from 2nd Thess. and is the same as is called in other places "the day of the Lord," or "great day of the Lord." By comparing the prophecy of Joel with the foregoing, you will discover that it is upon the same subject. The reaping of the harvest and the wine press, are both spoken of. The gathering all nations into the valley of Jehoshaphat which is S. E. of Jerusalem. Beating their plowshares into swords, and their pruning hooks into spears, is the same gathering spoken of by Zechariah 2nd verse of the 14th chap. —and being so suddenly cut off is probably the same as represented by the supper of the great God, Rev. 19th chap. and also the battle of the great day of God Almighty, Rev. 16th chap. The same subject couched, in different language, is recorded, Ezekiel 38th 39th chapters. "Behold it is come and it is done saith the Lord God: this is the day whereof I have spoken." That is, it is an account of the great day of the Lord. The prophecy of Zephaniah also treats upon the same subject: you will do well to examine it in connection with the foregoing. Indeed almost all the prophets have spoken of these same things.
And now to show more conclusively that what Moses spake concerning the wicked being all cut off, being fulfilled literally, I have the positive testimony of three prophets to add to what has already been quoted.—And first, David, in the 37th Psalm, says a number of times, that the wicked will not be found, but that the meek shall inherit the earth: says he, "Fret not thyself in any wise to do evil for evil doers shall be cut off, but those that wait upon the Lord they shall inherit the earth; for yet a little while and the wicked shall not be; yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place and it shall not be, but the meek shall inherit the earth. Such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth, and they that be cursed of him, shall be cut off. And again, the seed of the wicked shall be cut off; the righteous shall inherit the land and dwell therein forever. And again, wait on the Lord and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: When the wicked are cut off thou shalt see it. I have seen the wicked in great power and spreading himself like a green bay-tree, yet he passed away, and lo, he was not; yea I sought him but he could not be found."—The Psalmist, we discover, understood perfectly well that when the meek inherited the earth the wicked would be cut off. In Isaiah, 13th chap. we have these words. "Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and hence anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it." Begin at the 6th verse, and read to the 14th. Perhaps you may think that the Lord is speaking of ancient Babylon, but you will perceive that what will apply to ancient Babylon, is but a type of mystery Babylon; for in the 26th verse of the 14th chap. (both chapters being upon the same subject,) he says: "This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth: and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations."
The 24th chap. is upon the same subject; I will quote a verse or two; and first, "The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it, and it shall fall, and not rise again. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth." This will undoubtedly be fulfilled at the time of the great earthquake, spoken of, Rev. 16th chap. "Such as was not since men were upon the earth so mighty an earthquake and so great." When we reflect upon the many mighty earthquakes that have been, and that the earth was never so shook as it then will be: and especially when we reflect that in the days of Peleg it was so shaken as to be divided, probably into two continents, besides numerous islands—I say, when we reflect upon this subject and see what a tremendous shaking the earth must have, we are not at all surprised that the earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and be removed like a cottage. With what majestic feelings the mind that is prepared contemplates this awful, this terrific scene! Seco[n]dly, "The moon shall be confounded and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in mount Zion and in Jeresalem [Jerusalem] and before his ancients gloriously." Thus we see that the Lord is not only to reign in Jerusalem, but in mount Zion, also, which shows that Jerusalem and Zion are two places. Thirdly, "The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof, because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, and broken the everlasting covenant, therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate; therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned and few men left."—This agrees with what the prophet Malachi says upon the same subject in the 4th chap. "For behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all
that do wickedly, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch," (take away root and branch and what will be left?) "But unto you that fear my name, shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I do this, saith the Lord of hosts."
From this we learn that the meek, those that fear the name of the Lord, will be preserved and will literally tread upon the ashes of the wicked, after they are destroyed from off the face of the earth, by fire, which is probably the last and sweeping judgment, or destruction, before the Millen[n]ium commences.
Now, I will attempt to show, that the day of the Lord: the coming of the Son of God, is near at hand: probably he will make his appearance in the clouds of heaven within the present generation. Joel, 2nd chap.—says, "And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh." In the 2nd chap. of Acts, Peter, in quoting the above passages, says, "And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God," &c. Here we see the word spoken by Joel, translated "afterward" defined by holy apostles to mean the last days. The days of the apostles could not be considered the last days, but there was a sample of the out pouring of the Spirit of God, on the day of Pentecost, of what will be in the days of the Millen[n]ium. The prophet, in recording what would be in the last days, says: "And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood and fire and pillars of smoke." These signs have been seen by many in this country, and we have had accounts that wonderful sights have also been seen in the heavens by the Chinease [Chinese]. In the 2nd epistle to the Thess. 2nd chap. we find the apostles showing his brethren, that the day of the Lord would not come until after the falling away of the church, and the "Man of sin the son of perdition be revealed who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God, sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." You are undoutbably [undoubtedly] ready to agree with me that there has been a falling away from the purity of the religion of Christ, which teaches that we should love God with all our hearts and our neighbor as ourselves. But perhaps you are not prepared to say, that the man of sin is revealed; if he has been, you will readily perceive that the two items mentioned by the apostle, as preceeding Christ's coming, being accomplished, we might then look for the Lord who shall consume that wicked with the Spirit of his mouth, whom he shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.
To understand where the man of sin sets, and who he is, we must understand what, or where, is the temple of God; and who perdition is. The same apostle shows us in a number of places, what we are to understand by the temple of God. He wrote to the saints like this; "Ye are the temple of the living God." Thus we discover that the man of sin is that mystery of iniquity that got into the church: even began to be there in the apostles' days, and which has exalted itself above all that is called God, showing himself that he is God. But the man of sin has been revealed to the elders of this church, and God has given them power to detect him whenever he shows himself. I will now examine what the Savior said, as recorded by Luke, 21st chap. speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem, and the scattering of the Jews: commencing at the 24th verse: "They shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations." And in the 28th verse he says, "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads: for your [the Jews] redemption draweth nigh."
We all know that there has been signs seen in the sun for a number of years past. And the Jews were to be apprized of the near approach of their redemption, when these signs began to come to pass. And I can assure you that the distress of nations spoken of, is not far distant; for be assured that the time spoken of by the Revelator, that peace should be taken from the earth, is near at hand.—Our Savior speaks of his coming in a cloud with power and great glory, which we are sure has never taken place as yet: and after speaking of the signs that would precede his coming, says, "When ye shall see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God" [or coming of the Son of Man] "is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass away till all be fulfilled." There has been many attempts to show that what was meant in this whole connexion, was fulfilled in the days of the apostles, because it reads "this generation;" but it is evident that it has reference to the generation that should live when the signs spoken of should appear. And this idea I think is confirmed in the 34, 35, and 36th verses; for he says, "Take heed to yourselves lest that day come upon you unawares; for as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth." Hence we see that that day spoken of, is no less than the great day of the Lord, and cannot be confined to the Jewish nation, for it was to come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. "Watch ye therefore (said he) and pray always that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things;" [that is, the judgments that were to come on the wicked of that generation, as he had before described,] "and to stand before the Son of man." From this it is evident, that none but the meek and the pure in heart would be able to stand in that day.—This being admitted shows that that day has never arrived as yet, and the signs that have been seen, show that this is the very generation spoken of. The Savior said, "Behold the Figtree and all the trees: when they shoot forth you see and know that the summer is now nigh at hand." If the figtree has reference to the true church, and as some suppose, all the trees represent the other churches, any one can discover that this is the generation. But let this be as it may, whoever observes strictly the signs of the
times, will discover that this age is big with events.
The book of Mormon, containing the fulness of the gospel of Christ, has made its appearance, and men are once more called to the holy order of God, to build up the church of Christ, and gather the house of Israel, preparatory to the coming of the Son of Man. But say you, how am I to know that the book of Mormon contains the fulness of the gospel? In answer, I say, you have the testimony of men that cannot be impeached, that the book of Mormon is true, and was translated by the gift and power of God.—Those that receive the book of Mormon and obey it, have this further testimony: they receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. By comparing the book of Mormon with the gospel preached by the apostles, (which I now intend to set before you,) you will be able to judge for yourselves. But before I proceed to set before you the gospel, let me quote Acts: 13:40,41, "Beware therefore, lest that come upon you which is spoken of in the prophets; behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you."
I will now proceed to show you the gospel as it is recorded in the bible, and if you take the trouble to compare the book of Mormon with it, you will find that it contains the fulness thereof. And first, I shall commence at the commission given by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to his disciples after his resurrection from the dead. One thing very remarkable respecting this commission is, that no one of the four that recorded the history of our Savior has it entire, but each one has a part, and the whole put together shows us, beyond a doubt, what that commission was. The portion recorded by Matthew is found in the three last verses of his testimony, thus, "And Jesus came and spake unto them saying, all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth go ye therefore, and 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; and, lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the world." The 16th chap. from the 14th to the 19th verse of the testimony of Mark contains a portion of the commission, and reads thus: "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." In these quotations, from Matthew and Mark, we find that the apostles were to teach all nations, and preach the gospel to every creature; yet they do not tell us what the gospel is, and without the help of Luke and John we might be much puzzled to know from the bible what that thing called the gospel was or is; but the Lord did not leave the world in the dark, for in Luke and John, together with what is recorded in the Acts of the apostles, the subject is made plain.
Luke 24:44,50 reads thus, "Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, and said unto them, thus it is written, and thus it behoveth Christ to suffer, and 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, and ye are witnesses of these things, and behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in Jerusalem, until ye be endowed with power from on high." Hence we discover that they were to preach repentance and remission of sins, and he that believed their testimony and was baptized should be saved. But they were to tarry at Jerusalem until they were endowed with power from on high.
Acts first chapt. and eight first verses, corroborates the foregoing. Christ, "Being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence." And further. "Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." The power spoken of above, we find explained in the 20th chapt. of John's testimony, 22nd and 23rd verses in these words: "And when he had said this, he [Christ] breathed on them, and saith unto them Receive ye the Holy Ghost; whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained. Thus we see that besides the signs that were to follow them that believed, they [the apostles] had this power granted to them also, even the power to remit and to retain sins, upon such conditions as the Holy Ghost should direct, when they should receive it. Agreeably to the instructions of their Lord, the disciples waited at Jerusalem; and as is recorded in the 2nd chapt. of Acts on the "day of pentecost they were all with one accord in one place," when, as was promised, the Holy Ghost was poured out upon them, and they began to speak with new tongues—and then they began their ministry, according to the directions given them. It may be proper before going further to notice, that the kingdom of God was now to be preached to all nations, and that Peter had the keys of the kingdom of heaven, conferred upon him, as recorded in Mat. 16:19. "And I will give unto thee [Peter] the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven." Hence we discover that Peter had great power given into his hands, & so had all the apostles, according to John's testimony, as above quoted. Consequently, when they were endowed with power from on high, and were to commence their mission, Peter standing up with the eleven, began to declare unto them the things of God; showing that Jesus was the Christ, and that they had taken, and with wicked hands had crucified and slain the Lord of glory; and that he had risen from the dead—in proof of which he quoted the prophecies which they dared not dispute, and thus convinced them that Jesus was the Christ; and being convinced
of the fact, truth brought with it conviction, as it always will when received: they saw at once that they had committed sin that had no sacrifice for in the law of Moses, consequently they, with one accord, cried out, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Peter having the keys of the kingdom, was ready to tell them what they must do: he said unto them: "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ 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." And according to the account, about three thousand were received into the kingdom the same day—having received the remission of their sins, as well as the gift of the Holy Ghost, they were made to rejoice and praise God.
Thus we see the happy effect produced by receiving the gospel in its purity. I wish you now to candidly examine the different sermons recorded as preached by the apostles, and you will find that the sum of their preaching was Jesus a risen Savior; and that when they got the people to believe that, they then immediately baptized them: in one instance even the same hour of the night. But say you, what good will it do one to be baptized without repentance? I answer, no good: But where is the rational man that believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that all power both in heaven and on earth is given unto him, that is not only willing to be baptized, but also to repent of all his sins, and serve God with full purpose of heart? I find I am digressing, therefore I will return to the subject.
Paul wrote to his Galatian brethren thus: "Though we, or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you, than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." Now pause, and ask yourselves this question, did the apostles preach more than one gospel? I think you must answer "but one." Well, Paul says the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. What does the result, on the day of pentecost show, but the power of God unto salvation! Surely the gospel that the apostles preached, and that the people received, was the power of God unto salvation.
I want you now to set down in the fear of God, and carefully and prayerfully compare the book of Mormon with the gospel, as preached on the day of pentecost, and see if the sentiment is not the same; if it is the same, it must be the gospel, and if the gospel, it must be the power of God unto salvation. For if you admit John's declaration that the gospel is everlasting, or in other words, that he saw in the last days an angel flying through the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, it will prove that there is such a thing as the everlasting gospel, and if so, is it not the gospel of God? And does not what John says, about the everlasting gospel's being preached to all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, just before the downfall of mystery Babylon, convey an idea that something more than the bible is to make its appearance, about that time? It certainly does to me.
Now, if the book of Mormon contains the same gospel that the apostles preached, which it certainly does, and that its whole drift appears to be to make men righteous and happy; and if the men who attest to the truth of the book are men of piety, and men who have sacrificed their property, and even their good name for this cause, which certainly is the case, what does it argue? Does it not argue that this work is true; that the book of Mormon is the fulness of the gospel, sent forth to this generation, that a people may be prepared for the coming of the bridegroom? surely it does; and I know that if you will be honest before God, these things will carry some conviction to your hearts.
I have one testimony further to add, which is the one that was promised by our Savior himself, which is the signs that were to follow them that believe. Now, if the same signs follow in these days that followed in the days of the apostles, it argues that the gospel is the same.
I assure you that the signs do follow in this, the church of Christ, who receive the book of Mormon as the fulness of the gospel of Christ. In many instances the sick have been healed by the laying on of the elders' hands, and also devils cast out. Many speak with new tongues, or in other languages; some speak in a number of different languages shortly after they receive the gift; others are confined to one or two—These are not idle assertions; I know that these things are so. Some have the gift of interpretation and some have not, as yet. But say you these gifts are strange things! Well strange as they may appear, they are the gift of the Holy Ghost: many of the world even receive the Holy Ghost in a greater or less degree, but few in comparison receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, the gifts being peculiar to the true church. What the Lord promised by the mouth of Zephaniah is beginning to be fulfilled. "For then (saith he) will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent," 3:9. Some speak the pure language already. Songs are sung in unknown tongues. Well say you in the days of the apostles they spake with tongues and prophesied, immediately after having hands laid on them for the reception of the Holy Ghost, and now it is more than three years since this church has been organized, and yet we have not till of late seen or heard much about these gifts being manifested. Why should there be this difference? In answer I say, that the apostles were three years with Christ, in which time we have no account of their speaking with tongues. In the days of the apostles the church started in perfection and purity, having the gifts conferred upon them at the commencement of their ministry, to all nations: the church was of one heart and one mind; but after a while we find that the church began to be corrupt and fall from its pristine purity; the declension continued until the church was lost in the wilderness, and the gifts all lost with it. Since the days of Luther and Zoingle, the reformers, light has been bursting forth in the religious world. Many reformers have rose up one after another, till
at length the Lord saw fit to raise up a standard, even the fulness of his gospel, and give unto his people a prophet, through whom they can have the word of the Lord from time to time, to lead them along from the wilderness in which they have been lost, that they may see eye to eye and be of one heart and one mind, as in the days of the apostles. And although the time has not yet arrived that we see eye to eye in all things, yet it has pleased the heavenly Father to begin to set his gifts in order in his church, which causes me to rejoice; yea, I will rejoice and praise my Father in heaven, that he has permitted me to live in this day and age, when I can see the work of the Lord and know it for myself—that is, I know it, or have no more doubt of it, than I have that there is such places as London, Paris, or Jerusalem. The Lord has given us in relation to the book of Mormon as much testimony, and of the same kind, that we exact to establish any fact among us at the present day, consequently would it not be wisdom for us, before we condemn the work, (having this testimony before us,) to examine and become acquainted with the men that testify. For one of two things must be true, that is, they have either held forth, in the most solemn manner to the world, the truth or a falsehood: if a falsehood they certainly must have been most base and corrupt characters. This is for you to ascertain for yourselves, and it is of great consequence that you be not deceived, that you make a correct decision.—Let not vague reports blind, or satisfy you, while you may know these things for yourselves. For be assured, that if the testimony borne in favor of this work be the truth, your disbelieving it will never make it an untruth: remember that the truths will stand while the heavens and the earth pass away.
I feel that I have written sufficient to convince any candid enquirer after truth. And now let me entreat you to sit down and carefully and prayerfully examine the whole subject through: pay attention to all the passages referred to, and see if these things are not so.
O, that you may be wise. O, that all men were willing to be as righteous as God would have them be, that they might be prepared to meet him in peace. I do know that in keeping the commandments of the Lord there is great reward. The Savior said he that was not willing to forsake houses and lands, father and mother, &c. was not worthy to be his disciple.
I want you to realize these things: think what it is to give up all for Christ. All the sacrifices that I have made I count as nought, when compared with the hope that I have of one day being enabled to exclaim with Paul, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." I now ask, do you love his appearing? is it your prayer that he may come in this generation? O, think on these things, and not suffer the god of this world to blind your eyes.
Since I have torn my affections from this world's goods; from the vanities and toys of time and sense, and been willing to love and serve God with all my heart, and be led by his holy Spirit, my mind has been as it were continually expanding—receiving the things of God, until glories indescribable present themselves before me, and I am frequently led to exclaim in my mind, why is it that men! rational men! will suffer themselves to be led in darkness down to the gulf of despair by the enemy of all righteousness, while such glories lamp up the path-way of the saints?
My dear friends, need I say more to convince you of the truth and reality of this work. I think if you believe me, enough is written to carry conviction to your hearts; but if I thought that more would be of service to you at this time, I would freely write on: the subject is not exhausted, neither am I tired of writing; for I feel willing to spend and be spent, in the cause of my blessed Master.
The testimony that I have borne and now bear to you in favor of the book of Mormon, and the great things that are to take place in these last days, is such that I feel clear in my mind that I have discharged my duty, and whether you are benefitted by this communication or not, I feel that your blood will not be required at my hands; but without this communication I could not say that I felt altogether clear, as having discharged my duty. I desire that this letter may be read by all my old friends and acquaintances, and also all those into whose hands it may come, hoping that all may be benefitted by the same.
O take the advice of one that wishes you well and would rejoice to meet you in the celestial kingdom of God: that is this, humble yourselves before God and embrace the everlasting gospel before the judgments of God sweep you from the face of the earth: for rest assured judgments will increase in the earth until wickedness is not known upon the face thereof. Therefore I say be wise, while you have the opportunity, and not be of that number who will have to take up this lamentation, "The summer is past, the harvest is ended, and we are not saved."
With sentiments of respect I remain your well wisher.
BROTHER O. COWDERY:
Believing that a short history of that branch of the church of the Latter Day Saints at New Portage, may be interesting to those who read your paper, I here give you a sketch of the same:
In the year 1831, Ezra Booth preached at the "Bates Corners" in Norton, to a numerous assembly, where I, for the first time, saw the book of Mormon, and was taught from it. Not long after, we read Booth's letters as published in the Ohio Star; and although he did not prove that the book of Mormon was not true, yet he gave the whole
work such a coloring, or appearance of falsehood, that the public feeling was, that "mormonism" was overthrown. However we afterward received preaching from brother R. Cahoon, David Whitmer, and Lyman Johnson, and after that, also by brother Thomas Marsh and others, which left an impression on the minds of many, that was not easily eradicated; and the way being thus prepared, the Lord in his providence, sent brother Milton Stow among us, who baptized a number of persons, some of whom belonged to the Methodist Church—which created much excitement in that church, and caused the preachers, which had charge of the circuit, to stand forth with great exertions to prevent its influence spreading further; and with strongest expression of their exasperated feelings, thundered out anathamies and divine vengeance on the heads of those "wolves in sheep's clothing," as they called the "mormon preachers." But this abuse, from men who professed to be the ministers of Christ, upon those men who had not injured them, and who appeared to be sincere, and were preaching much more glorious things than were heard from them, made many anxious to know more of "mormonism," as it was called.
At this time, being April, 1833, God, who is ever ready to bless men with the knowledge of the truth, if they will hearken and receive it, sent us brother Sidney Rigdon, who opened the scriptures to our understanding in that clear light in which we had never before understood them, even by showing us the fruits which the gospel produced in former ages, as also the gifts that were in the church—such as visions, revelation, the ministration of angels, the gift of the holy spirit, and prophecy—and that these were again restored to the world and were found in the "mormon church." Many now obeyed the gospel and were baptized at which time myself also, received baptism.
This little branch continued to increase rapidly for some time, rejoicing in the blessings and gifts of God, till the number, in the beginning of 1834, amounted to something more than sixty. For a few months the work of gathering seemed almost to cease, but our heavenly Father seems to again to smile in blessings upon us, and there has been additions to the church time after time, till the number now remaining, according to our church record, is ninety three: one has died; six have moved away, and two have been cut off from the church.
Our heavenly Father seems to be shedding forth a divine influence upon the people, that many are giving heed to the word preached about us, and also in a number of other townships, people are opening houses for our preaching, though some refuse to hear, and shut their eyes and ears against the truth.
Yours in the bonds of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Jan. 28, 1835.
Messenger and Advocate.
KIRTLAND, OHIO, JANUARY, 1835.
—> The first No. of "THE EVENING AND THE MORNING STAR," re-printed, is issued.—For the accommodation of our friends, we have struck off a large edition, and individuals can be supplied with any number by transmitting immediately, such orders, free of postage, enclosing cash. The whole 24 numbers will be furnished at the office, or by mail at $2,00. No subscription will be received for any less than the two Volumes.
Conference Notice.—The elders of the church of the Latter Day Saints are hereby notified, that a conference will be held at New Portage, Ohio, commencing Saturday, the 6th of June next. The Sabbath following will be occupied in public teaching.
BISHOP PARTRIDGE'S LETTER.
Time and space forbid lengthy comments on this production. It was forwarded us last August, with a request to either publish it, or forward the manuscript to the Hon. S. ROSA, of Painesville. On examination, we thought that it was an article fraught with so much necessary intelligence, that it could not fail to interest our patrons. With this letter we received another, requesting us, (should we publish it,) to give it entire in one number.—Till now we could not devote the space. And though it has been long written, it has not lost any of its important truths, nor will it fail, if carefully examined, to impress the reader with a reverence toward God, and an anxiety to be prepared for his coming.
Bishop Partridge is well known to the individual addressed, and to the citizens of Painesville,
among whom he formerly resided; and we cannot but believe, that that intelligent community will treat with due respect, and appropriate credence, this plain, easy, consistent, and unvarnished relation of truth, from their former fellow-citizen.—[ Editor.]
In this town on Friday, the 16th inst. SAMUEL CARVEL, infant son of elder S. Rigdon aged two weeks and four days.
On the 4th inst. Mr. ZINA REDFIELD, aged 56 years. He was a member of this church.
On the 23rd iust [inst]. widow SALLY BINGHAM, daughter of Thomas Gates, aged 35 years.
In Amherst, Ohio, on the first of August, last, Mrs. HARRIET JACKSON, aged 23 years. Mrs. Jackson was a member of the church of the saints.
In Benson, Vt. on the 26th Dec. last, CAROLINE, late consort of elder Harlow Redfield, aged 30 years.
She was among the first who embraced the fulness of the gospel in that country, and has ever maintained a steady, circumspect and virtuous walk. She bore with becoming fortitude, her last illness, and only longed for the anxious hour when her spirit should take its welcome exit to be with Jesus.— Editor.
In the last Messenger we gave a short summary of the intelligence received from abroad, relative to the situation of the churches and the prosperity of the cause of truth. From a general mass we can only select a few items, and in so doing shall endeavor to take that part which will be the most interesting. To inform the elders of the many and pressing calls which are continually saluting us, and the church of the increase of numbers to its body, will satisfy the whole, if our conception of the matter be correct. This, then, in general, will be our object in giving summaries.
The world is full of confusion, and corruption holds unbounded sway over millions, and were we to forbear giving our patrons, at least, a small part of the facts relative to the same, we might subject ourselves to censure.
The cause is a precious one, and a union of hearts and of faith is highly important: and how can the hearts of thousands, who are unknown to each other by face, be united; and in what manner can their faith be brought to bear more directly upon the object, than to be instructed alike, and also be furnished with the same intelligence relative to the same holy cause?
The elders are travelling into many parts, as may be seen from letters published from time to time, and what adds to the reflection, and gives joy to the heart, is that wherever they go, and labor but a short season, are instruments in the economy of heaven, of convincing hundreds of the truth and propriety of the faith of the everlasting gospel. We are indebted to them for the more part of the information of this kind which we publish, and feel ourselves under obligation to tender them the unfeigned gratitude of our bosom, and hope that by a joint co-operation we may be instruments in moving on this heavenly work to perfection and glory, that the NATIONS OF THE EARTH may see the salvation of God!
From the elders we receive many subscriptions, and hope we may be favored with many thousand more opportunities to thus circulate the intelligence with which we are favored, until there shall not be a town, no, nor a neighborhood in the union, into which numbers of our publication do not circulate. But to proceed:
Brother E. Owen jr of Green co. Ia. writes the 19th of Nov. last, informing us that there are a few saints yet in that place. There was once a large church in Green co. but they have mostly removed to Mo. The few remaining should not be neglected, nor suffered to perish for want of instruction, or be devoured by the enemy.—He closes by saying: "O brother, pray for us, that we may continue in the holy calling whereunto we are called, that we may be worthy to receive an inheritance in the city of cities, which shall be called Zion: and we on our part, will humbly ask the Lord to preserve you and enable you to continue to fight valiantly in the cause of the Redeemer's kingdom!"
From elder G. Bishop's journal, written from Salisbury, Ct. Dec. 4th, we take a few extracts:
"I arrived in Norfolk, Nov. 1833, and spent the winter in this State, preaching in different towns; the result of my labor here, was the baptism of 10 persons in the spring—Norfolk is said to be one of the most populous and wealthy towns in the State. * * * In
June I attended the Maine conference; stopped in Boston and baptized one.—* * * From thence to Dover, N. H. where I baptized 7. From Dover to Bradford, Ms. where I baptized one. * * After visiting 'Dighton Writing Rock' in Dighton, Bristol co. Ms. I went to Wendell where I baptized 9.* * When I arrived at this place, I learned that 6 others had been added to the church during my absence, by elders Smith and Carter. Since my arrival I have baptized 5. The church now numbers 20 in this place."
Mr. Wm. Johnson, of Lewistown, Fulton co. Ill. informs us by letter dated Dec. 8th, that there are a few believers in that place. Will the travelling elders remember them?
Elder E. H. Groves writes us an interesting letter from Gilead, Calhoon co. Ill. Dec. 16th. By which we are informed that he has lately immersed 12 in that county, and that more are anxiously enquiring. He thinks the prospect is very favorable, as there are many standing at the door just ready to enter.
Elder Charles Rich of Pleasant Grove, Ill. writes, Dec. 22, and says the church in that place is prospering in the good way.
Elders G. M. Hinkle and H. Green, write us from Washington co. Ill. Dec. 23rd, as follows: "The Lord is carrying on his work extensively in this region; we have calls to preach on the right hand and on the left, from five to twenty miles. We have baptized twenty in this section of country, and elder S. Carter and S. Brown arrived here the first inst. and baptized one—they went to the south, and we have since been informed that they are about ten miles off, preaching and baptizing."
"We shall not leave this place while there is a prospect that the work will go on. We have at this time an invitation to preach in Belleville, and another appointment at Lebanon. The prospect at present, is that there will be a great work done in this section of country."
Mr. J. Crosby jr. of Wendell, Ms. writes Dec. 23rd, informing us that the church there numbers 14; 9 having been added not long since. He says: "We few, who are engaged in this glorious work, are firm in the belief, and we hope that by the grace of God we shall be enabled to fight the good fight of faith, and to come off conquerors and more than conquerors, through him who loved us."
Elder Wm. W. Spencer writes from Tompkins, N. Y. Jan. 7th, and says that there is an enquiry among many to know whether these things are so—there is a prospect of doing good, and all that seems to be wanting, is faithful laborers, endowed with the Holy Spirit.
Our natural brother, the presiding elder of the church at Freedom, N. Y. writes us the 13th inst. and says: "Our church, I believe, prospers tolerably well: 10 have been dismissed with letters of commendation, and we have seventy three in regular standing. One of that number was added to us last Sabbath. There are many enquirers from five to ten or fifteen miles to attend our meetings; and notwithstanding we are every where spoken against, I believe there are more fears that our system is true, than there are doubts that it is not."
In addition to the foregoing we add, that elder D. W. Patten has lately returned from the south where he has been laboring a few months in company with elder W. Parish. They had, when he left, baptized about twenty in the State of Tennessee. He further informs us, that multitudes listened with attention, and manifested deep anxiety to ascertain, for themselves whether these things were of God. Of the vast population of the south, but few have ever heard the gospel in its fulness, and it is to be expected, that amid a world of calumny and reproach, heaped upon a society whose only aim is to do good, and whose only intent is salvation, that it must have fallen in the south in a greater or less degree.— But they are like the rest of mankind, when the truth is presented before them, such as are honest "gladly receive the word."— Editor.
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