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Messenger and Advocate/1/6
|←Number 5|| Messenger and Advocate
1, Number 6
|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. 6.]||KIRTLAND, OHIO, MARCH, 1835.||[Whole No. 6.|
LETTER No. V.
Liberty Mo. Feb. 6, 1835.
Your second letter in the "Messenger and Advocate," of Nov. last, directed to me, I shall now proceed to answer as the Spirit gives me knowledge. The letter is long and I am aware that my littleness in the presence of God, want of perfection in holiness, and narrow limits of learning, will greatly lessen my ability to do it that justice that the subject merits, and the church might naturally expect, but I shall do all I can, and confide in God for an honorable result.—Time is wanting for me to take up many things therein contained, and a personal interview for many important inter[r]ogatories. I will touch a few items to stir up your mind by way of remembrance, and awaken the saints to diligence, and may I hope, call some of the children of men from darkness to light; and then, according to my manner, finish with my hand, writing to the heart.
The first thing that attracts my attention, is, "That God never works in vain. This is not the case with men; but might it not be?" I answer yes,—but, in order, that men work not in vain, they must turn from Satan to God, by repentance, and become that they once were: THE IMAGE OF GOD. Solomon once said: Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions. This is true, and no invention tends to drive man farther from God, and make his works more vain, than their new methods of worship, when there is but one Lord, one faith, one baptism. After new inventions, and fame, and wealth, many of the Gentile world have run so far into novelty, daring and danger, that the most of them now are so eager for something new, or something great, or something rich, that millions have forgotten the truth, and all their works are vain.
On looking around the world as it now is, I have to exclaim with the wise man: All is vanity. What is man, that God should notice him? Or, what is life? Surely,
What is life? 'tis to exist
In a world of wealth and woes,
Where the wickedness and death
Makes one shudder as he goes.
'Tis to learn how little that,
Even man on earth has known;
And to watch all other's faults
Then, in weakness, judge his own.
'Tis to come like morning fair;
Rise and rove like ocean wave.
Fall and fade like shooting stars.
Leaving nothing but—a grave!
Without being to minute, your letter goes to show that every generation, and mostly all nations, have been more ready to garnish the sepulchres of the dead prophets, than to obey the words of the living, though God and religion were, are, and always will be the same. Your foundation is so broad, that when you rear up the edifice, few eyes, in sight, will go by without looking at the place where the Lord lay, and thinking what they suffer, who follow him!
But lest I get into your tracks, I will ask a few questions; and such as are already answered in revelation, may act more immediately upon the mind; and those needing answers, will be for your disposal as the Spirit directs.
Has it, or has it not so happened from the beginning till now, that the people most favored of God; they that have last had the true light of heaven, have been first to stone, or put to death the Lord's prophets and saints? And have, or have not the same people, or these in the same situation, rejected the truth, and become two—fold worse than they that have made no profession of religion? Did or did not Cain murder Abel because of righteousness? Did or did not God take Enoch and Zion up to heaven, because the world was too wicked to live with the pure in heart?
In all ages, have or not the various sects, which pretended to be of God, persecuted and put more saints to death, than all the heathens in the world? I mean that sort of people that make a great noise about their religion, wear rich robes, have great meeting houses, and make long prayers. Was or was not Jesus crucified, by the very people that had a knowledge of his coming, and who were actually expecting him? Is it or is it not generally the case, that when the light of heaven happifies the soul of the saint, the darkness of hell mystifies the mind of the wicked?—Was or was it not so before the flood; and has continued so since? Did or did not the undoubted "priests" of old, "the Sons of God," that married all they wanted, reject Noah and the truth of God? Were or were not Pharoah's "priests," (the real "black coats" of Egypt, whose lands were privileged even in a seven years' famine,) the leaders of the great Gentile church in that day, and had doubtless slipped down from Melchisedek's priest—hood to the magicians that were ready to work miracles within one of Moses? And if so, were or were they not as ready to stand behind the scene, while Israel's "tale of brick," was daubed without straw, and laugh at the persecution of the children of God, as their heirs apparent are, to secretly applaud the outrages against the saints who are now suffering persecution and affliction? And is or is not the present Gentile church in the same predicament, as to the second coming of Christ, that the Jews were in at his first coming? I mean, if the Jews, as the green tree, crucified the Lord of glory, what will the Gentiles, as the dry tree, do?
When the Spirit of God is withdrawn, does or does not that generation suppose itself to be considerably wiser than the past one, and, to show its veneration for the commandments of God, which says thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: thou shalt not kill, &c. garnish the se-
pulchres of the prophets; raise monuments to departed great men, and build churches in the names of the apostles, but if a prophet comes truly in the name of the Lord, they reject him, or stone him, or kill him, for fear he may deceive somebody, as if God was unable to preserve his sacred law from the vanishing touch of mere mortal man? Has or has it not always been the case, that the farther the church or sects, receded from the truth and the right way, the greater were the pretensions to light and sanctification?
Is or is it not apparent from reason and analogy as drawn from a careful reading of the Scriptures, that God causes the saints, or people that fall away from his church to be cursed in time, with a black skin? Was or was not Cain, being marked, obliged to inherit the curse, he and his children, forever? And if so, as Ham, like other sons of God, might break the rule of God, by marrying out of the church, did or did he not, have a Canaanite wife, whereby some of the black seed was preserved through the flood, and his son, Canaan, after he laughed at his grand father's nakedness, heired three curses: one from Cain for killing Abel; one from Ham for marrying a black wife, and one from Noah for ridiculing what God had respect for? Are or are not the Indians a sample of marking with blackness for rebellion against God's holy word and holy order? And can or can we not observe in the countenances of almost all nations, except the Gentile, a dark, sallow hue, which tells the sons of God, without a line of history, that they have fallen or changed from the original beauty and grace of father Adam?
So many questions for this letter. Now there are other important facts, and doings of God, which might lead all men to repent before judgment, if they were willing to be guided by truth and escape calamity. I mean such facts as would produce conviction in any heart but such as Satan has really case—hardened for a tour in that region where the smoke of their torment ascends up forever and ever. That God punishes the nations that forget him, and those that do not fear him, is evident from common history, but especially from Scripture.
From Cain's officiating at the altar, I have no doubt but he was a high priest after the holy order of God, and he, for being overcome by Satan, when he had such great light, was marked and sent to a land of out—casts, to live by his own inventions, and the assistance of the evil one, who might have translated him and his city down to more gloomy regions, for all I know, as an honor for being the first convert, in this world, to endless misery and punishment. Why he has a history in the bible remains to be told.
Perhaps all the nations before the flood, except Cain and his posterity, were enlightened by the preaching of the gospel, for they were destroyed by the deluge, and God rarely destroys a people until they are made acquainted with their situation, and they sin beyond law. The Babelites were dispersed throughout the face of the whole world for their presumption and folly. The Egyptians found a watery grave for undertaking to cope with God, when enlightened by his messengers and miracles. Israel was dispersed among all nations for disobeying the commandments: and I greatly fear, that the Gentiles will "wax fat and kick" at the fulness of the gospel, and "fill the measure of their glory" with iniquity, and be turned into hell with all their great prototypes, that have singed the locks of their beauty, with the blaze of their own glory, by denying the gift of the Holy Ghost.
While penning your history you will find the two great spirits by which men escape to heaven, or sink to hell, often so nearly alike that, you can only judge which is which, by the power which the pure in heart have in store to overcome the world with. The evil one is a great counterfeiter. He imitates almost every thing but perfection. Having once been in heaven, he knows nearly all, but telling the truth; and he practices arts, sciences, and virtues, besides cunning and cloaking. Go to the family fireside, and his spirit is there, ready to catch a crumb; go to any meeting where the Holy Ghost is not admitted; and it is there for a morsel; go to the court house where even handed justice is not administered to the beggar as well as the banker, and it is there for a share; go to the legislative hall where all men's rights are not held equal, and it is there for a "pound of flesh;" go to the cabinet of kingdoms, where one man sways the sceptre, and if aught swerves him from the course of moral rectitude, it is there for a few "golden opinions" to rule with; go to the holy alliance of emperors, where more power is sought for, and it is there for another link to the chain that holds its millions; yea, where on earth is it not? go to the lover's chamber and it is there; go to the ball-room and it is there; go to the dramshop and it is there; go to the business places and it is there; go to prison & it is there; go to sea and it is there; go to the banquet of festing and it is there; go to the house of pleasure and it is there; go to the house of mourning and it is there, watching its prey, seeking in every place a soul for destruction, or a body for sport; yea, go to hell, after its course shall have been stayed on earth, and there it will be, making horrid revelry with the damned, where "their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched." On earth it is the essence of trouble and contention, souring happiness and poisoning joy; in hell it is the life of endless venom, unutterable; and if, it is in all these places, and so terrible, blasting the happiness of millions in this world, and eternally tormenting the sons of perdition, in the regions of wo, in the nether world to come, where is it not, and who can escape its dreadful ravages? It is not in the celestial city and the pure in heart are beyond its scathing touch: yea, notwithstanding its great fountain head, Lucifer, has drawn away a third part of heaven; has his millions of the children of this world, and, may be, the worst from worlds, yet, Jesus Christ, the only begotton [begotten] Son of God, by the power of his Spirit, will overcome all the enemies of grace and glory, and even death and happiness, and joy, and perfection, and eternal life will roll on in eternity an undivided one: even as a neverending blessing, before God, to them that have held out faithfully to the end, whether in life or in death: and they are they, the blessed ones. Amen. As ever,
W. W. PHELPS.
FAITH OF THE CHURCH. No. XII.
After the apostle had described the gift of the Holy Spirit so as not to be misunderstood by his audience, and having set forth its effects so clearly that any person even those of the weakest capacities could not mistake his meaning, he issues forth the promise of God to those who would repent and be baptized that they should receive this gift, yes, this gift and not another.—we have been thus particular, that our readers may see that the promise here made was not made to the apostles themselves, but those who heard and believed their report, and repented according to the commandment of God it was they who were to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit; for the apostle had it previous to this, and those persons who would repent and be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus for the remission of sins should receive the thing which the apostles had at that time received, for says the apostle in the 33 verse as before quoted speaking of Christ's ascension, and having received the gift of the Holy Spirit he has shed forth that which you see and hear, and then says to the multitude repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, does not the gift of the Holy Spirit in both these places mean the same thing, if so, the promise made to the baptized saints was precisely the thing which the apostles had just that day received. And if it did not mean the same thing the apostle deceived his audience. But the apostle did not stop by making this promise to the audience which were present on that occasion, but says verse 39 that it was to them and their children and ALL that were afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. Notice reader, that it was the promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit on conditions of repentance and baptism that was here promised their children and to all that were afar off as well as to themselves.
Whatever the gift of the Holy Spirit was, it was to be given not only to the persons who were present on the notable day of pentecost, but it was to be given to their children, and to their children's children, as long as the Lord their God should call men to be his sons; for it was to this gift he was to call them—"Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of the Lord Jesus, for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit; for the promise is unto you, and unto your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." mark reader: he says you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit; for the promise is unto you and to your children, and to all that are afar off. What promise? Why; the gift of the Holy Spirit—What is the gift of the Holy Spirit? It is the thing which you both see and hear. And what are its effects? it is prophesying, dreaming dreams, seeing visions, and working mighty works; and this is what is promised to you, if you repent and are baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus for the remission of sins: and not only you, but your children, and not your children only, but all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. These teachings surely correspond with the apostles' commission, which they received after the resurrection of the Savior from the dead. For they were to go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature, he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: that is, every creature in all the world who believes and is baptized, shall be saved. And Peter says, that the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. This is as extensive as to say, to every creature in all the world. So that the commission, and the apostles' teaching are, in all respects, consistent with each other.
Here we might stop our investigation, and that with great confidence too, because the subject of the work of the Spirit of God, in the salvation of men, is so clearly set forth in the foregoing quotations, and remarks which are made on the quotations, that he that runs may read, and not only read, but understand: for the way is so plain, that a fool need not err therein. But as there is no want of document on this subject, we feel disposed to pursue the apostles a little farther, and hear the account which those who were with them have given about the effects of the Spirit of God as received by the ancients through the ministry of the
apostles, and see if those promises were verified to those who believed on their word.
The account which we have noticed above took place at Jerusalem. According to Luke's testimony they were to begin at Jerusalem, when they should first commence to execute their commission, and says the Savior You shall preach repentance and remissions of sins in my name, among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. Luke 24:47, from thence they were to go to Samaria, and from thence to the utmost parts of the earth. Acts of the apostles 1:8, we shall now follow the apostles to Samaria and see what effects the Holy Spirit had on the Samaritans, as the messengers of the Lord Jesus proceeded in the execusion [execution] of their commission. Some time after the success of the gospel (which was very great) there arose a great persecution against the saints which, was so severe that they were all scattered abroad, and the enemies stoned Stephen to death.—The account of which we have in the 6, 7 and 8 chapters of the Acts of the apostles. In consequence of the great persecution, the saints fled in every direction, and they went every where preaching the gospel, and Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached the gospel unto them; and when they believed Philip's preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of the Lord Jesus, they were baptized both men and women. After the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of the Lord, they sent down Peter and John, who when they were come, laid their hands upon them and they received the Holy Spirit. Acts 8 chapter. So that here the promise was verified, that all others as well as those at Jerusalem should receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, if they would repent and be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, for the remission of sins, as we have before shown what the gift of the Holy Spirit was, which was promised, for the gift of the Holy Spirit, which the Savior promised to give to his saints was not a vain imagination, but an eternal reality; a something of consequence to man; a something by which he should be greatly profited, and without which he could not be saved. But leaving Samaria, we will follow the apostles in their journeyings as they went to the utmost parts of the earth.
The next place noticed by Luke in his history of the apostles, is Peter went to the house of Cornelius, a Roman centurian [centurion] of the band called the Italian band. The account of the whole transaction will be found in the 10 chapter of the Acts of the apostles. Let the reader turn and read it, for his satisfaction so that he may have the subject clearly before him.
After Peter went there he preached Jesus unto them, the Holy Spirit sat on them as it did on the Jews at the beginning, and the same effect followed; for the Jews that went with Peter were astonished, because that on the Gentiles was poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit; for they heard them speak with other tongues and magnify God. So that in this instance the promise was also fulfilled and they of the house of Cornelius received the Holy Spirit according to promise. But we will now go and hear another messenger proclaim the gospel, who was called at a different time from that of Peter, but who had received a dispensation of the gospel as well as the other apostles who were called before him. we mean Paul: an account of his travels Luke gives us in the Acts of the apostles; for part of the time Luke travelled with him as appears from his account. In the 19 chapter of the Acts of the apostles we have an account of Paul's visiting Ephesus, and finding certain disciples there who knew nothing but the baptism of John but when Paul taught them they were baptized, and then he laid his hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit and spake with tongues and prophesied.
MILLENIUM. No. XIII.
The sacred writers abound in descriptions of Christ's reign on the earth, for a thousand years—scarcely one of the ancient prophets but either directly or indirectly notices it, and out of the many allusions to it, in the Scriptures, I shall quote a few, in addition to those already quoted. In the prophecy of Isaiah, 4th chap. 2,3,4,5,6, the prophet thus describes that day, (the day of Christ's reign: for one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.) "In that
day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely, for them that are escaped of Israel.—And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem; when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof, by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning. And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence. And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the day time from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and rain." All this is necessary to observe here, as this quotation is, that what the prophet here describes is to take place when the tabernacle of God is with men; and we have already seen that the tabernacle of God is to be with men when Christ reigns on earth a thousand years, or one day with the Lord.
Ezekiel, in the 24th chapter of his prophecy, gives the following account of this day, or thousand years: 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, and 31. "Therefore I will save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey, and I will judge between cattle and cattle. And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David, he shall feed them; and he shall be their shepherd. And I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the Lord have spoken. And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beast to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods. And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessings. And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the Lord, when I have broken the bonds of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hands of those that served themselves of them. And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them: but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid. And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more. Thus shall they know that I, the Lord their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people, saith the Lord God. And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord God. And in the 37th chapter of this same prophecy, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27 and 28 verses, the prophet thus describes the glory of Christ's reign on the earth. "And say unto them, thus saith the Lord God; behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and I will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: and I will make one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel, and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with other detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them. So shall they be my people, and I will be their God. And David my servant shall be king over them; and they shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers dwelt, and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children forever.—Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for ever more." These quotations need no comment. They speak for themselves.
Every reader with the least degree of intelligence, knows that what is here said has yet to take place, and he also knows, that it will take place when the Lord restores the kingdom to Israel, and not till then, and that will take place when he comes to reign on the earth.
The prophet Hosea gives us a similar account in his prophecy, 14th chap. 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9th verses. "I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive—tree, and his smell as Lebanon. They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found. Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein." The prophet Joel says of the coming of the Lord, and of his reign on the earth, 3d chapter, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21st verses, "The Lord shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God dwelling in Zion my holy mountain:—then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall be no strangers pass through her any more. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, & all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the Lord, and shall water the valley of Shittim. Egypt shall be a desolation; and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land. But Judah shall dwell forever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation. For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the Lord dwelleth in Zion."
The prophet Amos says in the 9th chapter of his prophecy, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15th verses: "In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old; That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen which are called by my name, saith the Lord that doeth this. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the ploughman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and the hills shall melt. And I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God."
The above quotations, with a great many others which might be brought, set forth that order of society which will exist when the Savior reigns, that day, or the thousand years. We have a most splendid description of it given in the Psalms, beginning with the one hundred and forty fourth, to the end of the book; but we deem it unnecessary to quote any more, as the candid reader will be enabled, when the subject is laid before him so plain as is done in the above quotations, to see and understand for himself, so as to deliver his mind from darkness on this point, when reading the prophecies. Who cannot easily discover, that the order of things set forth in the above quotations, from the prophets, has never yet been on the earth, neither indeed can be, until the Lord comes? For it is at that time that Jerusalem is to be built and never to be thrown down, and it is at that time that the earth is to bring forth in her strength, and when the mountains are to drop down new wine, and all nature to rejoice before the Lord; for he comes to judge the earth in righteousness. It is also at that time, that the ploughman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed. And it is at that time, that the tabernacle of David shall be built, and Israel become the praise and glory of the whole earth.
(In a former part of this treatise, I noticed the change which was to be wrought upon the beast at that day, or
thousand years; but not only the beast but the vegetable kingdom is also to be greatly changed—the trees and the vines—the one is to bring forth their fruit in abundance, the other to load itself to such a degree that the mountains will literally drop down new wine. So that a great change is to be wrought on all the lower creation—the very earth is to become more fruitful than ever it has been since it was cursed; and the Spirit of God is to be poured out on all flesh, and his power to be exalted in changing all things, so as to make them conduce to the happiness of men in the highest degree their nature is capable of. This is the Millenium, and this only. If the power of God is not exerted on both man and beast, as well as on all other parts of the lower creation, the idea of Millenium is worse than folly. All the above quotations, taken from the prophets, must be fulfilled, with a multitude of others which might be quoted, all to the same effect. The fulfillment of these prophecies will make a Millenium, and nothing else will; for these are the things which God has promised to do for the world, and which he has said will take place.—Whatever power therefore is necessary to change the nature of the lion, the leopard, the bear, the ass, the cockatrice, together with all other animals, which hurt and destroy, is necessary to be exerted to bring about the Millenium, and nothing else will do it. And not only the power necessary to effect this, but also to change the earth so as to make it more fruitful, and the seasons so that the ploughman can overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; for our present seasons will not admit such a thing—so that a great change must be wrought on all things, miracle or no miracle. If all this can be done without miracle, so be it, and if not, the days of miracles are not past, or else the idea of the Millenium is worse than folly.
GOSPEL. No. VI.
Inasmuch then, as the gospel was preached to Abraham, would it be tho't hazarding much to say that baptism was preached to him for the remission of sins, or could the gospel be preached to Abraham and this not be preached? Perhaps some might say, that it was told to Abraham that in his seed all the families of the earth should be blessed, & that was all, could it be said that the gospel was preached to Abraham. And yet it was not preached to him, or was Abraham left to guess the rest and find out what was meant by being in his seed. But let us go back and look a little at this subject. Paul as before quoted, has told us that it was a fixed principle in the economy of God and that before the foundation of the world, that men were to be saved by being in Christ. And he also tells us that Christ was Abraham's seed. Is this testimony correct? If it is, ever since man was in existence there has been but one way of being saved; for God, according to the apostle's statement, had fixed it by an irrevocable decree and that before the world was, that men should be saved in this way and none other. The question now arises, was this scheme of things kept hid from the early ages of the world, so that they did not understand it, and were saved by it? If so, there never was any need of understanding it from that day to this; for if they could be saved by it without understanding it, so could we and so could all others, and Paul's assertions to the Ephesians be worse than vain. "That by grace are ye saved through faith," and for when there was no understanding there could be no faith. And there is nothing more certain, than this, that if the ancients were not made acquainted with the scheme of life, they must have been saved without it, or else they were destroyed for want of knowing it. The latter cannot be admitted, and it is very hard to admit the former, that is, that any people were ever saved without understanding how it was done, that they were saved, or that any persons could be washed from all sins by the Lamb, and yet know nothing of Jesus, the Lamb of God, and be taken into heaven by a scheme of things of which they had no knowledge? We are told that without faith it is impossible to please God, and where could faith be in all this matter; or had the ancients the happy faculty of believing on him of whom they had not heard, and of hearing, without a preacher? Mark, reader, that Paul has fixed this matter forever; that it is in Christ Jesus that men were to be saved, since the foundation
of the world, and in no other way; so that the ancients must either have known that they were in Christ, (we mean those among them who were saved,) or else they did not: if they did not they were saved in ignorance; and the old maxim with them holds good, that ignorance is the mother of devotion. But on this point there can be no difference of opinion among the candid; for to admit that any portion of the human family, were saved, at any time, or in any period of the world, without knowing how they were saved or by what means they were made partakers of the grace of life, is to suppose an improbability: that is, it is to suppose that they were saved, and were not saved at the same time; for the revelation of the plan of salvation was essential to the salvation of any of the human family. It mattered not how good the scheme of it was, which was devised in eternity, nor how well suited to the situation of man; nor how well calculated to save men; nor yet, how competent it was to save, still it would never have saved one individual since the world began, unless it had been revealed to him. Let it have remained secreted in the bosom of eternity, without its being made known to man, and the world would have been nothing the better of it; but would all have gone to destruction together.
Another thing which would appear very strange, is that there should be an Abel, an Enoch, and others, who had great power with God, who got many revelations from God, and had great faith, so as to obtain testimony that they were accepted of him, and that they pleased him; and yet with all that they knew, they did not know, nor understand the scheme of things, by which they had this power with God, and through which they obtained it.—Enoch prophesied of the coming of the Lord with ten thousand of his saints to judge the world; Jude 14th verse;—which judgment came by reason of the atonement of the anointed Savior, and it would be very strange indeed if Enoch should not have known any thing of the sacrifice of the Savior, and yet knew of his coming to judge the world, because they rejected the salvation which was offered to them by reason of that atonement, and not only knew of the sacrifice of the Savior; but of the way by which the world of mankind was made partakers of the benefits of that atonement; that is by being put into Christ Jesus, and that work of putting in by baptism, in watter [water], according to what Paul has said, "That as many of you as have been baptised into Christ, have put on Christ;" and I may add, that none others, but those who were baptised into Christ did put him on, or could put him on; for there was no other way of putting on Christ.
Who can doubt but that man who had faith sufficient to get revelations, and to obtain knowledge of the great day of judgment, when the Lord should come with ten thousand of his saints, who walked with him three hundred years, and had faith sufficient to be translated, who can doubt I say? but this man was acquainted with the whole scheme of life and salvation, or the gospel. No person can doubt it, but one who is incapable of judging any matters.
But the Scriptures are pointed on this subject, and so clear that a cavaler has no room left, only to show his unfairness and want of candor. Paul says to Timothy, in his second epistle, 1:9, 10, "Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began; but is now made manifest by the offering of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light, through the gospel." If this statement be correct, life and immortality came to light by the gospel, the same as to say, that unless the gospel had come, life and immortality would not have come to light. Let us ask, when did life and immortality come to light? Before answering this question, let me ask, what is meant by life and immortality? I answer, the knowledge of a future existence, or an existence after the present state, in a state of superior glory; and this is the knowledge which came to light by the gospel. When did it come to light? Enoch had knowledge of life and immortality, or else he would not have had faith to have been translated; for could he have faith about a thing of which he never heard? And Paul says that this knowledge came to light by the gospel. If so, Enoch had knowledge of the gospel, and if he had knowledge of the gospel,
he knew that men must be in Christ Jesus, or else they could not be blessed, and he must have known that men were put in Christ by baptism, or else there was another gospel, for this was the one which Paul preached, and which he said was before the foundation of the world, and by which we had grace in Christ, before the world was, and it was through this gospel that life and immortality came to light, and Enoch must have been put into Christ, according to the law of this gospel, or else he would not have walked with God three hundred years; for no man can walk with God unless he has obeyed the gospel; and Enoch must have been baptised for the remission of sins, and have received the gift of the Holy Spirit, by the laying on of the hands of some one who had authority from God so to do, or else he would not have known of life and immortality.
This matter will appear exceedingly plain, if we attend a little to the promises made to those who believe and obey the gospel. They were to those who were baptised for the remission of sins, that they should receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, and through this gift they should see visions, dream dreams and prophesy, see Acts of the Apostles, 2d chap. Let us look at Enoch then, and see what great knowledge he had of things of God, and ask him, how did you come to have this knowledge? The answer: By seeing visions. And how did you obtain power with God to see visions? The answer would be, I obeyed the gospel, received the Holy Spirit, and thereby saw visions, and through this means I obtained all my knowledge.
Cincinnati, O. Feb. 13, 1835.
BROTHER O. COWDERY.
I have had the opportunity of perusing, from time to time, your interesting paper, as I have been travelling from church to church, from country to country, and from State to State, holding forth the words of eternal life—the glorious light of heaven among a people who sit in darkness and in the dominion of death, and it is with great satisfaction that I read of the success of my brethren in the ministry, in spreading light and truth, notwithstanding the opposition which they have to encounter: for notwithstanding the earth has been veiled with a thick veil of darkness for centuries and error has spread much divided "and operated unspent," till nations and kingdoms have been inundated by its overwhelming influence, yet the days have come when a light has broken forth in darkness; truth again is beginning to shine, and they who are honest in heart will behold its heavenly light and rejoice; yea, many have beheld it, and not only beheld, but embraced, and are greatly rejoicing that God is unchangeable, that his Spirit is the same to day as yesterday and forever, and that the voice of inspiration is again heard in the land as in olden times. Who could have supposed five years ago that truth would have spread so rapid? for whether we look to the east, or to the west, to the north or to the south, we perceive its mighty progress, upheld by the hand of Omnipotence—it moves in majesty and power, and continues its steady course, pulling down the strong holds of Babylon, and leaving her mighty towers, exposing the creeds, systems and inventions of men, exhibiting the extreme ignorance, follies and errors of all sects, which causes their priests to rage and their mighty ones to tremble.
I left Clay co. Mo. the last of Aug. Since that time I have preached to many congregations, mostly in villages; however I have baptized but few—I was unable to travel and preach for several weeks last fall in consequence of sickness.
I baptized three at Sugar Creek Ia.—the church in that place numbers nineteen. Two in the village of Terrehaut Ia. and seven in Campbell co. Kentucky, eight miles from Cincinnati: the church in that place now numbers eighteen.
Give my respects to all enquiring brethren and especially to my aged parents, if they are living in that place.
I remain your brother in the gospel.
P .S. March 4th.
Since writing the above we have preached three times in Cincinnati, three times in Fulton, and three times in the village of Commingsville, 6 miles from the city. We have had large congregations and many are astonished at the doctrine—some believe, many disbelieve, and others obey.—We have this day baptized two who reside in Cincinnati.
There are now 22 or 23 members of this church in Fulton and Cincinnati. We expect to leave this place soon for the village of Batavia about 20 miles distant.
Brother Barns and myself preached twice in the court house at Brookville, Indiana—we were kindly received by the people of that village, and were solicited to tarry longer, but we could not conveniently: it was the first time the people in that place had heard concerning the principles of our faith, and it was somewhat marvellous to them, perhaps rendered more so in consequence of a short debate which lasted about three or four hours, principally upon the second coming of Christ.
The debate of which I speak was between myself and a preacher of the Universalist order, (Mr. St. Johns,) the people were very well satisfied and were desirous to know more concerning the doctrine. We obtained one subscriber for the Advocate and left the Appeal of our brethren with the Editors of Brookville Inquirer, who said they would print it—since we have been in Cincinnati we have received the above named paper and also a short letter from its Editors, requesting me to return and give them another hearing, but as it will be out of my power or at least very inconvenient for me to visit that place for some length of time, if ever, I will insert their letter in this and you may publish it in the Advocate if you please that if it should happen that any of the elders of this church were passing through that village, they might call and preach—and no doubt they would be kindly received.
"Brookville Feb. 1, 1835.
Mr. Orson Pratt—
Sir: there is a general wish through this country, that you would call and give us another hearing when opportunity will permit—send us a letter and we will give public notice when you will attend; and we have no hesitation in saying, that you will be heard by the largest congregation ever assembled in this county. Your expenses during your stay, will be defrayed."
(Signed) "Edit's. of BROOKVILLE INQUIRER."
"Kirtland, March 8th, 1835.
BRO. O. COWDERY:
A council being called this evening to take into consideration the many pressing requests from the eastern churches, for conferences to be held among them during the present year: it was unanimously resolved that conferences should be held in the following places to be attended by the travelling Elders from Kirtland, viz: In Westfield, Chautauque Co. N. Y. May 9th, 1835. In Freedom, Cateraugus Co. N. Y. May 22d; In Lyonstown, Wayne Co. N. Y. June 5th; At Pillow Point, Jefferson Co. N. Y. June 19th; In West Loborough, near Kingston, Upper Canada, June 29th; In Johnsbury, Vt. July 17th; In Bradford, Mass. August 7th; In Dover, N. H. Sept. 4th; In Saco, Maine, Sept. 18th; and in Farmington, Maine, Oct. 2d, 1835, &c. &c.
The brethren in various churches and places mentioned above, may expect public preaching on the two days following each conference, and they are requested to see that the appointments are made at the most convenient houses. This we leave for them to do for their own convenience. All the Elders within reasonable bounds of these conferences are requested to attend them, and it will be their duty so to do.
ORSON HYDE, }
W. E. McLELLIN, } Clerks
Messenger and Advocate
KIRTLAND, OHIO, MARCH, 1835.
—> Conferences. The elders will notice appointments for several conferences, to be holden by the brethren from Kirtland. Frequent and pressing calls have induced the elders here to send these notices, and all others heretofore appointed, except one at Freedom, N. Y. the first next month, will be recalled.
—> We are requested to inform Elders Thomas B. Marsh and Orson Pratt, that they are desired to attend a meeting of the elders in this place on the 26th of April next. We hope that circumstances may render it convenient for them to attend, as their presence is very desirable.
Said Mr. A. Campbell, in 1831, soon after the church of the Saints began to be established in this place; but unfortunately for his purpose, if a purpose he had, his cry was unheard, the cause still progressed, and continues to progress. As this gentlemen makes high professions as a Reformer, and is some tenacious that his sentiments are to pervade the earth before the final end of darkness, we think, or at least hope, our readers will pardon our digress from ordinary matters, to give this modern apostle a passing notice.
In his [not] far—famed pamphlet, of Feb. 10, 1831, this grave Reformer, while examining the book of Mormon, says:
It admits the Old and New Testaments to contain the revelations, institutions, and commandments of God to Patriarchs, Jews and Gentiles, down to the year 1830—and always, as such, speaks of them and quotes them. This admission at once blasts its pretensions to credibility. For no man with his eyes open can admit both books to have come from God. Admitting the Bible now received to have come from God, it is impossible that the Book of Mormon came from the same Author. For the following reasons: —
1. Smith, its real author, as ignorant and impudent a knave as ever wrote a book, betrays the cloven foot in basing his whole book upon a false fact, or a pretended fact, which
makes God a liar. It is this:—With the Jews God made a covenant at Mount Sinai, and instituted a priesthood, and a high priesthood. The priesthood he gave to the tribe of Levi, and the high priesthood to Aaron and his sons for an everlasting priesthood.—He separated Levi, and covenanted to give him this office irrevocably while ever the temple stood, or till the Messiah came."
Mr. Campbell attempts by a single stroke, to overthrow the validity of the book of Mormon, by bringing forward the institution of the priesthood, conferred upon Aaron and his sons, but we are willing to go the whole length in this matter of priesthood, and say that it was conferred upon Aaron and his seed throughout their generations. Ex. 40:15. And thou shalt anoint them, as thou didst anoint their father, that they minister unto me in the priest's office: for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations. We quote this passage because Mr. C. says, that it was only "while ever the temple stood, or till the Messiah came." Israel's God takes a longer stretch than this Rev. gentleman. He says "throughout their generations." If the literal descendants of Aaron are no more, then this priesthood is lost from Israel, unless God bestows it upon another family; but if not, not.
But Mr. C. says "while ever the temple stood, or till the Messiah came."—By—the—by the temple was not reared when this covenant was made, neither does the Lord mention it, nor the Messiah at the time: it is only one of this Reformer's new fashioned spiritualizing systems—we have not yet learned it.
This is not all: He says that the scripture teaches, that a person of another family who should come near, when this holy ordinance [sacrifice] was being performed, should be put to death. We know that, "the stranger, who cometh nigh, shall be put to death," and that the heathens were called strangers, but not the children of Israel.
Again: Lehi and his sons, who were descendants of Joseph, offered sacrifice, and this is enough to "blast the pretensions of the book of Mormon, to credibility."
Now, as it is, and very correctly too, Lehi and his sons were blessed with the high priesthood—the Melchesedek priesthood. They never made any pretence that they were descendants of Aaron, or ever received that priesthood which was conferred upon him by the hand of Moses, at the direction of the Lord.
How did it happen that Moses had authority to consecrate Aaron a priest? Where did he get his authority to arrange the tabernacle, ark, &c.? Who laid hands upon him? Had he authority to "come near" when the Lord was entreated by sacrifice? He was Aaron's brother, to be sure, but Aaron was the high priest.
Should Mr. C. finally learn, that Moses received the holy priesthood, after the order of Melchesedek, under the hand of Jethro, his father in—law, that clothed with this authority he set Israel in order, and by commandment ordained Aaron to a priesthood less than that, and that Lehi was a priest after this same order, perhaps he will not raise so flimsey [flimsy] an assertion, as he does when he says the validity of the book of Mormon is destroyed because Lehi offered sacrifice; and perhaps, also, be may not be quite so lavish with his familiar titles as he was when he called brother Smith "as impudent a knave as ever wrote a book!!"
This is a mere specimen: "This ignorant and impudent liar, [bro. Smith] in the next place, makes the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, violate his covenants with Israel and Judah concerning the land of Canaan, by promising a new land to a pious Jew."
We know that God promised to give the land of Canaan to Abraham and his seed, but we have yet to learn where he said that he would not give them any more. Mr. C. will find, in the 49th of Genesis, where Jacob declared that his blessings had prevailed above those of his progenitors unto the utmost bounds of the everlasting hills, and that he confers them upon the head of his son Joseph, of whom Lehi was a descendant.
If the reader will also look into the 33d chap. of Deut. he will find that Moses promises Joseph a land; for he says, "Blessed of the Lord be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and the deep that coaches beneath, and for the precious fruits bro't forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon, and for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills."
Why all this parade about the bless-
ing of Joseph, if he were only to inherit an equal proportion of the land of Canaan? Surely the Messiah was never promised through his lineage, or descendants: then why say so much about Joseph? But we quote another verse from the same chap. which makes the subject sufficiently plain only to a man who has been crying Millen[n]ium! Mellenium [Millennium]!! some four or five years, without ever giving his hearers one solitary scroll to point them to the word of God for a preparatory guide to be prepared for that august period!
"His [Joseph's] glory is like, the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh."
Now, if some friend of ours, or even the editor of the Millen[n]ial Harbinger, will be so kind as to solve one mystery on the subject of Joseph's blessing, he will do us a favor. Place Joseph in the land of Canaan and never suffer his descendants to go out, and then set him to push the people together to [from] the ends of the earth, and if you do not see a new thing under the sun, it will be because the Millen[n]ial Harbinger has gathered Israel from the four winds, and left them all standing where they now are!
If the Lord promised, (which he did,) the land of Canaan to Abraham, and Jacob's blessing had prevailed above that, to the utmost bounds of the everlasting hills, where could he find it? Not in the land of Canaan, merely, though Mr. C. has the daring effrontery to say that if God should take any of the seed of Jacob to any other part of the earth, he would violate his covenant which he had previously made!—How does he know it?
With his boasted knowledge he will not be disturbed if we give our readers another specimen:
"The pious Jews in the captivity turned their faces to Jerusalem and the holy place, and remembered God's promises concerning the place where he recorded his name. They hung their harps upon the willow trees, and could not sing the song of Zion in a foreign land; but the Nephites have not a single wish for Jerusalem, for they can, in their wig wam temple, in the wilderness of America, enjoy more of God's presence than the most righteous Jew could enjoy in that house of which David had rather be a door—keeper than to dwell in the tabernacles of men. And all this too, when God's only house of prayer, according to his covenant with Israel, stood in Jerusalem."
Here are further secrets unfolded.—We remember to have read, in the 137th Ps. either a history of what had taken place, or a prophecy concerning something to come, and which, in the days of David was yet to transpire;—but the lamentation was uttered by those who were in distress and mocked by the heathen. The reader will also remember that Solomon, the son of David, built the Temple, and how, we ask, could David be a door—keeper in the same, when it was not reared until his earthly tabernacle was crumbling to dust? But it does very well for Mr. C.—he can get him up there with songs of thanksgiving, waiting before God, and keeping the doors of his sacred Temple, and not a stone of it yet laid!!
We remember also to have read a sublime sentence uttered by the mouth of a prophet, in the name of the Lord, something like this: "Thus saith the Lord, the heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: Where is the house that ye build unto me? And where is the place of my rest? For all those things that my hand has made." Solomon, who built the Temple, of which Mr. C. says David desired to be a door—keeper, after he was gathered to his fathers, says: "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heaven, and heavens of heavens cannot contain thee."
Now, if God's presence and glory fill the heavens, is he not sufficient to fill more than one small house like that built at Jerusalem? and has not a man, endowed with the holy priesthood, after the order of Melchisedek, authority to build a house to the honor of HIS name, and especially, when the worship of that at Jerusalem was corrupted, or it thrown down? We have yet to be informed when the Lord said that he would not fill another house with his glory, as he did that at Jerusalem, or when he ever said that the descendants of Joseph should be cursed, if they should build another like that, when enjoying the promised blessing, made to them by the mouth of God, through
Moses, that they should possess the ends of the earth.
Our readers will understand that these extracts are taken from Mr. C.'s writings of 1831, and if occasion requires, we shall give them a specimen of his writings since, in a future number, and then close with this gentleman forever.—[ Editor.]
Letter from Elder S. Carter to J. Carter
We have just been favored with the perusal of a letter from Elder S. Carter, to his brother, J. Carter, of this place, which gives the pleasing intelligence of the spread of truth in the western part of Illinois. We have previously received letters from the same neighborhood from elders G. M. Hinkle and H. Green, from which extracts have heretofore been given; but it appears that our brethren are constantly administering the word of life to the people, many of whom are disposed to hear. The letter says, that there are now one hundred or more who have recently been baptised.
So spreads the mighty work! That stone which was taken from the mountain without hands, in the last days, will roll on till the knowledge and glory of our God fill the earth; for the same power which could take it from the mountain without hands, can speed it onward, though the powers of darkness attempt to oppose it!
Elder Carter writes that he has met with some persecution, and that we have reason to expect. He says that not long before, a gang of about 20 men, armed, came to escort him before a court; but after a hearing he was discharged, though not without being threatened by the rabble that if he did not leave the country immediately, he would be dealt with in a different manner. He however appointed meetings, and continued to proclaim the gospel of our Lord, and hold up the truth to a dying people with as much zeal as before. This was honorable, it was commendable. The more wicked a people, the more need they have of the gospel; for even our Lord came to call such to repentance.
Elder C. is a man with whom we have formed an intimate acquaintance, and know that he is a peaceable, circumspect, devout man of God; and that wherever he may travel and proclaim the gospel, he will do it without infringing upon the lawful privileges of any, and that such men are sure to rouse the indignation of Satan, and his emissaries who labor for hire and make merchandise of souls!
We have not received our usual number of letters from the elders and churches, and shall not in consequence, be able to give our usual lengthy summary. Since the late conference in Freedom, N. Y we are informed, that 11 more have been baptised in Allegany Co. The work in that region seems to be prosperous, and we may say, as we have frequently had occasion to say, we are reminded of Paul's vision, when he saw a man who said, "Come over into Macedonia and help us!"—We seldom hear from any part of our own country, without the same cry being reiterated in our ears; and we often ask, when will the time arrive, or will it ever, that the number of laborers shall be equal to the harvest?
The people in Freedom and vicinity, have long desired some of the faithful elders to visit them, whether they will be accommodated or not, we cannot say, but we hope that the approaching conference will be beneficial to the good cause. It is true they have suffered some persecutions; but God's grace must not be wanting, for they are now a strong band, and more are being added to them and the churches in their vicinity, daily.
Since writing the foregoing, we have received another letter from our brother at Freedom, in which he speaks as follows:
"We are looking forward to the time appointed for our conference, when we hope to see some elders from your place. I can truly say, I think the cause rather gaining friends in this region, but we hope and trust that it may then have a new impulse. Yesterday brother A. J. Squires baptized eleven in the town of Rushford, in the county of Allegany, the place of meeting is about 10 or 11 miles from here."
If we mistake not, it is something more than a year since the first were baptized in that place, and when we reflect on what God has truly done for that people, our heart is made to rejoice.
We know that the prejudice is so great in many places, that the people will not come out to hear, but wherever this gospel is preached in plainness, and a hearing is once had, the truth almost invariably finds more or less who love its heavenly influence and are willing to follow its teachings.
No man acquainted with the Spirit of the Lord, who has, by the same, been instructed in the great things mentioned by the prophets which are to be fulfilled in the last days, can reflect one moment upon the subject of the gospel's being proclaimed to the world, without feeling an animating, cheering anxiety, and a holy zeal, kindling into inexpressible desire for those who are entrusted with this healing balm to pour upon the nations, to be faithful to their calling. A man putting his hand to the plough, and looking back, is not fit for the kingdom, said our Lord. This was uttered by the Lamb just after one had volunteered to preach the gospel, but wanted the privilege of going to bid his friends farewell, and is truly an important item. If, in the days of our Lord on earth, men were called unfit for the kingdom because they desired to spend a few hours, or days, to take leave of their friends, after being called, or volunteering to proclaim salvation, what shall we say, in the last days, when the world is perishing for lack of vision, and every thing declares the near approach of the great day, when we see some possessed of a large share of mental endowments, and abundance of the riches of this world, seating themselves quietly, and fairing sumptuously every day? Will such men's garments be spotless in the presence of the Judge, when the nations are assembled before him?
We are aware of the saying of Paul, on the subject of providing for one's own house, in his first letter to Timothy, but this does not say that those whose houses are provided for, in the providence of our Lord, with all the luxuries of this world, are to come forward with this plea, and flatter themselves that they are doing the will of God. We think (if our humble opinion is worth any thing) that men ought to be certain that they are called to the work of the ministry and then go forward with the zeal and perseverence becoming the importance of this high profession.
We are acquainted with many men, whose earthly income is very small, who have wives and children, and all as dear as the dearest in this life, and they are found in the field almost constantly. Will such men reap a reward? Ask our Master—"There is no man that has left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my sake, or the gospel's but he shall receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come, eternal life." See Mat. 19:29; Mark 10:29, 30; Luke 18:29, 30.
Will such receive a reward? yes; they will receive a crown in the mansions of glory, and no power of earth
or hell can keep it from them. The servants of the Lord will do well to look at these promises—such as leave houses and lands, for Christ's sake, and not such as leave houses and lands when they have none!
Since the perusal of elder S. Carter's letter to his brother in this place, we have received one from elders G. M. Hinkle and H. Green, which says, that themselves, in company with elders S. Carter and S. Brown, have baptized, in that region 117, and that elders Groves and Lyman, a little to the north have baptized 21 more. Thus the mighty work moves forward, and thus it will, when it is preached in plainness. May God put forth his own hand!
From these brethren we have received a number of subscribers for the Messenger and Advocate, and some few for the re—printed Star. We feel ourselves indebted to such as use their exertions to obtain subscribers, as we know through this medium much good may result.
The People’s Magazine
The People's Magazine, by Samuel Coleman, (successor to Lilly, Wait and co. Boston, Ms.) is received—It is a neatly executed work, with a diversity of cuts—in all, it is a beautiful work, well worth the attention of a young man to put carefully away, for afterlife.
Parley's Magazine, by the same, is also received and is well calculated to encourage the young to industry in science—It is particularly calculated for schools.
From the Peoples' Magazine.
"Mr. Buckingham, the celebrated oriental traveller, now a member of the British Parliament, states that the strongest race of men he has ever seen were natives of the Himmalch mountains, and came to Calcutta as wrestlers: one of whom was a match for three Britons. Yet these men, Mr. B. says, had never drank any thing stranger than milk!"
This same work, some time since, advocated the principle of water drinking, by endeavoring to prove that Tea and Coffee never afforded any nutriment to the human system. So far very good. They are of our principles in this respect, precisely. What do you say reader, on the subject of Tabacco [Tobacco]? Do you think that there is much real nutriment to be gained from that pleasant weed? Besides it adds so gracefully to one's appearance, to have a large piece in one's mouth, or to emit large quantities of smoke from a pipe or cigar!
How pleasant and how cheering to sit quietly by one's fire side, surrounded by a lovely family, and converse upon the hopes and assurances of eternal life, offered in the gospel, after a day's enjoyment of social intercourse in the house of prayer, during a Sabbath—it is heavenly. It gives a new spring to the mind, and calls forth the deepest gratitude to God for intelligence of heavenly things which promises a Sabbath which will never close. We now look forward to that period with longing anxiety, and seize upon the thought with eagerness, by faith; but then we shall realize its eternal blessedness, when corruption, temptation and death, are no terror! O Redeemer, waft, waft, the joyful hour when thy saints may see as they are seen and know as they are known!
LETTER V.—TO W. W. PHELPS, ESQ.
Yours of 6th ult. is received and published in this No. It contains so many questions, that I have thought I would let every man answer for himself; as it would occupy a larger space to answer all of them than would be proper to devote at this time. When I look at the world as it is, and view men as they are, I am not much surprised that they oppose the truth as many, perhaps, and indeed, the more I see the less I marvel on this subject. To talk of heavenly communications, angels' visits, and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, now, since the apostles have fallen asleep, and men interpret the word of God without the aid of either the Spirit or angels, is a novel thing among the wise, and a piece of blasphemy among the craft men. But so it is, and it is wisdom that it should be so, because the Holy Spirit does not dwell in unholy temples, nor angels reveal the great work of God to hypocrites.
You will notice in my last, on rehearsing the words of the angel, where he communicated to our brother—that his sins were forgiven, and that he was called of the Lord to bring to light, by the gift of inspiration, this important intelligence, an item like the following—"God has chosen the foolish things of the world, and things which are despised, God has chosen;" &c. This, I conceive to be an important item—Not many mighty and noble, were called in ancient times, because they always knew so much that God could not teach them, and a man that would listen to the voice of the Lord and follow the teachings of heaven, always was despised, and considered to be of the foolish class—Paul proves this fact, when he says, "We are made as the filth of the world—the off—scouring of all things unto this day."
I am aware, that a rehearsal of visions of angels at this day, is as inconsistent with a portion of mankind as it formerly was, after all the boast of this wise generation in the knowledge of the truth; but there is a uniformity so complete, that on the reflection, one is led to rejoice that it is so.
In my last I gave an imperfect description of the angel, and was obliged to do so, for the reason, that my pen would fail to describe an angel in his glory, or the glory of God. I also gave a few sentences which he uttered on the subject of the gathering of Israel, &c. Since writing the former, I have thought it would, perhaps, be interesting to give something more full on this important subject, as well as a revelation of the gospel. That these holy personages should feel a deep interest in the accomplishment of the glorious purposes of the Lord, in his work in the last days, is consistent, when we view critically what is recorded of their sayings in the holy Scriptures.
You will remember to have read in Daniel "And at that time, [the last days] shall Michael stand up, the great prince, who stands for the children of thy people;" and also in Revelations—"I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the prophets." Please compare these sayings with that singular expression in Heb. "Are they [angels] not all ministering Spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" And then let me ask nine questions: first,
Are the angels now in glory, the former prophets and servants of God? Secondly; Are they brethren of those who keep his commandments on earth? and thirdly, have brethren & fleshly kindred, in the kingdom of God, feelings of respect and condescension enough to speak to each other, though one may be in heaven and the other on the earth?
Fourthly: If angels are ministering spirits, sent
forth to minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation, will they not minister for those heirs? and fifthly, if they do, will any one know it?
Sixthly: Will Michael, the archangel, the great prince, stand up in the last days for Israel? Seventhly: will he defend them from their enemies? Eightly will he lead them, as they were once lead; and ninthly, if so, will he be seen? These questions I leave without answering, because the reasoning is so plain, and so many might be brought, that, they must be at hand in the heart and mind of every Saint. But to the gospel, and then to the gathering.
The great plan of redemption being prepared before the fall of man, and the salvation of the human family being as precious in the sight of the Lord at one time as at another, before the Messiah came in the flesh and was crucified, as after the gospel was preached, and many were found obedient to the same. This gospel being the same from the beginning, its ordinances were also unchangeable. Men were commanded to repent and be baptized by water in the name of the Lord: and were then blessed with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit being thus given; men were enabled to look forward to the time of the coming of the Son of Man, and to rejoice in that day, because through that sacrifice they looked for a remission of their sins, and for their redemption.
Had it not been for this plan of salvation, which God devised before the fall, man must have remained miserable forever, after transgressing the first commandment, because in consequence of that transgression he had rendered himself unworthy the presence of his Maker. He being therefore cast out, the gospel was preached, and this hope of eternal life was set before Him, by the ministering of angels who delivered it as they were commanded.
Not only did the ancients look forward to the time of the coming of the Messiah in the flesh, with delight, but there was another day for which they sought and for which they prayed. Knowing, as they did, that the fall had brought upon them death, and that man was sensual and evil, the longed for a day when the earth might again rest, and appear as in the beginning—when evil might be unknown upon its face, and all creation enjoy one undisturbed peace for a thousand years.
This being sought for in faith, it pleased the Lord to covenant with them to roll on his purposes until he should bring it to pass—and though many generations were to be gathered to their fathers, yet the righteous, those who should, in their lives, embrace the gospel, and live obedient to its requirements, rise and inherit it during this reign of peace.
From time to time the faithful servants of the Lord have endeavored to raise up a people who should be found worthy to inherit this rest, (for it was called the rest of the righteous or the day of the Lord's rest, prepared for the righteous;) but were not able to sanctify them that they could endure the presence of the Lord, excepting Enoch, who, with his people, for their righteousness, were taken into heaven, with a promise that they should yet see that day when the whole earth should be covered with glory.
Moses labored diligently to effect this object, but in consequence of the transgressions and rebellions of the children of Israel, God swore in his wrath that they should not enter into his rest; and in consequence of this decree, and their transgressions since, they have been scattered to the four winds, and are thus to remain till the Lord gathers them in by his own power.
To a remnant of them the gospel was preached by the Messiah in person, but they rejected his voice, though it was raised daily among them. The apostles continued to hold forth the same; after the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus until they would bear it no longer; and then they were commanded to turn to the Gentiles.
They however labored faithfully to turn that people from error; that they might be the happy partakers of mercy, and save themselves from the impending storm that hung over them. They were commanded to preach Jesus Christ night and day—to preach through him the resurrection from the dead—to declare that all who would embrace the gospel, repent, and be baptized for the remission of their sins, should be saved—to declare that this was the only sure foundation on which they could build and be safe—that God had again visited his people in consequence of his covenant with their fathers, and that if they would they might be the first who should receive these glad things, and have the unspeakable joy of carrying the same to all people; for before the day of rest comes, it must go to all nations, kindreds and tongues.
But in consequence of their rejecting the gospel, the Lord suffered them to be again scattered; their land to be wasted and their beautiful city to be trodden down of the Gentiles, until their time should be fulfilled.
In the last days, to fulfill the promises to the ancient prophets, when the Lord is to pour out his Spirit upon all flesh, he has determined to bring to light his gospel, to the Gentiles, that it may go to the house of Israel. This gospel has been perverted and men have wandered in darkness. That commission given to the apostles at Jerusalem, so easy to be understood, has been hid from the world, because of evil, and the honest have been lead by the designing, till there are none to be found who are practising the ordinances of the gospel, as they were anciently delivered.
But the time has now arrived, in which, according to his covenants, the Lord will manifest to the faithful that he is the same to—day and forever, and that the cup of suffering of his people, the house of Israel, is nearly fulfilled; and that the way may be prepared before their face he will bring to the knowledge of the people the gospel as it was preached by his servants on this land, and manifest to the obedient the truth of the same, by the power of the Holy Spirit; for the time is near when his sons and daughters will prophesy, old men dream dreams, and young men see visions, and those who are thus favored will be such as embrace the gospel as it was delivered in old times; and they shall be blessed with signs following.
Farther on the subject of the gathering of Israel.—This was perfectly understood by all the ancient prophets. Moses prophesied of the affliction which should come upon that people even after the coming of the Messiah, where he said: and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands. Connecting this with a prophecy in the song which follows; which was given to Moses in the tabernacle—remembering the expression—"in the latter days"—where the Lord foretel[l]s all their evil, and their being received to mercy, to such as seek the peace of Israel much instruction may be gained. It is as follows:—
"I will heap mischiefs upon them; I will spend my arrows upon them. They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat: I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust. The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling with the man of gray hairs."
But after all this, he will judge their enemies and avenge them of theirs; for he says:
"If I whet my glittering sword, and my hand take hold on judgment, I will render vengeance to my enemies, and will reward them that hate me. I will make my arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh."
After all this—after Israel has been restored, and afflicted and his enemies have also been chastised, the Lord says: "Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land and to his people."
I will give a further detail of the promises to Israel, hereafter, as rehearsed by the angel. Accept assurance of my esteem as ever.
—> The weather begins to look like spring—our feathered songsters have greeted us with the sound of their voices once more, and nature is about to put on her summer dress.—Our winter has not been as severe as in some places to the south, and withall, we think that the never changing goodness of our God ought to inspire our hearts with increased devotion toward him.
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