FairMormon is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing well-documented answers to criticisms of LDS doctrine, belief and practice.
Messenger and Advocate/2/8
|←Number 7|| Messenger and Advocate
Volume 2, Number 8
|Source document in Mormon Publications: 19th and 20th Centuries online archive: Messenger and Advocate Vol. 2
Note: Some headings and bracketed texts are editorial and not part of the original text.
|LATTER DAY SAINTS'|
|MESSENGER AND ADVOCATE|
|Volume II. No. 8.]||KIRTLAND, OHIO, MAY, 1836.||[Whole No. 20.|
"But the end of all things is at hand, be ye therefore sober and watch unto prayer." 1st Peter, 4:7.
He who had companied with the Savior after he commenced his public teachings till the censumation [consummation] of that bloody tragedy that removed him from the ken of an ungrateful, ruthless world, or rather as if he would make the injunction more emphatic, and have it laid up or preserved among the archives of the church, he wrote the epistle, of which our text forms a part. In his exordium, we learn the characters he addressed, without the shadow of a doubt: the subject matter of the epistle is also replete with useful instruction to his brethren respecting the great things that pertained to their salvation.
He was qualified to each from the fact, that he had superior advantages to gain instruction, not only from journeying with the Savior, and participating largely in all the trials and privations, through which he passed while propagating a religion so diverse from any then embraced.
He was qualified to teach from another consideration. God, our heavenly Father, had revealed to him that Jesus was the Christ the Son of the living God. We might here go on and say, that to him also were committed the keys of the kingdom, but without laboring to prove a point so little controverted, we will come to that part of our text which lies with most weight upon our mind, (viz.) "be sober and watch unto prayer." The reasons for this injunction seem to be couched in the former part of the verse we have under consideration, "seeing the end of all things was at hand." The reader will here pause for a moment and consider, that the author of our text possessed the spirit of prophecy, although the event to which he alluded did not transpire then, neither yet has it transpired, but, we believe he looked down through the vista of opening years, and beheld what is still in futurity, that the end of all things was at hand.
Here let us reflect a moment. If the apostle with any degree of propriety could urge such a course of conduct upon the Saints in his day, with how much greater propriety, and greater force may the same sentiments be urged upon the Saints now, that eighteen hundred years have passed away. The time to which he alluded must inevitably be nearer at hand than it was then. We, therefore, take the liberty to recommend, to our young brethren and sisters, more particularly, be sober and watch unto prayer. We do not suppose, the Lord required any more strict obedience to his commands of you, than he does of your aged brethren, but you will permit us, who have passed the meridian and are now on the declivity of life, to speak from experience in this matter: "we speak of the things we do know, and testify of those we have seen." We are well acquainted with the follies and vanities incident to youth, and we do know they are directly calculated to corrupt the taste for mental improvement, vitiate the habits, and not only so, but to grieve the Spirit of God and cause it to withdraw its vivifying influences from our souls. These, my young brethren and sisters, are appalling facts. If the Holy Spirit of God reign in you, and rule over you, it will be your meat and your drink to do the will of your heavenly Father. You will therefore, consider this, not among the least of his commands, "be sober and watch unto prayer." It will make you, that you shall be neither barren nor unfruitful in the work of the Lord. We expect, notwithstanding the great calamities that shall precede the appearance of the Savior, the wicked who shall survive those calamities, will be full of folly, full of vanity, full of laughter and every evil propensity, and that day will come in a time when they least expect it; indeed it will overtake them as a thief in the night. Think not because you have been baptized for the remission of your sins, that you are now perfectly safe, that you are sealed up unto eternal life, that God will save you in his celestial kingdom, when you are demoralizing yourselves, exerting a baneful influence around you, setting at nought his counsels and his com-
mands, and grieving his Holy Spirit by your foolish laughter and utter contempt of his just requisition, "be sober and watch unto prayer."
Remember, my young brethren and sisters, that God is not mocked with impunity. His all seeing eye behold you at all times, and for all your folly, your vanity, and your wicked indulgence in evil, as well as your utter contempt of his authority, he will look down with contempt upon you, and ere you are aware, you will be brought into judgment,—Be assured we tell you no fiction, we inculcate no wild chimera of a disordered imagination, when we solemnly declare both from our own experience and the dictates of the Spirit of God that persisting in such a course of perverseness, will ere long destroy your confidence in prayer, overspread your mind with gloom, and darken all your prospects of heaven and celestial glory. You may once have been washed, you may have been cleansed, but you are turned again like the dog to his vomit, or like the swine that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
Think not that we would enjoin you a Monkish sadness or hypocritical gravity: not so, but we would have your forsake all your loud laughter which is always indicative of an empty mind, and as we have before remarked, is calculated to grieve the Holy Spirit and make it withdraw, leaving you to the influence of that spirit which lures but to destroy.
We ask you to examine yourselves, brethren & sisters, after you have passed through a scene of folly and vanity and see if your taste for intellectual attainments has not become more obtuse, and your anxiety to become acquainted with the things of God, and our holy religion, far less acute. See if the low expressions and vulgar cants of the Bar-room and other haunts of folly and wickedness, are not fast superceding all the traces of moral refinement in your minds. See if the adversary has not already obtained the ascendency over you, remember that no one can inhale the pestiferous atmosphere of vice or folly and go away uncontaminated. Evil communications you know, the apostle said, corrupt good manners, and he might with equal propriety have added and good morals. You are not to understand that to be sober and watch unto prayer, is to make your morose, or destroy those fine feelings of your nature that render you cheerful and amiable. You are not to understand that it is to rob you of any rational enjoyment. But remember that no enjoyment can be rational, that unfits the mind and destroys the taste for pure devotional exercises toward God.
"The end of all things, the apostle said was at hand".
As we have before hinted, if he could with any propriety urge this sobriety and this watchfulness upon the saints from the consideration that the end of all things was then at hand.—with how much great force do they not press upon us not. The time of the consummation of all things is certainly nearer at hand than it was then.
There is another idea couched in our text, of which perhaps you seldom think. The time is fast approaching when the saints are to be all taught of God, and when he has now said to you through the apostle, be sober and watch unto prayer, is not this revolting to your feelings and the commands irksome, and disagreeable? Does not the idea forcibly strike the mind, that as the end approaches, such a course of conduct becomes more and more necessary, that we may be prepared to go out and meet that Bride Groom when he comes? That we may not be found in the unpleasant dilemma of the foolish virgins with no oil in our lamps?—Remember that God is not mocked nor his commands to be treated with irreverence or disrespect: his presence fills immensity, and his all-seeing eye surveys the whole of his vast creation.
Although the wise man said rejoice O young man in thy youth and let thy heart cheer thee in thy youth, in the same verse, the same wise man has said, but remember that for all these things God will bring thee into judgement. Thereby plainly intimating that our enjoyments ought to be rational, and not inconsistent with our moral improvement, not inconsistent with the highest intellectual attainments, not inconsistent with that state of mind which ought to actuate us from the consideration that "the end of all things is at hand"
From a review of what we have said we learn 1st. That immoderate
laughter and foolish jesting are at war with every principle of morality or holiness of heart without which, no one will see the Lord: and that we cannot by any forced construction of ours make them accord with the sentiment couched in our text; "be sober and watch unto prayer".
2nd. We infer from the fact, that God our heavenly Father has pointed out the way by revelation ancient and modern, that his creatures should pursue to glorify and enjoy him, and that we are acting the irrational part towards ourselves as well as that of base ingratitude to him, to let the adversary get the ascendancy over us and decoy us, till folly, vanity, and sin ultimately preponderate and satan literally take us captive at his will."
3d. Again whatever course of conduct we pursue that is not in strict accordance with that growth in grace and that increase in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ required of his saints, we may justly conclude is not pleasing in the sight of our Heavenly Father and the unpleasant reflection that will ere long force itself upon us like an unbidden, unwelcome guest, will gnaw, like a worm, the root of our felicity, We shall then be compelled from necessity, to view the great contrast there is between virtue and vice, and many, very many, we have reason to fear, will when too late, have to make this bitter lamentation "the summer is ended, the harvest past and our souls are not saved".
4th. From a view of all we have said, and especially from a view of what the apostle has said, "that the end of all things is at hand," we would fain hope you would in kindness suffer a word of exhortation and be wise;
"Be wise to day this madness to defer,
Next day the fatal precedent will plead,
Thus on till wisdom is pushed out of life."
5th. In conclusion we say if you would enjoy the approbation of a good conscience, if you would have your spiritual strength renewed, if you would be free from the contaminating influence of vice and folly, and be prepared to meet the Savior in peace, when he comes to take veng[e]ance on all those that obey not the gospel, we say deny yourselves of all folly, vanity, and every worldly lust and "be sober and watch unto prayer." amen. W.
THE SAINTS OF THE LAST DAYS.
Nothing can be more pleasing and delightful than to contemplate the situation of the Latter Day Saints; placed as it were on an eminence and bringing within the compass of their observation, all the kingdoms of the world, not only those which now are, but those which are past as well as those to come; favored with the light of heaven by which they can contemplate the history of the world in its true light, understanding the situation of all who have preceded them: the light in which the great Jehovah viewed them, and their relation to the salvation of Jesus Christ.
Having before them the history of nearly six thousand years, where is written the names, the mighty works, and great faith of the former day saints, their God like nobility of soul, their splendid achievements among the nations in their day and generation, their undaunted courage in the cause of truth, their holy boldness in defence of their master's honor; their toils, their perils, their sacrifices, their indefatigable zeal, their firmness, and their ste[a]dfastness in the truth, not regarding their life unto death, their abiding testimony by which they condemned the generation which then lived, and will be had amongst men until time is no more: their great faith by which they ascended into the heights, and descended into the depths, and searched out all things, yea, even the deep things of God, seeing the end from the beginning, and the beginning from the end.
Being diligent and faithflu [faithful], while the world was stumbling in darkness and the nations were strangers to the knowledge of God, and knew not him who created them nor him who saved them; they in the midst of darkness burst forth into light, and among those who set in the valley and shadow of death they caused light to spring up; their voices were heard among nations afar off, and their power was felt in the islands of the sea. The messengers of heaven watched them by the way and rejoiced over them in righteousness.
Wide is the field of contemplation which opens to the view of the saints of the latter days, while they read the history and meditate upon the events peculiar to the saints, as set forth in the account which we have of those of
former days, not only the knowledge they had of the things which then existed; but also of the things which should take place until time should end. It might be said of them in truth, that in them there was light and not darkness at all; for their knowledge extended down the stream of time until they beheld the winding up scene of this world, and reached forth into eternity to gaze upon things eternal, immortal, and invisible.
Truly their religion was a religion of intelligence, and their minds in consequence of their religion was richly laden with wisdom from on high. When we contemplate the height of their devotion, the depth of their humility, the extent of their knowledge, the greatness of their sufferings, the fervor of their zeal, the boldness of their enterprizes, the dexterity of their stratagems, the splendor of their works, the grandeur of their conceptions, the richness of their communications, the purity of their affections, the holiness of their desires, the brilliance of their course, the nobleness of their minds, the benevolence of their hearts, the sincerity of their intentions, the correctness of their motives, the power of their faith, and their incessant communion with the heavens and the heavenly hosts, being full of the Holy Spirit, and abounding in love and good works, while visions, dreams, revelations and prophesyings enlarged their minds, and prepared them for the society of the blessed.
In meditating upon these things the mind of the latter day saint struggles with the powers of darkness like Jacob with the angel, until he prevails, bursts the vail which conceals futurity from his view, and launches forth into the light of heaven to contemplate the scenes of unborn time, and to mingle his lays [laws] with the heavenly hosts and shout hosanna in the midst of the throngs which surround the throne of God.
Again the mind of the latter day saint rolls over the face of the prophetic vision which inspired the hearts of the prophets, and caused them to sing their sweetest notes, gathers up this history of all generations, by which he can compare the present with the past, and the past with the future, and bring the two ends of men's earthly existance [existence] together. Inspired by the same spirit which inspired the prophets, he can behold glories lying over the face of revelation that the eye of an uninspired man never saw nor can see; by this spirit he discovers the iniquities, and apostacy of his own days, his mind being strengthened by the spirit of inspiration so as to enable him to understand the religion of Jesus Christ and believe it, he looks over the world with feelings peculiar to the saints, and through the light of revelation gazes upon the follies and wickedness of this generation: his cares are saluted with the Lo! heres and the Lo! theres, attended with ceremonies and forms not only without power, but without the belief in it, so that indeed he sees a form of Godliness, while those who have the form, deny the power thereof.—What a great contrast he beholds between the new testament church and the churches of modern times. He views the former with its apostles, its prophets, its evangelists, its pastors and teachers, all of them men inspired of God men full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom as well as its gifts, its power of healing its miracles, its tongues, its interpreters of tongues, with the power of getting revelations, the ministering of angels the power of God which attended it.—The latter without apostles, or prophets, or evangelists, or inspiration or gifts or healings, or miracles, or tongues or interpreters of tongues, and yet the religious world will contend that they are both the same church, equally partakers of eternal life and the blessings of the Most High.
Such is the great contrast between the saints of the last days, and those who are strangers both to God and his ways, one sees understands and rejoices in the glory and order of the new testament church, while the other tries to evade the force of the plainest facts set forth in it, defaces the glory of the church of Christ, neither understanding its nature, nor its beauty, nor yet comprehending its glory; but contents himself with a form of Godliness denying the power thereof.
In reviewing the history of his own times as written by the prophets the saint of the latter days sees fulfilling on the heads of this generation, all that God has spoken by the mouth of the holy prophets, while they are insensible of that, and in consequence of their great apostasy, he beholds the day of
the Lord so coming upon them as a thief in the night, and sudden distruction [destruction] coming upon them and they know it not; because they know not God.—He sees them eating, and drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage, crying all is well in Zion; fear not all things are continuing as they were since the creation of the world; truly he sees that the generation among whom he lives are just such a people as there were in the days of Noah.—While he beholds the heavens and the earth big with events of an awful character, every nation preparing itself for the day of battle and the sacrifice of the great God.
He often fancies to himself that he is like one of the ancient prophets who incessantly lifted his voice to backsliding Israel, warning them of the judgments of almighty God which were coming upon them, but they would not here, he saw them haste to distruction [destruction] and no power could prevent it. So the saint of the latter days sees this generation hastening to distruction [destruction], "while their judgment of a long time sleepeth not and their damnation slumbereth not," but their eyes are closed in sleep and their eye lids in slumber, and they see not neither do they know. Therefore he does know that all that God has spoken by the mouth of the holy prophets concerning them will be fulfilled; for the day of the Lord will most assuredly overtake them as a thief in the night, and at the time when they are crying peace and safety, sudden destruction will come upon them and they shall not escape.
Whose feelings can be like the latter day saints? I answer none; because there are no persons who do know the situation of this generation except those who are inspired of God to understand it, neither can any of them understand the signs of the times: there may be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars, perplexity of nations, men's hearts failing them for looking after those things which are coming upon the earth, while the uninspired in the midst of these things understand them not, neither do they know them, but like the ox fatted for the slaughter they haste to distruction [destruction] and know it not, neither will they know till they lift up their eyes in hell being in torment; for in the midst of the calamities which will come upon them, they will curse their King and their God and die. And yet with all their abomination have a form of godliness; but it is only a form, for they deny, and will deny the power thereof, in consequence of which they will go down to hell and their eyes will be shut until they are opened in torment.
How marvelous, cries the saint of God, it is, that men have a bible and read it, and preach about it day after day, and night after night, and yet not believe one item of it: reject the entire religion thereof and go down to hell holding the light of God in their hands: run from neighborhood to neighborhood, preach, proclaim, admonish, and warn, make proselytes in hundreds and thousands, and when they have made them only make their damnation more certain than it was before. Such is the light in which the latter day saint beholds all the works of the men of this generation; knowing by the spirit of inspiration that their religion is nothing more than a cunningly devised fable, a device of satan to hold the world more firm in his chains until he drags them down to perdition, and through this means obtains to himself a rich harvest of souls, who shall suffer the vengeance of eternal fire.
But there is something in the midst of this scene of darkness which cheers the hearts of the saints, exceedingly, it is, that the truth has once more made its appearance, and light has began to shine in darkness, and the spirit of inspiration is returning to the earth, the voice of the prophets is heard again in the land, and communion is again opened with the heavens, and babes begin to understand that which is hid from the eyes of the wise and the prudent, and the weak things of the earth begin to confound the mighty, and the foolish things of the earth, put to shame those who are wise, and men are beginning again to follow after God, and multitudes are finding him to the everlasting joy and gratitude of their hearts, and God is again, saying to men, build me places as I shall direct you, where I can manifest myself to you, and send my angels to minister to you as in days of old. Judges are returning as at the first, and counsellors as at the beginning. And the saints may well look for the time when the "wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them and the desert shall blos[s]om as the rose."
Christian perfection, so called, is a subject which has engrossed the attention of the religious public in the different ages of the world in no small degree. It was, if we may credit the sacred writers, a subject which was called forth as early as we have any account of the revelations of God: and from that to the present, whether the world has been in a state of apostasy, or whether it has not, the subject of christian perfection has been one which has called forth a pretty large share of public discussion.
There can be little doubt, but those who were under the immediate influence of divine revelation, and received constant communication from the Deity on all subjects in any degree affecting their salvation, understood this subject much better than those who were in a state of apostacy; as they had all the opportunities that any mortals could have to settle all questions in relation to their religion: indeed the sacred writers speak of it as a subject which was well understood among the saints of their day; as at no time have they proposed it as a subject of discussion, and given us a formal investigation of it, as they have other subjects which were matters of controversy among the saints; but spake, and wrote, of it as of a matter which was well understood among them all.
In speaking of perfection, the Savior and his apostles have said some things which seem to be hard to understand by the present religious world: not that the sayings cannot be understood or are not sufficiently plain; but the consciousness there is among all the religious professors, of their coming far short of perfection, and taking it for granted that they are in the right way, and are as righteous as persons can be in this age of the world; they have considerable misgivings about what the sacred writers meant. For instance, when the Savior says "be ye therefore perfect, even as your father which is in heaven is perfect". Matthew 5:48,th a deep consciousness at once says to all the professing world, that they are not thus perfect: but they are not only sensible that they are not perfect as their father in heaven is perfect; but they do most assuredly believe that they cannot be so, and a deep inquiry issues what did the Savior mean when he said be ye perfect, as your father in heaven is perfect!
Did he really mean that men should be perfect as God is? and if so, is such perfection necessary to salvation, or cannot a person be saved without it? are queries which often arise in the minds of many, indeed we may say all the religious world.
When people are in a state of apostasy, it seems hard to understand the sayings which were delivered to those who were in a state of acceptance with God, and fully able to bear his sayings: but it is not as hard for them to understand them, as it is to believe them when they do understand them, for to believe them with all their heart, would be virtually, to deny their religion, and, to tacitly to acknowledge that it was not of God.
How hard must it be for a person who denies christian perfection, to understand what the Savior meant, when he said be ye perfect &c? When he firmly believes that it is impossible for any person to be so: he cannot think that the Savior said any thing wrong; but comes to the conclusion that he cannot understand him, there is some mystery about his sayings, some how or other. The man never seems to reflect for a moment that the error may be in his sentiments, and the difficulty arises from his having embraced sentiments which are not according to godliness; but perfectly satisfied with his religion, he comes to the conclusion that there is some thing wrapped up in these very plain sayings, which cannot be easily understood, and there he leaves the matter.
And those who profess to believe in perfection among the saints, find some difficulty also; for the Savior seems to push the subject a little farther than they can go. To require of the saints to be perfect, is what they believe in; but for him to say that they must be perfect, as their father in heaven is perfect, is a little beyond the faith of those who believe in perfection, and they also come to the conclusion that there is some little mystery some where about the savior's saying.
So certain it is, that there are no people who can believe what was said to those who got revelations for themselves; but those who get immediate revelation from heaven.
If it were possible for people to lay down their prejudices, and let the revelations of God touch them in all things, the many mysteries which they find in the scriptures would soon pass away, and the apparent darkness which is over the face of revelation on many subjects, would become light. Let them once admit that their religion might be wrong, and search with candor for truth, and believe what the bible says, and light would speedily shine round about them. But to return to our subject again.
When we speak of perfection, we mean to be understood that a perfect thing cannot be improved. There is perfection in mechanics, when a machine is so constructed, that it cannot be improved, or made better, we call it a perfect machine. We say of the human system it is perfect; because we cannot suggest an improvement in any part of it, it is brought to as high a state as it can, being the contrivance of infinite wisdom, and if we were to say that the great Jehovah could not improve it, we think we should not insult him.
We say of God, he is perfect. And why? because his nature cannot be improved; and because he possesses all things of which his nature is capable. When we speak of a perfect religion, we mean that the religion is in every respect adapted to the wants, and necessities, of those for whom it is designed. It expands the human mind until it can expand no more, and then supplies it with all it is capable of enjoying. So that the enjoyment is in every way suited to the capacity of the persons who possess it; insomuch, that even God himself could not expand the human mind any more, nor give it one enjoyment which it does not possess. This done, the religion is perfect; but without this, it is not.
For a person to be perfect before God, is for him to have his mind expanded until it can be expanded no more, and then to enjoy all things which it is capable of enjoying. This would be perfection, and thus a man would be perfect as his father in heaven is perfect. And until this takes place, in vain may the religious world talk about perfection.
In the scriptures we are told that there were perfect men. It was said of Noah that he was perfect in his generation Genesis 6:9. Also Abraham was commanded to walk before God and be perfect Genesis 17:1. A great many scriptures might be quoted to the same effect; but let these suffice, which clearly establishes the fact, that the religion of heaven was designed to make men perfect before God; for if it were not, why say to Abraham walk before me and be thou perfect"; if the system which was taught to Abraham was not perfect, and if it were perfect, he that obeyed it would be perfect also. Or why say of Noah he was perfect in his generation? when there was no such thing as men being perfect before God, Or why command the disciples to be perfect, as their father in heaven was perfect? when there was no such things as being thus perfect.
All these sayings must be very unmeaning, unless there is such a thing as being perfect before God; and unless those who obey the scheme of heaven are thereby made perfect.
We think this subject is easy of understanding, if we are willing to let our religion fall a prey to it; for such will be the case with the whole sectarian world, if the bible is to be our guide. Perfection then, is perfection, and nothing else but perfection, is perfection. When a person or thing is perfect, it is perfect, and when it is not perfect, it is not perfect. When any thing can be improved, it is not perfect. When any scheme which is designed for the benefit of men can be bettered, it is not perfect, perfection reaches beyond improvement.
Let us premise a little, suppose some person should take a start in intelligence in these days, and reach beyond any others who had lived before his day. Would that not prove to a demonstration, that all those who had lived before him were not perfect? surely it would; and for this reason, because the very fact of his doing so, would prove that the human mind was capable of such an improvement, and if others had not come up to it, they could be improved, and of course were not perfect. If there are any attainments for the human mind which it has not reached, the mind that has not attained to them is not perfect; for the human mind to be perfect, is for it to have attained to all to which it
can attain, and if it has not, the person is not perfect. Paul in writing to the Philippians 3:12, says of himself.—"Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect". So that Paul did not consider himself perfect, until he had attained that, for which he was apprehended of Christ.
Having now the premises fairly before us, the subject of perfection among saints will be very easy of understanding. When the scriptures speak of men being perfect we see plainly by the quotation taken from Paul, that it means having attained all of which their natures are capable, otherwise they are not perfect.
Let us enquire a little after the capacities of the human mind, and of its capabilities. This is set forth in the bible in a point of light different from all other books, its powers are clearly exhibited, and what it is capable of, is manifested so strikingly as not to be easily misunderstood; but great doubts exist in the minds of some of the truth of what is there said about it.
The history of the former day saints affords us abundance of light on this subject, so that "he that runs may read" and not only read but understand.—The whole bible is one series of accounts in relation to what the human mind is capable of doing when under divine influence, and the great powers which men possess when they are put into action, and how God like they can become when they submit themselves to be guided by the most High.
When I read the Bible I have frequently to stop and ask myself, is human nature capable of such high attainments as those set forth in the scriptures? I am bound to answer in the affirmative, for if they are not, then, the account is not true, for whatever a man has done, it matters not how great, nor how marvelous, it proves that human nature is capable of doing that thing, or else no man would have done it. The very fact of any man having done it, proves that human nature was capable of so doing.
TO BE CONTINUED.
Our readers may be surprised, perhaps, to see a piece in this number of the Advocate, upon the subject of the Elyria article, mentioned in our last. Many, no doubt, have been of opinion, that some articles have heretofore appeared in this paper censuring too severely, the conduct and course pursued by, not only the different sects, as societies, but by individuals, who profess to proclaim the system which was devised and prepared in the bosom of eternity before the foundation of the world, for the good, joy, comfort, peace and salvation of a race of beings who have far departed from their God. In looking into that system, and taking into consideration the manner in which the Lord anciently called and authorized men to preach his gospel, which these men pretend to have authority to proclaim, we feel fully justified in raising our voice, and sounding an alarm, that all who value the worth of their souls may, at least, stop and consider their way before they plunge themselves into that abyss from whence there is no escape. And considering the worth of souls, the apostacy of the Gentile church, and the cunning craftiness of men who make merchandize of that which must continue to exist, our feelings are for the moment, excited to indignation, and then we are ready to weep over their corruption.
Men are responsible for their conduct in proportion to their standing in community, and that weight of influence which they exercise over the same; and of course, when they deviate from the path of truth, if much reliance is placed upon their decision, so much the greater the injury, because others may be led astray. No one will charge us with injustice, then, if we speak severely of such men's faults and expose them to the gaze of the surrounding crowd; for we pledge our honor and veracity, that when leading men, men of influence and standing in society, will cease to vilify our character, defame our reputation, excite the indignation and contempt of our fellow men against us, thereby depriving us of the privilege of teaching them the gospel, and no longer pervert the right ways of God themselves, we will lay down our pen and close our mouth against them forever; but till such is the case, our course is onward, and we shall undeviatingly pursue it, so long as our conscience is void of offence before God.
The following was handed in by a friend who obtained it of the writer, and wished it might be inserted in the
Advocate: we cheerfully comply with the request, and hope it may not be the last, if similar circumstances transpire. Editor.
Kirtland, May, 1836.
Friend—:—I have taken the liberty at this time of sending you a number of the April Messenger, which is now being printed. My reasons for so doing, are simply these: I know your goodness of heart, your liberality of sentiment in regard to religion, as well as to politics. And am satisfied that where your exertions or your influence can be brought to bear, in removing the mists of prejudice; casting aside error, and bringing truth to light; and also in doing justice to an injured and persecuted people, they will be cheerfully extended.
You are well aware, sir, that this society has travelled through floods of villification and misrepresentation from its first organization to the present time. And it has been but seldom that it was deemed necessary to condescend to notice the thousand and one lies that have been circulated concerning it. But, latterly, circumstances have transpired which would render longer forbearance, on our part, a "Sin".—I mean the efforts that have been, and are not making, by that band of disorganizers, those enemies to all that is dear to us as a people, especially to our Southern brethren,—the "ABOLITIONISTS". With the rest of the Reserve, one of their number, not long since, gave Kirtland the honor of his gracious presence; in order I presume, that he might teach us poor "deluded", "benighted" "Mormons" that we were certainly out of the way, and would have no chance of gaining our salvation* except we joined in and threw up our caps for his glorious doctrine of AMALGAMATION! But when the time come to count noses, he found he had "waked up the wrong passengers," and instead of having the "Mormons," he had gathered together a little squad of Presbyterians,—those, who you know, are always foremost in every thing that would tend to subvert our blood-bought liberties. For we as a society, do not hold to any such doctrines—neither do we fellowship those who do,—that is if they endeavor to put their sentiments into practice.—And furthermore, being aware that our brethren are numerous in the South—as also many moving from the east, to that country—it was thought advisable to come out decidedly in relation to this matter, that our brethren might not be subjected to persecution on this account—and the lives of our traveling elders put in jeopardy. For you will see, in a moment, that if madam rumor, with her thousand poisoned tongues, was once to set afloat the story that this society had come out in favor of the doctrines of Abolitionism, there would be no safety for one of us in the South; for our enemies would grasp at it as a precious morsel, whereon to feed the gullibles of this generation.
But thanks to an all wise Providence we have men among us who are able, and willing, to take up their pens in defence of their civil and religious rights; and who, if necessity require, can and will make the priests of this, our day, tremble for their craft, and make them quake with very fear, for the safety of their "dearly beloved flocks," whose pockets they are picking—and by the losing of which, all their fat living would flee from them as chaff before the wind. These articles on the subject of Abolitionism, in the Messenger were written by no hireling scribblers, but have emanated from men who are actuated by no other motive than a desire to benefit their fellow creatures, and to do all they do with an eye single to the glory of God.
You will also see that the rod has not been spared in relation to some other matters. I refer to two articles in reply to a letter written some time since from Painsville, to the Editor of the Elyria "Atlas." One under the editorial head, by our mutual friend, O. Cowdery, Esq. (who you will be glad to hear has again taken the conduct of Messenger,) lashes the villain in a somewhat severe manner—but not so much as he deserves—as he is supposed to be a Reverend of the Presbyterian order, and one of whom we ought to expect better things than slandering those who have never injured him and whose only crime consists in worshiping God according to the dictates
*One of their number is said to have stated not long since that they did not believe a person could enjoy religion without being an abolitionist*
of their own con[s]ciences, regardless of the sneers and scoffs of a priests ridden, ill-bred, good-for-nothing pack of scoundrels, whose God is gold: and whose only employment is deceiving the people, and taking the bread from the mouths of the fatherless and the widows—and whose only reward will be eternal punishment, unless they speedily repent and turn from their abominations.
In relation to matters in general, here, I have nothing very special.—The work of the Lord continues to roll forth, and souls are almost daily brought into the kingdom. The temporal as well as the spiritual concerns of the church are in as prosperous a condition as could be expected, considering the disadvantages under which we labor. Families are daily moving in from the East. While others are departing for the West.
I have now given you about all that I have to impart at this time; and will conclude, by subscribing myself, with sentiments of respect and esteem, as ever, your friend.
Messenger and Advocate
Kirtland, Ohio, May, 1836.
The following, which we copy from the "Ohio Free Press," printed at Medina, the county seat of Medina county, in this state, we lay before our readers, that they may have an idea of the influence which truth has upon those who are not trammeled with sectarian prejudices; but whose minds are open to receive truth when it makes its appearance. It was written by a lawyer of high respectability, and a gentlemen of both learning and talents, of the first order.
He has no doubt given the impression of his own mind, in relation to the subject on which he has written; as well as that of many others of the citizens of that place; for if it were not the case, he could be detected.
It must be peculiarly gratifying and encouraging, to the saints, to see the effect which truth will have on the minds of gentlemen of understanding, when it s fairly laid before them. We presume to say, that like all other places, attempts have been made to prejudice the minds of the people, against the truth in Medina: indeed, the wonderful Alexander Campbell, in this instance, had his desire gratified: How's wonderful book, had pioneered the way, and the people had sufficient time to examine its contents; and do more than this, to consign it to the father of lies from whence it came; as every man under heaven believes who read it, except a religious bigot. But the people had great opportunities than these to get their minds enlightened; for two of Mr. Campbell's fraternity had been there, and had a fair opportunity to display all their talents. The one was the very wise and knowing Mathew Clapp of Mentor, (a name that ought always to be mentioned with reverence, not more on account of his reverence, not more on account of his own great wisdom, than on account of the dignity of his parentage.) The other the Rev. Ebenezer Williams, who in the greatness of their wisdom made an attack on a Mr. Tiffany, who is an unbeliever in revelation; but found themselves greatly mistaken, and did not happen to be as great men as they supposed themselves to be; for the deist was too much for both, and put them to shame and confusion.
In addition to these things, the different religious sects in Medina, used all their influence to keep the people from hearing or at least some of them; for we will say to the credit of the people, that many professors of religion in that place, shewed [showed] a spirit worthy of lovers of truth—but they tried in vain: there was too much independence of soul in the people of Medina, to be deprived of their just rights, because priests said they should not enjoy them, and religious bigots
howled at them. The people would go, and did go, and the result is now before the public—Here follows the extract:
For the Ohio Free Press.
Latter Day Saints.
Agreeable to appointment, Elder Sidney Rigdon, a preacher, of the new sects styling themselves "Latter Day Saints," arrived in this Village on Wednesday the 6th inst. and between that time and the succeeding Tuesday, delivered an interesting series of Lectures, on the subject of the Prophecies, the accomplishment of which is supposed to appertain to the present period of the world. The audiences were very full, and profoundly attentive. the following may be gathered from the Elder's lectures, as a brief synopsis of the leading tenets of the new sect, presenting in many respects, a striking similarity to those of Elhanan Winchester.
1st. That all the prophecies, which are known and admitted to have been fulfilled, have been literally accomplished, we have the strongest analogical reasons to believe, that those which remain unfulfilled, will be also literally accomplished. Nor have we any reason to believe, from Scripture, in any other different mode of accomplishment.
2d. That agreeably to this analogy and the whole scope and tenor of the prophecies yet to be fulfilled, the time is near at hand, even at the doors, when Christ will come in the clouds of heaven, with great power and glory, and all the holy angels with him! to live and reign on the earth a thousand years; and that the generation which is now on the earth will not all pass away, before this tremendous event will be literally accomplished.
3d. That previous to this second advent of the Savior, great revolutions will take place on our globe, and great destruction of mankind will accrue from earthquakes, pestilences, wars, and other causes, by means of which all those who do not embrace the faith will be utterly cut off and destroyed and a remnant only consisting of true believers, will be preserved or saved. And they maintain this work of destruction has already commenced.
4th. That immediately preceding this second advent, certain signs, as prophesied in Scripture, will make their appearance; such as darkness of the sun and moon, falling stars, roaring of the sea;—and they say that these will appear soon.
5th. That at the time of the advent, a surprising revolution will take place in the nature of most if not all terrestrial things: wild beasts will become tame; men immortal; the earth yield her fruits and harvests spontaneously, &c.
6th. That the Jews will, at or before the time, by a series of surprising miracles, clearly stated in the prophecies, be gathered from all parts of the world, into the ancient land of promise, where Christ again will rule and reign among his ancient people. There will be a great, if not a general resurrection of the ancient Jews and Christians. And that all obstacles to these great events will be previously removed by the destruction of the enemies of truth, &c.
7th. That the direct communications with the Almighty, which have been long lost or suspended, in consequence of the general apostacy and the teaching of the false prophets, have been again resumed by a New Dispensation, clearly predicted in the Prophecies. That the Latter Day Saints have now, frequent intercourse of this kind, with the Creator, by means of visions, revelations, &c., which the Elder confirmed by some striking narratives from his own personal experience. He also stated, that the various projects and operations of the new sect, were all derived and guided by communications of this kind, and that any believer may have the same experience, by asking for it in faith; that there is the same and as much encouragement for this exercise of faith, as there ever has been at any period of the world; and that it is the high privilege and sacred duty of all persons, to seek for the confirmation of all these glorious truths, by the light of this experience. In confirmation of the new doctrines, the Elder quoted numerous prophecies, from Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea Malachi, and from the Evangelists and the Epistles of Paul and Peter; and argued with great eloquence, and force, that the new dispensation must necessarily be true, or many of the prophetical parts of the Bible necessarily false.
These tremendous doctrines, promulgated by the Elder with a closeness of reasoning and eloquence of declamation to make as they have made, a powerful and no doubt a lasting impression on most of his hearers. And however strange, mysterious and marvellous, the thing nicknamed Mormonism may yet appear to most of the community, it is certain, that the belief in it as a solemn reality, has become firmly established in this place. One convert only, (a young lady who had adopted the new faith) was baptized by the Elder and his associate Elder Williams; but several others will probably ultimately pursue the same course.
Medina, April, 1836.
The following is the copy of a letter from certain members of the Irvinite church, (so called,) in England, presented to certain elders of the Church of Latter Day Saints, on the evening of the 10th of June, 1835, by a gentleman named in the same, at the time, calling himself a communicant and preacher of that church.
"To the Saints of the Most High:
Dear brethren in the Lord—
At the council of the pastors of our church, held March 28, 1835, upon the propriety of the Rev. John Hewitt visiting you, it was resolved and approved, that as he had an anxious desire to go to America to see the things that are spoken of in one of your papers, brought here by a merchant from New York, he should have, as he desired, the sanction of the council, and if it pleased the Lord, his approval.
"The Lord hath seen our joy and gladness to hear that He was raising up a people for himself in that part of the New World, as well as here—O may our faith increase that he may have evangelists, apostles and prophets filled with the power of the Spirit, and performing his will in destroying the works of darkness."
"The Rev. Mr. Hewitt was professor of mathematics in Rother'm Independent Seminary, and four years pastor of Barnesly Independent church. He commenced preaching the doctrines we taught about two years since, and was excommunicated—many of his flock followed him, so that eventually he was installed in the same church, and the Lord's work prospered. As he is a living epistle you will have, if all be well, a full explanation. Many will follow should he approve of the country, &c. who will help the cause, because the Lord hath favored them with this world's goods."
We had an utterance during our meeting, which caused us to sing for joy. The Lord was pleased with our Brother's holy determination to see you, and we understand that persecution had been great among you, or would be; but we were commanded not to fear, for he would be with us—Praise the Lord."
"The time is at hand when distance shall be no barrier between us, but when, on the wings of love, Jehovah's messages shall be communicated by his saints. The Lord bless our brother and may he prove a blessing to you. Be not afraid of our enemies, they shall, unless they repent, be cast down by the Lord of hosts. The workers of iniquity have been used by the Prince of darkness to play the counterfeit, but discernment has been given to us that they were immediately put to shame by being detected, so that the flock never suffered as yet by them."
"Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God our Father and from the Spirit, Jesus Christ our Lord,—Amen.
Your brother in the gospel."
(signed) "THOMAS SHAW."
"Barnesly, April 21st, 1835."
One object, and only one, has induced us to lay the foregoing letter from England, before our readers—and that is, the good of the cause of God. It might have remained in our possession perhaps for years in silence had it not been for circumstances which we will briefly mention:
After the arrival of Mr. Hewitt in this country, he held an interview with certain elders of this church, at which time our belief in the gospel was freely and frankly laid before him—from which, in general, he did not dissent, only that he did not believe the book of Mormon. He professed to be a member of the "Irvinite', church, (so called) and said that church believed in the gift of tongues, visions, &c. and
that himself had been favored with communications from heaven.
Some time since we saw a notice in the Painesville Telegraph, signed by the said Hewitt, denying ever having been a member of the "Irvinite" church, or of having brought letter to this. We confess our astonishment at the sight of such an article, and feel to deplore the corruption of men who can so bare facedly deviate from the truth, when he must have known that his visit here could not have been forgotten so soon.
Having this sample of the man's character, we knew not how soon he might leave the country and perhaps still pretend to fellowship with the church which he represented here. And having given bro. Pratt's letter a place in the Advocate, he might also be induced to make his way to that society in Toronto, and do the cause of Christ an injury. Brother Pratt will now be prepared, in the event Hewitt should attempt any thing of that nature, to set the matter in a proper shape, and his brethren know in what manner they have been represented in this country by a man who no doubt, left England with the confidence and esteem of a people who have been vilified and traduced. Editor.
The following letter is from our esteemed friend and br. Parley P. Pratt. Elder Pratt not knowing of the change in the editorial department of this paper, addressed br. Whitmer, which will explain a sentence in the last clause. We are not forward in giving news in advance, neither do we think proper to entertain our readers with accounts from travelling elders, unless they have been successful in baptizing more or less, but the peculiar situation of br. Pratt, and the great stir which has been made about that people called Irvinites, has induced us to publish his letter entire. If the Lord continues to give elder Pratt access to that people, (which he will if they are honest before him,) then we may expect soon to hear of his success in that place; but if not, he will have the satisfactory reflection, that he has performed his duty in warning them to flee from the awaiting destruction, so plainly set forth in the prophets of God. And we hope not only that br. Pratt may meet with great success where he is now laboring, but that all others, who are proclaiming the gospel, may be instrumental in gathering out the elect of the Lord from the midst of a perverse generation. We say, may they be blessed with much wisdom, may they abound in all prudence, may the authority of the holy ministry attend them, may great grace be upon them, and may the Lord our God preserve them from the wicked devices and corrupting snares of a race of men whose hearts are far from the truth. Editor.
City of Toronto U. C. May 9, 1836.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE LATTER DAY SAINTS MESSENGER AND ADVOCATE:
Dear Brother, I am now in Toronto, the seat of government for the province of Upper Canada, a large town on the northern shores of Lake Ontario, consisting of from 12 to 20 thousand inhabitants. I landed here about 10 days since, a stranger and alone. Every place was closed against me as I applied for an opportunity to preach, until I was almost discouraged. I cried unto the Lord to open my way, and as I was on the point of leaving the city, the Lord sent a poor widow to me, who opened her house, and I spake the word of the Lord to her and to her household and friends, who believed, and have offered themselves for baptism.
The next day I visited another poor widow, who was nearly blind with inflammation: the Lord healed and opened her eyes, which has made her business enough, as many go to learn of her how her eyes were opened.
I preached to a few individuals, and still cried unto God to open my way. I applied to two chapels, to the court house, and to the infidels in vain. But the spirit of the Lord was upon me, and I said: In the name of Jesus Christ, in the strength of the God of Elijah, this city shall be warned, till every ear shall tingle and every heart be penetrated; their iniquities be brought to light, and the Lord's people gathered to the standard of truth which shall be raised in this city, and shine forth to all the regions round about.
Sunday I went to meeting first to a chapel, where the preacher preached the power of faith in its true light, and then prayed for the whole face of
things to be changed. I said, amen. After meeting, while dining with him and some of his hearers, I told them what the Lord had did for us: and they began to believe.
Afternoon I went to a Mr. Patrick's house to meeting, where many had been wont to assemble to search the scriptures: they had discovered the corruptions of christendom, and were diligently searching for truth. A few hours were spent in searching into the nature of the baptism of the Holy Ghost, with its several gifts. The result of the investigation was, they felt the need of prophets and apostles to organize them, and minister the ordinances and spirit to them. Some said, "Let us be agreed and ask for God to commission us by revelation." Others said, "it might be that the Lord had already commissioned apostles in some parts of the world; and if he had, it must come from them."
During this time I had listened in silence: some times crying and sometimes smiling—my heart burning within me. Some one at length observed, that a stranger was in the room who might wish to speak. I said I should be glad to speak on the subject in the evening: liberty was granted, and appointment made: after which they kneeled down and in tears confessed their naked, destitute, situation; prayed God to pity and relieve them.
In the evening they heard me; and from that time, doors have been opened wider and wider: priests and people flock to hear. Last Sunday I preached in the heart of the city, in the open air: hundreds flocked to hear, and solemnity and good order were seen through all the crowd. God gave me a voice like a trump, so that many from all the surrounding houses and streets were enabled to hear distinctly. Multitudes were thronging the streets for other meetings who were also warned as they past. I am invited to many places in the city and in the country.
I preach, read and converse to people all day and all night: sometimes the morning sun is dawning upon us before we have thought of rest; and generally the clock strikes twelve before we retire. None oppose openly, but the hireling priests, and they are glad to retire in shame and confusion, and seek an asylum within their own synagogues, where they well know they are secure from the pointed charts of truth, at present; but soon shall they be thrown down, and they stand naked and exposed to the piercing eye of Jehovah.
There are multitudes who are expecting to be baptized, and some are only waiting an opportunity.
I expect to tarry here some time: I wish you to send me the Messenger and Advocate, back numbers and all, as I get no news from any saint in any direction.
I have gotten access to the writings and publications of the people called "Irvinites," in Scotland and England, and I find they have searched deep into the gathering of Israel; the coming of Christ to reign on the earth; the apostacy of the Gentile church, and the need of an organization by authority from God, and of the restitution of the gift of the Spirit. Tens of thousands are awakened in that land to these subjects, and are sending swift messengers to the nations around them, to teach these things, insomuch that the excitement seems to have become general among kings and nobles, priests and people.
I have addressed a letter of eleven pages to that land, giving a sketch of the work of the Lord among us. Many believers here are late from England, so we may have access to many names in that country: these are already beginning to express desires for their friends in that country to hear these things.
Now brother Whitmer, I have one request—let this be read in your public meeting, in the house of the Lord, and let the prayers of the church come up with a hearty amen, for me and the people here; for never did I feel to say, How great is the work required of me, with a more realizing sense than now—I cry unto God day and night.
Yours in the Lord.
P. P. PRATT.
Kirtland, May 26, 1836.
Dear brother Cowdery:
Sir, having just returned from a short mission in Upper Canada, I take the liberty of addressing a few lines to you for insertion in the Messenger and Advocate praying that it may be edifying to the
readers of that useful and interesting paper.
I left Kirtland April 5th, in company with elders, O. Pratt and F Nickerson; and after a long and tedious journey, through mud and rain, we arrived in Upper Canada, where I took leave of the other two brethren, and pursued my course for Toronto, the capital of the Province, at which place I arrived on the 19th of April. I sought in vain for a chapel, court house or other public building, in which to preach, all being closed against me.—At length one or two private dwellings were opened freely, where I commenced, and continued preaching, until it was no longer practicable for want of sufficient room to accommodate the multitude, when I commenced preaching on the steps of a private dwelling: two rooms of the house were first filled, and then a large door-yard. This place was situated in the midst of the city so that many thousands could hear. I continued several sabbath days to hold forth the word of life to multitudes. I also continued preaching both in the city and country daily: In the country, we were under the necessity of opening large barns in order to accommodate the people. Many who were greatly rejoiced at first, soon began to search for truth with all diligence, by night and day, insomuch that sleep departed for a season from our eyes, and sometimes, daylight dawned in the East before we retired to rest. Our meetings were sometimes disturbed by Rev. gentlemen of the clergy; among them was the Rev. Mr Evens, Editor of the Christian Guardian, and others who attended with a design to prove the Book of Mormon an imposition and myself an impostor, I refused to hear them at ten or eleven o'clock at night, in a crowded private dwelling, without order or moderators; but I offered to meet any, or all of them on fair grounds, if they would open any public building, appoint moderators to keep order and give me half of the time, I pledged myself under these circumstances, to sustain the Book of Mormon with all the evidence they could the Bible, but they very prudently refused. One circumstance I will mention to show the weakness and falsehood, to which the clergy resort in their exertions against the truth.
The Rev. Mr. Milkins gave an appointment for preaching in the chapel in the country against Mormonism, on Friday evening, May 20th, I attended; the house was thronged with auditors, and aftar [after] an introduction, with a lengthy preface on the subject of false christs, false prophets, barkers, jumpers &c. (as found in the preface of Mr. Campbell's pamphlet, and other libelous publications) he, at length made a quotation from the 12th page of the Book of Mormon, concerning Laban's sword of steel, stating that he was fully prepared to reject any book as a Revelation, which gave an account of steel, so early as six hundred years before Christ.
It being contrary to all history, he probably supposed we were ignorant of the Bible and had never read Job 20th chap. 24th verse and Jeremiah 15th: 12th verse, Psalm, 18 chap. 24 v. 2 Sam. 22 chap. 35 v. all these speak of steel earlier than Nephi. His next exertion was against Nephi for killing Laban and getting the brass plates by fraud and deception, saying, away with prophets of that description, as he never would acknowledge a prophet of that character, forgetting, that in so doing, he rejected Moses, who killed an Egyptian, hid him in the sand and run his country to escape the penalty of the law, and Samuel, who hewed down Agag a helpless, unarmed prisoner, in cool blood. He doubtless, forgot that Nephi's life had been sought by Laban, and that Laban had robbed him of all his property which was exceeding great, and that he killed Laban in obedience to express commandment of the Lord.
His next objection was raised against page 46th where it is stated that Nephi's brethren rebelled against him for attempting to build a ship. They sought to put him into the sea, but he commanded them not to touch him, saying if they did, they should wither as a dried reed. The Rev. gentleman represented them as taking him, and binding him and they did not wither as he prophesied. He probably supposed we should not read for ourselves, that they did not touch him at that time, but they repented of their wickedness, and assisted him to build a ship, and after they had built the ship, and been many days at sea, they took him and bound him, but not before.—Even them, they were immediately
chastized by judgments insomuch, that they soon loosed Nephi.
Another mighty effort was against page 189. Abinadi speaking of things to come as if they had already come, spake of the resurrection of Christ in the past tense, long before Christ was born. This was a great objection to the book, but equally so, the candid reader will discover against the book of Isaiah, who exclaimed (several hundred years before Christs' birth) in the past tense. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth, 53:7th, also in the 8th verse it is stated that he was taken from prison and from judgment &c. He must have supposed we would take for granted what the preacher said, and never read the Bible or the book of Mormon, either impartially for ourselves. Another objection was on page 232 where we find the account of Nehors, slaying Gideon and was taken before judge Alma, judged and hung for priestcrrft [priestcraft] instead of murder: nevertheless, these are the words of Alma on the same page, "thou hast shed the blood of a righteous man, who has done much good among this people, and were we to spare thee, his blood would come upon us for vengeance, therefore, thou art condemned to die." Another objection was three days darkness on this land, and only three hours darkness in Asia. But I remember a division more close than that, where the Lord severed between the land of Goshen and the rest of Egypt, so that the Egyptians saw not one another for three days, "but the Hebrews had light in their dwellings". Another objection was that the book of Ether gave the genealogy from the Tower of Babel back to Adam, 29 generations: The other scriptures made but 10 generations. He also stated that Ether did not trace it through the flood, consequently, how could the people be saved, whose genealogy Ether gave.
Now who has ever looked at the book of Ether and does not know, that no genealogy is given from the Tower back to Adam, but from the tower down through after generations to Ether? (see book of Mormon page 539) Another objection was, the witnesses to the book of Mormon, were interested witnesses consequently not to be believed. Probably, not recollecting that in so saying, he was rejecting the New Testament, as they first chosen witnesses of the resurrection of Christ, were all interested witnesses: their time, their character, their property and their lives were at stake, and all would be lost if Christ were an impostor. After exerting all his powers of speech, until near eleven o'clock, he at length dismissed, when I entered the pulpit and pledged myself to prove, misrepresentation and falsehood, throughout his entire discourse upon this subject. Some of the assembly began to clamor so loud, I could not be heard, although many wished to hear. Therefore, I was obliged to defer my reply to his several objections till the next day at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, at which time I had an appointment to preach in a barn in the same vicinity. I had an interview with the Rev. gentlemen in the morning, which lasted some hours. I showed him wherein he had stated falsehoods, or misrepresented many things in his argument: this I did before many witnesses. I then requested him to go before the public and make a humble confession of the wrong he had done, and the falsehoods he had been guilty of stating, but he utterly refused. At 4 o'clock P. M. a multitude assembled at the barn, I then replied publicly to the Rev. gentlemen's arguments of the preceding evening. After I closed my discourse, we went to the water and I baptized nine persons, who, apparently, came with contrite spirits, believing with all their hearts; expressing a full determination to serve the Lord to the end. The next day being Sunday, May 22d, the numbers of those who had been baptized having increased to twenty five, and brethren O. Pratt and F. Nickerson being present and assisting, we laid our hands upon them and confirmed them in the name of the Lord Jesus, for the gift of the Holy Ghost. In the ordinances of the day, we were blessed with joy and peace and with the powers of the Holy Ghost. Thus grew the word of God and prevailed mightily. May the Lord bless them and add to their numbers, daily, such as shall be saved.
Yours in the bonds of the everlasting covenant.
To the Editor of the
Messenger & Advocate. } P. P. Pratt.